Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Calvinist by any other name would offer heresy as rank

Some observations from a someone defending a god which "intends/determines/predestines" people for Hell:
At some point your "stand for the truth" stops being a stand for the truth and mere abrasiveness.

When you get to that point, your "stand" gets lost in the noise of your unkindness, and no one will hear your version of "the truth". I only point that out so that you can perhaps express your opinion in a way that doesn't turn people off before hearing it.
That is an important consideration, one that I keep in mind always. I do not want to offend anyone unnecessarily.

At the same time, Truth is abrasive.

What, specifically, did I write that was unkind? What did I write that was untrue? If Calvin's heresies preach a false christ, should not that be exposed and condemned? Will equivocations, euphemisms, or silence save anyone from error, especially someone entrenched in it? Does not calling a spade a "spade," force us to deal squarely with the issue?

With what language would you address genocide, pedophilia, rape, or slavery? Are those "alternative points-of-view," or vile abominations, offenses to God and Nature? How much more that which destroys men's souls?

What pejoratives would you use for Someone who, when pointing out stubborn, hellish heresy, called its proponents "children of the devil," "white-washed tombs," and "vipers"? With what language would you denounce someone wishing that those preaching observance of the Mosaic Law as necessary for salvation "would go the whole way and emasculate themselves"?

Have I written anything like that of you? Have I spoken of you in terms you use below?
If God knows something, it is certain. It cannot not happen. If He knows that "Tom" will reject Christ for his entire life, he will. So, if God knows something, it is already determined to happen. Nothing can change it. That doesn't require "cause and effect". Still, it is certain to happen. So when you admit that God knows who will be saved and who will not be saved, both are certain. Therefore, it is determined. Look, if God determines (predestines) who will be saved as you admit, then those who are not in that predestination are certain not to be saved ... and that is "double predestination". (Please note that it is not symmetrical. Salvation takes effort on God's part. Damnation does not.)
There again, you're making God's knowledge into His responsibility. You're going from "something must happen because God knows it will happen" to "God causes it to happen." That is not Biblical.

According to your logic, God knew that Mohammed was going to start raping little Aisha when she was nine, so He "determined (predestined)" that, right?

What does God say? He says to believers that He predestined believers to eternal life. What does He say about unbelievers here? Nothing.

You're assuming, using human logic, something God does not say. In fact, He says the opposite of what you're claiming: "The Lord is . . . patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

Using your logic, since God wishes it, no one will perish, correct?
Next, I need to point out a serious difference of opinion between you and me. "Does not YHWH intend Life for all people? Did not Christ die for and justify all people?" These are rhetorical questions from you that assume a "Yes" answer from me ... but I don't agree with them.
You don't agree with what God says.
Here's why. If God intended Life for all people, then all people would have Life. God always does what He intends (Psa. 135:6, etc.).
God created a perfect world. God gave His perfect law. Who ruined that?

Even after our wickedness, He became flesh and offered Himself up as the perfect sacrifice for all so that all might live.

God has reconciled the world to Himself in Christ's body on the cross. Nothing more needs to be done. "It is finished."

Regarding human evil, you have to say that since it happens, God intends/determines/predestines it all, for nothing happens against His will, right?

But what does God say? Sin, death, and Hell are our doing. God doesn't force people to love Him:
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not" (Matthew 23:37)!
Your theology makes the Word of God false, the death of Christ meaningless, and God Himself a liar.
If He does not, then He is not sovereign. Does God desire Life for all? Sure, but that isn't the same as "intend". That isn't the same as "His will". (And you are seriously misreading 2 Peter 3:9.) We know this, for example, because on one hand we have the certainty that God takes no delight in the death of the wicked (Eze. 33:11), but we also know that He certainly does damn them. That is, He has a desire to save them, but His will is to damn them.
That's a bit incoherent.

Using your logic, the god who forces people to believe in Him and causes them to commit the most heinous atrocities desires to save people but can't do it? Won't do it?

Is Calvin's god insane or just impotent?
The second question is "Did not Christ ... justify all people?" No, He did not. I know you would like to say that He did, but doing so will simply make God unjust. The best you can say is that He potentially justified all people, not actually. If you argue that He actually justified all people and then you agree that some people go to Hell, you have an unjust God who has received proper payment for sin and still exacts further payment for sin. That is, you have a God who damns justified people. That is not just, and that is not God.
Or, you could say only and all of what God says:
"all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3)"

"Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men" (Romans 5).

"in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them . . ." (2 Corinthians).

"if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment . . ." (Hebrews 10).
Christ has reconciled and justified all. Those who reject His sacrifice for sins are on their own.
You are quite certain that there is no statement that God predestines who will not be saved. You are not satisfied with the undeniable fact that choosing who will be saved is also a choice of who will not.
So, you can't find any statement from God saying that He predestines people to Hell.

You're using fallible human logic which contradicts God. He does not say that He predestines people to Hell; He comforts Christians by assuring us that He predestined us to eternal life.

Here's an example of your error: In 1 John 4, God says to Christians that He, "sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." Using your logic, that means that since Christ was the propitiation for our (believers) sins, He was not the propitiation for unbelievers' sins too, right?

But what does God say? "He [Christ] is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2).
(Think about it like this for a moment. You arrive on a scene of a boat that capsized. Five people are in the water, drowning. You jump in to save them. You can only save so many before some of them drown. You choose, by whatever means you choose, to save as many as you can. It is unavoidable that by choosing to save some, the ones you didn't save were also chosen not to be saved.)
Your "logic" makes Christ a liar.

To make your analogy consistent with what God has revealed in His Word, He arrives on the scene to save everyone from drowning, but some say, "No, thanks, the water's fine. And who are you to say I need saving in the first place?"
Even when I hand you the Bible and point at Jude 1:4, you close your eyes and say, "Nope! That Scripture isn't in there!" You argue, "It doesn't say 'created by God for condemnation'." That doesn't solve your problem. It says they were already marked for condemnation before time.
First, I don't say it isn't there, I actually read it.

Second, as I noted in an earlier post, various translations (many done by Calvinists, and they've got no agenda, right?) render it as the condemnation being written beforehand.

That is not the same as God creating people for Hell (or denying salvation to many).
No one argues that God creates people for the sole purpose of condemnation. He creates people for His glory. Some of them display His glory in His salvation. Some of them display His glory in His power and wrath. None of them are made "for condemnation". But there are unavoidably some who were "marked out before time for this condemnation".
Following is the rest of Jude, beginning at verse 5. Note the reasons God gives for their condemnation. It was not His predetermining but their sin.

Note also that the condemnation for such people was set by God beforehand (prophesied by Enoch), not that God had created them for Hell:
". . . Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe . . . And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day . . . just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire . . .

"Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.

"these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively . . . they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam's error and perished in Korah's rebellion.

"These are blemishes on your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, looking after themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

"It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him."

"These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.

"But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, "In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions."

"It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit . . . ."
My guest's comments, continued:
Look, it is your belief that I don't read my Bible.
I've never said that.

I've encouraged you to say only and all of what God says.
Fine. You can remain in your ignorance.
Personal attacks are almost always a sign that one realizes they've got nothing on which to stand.
It is your belief that I take my beliefs from a guy named Calvin, one whom I've never met or read.
I pointed out the last time you wrote this that you're defending the same ideas.

If you're not defending Calvin, why are you offended?
I don't know your god either.
Yes.
This one is a strange breed. He apparently has the capability to save all but chooses not to save all while choosing to save all but won't actually ... I don't know ... very strange.
Your confusion would end if you would just say what God says: Christ died for all, paid for all our sins, reconciled us all to His Father, and justified all men, but many reject that payment and so must pay out of their own pocket.
Maybe it's that in His sovereignty He is subservient to His creation -- they decide whether or not He will save them. He does all that He chooses to do and wills that all be saved but doesn't ... do ... that. Hmmm? He wills to pay for all sin at the cross and actually accomplishes this task but refuses to accept the payment His Son made on their behalf and damns some anyway.
No, they reject His payment for their sin. They damn themselves.

The facade crumbles. Do you realize you're mocking the Living God?
What??!! He knows who will come to Him and who will not and does nothing at all to change the list of who will not because He is either unable or unwilling while being both able and willing. So whose God is more capricious? Whose God is more malicious?
You call the death of Christ, "nothing." Vile.

The malice here is obvious, and it's coming from you.
I read my Bible and see an omniscient, omnipotent, sovereign Lord who always accomplishes what He intends.
Then you should say what He says.
Feel free to hate Calvin for whatever reasons you choose.
I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
But please, please, stop insulting the God that I love, the God that I find in the pages of my Bible, the God you blaspheme intentionally. If you cannot discuss the God of the Bible that I know with some respect, charity, and courtesy -- you know ... like the Bible commands (1 Peter 3:15), then I will have to stop giving you access to comment on my blog (you know ... like the Bible commands - 2 Thess. 3:14).)
Your god intends/determines/predestines people for Hell. It is impossible to blaspheme such a god, especially by telling the truth.