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Featured The BEST argument against Calvinism . . .

Discussion in 'Calvinism & Arminianism Debate' started by 37818, Jun 8, 2024.

  1. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    About 25 minutes

     
  2. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    @37818. That is one of the best videos on the subject I have seen so far. The meaning of free will is truly at the heart of the debate but one thing he didn't go into was the fact that according to many Calvinist writers the problem is our own, unmolested free will. If you notice, he makes the same mistake almost everyone does when coming to the defense of free will. They come from a standpoint that our own free will would put us in a position of neutrality towards God and sin. And for good reason. This type of neutrality would be necessary if everything depends upon our "decision" in order to maintain the fairness that they think they are defending for God.

    So the problem is, when the discussion moves to whether on our own, do we really incline to animosity and enmity toward spiritual things or are we starting out neutral; what will be your answer. If we are naturally prone to sin and have a natural mind that inclines against obeying God then we are in need of divine assistance to even want to come to Christ. And if that is the case, then the possibility of Calvinism exists.
     
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  3. Silverhair

    Silverhair Well-Known Member

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    And again you ignore a few things. The conviction of the whole world, creation, someone hearing the gospel message. No matter what the influence is it is still the person that has to make the final choice to accept or reject the information available to them. And that negates calvinism. There is no such thing as a determined free will choice.

    Calvinism does not give assistance to want to come to God it forces men to want to come to God. In calvinism first they have to be regenerated, saved, before they will come to God and then they will be given faith. Remember in calvinism it is only those that are included in the Unconditional Election that will partake of the Limited Atonement and then will be drawn to God by His Irresistible Grace. So all men do not have an equal chance to know or trust in God.


    Even in your answer you point to free will. Does the person move toward animosity or do they move toward the love of God. Even though they may be inclined to move one way or the other they are not required to do so. They can always choose otherwise.
     
  4. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    When I read guys like Owen they freely concede this. But they don't think that is sufficient to bring someone to salvation without further action by the Holy Spirit. By the way, Arminius agrees with the Calvinists on this.
    I agree with you here. I think there is grace given and it is essential, but there is a point where God makes a judgement about whether a man has resisted to a point of a withdrawal of such grace. Surprisingly, and I can't explain how this works, but most Calvinists teach this also, including Owen.
    Some do teach that, but again, some don't.
    I don't think anyone would honestly try to say all men have an equal chance to trust in God. Now if you say all men have some light, and enough to be judged morally culpable, well maybe you are right.
    That's what I mean. In Calvinism, and even in Arminianism, the problem we all have is due to our own free will. When the natural man thinks the things of God are foolishness it's not because God made him think that. That is his true free will choice. That's where I go with this. If Calvinists, or you, don't agree with that then that's fine. But the fact is, if it's true that the problem is with our free will in the first place then the Holy Spirit is needed for us to respond. And if that is true then logically, Calvinism is possible. You cannot disprove Calvinism from the free will argument.
     
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  5. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    One problem with the free will argument is that this idea that in order to have free will then we always could have chosen something else. This is absurd on it's face. If you make a choice of your own free will then that was your choice - any other choice would not have been your choice. Your strongest inclinations, combined with the rest of your heart's condition are what determined that. To say you could have made another free will choice cannot mean anything more than that the choice itself was random to some degree - in which case it doesn't really matter.

    The other problem is that we observe in real life that many of our choices are determined. I love the USA more than Canada. That is truly my choice but yet I know that if I was born and raised in Canada I would love it more than the USA. My free choice was determined. You can think of scores of such things in a moment if you want. We are raised in a culture where our freedom is valuable to us. That is good but still you have to keep all this in mind.
     
  6. Silverhair

    Silverhair Well-Known Member

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    The only thing that can bring one to salvation id God but He does so when a person trust in Him for their salvation. Whether Arminius agrees with Calvinist's or not does not matter to me.

    Yes I agree that God can and does withdraw grace. But He also gives grace to be saved through faith and that is the point we are discussing.

    But it is Calvinism 101 whether a calvinist agrees with it or not. I find it strange how many calvinist do not want to hold to calvinism.

    Then perhaps you should speak to God and ask Him why He would say He desires all to come to faith and that they are without excuse for not doing so if He knew that not all had he chance to know Him.

    There you go denying calvinism again when you say "When the natural man thinks the things of God are foolishness it's not because God made him think that." That is the problem, under calvinism God did make them think that. Why do calvinist refuse to look at the dark side of their theology? Calvinism is the opposite of biblical theology. The Holy Spirit convicts the whole world but the whole world does not trust in God. Why is that? Could it be their free will?

    You still keep running away from the biblical truth that man has to make real choices. You are happy to say man can freely reject God but you stumble when it comes to man freely accepting God. Why is that Dave?

    Actually calvinism and free will do not go together. You even show that in your response "the Holy Spirit is needed for us to respond". Where the HS will influence a person just as the gospel message or creation can do it is still the person that has to make the choice. That is your stumbling block.

    While you may like writers like Owen, Edwards etc. they are just men. Lay them aside and trust what the inspires word of God says.
     
  7. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    Yes. Faith is a condition for salvation. No faith, no salvation. I'm sorry but the Calvinists say that.
    The key point is what does the grace consist of. Does grace mean the gospel itself, the information, or does it have to include work by the Holy Spirit on the person directly. And if so, how much, is it just persuasion or enlightening or is it all the way to regeneration. And this is all difficult and I don't claim to have all the answers - but I am at least aware of the questions.
    Yes. This is difficult because you get into all the problems of God's will and motives. Calvinist theologians seem to me to want to honor God's authority and keep it from looking like God failed in some of his purposes. Others are worried that by going so far in that direction you actually make God the author of sin. These guys want to preserve God's other qualities and so downplay the fact that like it or not, God knowingly allowed the situation with men to be what it is. The writings of Arminius go into this quite in detail and are worth reading. It does not bother me if you don't agree with Calvinist theology. I think this area is where it is weakest too
    . What does bother me is when young guys come on a video and act like they have destroyed Calvinism in one video when in fact they bring in nothing new from the 1600's and mostly even from Augustine and Pelagius goin at it.
    Once again. Because I believe that the Bible clearly teaches that the natural set of men is to want to reject God and not accept his rule or love him. And this is because they don't want to. Because of their own, natural free will. We all need divine help. I don't claim the Calvinists are right in the way they explain it but I do think men need more than the information provided and then they can make the right decision. That goes too far the other way.
     
  8. Silverhair

    Silverhair Well-Known Member

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    That is an illogical argument. You just proved free will with your argument. "If you make a choice of your own free will then that was your choice." The fact that they have made a choice does not negate that they could have made a different choice. "- any other choice would not have been your choice" That argument is absurd and illogical. The fact that they made a choice shows free will. How does having made a free will choice prove one has no free will. My turning left rather than right does not negate the fact that I could have turned right.

    And yet we have people that leave the country they were born in to move to another country of their own free will. The fact that some things are determined does nothing to overthrow free will. The fact that you disagree with my understanding of free will proves free will.
     
  9. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I have noticed the same issue with defining free-will.


    Free-will means the ability to make choices.

    BUT in philosophy there is a theoretical type of free-will called "libertarian free-will". This is a will free of any external or internal constraints, to include human nature.

    Most who reject Calvinistic predestination hold to what is defined as "free-will".

    But most Calvinists who argue against free-will actually argue against libertarian free-will.

    In the end each camp very often speaks past one another.


    A good example is Arminianism (a position I do not hold, but is still a good example).

    Arminianism affirms free-will, but at the same time holds that no man will freely come to Christ unless drawn by God. The major difference is that Arminianism allows for man to freely reject God.
     
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  10. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    The problem is that kind of statement is pure silliness. Everyone is looking at the same Bible. If the Bible says that the things of God are foolishness to the natural man then a Calvinist has a right to say "Well, then a man must be enlightened, quickened, born again, or even regenerated - or else he can't think any differently about the things of God". Everybody's got verses.
     
  11. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    I agree with your whole post but just put that up for a reference point. I do think the core of the debate is about how our free will works. The more I read Arminius (Arminius himself, not what a modern Calvinist wrote about him), the more I think I may agree with him on some of this. But what confuses me is that I can find plenty of pamphlets, and sermons from Calvinist Puritan era writers that talk a lot of God withdrawing grace and warning us not to abuse any conviction or drawing we might feel. (In other words, in practice, it is resistible). And in addition, I have the quotes from Owen himself stating directly that the problem we have is directly due to our own free will. And I don't see where he says that God somehow gave us that will unless it would be in the sense that they did believe that indeed our natural state without the Holy Spirits help would constantly list towards depravity and evil.
     
  12. Silverhair

    Silverhair Well-Known Member

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    But that is not what leading calvinists say.
    “A man is not saved because he believes in Christ; he believes in Christ because he is saved”. [L. Boettner The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, Page 75]
    “A cardinal point of Reformed theology is the maxim: ‘Regeneration precedes faith.’ [R.C. Sproul Chosen By God, pp.72-73]

    Calvinist's want man saved before he can have faith in God.

    Grace can be exhibited in many ways but the bottom line in regard to a man's salvation is that he must freely choose to respond.

    I do not really like either calvinism or arminianism as they are just man's attempt to add their own view to what the Holy Spirit has said.
    I just try to understand the bible as we have it from God.
    As for Augustine and Pelagius, they both strayed from the truth of scripture and made errors so I do not follow either.

    Again I believe that God has given man a free will with which to evaluate the information that he has and will be judged by how he responds to said information.
     
  13. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I believe that the problem we have is our own free-will.


    At the same time I have always been taught that one can continue to grieve the Spirit in such a way the Spirit is withdrawn.

    I guess that wouldn't contradict our problem being our own will (the will of the flesh). But I have not searched out Scripture to see if that withdrawal of the Spirit is Biblical.
     
  14. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah. Here's Owen in his work on the Holy Spirit book 3 talking about when the illumination and conviction of the Spirit doesn't accomplish salvation in a person:
    "Where this end is not obtained it is always from the interposition of an act of willfulness and stubbornness in those enlightened and convicted. They do not sincerely improve what they have received, and faint not merely for want of strength to proceed, but, by a free act of their own wills, they refuse the grace which is further tendered unto them in the gospel. This will, and its actual resistance unto the work of the Spirit, God is pleased in some to take away. It is therefore of sovereign grace when and where it is removed. But the sin of men and their guilt is in it where it is continued; for no more is required hereunto but that it be voluntary. It is will, and not power, that gives rectitude and obliquity unto moral actions."
    That's from the positive aspect of the Holy Spirit overcoming our wills to save us. Here is the warning not to put off coming to Christ lest the offer be withdrawn. Again, Owen:
    "Christ has long awaited for you, and who knows how soon he may withdraw, never to look after you any more."

    Jon. You know more about the history of how they developed these confessions than I do, but I know that in their preaching these Puritan Calvinists were big on the importance of you making a decision for Christ if you feel any drawing or conviction. They all did this, and it didn't seem to bother them that they weren't supposed to do that if they were "Calvinists".

    I don't mind if people want to say this is not consistent with strict Calvinist theology, but these guys are real Calvinists in my book. I don't know what really happened historically, but maybe there is a divergence or a development in theology. You can only read so much. I know a lot about the Puritans, but am weak on Calvin, weak on Augustine, pretty good on Edwards and the later guys like Bonar, Spurgeon and so on.
     
  15. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    See. Like in the post above, I just think it's more complicated than you put it here. Now maybe Owen goes too far because he makes it become a sovereign action of the Holy Spirit on our wills. What happens then is that logically, since now it is totally a matter of God's sovereign action as to who gets saved it becomes possible to come up with the whole system of what is called Calvinism. Arminius went along most of the way but insisted that man could indeed resist to his own damnation. What confuses me is that it seems like Owen above is at least almost saying the same thing.
     
  16. Silverhair

    Silverhair Well-Known Member

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    Well since Arminius was a calvinist he would have common thoughts to a point.

    I do not place my trust in man to tell me what the bible says. I am not saying that they are not useful but when they stray from the bible then their usefulness ends.

    I have seen to many people on here and other boards place to much trust in what they say to the point of denying the clear bible text. I grew up trusting in scripture and that is where my hope lays.

    From Owen to Lennox, good to read and helpful for their insights but they are not the bible.
     
  17. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    That's true. It's funny that my favorite, and the one Puritan I would keep if I was only allowed one would be Richard Baxter. He is loved and respected by almost all the Reformed writers from Owen to Lloyd-Jones to Packer. But they all agree that his theology was a mess. Still, he had the best ministry, and the best practical writings of anyone. Theology isn't everything. It's nice that the video that started the thread says that towards the end.
     
  18. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    In my opinion, many of these stances have become reactionary.

    Some Calvinists reject things like "altar calls", calling people to choose Whom they will follow, and even evangelism as a reaction to abuses they have witnessed with free-will churches.

    Some who affirm free-will have rejected things like the necessity of the Spirit, the drawing of the Father, and even the omniscience of God in reaction to what they have witnessed in Calvinistic churches.

    Spurgeon rightly pointed out both the necessity for disagreement and debate (it refines doctrine if people genuinely listen to the opposing side) as well as the dangers of holding up one truth as appropriate for every context and extreme positions.


    But for the most part I believe those with what many here hold as "shallow theology" are in fact on stronger ground - a ground of faith rather than dogma.

    A Chriatian does not have to choose between divine sovereignty and free-will to accept Scripture for what it actually teaches.

    We really do not have to work this out. Too often working through these philosophical "problems" fails to make us a better Christian and in fact makes us worse for the effort, alienating ourselves from other children of God.


    When the Bible says God controls the future, believe it.

    When the Bible tells us to choose then choose.
     
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  19. Silverhair

    Silverhair Well-Known Member

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    Have not read any of Baxter, from what I have read of Lennox I do like him and Wiersbe. They are both, here's the bible believe it.

    Actually did not watch the video, have to go back and see what it says.:D
     
  20. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    Tune in right at the 12:00 minute mark. There is discussion of how Calvinists say God doesn't cause but determines everything we do. Here I think they make a mistake. Cause would be the same as "determines" but this is not the Calvinist position of Owen and the post Reformation Puritan Calvinists. I believe it is of some of the hyper-Cals and Primitive Baptists who post on here though. Regardless, the point I am making is, if you read carefully Owen's argument against Arminianism, his point is that our own natural free will is the cause of our depravity. You can say God is responsible if you want to say he knew we would be like that on our own and still allowed it - but to say God caused that goes further than those guys went. If anyone can point me to a reference from the Puritan era Calvinist writers where they claim that God directly causes our depraved nature rather than it results from being left alone I would appreciate the reference. This is not a challenge, but I am sincerely asking for help in this area.
     
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