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A Biblicist Alternative To Calvin-Arminian

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by IveyLeaguer, Feb 21, 2005.

  1. Plain Old Bill

    Plain Old Bill New Member

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    Prior to conception there is no will unless you believe in pre-existance (I think that is a mormon doctrine).
    Good question.I have to believe that the will is certainly not developed at conception or birth to the point of any decision making.How much can you remember about your first day out of the womb?I can't remember a thing.
     
  2. Scott J

    Scott J Active Member
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    Jesus compared the two.

    If people do not choose to be born and God ordains their life knowing that they will not "choose" to get saved, is God then guilty of predestinating them to hell?

    I ask this assuming you believe God has perfect foreknowledge of future events.
     
  3. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry <b>Moderator</b>
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    And man always chooses against God of his own free will until God effectually calls him. God implants love in a heart that is not capable of love because of its narcissism.
     
  4. Biblicist

    Biblicist New Member

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    ....willpower....failing....must resist temptation to respond to idiotic comments and flawed exegesis.........
     
  5. omalley

    omalley New Member

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    hehehe, lol. i don't really agree with you...but i can appreciate sarcasm and humor when i hear it (or read it).
     
  6. Plain Old Bill

    Plain Old Bill New Member

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    Scott J,
    You assume correctly.God has perfect knowledge of all things.That being said, just because you know someone is going to do something or make a particular choice does not mean that you made them make that choice.
     
  7. Scott J

    Scott J Active Member
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    Precisely!

    That is why God bears no guilt whatsoever for electing some and not electing others. The non-elect will do exactly what they want to do... which will result in God rightly condemning them to hell for their sinful rebellion.
     
  8. Plain Old Bill

    Plain Old Bill New Member

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    But the Choice is thiers to make.
     
  9. Scott J

    Scott J Active Member
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    And they will always exercise that choice according to the own egocentric, sinful nature. Those not born of the Spirit will never choose to accept the Gospel.

    You can call me by any label you want but I see absolutely no violation of man's free will by God's sovereign choice to save them. Just like I do not believe it a violation of a child's will to be born. Both act according to the nature God ordained in them.
     
  10. Plain Old Bill

    Plain Old Bill New Member

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    Scott,
    I would'nt put a label on you or anybody else, that is for you or them to do.
    My Bible,doctrine,and theological studies are certainly not over yet so maybe we can talk about this again in a couple of years and see where we are.
     
  11. Rob't K. Fall

    Rob't K. Fall New Member

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    Like my Dad used to say when he was asked "What side of The War did your folks fight on?"; "we're Westerners, we were to busy fighting Indians to worry about what was going on back East."

    My reply on this topic is much the same. I agree with Brother Calvin when he is right and disagree with him when he is wrong. I won't allow myself to be labeled a Calvinist because of my profound disagreement with him on</font>
    • matters of Ecclesiology (meaning and mode of baptism, the relation of the Church and State.).</font>
    • matters of Escatology (no the Church is not Israel).</font>
    • matters of Soteriology (baptism is not a NT version of OT circumcision; it does not bring you into the Covenant.)</font>
    In other words, I could not live in Calvin's Geneva; I could be dead there but not alive.

    That being said. As best as I can see, the problem arises because M. Calvin sought to rigorously apply Aristolean logic to his systematic theology. Now, I am not saying one's theology should not be well thought out.

    In my minds eye, a cartoon appears. I think many of my North American readers have seen it over the years. A scientist has written out a complex formula across multiple blackboards. A complex equation is written out on the right. In the middle of the formula, the words A Miracle Occurs. And the equation continues on to its conclusion.

    I am faced with much the same situation here in dealing with this matter. I read</font>
    1. Romans 3:11: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God and
      Romans 3:23: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God are fairly clear as to unregenerate man's depravity.</font>
    2. Romans 8:29: For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. to which I'll add along side Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. and Eph 1:44 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:Clearly (unless words have lost their meaning) teach our salvation is based on God's sovereign choice.</font>
    3. Romans 10:13: For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.Now, God throws us a curve.</font>
    4. Romans 10:14: How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And yet another curve</font>
    Somewhere between between my second point and my third a miracle occurs. [​IMG]
     
  12. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson Administrator
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    For all the back and forth on this topic, Brother Fall's post is allowed to stand without comment pro or con? Now that is interesting.
     
  13. Biblicist

    Biblicist New Member

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    What he has basically said is the same thing that my bible college professor said. Namely that a contradiction exists that God never tries to reconcile.

    I think this position is a misunderstanding of what those verses say as I have already articulated. There is no contradiction between God's will and man's free will when the scriptures are properly understood apart from preconceived theological constructions.

    It may be that the reason no one responded was because its already been discussed.
     
  14. Scott J

    Scott J Active Member
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    That is pretty much why I describe my beliefs on sotierology as calvinistic. See my explanation above.

    It is no more a violation of an elected individual's free will to be saved as it is a conceived child's free will to be born. God ordained both births.
     
  15. Biblicist

    Biblicist New Member

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    What I find the most interesting is that after this thread said "dead" for three days all of a sudden someone decided to restate their position after I posted.

    I think someone needs attention.
     
  16. GeneMBridges

    GeneMBridges New Member

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    [quote[I would never have a man KNOWN for being a Calvinist preach in my pulpit. I would also never allow Calvinism to be taught in my church from the pulpit. Neither would I allow anyone to teach it in Sunday School or any other "official" capacity.[/quote]

    Translation: I will supress honest discussion and not present the opposing view in any way. Nothing you have said in this thread would stand up in any exegetical debate. So much for the priesthood of the believer.
     
  17. GeneMBridges

    GeneMBridges New Member

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    What is taught clearly, however is that regeneration precedes faith. This is abundantly clear.

    The alternative is that regeneration occurs after faith. First, let us remember, the issue is the logical, not the temporal order. Both Arminians and Calvinists agree that they are so close in time as to be considered simultaneous. Also, we all agree that the "believing" in 1 John 5 is a reference to saving faith as well as the faith by which we live each day. We all agree that faith is the agency of salvation. We both agree that regeneration is defined as "the new birth/being born again."

    Second, one can test the consistency of the assertion I make regarding the relationship between faith and regeneration in 1 John 5:1 by looking at the grammatical structure of 1 John 2:29. If one uses 1 John 5:1 to say that regeneration occurs after faith, then, logically, since the grammatical constructions are exactly the same, then practicing righteousness also precedes regeneration, if you are going to interpret these verses consistently.

    The most literal reading of 1 John 5:1 is "every one believing that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God (perfect passive, "has been born of the agency of God...not the agency of man...the agency of God...man is passive, not active in the voice of the verb, indicative mood, this is a real action, a fact, an actuality, not a hypothetical, potential, theoretical, or rhetorical action). When verbs are passive, that means the object of the verb is being acted upon by another. The person believing (pres. active indic.) that Jesus is the Christ (or all that are believing or each one or every one believing...) has been born of God. Now, this alone is not enough to conclude, in my opinion, that regeneration precedes faith. Simply, it would be eisegesis to draw any conclusion from this verse if this verse was alone. It is, however, not alone. Grammatically and contextually, 1 John 2:29 is an exact parallel from which we conclude that practicing righteousness is a result of the new birth.

    1 John 5:1 is used by Arminians to assert the truth of regeneration through faith. However, that would require an active or at least middle voice verb. Middle voice is extremely rare in koine. In fact, middle voice is usually the last grammatical choice when parsing a verb form. We tend to find active or passive verbs. I know of nobody that looks at 5:1 or 2:29 and says gegennhtai is middle voice. It is most definitely passive.

    Now, keep in mind, the verb "to be born," gegennhtai, e.g. is born of Him, is passive. They did not cause their own birth. God caused their birth. Just as John 6:37 says those who are given to Christ by the Father come to Him. "All that the Father gives me will come to me." There is not an exception to this. We come after being given by the Father to Christ. I believe, by comparing this with the construction of 1 John 2:29...same author, same topic, same letter, same theme, same grammatical construction, we have overwhelming evidence that regeneration precedes faith, unless, of course, we believe in salvation by works, which, I would hope no Protestant would believe.

    My question is, "Is this consistent?" Yes, it most certainly is consistent.


    Look at 2:29. "If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him." Now, we're not Catholic, and, consistently, we all agree that righteousness is a product of the new birth, e.g. regeneration results in righteousness in the life of the believer. This means that in 1 John 5:1, "believing" in Jesus as the Christ is the result of being born of Him. Why? Because it is inconsistent to say otherwise. Why reverse the logical/temporal order? Nothing in the text demands it. In order to reverse the order and argue for an asymmetrical parallel, one must find something within the text that would lead one to do that. That evidence simply is not there.

    Let's look more closely at the grammatical constructions of the two clauses under our scrutiny:

    2:29 b "everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him."

    and

    5:1 a "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God."

    Literally,
    Every one practicing righteousness has been born of Him (God)

    paV o poiwn thn dikaiosunhn ex autou gegennhtai

    Every one believing that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God (Him).

    paV o pisteuwn oti IhsouV estin o cristoV ek tou qeou gegennhtai

    See the grammatical parallel is exactly parallel. In Greek it is also exactly parallel. Therefore, we are certainly and undeniably dealing with one of John's parallel statements.

    The verbal constructions are exactly parallel. Again, going back to the Greek, we can see that "everyone who practices righteousness" is a present participle. In 5:1, the one believing is also a present participle.

    So we have:
    Every one practicing righteousness
    present participle

    has been born of Him (God)

    and

    Every one believing that Jesus is the Christ
    present participle

    has been born of God (Him)

    Thus, as you can see, we have different verbs, same verb forms.

    In both passages the same verb for "to be born," gegennhtai is used and the form is the exact same form, perfect passive . (In fact, exegetically, this is the very reason we teach from this verse that righteousness is a result of being born again).

    So we have:

    Every one practicing righteousness
    present participle

    has been born of Him (God)
    perfect passive

    and

    Every one believing that Jesus is the Christ
    present participle

    has been born of God (Him)
    perfect passive

    Thus, as you can see, we have different verbs, same verb forms, and same verb, same verb forms. Whenever there is that exact a grammatical parallel, we generally conclude the relationships between the verbs/ideas expressed are the same or similar, unless there is some other warrant within the text to do so. In this case, I do not see any such textual/contextual warrant. Thus, the question the Arminian must answer, is simply "Why do you reverse the logical/temporal relationships between faith and regeneration?" Does not exegesis determine theology? It seems to me the only reason one concludes that this verse somehow proves the concept that regeneration is the result of faith is one thing, tradition, a theological presuppostion. Say what one will about the Reformed position, with regard to this text, the conclusion we reach concerning the logical/temporal order that regeneration precedes faith is derived from consistent exegesis of these texts. One simply can not lay charge to exegeting our tradition into these texts.

    Both groups teach, from 2:29 that practicing righteousness is a result of being born again. On this there is no dispute. We do teach this. Every pastor, teacher, and seminary professor I have ever heard has taught in part using 1 John 2:29 that practicing righteousness is the result of being born again. Since practicing righteousness is, indeed, one of the tests for a true believer that John lays out in this epistle, since he is dealing with Gnostic/Judaizer hybrids that were not practicing righteousness, we have more than sufficient warrant to do this. Also, another one of the tests John lays out is the test of faith in Jesus as the Christ, e.g. believing. Again, there is no soteriological or exegetical dispute from either party about this. We know that John is saying here that practicing righteousness is a result of the new birth, (which we call "regeneration" in theological jargon), because his point is to put this forth as a test by which his readers can know a true Christian, one who is not a mere professor of Christ, but a true convert, a true disciple of our Lord. In other words, if he was not saying that practicing righteousness is the result of regeneration, e.g. being born again, the statement would be meaningless as a test for assurance of our own salvation or the validity of another's profession of faith.

    However, one group teaches, from this text, 5:1, that being born again is the result of believing. The other group, using consistent exegesis, teaches that the believing is a result of regeneration, again, because the test John has laid out is just that, e.g. faith in Christ is proof that one is regenerate. In short, the grammatical constructions does not allow for the assertion that regeneration is the result of faith. It supports regeneration preceding faith, for, if practicing righteousness is the result of being born again, then believing in Jesus as the Christ is the result of being born again, particularly if one looks at 2:29 and believes, as we both do, that practicing righteousness is a result of regeneration. The language simply can not support the theological conclusion that regeneration results from faith, particularly from this text. If we conclude a logical and even temporal order from 2:29 in the relationship between the practice of righteousness in the true believers life and regeneration, then we have every right to draw the same conclusion regarding the relationship between believing that Jesus is the Christ and regeneration from the corresponding verse, 5:1, particularly when John is using this statement as a test for personal assurance and a test for fellowship. We know we are born again because we believe. We know others are born again, because they believe. Why? Because believing is the result of the new birth, just as practicing righteousness is also the result of the new birth. If we say that believing causes the new birth, then we must necessarily conclude, if we are going to consistent, that practicing righteousness is also a cause of the new birth. Such a statement would rightly be quickly condemned as false teaching.

    Why then does the Arminian hold to this position? T R A D I T I O N. If one clearly and unequivocably draws a conclusion regarding the logical and temporal order from 2:29, then consistency demands one draw the same conclusion regarding the logical and temporal order expressed in 5:1. Even if one does not draw such a conclusion, per se, from those texts, it is certain that one reads a logical, temporal order in 2:29. Again, there is no reason, other than the satisfaction of your own soteriological system which you must bring to the text, to insert a reversed order into 5:1, when the linguisitic and therefore exegetical parallel is exactly the same.

    Another objection one might make is "Regeneration is the result of saving faith, but John is not talking about saving faith here, he is talking about persevering faith, e.g. continuing faith, and we have no qualm that continuing, persevering faith is a result of regeneration." Again, then, that does nothing to support the theological contention that regeneration is the result of saving faith. In fact, it removes one of the proof texts, in fact one of the major ones, Arminianis use to make that very assertion. That too, then, would be the readiing of the text done in order to satisfy one's theological presuppostions, nothing more.

    The question then becomes, "Is this 'saving' faith?" I believe it is, because the object of the faith is the person of Jesus as the Christ, which we know is the key proposition one must believe in order to be justified by the agency of faith. There is nothing in this text that indicates otherwise, and I do not find any evidence in Scripture that saving faith is anything less than an ongoing action. In fact, the participle "believing ones" in John 3:16, pisteuwnv, which we all agree has is "saving faith," is the same form as here, pisteuwnv Moreover, this believing is put forth as a test for knowing if an individual is, in fact, saved, e.g. justified. One that is believing, e.g. in possession of and exercising "saving faith," e.g. believing Jesus Christ is born again, has been born again; e.g. does so because one has been born again. In the same way, one that is practicing righteousness is doing so as a result of being born again. Regeneration precedes practicing righteousness. Regeneration precedes saving faith. Grammatically, I see no warrant, and contextually I see no warrant in this epistle for concluding otherwise in 5:1.

    Thus, the most consistent exegesis is the one that sees both believing (which both sides of the debate agree is referring to saving faith as well as "everyday faith by which we live" in the way John uses it in this epistle) and righteousness is the result of being born again, (regeneration). The Reformed view on this verse is the most exegetically consistent position, therefore, I do believe that, in context, yes, we can use it to conclude believing that Jesus is the Christ (that thing which is the agency through which we are justified) is the result of the new birth (regeneration) and not vice versa, most especially if we are going to use 2:29 to teach that practicing righteousness is a result of the new birth, e.g. regeneration.
     
  18. GeneMBridges

    GeneMBridges New Member

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    As I pointed out, as consistent Protestants, we all make the dogmatic statement from 1 John 2:29 that the intent of John is to state that practicing righteousness is the result of being born again, e.g. regeneration. I ask again, on what basis can you then take the exact grammatical parallel that he offers in 5:1 and support faith being antecedent, not resultant of regeneration? How can you use 2:29 to make a dogmatic statement about the relationship between regeneration and works and then be hesitant about doing the same thing from 5:1? Using your same logic, we can not make a dogmatic conclusion about regeneration and works from 2:29. Do you also think that 2:29 there is insufficient information in 2:29 to conclude that regeneration precedes the practice of righteousness? If so, then it could be possible that we are regenerated by works, not faith. After all, if 5:1 does not contain sufficient information to conclude regeneration precedes believing, then 2:29 does not contain sufficient information to make statements about practicing righteousness not following regeneration as well.

    Is it the author's intent to say that regeneration is not antecedent to practicing righteousness in 2:29? That's what Arminians teach, just as Calvinists teach. Again, why say that is his intent in 2:29 but not the intent of 5:1?

    If you teach that a lifestyle of righteous living is the result of regeneration, as you do, then it is grossly inconsistent on your part not to teach otherwise regarding the logical / temporal order of regeneration and faith from the exact linguistic parallel you find in 5:1.

    Why then does the Arminian hold to this position? T R A D I T I O N. If one clearly and unequivocably draws a conclusion regarding the logical and temporal order from 2:29, then consistency demands one draw the same conclusion regarding the logical and temporal order expressed in 5:1. 2:29, I would point is very clearly a test of regeneracy. On this there is no dispute. On this we all conclude rightly regarding John's intent in 2:29. Do you see a change of intent by the time he reaches 5:1? Other than the nature of the test (e.g. believing, not practicing righteousness), there is no change of intent.

    Even if one does not draw such a conclusion, per se, from those texts, it is certain that one reads a logical, temporal order in 2:29 and teaches consistently from it that practicing righteousness is a result of regeneration. Again, there is no reason, other than the satisfaction of your own soteriological system which you must bring to the text, to insert a reversed order into 5:1, when the linguisitic and therefore exegetical parallel is exactly the same. 1 John 5:1 in no way whatsoever supports the contention that faith is antecedent to regeneration. If you say that faith is antecedent to regeneration, you must insert it into the text. Say what you will, the Reformed exegesis is derivative of a consistent flow of thought from 2:29 and 5:1. We make no insertion into the text.

    John puts forth 2:29 and 5:1 as tests for assurance of believers' salvation / tests for the salvation of false teachers and thus the validity of their message. It is clearly John's intent to say that practicing righteousness is one of the means by which we know we and others are regenerate. Likewise, we know, by the fact that we believe, that we are regenerate. There is no reason here to conclude, then, that faith is antecedent to regeneration that does not involve you inconsistently teaching that the logical and temporal order of practicing righteousness is antecedent to regeneration as well. That problem is insurmountable for Arminians. Do you not believe that regeneration precedes practicing righteousness, particularly since this is put forth as a test of regeneracy? Do you not conclude from this that the logical salvific order is regeneration precedes works? Of course you do. Why then be reticent to do this same thing in 5:1? Again, because it would challenge your tradition.

    You say "intent." I ask again, is this not John's intent in 2:29? If it is his intent, is 2:29 insufficient grounds on which to conclude that regeneration precedes the believers' practicing righteousness? If it not his intent, then on what grounds can you teach this is so, based on 2:29?

    I am more willing to draw my theology from consistent grammatical constructions that the satisfaction of my tradition. You may be more reticent, but that does not change the fact that we all rightly conclude a logical and temporal order from 2:29, and only one of us argues otherwise, sometimes even referring to 5:1 in the process.

    Also look at John 6:37.

    "All that the Father gives to Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out."

    Again, we have another construction from which we conclude that there is a temporal order being taught. The Father gives to the Son. Those that come will not be cast out, and as v.39 teaches, they will all be raised up on the last day.

    Do you believe that there is insufficient information there to conclude the logical / temporal order between the Father giving and those coming? The action of the Father comes before the action of coming to Christ by the individual. It comes before the raising of those persons by Christ. Christ saves them and raises them because they come and because the Father has given them to Him. Is this not a set of clauses that are dependent upon each other for their logical and temporal order. Are they not executed in their grammatical order?

    Likewise 6:44 is a similar construction. While we may disagree about the effectiveness of the drawing, I do not think that either of us will dispute that Jesus is very clear that any person that comes to Christ does so because He is drawn by the Father. Surely, 6:44 is sufficient to teach that much! The Remonstrants in the Opinions certainly agreed.

    1 John 4:7 presents another test for regeneracy does it not?

    Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves (Greek: pas ho agapwn) is born of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7)

    Do you agree that there is sufficient textual warrant for concluding that the person that loving (every one who loves) does so, because one is born of God and knows God? By definition, "regeneration" itself is defined as "being born again, being born of God." I know of no text in systematic theology that defines it otherwise. If you are going to say that there is insufficient textual evidence that John's intent is not to teach that regeneration does not precede faith, you must also conclude from all these texts:

    There is insufficient textual evidence to conclude that (a) drawing precedes coming, (b) believing precedes being raised again, (c) giving precedes coming and being raised again, (d) regeneration precedes works, and (e) loving the brethren precedes regeneration. In none of these instances does any of the texts support such a contention.

    John has a very specific style. He writes in parallel constructions and spells out the relationships between them. John 8:43 is very clear:

    Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.

    First, note: "Why do you not understand what I am saying?" It is because you cannot hear My word. This is stated verbatim. Jesus says there is a causal relationship between their ability to understand and hearing. They do not understand because of their inability to hear. John then parallels this with:

    8:47 He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.

    John writes a grammatical construction exactly like I John 2:29, 5:1, and 4:7! He first spells out, verbatim, the causal relationship between ability to hear and understanding in v. 43 and endcaps with v.47's end that says "for this reason..." "He who is of God, hears the words of God." for this reason, you do not hear them, because you are not of God. There is a logical, temporal, causal relationship, verbatim.

    Again, 1 John 2:29, 4:7, and 5:1 also are this same construction:

    He who is of God hears the words of God.

    They hear because they are "of God."

    You do not hear them because you are not of God

    They do not hear because they are not of God

    Everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.

    They practice righteousness because they are born again.

    Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

    They love because they are born again and know God.

    Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.

    They believe because they are born again.

    Though 6:44 is not as exact a parallel, we conclude a direct causal relationship between drawing and coming to Christ from that text. Those that come come because they are drawn.

    It would be meaningless for us to say, "They hear because they are of God but being of God is not logically/temporally antecedent to hearing. It would be meaningless for us to say, "They practice righteousness because they are born again, but regeneration is not antecedent to practicing righteousness. It would be meaningless for us to say, "They love because they are regenerate, but there is not logical/temporal order to loving the brethren and regeneration. It would be meaningless to say "They believe because they are born again," but the logical and temporal relationships are inverse. It would reverse the meaning of 6:44 to say they are drawn because they come. Why be drawn if they can come and are coming? Causal relationships depend on their logical / temporal order. Exegesis determines this order for all of these. There is no reason to draw one conclusion from three of these but not the fourth, unless you have a theological tradition you are trying to satisfy.

    Therefore, not only is there a logical and temporal order, there is a causal relationship between regeneration and practicing righteousness, loving the brethren, and believing. Regeneration precedes and is the cause each activity. Works does not result in regeneration. Love is the result of regeneration, and believing is the result of regeneration. Regeneration precedes faith. 1 John 5:1 is clear. I stand by my exegesis and my "dogmatic" conclusion. I do, based on the text, not my tradition.

    Why post this? Because it shows that regeneration is MONERGISTIC not SYNERGISTIC. If monergism is valid exegetically, then the non-Reformed soteriology falls to pieces.
     
  19. GeneMBridges

    GeneMBridges New Member

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    Actually, there is no Greek construction for the term whosoever. Don't talk badly about others' flawed exegesis, when you miss the most basic exegesis on page 2 of this thread. "Whosoever" is a participial construction. "Whosoever believes" = the believing ones. "Whosoever will x" = the xing ones. In Romans 1):13, which you cite the word used is eikalesntai and is PRECEDED by a present participle that says "all the ones calling on him"...THEN it reads, for whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." Whoever calls on the Lord is the one who is described in the preceding clause...the one who is calling...will they be saved? Yes, absolutely. This is simply a statement of fact, it is not any indication that "whosoever" is anybody that is not drawn by the Father. Who is calling? whoever calls? The one seeking. Who is the one seeking? According to Scripture nobody, unless they are first drawn by Him. According to John 6, this is infallible. Nobody believes anybody that wants to enter the kingdom is kept out of it. The issue is "Why do some believe and not others." Scripture's answer is that they were not drawn by God, and this is the answer the Calvinist is compelled towards if he wishes to establish his theology on Scripture alone.

    On the contrary, history is as much an interpretive discpline as textual criticism. When you have some time, look up the term "historiography," and read about the differing types within American history alone.

    It's an insult to Calvin on your part too...he was married to an Anabaptist woman. It is pure historical revisionism to say that he himself actively persecuted the Anabaptists. The Lutherans, Catholics, and the Anglicans did but not Calvin himself. He wrote in contradiction to them about their baptisms, but he himself did not persecute them. (Jack Arnold, The Anabaptists) Besides, if one says that Calvin was in error in agreeing with the execution of heretics then why is there not equal indignation against all the other leaders who did the same thing, includng the Anabaptists that controlled Munster?"

    Oh for heaven's sake, talk about historical revisionism.

    Calvin went France to meet Servetus to try and convert him to the truth. But in Catholic France, Calvin would have been executed as a heretic, yet Calvin went there. So, Calvin risked his life to speak to Servetus. After Servetus was arrested, Calvin pleaded with the members of the council, if he is going to have to be put to death, don't burn him. It is too cruel. At least behead him. But, Servetus was executed on Oct. 26, 1553. Calvin didn't "have Servetus killed." He risked his own life by going to France to warn Servetus not to come to Geneva, yet Servetus did go there. Furthermore, it was the law of Geneva that heretics be killed. So, it was a lawful execution (Rom. 13:1-2). Also, Calvin was not the prosecutor in Geneva. He was only a witness. If Calvin had Servetus killed, how is that possible if Calvin had been previously banished from Geneva for three years. Therefore, he didn't have the power and authority to have anyone killed. Calvin was only a witness at Servetus' trial. (Wilkins, Calvin v. Servetus)


    It seems the big objection here amounts to this. "If God decrees the choices of men, then they are not 'real' choices." Really? Are storms decreed by God not "real" storms? Are kings established by God real kings? Is a word that God Himself causes me to speak real word? (Ps. 139:4, Prov. 16:1). When you pray, do you not believe that God will bring about the desired outcome? How, pray tell, does anything exist outside the sovereign decree of God that it exist, when Scripture itself says of the Lord Jesus that He is the one "sustaining" (continuous present action) ALL THINGS by the word of His power? On this note, I have to laugh at how quickly the notion of "all means all" is thrown out the window. You guys incessantly beat that drum when it comes to atonement and other things, but how quickly you equivocate on Heb. 1:9. Where does Scripture say that a choice not ordained by God is not a real choice? Who killed Saul? 1 Chron. 10:4 says that Saul took a sword and fell upon it." Howeer in 10:14, we are told, "and" (speaking of Saul) "did not inquire of the Lord. Therefore He" (God) "killed him and turned the kingdom to David the Son of Jesse." Suicide is a sin, is it not? Saul committed suicide, yet God is the One that, by God's own words in Scripture, killed Saul." I don't understand it, but I do believe it, and I do not find it contradictory, because God is the one that determines what is contradictory, and He certainly does not contradict Himself, since truth is not illogical or contradictory.

    God "works all things after the counsel of his will" (Ephesians 1:11). Does He or doesn't He? Please answer this question. Is man a first cause of some things? If so, then that means that somethings man does are uncaused at their root. For the record, this is not only unbiblical, it is anti-theistic. ONLY GOD can do things for ultimately uncaused causes, because He is the only thing that is uncaused. This is basic to the theistic premise itself.

    This "all things" includes the fall of sparrows (Matthew 10:29), the rolling of dice (Proverbs 16:33), the slaughter of his people (Psalm 44:11), the decisions of kings (Proverbs 21:1), the failing of sight (Exodus 4:11), the sickness of children (2 Samuel 12:15), the loss and gain of money (1 Samuel 2:7), the suffering of saints (1 Peter 4:19), the completion of travel plans (James 4:15), the persecution of Christians (Hebrews 12:4-7), the repentance of souls (2 Timothy 2:25), the gift of faith (Philippians 1:29), the pursuit of holiness (Philippians 3:12-13), the growth of believers (Hebrews 6:3), the giving of life and the taking in death (1 Samuel 2:6), and the crucifixion of his Son (Acts 4:27-28). (Piper)

    What about the fall? John Hendryx writes, "It is important that we first consider the alternative to God ordaining the fall event to show that it is really quite and untenable and unsustainable position. The truth of God's word is honored not in holding exclusively to one truth to the exclusion of another truth, but in believing the whole counsel of God. The Bible plainly teaches that man is responsible for the sin he commits and it also teaches that God is sovereign. Your would be correct theologically to say that God is not the author of evil and that man alone is culpable for the sin he commits. You must also consider, however, that God is sovereign and has thus left nothing up to chance. That word "nothing" is a universal negative. For if chance were to exist then, of course, God would not be sovereign and thus, God would not be God.

    God did not coerce Adam to commit sin and fall, but he certainly ordained it. Even an Arminian who thinks that God merely allowed the fall, must admit that before God created the world he already knew what the future would be, and so it was within his Providence for such events to take place, for he could just have easily decided to prevent the fall...but He didn't. But we believe that while God did not make man sin coersively he certainly ordained such events to occur. Consider that if God did not decree the fall then evil is something completely outside His sovereign control ... If evil came into the universe by surprise for God, totally apart from His providence, then there are some things He does not know or things He is powerless over and therefore God would, by definition, lack omniscience and omnipotence. And then how do we know whether He will be able to defeat evil in the future if evil is outside God's control even though the Scripture plainly says that God ordains all events that come to pass (Eph 1:11).

    As for how it could be that God decreed the fall. Obviously it is ultimately for His glory. In it He showed to the angels and all creation His manifest wisdom, justice and mercy and all of His perfections. He does not operate people like puppets. Adam freely chose to rebel ... God did not coerce him... and now fallen men freely choose to reject Christ, apart from grace. You ask, how could God ordain evil? Well, let me give you a clear biblical example which shows that he does, so you don't think I am just blowing smoke.

    Consider that Christ's crucifixion was a certainty which God planed in eternity and prophesied would come to pass in the Old Testament. But also consider that men would freely choose to crucify the Son of God. See Acts 2:23 which brings the two together -- "this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death." This concurrent series of events taking place simultaneously is called compatibilism, which is how the Scriptures really answer this question.

    So God foreordained the most evil event in history, the crucifixion, yet He lays blame for it completely on the choice of godless men, according to this passage. You must embrace that the Scripture that God ordained an innocent man's death at the hands of sinners, yet they freely did so because they wanted to. You may not understand how God works in such a way without coercion, but you must submit to the fact the the Holy Scripture, through and through, teaches this quite matter-of-factly. Why does God do this? Well, for one, after the crucifixion event we now begin to understand that Christ did this for the good of His people, though we may not have seen it at the time. Prior to His execution, the disciples were told by Jesus, "you do not now understand what I am doing" and even Peter tried to dissuade Him. However, God used evil for good and did so blamelessly.

    There is a similar idea in Acts 4:27-28 'For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.'

    These Scriptures texts must be accepted as authoritative. Someone might argue that they were an exception ... but there is no biblical rationale for believing that. It must be admitted that the Scripture plainly teaches that God ordains evil events and remains blameless, events which include the self-determined choices of man. "

    Answered extensively already. Oh, and I wouldn't cite John 1:12 - 13...the verb for "born" in v. 13 is passive not active, not middle, indicating that humans are passive with respect to regeneration.

    You say that Calvinists actually say that God is the author of sin, yet you can show no author to support your assertion. In point of fact, Calvin himself, wrote: “I so assert it as by no means to concede that God was the author.”

    At the same time, this does not make God the master puppeteer. What He foreordained was a world full of free choices. He not only ordained that a man would be in the ice cream store choosing one of thirty-one flavors, He also decreed which flavor would be chosen. But this is not all; He ordained that the cookie dough ice cream would be chosen by this man freely. God ordains non-coercively. This makes no sense to some people, but how many basic doctrines do make sense? We do not understand how God made Jupiter from nothing any more than how He determined my actions today without annihilating me. But He does. Remember, the point being made here is not that divine sovereignty is merely consistent with secondary freedom, but rather is that which establishes it. (Wilson)

    To assert that it is somehow "contadictory" is amusing at best. Just because we do not fully understand something, we can not say it is "contradictory." How can One God consist of Three Persons and yet there be only One God? How can One Man, be fully God and fully man? How can one book be inerrant and infallible as the Word of God, yet be written by fallible, flawed men? I don't understand the answers, but I know they are true, and I know they are true without contradiction, because God is a God of truth and truth is not contradictory. "Contradiction" is simply that a can not be non a while simultaneously being a. However, my understandiing goes only so far as the amount of revelation given, and the revelation given us says clearly that God is the determinative cause of all things, but not the proximate cause of them. He uses absolute power actively for some things, but sometimes He is content to use ordinary means for others. Which of those things is done by which is sometimes answered by Scripture and sometimes that answer includes no answer or "both." It is you, not we, that put God in a box. It is you, not we, that make God passive in His knowledge (contrary to the New Testament verb for foreknow that is ACTIVE).

    [ March 15, 2005, 04:42 PM: Message edited by: GeneMBridges ]
     
  20. Biblicist

    Biblicist New Member

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    I hope you feel better. I know that I do.
     
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