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Free Will Contrary to Gospel

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By large-hammer - Posted on 01 September 2002

by Marcus Booker
Many believe that the will of man is entirely his own (and thus free from God's control). Indeed, this belief appeals to the pride of those who, in their hearts, claim the credit for their own salvation, saying, "*my* own discernment led me to Christ." Furthermore, few beliefs are so strongly held, emotionally, as to evoke such vexed opposition when challenged. You may question most any belief, but if it's "free will," people foam at the mouth in offense and anger. Yet the total sovereignty of God is not only presupposed throughout the Scriptures, but it is also central to the good news in Christ.Many believe that the will of man is entirely his own (and thus free from God's control). Indeed, this belief appeals to the pride of those who, in their hearts, claim the credit for their own salvation, saying, "*my* own discernment led me to Christ." Furthermore, few beliefs are so strongly held, emotionally, as to evoke such vexed opposition when challenged. You may question most any belief, but if it's "free will," people foam at the mouth in offense and anger. Yet the total sovereignty of God is not only presupposed throughout the Scriptures, but it is also central to the good news in Christ.CLARIFYING STATEMENTS

Before continuing on in this discussion, I must give a few clarifying statements.

1. "Free will" is not synonymous with will or with choice. Man, with his will subject to God, still has a will, and he makes choices. So whether or not there is choice is not the issue. The question at hand deals with the nature of man's will (not *whether* he has a will). Is that will governed by the power of God, or is it not?

2. The word "free" may mean many things (including "free from sin"). In this article, however, free means "not under the direct control of God's will" or "independent" or "separate."


First of all, a most basic understanding of the difference between sin and righteousness is this:

Sin (or idolatry) is trust in the flesh, fear of man, reliance upon that which is "made with hands," and that which passes away.

Righteousness is trust in the spirit, fear of God, reliance upon that which is "not made with hands," and that which endures.

Psalm 20 says, "Some of chariots and some of horses, and we of the name of the LORD our God make mention."

Psalm 147 says, "Not in the might of the horse doth He delight, not in the legs of a man is He pleased. The LORD is pleased with those fearing Him, with those waiting for His kindness."

Proverbs 29:25 says, "Fearing men is a snare; but he who trusts in the LORD will be raised up."

Proverbs 3:5 says, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not rely on your own understanding."

And Christ says, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! (Luke 12:4-5)"

See also Psalm 56:2-4, 11; Psalm 27:1; Psalm 18:6-9; Psalm 146:2-5; Psalm 44:3-8; Psalm 33:10-21


The first covenant represented sin, the second righteousness. The first is called the "law of sin and death" and the "ministration of condemnation." But the second is the "law of the spirit" and the "ministration of righteousness (2 Cor 3)." The distinction between the two covenants represents also the distinction between sin and righteousness. Christ delivers from the first to the second. The first covenant had a circumcision that was "hand-wrought" and a "temple made with hands." Yet the second covenant had a circumcision done by Christ and a "temple not made with hands." The first covenant was fleshly in priesthood, in sacrifice, in temple, in circumcision, in feasts, etc. The second covenant, by contrast, is spiritual.

Thus trusting in the Law, the first order of things, was sin and idolatry (for the Law was never meant to take the place of God). Like those of old who fashioned things "made with hands" to worship, so were many among the Jews in Christ's time. Isaiah 31:7 says, "For in that day despise doth each his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, that your hands made to you—a sin." But to the Jews their idol was the Temple and the circumcision "made with hands."

Moreover, Christ rebukes the Pharisees for making void the command of God for the teachings of men. These Pharisees characterized the first covenant. Yet the tax collector who beats his breast is the second covenant.


With all of this in mind, those who espouse the "free will" doctrine must trust in their own strength, power, and ability to choose, thereby displacing the strength and power of God. "Free will" also places our continuance in Christ upon our power, not the power of God in us. [Note: There is a fundamental difference between a man's workings, and Christ's working in us, "for a man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps (Prov 16:9)."].

Yes...We must love God. Yet "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10)." But they say that "it is the man who wills, and the man who runs." Yet the Scriptures say otherwise (Rom 9). But they, for their parts, do not acknowledge God as the one who makes the difference; they take credit for their salvation. And they do not confess their sins. Rather, they claim that they were not so fallen in sin as to be unable to come to God, of their "free will." And they think that of their own "free will" that they can also persevere in Christ.

Romans 9 answers some of these questions. The text here contrasts two nations or two vessels, the people of the first covenant (the elect of Israel after the flesh) and the people of the second covenant (the elect of Israel after the spirit). Esau represents those under the law; Jacob represents those under grace. And just as God hardened Pharaoh's heart against His people, so did God also "harden Israel (Rom 11:25)" against His saints ("whereunto also they were appointed (1 Peter 2:7-8)," sending them a spirit of delusion that they may believe the lie (2 Thess 2:11-12). God did this so that His glory may be known by the vessels of honor, while he bore the vessels of dishonor with much longsuffering. Indeed, "God has mercy on whom He has mercy, and whom He wills He hardens." Yet the end of the matter is vindication for the vessels of mercy and shame for the vessels of wrath, for "the elder shall serve the younger (See Rev 3:9)."

So to the "free willer" who asks, "Why does God still find fault (if He is the one who hardens)?," I say, "Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, 'Why hast thou made me thus?'" Indeed, Proverbs 16:4 says, "The LORD hath made all things for Himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil." And Isaiah 45:7 says, "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things." And Jeremiah says, "Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not? Out of the mouth of the most Hgh proceedeth not evil and good? Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? (Lam 3:37-39)"


There is an underlying assumption in the Scriptures that God is sovereign over everything, not least of all the hearts of men. Indeed, "for of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things (Rom 11:36)."

Isaiah asks, "O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? (Isaiah 63:17)

He laments, "He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart (Isaiah 6:9-10)." See also John 12:39-40

Where is "free will" in these passages?

See also Isaiah 29:10; 44:18; Rom 11:8

Moreover, Moses says, "the LORD hath not given you a heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day (Deut 29:4)."

Psalm 105 speaks thus of God's hardening of the Egyptians, "He turned their heart to hate His people, to deal craftily with His servants."

When Sihon, king of Hesbon, wouldn't let the people pass by, Deuteronomy 2:30 says, "the LORD thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate."

Jeremiah speaks of the time when the dominion of the Bayblonians will expire. He says, "Sharpen the arrows, fill the quivers! The LORD has aroused the spirit of the kings of the Medes, because His purpose is against Babylon, to destroy it (Jeremiah 51:11)."

When the people of Judah were in exile, Ezra says, "the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, that he had a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing."

All of these accounts are also consistent with the Proverb, which says, "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will (Prov 21:1)."

Moreover, when the beast, in Revelation, turns against its rider, John says that "God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled (Rev 17:17)."

When Paul speaks to Lydia, Acts says that the LORD opened her heart so that she attended unto the things which were spoken by him (Acts 16:14). Yes, she believed Paul! Yet she wouldn't have had the ability to do so had God not opened her heart.

Furthermore, Paul says that God put the earnest care into the heart of Titus (2 Cor 8:16).

It is also written, "I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart."

And there are many prayers which presuppose that God has the ability to change the hearts of men (Ex: Psalm 119:34-37).


John 6 speaks both about a particular redemption and an irresistible calling. Christ says, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."

The Arminian (or opponent of particular redemption), on the other hand, says, "Some that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, because his will was not as corrupted by sin as the others, I will in no wise cast out."

Christ says that the Father's will is that "of all which He hath given me, I should lose nothing."

The Arminian agrees but claims that God cannot violate the "free will" of man. He says, "the Father's will is that of all which He hath given me, I should lose nothing--But it's too bad He's not powerful enough to accomplish that will."

There is, then, a limited atonement. Yet notice the limitation: "every one which seeth the Son and believeth on him, may have everlasting life."

And of course the "free will" advocates will cry out, "What if I am just not one of the elect?" "Will I then come to Christ in vain?" To this I say, "impossible!" For Christ says, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draws him." Also, when some of the Gentiles believed the good news, Acts 13:48 says that "as many as had been *appointed* to eternal life believed."

Thus by these statements all boasting is silenced. The pride of man is brought low.


Some think that God simply "knows in advance" who will decide, of their own strength, to come to Him. I agree that the prefix "fore" means "in advance." Yet the base-word "know," in this context, does not mean "to have a mental awareness of." Rather, it means "to be closely familiar with or to have a relationship with."

Psalm 1 says, "The LORD *knows* the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish." And the Lord says, "Get away from me, ye wicked, for I never *knew* you." (Also note Joseph's not "knowing" Mary, till she bore Jesus).

So those that God "foreknew" are those that God, from the foundation of the world, had a relationship with in Christ. These are those who He had chosen in advance, before they had done good or bad. These are the ones that God "called according to His purpose" and "predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:28-29)."

And this article did not even consult many other texts which speak of God's choice, the council of His will, His calling, His election, His purpose, and predestination.

The conclusion of the matter is that God is sovereign, and that this fact is the pith and marrow of the gospel.

For more information...

See Ephesians 1:3-11; 3:10-11; 2 Thess 2:13-14; 2 Tim 1:9-10; Acts 15:17-18; Rev 13:8; 17:8; Matt 10:27-31; 25:34; 26:39; Heb 4:3; 6:17-18; 9:26; Luke 2:34; Rom 3:23-25; 8:28; Acts 2:22-23; 4:26-28; 1 Peter 1:19-20; John 17:24; 19:10-11; Prov 16:33; 20:24; 27:1; Ecclesiastes 7:14; Psalm 31:15; 115:3; 135:6; 139:16; Jer 18:6; 24:7; 32:39-40; Isaiah 14:24,27; 19:13-14; 29:16; 40:15; 45:9-10; 46:9-11; 55:10-11; 64:8; Daniel 4:35; James 4:13-15; Job 42:2; 1 Sam 10:6,9,26; 16:14; 2 Chron 18:18-22; 1 Kings 22:19-23; Judges 9:23; Ezekiel 11:19-20; 36:25-27; 1 Peter 1:1-2; 2:7-8; Neh 7:5; Gal 1:15; John 15:16; 2 Tim 2:10; 1 Tim 5:21.

reformershammer's picture

Great article!

Another way to phrase it is that Arminianism falls back on man, ultimately. Calvinism or God's Soverignty falls onto God...totally.

Dave Hunt, a well known Futurist and defender of free willism, has recently written a book against Calvinism. James White debated Hunt on just this point and cautioned him against writting a book such as this without proper research. He wrote it anyway and Biblical Scholars are ripping it apart because his argument is based on emotions.

Interestingly enough, the debate of Dave Hunt vs. James White is available on tapes from Hunt's ministry and I have talked to many 'thinking' Arminians that have become Calvinists siting that when they heard the other side (white's argument) and Dave's side, there was no contest. Many of my former Arminian brothers are now my Calvinist brothers.

Think,Think,Think... Hmmmm, isn't that what we Preterist tell our Futurist brothers?

I beg my Thinking Preterist Arminian brother to do the same in the area of Soteriology!
Lord Bless you all,

Michael Overbay

...onward TowardsTruthandReformation!

reformershammer's picture



Michel Overbay

...onward TowardsTruthandReformation!

JL's picture

Now I'm foaming at the mouth.

The mark of a man is that he is willing to take necessary risks. The Jesus of the Bible is a real man. The Man.

The Calvinist Jesus is a pathetic wimp. The Wimp. He's never taken a risk in his life. He only does what he knows will be perfectly successful.

The Calvinist Jesus gave nothing. His "sacrifice" cost him nothing.

The Calvinist Jesus is a sadistic brat who pulls the legs off insects and tortures kittens just to see them suffer.

My Jesus gave everything. His sacrifice cost him everything. The entire Godhead was at stake.



JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

reformershammer's picture

That's quite a post!
Please be bold enough to clarify specifically and build a case for your assertions.

I do enjoy a good exhange and can even tolerate myself being called names and slandered...but to assert your position and envoking the name of Christ for your assertion is most grevious.

If you have a point to make in argument, please do. I'm all 'eyes' and if you prove your position via Scripture, logic and reason included, I'll come over to your side and we'll 'foam at the mouth' together!

Lord Bless,
Michael Overbay

...onward TowardsTruthandReformation!

JL's picture

When a shepherd goes looking for a lost lamb, he does so with great peril to his life.

Either Jesus was taking a real risk or he wasn't.

Calvinism says He took no risk. Nothing bad could come of it. If that is true, Jesus was mocking the dangers faced by real shepherds.

Jesus does not want one sheep to be lost. (Matt. 18:14) No shepherd does. But no shepherd finds all lost sheep.

God wills all men to be saved (1 Tim. 2:3). But we agree that they are not. God delayed his coming so as to save as many as possible. (2 Pet. 3:9)

Jesus longs to gather Jerusalem under his wings (Mt 23:37), but Jerusalem resists.

Luke 15, the prodigal and Luke 20, the vineyard owner. "PERHAPS they will respect him."

Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for a friend.

The Calvinist's Jesus took a 3 day nap then commands us to lay down our lives for him. (Matt. 10:22, 24:9-13, Mark 13:13, Luke 21, 1 John 3:16) This is not love. This is sadism. This is a mockery of those who really do give there lives for others.

The Calvinist's Jesus does not love and can not be loved. We're his pets and we "love" him because he feeds us.

And worst of all, being a man the Calvinist's Jesus was predestined to do what he did. That is, predestination of man leads logically to predestination of God.

So ultimately, the Calvinist's God is a sadistic wimp who is totally controlled by his desire for total control. How could you follow such god? (Oh yeah, he doesn't give you a choice. He's too scared.)

Michael. Calvin and Luther were Ptolemaists. Your Biblical arguments for Calvinism are weaker than their arguments for geocentricism. The Bible teaches that the earth stands still and the sun, moon, and stars revolve around it. The Bible teaches predestination and total free will. It teaches irresistable grace and resistable grace. It doesn't teach that the earth moves around the sun.

You and Marcus use outside knowledge to explain away the Bible's geocentricism (presuming you are not Ptolemaists). It is hypocritical of you to require me to limit my arguments to the Bible especially when the Bible has what are at face value contradictory statements on this subject.

Ultimately, I base my denial of Calvinism on the fact that it is a useless construct. Gary North said, "All Calvinists are pragmatic Arminians." He's right. You can't apply Calvinism in the real world. You must assume every person you meet has a free choice.

I am not a pragmatic sort. I don't do pragmatism. Therefore, my knee-jerk reaction is to deny every philosophy of man that demands pragmatism. Try it. It saves you from a lot of mind-twisting and a lot of compromise.



JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

reformershammer's picture

I assume that each and every person I meet, in the real world, is under God's Free Will. He chooses whom He will save. Cannot God have that right? Does that make Him 'unloving'? If He is God and choose to consign the whole world to Hell would that take away Him being a loving God. Would that alter His attributes(which are immutable).

This 'risk' card you are playing leaves me not understanding what you mean. Please clarify for me if you don't mind. Help me to see where you are coming from in your reasoning.

I never said to 'limit' your arguments to the Bible, however, The Scriptures are to be the final authority. At least in my Theology. So I guess that is Scripture Alone.

Why does something have to be 'risky' or 'bad' for the Salvation of men? Can God take a 'risk'?

Logically, Arminianism does pan out that God did take a 'huge risk'. It logically states that Christ only made salvation 'possible'. So after the Atonement and Ressurection God sat up in Heaven bitting His fingernails 'hoping' that 'some' would 'choose' rightly. Whew, some did so His Son's Atonement was effectual...but only for some. Hmmm.... Why not all? He is a loving God.
Would not a loving God wish that none should perish? But what enables a man to 'not perish'?
But how can a man dead in tresspasses and sin's please God, who is offended?
The Atonement of Christ.
But how does a man, with freewill, choose God if he is not 'good' and has no 'Seed' of rightousness in him?
Only Christ can 'introduce' a sinful man to His Father.
So then if all men have freewill to choose correctly, or offer up the Sacrifice that is accecptable to God...Christ, all men must have...Christ!
And since God does not disregard His Son's Sacrifice in the end ALL WILL BE SAVED! (according to consistent Arminianism)
2+2=4 in the real world. But also Choosing God means having Christ, having Christ means salvation, salvation is of God. He Saves of His own free will. Man's will or God's will. I'll take Almighty God over man any day!

Well, I think you and I are going to go round and round on this. Will I rotate around you or you around me?:)

Lord Bless,
Michael Overbay

...onward TowardsTruthandReformation!

JL's picture


You said, "I assume that each and every person I meet, in the real world, is under God's Free Will. He chooses whom He will save. Cannot God have that right?"

You can assume any fool thing you want about people. That's not the issue. How do you act? What do you say? How do you evangelize?

When they ask, "What must I do to be saved?" A consistent Calvinist says, "Nothing, Jesus did it all. He either chose you and will save you even against your will or he will send you to Hell. There is absolutely nothing you can do about it."

That's not the Biblical answer. Try these. "Repent and be baptized." Or, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ." Evangelism is anti-Calvinist. You must act as if the individual has free will. The individual "knows" he has a choice, a decision to make.



JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

reformershammer's picture

The model of Calvinism that you are describing is HYPER-CALVINISM donounced by all Scriptual Calvinist. Scripture does not allow us to cross the lines or Biblical fences that God set up in His Word. Does the Word anywhere tell us to 'not' evangelize? No. We are commmanded to. A Calvinist admits that there are those chosen and those not choosen, however, he (the calvinist) know's not who is chosen or who is not chosen so he proclaims Repent and Believe to ALL MEN. With the understanding that out of those that hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ some will believe, some will not... due to God's choosing.

You are forcing a conclusion that is not logical or reasonable of Calvinism if one sticks to Biblical commands (guide lines).

Look at all the great missionary movements started by Calvinist: William Carey, David Brainared, the list goes on. Calvinist(not HYPER) believe and practice evangelism. That argument against Calvinism can be disproven by Biblical Calvinism and an extensive history of it and it's 'works' to back it up. It's Testimony!

If one adopts Calvinism one is not forced to move onto HYPER-CALVINISM. Why? Because there are Biblical 'fences' set up that should not be jumped over. Hyper-Calvinism is sooooo inconsistent.

Hyper-Calvinist proclaim that one cannot be saved unless he believes in the TULIP. So to them it's Christ plus TULIP! Consistent Calvinist ADD NOTHING TO THE CROSS OF CHRIST AND TAKE GREAT OFFENCE TO THOSE THAT DO AND DEFEND THE CROSS OF CHRIST AND HIS CROSS ALONE... vehemently! And we do not think that the HYPER-CALVINIST is not saved! We can't put that on the Cross either.
It's not 'believe in the Cross of Christ, and don't be a hyper-calvinist, to be saved. NO. Scripture will not allow that.
Arminians are IN CHRIST. And not because we say so but because they believe that the only way to God is by Christ! We disagree on the synergistic(sp) salvation approach taken, but nontheless, IN CHRIST THEY ARE! Praise the Lord:)

The model you have for Calvinism makes me 'foam' as well! It does. It is a discredit to the Word of God in all it's forms! I agree with you.

The only time that a Calvinist objects to FreeWill is when it is used in the context of Salvation of men. We see Adam as loosing man's freewill and Christ as re-establishing freewill in and of Himself. When God gives His Son to a man...that man has FREEWILL which is CHRIST!

Kind of like the Promised Land. Christ is literally the Promised Land and Christ is literally man's FREEWILL. Salvation is Monergestic(sp?) God Alone can raise the dead.

I hope this helps abit. Out of all the Soteriological 'groups' HYPER-CALVINIST are the most to be pitied. They place such a hard yoke on themselves and others.

Lord Bless,
Michael Overbay

...onward TowardsTruthandReformation!

JL's picture


Nowhere did I say that Calvinists don't evangelize. They have been great evangelists. That is not the issue.

When Calvinists evangelize, you do what all Christians do. You ask or tell the person to make a decision.

If you don't ask or tell the person to make a decision, then what do you do?



JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

reformershammer's picture

Calvinists don't give 'alter calls' if that is what you mean.

Yes, the person does make a decision, but the cavaet is that the decision or 'power to choose' or 'will' was placed there by God. It is not that a man makes a decision for Christ and then the 'Seed of Rightousness' is given to him. When a person comes to Christ be it via 'alter call mode' or just proclaiming the Gospel and the person later comes up to me and say's 'I received Christ', I see that as God doing a Soverign work in the individual and I praise Him for it. I don't praise God and then shake the individuals hand as a 'partner' with God in Salvation.

I can ask a person or the World to 'make a decision' if I please but I understand that I'm basically calling upon God to do His Work in the ones He chooses to do His Work in! I really have no problem asking someone to make a decision for Christ with the understanding that if the person makes that decision it is only because God worked in that person to make it and further...ordained that person from before the foundation of the World to decide or choose Christ because he not only foresaw....he forordained. He see's what He has done! There is none that are good(with The Seed of Rightousness...Christ) not one. The heart is exceedingly wicked above all things...

A sinner dead in trespasses and sins is brought to life by God via the Atonement of Christ and the indwelling of The Holy Spirit and the sinner then chooses! The sinner can only choose rightously because he now has Rightousness, Christ, in him or her to choose correctly! Apart from Christ no one can be saved or another way to phrase it is... apart from Christ no one can choose or will the Father! For is not choosing or willing Christ...Salvation? And is not salvation of God.

The Gospel is wonderful! Some just read it alone and are saved and never make a decision to others so to speak.

I shout Christ from the rooftops and His Gospel calls men to Himself. It is sure, effectual and He has targeted those sheep that are His that are lost and He will find them and the crimson blood of Christ, spilled at The Cross, offered up to The Father and poured out upon the lost sheep that only He knows per ordianation, will be covered with it and saved.

Yes, let us call all men to make a decision but let us place our confidence not on ourselves or the hearer of the Call but on God and God alone.
For He alone knows His Sheep and He will find them just as He found you and I.

Yes! I made a decision for Christ based on the decision He made about me from eternity past!

So I can take no credit, I can claim no prize based on my decision but based on His choice I can claim a crown of life and promplty cast it at His feet and Praise Him!

Lord Bless you JL. Lord Bless.

...onward TowardsTruthandReformation!

JL's picture


I have successively pared down my posts to try to get to a single simple point. It still seems to escape you.

I am not talking about alter calls. I am not talking about Hyper-Calvinism. I am talking about one-on-one evangelism.

You said: "The only time that a Calvinist objects to FreeWill is when it is used in the context of Salvation of men."

This is the only definition of Calvinism I need. Assume this type of Calvinism is true.

You said: "Yes, the person does make a decision, but ..." and "I can ask a person ... to 'make a decision.'"

Who has the authority to make the decision? God does. Not the person being evangelized. Why are you asking him? Why are you going outside the moral and legal bounds of authority? Why are you sinning against God?

This person has no right to give an answer to your question. Why are you making him sin by asking it?



JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

reformershammer's picture

The individuals decision is his/hers 'recognition' of God's Decision! First recognized to God then to men.
Why is evangalizing one on one any different from one on onehundred? I use the same principle.

OK, then don't 'make a decision'... just get saved. But is there not an acknowledgement of one's salvation?

We can rephrase from 'decision' to 'recognize' your salvation.

Salvation is something 'done' to or accomplished FOR man. And those that it is done to 'recognize' it!

How do you interpret the Scriptures as to the way salvation is accomplished?

Lord Bless,
Michael Overbay

...onward TowardsTruthandReformation!

JL's picture


I can't believe you've ever asked someone to "recognize your salvation." Even if you did, you'd be showing contempt for God's authority (unless God told you that person was saved), because now you'd be making the decision on your own authority.

It is impossible for you to evangelize consistently with your Calvinist beliefs. James says that I'll know the faith of my Calvinist brothers through their works. Your works of evangelism show total contempt for Calvinism. Your works demonstrate that no such contempt can be found in your heart. Your works prove that you don't believe in Calvinism at the one point when Calvinism matters, the point of salvation. At that point you act like an Arminian.

Early on in this thread, I said that Calvinism leads to a logical contradiction. I've proven that you can't evangelize consistently with even the most primitive/minimal form of Calvinism.

Calvinists generally want to live in an either/or world. If only it were that simple. I also said that Arminianism leads to a logical contradiction. You and I both believe that is true.

Besides that, the Bible contains a lot of verses that support either view as long as you ignore the verses that support the opposing view. Neither Calvinism nor Arminianism can be made to be consistent with the Bible.

Both Calvin and Arminius were wrong. That is why the issue has not been settled. Everyone is trying to choose between two wrong views. We've long since dropped two major planks in their theology that they agreed on. I don't know any Ptolemaists? Do you? Neither of us believe that the pope is the Beast of the Revelation. Both men are dead. Both men's systems of theology should be dead also.

Concerning salvation, I have a real decision to make. It is mine alone to make. And yet, I must make it jointly with God. (Likewise God has a real decision to make that is His and His alone.) I must work it out myself with fear and trembling and I must work it out with God. I must endure to the end, but God will help me.

I view it sort of like marriage. I must give 100% and my wife must give 100%. If I refuse to make the marriage work, the marriage will fail regardless of what my wife does. If my wife refuses, it doesn't matter what I do, it will fail. If we both decide to make it work, we can help each other make it work.

I'm not much help to God, so the analogy gets stretched pretty thin at points. And I don't understand women, so there's little chance of me understanding the mind of God.

God has ordained that he won't force a decision in the Calvinist way, but that he may "influence" the decision through other means.

The problem is life and everything in it is beyond the capabilities of Aristolean logic. God is above all that, yet the Calvinist-Arminian debate tries to stick Him there. The sooner we drop that, along with Ptolemaism and Historicism and all other vestages of this middle-ages nonsense the better off we will be.



JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

reformershammer's picture

Hello JL,
This article is about to be archived so I'm moving us to a forum. We can title it Calvinist Evangelism. So we can continue our exchange there!
Let me know if this is OK.
Lord Bless,
Michael Overbay

...onward TowardsTruthandReformation!

reformershammer's picture

Hello again JL,
One last thing:
You say:
Concerning salvation, I have a real decision to make. It is mine alone to make. And yet, I must make it jointly with God. (Likewise God has a real decision to make that is His and His alone.) I must work it out myself with fear and trembling and I must work it out with God. I must endure to the end, but God will help me.
What if you have made a decision for God and He hasn't made one for you? Or, what if God has made a decision for you but you have not made a decision for Him?
Does God really help those who help themselves?
(what about those that can't help themselves, like all of mankind dead in trespasses and sins) How do you handle this Biblical text : Ro.3:23

How do you interpret this via your view of what I would have to term: 'progressive salvation hoping in consumate salvation' model.

Ephiesians 2:1-10:
(A) And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now in the sons of disobedience.
3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus,
7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

The Grace of God

(B) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
I have failed to ask you if you are a Preterist? And if so Full or Partial?

You and I must get down to the Texts of Scripture.
Do you see Paul in contridiction to James. Or do you think we have just not found the right 'logic or reasoning' model to interpret yet? Or do you think God has chosen to not allow us to 'decifer' the Salvation of man texts? Or Is the seemingly 'tension' just the way it is intended to be?

I know I've thrown alot your way and I do appreciate your dialogue with me!

Lord Bless,

...onward TowardsTruthandReformation!

reformershammer's picture

The Scriptures only allow for two views...logically. 1)God save's man in and of Himself. Or 2) God makes it possible for man to save himself by the use of his will. All else falls inbetween these two. Please show me your 'third' Scriptural view via Scripture, logic and reason.

How much 'weight' do you give to logic and reason in a regenerated man?

I am able to 'grasp' and 'understand' these things so while I may not agree with you I'd like to understand your interpretation.

Please show me where your interpretation is more consistent than either Arminianism or Calvinism. (by consistent I mean one can either be consistently right or consistently wrong). And explain to me why. Once again, I need to understand where you are coming from if I am to rightly and justly dialogue with you.

Also, why can't we 'fully know' how (the method) God uses to save man? Is there not enough data given or have we mis-interpreted the data?

You Said:
I can't believe you've ever asked someone to "recognize your salvation."
I have never asked anyone this. My context was your objection to asking someone to 'make a decision'. If I can't ask someone to make a decision for Christ then what 'terminology' do I use. Or is 'decision' only reserved for the Arminian position because it would be wholly inconsistent for a Calvinist to use such a term?
Help me to understand this also.

I asked you in former posts what you meant by 'Risk' that Christ must have taken for the salvation of man. Please explain this to me, I need to understand the 'risk' factor you are talking about.

How did you come to the conclusion that Salvation is Synergestic(sp)?

Per your last post: Can you tell me if what you are saying is that no one will ever know if he is truely saved until he stands before God and is declared saved? Is this what you mean?

You need to answer these questions for me if you want to keep dialogue going. I cannot dialogue any further without these answers. To continue without the data I am asking for would be fustrating for you and I and others that may be reading this with us.

Lord Bless,

...onward TowardsTruthandReformation!

reformershammer's picture

Amen to that Marcus!

Well Gentlemen,
I've contributed all I think I can at this point.
I think that the whole subject of the roles played in mans salvation is paramount to a right view of God and man, however, it does not affect one's salvation. In other words salvation is not The Cross of Christ and Calvinism. Salvation is of The Lord.

May the Lord bless us all in our walk with Him.
Michael Overbay

...onward TowardsTruthandReformation!

large-hammer's picture

Virgil (and all),

When I defend the sovereignty of God, I am not defending a "man-made" doctrine as such. I could care less what Calvin or Luther or what anyone else says, unless what they say accords with the Scriptures. So if men derive from out of the Scriptures solid doctrine, then they are not somehow originators of the doctrine, but excavators of it. The same is true of Preterism. I wouldn't defend preterism because Russell believed it, or because someone else along the line held to it. Rather, I would hold to it because it's the doctrine from God. Some men may also have *noticed* that the doctrine is to be found in the Scriptures, but that doesn't make it *their* doctrine.

We tend to only call "doctrines of men" those doctrines with which we disagree. If we, personally, agree with the teaching, then we recognize it as a doctrine of God.

Anyway, I don't want this whole issue to become bitter. Yes...I maintain that the issue is very important. And I know that what we believe about the sovereignty of God affects everything else.

About three years ago, three of my friends and myself discussed these very issues with some other friends. The discussion lasted into the night, and the emotions ran high. There was anger. There was gnashing of teeth. There was kicking and screaming (figuratively). Believe it or not, I was gentle in the discussion. I let my other friends do most of the talking--I mostly watched.

At the time I regretted the whole incident, and I wondered if we had wasted our time or caused damage to our friendship (with the others). It was a couple of months later that one of them, who I had always thought had a heart after God's own, came up to me and chuckled and said, "You were right. It's in there. I can't get around it." He then thanked me (not as a formality but sincerely).

He had spent those 2 months wrestling with the issue himself. And I think that's what needs to happen here. Very, very, very, rarely does a person get convinced of a different position on the spot during a debate or discussion. It's usually by taking it home with them and struggling and reviewing (with the Berean spirit) that causes the shift.

Marcus Booker

reformershammer's picture


(by the way...if you choose the adam's freewill must logically take the Universalists position. Think about it.)

...onward TowardsTruthandReformation!

JT's picture

You guys are jumping all over the board, not to downplay the issue at all. I know it is an extremely important question. What ceases to be discussed is the question of what the Calvinist means by "sovereignty" and what the Arminian means by "sovereignty". Don't let this debate between Calvinists and Arminians exclude Amyraldianism, and how they understand God's "sovereignty". I think the issue is right here in God's sovereignty. All the previous dialogue hinges on this issue, not whether [b]God is sovereign[/b], but [b]how is God sovereign[/b]? Is God sovereign over good and evil in the same way, aka simple symmetrical sovereignty, both Calvinists and Arminians, or is God sovereign over good and evil in a different way, aka assymetrical sovereignty, held by Amyraldians and taught in the Bible.

Essentially, both Calvinists and Arminians have forced cause-effect relationships within the created order upon the Creator, such that God's sovereignty is identical to creature cause-effect. Not only does this breach the Creator-creature distinction, but it also is speculative and overly simplified. God is not that simple.


large-hammer's picture


Would you please expound upon this idea. It's new to me. I agree that the distinction between Creator and created thing is important. I think that the analogy of author/fictional character helps capture the essence of that distinction.

I agree that, in one sense, God causes everything to be as it is. And I agree that an author writes a story and makes it all unfold as he sees fit to do.

It was according to His plan that Christ was crucified. Likewise, it was according to Stephen King's plan that the warden was bad (in Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption).

Yet God, because He is outside of creation (being the Creator) does not cause the death of Christ, as if by any wickedness on His part. God has rather ordained that the Judeans and *their* unrighteousness was the cause of the crucifixion. And they are the ones who are *responsible* for Christ's death.

Likewise, Stephen King does not bring about the trials of Andy Dufrain. Rather, King ordains that those trials come by means of other characters. These characters are the ones to blame, not King.

Marcus Booker

JL's picture

I used an analogy and you accused me of foaming at the mouth, ignoring scripture, etc.



JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

reformershammer's picture

Hello BigJohn:)
I in no way, shape of form advocate the neglect of Reason or Logic when dealing with Scriptures. The Sproul bit was that he saw it in Scriptures, Calvinism: Total Depravity,Unconditional...TULIP!
He didn't understand it. He didn't embrace it and yet he saw it in Scripture. So he preached it fighting it tooth and nail. But his ability to reason logically would not allow him to look at a text, in the greek and in context, and over ride it with another interpretation just because he couldn't accecpt it emotionally.

I beg all my Arminian Brothers in Christ to use the same principle used to come to Preteristic conclusions:

"COULD I BE WRONG HERE?" Ask yourself.
I BEG YOU TO PROVE US WRONG!!!! I can't tell you the number of Christians that went about the task of proving Calvinism wrong and then become Calvinist.

I wish I could argue the point better! I have been where the Arminian is. I know his ground and his view of God in salvation very well.


Why? Because in your view of God, He only made SALVATION POSSIBLE and you have to do the rest to make it effectual!

BigJohn, I'm sorry but that view repulses me. Would you add your 'freewill' to the Cross of Christ? That's what Arminianism does!

BigJohn, I regard you as a Brother in Christ:) Don't take me wrong. But God's Soverienty runs deep through my heart.:)
Forgive me for my zeal for Christ and Him Alone in salvation. It's all I can see in the Scriptures.

Lord Bless you! And I mean that.
Michael Overbay

...onward TowardsTruthandReformation!

Virgil's picture

Can I kindly remind everyone that calvinism is in fact a MAN MADE doctrine? Just because someone rejects predestination or the calvinistic understanding of justification, that does NOT automatically suggest that the person rejects God's infinite sovereignty. Let's not confuse the two...they are not mutually exclusive guys!

reformershammer's picture

Can I kindly remind everyone that calvinism is in fact a MAN MADE doctrine? Just because someone rejects predestination or the calvinistic understanding of justification, that does NOT automatically suggest that the person rejects God's infinite sovereignty. Let's not confuse the two...they are not mutually exclusive guys!

When we move into the 'man made doctrine' stage reason has left the conversation and is over at the window looking outside.

If someone rejects Calvinism it does not mean that the person rejects God's Sovereignty, but is does mean he has a poor or poorer understanding of it!

It is giving lip service to God's Soveriegnty as stated in the Bible.

The Arminian must need expect a 'pat on the back' when he arrives in heaven because he 'chose' well!
Of course, he'd give the 'good job' right back to God for Him making it possible.
It's kind of a 'Thankyou... no, Thankyou' bit.

It is synergistic. Calvinist see it as Monergestic.

If God came to me and said: "Michael, I want you to choose out of all the doctrines you believe, not including the 'essentials' for salvation, but all the doctrines you believe you can keep only one and must forsake the rest . But, the doctrines you let go of will be replaced by their counterparts. Which doctrine would you not let go?"
Well, I'd be a tonguespeaking,must be baptized to be saved, sascerdotal, pre-mil dispenstional CALVINIST.

Michael Overbay

...onward TowardsTruthandReformation!

Ed's picture

Keep in mind that the 5 points of Calvinism were developed by the Synod of Dordt in response to the Remonstrants who brought forth the 5 points of Arminianism. Calvin never formulated the 5 points, they were developed later.

What matters here is not Calvinism or Arminianism. What matters is what the Bible says. Isn't that what Preterism is all about - sola scriptura?

I agree with you that someone can believe in a Sovereign God without calling himself a Calvinist. However, keep in mind that most "Calvinists" would not be as vehement in their position if it were not for those "Arminians" who claim that Calvinism is from the pit of hell or some such rot.

Did God harden Pharoah's heart?

Did God send a lying spirit into the prophet's mouth to deceive the king of Israel so that he would go into battle and die?

Did God not hate Esau and love Jacob before the boys themselves did anything to earn that love?

Did God will that Jesus would die on the cross?

These are just a few questions that should cause a person to say, "hmmmmm".


Papa is especially fond of us

SciotaMicks's picture

Ed>Did God harden Pharoah's heart?

Yes, he did. But evidently Pharoah also hardened his own heart. Exodus 8:15, 8:32.
Even Exodus 9:34 says that Pharoah sinned once more and hardened his heart.

So which is it? Did God make Pharoah sin, or did Pharoah choose to sin against God on his own?


bigjohn's picture

It doesn't matter what you do in regards to trying to 'get saved' or not trying to 'get saved'. God has ordained those that will be saved before the foundatiion of the World. (thats Bible). Do you believe that 'all hasn't already happened 'in God's mind?

Hi there reformer, I don't mean this wrong but it seems like your opening statement is a little confusing to me. Your question is a tough one and I'm not sure it is "bible" as you say. The best my little mind is able to answer that question is that God has created the universe and all of human life and things have been set in motion and now it is up to us to do something with what He has provided for us in this life. How does that sound so far? : ) (humor) On the other hand I'm serious in that God sent His Son to us so as to provide us with salvation and He by no means forces that salvation on any human being!
It seems clear to me that the scripture teaches predestination, but not Calvinistic Predestination. Scripture predestination is where God pre-determined, not the identity of the saved, but the character of the saved, wouldn't you agree? Of course you don't have to! : ) Calvinistic predestination means that the future is already determined (predestined). The implication is that it doesn't matter what you do, it has already happened. You have no free will. But let's look at scripture.....
What is foreknown by God in these verses? Personal identity? Or Character, purpose & plan?
Remember, God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11-12; 1 Peter 1:17).
Romans 8:28-30, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."
Now, let's try to define what Paul is saying here in it's context by listing some points starting with vs 28:
Who is under consideration here? "Them that love God" ­ not a few whom God loves.
"The called according to His purpose," we are not called by a still, mysterious voice or by a direct operation of the Holy Spirit or by God Himself, but by the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14).
Those who hear, believe and respond in obedience are referred to as "the called" (Galatians 1:6; 1 Peter 2:9).
He foreordained all of the events before they actually took place.
In that sense, God predestinated our salvation. It was not that He selected us individually to be saved or lost, but that those who accepted the gospel call would be saved.
Those who answer that call are justified and glorified.

I understand where you are coming from but at the same time, I don't understand why you can't see the texts we submit to you 'in context.' Ask yourself if your mindset could be incorrect. I try to use the same argument in principle that we use to persuade people of Preterism. RCSproul for years didn't 'see' calvinism in the Bible. But, he carried a card with him that stated: If it's in the Bible, preach it regardless if you understand it or not. He would debate his professors endlessly on the election point. One day the Lord opened up the texts and he became a convinced calvinist. Election is in the Bible. The whole TULIP is in the Bible. Contextually. Just because we can't see something doesn't mean it's not there. Sometimes the forest gets in our way.

I don't disagree with you about what the bible teaches about election. Yes, it's in the bible but not the Calvinistic type of election. I believe that God has given every man and woman a free will to choose and God elects those who chose His gift of salvation through His Son. Those are the elect.

"If it's in the Bible, preach it regardless if you understand it or not". Then why is he still a futurist? (partial pret) : )
As for RC Sproul's card that he carries, I would have to answer that this way:
Never did any preacher of the Gospel, recorded in the Bible, resort to saying, "This is a complete mystery, you cannot begin to understand it". Instead, we read of them appealing to people through reason and drawing logical conclusions from Scripture.
I think Sprouls card is slightly flawed and needs to be updated: "If you think it's in the Bible but you don't understand it, it might be a good indication that it's not in scripture and you had better make it your best effort to understand it and to make it absolutely, positively beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is what the bible truely teaches and then preach it with all your heart"!
If I live according to Sprouls card I'd be believing every wind of false doctrine and myth that has been dragged into Christianity and the bible that has nothing to do with scripture at all! I won't go into to much detail on that right now, but I think you get the picture. Nothing against Sproul. Just that I don't agree with everything he teaches either. Hey, I'm enjoying our discussion and I hope I didn't say anything that is offensive to you but that is how I see the scripture as rightly divided by letting scripture speak for itself. That is how I came to adopting the full preterist view of prophecy and scripture.
Peace to you brother reformer.....

large-hammer's picture


You're engaging in that foaming at the mouth that I talked about. It's uncanny how that happens!

If you want to disagree, I can respect that--i.e. if you address my points and use the Scriptures faithfully to do so. Yet until that time, I must regard your thoughts as useless.

My point is not to offend you, but I am a servant of God. And it is Him that I seek to please, not man--for if I sought to please man, I would not be a servant of Jesus Christ. That being the case, I do not take lightly insults levied against the true God. And there is no way to put it lightly or sugarcoat what you have done: you have insulted Him. You have despised Him as He has revealed Himself to be in the Scriptures. Maybe you would prefer another god, one that you devise yourself. Yet know this: no idols stand before His face. Lean on them, and you too will fall.

Marcus Booker

JL's picture

Given the joke I started with, I thought I was in good humor. Uncanny how I could have predicted that a rabid Calvinist would accuse me of foaming at the mouth.

I am not an Arminian and I don't know any Arminians. You Calvinists like name-calling. It's too bad you also like only half of your Bible.

A friend of mine composed a list of verses for a similar discussion on another forum. Here it is.


You want verses?

Here's some. Take your pick. There are enough to support EITHER position.


Mt 26:24 woe to the man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed
Lk 17:1f stumbling blocks inevitable, but woe to that person
* Lk 19:41-44 God hides "things which make for peace" yet the city will be punished and destroyed
Lk 22:22 woe to him who betrays
Lk 22:54-62 Peter denies, weeps, though it was predicted
Rom 3:3-8. Though our sin glorifies God, we can still be judged.
Rom 9:14-21. Though we cannot resist God's will, we can still be judged.
2Th 2:11-12


Mt 11:28 come to Me, all you who are heavy laden
Lk 9:23
Lk 11:9f contrast with 13:20
Jn 1:12
Jn 2:23-25 Jesus did not "entrust himself" to some who believed
Jn 3:36
Jn 6:40 everyone who believes is risen
Jn 7:17
Jn 10:9
Jn 12:26
* Jn 16:27 God's love because of belief


Jn 12:37-40 cannot believe, God blinds heart
Rom 9:17-18
Rom 11:7-10
Phil 2:13
2Th 2:11


Mk 4:11f given in parables so they see, but not understand
Mk 6:52, 8:17 no understanding = hard heart
Lk 8:10 speaks parables to limit understanding
Lk 9:45 disciples didn't understand Jesus was to be killed
Lk 18:34 from disciples
Lk 19:41-44 hides "things which make for peace"
Lk 24:16, 45 road to Emmaus


Mt 11:21-24 if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occured in you


Mt 18:14 not willing that any sheep should perish, cf. Jn 10:26
** 1Tim 2:3. God wants all to be saved
** 2Pe 3:9. God does not desire any to perish


* Mt 11:25-27 Thou didst hide these things from the wise
* Lk 10:21 Thou didst hide these things from the wise
Rom 9:11
Rom 9:17
1Co 1:26-30
Eph 1:4, 5, 11
1Tim 12-14, 16
2Tim 1:9
?? 1Pe 3:9 "so that"


Lk 11:49-50 God sends prophets to increase their guilt, contrast with 20:13
Jn 9:1-3
Jn 12:27f
Rom 9:22-23
Gal 3:22


Jn 6:44f
Jn 8:43-47
Rom 3:9-18, 23. No one is righteous, no one seeks God on his own.
Rom 8:5-17. earthly man controlled by the flesh
1Co 2: 10, 12, 14. earthly man cannot know the things of the Spirit
2Co 4:3-4. unbelievers blinded
Eph 5:17-19


* Mt 11:27ff and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him
* Mt 13:11 seems to imply no human choice
Mt 15:13 God does the planting
Mt 20:23 God predestines who sits at right and left
Mk 13:20 God choses elect
* Lk 10:21-22 anyone to whom the Son reveals
? Lk 12:32 your Father has chosen to give you the kingdom
Lk 13:24 some seek to enter but cannot
Jn 2:23-25 Jesus did not "entrust himself" to some who believed
Jn 5:21 the Son gives life to whomever He wishes, Father and Son raise different people ?
* Jn 6:44f no one can come unless the Father draws him
* Jn 6:65 no one can come unless granted by the Father, refers to v. 44 * Jn 8:43-47 children of the devil cannot understand
* Jn 10:26f cannot believe because not sheep, My sheep hear My voice
* Jn 12:37-40 could not believe to fulfill prophecy
* Jn 13:18 Jesus did not choose Judas
* Jn 15:16 you did not choose Me, Judas not present
* Jn 17:2,6 eternal life to all God gives to Christ
** Rom 9:11-13 God chooses before birth, not based on works Gal 1:15. Paul set apart from birth
** Eph 1:3-14 esp. vv. 4, 11 predestined in Him in love before foundation of the world
Col 1:26-27 God willed to make known His glory to the saints
Col 3:12 chosen of God, holy and beloved
1Th 1:4-5 God's choice is made known because of Spirit in them and conviction
* 2Th 2:13-16 chosen from the beginning for salvation ... thru faith
2Tim 1:9 saved according to purpose, granted us in Christ Jesus
Heb 9:15 those called may receive the promise
** 1Pe 1:1-2 chosen according to foreknowledge of God
* 1Pe 2:7-8 predestination to hell !!
* 1Pe 2:9 chosen race, royal preisthood
* 2Pe 2 esp. v. 12 predestination to hell, doom of very evil people
Jd 1 called, beloved, kept
* Jd 4 marked beforehand for condemnation


* Jn 1:13 not by the will of man
* Rom 9:16 does not depend on man who wills
Rom 11:5-6 if by God's choice or grace, then not by works
* 1Co 1:30 by His doing you are in Christ


1Co 1:30 by His doing you are in Christ
1Pe 1:3 according to mercy caused us to be born again


Mt 13:14-15 Isa prophecy "they have closed their eyes"
Mt 18:12-13 rejoices IF he finds
Mt 22:1-14 many called, few chosen; unwilling to come to wedding feast
Mt 23:37 Christ longs to gather Jerusalem
Lk 13:34 Christ longs to gather Jerusalem
Lk 15 prodigal son
Lk 20:13 PERHAPS they will respect him
Jn 5:37-40 you refuse to believe
* Jn 7:17 if a man is willing to obey, he will understand
Eph 4:18-19 men with hard hearts have given themselves over, note v. 20 ?


Rom 8:29
Rom 11:2. provides insight into the word "foreknow" cf. 1Co 8:3, Gal 4:9 !!
** 1Pe 1:1-2 chosen according to foreknowledge of God
1Pe 1:20 insight into "foreknown" in NASB


Mk 14:24 His blood is poured out for many
* Jn 10:11, 14 shepard lays down life for sheep
* Jn 13:1 loved his own eternally
Rom 4:24 written for Christians' sake
Rom 5:6-8 Christ died for ungodly, demonstrates His love for US
Rom 5:19 many made righteous by His obedience
Rom 11:32. mercy may not mean salvation, but general lesser mercies like rain, blessing ,etc.
Rom 16:26. clearly "all nations" does not refer to every person, i.e., does not include reprobate
Gal 1:4 gave Himself for sins of Christians
Gal 2:20 delivered Himself up for me
Eph 5:2 gave Himself for us
Eph 5:25-27 Christ gave Himself up for the church
? Col 1:26-27
1Th 5:10 died for us
1Tim 1:15 came to save sinners
* Rev 5:9 blood purchased some men from every tribe


* Jn 1:7, 9 he came that all might believe, enlightens every man
Jn 3:16
* Jn 12:32 will draw all men
1Co 15:22. all made alive, all means all, context is important
2Co 5:14-15. died for all
2Co 5:19. reconciles the world
* 1Tim 2:6. ransom for all
* 1Tim 4:9-10 savior of all men, esp. believers
* Ti 2:11 grace of God appears to all men
Ti 3:4. God's love for mankind, Jesus Christ
* Heb 2:9 Christ should taste death for every man
** 2Pe 2:1. Jesus "bought" the false prophets
* 1Jn 2:1-2 propitiation for sins of the whole world


* Jn 6:37, 39
** Rom 9:19
1Co 15:10
1Th 2:13 doesn't say we can't resist God's work though


Mt 23:13 Pharisees block entrance into the kingdom
Mt 23:37 Christ longs to gather Jerusalem
Lk 7:30
Lk 13:34 Christ longs to gather Jerusalem
Jn 6:70f
** Ac 7:51
2Co 6:1
1Th 5:19 do not quench the Spirit


Mt 24:24 it is not possible to mislead the elect
Mk 13:22 not possible to deceive the elect
Lk 15 prodigal son
Lk 22:31f
Jn 4:14
Jn 6:39
Jn 10:28f
? Jn 17:12 not one perished but Judas (cf. 18:9)
Rom 8:29-30
Rom 11:29. specifically refers to "the fathers" ?
1Co 1:8. refers only to Corinthians? cf. vv. 2b, 4-6
Phil 3:12-16. the mature will press on
1Th 5:23-24 God causes perseverence
2Th 3:4 Paul's confidence that they will persevere
1Tim 1:18-20
Heb 10:14
Jas 5:19-20
Jd 1
Rev 3:5. names cannot be blotted from the book of life


Mt 5:13 if salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again?
Mt 26:31-35 disciples will fall away
Mk 9:50 if the salt becomes unsalty
Mk 14:27 disciple will fall away
Jn 15:1-7 don't abide and you're cut off
Rom 11:22
2Co 11:3-4. they fall away, Paul tries to bring them back, no consequences defined until ch. 13
Gal 5:4 (cf. v. 10)
Col 2:18-19
Heb 6:1-9
Heb 10:26-39
Heb 12:15-17
2Pe 1:8-10
2Pe 2:20-22
Rev 2:5. lampstand removed unless you repent
Rev 3:5. blotting names from the book of life


Mt 7:21-23 not everyone who says "Lord, Lord"
Mt 10:22 hated b/c of me, he who endures will be saved
Mt 24:9-13 the one who endures to the end will be saved
Mk 13:13 hated b/c of me, he who endures will be saved
Lk 14:34f
Lk 21:19 by endurance "attaining" life
1Co 15:2 cf v. 14
Gal 6:9
Col 1:22-23
1Tim 2:15
1Tim 4:16
Heb 3:6
Heb 3:14
Heb 4:1-3
Heb 6:11
Jas 1:12
1Pe 1:6-7
1Jn 2:18-19. proved not to be believers because fell away
1Jn 2:24-25
2Jn 9
Rev 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:26-28, 3:5, 3:12, 3:21


Eph 2:3. Christians are under wrath before salvation
Eph 5:3-6
Col 1:26-27
Col 3:5-9
1Th 5:9


Mt 11:21-24 if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you
Lk 10:13
Lk 22:67


Lk 8:16
* Rom 10:14-15
1Co 1:18-24
1Co 9:16-27
* 2Co 5:10-21


Lk 11:49-50 God sends prophets to increase their guilt, contrast with 20:13
Rom 8:25. Perseverence is a natural result of hope for salvation.
2Th 1:10-11. Paul confident of their belief, yet prays that they be found worthy of the calling
2Tim 2:10 Arminians think Paul would not need to endure if elect were unconditionally chosen


JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

JL's picture

Big John,

The Calvinists are willfully wrong. The rest of us were predestined to be in error.

Arminus proved that predestination leads to a predestined God. All Calvinists refute it, usually with silly statements like, "God could have done anything he wants even made the sky green or purple." But they never bother to confront the cold hard logic.

It's also quite enlightening that they posit total free-willism on God and on nature yet have a god who is to weak to grant man the same freedom.

Likewise, Arminus' postition can be shown to lead to a logical contradiction.

I agree with Arminus that the Calvinists are wrong. I agree with the Calvinists that Arminus is wrong.

The Calvinists will yell and scream. I don't know what the Arminians will do. I don't know any. Neither does anyone else here.

God's total sovereignty does not grant God total free will. The Calvinists can't seem to understand this. The free will of others can actually enhance sovereignty.

For example, I have total sovereignty in my house. If I'm single, I have to do all the shopping and cooking. This restricts me greatly. If I'm married, my wife decides what she will cook for dinner. How does her free will diminish my sovereignty? Far from it. Her free will frees me to do other things. It greatly enhances my sovereignty.



JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

reformershammer's picture

I don't know if I will even dignify your logic with a 'I won't even dignify your argument with a reply?' statement!

The Calvinist takes the verses of the Bible that seem to speak of man's free will(IN HIS SALVATION), places them in subjection to God's freewill and Whala!
Sovereignty... and harmony.

Why won't you allow God to be God?

Your and Arminus' presuppositions are much eschewed! An erroronous starting point leads to an erroronous conclusion.

Your presupposition is: Calvinism is wrong. You then give 'man texts' dominance over 'God texts'.

Try it the other way around. You may be plesantly suprised!
Michael Overbay

...onward TowardsTruthandReformation!

large-hammer's picture

Big John,

I'm not trying to twist what you say. I'm trying to understand your question and answer it faithfully. I apologize if I have misconstrued what you have said.

Anyway, who you are is important, and everything that you do is important. "Unconditional election" is unconditional for you, of yourself. Yet it is conditioned on God's working in you and through you. So, in a way it is conditional too, but not upon your own efforts (i.e. without God), but upon God's efforts in you. God deciding to work a blessing in you and doing it is a condition of election.

As for whether our lives matter or not, I say that they do. Yet I do not compromise God's sovereignty for the sake of a perceived significance to the lives of men (apart from significance assigned by God Himself).

I look at our existence in God much like fiction. For in God's sight, we are but fiction--for the life and existence of fictional characters depends entirely upon the author. So God is the reality; we are the fiction (comparatively). My imagination may conceive of a story. That entire story depends upon me for its existence. The world of that story and all the characters in it are only real because I sustain them in my mind. According to my purpose (in authorship), I may devise good and bad characters, for the sake of the story. If I want to, I may even bring judgment upon the evil ones, in the context of the story. Am I wrong for doing this? Am I somehow a wicked author because I condemn those who I had made for the very purpose of being evil (to fulfill my plan)? Am I wrong for holding them *responsible* for their actions? Do not I have the right over these characters to do whatever I please? I made them! They exist totally through me and for me! They have no rights in my presence. And the lives of these characters does indeed matter, not only in the context of the story but to me as well. If these characters and the story didn't matter, why would I bother with them?

Now you might say, "Yeah...but it's only fiction--it is ridiculous to think that these imaginary characters have rights before their author." Well...That's how we are from God's perspective. It's best to accept it and honor our Father as the author of every good and perfect gift.

As for whether I'm a Calvinist: If by your question you mean, "Do I believe the 5-points to be true?," then yes.

Yet I think that the five-points must never be used so as to diminish responsibility or to cause despair. I think that oftentimes false conclusions are drawn from the five points from those who do not believe in or understand God's sovereignty.

Marcus Booker

large-hammer's picture

Big John,

Let me try to answer your questions and concerns.

Yes, it fully does matter what you do! Yet your good deeds are not accomplished by *you* merely, but it is *Christ* working in you. In a sense, you do it either way, but really there is a big difference between these two understandings. The difference is in who gets the credit. So your righteous acts are not properly yours, but Christ's. He gets the credit. Christ does these works through you. Do you see the difference here? The saints are instruments of Christ's righteousness. Yes...These saints ACTUALLY do good, and they must do good. Yet we ourselves are not the authors and perfectors of our own faith, as if we had the power apart from God!

The election of Jacob, after the flesh, was unconditional. A man born into this chosen nation didn't have much say in the matter. He is born elect. It is the same with those who are born after the spirit. God is the one who makes them the sons of Zion. Election is by means of birth, and birth is by nature unconditional. Birth is something accomplished by parents, not children!

Think of righteousness as clothing provided by God. You know in your heart that, of yourself, you are naked. Yet you are clothed by God. Nobody says that you are *really* naked; no one charges you with being naked under those clothes. Yes...Those clothes are a gift; they are not of yourself. But they are actually yours. Nobody thinks that you are naked; and truly, you are not naked. You are righteous and not a sinner.

Or think of righteousness as an inheritance of vast riches from your father. You receive the inheritance on the basis of your relationship. Others do not share in that inheritance because they are not sons. Apart from your father's grace, you know that you yourself would be poor. Yet nobody accuses you of being poor simply because your riches came not from yourself but from your father. Everyone recognizes that you are rich; and indeed, you are rich! This is the righteousness that we have in Christ.

Moreover, our assigned lot, our inheritance comes from the Lord. This lot is similar to the pagan notion of destiny (as in the word "predestination"). God has a plan for the lives of each man, and He always accomplishes that plan. That's how the prophets and Paul can speak of being chosen in the womb and called at the appropriate time. That's how David also speaks (Ps 139).

God makes wolves wolves and lambs lambs (unconditionally). The wolves act according to their God-given nature; they naturally seek to devour sheep. Yet how do I, a shepherd, assign blame to these wolves? I assign blame because they seek the lives of the sheep! And a good shepherd lays his life down for the sheep.

Yes...We make choices! The people of Israel had to choose between life and death, the blessing and the curse. Wolves also make choices. Yet their choices are tied up in their God-given nature. They never act contrary to their nature. So is it also with men. Can a leopard change his spots? Can an Ethiopian change his skin? Pharaoh's choice was fully his--he hardened his heart. Yet his choice was rooted in his God-given nature (for God hardened Pharaoh's heart). His actions were fully consistent with his nature; and his nature came from God (according to His plan).

Big John, I would ask you to consider if a draw toward free will comes from a thorough investigation in the Scriptures, or if it is simply a lust of the flesh, generated from pride.

Sometimes "free willers" construct a god of their own; a god more of their liking, inasmuch as he doesn't exercise dominion over them. Some people are offended by a God who hardens Pharaoh's heart and then brings judgment against him for it! If this is the case for you I ask you to reconsider these things and investigate the Scriptures for yourself. You must focus on the rights of God rather than the rights of man. Maybe you can check out the references that I gave at the end of my article. That should serve as a good starting point.

Marcus Booker

bigjohn's picture

Marcus, When I said, "it doesn't matter what you do it has already happened", I was not saying that after a person puts his trust in Christ that it doesn't matter what he does i.e., Godly works etc, I was trying to point out the flaw in Calvinism which is known as the doctrine of unconditional election, etc, in that they believe everything has already happened in God's mind so with that type of mindset it has already been decided by God on who will be saved and who will not be saved!; in that sence, then it doesn't matter what you do! Get the picture? You either misunderstood what I said or you are trying to twist what I said to say what you want it to say. I take it you are a Calvinist? I don't see where Calvinism is scriptural and if that is what you want to believe that is certainly your business.

reformershammer's picture

Hello BigJohn!
It doesn't matter what you do in regards to trying to 'get saved' or not trying to 'get saved'. God has ordained those that will be saved before the foundatiion of the World. (thats Bible). Do you believe that 'all hasn't already happened 'in God's mind?' I understand where you are coming from but at the same time, I don't understand why you can't see the texts we submit to you 'in context.' Ask yourself if your mindset could be incorrect. I try to use the same argument in principle that we use to persuade people of Preterism. RCSproul for years didn't 'see' calvinism in the Bible. But, he carried a card with him that stated: If it's in the Bible, preach it regardless if you understand it or not. He would debate his professors endlessly on the election point. One day the Lord opened up the texts and he became a convinced calvinist. Election is in the Bible. The whole TULIP is in the Bible. Contextually. Just because we can't see something doesn't mean it's not there. Sometimes the forest gets in our way.

Lord Bless you BigJohn and keep wrestling with us Calvinist!

Michael Overbay

...onward TowardsTruthandReformation!

bigjohn's picture

So according to the doctrine of Unconditional election known as Calvinism, the implication is that it doesn't matter what you do, it has already happened. You have no free will?
By unconditional election, then, Calvinists mean:
Out of fallen humanity God chose certain people unto salvation. God elects people.
The number of God's elect is fixed.
God does not elect individuals based on foreseen merit of any kind, including faith. Election is an act of God's sovereign choice.
God's election and calling are invincible. Does the Bible teach that God has decided ahead of time who will be saved and who will be lost? Or, are we are free, moral agents with the capacity to accept or reject God's commandments? According to scripture God determined to save man from sin through the sacrifice of His own Son. Those who answer His call through the gospel experience the blessings of that plan now in Christ Jesus. (Romans 2:3,11) How is this in harmony with the doctrine of unconditional election?

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