Aristides on God

From The Apology of Aristides:

I say, then, that God is not born, not made, an ever-abiding nature without beginning and without end, immortal, perfect, and incomprehensible. Now when I say that he is “perfect,” this means that there is not in him any defect, and he is not in need of anything but all things are in need of him. And when I say that he is “without beginning,” this means that everything which has beginning has also an end, and that which has an end may be brought to an end. He has no name, for everything which has a name is kindred to things created. Form he has none, nor yet any union of members; for whatsoever possesses these is kindred to things fashioned. He is neither male nor female. The heavens do not limit him, but the heavens and all things, visible and invisible, receive their bounds from him. Adversary he has none, for there exists not any stronger than he. Wrath and indignation he possesses not, for there is nothing which is able to stand against him. Ignorance and forgetfulness are not in his nature, for he is altogether wisdom and understanding; and in Him stands fast all that exists. He requires not sacrifice and libation, nor even one of things visible; He requires not aught from any, but all living creatures stand in need of him.

TGC on the NT use of the OT

The Gospel Coalition, a Calvinist site, writes about the New Testament use of the Old Testament:

1. Keep in mind the NT’s purpose in referencing the OT. We often think every time the OT is referenced it must mean the NT author is trying to exegete the OT passage. But there is no rule of inerrancy which says the NT author must always be attempting to give the correct interpretation of a given passage. The NT author may not be attempting an interpretation at all. If someone asks me, “How is the editing work going” and I say, “It’s tedious–line upon line, precept upon precept” this doesn’t mean I’m trying to exegete Isaiah 28:10. I’m simply employing the familiar language of a familiar passage.

2. Along these lines, remember the NT often uses the OT simply as a vehicle of expression. The NT writers were hugely familiar with the OT. It’s no wonder they employed its vocabulary. In the same way, Westerners might use a line from Shakespeare or the Bible because it is familiar, but without intending to explain its context or original meaning.

3. The NT may press home the significance of a passage without trying to explain its original meaning. For example, Moo points to Paul’s use of Deuteronomy 25:4 (“You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain”) in 1 Corinthians 9:9. Critics argue that Paul is taking the Law of Moses out of context by saying this passage is about paying ministers. But surely Paul is justified in pulling a fair inference out of the passage and applying it to his own context.

4. We must allow for a broader view of “fulfillment” language. A lot of trouble could be avoided if we understood that the use of plēroō (fulfilled) does not have to mean “and so this verse predicted that Jesus would do or say this thing that just happened.” As Moo says, “The word is used in the New Testament to indicate the broad redemptive-historical relationship of the new, climactic revelation of God in Christ to the preparatory, incomplete revelation to and through Israel” (191). In other words, “fulfilled” does not mean the OT text in question is a direct prophecy. Consequently, Jesus flight to Egypt can fulfill Hosea 11:1, not because Hosea ever intended to predict a Messianic trip down south, but because Jesus is God’s greater Son who is the embodiment of a new Israel. Jesus is on an Exodus journey of his own. Hosea did not predict the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt, nor does Matthew suggest the prophet meant to do so. But Matthew does see that the story of Israel’s exodus, alluded to in Hosea, is brought to its full redemptive-historical revelation in Christ.

5. Similarly, some OT passages are fulfilled typologically. This is different than allegory. And allegory looks for meaning behind the text where typology finds a developed meaning that is rooted in the text (see Moo 195). Jesus’ passion can be seen as a fulfillment of David’s heart cry in Psalm 22 not because David thought he was predicting the death of the Messiah, but because David, as the king and as the promised progenitor of the Messiah, was a type of Christ whose cries anticipated the final dereliction of David’s greater son.

6. OT prophecy is full of examples where there is a near and far fulfillment. Isaiah 40, for example, was a word of comfort about the return from Babylon, but later we see it also was a word about John the Baptist who would prepare the way for the Messiah (Mark 1:2-3). Much of the prophetic witness implicitly anticipates a future, fuller, often eschatological fulfillment. Isaiah may not have known that his words about the virgin were Messianic, but this does not mean he’d be surprised to know they were. Israel was always waiting for the everlasting kingdom and the final Deliverer. I think the prophets understood that what they foretold (and forth-told) was for their day, but it could be for the future as well.

Fisher on Exodus 32

Yahweh claims to be burning in intense anger (v10). Moses says God is burning in anger (v11). Moses implores God to “Turn from your burning anger and relent [repent] from this disaster against your people”. God then repents of the “disaster that he had spoken of bringing”. If Moses’ statement, in context, is to implore God to change His mind, then the narrator’s phrase is an affirmation that this is exactly what happened.

Fisher, Christopher. God is Open: Examining the Open Theism of the Biblical Authors (Kindle Locations 1837-1841). Kindle Edition.

Hilson on God’s Heartbreak

I think that it is clear from scripture that Gods heart breaks over some of the choices that we make. Time and again we read of God becoming frustrated over our actions, or regretting choices that He made because of how we ended up acting. We read about God regretting making Saul king of the Israelites in 1 Samuel: ‘“ I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the Lord all that night.’ 1 Samuel 15: 11 Firstly, notice that it is once again a relationship which has moved the heart of God. This passage is yet more confirmation of the relational nature of our God. Perhaps more relevant to our focus here is the fact that God, who according to those who would hold to the classical view, is utterly unchanging, with a perfect (and therefore unchangeable) plan for the universe which was laid out in exhaustive detail before the foundation of the earth – regretted a decision that He made. Think about that for a moment. Did God just say that He made a mistake? Well, technically no, but He did say that a choice He made created in Him a sense of regret. Did God choose the best person for the job of king? If you believe scripture, and the overwhelming evidence from the Bible that God is good and trustworthy and wise, then you would have to answer yes, based on how we understand the nature of God more than how we understand Saul.. But of course Saul was human, with that human trait of free will. They say that those of us with the most potential to get things right, have the greatest potential to really get things wrong. This may be what we see with Saul – great potential, but bad choices.

Thomas, Hilson. Open Theism: Understanding God, the Future and His Perfect Plan (Kindle Locations 410-425). Blair Grove. Kindle Edition.

Brueggemann on the disobedience of Assyria and Babylon

As in Isa 10: 6 with Assyria, Babylon did not stay within its mandate from Yahweh. Babylon failed to show the mercy required (cf. Jer 40: 9, 42: 11– 12). As a consequence, Babylon, a power willed to proximate power by Yahweh, forfeits power by overstepping Yahwistic restraint. The pivotal notion is mercy. Of course, no mention of showing mercy had been made to Babylon (as no mention had been made to Assyria in Isaiah 10). Indeed this invading people is initially summoned for “no mercy” (Jer 6: 23). But, according to Israel’s testimony, Nebuchadnezzar should have known. He was, after all, dealing with Yahweh and with Yahweh’s beloved people. Yahweh was angry (qṣph) to be sure, but anger is not Yahweh’s final intention. Nebuchadnezzar was not told; but he should have known. For not knowing, the “glory and grandeur” that was Babylon must end.

Brueggemann, Walter. Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy (p. 512). Fortress Press. Kindle Edition.

Textual Variants of Acts 15:18

ESV Act 15:18  known from of old.’ 
NKJ Act 15:18 “Known to God from eternity are all His works.

Via StepBible:

Acts 15:18
γνωστὰ ἀπ’ αἰῶνος] ‭א B C Ψ 33 36 81 307 323 453 610 630 1175 1505 1678 1739 1891 2344 2495 copsa copbo arm (geo γνωστὰ πάντα) (slav) Didascalia WH (NR CEI) (Riv) (TILC) Nv NM

ἅ ἐστιν γνωστὰ αὐτῷ ἀπ’ αἰῶνος] 945 pc (eth)

γνωστὰ ἀπ’ αἰῶνος τῷ κυρίῳ τὸ ἔργον αὐτοῦ] p74 A (D αἰῶνος ἐστιν) (itar) itc itd itdem itl (itp) itph itro itw vg (syrh(mg)) armms (Irenaeuslat) Jerome

γνωστὰ ἀπ’ αἰῶνος τῷ κυρίῳ πάντα τὰ ἔργα] 1409

γνωστὰ ἀπ’ αἰῶνος ἐστιν τῷ θεῷ πάντα τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ] E L P 049 056 0142 88 (104 ἀπὸ τοῦ) (181 1877 omit πάντα) 326 330 436 451 614 1241 2412 2492 Byz l156 l617 l1178 ite (itgig) (syrp) syrh (slavms) (Apostolic Constitutions) Chrysostom ς ND Dio
πάντα τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ] 2127

γνωστὰ ἐστιν κυρίῳ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ] 629*

γνωστὰ ἐστιν ἀπ’ αἰῶνος τῷ κυρίῳ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ] 629c

1 Samuel 2:30 commentary

Part of the ongoing Verse Quick Reference project.

1Sa 2:30 Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,’ but now the LORD declares: ‘Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.

The context of 1 Samuel 2:30 is about Eli’s worthless sons. They are evil, and God regrets giving His promises to Eli to have an eternal priesthood. Verse 30 is God revoking His eternal promise. Although God had promised Eli a house “forever”, He needs to recall that promise and replace it with a conditional promise. God had promised, “but now” God promises something else. The change of promises is explicit. The first promise is “far be it from” God. God is distancing Himself from His original promise in the most explicit of terms.

The fact that the new promise is a conditional promise suggests that the original promise was not conditional. If the original promise was conditional, then there would be no need to replace it with a conditional promise. The original promise could have just been fulfilled without change.

1 Samuel 30 is a clear incident of God experiencing a change that He did not expect. The text is clear and unambiguous. This unexpected change forces God to revoke an eternal promise, and replace that promise with something that can adapt to situations as they change. God is acknowledging that He does not know the future and will be able to adapt to a future He does not forsee.

Job 14:5 Commentary

Part of the ongoing Verse Quick Reference project.

Job 14:5 Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,

Job 14:5 is often used as a prooftext for the idea that God decides the length and extent of each individual’s life.

6. IT IS UNIVERSAL OR ALL-COMPREHENSIVE. The decree includes whatsoever comes to pass in the world, whether it be in the physical or in the moral realm, whether it be good or evil, Eph. 1: 11. It includes: … (e) the duration of man’s life, Job 14: 5; Ps. 39: 4…
Berkhof, Louis. Systematic Theology (p. 92). . Kindle Edition.

The verse, in context, is a quote by Job in the context of lamenting God’s misruling of the world. Job tells God to “look away” v6 because He is too harsh. The verse is better taken to mean that human kind does not live forever. God has set limits on how long man can live. And the point, in context, is that God should stop tormenting Job and let Job live out the remained of the lifespan determined for humans.

David Clines writes on Job 14:5:

5–6 The three cola of v 5 are best taken as the threefold reason for the demand of v 6. The initial [Hebrew omitted] is not the hypothetical “if” but “if, as is the case,” which means “since.” The emphasis in this triple description of the prescribed length of human life is not that it has been fixed at a particular span, nor that God himself has fixed it, but that God well knows how brief a span it is; this is so evidently the general reference that it is not expressly stated. Instead, what is stated is the impossibility of the assigned span being exceeded. The number of human days is “determined” [Hebrew omitted], the accent being on the irrevocability of the divine decree (Horst; cf. [Hebrew omitted] in Isa 10:22; Joel 4:14 [3:14]; Dan 9:26, 27; 11:36). Likewise the months of human life are “known” to God, lit., “with you” [Hebrew omitted], in your knowledge or memory; for such a meaning of [Hebrew omitted] “with” cf. Isa 59:12; Prov 2:1; Gen 40:14 (BDB, 86 § 3b). Days and months together add to a total which is humankind‘s “limit” ([Hebrew omitted] “prescribed thing”); the term is used in v 13 of a prescribed time, and elsewhere of the prescribed limit of the sea (26:10; 38:10; Jer 5:22; Prov 8:29), of the heavens (Ps 148:6) and of the land of Israel (Mic 7:11). To “pass over” [Hebrew omitted] a “prescribed limit” [Hebrew omitted] sounds like a legal expression meaning to “transgress a decree” (the exact phrase is not actually attested in the Hebrew Bible); some play may be made with the idea that any “overstepping” [Hebrew omitted] the divine prescription of one‘s fixed span of life would be like a “transgression” [Hebrew omitted] Job has twice urged God to “desist” [Hebrew] from him, to leave him alone (7:16; 10:20), so that he may have some relief in the days that remain for him. The thought is apparently a conventional form of lament; cf. Ps 39:14 [13] “Look away ([Hebrew omitted] , as here) from me, that I may be cheerful ([Hebrew omitted] , as in 9:27; 10:20), before I depart and be no more.” Here of course it is humankind, not Job personally, that is the ostensible object of God‘s unremitting attention, which Job experiences as hurtful and undesirable.

OK person on the internet, let’s talk about calvinism…


Calvinism. There’s a lot to address, so the expectation of brevity is not well founded. When you really examine things, especially false things with tons of ostensible historical support, there’s a lot of baggage, and it all needs to be torn through.

First, let’s lay some ground rules for this discussion to potentially be fruitful, and not an exercise in futility…

I will be describing calvinism, what calvinists believe, etc, often in this writing, and its important to understand the context in which I speak. I am not speaking for the calvinist. I am not saying that my claims about calvinism are the way a calvinist would describe their beliefs, or the logically inescapable implications of said beliefs. That is not what I am doing here. And no, me not doing that does *NOT* mean that I am only arguing against a straw man, or intellectually dishonestly misrepresenting what calvinists believe. I am critically examining calvinism, and pointing out things about it which ARE TRUE, but which calvinists do not believe, realize, deny in unrighteousness, etc. WORLDS of difference between that and a straw man. And that is how ALL refutation works. That is what calvinists do to other worldviews as well. I am not doing anything that they don’t do to others, to them. I will point out things about their beliefs which are unintended consequences and implications of things they do actually affirm. If you think I am misascribing an implication or consequence, etc, skip the accusations of dishonesty and fallacy, and instead address the underlying logic I am employing when I assert said implication or consequence. In other words, actually refute my claim.

The thing about calvinists and accusing people of straw manning calvinism, is that their standards for what constitutes a straw man are some very shifty goalposts. When a calvinist apologist is debating an atheist and points out logically inescapable yet unintended consequences of the atheistic worldview as the atheist themselves would enunciate it, calvinists are fine with that. When a calvinist wants to “refute” another theological perspective, they can do the same thing, and again, no calvinist will call that a straw man. But you point out the logically inescapable yet unintended consequences of calvinism as a calvinist would themselves enunciate it, and all of a sudden an internal critique is automatically a straw man.
This ties in directly to how most calvinists utterly misapprehend how presup works, they think neutrality being illusory and their confused understanding of epistemology means that they’re incapable of critically examining their own beliefs in earnest, and that’s not the case at all. This same issue also ties directly into how common a practice it is among calvinists to hold one singular facet of an opposed worldview up to the light of calvinism, and when it doesn’t match up, acting like that’s somehow tantamount to refuting that one facet of the opposed worldview that was taken out of context.
Based on these phenomenon which I consistently encounter when dealing with calvinists in critical discourse (virtually 100%, in fact I really might think it might be ACTUALLY 100%), I can only conclude that calvinists are religiously against earnest critical self examination.
If you read what I am about to say, and comment about it saying something like “I didn’t even need to read any further than this line har har har” we’re done. We have nothing to discuss. You’re not interested in a logical debate. Move along back to the kiddie table. We all have read the bible, we all know the scriptures at play in this discussion/topic. There’s no need for my argument to directly quote scripture ever, because its based on refuting the underlying logic and presuppositions that undergird calvinism, through which the scriptures in question are interpreted. I am not interested in a copy/paste verses competition. If I say “we know X from scripture” and you disagree, don’t come at me like I am dishonestly making my points about what scripture says and that’s why I am not directly quoting scripture (I do not deal with that entire vibe of people), skip the accusation, and instead just tell me what you disagree with, why, and allow me to respond. Don’t act like your interpretation being right, and mine being wrong, is a given, and run with it, or I will just ignore you. Believe me, I am willing, and VERY able to discuss the specifics of scripture, if you feel that there’s something I over looked, misunderstood, etc, bring it up. But don’t just ignore my points and start at the first step of the dialectic, if you ignore my points, I ignore you. I won’t be unequally yoked. If you stop reading part way, to take issue with something I address later on in this post, since you’re ignoring my points yet insist on asking questions about them, I will ignore your questions in return. Look for your answer here first, or don’t ask me. If you have read the whole thing, and don’t see that I have responded to an issue, even if I think I have, I won’t hold it against you. I understand you might not notice the part I am addressing that, or associate what I am saying with that issue, etc, that’s fine. All I am saying is READ THE WHOLE POST FIRST.
We all know the proof texts calvinists use to try and affirm their positions, we don’t need to read over those. We know what they say. Anyone participating in a discussion of calvinism better first familiarize yourselves with what calvinists believe, and their ostensible “proof” texts for such. This discussion will be assuming a certain minimum level of background knowledge on the topic, and won’t be making attempts at speaking at the level of the novice to this topic. The debate really is so much more about the presuppositions and epistemological background that goes into calvinistic interpretations of scripture that need to be addressed. Its much more a logic issue (and intellectual honesty/self deception issue, as bahnsen would put it), than a simple matter of copy/pasting verses back and forth at each other. Two people, who both hold to false views, can engage in this sort of sophistry all day.
Its pointless to debate the data, before getting on the same page about valid standards, methods, etc, for interpretation of the data, ruling out common misconceptions, and talk about what would and would not constitute a point or defeater for each side. Also refer to my previously stated rules at the beginning of this note for the rest of the ground rules I have set for interacting with me. Nothing even slightly weird to expect, although this is the internet, and sadly even among “christian” circles, most people either don’t know how to be civil and discuss IDEAS instead of people on a personal level, or think being matter of fact and blunt is the same as being over the top rude. Neither are the case, so don’t come at me like that. The reason I bother to set ground rules is because without doing so, 90% of my time in a debate is taken up dealing with people who don’t understand communication, basic logic, debate, textual criticism, etc. (also because people tend to give more credence to a disclaimer than a refutation of a thing they’ve already commited themselves to, so dealing with it when it comes up sometimes proves impossible). Terms like “heretic”, etc, will get you no where with me. I don’t appeal to men, nor history. You need to learn the actual meaning and scope of the word if you want to go around using it as a defeater for arguments.
Now that that’s out of the way, lets discuss some commonly accepted calvinistic theology that makes God into the author of sin, who is Ha’Shatan…
Calvinists say that we, for all intents and purposes, do not have free will. Some will add the apologetic to that, that we have free will, but only within the confines of our nature. And many non-calvinists would agree with that apologetic. But the point here is that calvinism teaches that libertarian free will (IE actual, non word game free will) is mutually exclusive with God being truely sovereign. Nature, as calvinists, and those who see the issue of freewill similarly, define it, would include aspects of your nature such as “to be sinful”, or “to not repent of your sins”, or “to rebel against God”, etc etc etc. Now my question is this: If our freewill is confined by our nature, and the choices made with our freewill determine our fate, then who so ever gave us our nature, determined our fates at that same moment, did they not? So how is the whole “nature” apologetic actually an apologetic to the issue being raised that their theology makes God into the author of sin, and an arbitrary tyrant who punished those who do what he forces them to do? Its mere can-kickery. Its just kicking the can back a step. Instead of God forcing us to sin and then punishing us for what he forces us to do, he forces us to have a nature that forces us to sin, and then punishes us for what the thing he bestowed on us forced us to do. Merely kicking the can of tyranny back a step is not addressing the issue at all. Either way we’re all on rails, being punished for that which we’re forced to do. Forced to do by the punisher. The god of calvinism desires for us to do that which he desires us not to do. For his pleasure, we violate his will. That sounds to me, not like the God of truth, but a sower of confusion.
Let me draw a little timeline to help illustrate my point…
1) God gives us/determines our nature before we’re born.
2) We sin, reject repentance, and reject God, as part of our God-given nature.
3) We die, and are resurrected for the judgement.
4) We’re judged according to the choices we made with our freewill, which are completely confined by our nature, which God assigned to us.
5) We’re punished, based on a fate which was 100% handed to us, and we had 0% chance of effecting or changing in any substantive way that changes our ultimate fate.
This timeline does not describe the God of the bible, what it describes is the author of evil, and also an unloving tyrant. Not by my own standards, I am not holding the false god of calvinism to my standards and judging him, he is being judged by The One True God’s standards as we find them in the bible. If our nature confines our actions, and we’re immutably assigned our nature, we’re being punished for the nature being foisted upon us. There is no moral agency there. There is no earning of a punishment. There is precisely zero personal responsibility in that equation. There’s only a puppet master getting mad that his marrionettes moved the way he made them move with his strings. A prideful, arrogant, wrathful child. Not fitting of the psychological profile of The Most High YHWH Father Elohim, but instead fitting of the psychological profile of Ha’Shatan.
Calvinism seems to think that if you don’t believe that God is directly responsible for everything that ever occurs, then your religion is man-centered and you’ve turned God into something other than sovereign over all. When in actuality, what brings more glory to God? That his will be done on earth as it is in heaven EVEN THOUGH many oppose his will, that, even though people oppose him, and he’s given free will to us, still his plans inescapably come to fruition, or that everything to ever exist is merely the playing out of the preprogrammed movements of his robots on rails? What makes God more sovereign? That he has power enough to relinquish sovereignty where he sees fit through giving people free will, etc, or the arbitrary and unscriptural limitations you’ve placed on his power which state he cannot give people true free will?
Let’s be clear, at its core, calvinism is deterministic in nature. There’s no two ways around that. Its confused and twisted conception of sovereignty will not allow for anything else. Calvinists really need to get through their heads that only through YHWH’s sovereignty do we have the free will to go against his will. Our ability to sin is a testament to YHWH’s sovereignty, since he deemed us able to sin, if we chose to disobey him, because it was HIS WILL that it be that way. To say us having true, robust free will, is mutually exclusive with God’s true sovereignty, is for the calvinist to be the one impugning his sovereignty. The calvinists are the ones setting arbitrary limits upon him and what he can and cannot do. And no, its not a logical contradiction either, its not a “creating a rock too heavy to lift” nonsensical thing. Free will and God’s sovereignty simply are not logically at odds in the slightest, and no matter how embarassed that fact makes calvinists in light of their worldview, that fact remains unscathed. Calvinists can rail against it all they like. If not for his will being so, we would not have the ability to choose to disobey him. And only through the ability to choose to disobey YHWH does our obedience to him become meaningful. Also, only through our ability to choose to obey YHWH, does our punishment become just, and something we have earned for ourselves with our own agency. Its impossible to construct a framework within which people have agency sufficient to be deserving of punishment for things that they do not have the sufficient agency to actually do, or not do, as the case may be. That is a glaring example of how calvinists try to have their cake and eat it too.
If we do what we do because he made us do what we do, that is not giving glory to God. That is making him a puppet master. Its not impressive for people to praise you because those people are puppets on your strings, and you’re moving the strings in a manner that makes them praise you. Likewise, if all things are his will that happen, you make YHWH the author of sin. You make him violate his own standards. That makes him not holy in your sight. We know right and wrong based on their relationship/reflection in the eternal, unchanging character and nature of God. We get our conceptions of personal responsibility, choice, and justice, from SCRIPTURE. Again, not judging God with my personal standards, judging the false god of calvinism by the standards of SCRIPTURE, by GOD’S standards. So if we know that holding someone responsible for something we forced them to do is wrong, we know it because that’s a reflection of God’s eternal and unchanging character on the matter. If God’s will is eternally holy and unchanging, but he also wills people to violate his will, you are creating a god after your own image, namely one who’s mind is riddled with cognitive dissonance. But that is not The God of The Bible, it is the false god of calvinism. It is a disguise that Ha’Shatan wears.
There’s so much confusion involved in how so many of calvinists think their sins and life interact with “the cross”, “so no need to work more toward a better me” this is predicated on the concept that its either all God, or all us, a false dichotomy of all or nothing thinking. These sorts of confusions are the fruit of calvinism, or “calfeatism” as some have dubbed it.
A gift is given without being earned, but is either accepted or refused by the receiver. its not at ALL in the LEAST against the COMPLETE sovereignty of God to say that we can refuse salvation. In his SOVEREIGNTY, he has given us that free will. And whats funny too is that calvinists will laud their own “holiness”, when living a lifestyle completely lacking in holiness. Even teaching against holiness openly. Holiness is WHOLE. Not HOLE. You cant be lawless and holy. Sorry, that’s not a compatible combination. If you were made holy, where’s the fruit of said holiness? Where is the calvinist demonstrating their holiness? There’s so much churchianity doctrine that’s totally not in the bible in these people’s beliefs, they really dont deserve to be associated with the bible, so much as organized churchianity. Its frustrating to no end how they’re non-stop saying quotes from theologians, false teachers, etc, and acting like they’re quoting something at all authoritative. They will proceed to quote a theologian, and act like his words are just as authoritative, or “debate ending” as an explicit statement from scripture. But only if its the theologians they like, that have the doctrine they agree with. They pick their favorite theologians based around affirming their preconceived notions and then turn to that same theologian as a “proof” of a belief that they only liked the theologian because he agreed with them on that matter in the first place (an obfuscation tactic for their egregious question begging).
Your calvinistic “god” is Satan. The “god” of calvinism is the author of sin. The god of calvinism even supposedly chose to MAKE satan the father of lies, and MAKE him cause humanity’s fall into sin, because he desired those things in and unto themselves for his pleasure. Yes specifically in and unto themselves. Yes specifically because them happening pleased him. Yep, you believe that things happening which are against God’s will, are pleasing to God. Your god is a confused psychopath. By the standards of discernment we find in scripture, not my own fleshly, “reprobate” standards, mind you.
A gift is not earned, but can be accepted, or refused. It takes two to tango, but God leads. Its not “man-centered” to say “when God gave me the gift of salvation, I accepted that gift”. Acceptance of a gift does not mean you gave it to yourself (IE you’re not saving yourself by accepting it, this is more calvinistic confusion, despite what they will falsely assert to the contrary). The possibility for refusal does not undermine sovereignty, since, AGAIN, only through God’s sovereignty do we have the free will to refuse the gift. Calvinism makes YHWH into the author of evil, and an arbitrary tyrant who is anything but just. (to be clear: “just” by the objective standards in scripture, I cannot be accused of exalting my own morals above God’s, I’m actually pointing out a CONTRADICTION between the concept of justice we find in scripture, and the “justice” of the god of calvinism) Many have tried, but all have failed, to refute the defeaters for calvinism. Yes all of them think they succeeded…yet all of them failed. Which is of course, very telling on many levels. My favorite calvinist, Greg Bahnsen, wrote extensively on self deception, I highly suggest giving it a read to any calvinist.
The only thing Greg Bahnsen consistently disappoints me on when I listen to his debates, is when the problem of evil is brought up. The same goes for every calvinist practitioner of the transcendental argument/presuppositional apologetics out there, without free will as part of his worldview, he has no adequate response for the issue. He only has HALF a response, he can impugn the basis by which the atheist/unbeliever morally takes issue with it from within the framework of their own atheistic worldview, but just like we presuppositionalists hold our opponent’s worldviews to the fire of their own standards in search of self contradiction, so too must we hold our own worldview to the fire of our own standards for the same purpose. Its not enough to say “by what basis do you morally take issue with it?” showing that their worldview is not driving the point home is only half the battle, because you also have to show how your own worldview, which is the actual target, does not allow for the point to be driven home. It may very well be that the morality the atheist/unbeliever is normally appealing to is false, and he later realizes that, and also realizes that the morality of the bible is valid, and so by those standards could raise the same issue (not that their opponent would need to do this to bring up the fact that the calvinist response to the problem of evil is deeply flawed). Then the calvinist is left with no response, except their classic folly of accusing the person of judging God by his own personal standards, which is almost never the case when they make this fallacious, and frankly, somewhat duplicitous, accusation. But its certainly not the case when someone realizes that the calvinistic conception of god is at odds with the scriptural conception thereof.
As a man, John Calvin was an avid follower of Ha’Shatan, although he may not have known it. But a deductive syllogism can be constructed to illustrate this claim:
P1) all murders are satanic ritual human sacrifices
P2) all false teachings are ultimately influenced by Ha’Shatan
P3) Calvin taught false teachings (which make God into a villain), and ordered people’s extra-scriptural execution who opposed his theology (IE he had them murdered)
C1) John Calvin was a satanist
For those who still want to deny that calvinism makes God into the author of sin, here you have it… “God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of posterity; but also at his own pleasure arranged it. For as it belongs to his wisdom to foreknow all future events, so it belongs to his power to rule and govern them by his hand.” John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (III.xxiii.7) So really, John Calvin is admitting here that he teaches luciferianism.
There is an interesting parallel between the serpent seed doctrine, and calvinism. If, hypothetically, the serpent seed doctrine were true, and I could be guaranteed damnation for who my earliest ancestor is, then I would be a glad and willful enemy of that god, the same as I would the god of calvinism (again, even though I know calvinists are intellectually dishonest enough to completely internally acknowledge this disclaimer but then ignore and make the exact accusation being disclaimed, I will disclaim it anyway: NOT BY MY OWN FLESHLY STANDARDS, BUT THE STANDARDS OF GOD AS WE LEARN THEM IN SCRIPTURE. THOSE ARE THE STANDARDS I AM JUDGING BY. ITS BY THOSE OBJECTIVE AND TRUE STANDARDS THAT I PROCLAIM THAT I WOULD OPPOSE THE gOD OF SERPENT SEEDERS OR CALVINISTS). “The Most High” cannot be “The Most High” if he blames his puppets for moving with the strings, in the very ways he tugs said strings. That is a blasphemy to ascribe to a loving and merciful sovereign, all powerful, all knowing, Father God, and exactly what Satan would want you to think is true about a God he is trying to blaspheme and defame any way he can. But you see, calvinists don’t really believe in an all knowing God or an all powerful God, if they did they would believe in a God with middle knowledge, and a God who’s capable of bestowing robust free will if he so desires.
God deciding the outcome of everything is not compatible with true free will, or him not being a tyrant who punishes people for things that he forced them to do or be. EITHER we have free will, *OR* God determines the outcome of every little tiddle (not a false dichotomy, an actual one). Understanding the difference between God KNOWING the outcome and planning based on that, and CAUSING every little outcome, is the key to avoiding SO MANY doctrinal traps. God KNOWS, and sets HIS pieces in motion according to the outcomes of our freewill, which he KNOWS the choices of, not CAUSES the choices of. PLEASE STOP WORSHIPING SATAN SERPENT SEEDERS AND CALVINISTS. Calvinism is reprobate. TULIP is reprobate. John Calvin is reprobate. 5 point theology is reprobate.
I find calvinists to be some of the most close minded of those caught up in false doctrine. They tend to refuse to even consider the hypothetical possibility that they’re mistaken about anything doctrinal. Which means they shirk the advice of scripture to study to find yourself approved. You have to question what you believe, if you do not, you’re being intellectually dishonest with yourself. Many calvinist false teachers teach their flock that questioning your doctrine, is tantamount to willingly giving up your faith. This is a satanic lie. You need to be studying to find yourself approved before The Most High.
Its so annoying when you point out to a calvinist they worship a god that is the author of sin, a being that desires evil to take place, forces people to commit evil and then gets mad about it after, and having his own will conflict with his own will, a being that could only be Ha’Shatan, the author of confusion. And they will say stuff like “god does not force anyone to sin, we all have free will within our nature, its just that everyone’s nature is sinful, and we can only sin by our nature” and then you point out “ok, so who gave us that nature of inevitable sin? did god? ok, so that STILL makes him the author of evil.” and they still don’t get it. If god WANTS you to have a nature that only allows for you to sin, then GOD WANTS YOU TO SIN. God is not retarded. He knows if he gives you a nature that only allows for sin, he is forcing you to sin by consequence. This is a simple application of the distributive property of language. God does NOT desire us to have a nature that makes sin inevitable. We DO INDEED have that nature, based on our flesh, but that is not what god WANTS for us. God allows things to occur which he does not want to occur, we know that explicitly from scripture, and its in no way what so ever mutually exclusive with God’s TRUE sovereignty. Calvinists CONSTANTLY confuse something happening because God allows it, and something happening because God WILLS it. God does not will everything he allows to pass. And in no way what so ever, not even one slight iota, does this impugn or denigrate his sovereignty. BY HIS SOVEREIGNTY HE DECLARED THIS TO BE THE WAY IT IS. BY HIS SOVEREIGNTY HE GAVE US *TRUE* FREE WILL, AND ONLY THROUGH HIS SOVEREIGNTY DO WE CONTINUE, FROM EACH MOMENT TO THE NEXT, STILL IN POSSESSION OF OUR FREE WILL. And no, salvation being a dance that God leads, that you need to be responsive to (simply an analogy, take issue with it at your own pedantic peril), is NOT saving one’s self, not even close. Again, you’re exercising your free will by responding appropriately, and you only have your free will by the sovereignty of The Father, so when you exercise your free will, it is a testament to God’s sovereignty. And what you’re responding to was offered to you based on mercy and grace, not on you earning it. And still in this scenario I am describing, there is ZERO salvation without God. Yes, absolutely, you can reject salvation. No, accepting it does not make the salvific act yours. When you receive a gift you don’t deserve, and you accept it, does that then make you the gift giver? NOPE. But that is EXACTLY what calvinists are saying, when they claim that belief in the ability to refuse salvation means we’re our own saviors. They’re saying if you have the option to turn down a gift, that makes you the gift giver. THAT IS LUDICROUS, BUT IT IS ALSO NOT A STRAW MAN OF THEIR POSITION DESPITE THEM SAYING IT IS. Its just that they refuse to accept unintentional, yet logically inescapable, implications of their doctrine. They do not perform the due diligence needed for critical self examination when it comes to calvinistic doctrine, instead they’re inculcated with the belief that studying pro-calvinism theologians is tantamount to critically examining it. Just because what I am saying they do is an elucidating perspective on their beliefs that they themselves would never word the way I am from their own confused perspective, does NOT in any way mean that they don’t believe that, or that I am misrepresenting what calvinists in fact DO BELIEVE. If you do not understand the you can believe Y and think you believe X, you do not understand one lick of scripture or self deception. Not ONE LICK.
It is the calvinist’s game to misrepresent the anti-calvinist position, with unintended consequences and logically inescapable implications laid bare, as being misrepresentative of what calvinists teach. They employ the classic fallacy so many calvinists employ, equivocating what people say are the logically inescapable implications of calvinist theology, with what those critics say calvinists represent their own beliefs to be. This is the same fallacy we see atheists employ on a regular basis. “you’re not allowed to level any criticism against my views that I don’t already agree with, me being someone who already doesn’t see that criticism as valid (begging the question in the extreme), or you’re “misrepresenting” atheism”. That’s the same tactic calvinists constantly try to pull. But its not flying here.
Of course calvinists do not hold themselves to the same standards they hold critics of calvinism to. They will CONSISTENTLY make characterizations of other people’s views based not on how the proponent of that view would put it, but based instead of what the calvinist (sometimes incorrectly) sees to be the logically inescapable implications of the view that the proponent of the view doesn’t see or won’t admit to. But when people do that to calvinism, the go to calvinist response is to accuse the critic of being intellectually dishonest and arguing against a straw man. Even though the calvinist knows that the claim is not that calvinists explicitly teach X, and consciously espouse X, but that the claim is that calvinists, without realizing it, teach X even though they would very much like to see themselves as ideologically opposed to X, and that without realizing it, they’re espousing X EVEN THOUGH on a conscious level they want to oppose it. Its called an unintended consequence. It doesn’t matter if you like it, or want it to be true, it only matters if it is actually true. To parse out its truth, you certainly never resort to accusing someone of intellectual dishonesty for claiming the issue sticks, that’s begging the question about the issue they’re trying to raise. So the calvinist needs to debate how its true or not, using logic. Accusations and pathos are irrelevant.
If I give you a list of a million different sins you can commit, and you literally cannot commit any action what so ever that’s not on the list, and then you commit an action on the list of the only action’s you may POSSIBLY commit, and then I punish you for sinning, is that justice? I limited you to that action. Does the fact that I gave you a million different options on how to sin take away from the fact that I am only giving you the option to sin? If the only aspect of those million different options that matters is whether or not they’re a sin, and all million are a sin, how is that list any different than a ONE ITEM LIST THAT JUST HAS THE WORD “SIN” WRITTEN ON IT? Did you choose to sin, or did you make a choice among the only available options, which were all sins, that I forced upon you? If I punish you for sinning, am I not punishing you for what I chose to force upon you?
Its funny, calvinists constantly accuse anyone who delves deep enough into the fundamental logic of their beliefs to see that they worship satan, as themselves being satanists, or reprobate, or influenced by demons, or whatever dismissive pejorative with a paper thin veneer of piety they have handy. Here is the reason why: they PREsuppose the god of calvinism is the god of the bible. They take calvinism as presuppositional. Not the bible, not God’s existence, specifically calvinism. Whenever you point out anything that paints the god of CALVINISM as satan, they are incapable of not seeing that as you painting THE GOD OF THE BIBLE as satan, even though the whole point of what you’re saying, is that the god of calvinism is not the God of the bible. They have the same epistemic blinders on that neo-atheists do. They cannot even entertain a hypothetical thought exercise where they’re wrong, to examine other views within their own context, and instead keep shoehorning one item at a time from the opposing view, into the context of their OWN view, and then when it does not match up, acting like that refutes the opposing view. This is the sign of someone who’s not an earnest truth seeker going where ever the evidence takes them, but instead just trying to twist the evidence to confirm their preconceived notions. Its certainly a sign of someone who has not grasped epistemology or logic to such a degree that they should be parsing topics with overlap to calvinistic beliefs with authority opposed against other views they don’t even comprehend in the least.
The trick of calvinism is to make you think unless you see God from a calvinist perspective, you don’t truly love him, aren’t truly obedient to him, refuse to accept his sovereignty, etc, and every single calvinist has fallen for it, including John Calvin (presumably, unless he was a willful deciever, that’s a possibility too).
If calvinism is true, is God evil? (by his own standards, not mine, to reiterate that point for the 10th time)
If it is, yes he is (again, NOT by my own personal, or fleshly desired, but by the values of God as we learn them in scripture. You see, I am using presuppositional apologetics to internally examine the worldview of calvinism for INTERNAL contradiction). The issue is not one which can be addressed by appealing to calvinists claims, in context of how they see them, with only the logically inescapable consequences of their position, which they actually concede, being mentioned or considered admissible. The issue is that, despite what calvinists confusedly think about their doctrine, the logically inescapable implications of it are that God is the author of sin, and the being who wills sin to occur (which is of course nonsensical, because sin by its nature is something which is against God’s will). Calvinists constantly confuse things which God wills to happen, with things God allows to happen even though its against his will (something he does as a SOVEREIGN ACT, he decides, as sovereign over all, to ALLOW IT, if he weren’t sovereign, he wouldn’t be ABLE to “allow” it, it wouldn’t be up to him to “allow”).
Sadly, calvinists are very intellectually lost on matters of sovereignty. FULL, robust free will is in no way what so ever mutually exclusive or incompatible with FULL, robust sovereignty of God, because to reiterate, only through his sovereignty do we have free will to begin with, and only through his sovereignty do we continue to at every moment. People doing things against God’s will is not impugning God’s sovereignty, we have the option to shirk his will BECAUSE OF his sovereignty. Him not being able to bestow true choice to his creations would be placing arbitrary limitations upon God, and taking away from his glory, power, and sovereignty. Omnipotence is the ability to do all that power can do. If you’re saying that earthly rulers can relinquish a portion of their sovereignty to someone else, but God cannot, then you’re definitely limiting God bigtime. Its not glorious to have everything happen exactly as you plan it, because you micro manage every iota of existence and force it to happen. Its glorious when every being in the universe can rail against your plans, and yet still they go off without a hitch. And no, the question does not inherently put God to the test, it holds God to his own standards. Or do you not think self contradiction is the bedrock of refutation? The argument does not actually seek to establish that God is evil if calvinism is true, the argument seeks to refute calvinism by demonstrating the TRUTH that its logically inescapable implication is that god is evil, BY HIS OWN STANDARDS, which is itself an impossibility, and so therefore, calvinism must be false. Can God will something to occur, which is against his will? No. That is nonsensical. That is mysticism, paganism, mumbo jumbo new ager theosophy nonsense. That is not the God of truth, who says let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no. But that IS what calvinism teaches.
Calvinism says that God does not force people to sin, and that we do have free will, its just that our free will is limited by our nature, and our nature is sinful. But God gave us our nature, so then he still made us sin. Our nature determines our eternal fate, of heaven or hell, according to calvinism. Some will be given a new nature, and rewarded for God forcing them to be righteous. Some will keep the initial sinful nature God gave them, and will be punished for God forcing them to be unrighteous. Both are not based on the choices the person made, but instead are based on an arbitrary decision (arbitrariness as opposed to having standards, such as our choices). No calling that decision arbitrary is not judging God by my own personal, fallen fleshly desires. Its judging the false god of calvinism by the standards of justice of The True God of the bible. This is not to say that man can save himself by works, not at all, works do not warrant salvation, they are the fruit of salvation. But repentance is something which is catalyzed by God, and responded to by the receiver of the holy spirit, which is NOT irresistible, as I have previously discussed.
God can allow beings to do things which he prefers they not do, and have his plans come to fruition DESPITE, but not because of, said disobedience and sin. Because of how glorious a God he is.
The god of calvinism:
Willed the fall.
Willed mankind’s inherently sinful state.
Desires some to not be saved (I am not unfamiliar with calvinist’s claims of different types of grace etc etc, so that he sorta kinda desires them to be saved but not enough for it to happen, blah blah, its just all nonsense.)
Says its useless to repent, because your fate is sealed no matter what you do. Yet tells people to repent anyway. Since he is the one that 100% makes the repentance occur, with no part of it being the sinner, he’s talking to himself, every time God tells someone in the bible to “repent!” or in fact every time he tells anyone to do anything, he’s merely talking to himself, telling himself to tug that particular puppet’s strings in a way that causes them to do those things. He calls people to repent, knowing they cannot. He exhorts them to use a free will he did not give them.
Punishes beings with eternal torment, for things he forced them to do
Saying God is allowing satan to do something, and saying that God is making satan do everything he does, are two separate and distinct claims. One is compatible with the biblical concept of justice, one is not. When God gives a being, Satan, mankind, or whoever, free will, he does not lose his sovereignty, for it is only through his sovereignty that they have said free will. Free will is dependent upon God’s sovereignty, not mutually exclusive with it, as many would confusedly say.
Calvinism confuses a great many matters. It turns God into the author of sin, it confuses the difference between God’s plans coming to fruition DESPITE sin, with God’s plans coming to fruition, THROUGH sin. Which, besides making him the author of evil and the one who caused the fall, makes him less glorious, because plans which can withstand attack are more amazing than plans which would fall apart if any little thing did not go directly according to them. Free will is not mutually exclusive with God’s sovereignty, it is a testament to it. Only through God’s divine decree do we have free will, and it only continues because he allows it to continue. In no way what so ever does full free will impugn God’s sovereignty at all. No being he has given free will to has the power to use their will to over turn God’s will. If it sounds like I am repeatedly reiterating myself, that’s not by accident, and not for nothing. When someone has heard LIES AND FALLACIES repeated ad nauseum, it takes a little repetition to break through the barriers those lies being heard repeated have erected between your mind, and the truth.
Which is more glorious? A God who’s will be done no matter what, despite the free will of countless numbers of other beings being opposed to it, or a god who’s plan only comes to fruition because every little droplet throughout all of existence and history has been micromanaged by him to do so, like puppets at the end of strings? I was a calvinist for years before I started to see through the deception. Once you truly study it (and unless you’re earnestly exploring the possibility of it being a false teaching, you’re not truly studying it), you realize its actually based on gnosticism, luciferianism, etc. Not scripture. Its part of the great apostasy. I pray you do not get pulled further into that snake pit, although for all I know you’ve already hit rock bottom in it. Calvinism is pretty low in that pit.
Election is not mutually exclusive with my position in the least. The bible does not teach a mutual exclusivity between the two, only calvinist theologians do. So if you think there’s a mutual exclusivity there, its clear who your chief teacher is (and we can’t serve two masters). God exists outside of time, and can know what we will freely choose, and elect accordingly. Calvinists misunderstand election, its not arbitrary, and neither is God (saying that he’s not arbitrary is also not at all at odds with scriptures talking about the potter making vessels of clay for different purposes). Saying he is, is not glorifying him. (yes I know you would not say he’s arbitrary in his election, I am saying those are the logically inescapable implications of your doctrine that you’re blind to)
Its funny though because most of the time, what I get from calvinists in response to my position on their beliefs is something along the lines of: “he’s wrong because if he were right, this other doctrine we also believe would be wrong” (and the “other doctrine” either actually is wrong as well, or it is not actually incompatible with my position/dependent upon calvinism the way they think it is)
According to Calvinism, God created a universe full of evil and sin, because doing other wise would have brought God less joy. A world full of sin, maximizes the god of calvinism’s joy. Let that sink in. Who does that sound like?
(On a side note: People need to see Romans 13, and related scriptures, in the same light as they see Satan being the ruler of the world. Just because God allows something, does not mean he approves of it or wills it to take place. Make sure you take the calvinism out of your interpretation of romans 13 (and if you’re doing it there, make sure you go ahead and take the calvinism out of your everything else too lol). Then there’s the issue of what “authorities” are being referred to. Are they state authorities? “That brings us back to Romans 13. We can easily resolve our dilemma by looking at the original Greek. The word mentioned above — the one that signifies “government” — never once appears in this chapter. Rather, the “authorities” are social ones, such as parents, tutors (i.e., private teachers), owners of property, etc etc. IE the authorities that are actually explictly laid out and affirmed in scripture. Without the political government that the Bible proscribes, such “authorities” are essential for maintaining peace and order — and we as Christians are to respect them. For example, when I enter your home or business, I should honor your wishes while there; I may not trespass, and I certainly lack all authority for ordering you to swap your incandescent bulbs for CFLs or compelling you to buy a permit before you add another room.)
Calvinists always act like the basis for demonstrating that someone does not understand predestination, foreknowledge, etc, is that they do not accept the calvinist view of these things, IN A DEBATE ABOUT CALVINISM. Begging the question in the extreme. When it comes to criticism of calvinism, calvinists tend to think the debate is about “how calvinists would phrase their own teachings”, that’s not what the debate is about. It doesn’t matter how calvinists characterize what they teach or believe, if it can be logically, and with scripture, shown to be that they think they believe one thing, but don’t realize they really believe another. Intent is irrelevant. Positions, truth claims, etc, all have logically inescapable implications, and those implications are ANYTHING BUT bound by the intent of the person holding said beliefs in question, unless the scope of the implication in question is intrinsically related to the intent of the person, which is not very often at all.

Calvinists “defend” calvinist doctrine through a series of kafkatraps, where denial of calvinism, automatically indicates one or more bad things about you, that render your criticism intrinsically “dishonest” and “dismiss-able without consideration”, and further “proves” calvinism as “true”. Again, those dishonest tactics won’t fly here. They get swatted down with big huge logical fly swatters. No emperor’s new clothes type arguments allowed in a rational, *EARNEST* discussion. Thanks.

Lastly, I would like to address the linguistic contortionists who try to act like inventing a term that embraces a contradiction somehow alleviates the view in question from resolving said internal contradiction. You can’t just arbitrarily invent theological terms to “deal with” any issue someone raises about internal inconsistencies in your position. “Owning it” does nothing to resolve a logical problem with your position. That’s all inventing a term for it is, its just “owning it”, its still a contradiction. When calvinists try to arbitrarily assert different aspects of God’s will, that can come into REAL conflict with each other in the REAL ACTUALIZED WORLD, they’re showing that their PRIME presupposition is calvinism, and they’re shoehorning the bible to fit. Passive or active decrees or foreordinations, ascribing an arbitrary chronological order to God’s decrees (Supralapsarianism and infralapsarianism), based around giving calvinism the disguise of scriptural basis, etc. These things are the UNSCRIPTURAL FOUNDATION for the satanic teachings of calvinism. They’re not even a LOGICAL foundation. They’re utterly arbitrary, counter-intuitive, and absolutely outside the scope of all human knowledge and experience, hence quantifying an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary proof, of which the calvinists simply do not have. And quite frankly, the calvinist predilection to play word games about criticism of calvinism being “man centered”, is VERY DISHONEST. THEY KNOW ON A CERTAIN LEVEL OF CONSCIOUSNESS THAT THEY’RE PLAYING DISHONEST WORD GAMES WHEN THEY DO THIS. I say “GOD gave man free will to choose, GOD gave man free will to choose, GOD gave man free will to choose”, and you say that I said “MAN has free will to choose to save himself, MAN has free will to choose to save himself, MAN has free will to choose to save himself.” I think your own reprobate mind is clouding the issue for you, because you’re artificially and dishonestly inserting the false emphasis, when the real emphasis is on God, and you KNOW that’s where it is, and FREELY CHOOSE to misrepresent it (I say misrepresent, because there’s zero logical basis for saying that one is the sequitur of the other, so you can’t be saying that its the unintended logical consequence of the anti-calvinism position, since you’ve yet to demonstrate that you even understand what that position even is in its own context)

So these many issues point, of course, to the logically inescapable implication of the calvinist doctrinal position being that god is the author of evil, and logical contradiction, he wills people to sin, sin being something which is against his will. He then punishes them, when he made them adhere to sin, and have no choice otherwise. The “god” of calvinism is Ha’Shatan. Period.

Worship Sunday – Give Me A Song

There’s not a prayer I’ve prayed You haven’t heard
Not a tear I’ve shed that You didn’t feel

You’re the God who comes to raise the dead
I know You’ll raise me up again
I know You’ll raise me up again

Who can praise You from the grave
I died I see the life You gave
Just to see the life You gave

And every fear in me You’ve put to rest
It’s the song I bring of Your faithfulness
And every tear has left my fear to stand
Where the ocean meets the land
Where the ocean meets the land

Sink or swim I’m divin’ in where the river starts rushin’
Where my hearts start beating
For the rhythms of the testing and the songs of the trials
I will live to cry out to You, sung with hope inside my eyes

Sink or swim I’m diving in
To the passing of Your heart where love starts

I lift my hands if my hands fail me
I’ll bend my knees if my knees grow weak
I’ll raise my voice and I’ll sing I’ll sing, I know that You love me

I’ll lift my hands if my hands fail me
I’ll bend my knees if my knees grow weak
I’ll raise my voice and I’ll sing I’ll sing, I know that You love me

So give me a song to sing, give me a song to sing,
Give me a song to sing and I will sing it
So give me a song to sing, give me a song to sing,
Give me a song to sing and I will sing it to You God
I will sing it to You God, I will sing it

Give me a song to sing, Give me a song to sing,
Give me a song to sing and I will sing it
Give me a song to sing, Give me a song to sing,
Give me a song to sing and I will sing it to You God
I will sing it to You God, I will sing it to You…

1 John 3:20 Commentary

Part of the ongoing Verse Quick Reference project.

1Jn 3:20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things

Calvinist Wayne Grudem writes:

3. Knowledge (Omniscience). God’s knowledge may be defined as follows: God fully knows himself and all things actual and possible in one simple and eternal act.

Elihu says that God is the one “who is perfect in knowledge” (Job 37:16), and John says that God “knows everything” (1 John 3:20). The quality of knowing everything is called omniscience, and because God knows everything, he is said to be omniscient (that is, “all-knowing”).

Wayne Grudem equates John’s phrase “knows everything” with the attribute of knowing all things in “one simple and eternal act”. Basically, this is saying that God’s knowledge is identical to His being, and not composed of parts or distinction.

But the same author who writes that God “knows everything” writes that man “knows everything” in the previous chapter. This is the same phrase:

1Jn 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.

Instead of taking 1 John 3:20 as “one simple and eternal act” of knowledge, the context is about God knowing people’s hearts. People cannot hide the inner secrets of their hearts from God. There is no reason to think this is a statement about being an “eternal, simple act”. That is highly speculative, and not warranted by the text.

Granted, perhaps John is saying “God knows what you are thinking because God is not lacking any knowledge about anything”. This is a possibility, but there is no reason to arbitrarily extend this “omniscience” to future events. John is not saying “God has known from eternity past what you are going to think”. John is saying “guard yourself, do what is right and put your heart into the right attitude. Because if you do not, and if your heart condemns you, God will know”. The entire context is warding against possible future outcomes. John wants to affect actual change in the life of his hearers. To John, the future was not set.

Goldingay on Prophecy and Daniel 11

From Word Biblical Commentary on Daniel:

Dan 11:40–45 The “him” again presupposes that “the northern king” is the same person as that in vv 21–39. There is no hint of a transition to Antichrist or Antiochus V (Fischer, Seleukiden, 155) or Pompey and his associates (Gurney), while the phrase ―at the time of the end‖ (contrast v 35) seems to preclude our taking the verses as a résumé of Antiochus‘s career as a whole. Porphyry assumed that the quasi-predictive historical account of Antiochus‘s career continues in these verses. But vv 40–45 cannot be correlated with actual events as vv 21–39 can; further, in vv 40–45 the utilization of scriptural phraseology becomes more systematic than was the case earlier (see Form). These facts suggest that v 40 marks the transition from quasi-prediction based on historical facts to actual prediction based on Scripture and on the pattern of earlier events; this continues into 12:1–3. These predictions, then, are not to be read as if they were mere anticipatory announcements of fixed future events; like the promises and warnings of the prophets, they paint an imaginative scenario of the kind of issue that must come from present events. The fact that their portrayal does not correspond to actual events in the 160s B.C. compares with the fact that the Christ event does not correspond to other OT prophecies of future redemption (e.g., Isa 9:1–6 [2–7]). It is not the nature of biblical prophecy to give a literal account of events before they take place.

Ezekiel 28:3 Commentary

Part of the ongoing Verse Quick Reference project.

Eze 28:3 (Behold, you are wiser than Daniel! There is no secret that can be hidden from you!

Ezekiel 28:3 is a verse which is written from the perspective of God. He is lavishing praise on the Prince of Tyre. Although the text might be sarcastic, the later praises given to the parallel “guardian cherub” suggests that no sarcasms is intended. The tone of the chapter is “oh how the mighty fall”.

God tells the prince “no secret can be hidden from you”. The language matches various statements made about Yahweh (e.g. Dan 2:22, Psa 44:21). The phrase is hyperbolic. The meaning is not that that the Prince of Tyre knows everything (omniscience), but that he is very smart and capable. This is reinforced by the surrounding verses.

If this verse were to be about Yahweh, no doubt it would make its way into sermons of God’s omniscience.

Ecclesiastes 1:14 Commentary

Part of the ongoing Verse Quick Reference project.

Ecc 1:14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

In Ecclesiastes the writer states that he has “seen all the works that are done under the sun”. The statement is hyperbole. The claim is that he has had enough life experience to made broad generalizations. The absolute language he uses emphasizes his point as he follows this with absolute proclamations on how the world works. “All is vain” is his conclusion. There is nothing worth anything.

While the language is absolute, the reader can understand the material points. Similar statements are made about God throughout the Bible (e.g. Psa 14:2). Those engaged in Classical Theology tend to take one set of texts as Omniscience prooftexts, but the others as limited by context. Showing the double standards and the special pleading for their own prooftexts.

Monergism Resources on Repentance

Full links found on the Monergism website on Repentance:

Historical Contingencies and Biblical Predictions
PDF by Dr Richard Pratt

Scriptural Verses Listed by Topic on Open Theism
Web Page by Matthew J Slick

Does God Change His Mind?
Web Page by Dr. John Frame

God’s “Repentance” and Prayer
Web Page by John G Reisinger

Divine Repentance: A Word Study
PDF by Timothy Prussic

Does God Have Regret?
Web Page by Kevin DeYoung

Divine Repentance
Web Page by Steve Hays

The Unchanging God
Web Page by Paul Mizzi

PDF by Robert B Chisholm

Does God Repent of Things He Has Done?
Web Page by Pastor Bob Burridge

The Repentance of God (Ex. 32:14)
Web Page by Shane Lems

Biblical “Contradictions” – Does God Repent?
Web Page by unknown

Does God Ever Change His Mind?
Web Page by Sam Storms

Does God change his mind?
Web Page by John Blanchard

God Does Not Repent Like a Man
Web Page by John Piper

Does God ‘Change His Mind?’
PDF by Robert B Chisholm

Divine Repentance
Web Page by R C Sproul

Does God Change His Mind? Divine Repentance
Web Page by R C Sproul

Does God Change His Mind?
Web Page by R C Sproul

Does God ever change His mind?
Web Page by John Samson

Does God Change His Mind?
Web Page by Rev Joseph R Nally

The Repentance of God
Web Page by John Piper

On the Dialogue Between God and Satan

From David Cline’s The False Naivety in the Prologue to Job:

What is not naive about these dialogues? At the assembly of the sons of God, where they come presumably to report on their activities, it seems only natural that the sovereign should initiate the conversation. But it is also subtly meaningful that he should be the first to speak: it means not only just that he begins the dialogue but that his question has a role-establishing function, showing that in the case of Job it is indeed God (and not the Satan) who takes the significant initiatives. It is God (and not the Satan) who is the chief architect of Job’s downfall.6 The Satan’s reply, ‘From going to and fro on the earth’, is not evasive, but shaped in such a way as to throw the initiative in the conversation back upon Yahweh. The Satan has nothing to report, nothing to advise, nothing to propound; he has simply been abroad on earth with his eyes open, amassing a fund of observations that his sovereign can use as he wills. Any move in the dialogue—or in the action—is up to Yahweh.

Apologetics Thursday – Allowing and Determining

A truncated thread from Facebook:

Peter: …To allow IS to determine.

Chris Fisher: I allow my children to fight by not tying them up with ropes and leaving them in a closet all day. But that doesn’t mean I am determining it.

Peter: Chris Fisher if you allowed them to fight and one of them hurt the other, would you be responsible?

Chris Fisher: Absolutely not. I have no positive requirement to act. Not-acting is the default. That would be like saying you are responsible for people starving in Africa because you don’t dedicate all your non-subsistence income to Africa.

Nathan: No Chris Fisher, take it even further, the logic of Peter would be that not only is he responsible for people starving in Africa, but he’s determining their starvation by not acting.

Chris Fisher: Peter, decreeing and determining people to starve to death in Africa. That’s not nice of you, Peter, to determine such a thing.

Thomas Jay Oords Uncontrolling Love Tour

From Oord’s Facebook:

September 24, Uncontrolling Love – Nampa, Idaho
Real Life Community Church hosts an Uncontrolling Love book launch event. I’ll be speaking and interviewing Cathy Beals, Cameron McCown, Angela Monroe, and Adam Watkins. Event starts at 10am, and the location is at 120 14th Ave South, Nampa, ID.
October 7-8, Uncontrolling Love – Junction City, Kansas
Dyton Owen and the Junction City First United Methodist church host this Uncontrolling Love book launch event. I’ll speak Saturday night,Oct. 7, at 7pm, and I’ll interview other book contributors. Then I’ll preach Sunday morning, Oct. 8 and speak again at 3pm Sunday afternoon.
October 13-14, Uncontrolling Love – Nashville, Tennessee
On Friday, Oct. 13, 1pm-5pm, I’ll be speaking along with Graden Kirksey and Alexis Waggoner at the Woodmont Christian Church (Drowata Hall, 3601 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville). Friday evening, I’ll be speaking at the Parnassus book store in Nashville. On Saturday, Oct. 14, 8:30am-2:30pm I’ll be speaking along with others at Andrew Price United Methodist Church (2846 Lebanon Pike, Nashville). Speakers include Rick Quinn, Alexis Waggoner, Graden Kirksey, Jeff Skinner, Donna Ward, Gloria Coffin, Lisa Michaels and me.
October 15, Creation and Uncontrolling Love – Huntsville, AL
Keith Noren, Weatherly Heights Baptist Church, and the Discovery Center is hosting me for two lectures on Sunday, Oct. 15. The afternoon lecture is a 2pm, and I’ll be speaking on the Uncontrolling Love of God. The evening lecture is at 6pm, and I’ll offer a new doctrine of original creation to replace creation from nothing. The Lectures will be at Weatherly Heights Baptist Church www.weatherly.org, 1309 Cannstatt Drive, Huntsville, AL. 35803.
October 29, Uncontrolling Love – Boise, ID
Dana Hicks, Joe Bankard, and the BSU Wesley House host me for a lecture and discussion of ideas in The Uncontrolling Love of God. 7pm, Boise State University.
November 3-4, Uncontrolling Love – Portland, Oregon
Bo Sanders hosts this Uncontrolling Love book launch November 3-5. More details on times and locations.
November 12, Uncontrolling Love – Boston, Massachusetts
Abby Henrich and Jon Paul Sydnor host this Uncontrolling Love book launch event at Grace Community Boston. I’ll be speaking Sunday morning, and I’ll interview Uncontrolling Love contributors on Sunday evening. Locations and times forthcoming.
December 1-3, Uncontrolling Love – Cleveland, Ohio
Craig Drurey, Bryan Overbaugh, and Joshua Reichard host these Uncontrolling Love events. I’ll give a lecture on Friday, Dec. 1, 7pm at Ashland Theological Seminary. My lecture title: “Why God Can’t Prevent Torture, Miscarriages, and Hurricanes: A New Model of Divine Providence.” We are working on a book launch even at Zion United Church of Christ, 2716 West 14th Street, Cleveland on December 2. I’ll speak Sunday morning, 10am at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Cleveland Heights. My title is “Tragedy and God’s Love in Light of Uncontrolling Love.”

January 20-21, Uncontrolling Love – Placentia, CA
I’m leading an Uncontrolling Love book launch event at the United Methodist Church in Placentia, CA (2050 Valencia Ave). The event starts at 7pm on Saturday, Jan. 20, and I’ll be speaking and interviewing contributors to Uncontrolling Love. I’m preaching the next morning, Jan. 21, at the same location.
March 8, Uncontrolling Love – Leeds, England
Simon Hall hosts this evening event at Cafe Theologique in Leeds.

The Earliest Description of Timelessness

From Parmenides, the earliest source in the concept of timelessness:

. . . One path only
is left for us to speak of, namely, that It is. In this path are very many tokens
that what is is uncreated and indestructible;
for it is complete,[9] immovable, and without end.
Nor was it ever, nor will it be; for now it is, all at once,
a continuous one. For what kind of origin for it wilt thou look for?
In what way and from what source could it have drawn its increase? I shall not let thee say nor think
that it came from what is not; for it can neither be thought nor uttered
that anything is not. And, if it came from nothing, what need
could have made it arise later rather than sooner?
Therefore must it either be altogether or be not at all.
Nor will the force of truth suffer aught to arise
besides itself from that which is not. Wherefore,
justice doth not loose her fetters and let anything come into being or pass away,
but holds it fast. Our judgment thereon depends on this:
“Is it or is it not?” Surely it is adjudged, as it needs must be,
that we are to set aside the one way as unthinkable and nameless (for it is no true way),
and that the other path is real and true.
How, then, can what is be going to be in the future? Or how could it come into being?
If it came into being, it is not; nor is it if it is going to be in the future.
Thus is becoming extinguished and passing away not to be heard of.
Nor is it divisible, since it is all alike,
and there is no more[10] of it in one place than in another, to hinder it from holding together,
nor less of it, but everything is full of what is.
Wherefore it is wholly continuous; for what is, is in contact with what is.
Moreover, it is immovable in the bonds of mighty chains,
without beginning and without end; since coming into being and passing away
have been driven afar, and true belief has cast them away.
It is the same, and it rests in the self-same place, abiding in itself.
And thus it remaineth constant in its place; for hard necessity
keeps it in the bonds of the limit that holds it fast on every side.
Wherefore it is not permitted to what is to be infinite;
for it is in need of nothing; while, if it were infinite, it would stand in need of everything.[11]
The thing that can be thought and that for the sake of which the thought exists is the same;[12]
for you cannot find thought without something that is, as to which it is uttered.[13]
And there is not, and never shall be,
anything besides what is, since fate has chained it
so as to be whole and immovable. Wherefore all these things are but names
which mortals have given, believing them to be true—
coming into being and passing away, being and not being,
change of place and alteration of bright colour.
Since, then, it has a furthest limit, it is complete
on every side, like the mass of a rounded sphere,
equally poised from the centre in every direction; for it cannot be greater
or smaller in one place than in another.
For there is no nothing that could keep it from reaching
out equally, nor can aught that is be
more here and less there than what is, since it is all inviolable.
For the point from which it is equal in every direction tends equally to the limits

Psalms 55:19 Commentary

Part of the ongoing Verse Quick Reference project.

Psa 55:19  God will give ear and humble them, he who is enthroned from of old, Selah because they do not change and do not fear God.

The phrasing of Psalms 55:19 mirrors that of Malachi 3:6: “For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.”. The “not changing” is linked to a resulting action. In Malachi, because God does not change then Israel is not destroyed. In Psalms 55, because the wicked do not change then they do not fear God.

Psalms 55 is a call of King David for justice. He calls on God to act and to save him. Like many of these Psalms, the chapter then leads into a proposed punishment of the wicked. Because the wicked have attacked David for so long, without changing, they will be punished.

The verse is not about complete metaphysical immutability of man. It is using normal language to describe man’s unwillingness to repent. Similar language is used about men who remain faithful in Psalms 15:4. The “not changing” is limited to a character statement, and not to be understood outside that scope.

Worship Sunday – Broken Things

If grace was a kingdom
I stopped at the gate
Thinking I don’t deserve to pass through after all the mistakes I’ve made
Oh but I heard a whisper
As Heaven bent down
Said, “Child, don’t you know that the first will be last and the last get a crown”

Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it’s true You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I am all Yours

The pages of history they tell me it’s true
That it’s never the perfect; it’s always the ones with the scars that You use
It’s the rebels and the prodigals; it’s the humble and the weak
All the misfit heroes You chose
Tell me there’s hope for sinners like me

Grace is a kingdom
With gates open wide
There’s seat at the table just waiting for you
So, come on inside

Worship Sunday – Radiate

Made a future out of my past
You meet me right where I am
It’s all part of Your plan

Shines brighter
Shines brighter

No matter what comes my way
I’ll live my life
Radiate Your light
Now and always
I’ll let my lips be only for Your name
No darkness gonna stand in my way
If my way is Your way then You’ll make me

Lord, let my story be a glimpse of Your glory

Shines brighter
Shines brighter

No matter what comes my way
I’ll live my life
Radiate Your light
Now and always
I’ll let my lips be only for Your name
No darkness gonna stand in my way
If my way is Your way then You’ll make me

Shines brighter

No matter what comes my way
I’ll live my life
Radiate Your light
Now and always
I’ll let my lips be only for Your name
No darkness gonna stand in my way
If my way is Your way then You’ll make me

Shines brighter

Soskice on the Name of God

‘I Am Who I Am’ became, in the Greek of the Septuagint, ego eimi ho on, and in the Latin of the Vulgate, ego sum qui sum. The metaphysical resonance of this sacred name, so translated, was irresistible both to early Christians and to Hellenistic Jews such as Philo of Alexandria, to whom I shall return. The name given to Moses seemed an ideal meeting place of scriptural revelation and Greek metaphysics, and came to be seen as implying an identification of God with Being. From here it is a short step to saying that only God is being itself (which is not at all the same thing as saying that God is <the greatest being'), that only God is eternal, that all creatures are dependent on God, that even space and time are creatures – all adjunct theses of creatio ex nihilo.4

It should be pointed out that these metaphysical readings are not dictated by the Hebrew of the Book of Exodus. Quite the opposite. The gloss which we translate 'I Am Who I Am', or ego sum qui sum, is better rendered as something like 'I am with you and will be with you'. Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig were particularly exercised, at the beginning of the twentieth century, by the distortions which entered when this Hebrew name of promise – a promise to be with the people on their journey in the wilderness – was made into a proposition of metaphysics. One of their targets on this score was Moses Mendelssohn; another was Maimonides. Consideration of their dispute over the Name and its gloss can open up some matters at stake in the theology of creatio ex nihilo.

Janet M. Soskice “Creation and the God of Abraham”, [Chapter 2] Cambridge University Press, New York , © Cambridge University Press 2010

Kurtk Johnson Simplifies Open Theism

From Open Theism Simplified:

First off, as the name suggests, “Open Theism” is for “theists” …those who believe in a God. Secondly, “Open” describes possibilities. Put them together and you have possibilities (Open) and a God (Theism), therefore, “Open Theism.”

Ok, let’s go a little deeper into what is meant by “Open.” Possibilities are about what might and might not come to pass. If God is all-knowing, then it must also be the fact that God knows all of the future. Open Theists agree that God is all-knowing and that God knows all of the future, and like others, they think that some of that future is possibilities, but what sets Open Theism apart is the belief that God knows possibilities as possibilities. So, Open Theism then denies that God faces a future of only settled facts about what will or will not be, and insists that God knows the future as partly settled (or ‘closed’) and partly unsettled (or ‘open’). Only God knows all that is ‘closed’ or ‘open’ about the future.

NT Wright on Paul’s use of “flesh”

NT Wright on Paul’s use of “flesh”:

But what do “fleshly”…mean? ….[“Flesh”] is so problematic that it would be nice (as I have tried to do with some other technical language) to avoid it altogether, but I have found that doing so produces even worse tangles. Better to learn, once and for all, that when Paul uses the word “flesh” and other similar words he does not intend us simply to think of the “physical” world, in our normal sense, as opposed to the “non-physical.” He has other language for that. The word we translate, here and elsewhere, as “flesh” refers to people or things who share the corruptibility and mortality of the world, and, often enough and certainly here, the rebellion of the world. “Flesh” is a negative term. For Paul as a Jew the created order, the physical world, was good in itself. Only its wrong use, and its corruption and defacing, are bad. “Flesh” highlights that wrong use, that corruption and decay.

Reposted from New Leaven. pp. 140-41, Romans 1-8, Paul for Everyone.

Oord Responds to Sanders

Open Theist Thomas Oord responds to Open Theist John Sander’s criticisms of his book “The Uncontrolling Love of God”. An excerpt:

In The Uncontrolling Love of God, I devote an entire chapter to John Sanders’s influential book, The God Who Risks. I mention many things on which we agree. But I criticize his view of a few key issues. I argue that Sanders does not regard love as the logically preeminent attribute of God’s nature. Instead, he believes divine power precedes divine love. His statements about God creating are especially illustrative of the priority in God of controlling power over persuasive love.

Placing sovereignty logically prior to love, as Sanders does, should prompt us to wonder why God doesn’t occasionally control creatures to prevent genuine evils. The God Sanders describes could control others or situations if this God wanted to do so. So we rightly wonder why the God capable of control does not, in the name of love, prevent genuine evil. Sanders admits his view cannot solve the problem of evil. He doesn’t address much the problem of randomness.

Worship Sunday – Little Drummer Boy

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

New Podcast on Paul

Open Theist Kurt Williams has started a podcast on the apostle Paul. See the webpage at Paulcast . From the website:

In The Paulcast, Kurt Willems looks at issues pertaining to relevant scholarship, (radical) new perspectives on Paul, Jewish and Roman contexts for understanding his letters, important Pauline scholars and books, and Paul’s ongoing relevance for regular folks today. In addition, Kurt will occasionally interview important voices from a variety of perspectives who will help us wrestle with the major questions that come out of the study of the historical Paul.

[rss feed]

Act 15:18 Commentary

Act 15:18 “Known to God from eternity are all His works.

Adam Clarke comments on this verse:

“The whole of this verse is very dubious: the principal part of it is omitted by the most ancient MSS… Supposing the whole to be genuine, critics have labored to find out the sense… They therefore would translate the passage thus: All the works of God are ever dear unto him. And, if so, consequently we might naturally expect him to be merciful to the Gentiles, as well as to the Jews; and the evidence now afforded of the conversion of the Gentiles is an additional proof that all God’s works are equally dear to him.”

The ESV translates the same verse:

Acts 15:17 …says the Lord, who makes these things
Act 15:18 known from of old.’

The ESV is perhaps the more natural contextual meaning. In the context, James is explaining to a hostile audience why Gentiles do not have to circumcise. This passage is about affirming Paul’s message to the Gentiles. Amos is quoted as precedence (v16-17) for this contentious development. James’ argument is that God has been planning this development for some time, as evidenced in Amos. The text can only dubiously be extended to this as affirmation that even God’s minor actions as been planned from long ago, and even more dubiously extended to mean that God has absolute omniscience over the future. The verse, after all, is about God’s own plans for His own actions.

Sanders on Weak and Strong Immutability

This quote comes from John Sanders (in Facebook group a while ago):

Let me attempt to clarify some points. First, words such as predestination, election, and salvation have more than one meaning. So when students ask me if I affirm predestination and I reply “yes” they are typically shocked. I then inform them I reject what they likely mean by the term—theological determinism. However, there are different understandings of the term though I may not want to use it due to how it is typically understood. In the OOG we distinguished between strong and weak understandings of immutability and claimed that the divine nature does not change but that God does have changing mental states (e.g strategies and emotions). At that time I don’t recall anyone distinguishing between different forms of impassibility. We took the term to have only one meaning, what has come to be known as strong impassibility—God is never affected by creatures in any respect. As the dialogue ensued we were asked whether God is ever overwhelmed by emotions as humans are apt to be such that God becomes incapacitated to act. We denied that this was the case. The distinction between strong and weak versions of impassibility arose in the literature and in discussions with Hasker, Rice, and Pinnock I decided to use both strong and weak immutability and strong and weak impassibility in the revised edition of GWR to distinguish between Classical Theism and Traditional Freewill Thesim (I placed Open Theism as a version of Freewill Theism). Our position had not changed from what we wrote in OOG. We simply became more precise about what we affirmed and rejected. We rejected strong impassibility and still do. This move was similar to the discussion about the “openness” of the future. People asked if we were saying that every aspect of the future was open and so we said no, some of the future may be closed. Getting more precise on these matters was acting responsibly. One is welcome to disagree with us about the meaning of the terms or the distinctions and suggest a more helpful way of understanding the issue. What I reject is the claim that “After much brow-beating, Sanders is now conceding qualified impassibility” My use of weak impassibility was in conference papers around 2002 and in GWR by 2006 so it had nothing to do with Tom Belt’s reasoning. I’m not in agreement with Belt on this issue by the way. But the point is that my motivation for making this distinction long preceded any conversations on Facebook. If weak impassibility as I defined it in GWR is inconsistent with open theism then I suppose that would mean I was an open theist until 2002 (as were Pinnock, Hasker and Rice). However, since my view has not changed, only become more clearly defined, I feel confident in asserting that I affirm open theism.

Facebook Sanders Immutability

Shownotes – Arthur Haglund on Matt Slick

From the shownotes from podcast Ep134 – Arthur Haglund on John 6 and Matt Slick. A list of tool moves done by Matt Slick against Haglund:

1. He escalates a fight when you ask him to what verse he is turning.
2. He embeds his presuppositions in his questions and phrases them that if you reject Matt Slick you reject Jesus: “Do you agree with Jesus that Calvinism is true?” type questions. He gets mad when you don’t answer “yes” or “no”.
3. He asks questions that assume you gave entirely different answers to the very previous question than you actually did.
4. He refuses to understand your beliefs and his questions show that he is not even tracking with your answers.
5. He is condescending and tries to portray himself with the moral high ground.
6. He has double standards for how questions can be answered or how points can be made.
7. He tries to stop you from making a parallel to show how reasonable people can understand the same verse in a valid way.

Hicks on Arminius and Open Theism

John Mark Hicks, “Was Arminius an Open Theist? Meticulous Providence in the Theology of Jacob Arminius,” quoted via William Birch:

I suggest that we no longer use the language of “meticulous providence” as an equivalent for “theological determinism” (what open theists think is the Reformed understanding of sovereignty). Originally the phrase “meticulous providence” identified a view of providence that denies pointless or gratuitous evils. This does not entail determinism or any understanding of eternal decrees, as in Reformed scholasticism. …

Arminius affirmed with Reformed theology a “meticulous providence” where God has sovereignty over evil such that no evil act is autonomous and uncircumscribed by God’s intent for good. God is sovereign in such a way that God concurs with the act itself and its effect has specific meaning and significance. This is a critical difference between classic Arminianism and open theism. Whereas Arminius asserted an understanding of concurrence that entails meticulous providence, open theism does not.

This difference is no minor one since it reaches to the very core of why open theism, at least pastorally, arose as an alternative to Reformed theology and more traditional Arminianism. When classic Arminianism affirms “meticulous providence” (in the sense defined herein), this constitutes a radical disagreement with open theism. In terms of “meticulous providence,” Reformed theology and classic Arminianism stand together. …