Conversations with the Damned

By on Feb 24, 2014

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Over the next few weeks, I’ll be responding, directly and indirectly, to some questions and thoughts surrounding the book. In the next couple of posts, I’ll address the (insinuated criticism) that I rejected Calvinism because I didn’t really understand it. I think I rejected Calvinism because I did understand it and I think more young evangelicals would reject it if they did too. I’ll trace this out more in later posts, but here’s a good starting point.

Conversations with the Damned

The decree is dreadful, I confess.” –Calvin, Institutes 3.3.7, 955

My journey out of Calvinism started when I heard whimpering in the basement.

 

I loved the theological home Calvinism had given me. Smooth, clean lines. Lots of history and detailed architecture. Everything has a place. It put me in my place and God in his place—at the center of the universe. I pictured myself at the great eschatological banquet, enjoying the party and gorging on the food!

 

But there it was again. A noise coming from the basement.

 

It was where we Calvinist kept the damned. Following many esteemed teachers, I had told myself they were there because they deserved it and God ordained it for his glory (more on this in later posts). Many people can leave it there, but I’ve always been curious, so even as a good Calvinist, I would peek inside and talk with them.

 

What I found down there was one hell of a problem, and while it didn’t instantly make me walk away from Calvinism (I’d say Calvinism was my home for around 5 years), it certainly made me lose my appetite for it. I went to Calvin for help and discovered I wasn’t crazy—he himself said God’s ordination of the reprobate to hell was “dreadful.”

 

To this day, I completely understand why people opt for Calvinism. I just don’t understand how it doesn’t make them a bit nauseous, at least from time to time.

 

It’s Dreadful

So following Calvin and my own time as a Calvinist, I’d suggest this: if you nuance and euphemism-to-death the doctrine of reprobation to the point that you don’t stand back from it and with Calvin say, “It’s dreadful, it’s terrible”, then you don’t understand it, you don’t get it, you haven’t been honest about it.

 

In my opinion (and speaking from my own journey and feedback I’ve received on the book), many of the young evangelicals who have signed off on Calvinism have not read the fine print of the reprobate, they haven’t conversed with the damned—they’re too busy enjoying the glory party. They have not faced what awaits them in the basement of their Calvinist home. Their teachers have not been upfront with them. They have not reached the place where they step back and say, “It’s terrible.”

 

I don’t like telling people what they can and can’t believe, but I’d suggest that if you want to be a faithful, honest, consistent Calvinist, you need to have a thorough conversation with the damned. You need to reach the place where you look at reprobation and say, “It’s terrible.” Before you rejoice in God’s electing mercy towards you, stand before the damned and lose your appetite, if only for a second.

 

If you can’t do that, then I stand with Calvin:

You don’t understand Calvinism.

 

  • http://laydogmatics.blogspot.com/ Juan Carlos Torres

    5 pt Calvinism is terrible indeed.
    Glad I’m a Calvinist via Karl Barth and T.F.Torrance;)

    • Austin Fischer

      Haha! If I were to become a Calvinist, Barth is my kind of guy!

    • RJS

      Tillich is my homeboy!

  • Erik Merksamer

    I can understand your idea here, but I don’t see how it applies exclusively to Calvinism. I mean, no matter where we find our theological tribe, we all evade the godly sorrow and burden for unbelievers. Maybe Calvinists can explain it away more succinctly. But, even while I do not conclude predestination or election to mean the same thing, I just as callously try to ignore those ‘noises from the basement”. I can recall those moments when I heard the Father calling me home, and I wonder why others either don’t hear Him, or somehow still keep running from Him. It truly is a mystery. My point is, we all need to be awakened to it, and live in the confusion regardless of how uncomfortable it is to us.

    • Austin Fischer

      I certainly think we all need to converse with the damned and mourn. But I think you missed the bigger point: the damned in the Calvinist basement are saying something very damning about God. I think the damned in other theological basements are saying something very sad, but it’s not damning of God…at least not remotely in the same sense.

  • Chris Bodnovits

    To me, 1 John 4:7-17 alone makes it impossible for me to agree with Calvinism.

    The message I get is thais: The characteristic God highlights about Himself most is love. If we are truly in Him, we will also love, and that love will look like Jesus.

    If His glory (somehow mutually exclusive of His love) was the purpose of our existence, and by extension predestination, wouldn’t there be mention of our mark as believers being our worship of Him, or our humility, or our focus on His glory? Time and time again God says to check the love we have towards others because it alone indicates how conformed to His image we are. It’s what He looks like, and it’s what we look like when we start to look like Him.

    I think He might be trying to tell us something.

    :)

  • Dave Anfenson

    Austin, you brilliantly articulated the theological architecture of Calvinism throughout your book. People may disagree with your opting out of Calvinism, but I’m not sure how anyone could say you didn’t understand it.
    With that said, in my early years of being a Calvinist (which I no longer am), I knew that once people understood what I was teaching, conversion to TULIP was inevitable. Perhaps this is the stage many of your critics are in. It’s simply beyond their comprehension that someone could genuinely reject Calvinism if they truly understood it in the first place. I can’t help but hear my college self asking, “How can you reject and stray from certainty?!”

    • Austin Fischer

      Thanks Dave. And well said. I think some of the critiques have revealed a 6th point of Calvinism: perseverance of the Calvinism of a Calvinist who “really understands it” :)

      • Gregory S. Gill

        Why can’t God create people to damned them to Hell, and still be the just God to such, and loving to His elect ones only? Everyone that God will throw into Hell God will be just to them. The most consistent Calvinist are such people as Vincent Cheung at http://www.vincentcheung.com/ and Thomas W. Juodaitis at http://trinityfoundation.org/ . Do you know them?
        I’m a full and consistent Calvinist.

        • Austin Fischer

          I think you could argue that God is, perhaps, selectively loving to the elect. But, in my opinion, that’s the equivalent of saying God sometimes loves some people. And yet the Bible says God IS love…not that he loves some people sometimes. I don’t think that a God who creates people in order to damn them can be called a loving God.

          • Gregory S. Gill

            +Austin Fischer…You made a statement without proving it. Why saying that God love the elect only is to say “God sometimes loves some people”, rather than God love some people all the time, eternally? God loves His elect from eternity to eternity, and not sometimes. So if God eternally loves His elect only why can’t it be said in reference to His elect only that God is the loving God. Where in the bible does it tells us that God has to love everybody without any exception whatsoever for Him to be the loving God? What does God creating people to damn them to Hell has to do with saying in reference to His elect only that God is the loving God? God is the loving God but that is in reference to His elect only whom He love with an eternal, and unconditional love, while He eternally, and unconditionally hates the reprobates. Dr. Robert Morey, has spelled this point out in the above video.

          • Austin Fischer

            You can say that with reference to the elect, God is loving. But if you try to say God IS love (1 Jn. 4:8,16), then I’m afraid you’re going to have a difficult time reconciling that with a God who creates people in order to damn them. You sound like the child of a serial killer, claiming your dad is good and loving because he’s good and loving to you. No…your dad isn’t a good or loving person (in any intelligible sense of the terms). He just loves you. Big difference.

            So if you’re fine saying, “the God of Calvinism is loving to the elect and brutally hateful towards the reprobate (whose damnation he ordained)”, I think that’s fine and honest. Just don’t say “God is love” or “God is good” without adding the qualification…”as it pertains to his dealings with the elect.” :)

          • Gregory S. Gill

            You said, “But if you try to say God IS love (1 Jn. 4:8,16), then I’m afraid you’re going to have a difficult time reconciling that with a God who creates people in order to damn them”, why is it difficult to reconcile? Saying it is easy, demonstrating it is another thing all together. The child and the serial killer analogy is a fallacy in category. The killer is under God’s rule and God has determined the killer is evil, and unloving to those he killed, yet he still loving to his child if he treat his child with love. God’s rules determine who the killer is. But tell me what rule is God under that determines that God is not good or a loving person if He creates some people to damned them to Hell. What law would He have broken. The killer by God’s rule owed it to God, and secondly to the people to not murder them. Who did God owe it to not create some people for hell?

            God can kill anyone, anytime He wants to, Deuteronomy 32:39, 1 Samuel 2:6-7, and still not have do anything wrong, be good, and loving. But not so for me or you, so you are making a fallacy in category.

            Also if your teachings don’t logically provokes the same accusatory questions (of God) that the apostles Paul’s, teachings did then of a certainty you’re not teaching the same message that Paul taught. Anyone who teaches the same message will logically provokes the same accusatory questions that Paul logically provoked with his teachings. So please tell me when you finish teaching on God sovereignty, and man’s freewill how do you logically provoke the accusatory questions (1) “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part?”, and (2) “You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”” Romans 9:14,19 (ESV). Paul’s, and the consistent Calvinist’s teachings logically provokes these accusatory questions at our teachings thus we with Paul has the same teachings that God is absolutely sovereign over all, and man has no freewill, but how do your teachings on God sovereignty, and man’s freewill logically provokes these same accusatory questions. Tell me, please.

          • David M. Cook

            Gregory: That was really, really, really long… Just sayin’.

            And to be clear, Austin said you sounded like the child of a serial killer; he didn’t suggest that God and the serial killer were themselves comparable. That said, he had a point…

          • Gregory S. Gill

            Read it again, and you might see the comparison, otherwise why say I sounded like the child of a serial killer? And my post is very long because it takes a lot more to clear up, and properly answer errors than to state them.

          • David M. Cook

            Setting aside the presumption that errors were even present, three things:
            (1) My point is that your response re: the “child of a serial killer” reference required an extra step of interpretation beyond Austin’s actual words. And it is within that extra step that, in my view, you responded with at least a semi-straw man line of reasoning, albeit a rather nuanced one.
            (2) Refutation of purportedly erroneous views/arguments does not necessarily require a lot of words.
            (3) Your notion, presented as a clear and absolute fact, that an individual’s “teachings” must necessarily “provoke” the “accusatory questions” that were “provoked” by Paul’s teachings doesn’t seem to have much of a basis. Strikes me more as a logical fallacy of presupposition…

          • Gregory S. Gill

            If one teach what Paul taught one will provoke the same questions Paul provoked. Human nature is still the same. And we the consistent Calvinists always provoke the same questions, the Arminians with their freewill doctrines don’t and can’t logically provoke the same questions at all. When Austin Fischer, is saying that the Calvinist’s teaching on God would make God unloving, that He is not love or just, Austin Fischer, is simply in different words asking the same question, or making that same challenge that Paul in Romans 9 had to contend with. So its only logical Austin Fischer, is not on Paul’s side but on that of the challenger’s or the questioner’s side.
            On point (2) they sure require more than the error that’s stated.
            And on point (1) I’ll leave that up to the readers’ to judgment. You didn’t even bother to answer any of my questions.

          • David M. Cook

            I believe you’ve misunderstood, or at least mischaracterized, Arminianism. And your assertions concerning “teachings=provocations” continues to seem full of suspect presuppositions. I’ll gladly concede that you’re a consistent Calvinist, from the limited information I have. Few are. I would simply suggest that consistent Calvinism–at least the modern, somewhat militant, five-point Calvinism that I perceive you to espouse–is incompatible with Scripture, as, when taken to its logical conclusion, it makes God the author of sin and evil. And God can be many things, but from where I sit, He can’t be that. I suspect that you and I would do well to simply agree to disagree.

          • Gregory S. Gill

            +David M. Cook…God is definitely, and truly the metaphysical author of sin, and evil in the sense that He decreed it all, and brings it all to pass, see Isa. 45:7; Gen. 50:20; Amos 3:6; Acts 4:27-28; Rom. 9, 11:36; Eph. 1:11, etc. And we are noting but His mere puppets, and robots for Him to do as He wills with us (His clay) for His glory, Rom. 11:36, Eph. 1:11-14.

            I understand Arminianism very well, and haven’t mischaracterized it. Since human evil, sinful nature has not changed, Paul’s teachings will continue to automatically, and logically provoke that same accusatory questions, and challenges. And if your teachings don’t, then you’re not teaching what Paul taught. Plain and simple. If you believe what I said is illogical then demonstrate it.

            Yes, I’m a five-point consistent Calvinist all the way.

          • Rudi

            Dearest Gregory,
            I am sure you agree that God created us in His own image! Yes we are fallen . This however does not stop us from knowing truth,lies,love, hate, joy , peace . We can know about these things, what they are and mean, but at the same time we can also experience them in our real every day world. So I agree with you, what God has declared to us in His word is truth. This truth however will always agree with our human experiences say for example if I tell you a lie and you happen to know it is a lie , you will not trust me. If now you come up with an interpretation of the Bible that says, that you must trust those people that lie to you more than those that do not, for they do it for your good, that goes against all our basic human way God has wired us ! This would be one way to determine that the God we believe in is not that God who has created us. This is exactly the problem of all other religions, they do not line up in one way or another with the actual reality we are experiencing .

            From this premise I now can show you that your Calvinist view is not consistent with what we experience.
            Yes you say God loves you! While I agree you can know that fact, you can not experience His love !Why do I say this ? Because there would be nobody including you on this earth that would experience love from a person though He at one point even sacrificed His own Son to suffer instead of you and told you again and again that he loved you, if all along you knew that he is only saying and doing all of these things because he is using you as a puppet to feather his own nest!
            As I said , you may chose to believe him (deceiving your self) and acknowledge that he loves you but no human being is wired in such a situation to actually experience being loved we are wired that we would feel being used !
            The reality of the world we live in is that true love must grant free will !! Remember it is God who made this world and us in it , so His doctrine must relate to our real world experience .
            As you know in Corinthians we are given an explanation of what love is, therefore we can have a glimpse of what Gods love is like, in one of the attributes Paul states that love does not seek its own ! Calvinism especially paints a God who does everything for He own glory, in other words for Himself ! Does that agree with what Paul says ?
            Oh if you could see and know and experience the measurable love of God who does all that he does for our good to bring us to a place of intimate fellowship with Him ! That is why He ever works to conform us unto the image of His Son, as we become Christ like we are being glorified and in turn God is being glorified the more . This happens not because this is what He seeks in the first place but because HE IS TRULY LOVE seeking only ever our best !

            In Jesus Love

            Rudi

          • Gregory S. Gill

            The word of God is to determined the truth about our experiences, and not the other way around or vice versa. We ought to interpret our experiences in the light of God’s word’s, and not ever vice versa. All to the glory of God alone. God’s glory is all that matters, and Satan very much hates that truth.

            I experience God’s love everyday, everyday as His child I experience His sanctifying work in, and presence with me. What more can I ask for, and to His glory. Why God using me using “as a puppet to feather his own nest” not love on His part toward me? All I deserve is Hell from Him, not His salvation which He has given to me. So why is such not love to me? Who determine what love is? God or you? If God is using me in a blessed way (which He is) for His glory, why should I not feel loved by Him? And even if I didn’t feel loved by Him does that mean He is not expressing His love to me? Will it not be that its my feeling that’s at fault? Are our feelings perfect or fallen by sin? Am I suppose to determine right and wrong, what is or is not base on feelings or on Jesus’ word, the bible? Lets not go on feeling but on the bible only. Feelings are imperfect and sinful, the bible is perfect, sinless, and its the perfect truth of God, who is Jesus Christ.

            Rudi, forget about feelings they are all fallen by Adam’s sin, and they would continue to lead you down the wrong path as they are now doing to you, and did to Eve in the garden. Your only sure and certain source of truth is Jesus’ word, the bible. All to Jesus’ eternal glory. Amen.

          • Rudi

            Dearest Gregory,
            no where in my post did I imply that we should interpret the Bible by our feelings. I agree with you wholeheartedly the Bible is our standard, that is why I gave you the example about lying ! God made us in His image, that means He did not make us so that we experience hatred as love. Note I did not use the word feeling, someone flattering a person might feel loved by that person until it has become evident that it was lust! The experience of true love includes the mind heart and soul ! If you could only see that God giving His Son on the cross only brings glory to Him because it was a totally selfless deed by the Father and the Son! He did not kill His Son to make Himself look good and so He could get Himself some people to worship Him in eternity ! However I gladly worship Him in all eternity because He did it all out of totally unselfish love for me !Can you see now what truly glorifies Him ! Another example would be the recent election in North Korea where I think it was claimed almost 100 percent of the people voted for the existing leader. Now according to you this really glorifies that despot !?

            Dearest Gregory, you did not answer Paul’s definition of love in Corinthians ?

            I know the Bible to be in perfect harmony with man’s free will ! For ultimately God is not glorified be making Himself a people that has no choice like the people of North Korea to worship Him. To do that He could have just made Himself created beings to do just that without letting them fall and then having to sacrifice His Son to redeem them. All this only makes sense when man is created in Gods image having been given a free will like God has !
            Yes I know we are fallen sinners. But think about it, having fallen, does that mean we do not have a conscience ( yes we can kill it) and can no longer determine good from evil, what is love from hatred or joy from sadness !? No even long before I was a Christian I was able to determine these ( yes to a lesser degree than now) so these capabilities have not been affected by the fall ! What has been affected is our FOCUS in the way we are using these things. As sinners, all our God given abilities are used to gratify SELF and justify our self doing so, instead of glorifying Him !

            In the love of Jesus
            Rudi

          • Gregory S. Gill

            Love, hate, right, wrong, good, evil, true, false, definitions and reality are all determined by the bible alone, and only. For love as far as where we humans are concerned is the fulfilling of God’s law, Rom. 13:10. It has nothing to do with feelings. When it comes to God, God determined what is love where He is concerned, not you or me. God only, and alone makes the rules, and definitions, not you or me. The quicker you understand that the better for you.

            If the leader in North Korea gets glorify because of the election then its an evil, sinful and wicked glorification, because its all against the bible. Plain and simply. That has no relationship to God because God has not transgress the bible. What applies to man (God’s clay and creation) don’t applies to God. You’re making errors in categories. God can do with all of us as He so desires for His eternal glory, and still determine that its all loving, God alone and only makes all the rules, and definitions. So what is true of God may not necessarily be true of His creatures, as God alone and only determines that for His eternal glory.
            How can man have a freewill when God infallibly knows everything? Where in the bible is freewill a part of the definition of choice? Before one becomes a Christian how can such a person determine what is real verses what is an illusion in their deluded sinful, fallen, wicked, evil mind? To God only, and alone be all the glory, praise, and honor for all eternity. Amen.

          • Rudi

            Dearest Gregory,

            you wrote,”What applies to man (God’s clay and creation) don’t applies to God! ”

            So you are saying that God in His word tells us the law He applies on us, but that law does not apply to Him ! This contradicts His word where He says that He put His word above His name !

            You also said,” God can do with all of us as He so desires for His eternal glory, and still determine that its all loving, God alone and only makes all the rules, and definitions !”

            God does not make the rules, He Himself is the standard of and to all things! And He has revealed His nature ( attributes) to us in the Bible !According to you God shows us that He cannot lie in the Bible, so he wants us not to lie, but if it suits Him, He can lie and determine it not to be a lie because He says so !

            As I said before 1 Cor 13 says,” Love does not seek its own” this contradicts your theology of God doing everything for His own glory ! But to you this is no contradiction because though God says,” Love does not seek its own,” this only applies to us not to Him, He is above His own standard !

            If this is really what you are saying then the God you worship is not the God of the Bible but the God of the Qumran, He can do as he wills without restrictions!

            The God of the Bible is restricted by His own character, He Is the truth so He cannot lie, He is just so He cannot be unjust ! And what would be the point of Him giving us the Bible if we could not understand what these things really mean. He also says to come to Him and reason with Him, He says that the Holy spirit will lead us into all truth,you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free ! But if we cannot really define truth because God can make it up as he goes along what does truth even mean ?

            One other thing, do you believe that God made us, Adam and Eve, in His own image ? Well you clearly agree going by your statements that God has a free will, so if your deterministic view is right than God again lied, at least what I would consider a lie, saying He made us in His image but not giving Adam and Eve a free will !

            Just one more of innumerable contradiction the Calvinist theology chooses to live with in its endeavor to put God’s sovereignty in the box of their comprehension, to be able to have a theology that gives them assurance of salvation, while at the same time its adherents can not know(be sure) whether they are saved(are of the elect or a professor until after they have died and stand before God) in the first place!

            Dearest Gregory, you claim to uphold God’s word above all! Then I want to encourage you not to settle for any doctrine that has any contradictions.

            I am submitting any doctrine I am holding on to to the Lord afresh as soon I come across even one scripture that contradicts that doctrine until God reveals to me what it means. I am ever careful not to try and make it fit my doctrine,but seek to wait on the Holy Spirit’s revelation .

            Rom:10:8-14

            But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 that
            if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe
            in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be
            saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How
            then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how
            shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall
            they hear without a preacher?

            Dearest friend, this is just one of many passages that have words like ” Whosoever” or ” if thou” ( the reader or hearer) in them that you somehow must reinterpret to make them fit your doctrine,and at the same time would be a lie to all hearers and readers that are of the elect . I implore you to take it all afresh to the Lord and allow Him to reveal to you through the Holy Spirit what He meant , with the basic premise that if God wrote the Bible, it cannot contradict, for if it does we have not heard from the Holy Spirit !

            All your rhetorical questions can be answered without contradictions to God’s word, however I do not see those answers would benefit you, seeing you can live with such glaring Biblical contradiction as I have outlined above . When the time comes where you have come to see tat they are actually contradiction, I would gladly talk to you about them.

            In the love of Jesus
            Rudi

          • Gregory S. Gill

            The scripture Psalm 138:2 can be translated in more that one way, such as, God has exalted His word, and name above all, or God has exalted His name according to His word. Now lets see something, can you or me rightfully kill anyone (no matter who they are) at anytime, and at any place? Can God rightfully do such, Deuteronomy 32:39, 1 Samuel 2:6? If the answer is yes, which it is, then what is in the word of God that to applies to me and you, don’t necessarily applies to God. So there is no contradiction, God determines what applies to Him, and what don’t.

            Because God is the standard He determines the rules for all His creatures, and for Himself. Yes God wants us His creatures to lie as He so determines. Because God is God, and thus the only rule maker He has determined for Himself that whatever He says is ipso facto true. So He can’t lie, and then determine its the truth.

            On 1 Cor 13 you are correct when you say God has made it for us and not for Himself, remember God is love. God is not “above His own standard” because 1 Cor 13 don’t applies to Him. God made all to His glory Eph. 1:11-12, Rom. 9:23.

            The God I worship is the God of the bible, the god you worship is what you have created according to your sinful reasoning. The God I worship can’t contradict Himself but what applies to His creatures don’t necessarily applies to Him.

            The truth is whatever God says, and its found in His unchanging eternal word, the bible.

            On the freewill issue you didn’t answer my questions, you conveniently ducked them. Here they are again, how can man have a freewill when God infallibly knows everything? Where in the bible is freewill a part of the definition of choice? Yes God has a freewill, and we are made in His image. That don’t mean we have a freewill, all it means is that we have a mind like as God has a mind.

            On the assurance of salvation, and the Calvinists, you are all wrong. All true Christians (Calvinists and non-Calvinists) believes the gospel alike. Once a person believe the gospel they will know it because faith is the assurance, Hebrews 11:1. And once a person believe that means they are of the elect because only such will believe the gospel.

            Before one becomes a Christian how can such a person determine what is real verses what is an illusion in their deluded sinful, fallen, wicked, evil mind?

            You have refused to answer my questions because my questions have revealed inconsistences in your non-Calvinist system, and inconsistences are the signs of failed arguments. I have answered all of your questions consistently.

            “Whosoever” is not in the Greek its “everyone” or “all”. Therefore everyone that call on Jesus will be saved. Who will call on Jesus? All that the Father has given to Jesus, and first draws to Jesus, John 6:27, 37-40, 44-45, 65, all those the Father has first made to be born again before they can even see the kingdom of God, John 3:3, 5. These are the “whosoever” or much better yet the “everyone” or “all”.

            To God only, and alone be all the glory, praise, and honor for all eternity. Amen.

          • Rudi

            Dearest Gregory,

            thank you for your reply.

            You said, ” All true Christians (Calvinists and non-Calvinists) believes the gospel alike.” Well if that is so, I actually have put my trust in Him and know that if I died today I would enter into His presence!

            So how then can you clam , “The God I worship is the God of the bible, the god you worship is what you have created according to your sinful reasoning. The God

            I worship can’t contradict Himself but what applies to His creatures don’t necessarily applies to Him.”

            So my mind is using sinful reasoning , while yours is now enlightened since you came to faith in Christ ! But you just said we are both saved, so both our minds should be the same !?

            To your point about Killing, I do disagree with you. The Bible shows us that God has given the sword of law and order to the governments of the earth and if one implements capital punishment, it would not be against God’s word for me to be an executioner. You see when a man kills another it is out of a sinful motive, but when God does so He does it out of love, for love must be just ! Also remember Ananias and Sapphira , they died because Peter brought to light their deception. If Peter chose not to confront them, nothing would have happen .Peter pronounced Sapphira’s death before it happened !

            One other thing your answers reveal is exactly what I entreated you not to fall into. Wherever the Bible does not agree with you , you make it fit your doctrine !

            God made us in His Image , BUT He did not give us free will ???? Then He did not really make us in His image, He made us partially in His image!

            There is absolutely no Biblical grounds for you to just make that assertion, except that you have to alter the plain meaning of the text to make it fit Calvinistic doctrine !

            You do the same with the other passages that I quoted, going back to the Greek to justify your doctrine. Don’t you see how you have fallen victim of a theology that needs to reinterpret much of the Bible to make it fit, we have not even scratched the surface of it yet ! For instance, Jesus said .” when I be lifted up from the earth I will draw all men unto me ” John 12 ! Well here you also must force all to mean not really all but only all them that He predestines ! He says ” For God so loved the world,” well this does not again mean what it seems to because the real meaning is hidden and it means He loves the elect that is in the world or something like that !

            Don’t you see , as I said we have not even scratched the surface, how you have to make so much of the Bible to fit (or force it to fit) to align it with your doctrine!
            All this so you can hold on to a concept of sovereignty that fits into our limited human understanding !

            You see the sovereignty you are talking about is exactly what Satan is working on to implement on this Earth. I am sure you can see the technology that is being set up to control even our very thoughts. You see for Satan to be able to predetermine everything for certain, He needs to control even our thoughts! Why ? Exactly because He is NOT sovereign ! But God in His sovereignty is able to bring about His purpose allowing free will, He does not need ,like Satan, to be afraid of it !

            O.K. I will tell you about why God knows the future before it happens !
            Acts. 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ”

            The Bible tells us that God being out of Time can” foreknow ” what is going to happen. Now you will say that is only because He already has determined it so to be in the first place. However if you can see that because God foreknows all things, therefore He knows our free will choices, because He being God could actually intervene and alter things so we would make a different choice, but Him not choosing to do so has so granted us humans free will, while at the same time predestined it to be so!

            The fact that Gos holds us responsible, I am sure you agree, for our choices, means we must have free will! However if God made us make these choices, meaning we could not have chosen differently, then He is responsible for them !
            I say God foresaw our choice and decided to accept our choice and therefor decided not to intervene in any way and in this way only also predetermined it to be so !
            However I do not agree with you that God know everything ! Why?

            Well did He not say after Abraham was willing to offer His own son ,” NOW I KNOW !” Gen. 22:12

            Again taking the Bible just as it is, it seems to me, if God tells the truth, He did not know that until then !!!!

            The other escape argument that you are using whenever you cant reconcile the Bible with Calvinism is that God is not bound by His attributes, or He demands of us things that do not apply to Him !

            With this you can create any kind of doctrine and use this escape whenever it suits you ! Is the Holy Spirit not God ? If we are His Temple, will not He live the attributes and nature of God through us !? Christ called us to follow His example, Paul calls us to be Christ Like ! But then you say that is not Godlike, because what applies to God does not necessarily apply to us !? I agree that it will be God that will Judge all ( though Paul does say we will judge Angles), however God’s nature is what we that are truly saved will display ! So for us to do that we must be able to know what a lie is ! We must be able to know what love is ! And what we understand it to be must be what God understands it to be otherwise we never know where we truly are at. How could we obey His command to examine our self !?

            You said, “Before one becomes a Christian how can such a person determine what is real verses what is an illusion in their deluded sinful, fallen, wicked,
            evil mind?

            Didn’t God give a conscience to all men !? Also in Rom.7 Paul shows us that the unsaved knows that the law is good, that is not that problem, the problem is to perform what we know to be good !
            Ask most people around you, they will agree that lying, murder is wrong !
            You see in Rom:7 we see that we have a free will, for we know and even can choose to do what we know what is right! However to actually do it or perform it I we cannot ! Rom 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to Will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
            You see this is so amazing, all I have to see is what Paul describes here and that Jesus only can deliver us from this sinful nature. Now all I can do is, will my life to be His, and now He can and will do the delivering from my bondage to my sinful nature !
            Which will enable me to live a live described in Rom. 8 with victory over the flesh and therefore sin !

            Hebr. 11:1 Does not say what you claim it does , it shows what real faith is meant to be ! Now how can you know whether your faith is real and not just wishful thinking !? If your faith for salvation is real should that not reveal a faith that asked God to heal (considering all His promises in the Bible) a sickness would actually heal that sickness ! On what ground do you think your faith is real ? Just because you say so. Because you believe in God! So do the daemons the Bible says!

            If your faith is actually real, should it not also produce miracles like healing or other supernatural evidence ! How do we know we are not deceiving ourselves and are not among the Goats of Mathew 7 !
            Assurance of salvation does not come from a theological concept, it only comes from an actual, living,day to day, real relationship with the Son of God, the Savior of the world !

            In the love of Jesus
            Rudi

          • Gregory S. Gill

            The God of the bible made everything for His glory above all else, your god didn’t.

            I didn’t say you are saved, I don’t know enough about you to make that judgment one way or the other. To say there are non-Calvinists that are saved is not to say all non-Calvinist are saved.

            You still didn’t answer my questions, all you did was just to dance around them, here they are again, can you or me rightfully kill anyone (no matter who they are) at anytime, and at any place? Can God rightfully do such, Deuteronomy 32:39, 1 Samuel 2:6? If the answer is yes, which it is, then what is in the word of God that to applies to me and you, don’t necessarily applies to God. So there is no contradiction, God determines what applies to Him, and what don’t.

            To be in God’s image is to have a mind as God has a mind, that’s why we are not animals. Here again you didn’t answer my question you just ducked them, here they are again, how can man have a freewill when God infallibly knows everything? Where in the bible is freewill a part of the definition of choice? Are the saints in heaven in God’s image? Do they have freewill? If they have can they choose to sin? If they can’t then how can they have freewill? What is freewill? If man has freewill then how can we be sure the bible don’t haves errors? Because of our freewill could errors have crept into the bible? Please answer the questions and stop run from them.

            The bible was not written in English, but in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The translations are imperfect

          • Rudi

            Dearest Gregory,

            I am amazed how your need to hold on to your doctrine have blinded you to the answers I have given you so far !

            You say, ” can you or me rightfully kill anyone (no matter who they are) at anytime, and at any place? Can God rightfully do such, Deuteronomy 32:39,
            1 Samuel 2:6?
            You are implying allot of your preconceived ideas into these verses! There is no question about God being able to kill, however this does not imply that He would do it to anyone at anytime for any reason ! He can not do anything unjust, remember He is just. Before you now say but we are sinners and all deserving of eternal death, there seems to be more to this than that. Remember when God told Abraham he could not give Him His inheritance yet! The reason was because the sin of the nations that where there was not yet full !Gen. 15:16 ! It seems to me that God’s justice is not the same as what you think it is, according to yours He could have wiped them out then and given it to Abraham ! So no God will only use His ability to kill or any other of His omnipotent power in complete harmony with Hia attributes or character !
            Where does it say in the Bible that God infallibly knows everything !? I quoted to you a verse from Gen. 22 above that He Himself says that only at that point in time He got to know that Abraham would hold nothing back from Him !

            This again you have ignored ! And you claim I am ducking your questions!?

            Freewill is inherent to the concept of choice , and it is inherent in the concept of true love ! There can be no true love where there is not granted a free will ! I have shown you in Rom.7 that Paul clearly teaches that we have a free will , but again you have ignored that and keep claiming I do not answer your questions !
            The problem is not that I do not answer your questions. The problem is any answer that does not suit your doctrines you ignore and do not truly interact with them.
            Like your excuse with the translations being imperfect! So if the existing translations are not perfect, we had to wait for yours to be done to now really know what was the right translation !? Knowing that you have a particular theological view through which you force everything possible to suit that view, and what does not fit you just admit, like some well known Calvinists that they are able to live with those mysteries,the problem is they are not mysteries, they are contradictions!
            The trinity is a mystery, but how true love can exist without granting a free will is a contradiction !

            Dear Gregory, there is no point us continuing our conversation, unless we both are willing to put our views on the altar . This means we have to be willing to be above all be honest with ourselves if interpretations we hold about certain passages do need to be forced to make them fit.

            You see some time ago I have learn one thing, and that is that to hold on and believe with all my heart the doctrines that I have come to know is not the most important thing in my walk with God. The most important thing in my walk with God must be a desire to know Him at all cost for who He really is, as He reveals Himself through the Holy Spirit revelation of His word ! I have been in the place where there was a verse I could not understand, that seemed to contradict this doctrine of freewill ! So I was waiting on God and seeking Him to show me what He meant with that passage . Well He would not do it. But as I was battling with this I realized, that I was hanging on to that doctrine and though I believed that much of what I understood He Himself revealed to me ,He showed me that at that point it was more important for me to hold onto a doctrine, which if it ultimately is wrong is completely worthless, than truly desiring to want to know Him for whom h

          • Gregory S. Gill

            The question still is can God rightly and justly kill anyone, anytime, at any place Deuteronomy 32:39, 1 Samuel 2:6? Can you or me rightly and justly kill anyone, anytime, at any place? No one is asking if God is able to kill, so please answer the questions. God is the one who sets the time of our death, when He’ll kill us, Job 14:5.

            I linked you an article that dealt with the Gen. 22 issue but maybe you failed to read it because it completely destroys your position also remember in Gen. 12 Abraham believed God and was justified, Rom. 4:1-4, Heb. 11:8-12. Only a heart that truly fears God is justified by God, and we see back in Gen. 12 that Abraham believed God and God justified him, so before Gen. 22 God already know Abraham truly feared and trusted God. Read the article I linked you. As to God knowing everything see the article at: http://churchlayman.wordpress.com/2007/10/09/god-is-omniscient-he-sees-and-knows-everything/

            You didn’t show or demonstrate any freewill teaching Rom.7. Where in the bible is freewill inherent to the concept of choice, and inherent in the concept of true love? Are the saints in heaven in God’s image? Do they have freewill? If they have can they choose to sin? If they can’t then how can they have freewill? What is freewill? If man has freewill then how can we be sure the bible don’t haves errors? Because of our freewill could errors have crept into the bible? Please answer the questions and stop running from them.

            Concerning the imperfect translations, you didn’t had to wait for any. All you had to do is just research what was originally written which is the standard on which all translations stands or falls. My particular theological view is based on what was original written by the authors of the bible who wrote under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to write the inspired, infallible, inerrant, verbal, plenary scriptures that was written in the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek languages.

            When the bible says “money is the root of all evil” does it mean all evil without any exception whatsoever, or all sorts of evil? If you say it means all sorts of evil, then I’ll ask doesn’t the meaning of the word ‘all’ depends on the context? ” For God so loved the world,” means what it means in its context in the Greek, and not what you want it to mean.

            According to you since we have freewill, then how can God predestine anything?

            God is the cause of all our choices. And He has made us responsible for them all because He is going to judge us for them all.

            God is bound by His attributes, but He demands of us things that do not apply to Him.

            The knowledge that is in the unregenerate is suppress by the unregenerate, so he don’t know anything, Rom. 1:18.

            Hebr. 11:1 says faith is the assurance, and not faith is meant to be assurance as you put it. Faith is believing the gospel which the demons don’t. They believe in one God, but not the gospel.

            Also if your teachings don’t logically provokes the same accusatory questions (of God) that the apostles Paul’s, teachings did then of a certainty you’re not teaching the same message that Paul taught. Anyone who teaches the same message will logically provokes the same accusatory questions that Paul logically provoked with his teachings. So please tell me when you finish teaching on God sovereignty, and man’s freewill how do you logically provoke the accusatory questions (1) “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part?”, and (2) “You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”” Romans 9:14,19 (ESV). Paul’s, and the consistent Calvinist’s teachings logically provokes these accusatory questions at our teachings thus we with Paul has the same teachings that God is absolutely sovereign over all, and man has no freewill, but how do your teachings on God sovereignty, and man’s freewill logically provokes these same accusatory questions. Tell me, please.

            To God only, and alone be all the glory, praise, and honor for all eternity. Amen.

          • Rudi

            Dearest Gregory,

            I am sorry, I did miss that link regarding Gen.22 ! However having read it , it compares God’s question to Adam, where he was after He sinned, with this passage ! However when God asks Adam where he is, He is asking Adam to explain himself where he is ! Doing that does not imply God is lying when He does so ! But in Gen. 22, God is explaining to Abraham where He (God) is in relation to what just happen ! If now God said it to encourage Abraham only, that implies that He was lying to Him when He told Him, ” for now I know that thou fearest God ” seeing He already knew that, as you say !
            And I disagree, taking it as it is does not in any way contradict the Scriptures, it contradicts Calvinism ! There is a perfect logical explanation completely in harmony with God’s character for what He said here !
            Fundamental to the answer is that God really made us in His image ! When God commands us to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, He does that because these are different aspects to our person !Seeing He made us in His image, does He not have the same aspects to His person!? So while God knows all things in His mind through His foreknowledge, to know them experiential is another matter. Like for instance, we all know Jesus was perfect from conception! Yet in Hebrews it says, He was made perfect through the things which He suffered ! Why? Only the experience of the temptations and testings, Him going through them and in every difficult situation choosing to obey His Father, revealed and confirmed at the same time His perfection. So in the same manner in Gen.22, God knew in His mind that Abraham would obey because of His foreknowledge, but only when Abraham did it, was even God able to know,experience the total commitment and, as God said fear, of Abraham ! Knowing something in our mind is one thing but knowing , experiencing it in our hearts is another and not just for us, but also for God ! Did not God foreknow that man would sin and that He would have to destroy it with a flood ! And yet He also said He regretted having made man !? You see having known it in his mind was one thing, having to experience the sorrow and pain over man’s rebellion was another !

            I do not expect you to concur with me over the above, because I know you do not believe that we where made in God’s image in the first place, only in some aspects of it !

            Calvinists call up on logic when it suits them ( like the writer of your linked article did ) , but when it does not, they just ignore it! Like you when it comes to choice and free will !
            When your or my blogs reveal spelling mistakes, we do not say ,” oh look at this, my computer just chose to misspell this word !” It deserves now to be punished, and we throw it in the garbage ! No, the processes that brought about the misspelled word had nothing to do with the computer, it had no choice over the spelling of the word ! Now according to you it is perfectly logical to hold the computer responsible for the spelling mistake, and not you or me who irresistibly made it spell the word wrong !

            May God grant us wisdom and understanding for He has promised to lead us into all truth !

            In Jesus love
            Rudi

          • Gregory S. Gill

            Its seems as though you don’t allow for figures of speech or idioms, so Gen. 22 ” for now I know that thou fearest God ” must and have to be read literally, or else God is lying. But to do so contradicts other scriptures. On God questioning Adam it was for Adams own good not for God finding out anything. But if read literally as you are doing with Gen. 22 then God didn’t know where Adam was to use your logic.

            I’m glad to see that you’re now saying God knows everything in His mind even all the future. So God don’t and can’t learn anything at all, and things must go according to His infallible knowledge in His mind. So how is there freewill in His creatures? God is timeless, He created time so there is no past or future with God everything is in the present before Him. Me and you are creatures of time with past, present, and future unlike God. So with God Abraham’s actions were, and are eternally before God.

            You seem not to know what it means to be made in God’s image.

            Its not wrong for me to use my computer to do something and then because of that destroy it afterwards? If I write a book I can so choose to do whatever with my characters for whatever reason. We God’s creatures and clay, He can do with us as He so chooses for His eternal glory.

            My many questions to you, you simply just ignored them.

            The question still is can God rightly and justly kill anyone, anytime, at any place Deuteronomy 32:39, 1 Samuel 2:6? Can you or me rightly and justly kill anyone, anytime, at any place? No one is asking if God is able to kill, so please answer the questions. God is the one who sets the time of our death, when He’ll kill us, Job 14:5.

            I linked you an article that dealt with the Gen. 22 issue but maybe you failed to read it because it completely destroys your position also remember in Gen. 12 Abraham believed God and was justified, Rom. 4:1-4, Heb. 11:8-12. Only a heart that truly fears God is justified by God, and we see back in Gen. 12 that Abraham believed God and God justified him, so before Gen. 22 God already know Abraham truly feared and trusted God. Read the article I linked you. As to God knowing everything see the article at: http://churchlayman.wordpress….

            You didn’t show or demonstrate any freewill teaching Rom.7. Where in the bible is freewill inherent to the concept of choice, and inherent in the concept of true love? Are the saints in heaven in God’s image? Do they have freewill? If they have can they choose to sin? If they can’t then how can they have freewill? What is freewill? If man has freewill then how can we be sure the bible don’t haves errors? Because of our freewill could errors have crept into the bible? Please answer the questions and stop running from them.

            Concerning the imperfect translations, you didn’t had to wait for any. All you had to do is just research what was originally written which is the standard on which all translations stands or falls. My particular theological view is based on what was original written by the authors of the bible who wrote under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to write the inspired, infallible, inerrant, verbal, plenary scriptures that was written in the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek languages.

            When the bible says “money is the root of all evil” does it mean all evil without any exception whatsoever, or all sorts of evil? If you say it means all sorts of evil, then I’ll ask doesn’t the meaning of the word ‘all’ depends on the context? ” For God so loved the world,” means what it means in its context in the Greek, and not what you want it to mean.

            According to you since we have freewill, then how can God predestine anything?

            God is the cause of all our choices. And He has made us responsible for them all because He is going to judge us for them all.

            God is bound by His attributes, but He demands of us things that do not apply to Him.

            The knowledge that is in the unregenerate is suppress by the unregenerate, so he don’t know anything, Rom. 1:18.

            Hebr. 11:1 says faith is the assurance, and not faith is meant to be assurance as you put it. Faith is believing the gospel which the demons don’t. They believe in one God, but not the gospel.

            Also if your teachings don’t logically provokes the same accusatory questions (of God) that the apostles Paul’s, teachings did then of a certainty you’re not teaching the same message that Paul taught. Anyone who teaches the same message will logically provokes the same accusatory questions that Paul logically provoked with his teachings. So please tell me when you finish teaching on God sovereignty, and man’s freewill how do you logically provoke the accusatory questions (1) “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part?”, and (2) “You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”” Romans 9:14,19 (ESV). Paul’s, and the consistent Calvinist’s teachings logically provokes these accusatory questions at our teachings thus we with Paul has the same teachings that God is absolutely sovereign over all, and man has no freewill, but how do your teachings on God sovereignty, and man’s freewill logically provokes these same accusatory questions. Tell me, please.

            DEFINING EVANGELICALISM’S BOUNDARIES THEOLOGICALLY: IS OPEN THEISM EVANGELICAL?, by Bruce A. Ware*

            “Concerning Gen 22:12, to say that God only learns that Abraham fears God when he raises the knife over the bound body of Isaac contradicts, first, God’s intimate and perfect knowledge of our hearts (1 Chr 28:9; 1 Sam 16:7); second, God’s knowledge of Abraham’s
            faith and hope in God as celebrated in Romans 4 and Hebrews 11; and, third, Abraham’s own belief, while travelling to Mt. Moriah, that God
            would raise his slain son Isaac from the dead (Gen 22:5; Heb 11:19)…

            “…Open theism’s denial of exhaustive divine foreknowledge renders unsure God’s own covenant promise to bring blessing and salvation to the nations through the seed of Abraham.

            “Open theists take the test of Abraham in Genesis 22 as a real test, presumably one Abraham could fail, thus disqualifying him from being the covenant partner through whom God would bring blessing to the world.Concerning this test, Sanders writes, “God needs to know if Abraham is the sort of person on whom God can count for collaboration toward the fulfillment of the divine project. Will he be faithful? Or must God find someone else through whom to achieve his purpose?” But, if so, how shall we understand God’s promise to Abraham in Gen 12:2–3: “I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing, . . . and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed”? If this covenant could be fulfilled through another, then what does God’s word mean? Furthermore, if Abraham fails this test, what assurances can we have that another, and then another, and then another, might not also fail?”

            http://www.etsjets.org/files/J

            When God told Abraham in Genesis 22:12, “…For now I know that you fear God…” God was using figurative language with concepts that Abraham understood for Abraham’s sake. God was lisping to Abraham. If you take it literally you’ll have the scriptures contradicting each other.

            On God knowing everything google “Oct 9, 2007 Christian Perspectives & Free Market Economics, God is Omniscient – “He Sees and Knows” Everything.” And read the article.

            To God only, and alone be all the glory, praise, and honor for all eternity. Amen.

          • Colin Nunn

            Gregory, You say “For love as far as where we humans are concerned is the fulfilling of God’s law, Rom. 13:10. It has nothing to do with feelings”.
            What does this word ‘love’ mean to us? It means to do what is right to others. This doing right – what is for the good of others, is the fulfilling of the law. To steal from others is not only breaking God’s law, but it is not love. To give to others because you desire their greater good rather than steal, is love and fulfils the greater law of God which is to love your neighbour. That is what God would have us do. Why? Because He Himself is love. God only does what’s good for others and He puts that same love – desire for the good of others in us. God is not hypocritical and loves indiscriminately as He expects us to do.

            Certainly love is not a feeling, it is God’s caring for others in action, and it is God’s caring for others also through us. Love is action and therefore is positive action in doing good as well as refraining from evil toward others. That being so and the fact that God is love, it follows that God would not do harm to others. Any troubles, sickness, problems that God allows to mankind is all for good purposes – good to them. That they don’t repent, or learn, or grow spiritually as a result of these testings is because of their own choices such as ignoring God, loving sin, pride and arrogance etc. You said “God determined what is love where He is concerned, not you or me. God only, and alone makes the rules, and definitions, not you or me. The quicker you understand that the better for you”. So you are it seems, claiming that love where He is concerned must be different to the love (where we are concerned) that He expects from us. You are claiming that God expects better from us than He is dishing out – that we are to be superior to God in our love toward others in that we are to love all others and by this fulfil the law that even God Himself fails to fulfil, yet demands that we do.

            You forget that God in Christ is the highest example – the one we are to be imitating. We are told that “when we (believers) see Him we will know Him because we will be like Him.” This life is to be spent in growing more and more Christ-like, not more and more belligerent and arrogantly argumentative – not pronouncing hate-filled judgements on those that don’t agree with you. This is not love and is not the fulfilling of the law. As you stated, “the quicker you understand that the better for you.”

            Your question, “How can man have a freewill when God infallibly knows everything?” shows a limited imagination. You make statements like So what is true of God may not necessarily be true of His creatures, yet you limit God in ways that suit you in order to win an argument. Why does the fact that God knows everything keep God from granting man free will? We are speaking about the incredibly unlimited uncreated Person who with a word spoke the universe into existence, and decided our limits, our abilities, our boundaries – brought into existence the laws that run this universe, created time and space, yet you foolishly and proudly think that you can limit Him with your puny opinions.

            You ask Where in the bible is freewill a part of the definition of choice? I’d suggest you begin to read through the Bible again, only with eyes open. You obviously kept your eyes closed if you’ve actually looked at the Bible. Why does God demand over and over again that Israel repent, obey, listen to and heed His warnings if they couldn’t have done so? Read it!! Read it!! Why are there so many warnings to mankind about judgment if man could not repent or change his mind and seek God? Your answer must obviously be that God wasn’t honest in His demands because (according to people like you), they couldn’t obey anyway. God’s honour and glory is being brought into dishonour by Calvinist claims that God hates men, demands what they cannot deliver because they have no will to do so, creates them sinful in such a way that they have no choices whatsoever – even their birth into this broken world as sinners was not their choice. God, according to you, chose to create men knowing that they would have no say in their condition, (no choices), created them to scream in an agony of horror forever as a result of His choice and while you (fortunate as you are) are happy for God to be like this because you will be safe and will enjoy the spectre of horror forever (from a safe distance) and live in gratitude with this God who is not love. So much for your love and the Calvinist God’s love.

            By the way, If your god is as you say He is and says things that He doesn’t really mean such as ‘God so loved the world’ and ‘God is not willing that any man should perish’ – but the truth is that He only
            loves a few and is willing that most will perish, how do you know that you can trust this god to keep his word with you and all you Calvinists? How do you really know that you are saved? He might mean that none are saved, and if he gets glory from the pain and anguish of billions of people, he might get even greater glory and pleasure from the anguish of those who foolishly believed him and served him on Earth. Think what glory that will bring him.

            Glory?? Glory?? God gets glory from inflicting the Hell of pain, anguish and the utter horror of the knowledge that each moment is only the beginning of an eternity of this extreme suffering that we
            cannot imagine, and yet those that suffer this have no opportunity to be saved from it? This is the hate that you accuse God of exercising while lavishing love on you and people like you? No – God’s love is not limited like ours is and God desires that we become love to all around us just as He is. Love also allows others to make their own choices. To claim that God’s love is different to that which He wants from us is to be dishonest.

            Gregory, please, understand that your faith is in doctrine rather than in the word of God. Read the scriptures and throw away your Calvinist doctrinal teachings. Start to read the Bible with an honest heart, asking God to give you understanding and lead you into His truths. By grace you will be saved through faith – but this faith must be in God’s word, not in Calvin’s word. God bless you brother and lead you into all truth.

          • Gregory S. Gill

            God because He is God has prerogatives that we His creatures don’t. Whatever God does is right because that is what He has determine for Himself thus everything God does is always ipso facto good and right. And He also determined for us His creatures what is right and wrong, good and evil for us via His law. His law is for us not for Him. Can you kill the whole world save eight, and tell a person to kill their child and still be correct and right? Yet God did all these and more and yet was right and correct. So what applies to us don’t necessary applies to God. Stop making categorically errors. Can you allow troubles, sickness, problems to come upon a person for good purposes when you can stop it and still be correct and right? No. Yet God allows such, and is still correct and right.

            1 Cor. 13 tells us we can do “good” and still not have love. Because we didn’t do such as Christians to the glory of Jesus Christ. Whatever love we express is from God and yet that love is always mixed with sin, so our love, the best of it, is still infinitely below God pure, perfect sinless love for His elect only. That means we can’t be as loving as God. We only know what love is because of God’s word.

            You still have not answered the questions “How can man have a freewill when God infallibly knows everything?” And “Where in the bible is freewill a part of the definition of choice?” At best you just danced, and tip toed around them. God commands us all to sin not, to live a perfect holy, righteous life always. Who can do that? None. So why did God commands such of us? Because to break and humble us showing us we can’t save ourselves, we can’t live right without Him empowering us to do so, that we all need Jesus. So how “does God demand over and over again (commanding) that Israel repent, obey, listen to and heed His warnings…why are there so many warnings to mankind about judgment…” proves freewill?

            No Calvinist that I know of teaches that man don’t make choices, to say that is what Calvinists teaches is a straw man argument from you. Calvinist (all that I know of) believes man make choices though there is disagreement over freewill. Base on the bible I say man make choices not because of freewill but because of his creaturely will which is 100% under the control and rule of God, Rom. 11:36, Eph. 1:11.

            >even their birth into this broken world as sinners was not their choice

            Who had a choice?

            >God, according to you, chose to create men knowing that they would have no say in their condition, (no choices), created them to scream in an agony of horror forever as a result of His choice and while you (fortunate as you are) are happy for God to be like this because you will be safe and will enjoy the spectre of horror forever (from a safe distance) and live in gratitude with this God who is not love.

            Whats wrong with the saints in Heaven enjoying “the spectre of horror forever” in seeing God’s hostile enemies getting what they deserve? Most of all we will be enjoying God. Who said God is not love, the bible said God loves His elect only.

            You are misinterpreting the word ‘world’. It can’t mean everybody without exception or you’ll be making the bible to contradict itself. The bible say that there are people who God hates, Romans 9:13, Psalms 5:5; 11:5 so don’t make the bible to contradict itself. Rev. 5:9 gives the meaning of the word world in John 3:16 which is “you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation”. Not every tribe, language, people, and nation.

            Again you misinterpret ‘God is not willing that any should perish’ it was referring to any of His elect only. How could it be otherwise. If God desired all human without exception to be saved then God will make sure that, that is what will happened without fail because He always does all of His desires without fail Psalm 115:5-6; Isa 46:10; Job 23:13. Also if it means what you believe then Jesus can’t come back. Because if Jesus come back then, maybe if He had delayed it for 5 more years maybe then a lot more people would of exercise their freewill (which you believe in) and be saved then, 5 years later, but are not now saved because of His coming. So you wrong interpretation runs into all sorts of insurmountable problems.

            Where is it dishonest to say God has the right to do things that we His creatures don’t have even though the saints’ love is an imperfect reflection of God’s love? Stop making categorically errors.

            You haven’t showed me to be wrong.

          • Austin Fischer

            The primary issue here is and continues to be nominalism. Whenever someone leans on “God can do whatever God wants because he is God and thus everything he does is good and right by virtue of his being God, regardless of whether his morality has any analogical relationship to human morality”….that is nominalism. Many Calvinists I know are closet nominalists. Luther himself was deeply influenced by nominalism.

            For a good critique of the sort of nominalism Gregory is employing here, read The Providence of God (pg. 166-168) by Paul Helm…himself a brilliant Calvinist philosopher. I also touch on it in my book in chapter 4.

          • Gregory S. Gill

            You can slap whatever name (be it nominalism or whatever else) on it you still can’t show it to be wrong. A very good online work on the subject is titled “On Good and Evil”, by Vincent Cheung. The link to the online article is http://www.vincentcheung.com/books/On%20Good%20and%20Evil%20(2002).pdf

            Its more biblical than “The Providence of God”, by Paul Helm. I must say though Paul Helm, is a very great Christian Calvinist brother in the Lord Jesus, he has a very good lot of biblical stuffs to teach. I appreciate Paul Helm, very much, he is a very great worker in the Lord’s vineyard.

            Doesn’t God has prerogatives to do things that we His creatures don’t have? And that if we were to do them we would be wrong but not so with God if He does the same thngs?

          • Austin Fischer

            Depends on what we mean by “show it to be wrong.” I can explain how what you’re saying is nominalism (I do it in my book…ch. 4). I can show how it makes theological discourse unintelligible (also in ch. 4). I can show how it makes the Bible unreliable (also in ch. 4).

            We agree that Paul Helm is great.

            And we agree that God has prerogatives to do things that creatures don’t (that is, the relationship of God’s morality to ours is not univocal)…I don’t think that’s really the issue.

            The issue is whether God can do heinous things (namely, damnation of the reprobate) and still be, intelligibly, good (that is, is the relationship of God’s morality to ours analogical?). I, following the consensus Christian tradition, say no. Not because he doesn’t have the “rights”, but because he doesn’t have it in his character and the relationship between God’s morality and ours is indeed analogical.

            You say yes and wear it as a badge of honor (that is, that the relationship between God’s morality and ours is equivocal). That’s fine. I just want it to be clear where we disagree because I do get quite bored with the “I take the Bible seriously and you don’t” line of polemicizing. We can do better.

            Peace.

          • Gregory S. Gill

            If as you “agree that God has prerogatives to do things that creatures don’t”, and does things things that would be wrong for us to do but not for Him. Then how are you not making a categorically error in saying “because he doesn’t have it in his character and the relationship between God’s morality and ours is indeed analogical”? If your statement is correct then base on His character, etc. He logically doesn’t have the “rights”. You can’t have it both ways because God can’t go against His character. Lets be biblical and logical both go together.

          • Colin Nunn

            Gregory S Gill: Gregory, I was going to answer you but I realize that you’ll remain convinced of your correctness and unable to reason sensibly because of your bias. Argument with such a person who is captive to a sect-like mentality is useless and wearying. Only God can help you. God bless you. It seems, reading all of your letters, that nothing will reach you but what you want to hear and believe. You (deliberately?) misunderstand what non-Calvinists say, as is the norm for Calvin’s worshippers and reason foolishly, ignoring the points made and constantly repeat your mantras. You make foolish statements such as “You are misinterpreting the word ‘world’. It can’t mean everybody without exception or you’ll be making the bible to contradict itself”. What you are really saying is “you are making
            my doctrine and understanding of the Bible contradict itself.” You Gregory are equating the scripture with your doctrine. Judging by all of your letters, it seems It is useless to try to reason with you.
            Doctrine is supreme over scripture. All praise to Calvin.

          • Gregory S. Gill

            All you have used in your last post is just ad hominem arguments which does not prove or disprove what I have said. Colin Nunn, you can do much better than that so rise to that level. Get serious, and answer the arguments that I have put forth to you. I answered yours, all of them. Do the same, but you can’t hence the ad hominem arguments. You don’t fool me, and those who know better.

          • Colin Nunn

            Goodbye poor Greg.

          • Prometheus

            One mistake, I believe, is that when you say love has to be in reference to someone, you assume that it has to refer to the created order. Even if God is love eternally with reference to the elect, that is a problem if that is the reference point of his love (i.e. his love is dependent on his creation). God’s aseity is at stake. It seems to ignore the Trinity. God is love with reference to himself because he is not one person but three. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are love eternally. So if God’s nature is love (he is not by nature hate, because if he were, there would have to be something for him to hate from eternity), then his love must extend to all his creation (as it says in one of the Psalms).

          • Gregory S. Gill

            I’m still correct to say “love has to be in reference to someone”, the members of the Trinity eternally express love to each other. That’s how God eternally demonstrates that God is love by nature.

            Since God eternally love righteousness and holiness that means God eternally hates unrighteousness and unholiness, that also means He eternally hates those He decreed to be always unrighteousness and unholiness , and to be in hell for all eternity.

          • Prometheus

            So are you saying that unrighteousness and unholiness are actual eternal entities? If so, then one lapses into dualism: God and evil. God’s “eternal” hatred of evil must be a way of describing his eternal love for righteousness or we make it sound like from eternity there was something other than God for God to hate.

          • Gregory S. Gill

            God eternally decreed, and foreordained unrighteousness and unholiness, and also how He is going to deal with, and treat them in His hatred toward them. All of this is from all eternity in His eternal decrees. In time He brings about all His eternal decrees.

          • Colin Nunn

            Gregory S Gill, If God hates the reprobates, then He must hate you too. You were reprobate according to Calvin and could only be rescued from that condition by God. Why then did He rescue you? Your question re ‘where in the Bible’ etc. ignores the many scriptures that tell in many diverse ways of God’s love for the world – that He is not willing that any should perish and so on. This therefore tells us that God who is love according to the Apostle John, loves everybody, thus His sovereign choice to allow us to choose to seek truth and light and by that little light we have choose to believe in Him. Perhaps you ought to begin to read other authors than Calvinist ones and hear the answers to your queries. Somehow, I don’t think you’ll have the courage to do so. I attend a Calvinist (Presbyterian) Church but read the scriptures, pray for guidance, and refuse to be led by the nose. Words such as ‘world’ ‘all’ ‘any’ etc must be understood by their obvious meanings and not be forced into narrowed meanings in order to fit in with doctrine. Your faith is not in God’s word but in Calvin’s doctrine. Get it right while you still can.

          • Gregory S. Gill

            According to the bible those whom God predestine to Heaven are called the elect among whom God has numbered me since I’m now saved.Those whom God predestine to Hell are called the reprobate, its all according to the bible, and this Calvin did teach. God is not willing that any of the elect should perish. “Words such as ‘world’ ‘all’ ‘any’ etc” should be properly interpreted by the context that they are in because they have more than one meaning, and they should be interpreted with the meanings that they had in their own day when they were written, not with a 20th or 21st century’s meaning which is the big error that you’re now doing.

          • Dean

            Greg, let me guess, you are probably in your twenties and fresh out of college. I say his because your posts don’t reflect someone who has read widely. Austin’s challenge to you on being a nominalist was one I was waiting for in reading this thread and you just glossed over it without really understanding the severe problem it presents to your case. I think before you decide to hunker down on your position being absolutely correct you should read some of the best material in opposition to your views. It will temper both your tone and your position and help you refine your arguments and God forbid, maybe even change your mind. That and maybe another 10 years of thinking and talking and relating with people with different opinions on this matter. If you are open, I trust that in just a bit of time you will come across much less obnoxious to both the internet and your peers. Cheers!

          • Gregory S. Gill

            You need to properly develop your points, for example what challenge from Austin to me concerning me “being a nominalist” that I did not answer?

            What about my questions and challenges to him that he just gloss over. Questions and challenges such as “Why can’t God create people to damned them to Hell, and still be the just God to such, and loving to His elect ones only? Everyone that God will throw into Hell God will be just to them. The most consistent Calvinist are such people as Vincent Cheung athttp://www.vincentcheung.com/ , Thomas W. Juodaitis at http://trinityfoundation.org/ and Dr. Robert Morey, at http://faithdefenders.com/inde… . Do you know them?

            ” Why saying that God love the elect only is to say “God sometimes loves some people”, rather than God love some people all the time, eternally? God loves His elect from eternity to eternity, and not sometimes. So if God eternally loves His elect only why can’t it be said in reference to His elect only that God is the loving God. Where in the bible does it tells us that God has to love everybody without any exception whatsoever for Him to be the loving God? What does God creating people to damn them to Hell has to do with saying in reference to His elect only that God is the loving God? God is the loving God but that is in reference to His elect only whom He love with an eternal, and unconditional love, while He eternally, and unconditionally hates the reprobates. Dr. Robert Morey, has spelled this point out in the above video.

            “Also if your teachings don’t logically provokes the same accusatory questions (of God) that the apostles Paul’s, teachings did then of a certainty you’re not teaching the same message that Paul taught. Anyone who teaches the same message will logically provokes the same accusatory questions that Paul logically provoked with his teachings. So please tell me when you finish teaching on God sovereignty, and man’s freewill how do you logically provoke the accusatory questions (1) “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part?”, and (2) “You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”” Romans 9:14,19 (ESV). Paul’s, and the consistent Calvinist’s teachings logically provokes these accusatory questions at our teachings thus we with Paul has the same teachings that God is absolutely sovereign over all, and man has no freewill, but how do your teachings on God sovereignty, and man’s freewill logically provokes these same accusatory questions. Tell me, please.

            “You said, “But if you try to say God IS love (1 Jn. 4:8,16), then I’m afraid you’re going to have a difficult time reconciling that with a God who creates people in order to damn them”, why is it difficult to reconcile? Saying it is easy, demonstrating it is another thing all together. The child and the serial killer analogy is a fallacy in category. The killer is under God’s rule and God has determined the killer is evil, and unloving to those he killed, yet he still loving to his child if he treat his child with love. God’s rules determine who the killer is. But tell me what (or whose) rule is God under that determines that God is not a good or loving person if He creates some people to damned them to Hell? What (or whose) law would He have broken? Remember God is love to His elect only. The killer by God’s rule owed it to God, and secondly to the people to not murder them. Who did God owe it to, to not create some people for hell?

            “Whether explicitly said the qualification is always there God is love to His elect only. Its in reference to His elect only.

            “Love is always in reference to someone and/or to something, its never in a vacuum. Example is the killer loving? Even if for now I ignore your categorical error in your argument just for the sake of discussion I can still say or ask, in reference to what or to whom is the killer loving or not loving? To his victims? Answer is no. To people in general? Maybe no, maybe yes, it all depends. To his child? Maybe yes, again it all depends. Too much of the time we let our emotions, and/or peer pressure get in the way, and cloud making logical judgments.

            “Doesn’t God ipso facto have the right to make it law for Himself that everything He does without any exception whatsoever is ipso facto all right, proper, holy, and very good, by self authority, and self definition of who He is? And that by that very same self authority, and self definition of who He is that He can’t ipso facto ever do anything that is wrong, improper, bad, evil, sinful, or wicked? Even He create a set of (or some) people (His own clay) just for Hell? Can’t He ipso facto make such a law for Himself? If He can’t, why not? And if God does has such a right then on what authority or basis can you say that if He created some of His clay just for Hell that He has done something that is wrong, not good, improper, evil, or wicked?

            “For God’s love if the reference point is everybody without exception whatsoever, then God is not love (to everybody without exception whatsoever). If the reference point is His elect only then God is love, and eternally so. The above videos show that the bible’s reference point of God’s love is His elect only. Love is always in reference to someone and/or to something, its never in a vacuum.

            “God can kill anyone, anytime He wants to, Deuteronomy 32:39, 1 Samuel 2:6-7, and still not have done anything wrong, and also still be good, and loving. But not so for me or you, so you are making a fallacy in category. God is the potter, we are His clay to do with us whatsoever He plans to do with us His clay, Romans 9:19-26.

            “Base on your way of thinking, how can God be love, and loving if He allows people to come into the world and grow up who He infallibly know will definitely, and certainly end up in hell?

            “Also if your teachings don’t logically provokes the same accusatory questions (of God) that the apostles Paul’s, teachings did then of a certainty you’re not teaching the same message that Paul taught. Anyone who teaches the same message will logically provokes the same accusatory questions that Paul logically provoked with his teachings. So please tell me when you finish teaching on God sovereignty, and man’s freewill how do you logically provoke the accusatory questions (1) “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part?”, and (2) “You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”” Romans 9:14,19 (ESV). Paul’s, and the consistent Calvinist’s teachings logically provokes these accusatory questions at our teachings thus we with Paul has the same teachings that God is absolutely sovereign over all, and man has no freewill, but how do your teachings on God sovereignty, and man’s freewill logically provokes these same accusatory questions. Tell me, please.”

          • Dean

            The only point I’m making is that you should be a little more self aware. Your arguments are not mind blowing revelations that none of us have heard before, in fact, we’ve heard them a million times over and just find them unconvincing, maybe it’s because we’re reprobate, I don’t think so, but who knows right? As to answering your specific questions, people here have tried to address them, you just don’t like their answers. I’m not here to argue with you, just to give you some completely unsolicited advice. I think you should re-read your posts and ask yourself if you can understand why no one wants to play with you anymore. This debate actually does get boring after a while, there are a bunch of other debates that are marginally more interesting, but after a while, you’ll get bored of those too. Do you know what the real answer is? The quicker you get to this place, the wiser you’ll be. In reality, the Bible says a lot different things that are probably internally irreconcilable because it’s a collection of writings from a lot of different folks over a long period of time. That’s why you get these arguments over soteriology, the atonement, eschatology, etc. The reason I think that’s the only answer is if that’s not true, then every Arminian who has ever lived including John Wesley and NT Wright is just dumber than you or willfully ignorant, and I just find that really hard to believe. I suggest you pick up golf or something, I’ve been thinking of doing that.

          • Gregory S. Gill

            I think you and the others like you should start get serious with the bible. There is only one gospel, see Galatians 1.

          • Dean

            I love the Bible and I love the Gospel. I’ll leave you with two thoughts: (1) the Bible isn’t a magic book, once you back away from that things will be less clear, but you’ll be better adjusted as human being, and (2) the Bible may be a sword, but you are definitely wielding it like a blunt instrument. I may sound like I’m being condescending, but this is really coming from a place of love for a fellow Christian whom I think needs to loosen up a bit. ;)

          • Gregory S. Gill

            NT Wright is a heretic, and an apostate, John Wesley was a great man of God but his Arminianism was one of his biggest error. Yes we have heard each others arguments for the million and one time. For the million and one time you and others like you have not answered the arguments, and for the million and one time I and other like me have answered all of you all arguments.

          • Dean

            lol, who died and made you pope? I would argue that calvinism is sub-Christian. It makes God look a lot more like Allah than Jeaus. But I’m not going to call you a heretic. Do you even have any non Christian friends or are you just this off putting and aggressive because of Internet Anonymity?

          • Dean

            If you want to play that game, your hero John Calvin was a murderer.

          • Gregory S. Gill

            If John Calvin, was a murderer does that make what he said wrong? Check out “Philosophy 103: Introduction to Logic Argumentum Ad Hominem” http://philosophy.lander.edu/logic/person.html

          • Dean

            I said, “if you want to play that game…” I’ll take heretic NT Wright over murderer John Calvin any day of the week. But to address your argument more seriously, answer me this: how well do you think a person really understands the Gospel, and do you believe someone can be truly filled with the Holy Spirit, if they could burn another human being alive? Do you think Calvin’s God had nothing to with that? In fact, I’m sure Calvin thought God would take over with the roasting where he left off!

          • Gregory S. Gill

            You have not answered my question but I’ll still answer yours. A Christian can commit murder because Christians do sin but a person can’t be a habitual or practicing murderer and still be a Christian. No one I know of would accuse Calvin of been a habitual or practicing murderer. But a person can’t be a heretic and a Christian at the same time, so lets get that one straight.

            Did Calvin himself murder or even killed anyone? Not to my knowledge. The state biblically, and righteously killed, (not murdered) Michael Servetus for his heresy, and yes Calvin played a very godly and biblical role in the whole matter. And I full agree with that, the state’s actions, it was fully biblical, I’m very much a theonomist, see Deuteronomy 13:1-5. So I don’t believe Calvin murdered anyone, and if he did that don’t make him necessarily not a Christian. Calvin was a very great man of God, used very mightily by God, as a child of God, in the cause of Jesus Christ on this earth. Calvin is now in Heaven fully enjoying Jesus Christ, in worship of Jesus.

            NT Wright is a heretic who needs to repent, and believe the gospel, and then he shall be saved, ie. justified.

          • Dean

            Oh my, this is where we stop my friend before I totally lose my shit. It’s great to be theonomist when you live in the United States of America. When you’re suddenly the victim of religious oppression by some other group, I think you’ll suddenly find that it’s not that great an idea. Go back to your cave and stone your children, I’m not even sure why you’re using the Internet, doesn’t that break some law in the OT?

          • Gregory S. Gill

            Only what is in accordance with the bible is correct, all else is wrong and of the devil but the devil always tries to counterfeit God and His ways. God tells the state to eliminate the false prophets, and teachers, the devil tells the state to do as you like, as it seems right in your own eyes which in the end always leads to the persecution and oppression of the saints of God. By the way I live in St. Kitts of the West Indies, and I’ve never ever been to the US.

  • chalesdor

    It seems to me that calvanism is just a teaching of Hindi, wheer they say that god is the doer, you dont do anything….calvanisum says you have nothing to do with your salvation….

  • Elaine Fish

    Again Austin your words have the effect of drawing back the curtain surrounding the great and terrible Oz and exposing the scared bald man hiding in the corner. No one likes being exposed. As I was trying to swallow the hard nut of election, I literally would find myself crying, emotionally wrecked and almost hyperventilating over the idea. I tried to ask my bible study leader how he could choose one of his children to be with him forever and then tell another, they were left out in the cold. What kind of people are attracted to the “smooth, clean lines” of Calvinism? I don’t understand how saying that we had something to do with saying yes to God makes Him any less sovereign? Why is it so compelling to conclude I had nothing to do with my salvation?

  • David Pitchford

    You make a very good point that’s applicable to more than just Calvinism: we must consider the implications of our beliefs, or remain content to think only within the lines we were taught and stagnate.

  • Anthea Bisgrove

    Hello Austin
    I love radio, both live and podcasted; I follow the ‘Line of Fire’ show and listen every Saturday to the ‘Unbelievable’ programme, here in the UK. I’ve just heard today’s debate with James White, and enjoyed it immensely. How on earth did you charm Mr White so well? The simplicity of your argument was very compelling. I haven’t yet downloaded the ‘Line of Fire’ mp3, but given the high standard of Michael Brown’s programmes, I am sure that it will be a good listen. Will also add your book to my wish list.

    This blog is new, is it? It’s great to be able to interact with an author and Bible teacher, but there are pitfalls. Be careful about getting into debates with Calvinists. I’m not sure why, but their comments are always A4-length essays. You could find yourself picking over the same passages over and over, such as John 6:44, Romans 9 etc, etc, etc. [Wry smile, Exit Stage left}

    • Austin Fischer

      Sounds like someone is speaking from experience :)

  • Anthea Bisgrove

    Hello Austin
    {Reposted, ‘cos I don’t understand how to use Disqus!}
    I love radio, both live and podcasted; I follow the ‘Line of Fire’ show and listen every Saturday to the ‘Unbelievable’ programme, here in the UK. I’ve just heard today’s debate with James White, and enjoyed it immensely. How on earth did you charm Mr White so well? The simplicity of your argument was very compelling. I haven’t yet downloaded the ‘Line of Fire’ mp3, but given the high standard of Michael Brown’s programmes, I am sure that it will be a good listen. Will also add your book to my wish list.

    This blog is new, is it? It’s great to be able to interact with an author and Bible teacher, but there are pitfalls. Be careful about getting into debates with Calvinists. I’m not sure why, but their comments are always A4-length essays. You could find yourself picking over the same passages over and over, such as John 6:44, Romans 9 etc, etc, etc. [Wry smile, Exit Stage left}

  • mark webster

    Read your book and was quite encouraged by it. I have spent the last several years going back and forth on Calvinism,and took off the TULIP colored glasses about eight months ago. You are right- the cross is the heart of God,and Jesus lived out God’s heart on this earth. Calvinism has such a stunted view of God-very sad.

  • Andrew

    Austin

    I haven’t read your book but I have listened to your discussion with James White on Unbelievable. One thing you’ve said several times is that Calvinists don’t have an answer to ‘how God is recognisably good, loving and just’ (or something along those lines). What do you mean by this?

    • Dean

      Try reading my comment above for starters.

  • Dean

    I’ve always wanted to write a book entitled “Perseverance of the Reprobate”, I think Conversations with the Damned would make a great subtitle. I envision it as stories of people who live on the fringes of Christianity, they don’t feel comfortable in the fold but can’t stomach the nihilism of atheism. That’s definitely where I live. I also heard your debate with James White and I enjoyed it very much. I wish you had hammered home this point a little harder though because it is absolutely Calvinism’s Achilles’s heel. What I really don’t like is the deception that comes with this new brand of Evangelical Calvinism championed by Piper, Keller, Driscoll, Chan, Platt, etc. It’s like Calvinism lite, give you taste to get you hooked, but hold back all the nastiness until you’re emotionally commuted. They should just honest about it from the get go and come out and say as Robert Morey and James White do: God HATES the vast majority of the people that he created in his own image and in fact, created them for the sole purpose of torturing them for eternity so that the Elect can appreciate how lucky they are that he arbitrarily chose to save them from the same fate. On top of that, we shouldn’t even feel bad for the reprobate because in fact, the damned WANT to go to hell so they’re getting both what they want and what they deserve. We don’t realize that now because of our sinful nature, but when we’re in heaven and glorified, we’ll finally understand that and the smoke of the eternal torment of our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, best friends, etc. will finally please us as much as it pleases God. I’d like to hear that sermon every Sunday and see what happens to this so called “resurgence”.

    • dailyreader

      Actually, the purest form of Calvinism is even more sinister than you describe. See, for example:

      “…there are two species of calling: for there is an universal call, by
      which God, through the external preaching of the word, invites all men
      alike, even those for whom he designs the call to be a savor of death,
      and the ground of a severer condemnation. Besides this there is a
      special call which, for the most part, God bestows on believers only,
      when by the internal illumination of the Spirit he causes the word
      preached to take deep root in their hearts. Sometimes, however, he
      communicates it also to those whom he enlightens only for a time, and
      whom afterwards, in just punishment for their ingratitude, he abandons
      and smites with greater blindness.” –Institutes 3.24.8

      So God actually “temporarily elects” some folks, regenerates them, but then says, “You ingrate—back to the reprobate side of the fence! You get a double portion of damnation!”

    • Austin Fischer

      Good thoughts here Dean.

  • B. P. Burnett

    Two points.

    1. I don’t now how anyone who actually believes in the God of Jesus Christ could think something that God does is “terrible” and actually, in fact, really believe that the said God did it. Surely if it is “terrible” it is a reason to think that God did not do it after all!

    2. Consider: “God is Love”, declares John. But if God is not love to someone, how can God be God to that same one, hence why would that one have the responsibility to render unto God the rights worthy of God’s divine station? So if God hates the reprobate Joe, and God does not in any sense love Joe, then “God is Love” is not true for Joe. How, then, is God therefore God to Joe? If God is not Love God is not God! So if God is not love to Joe, then God is not God to Joe. But then God cannot justly hold Joe responsible for sinning against God, because God is not God for Joe!

    How does Calvin’s hating “reprobator” hold people responsible for sins?

  • Darrell

    Here’s what I cannot understand…in conversing with the damned I talked to the people who David Berkowitz murdered. They said that God allowing Son of Sam to live in prison long enough to decide to receive Christ while they were killed by David in their sin was not loving. If they had been given enough years to live, would they have seen the truth and decided to embrace Jesus? They said, “Yes.” No matter the Calvinist or the opposite of the Calvinist position, there is a “dreadful” pronouncement that comes from God…unless we are willing to maintain that God will ultimately let everyone into heaven…Berkowitz,Hitler, Stalin, Pol Po to name a few…then God cannot be considered loving because of all the people they killed before those people could decide to receive Jesus. God could have intervened…but He did not. Why? Let’s just be completely up front no matter the theological position – many people don’t live 70 years with multiple opportunities to receive Christ’s salvation only to reject it, and God creates some people for damnation and some for salvation. I don’t see much difference in either one, God decides when we die and in what state of reprobation or salvation…unless He doesn’t control life or death.

    • Colin Nunn

      Darrell, I think you misinterpreted what they said. Either that or they lied – (they were unrepentant sinners in this life remember). God is more in touch with the minds and hearts of sinners than you are Darrell, believe it or not. When a man dies, and comes before God for judgement, he is judged by his choices in this life, not the next. Remember the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man also would have liked to have another chance and would choose rightly if given the chance, only because he now could see what judgement truly means for him.

      • Darrell

        Thanks for the little lecture about judgment and repentance, Colin. What I said was in reference to the article’s contention (you did read it ?) the Calvinist must converse with the damned ie those whom God chose not to save, and not a theological position or accusation about God. The point being I see little difference between the Calvinist and non-Calvinist positions if God truly controls when we’re born and when we die.

        • Colin Nunn

          Sorry Darrell, I obviously misunderstood your meaning. My apologies.

          • Darrell

            No worries, brother. Sorry if I came across as rude or arrogant. My read my response and that’s how she perceived it…she’s usually right 99.99% of the time.

          • Darrell

            My wife read my response and that’s how she perceived it…she’s usually right 99.99% of the time.

  • dailyreader

    Great post. For the benefit of accuracy: the Calvin quote is Institutes, 3.23.7.

  • SundaySchoolTheology

    Hi Austin,

    Great post. I also learn two things talking to Calvinists in my church (Presbyterian):
    1. Most of them don’t understand the full fledged God meticulous providence / God Eternal decree doctrine.
    2. Even if they understand, many of them did not re-visit TULIP in the light of this teaching. I guess this is because most of them if not all in my church learn and accept TULIP first then God meticulous providence. (It took me 18 years to hear and study God Eternal Decree :) ).

    On its own, in my view, TULIP is acceptable (coherent and most importantly God’s character is not that ‘bad’.)

    But it is only when we understand TULIP in the light of God meticulous providence that it gives a totally different picture. The word ‘allow’, ‘permission’, ‘active-passive’, ‘asymmetrical’, and ‘single predestination’ dissolve to become inconsistent and means nothing to me. And most importantly, God’s character suffered beyond description. Like Pastor Roger Olson, I also found a hard-time to distinguish between God and devil in this light.

    Since I learnt these two things, if I get into discussion, I make sure we all understand Calvinism in full fledged first correctly. Many of them actually could not also digest this teaching and then it kinds of creating a hunger to study the Scriptures themselves.

    God bless…

  • rex

    Well I guess the statement “God is Love” is A Priori and Objective. That’s what I got following Austin’s writings/blogs.

    • Austin Fischer

      Hmm. Actually, I don’t think “God is love” is even a helpful statement by itself…too abstract and fluffy. What is “a priori” is Jesus Christ crucified for sinners (and I might add, all sinners).