John Frame on No Mere Permission

Calvinist John Frame explains that all things happen not by “mere permission”:

3) Does God Permit Sin?
Consider now the term permits. This is the preferred term in Arminian theology, in which it amounts to a denial that God causes sin. For the Arminian, God does not cause sin; he only permits it. Reformed theologians, however, have also used the term, referring to God’s relation to sin. The Reformed, however, insist contrary to the Arminians that God’s “permission” of sin is no less efficacious than his ordination of good. Calvin denies that there is any “mere permission” in God:

From this it is easy to conclude how foolish and frail is the support of divine justice afforded by the suggestion that evils come to be not by [God’s] will, but merely by his permission. Of course, so far as they are evils, which men perpetrate with their evil mind, as I shall show in greater detail shortly, I admit that they are not pleasing to God. But it is a quite frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely [= idly] permits them, when Scripture shows Him not only willing but the author of them.1

God’s “permission” is an efficacious permission. . . .


  1. Surely John Piper’s wins the grand prize for double-speak.
    It is his signature calling card.
    I think perhaps MacArthur wins second place.
    And Sproul trails in at third.

    Piper and MacArthur have such extensive reputations for double-speak, even Calvinists have heated conflicts in their opinions of them.

    But I think the latest movement in Calvinism is all about “Smooth” double-speak.
    The “smoother” the better.

    Ever since Calvin, who fathered the double-speak, Calvinists have gradually built up a library of self-contradicting talking-points – which they use to trick people.

    But Piper is exceptionally “Smooth” in his – in both written and oral speech.
    And I think that explains his popularity.

    Calvinism’s shell-game with this word follows the strategy of firstly qualifying it – as you see in Piper’s statement above. And then framing it in statements where there is no possible way the recipient is going to interpret it as anything but the STANDARD meaning – which the Calvinists will later say they didn’t mean.

    Using this strategy they can strongly infer Calvin’s god’s role in evil is to merely permit it by carefully framing sentences around it to strongly infer “mere” permission – and then cover themselves later by arguing that wasn’t what they meant.

    I think this might be what scripture calls a “private” interpretation of a word. Dr. Steven Hassan calls this practice “Insider” language..

    Yup Calvinists have the world champion title.
    For consistently winning the Genesis 3:1A prize. :-]


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