You are herePreterism and Calvinism: The Philosophical Argument, Part 1

Preterism and Calvinism: The Philosophical Argument, Part 1

  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/vaduva/planetpreterist.com/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 842.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home/vaduva/planetpreterist.com/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 745.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/vaduva/planetpreterist.com/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 589.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/vaduva/planetpreterist.com/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 589.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/vaduva/planetpreterist.com/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 149.

By Virgil - Posted on 15 January 2005

Earlier I was viciously attacked by someone here because of my rejection of the general theology of Calvinism, and particularly, the doctrine of predestination. I was labeled “blind, sorry, foolish, heretic, vain, sad, nauseating, hypocritical, and sinful.” All this because I disagree with election and predestination. Since this is MY website, I decided to respond to these vicious allegations appropriately and show why I believe election to be incompatible with Preterism, and furthermore why Calvinism is a relic of futurist theology.I will approach my argument against Calvinism and specifically against predestination in three distinct articles dealing with the following topics:

- The Philosophical argument

- History of Calvinism and predestination

- Calvinism and Preterism: Two incompatible worldviews

The Question of Personal Identity

When I started studying philosophy, I ran across a poem by Elizabeth Bishop which was presented to us during a philosophical debate. Poetry is not my first choice for communicating abstract concepts; however this particular powerful poem struck me and stuck with me ever since; so much so that I still have my very first philosophy textbook in my library.

In the poem, “In the Waiting Room,” Elizabeth Bishop remembered a visit to the dentist on a winter day in 1918. She describes the time when she became aware of herself as a self:

I said to myself: three days

and you'll be seven years old.

I was saying it to stop

the sensation of falling off

the round, turning world

into cold, blue-black space.

But I felt: you are an I,

you are an Elizabeth,

you are one of them.

Why should you be one, too?

I scarcely dared to look

to see what it was I was.

I gave a sidelong glance

--I couldn't see any higher--

at shadowy gray knees,

trousers and skirts and boots

and different pairs of hands

lying under the lamps.

I knew that nothing stranger

had ever happened, that nothing

stranger could ever happen.

Why should I be my aunt,

or me, or anyone

What similarities--

boots, hands, the family voice

I felt in my throat...

held us all together

or made us all just one? - Elizabeth Bishop, In the waiting room

What this poem describes is something all humans experience at some point in their lives: the sudden realization that each of us is an I, an independent self. This is an awesome, amazing and powerful realization, which can bring tears to my eyes and feelings of amazement and of giving glory to God for finding it necessary to give me, the lowly me, a sense of self. And this process of self-realization underlines one of the most awesome characteristics of God, and therefore of mankind. Self-consciousness and personal identity is what gives man the ability to refer to himself as “I” or “me.” This is consistent with God's repeated use of the phrase “I am” when describing who he is and is consistent with God naming the first man Adam, setting him apart from the rest of the creation. This self-identity provided by God is instilled in Adam's descendants to this day. We all as humans have a strong sense of identity which we both use as a platform for our environment (so that we view ourselves as having distinct identities, separating us from everything and everyone else) and as a means to identify ourselves for the rest of eternity, set aside our good and bad memories, moments of happiness and sadness, love, dreams and creative times when we know God's glory is being magnified through our actions. It is this process of self-awareness and self-identification that is being denied by Calvinism and by supporters of predestination. Also note that the self in this context is unrelated to the human soul and the two concepts are entirely different.

When an architect creates a building, the most important step in the building process is the architect's projection of himself into the building. The building first exists in the mind of the architect as an abstract, concrete model of the reality of the building. Nonetheless, this model is very important in the creation of the building itself. The modeling step of the creative process is key to identifying the creator and his relation to the creation. In fact, by projecting their personal identity over their creation, authors and creators can be identified by outsiders as distinctive individuals. This is how one can visit a museum, point to a painting and say, “This is a Monet,” or “This is a Van Gogh.” And this is how experts in architecture can point to a building and say “this building is in so-and-so style.” In essence, Monet and Van Gogh, through their paintings clearly are expressing one thing: “This is who I am.” This is possible because the creator had one important characteristic: a sense of self and of personal identity which clearly and undeniably separated himself from everyone else before him and after him. Throughout the ages, people have been able to create things which personified their memories, dreams, intentions, feelings, wishes and desires, which all sum up the I am.

The Question of Self-Transcendence

Since the “I am” statement appears to be a sum of everything that one is as a human being, it would only be natural for me to look at all the “I ams” out there and compare them with my “I am.” The amazing thing about our individualism is that although we are for now physical beings confined by both time and space, it seems as if God gave us the ability to rise above time and space and transcend whatever present reality we experience. We do this for example by creating memories, displaying and having children. The time gone by is kept alive by memories, and after our passing away we continue to project our self onto our children, friends and family. Of course as Christians we believe that we continue to exist after death into a spiritual body, and even though the physical body dies, our sense of identity transcends even death and continues on for eternity.

Jesus told the story of Lazarus and the rich man. Both men died and went to Hades, the rich into a place of torment, and Lazarus into a place of comfort. Both men were able to recognize each other. Although it is beyond our understanding of how this is possible, the sense of “I am” was strongly projected by both men even though their physical bodies were dead. We can therefore deduce from the parable that our sense of self has very little to do with the physical environment, and it has a lot to do with the unseen part of the human body, although one's soul, as Jesus showed in His parable still has a sense of self, therefore the soul and self should not be confused or used interchangeably.

Is it not true that as I previously showed, everything which was ever created first existed inside one's mind? Is it not true that even the universe, planet Earth and mankind first existed in the mind of God? Indeed, is it then not true that the ultimate display of “I am” is God creating man with a self-identity and the ability to transcend the physical environment by man himself saying “I am?” Would it then be harder for God to create a physical hunk of flesh and breathe life into it, or a being able to look at himself, identify himself from the rest of creation and say “I am?” I certainly hope I am not the only one seeing the vastly superior glory of God being displayed in a self-aware and free creation, rather than a creation already predisposed to be for or against God.

The sense of self-transcendence which I believe God instilled into us is also expressed by projecting our sense of individualism onto our children, families and society. Note that God deemed it necessary for Adam to have a mate. I do not wish to get into the communal importance of the “we are” societal identity, however I do want to point out that the strongly Calvinist churches of America who put so much emphasis on predestination are miserable failures when it comes to projecting a Christian sense of self onto the society.

One's sense of self can of course be affected by what he thinks. Fatalism is a strong characteristic of the American church, and as a result, self-fulfilled prophecies are causing Christians across the world to suffer both physically and spiritually, and I believe that the inability of Christians today to overcome a fatalistic worldview is based partially in the wide-spread of Calvinism.

Note how all points of the TULIP Calvinism have a negative aspect in one way or another:

Total depravity, or total inability and original sin – is a distortion of the fall, the curse, and today's world.

Unconditional Election – it automatically creates a concept of “others” which are viewed as evil outsiders, as profane individuals unworthy of God's love or election.

Limited atonement – it teaches that Christ only died for the elect and no one else.

Irresistible grace – the elect cannot resist the grace of God and have no choice in rejecting God.

Perseverance of the saints – it is impossible to lose your salvation. Nothing you can do can separate you from God.

Note the negativism in each point listed above, and note how each point in fact revolves around the rejection of a sense of self and personal identity. The TULIP points in Calvinism destroy the God-created distinctiveness in each of us, distinctiveness meant to separate us from the rest of the creation and ultimately glorify the Creator by giving us the freedom to make the choices He would want us to make, or reject the choices He would want us to make. The TULIP negativism projects both a Creator getting a sense of identity by forcefully manipulating his creation, and an imperfect, miserable and choice-less world heading for an inevitable end. Does this not sound familiar? Is this not the perfect excuse for Christians to avoid interaction with the world and ultimately create a sense of “we are?” Is TULIP Calvinism in fact not a direct contradiction of the Preterist position on the Kingdom of God ultimately encompassing the entire world, just like the stone in Daniel grew to a mountain encompassing the entire earth? Is TULIP Calvinism also not a contradiction of Revelation 11.15 which teaches us Preterists that “The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and His Christ?” The negativism promoted by the TULIP Calvinism is simply inconsistent with the “I am” and “we are” sense of individual and social sense of awareness promoted by Preterism today.

As Preterists we understand that while we continue to experience what we perceive as negative events in our lives, with God, we have the ability to transcend negativism and magnify the glory of God in our lives and in the world. Without a sense of personal identity and individualism, we would be unable to overcome the world, and there would be no glory given to God when negative events become overwhelmingly positive, and when seemingly impossible things become reality.

The Question of Privacy

When we discuss the etymology of the word “person” we know that it is rooted in the two Latin words sonare, which means “to give a sound” and per, which means “through.” These two words give us the understanding that a person is one who “speaks through” as usually referred to in regards to Greek theatre actors who used masks to disguise their identities during a play. One would be hard pressed to find a more clear picture and description of a “person.” As individual beings going by through our lives, we use language to communicate our self to others and also hide our self from others. No matter how hard we try to project or hide ourselves we will fail, and something will always remain hidden inside our being.

What is fascinating about the question of privacy is that it also applies to God, probably because we were made in His image. In the deepest corners of our souls, mankind is “incommunicable.” There is a very real sense in which we are all alone and will always be alone in the world, be it in the midst of a crowd, or in the midst of the ocean. We simply know that we have a very exceptional relationship with ourselves, in that we know things about ourselves that no other man knows or will ever know. In the same manner, it is impossible for us to know the souls of other men and their secrets and desires. So then we can reasonably argue that we are free to choose the level of self we choose to reveal to the world around us, and perhaps even to God, unless of course God chooses to look for himself inside our hearts, which He can freely do. However, note how God related to Adam and Eve after they sinned against Him. He did not actively intrude into their lives, rather He asked “Where are you?” and requested an explanation for their actions.

Another noteworthy comment to be made is the insistence of today's Christians, who are mostly futurists, on the physical aspects of the Kingdom of God. I am convinced that these physical expectations are the ultimate cause of misunderstanding the necessity of humanity's self, and its existence.

You see, futurists today expect a physical, public and overwhelmingly extravagant coming of Christ – this physical event being tied directly into the senses of perception of the human body. The problem with this approach is that we know as Preterists that the Kingdom is not of this world, i.e. It cannot be detected with the four senses of the body. In the same manner, one cannot detect the existence of the self as if detecting a physical object. We can then deduce that our sense of self, as shown previously, is “made” of the same “stuff” of which the Kingdom of God is made, the stuff of the spiritual realm, and denying the existence of the self, is as if denying the existence of the Kingdom of God and its spiritual nature. Our sense of self is as real as the Kingdom of God, it can transcend time and space, it can transcend the negative world view created by futuristic Calvinism and it can provide real hope for salvation and a sense of self and worthiness to ALL mankind for eternity.

The Denial of Self

Interestingly enough, Buddhism also denies the self. The ultimate goal of Buddhism is to eliminate the self entirely and eliminate the existence of anything permanent like “the soul” or “the self” aiming to ultimately integrate all the senses of the body into the environment and find The Way through the extinction of the self and the unification with nature and the universe. Note the exclusive focus on the physical and bodily senses of perception.

David Hume also was one of the western philosophers denying the existence of the self, or at least attempting to explain it away as being related to the senses:

“When I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe anything but the perceptions.” - David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, 534.

This ties nicely into the early church tendencies of self-denial, and punishment of the self. Because of the predisposition to believing in an active and victorious Satan in the world, some early Christians became monks (Martin Luther included) and lived lives of self-denial, attempting to defeat Satan and the desires of their bodies through physical punishment and self-inflicted pain. This is a sense of denying the self which has made it into the present, although most modern Calvinists want to have their cake and eat it too: recognize the total depravity of the world, but enjoy the full benefits of living in a free country such as the United States for example.

With this in mind, recall the very first point of the TULIP Calvinism: total depravity. What a striking similarity between heathens and Buddhists focusing entirely on their bodily senses to perceive physical reality, and the core concept of Calvinism which teaches that all creation is depraved and corrupt, thus giving someone a lens through which a distorted view of the world is presented. American Christians cannot continue to cry for freedom of religion and individual rights while teaching that everything has already been ordained one way or another. Their actions do not match their theology.

Conclusion

Because predestination and election deny the concept of self, and because Calvinism establishes a premise of a totally corrupt physical creation, it must be rejected by Preterists. Since we now understand the nature of Death occurring in Genesis 2, and since we understand the true nature of the curse, we can safely reject Calvinism together with all its points as just another piece of man-made doctrine which has no place in one’s heart. It is understandable why futurists would want to adopt Calvinism in the context of their eschatology, but there is no sense in Preterists teaching and adopting it, an especially making it into an issue of salvation and fellowship. If recognizing the Parousia of Christ as past or future is not an issue of salvation and fellowship for Preterists, why would predestination and election divide us Preterists? Only a fool would use predestination and election to split believers and create controversy. If we as Preterists worship with futurists and do not make the Parousia of Christ an issue of salvation of fellowship, why then is predestination and election an issue?

A rejection of Calvinism does not imply by any means a rejection of God's sovereignty, and God's sovereignty is not associated exclusively with the doctrine of Calvinism. In fact, free-will Preterism strongly reinforces the absolute sovereignty of God. I do not serve a God that intrudes into my self and rips out my thoughts, feelings, and memories.

Only the Creator of the universe, true God Himself would be the one able to keep all His promises, fulfill all His prophecies and offer free salvation to everyone willing. Loving the unlovable sinner, touching the untouchable profane by becoming a Self, Individualized Man, and ultimately expanding the walls of the heavenly tabernacle from Hebrews 9 to encompass the whole world, multiplies the sovereignty of God infinitely more than the doctrine of predestination and election will ever do. As Preterists we know that we all can right now become more like Him, but we also understand that we all right now still are.

It is evident so far that Calvinism robs man of the God-given sense of self, and the sense of spiritual realities given to man by God. Is it not more glorious for God to love a being who already rejected Him than to love a being already predestined to heaven or hell? And was it not the love of the father magnified so much more when he let his son choose to care for pigs, and lovingly accepted him when his son chose to come back?

Note: I want to thank Dr. Gary Percesepe for his book on philosophy which influenced a lot of my thinking. This article was heavily based on his chapter titled The Self as Mind, Body and Machine from Philosophy, An Introduction to the Labor of Reason.

Continue to Part 2 of this article

davo's picture

davecollins: With so much talk of flaming retribution, wrath of God, and vengence etc..it is hard for me to see "humanity restored, and now the people of God" understood by the first generation, or now.

As for "then or now" – I'm not all that surprised that "some" of the first century believers did not fully grasp the covenantal import of Christ's Parousia, some who hankered after the "consolation of Israel" no doubt still thought in rather concrete and literal terms e.g., Act 1:6; Jn 6:15.

Dave, how is it that you struggle to be consistent in your approach to Scripture? If you truly hold to a "fulfilled framework" then why is it that you cannot see that if "He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" Heb 9:26b, that this can only mean sin no longer separates 'man' from God – is that not the relevance and reality of the Atonement, what Calvary was all about? – "Immanuel!! God with us" [Rev 21:3].

How is it that you would have the blood of bulls and goats covering the sins of Israel for 12 months, yet the blood of Christ being powerless to remove sins for 12 seconds? – being limited to a certain criteria. Dave, there's no doubt about it – obedient faith accesses the benefits of grace in this life. Jesus said: "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." Mt 6:33 – reading the context shows this to be "this worldly" in the here and now. Doing so is an act of faith, it brings much reward – that is the way of salvation – it is actively seeking out His righteousness in service, but that is not atonement. The atonement [reconciliation-redemption] was between Christ and God alone, on humanity's behalf, it covers all.

Interesting you should mention the wrath of God. The prêteristic equation gets somehow thrown out the window here. We gleefully acknowledge according to Mt 5:18 that the law must indeed be fulfilled in its entirety if the heaven and earth be passed away [understanding the covenantal nature of "heaven and earth"]. How then with any consistency do you hold to still yet more future wrath, all be it post mortem? What does Paul say:

Rom 4:15a "…the law worketh wrath…" Clearly, if there is still more divine wrath that Christ did not bear on the Cross then His mission was indeed somewhat impotent, and we are all still somewhat under the Law – it's the exact same scenario we spin to our futurist friends, can you not see it?. Of course I don't believe any of that for a moment, but it is the logical outcome of what you are believing.

1Jn 2:1 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

It really isn't that hard to believe.

That neighbour you have been praying for for years is no less redeemed than you are, the only difference is he doesn't know it – go and tell him. If he can grasp it he may come into the call of God i.e., the priesthood, if not, rejoice anyway for he is as special to God as you are. All Israel was redeemed, the good, the bad and the ugly, yet she still had her priesthood [believers – the saved]. If you "really" believe in the unconditional love of God, then don't do the religious thing and put hurdles in front of him [Lk 11:52; Act 15:10], just love him as God already does in Christ, and tell him of it.

davo – pantelism.com –

davecollins's picture

Thank You Davo, I do want to be Biblically accurate and consistent in my preteristic understanding.
I don't believe in the Future wrath of God. My point was that, wrath was taught by Paul to those you say were redeemed and firmly in the family of God.

The only "hurdles" I want to lay out are the ones that God prescribed; Repentance and faith.I think that is the only way to relate to a Holy God.

I do agree that if Christ truly died for all, than all would be redeemed.I believe His blood purchased men from every tribe, tongue and nation, but some were not in Christ.

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved, Paul announced to those who were not going to be destroyed in the destruction of Jerusalem.

The "other" thief on the cross, was not told that He also would be in paradise that day, only the thief who had faith was redeemed.

Whether they were under the law or without the law they were still sinners in God's eyes.The blood satisfied the wrath of God for the elect Jew and the elect Gentile. We are still counted as one of these.
Thank you for your time! sincerely dave

davo's picture

davecollins: I don't believe in the Future wrath of God. My point was that, wrath was taught by Paul to those you say were redeemed and firmly in the family of God. [Yes I agree, being redeemed however did not preclude judgment e.g., Korah etc; however, judgment was corporeal and temporal – not annihilation or eternal conscious torment post death].

davecollins: The only "hurdles" I want to lay out are the ones that God prescribed; Repentance and faith.I think that is the only way to relate to a Holy God. [You are correct when you use the word "relate", for through "faith" this occurs. But the necessity of faith itself becomes a hurdle WHEN it is put forward that without it one is forever lost post death from the presence of God – when that happens, that IMO then becomes a hurdle, and is not biblical].

davecollins: I do agree that if Christ truly died for all, than all would be redeemed.I believe His blood purchased men from every tribe, tongue and nation, but some were not in Christ. [There is of course this cross-over in the use of terms between redemption and salvation, and yet I do believe there are clear biblical differences depending on context. Those "redeemed" as you mentioned were the elect to be priests in the earth [Rev 5:9-10], just as Israel was elect to be a light [priests] among the nations – saved to serve].

davecollins: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved, Paul announced to those who were not going to be destroyed in the destruction of Jerusalem. [Absolutely].

davecollins: The "other" thief on the cross, was not told that He also would be in paradise that day, only the thief who had faith was redeemed. [You would have to ignore many verses that announce "national redemption" to say he was not redeemed. Certainly post death the penitent thief appears to have a more privileged position, but looking at Hades pre Parousia in terms of Paradise being the realm of the righteous and Tartarus being that realm in Hades of the unrighteous may very well explain this – either way, they were all in the realm of Hades, "in toto"; 1Sam 28:19 is indicative of the righteous and unrighteous sharing together the abode of Sheol/Hades pre Parousia.]

davecollins: Whether they were under the law or without the law they were still sinners in God's eyes.The blood satisfied the wrath of God for the elect Jew and the elect Gentile. We are still counted as one of these. [No, the blood satisfied the wrath of God for all – the "many" means "all"].

Isa 53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

Rom5:18 Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.

Life was been "put to the right" in Christ – accepting it helps in living its blessings, but ignorance of it is not a "go directly to jail, do not pass 'Go' do not collect $200" penalty etc.

davo

MichaelB's picture

1 Peter 2
8and, “A stone that causes men to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.”[a] They stumble because they disobey the message–which is also what they were destined for.

John 3
7You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

DrDre's picture

What were thinking when you quoted 1 Peter and John 3? I don't understand what you were trying to convey please elaborate...

Dr. Dre

Virgil's picture

Very interesting passages - the question remains: How can one disobey a message which they were destined for? :)

SuperSoulFighter's picture

This is an excellent start, Virgil. You and I are in complete agreement, where Calvinism is concerned. I like your development of Calvinism's inherent philosophical weaknesses.

As I mentioned to JL, in my comment above - I wrote a paper in college on this subject. God as the Great "I AM" is the source of all identity. As such, He requires no qualifiers attached to His identity. He is simply "I AM" - not "I AM A SUPER-BEING WITH SUPERPOWERS" or something to that effect. All identity has its source in Him and the things He has brought into being. It's a profound Biblical and philosophical truth that Calvinism DOES undermine in its efforts to portray man's will as subverted and enslaved either by the "sin nature" or by God, in the case of those who are spiritually reborn. The "ego" or "self" is supposedly "crucified with Christ" therefore it is not I that lives, but Christ. He must increase and I must decrease, etc. etc. It's so easy to go all mystical when Calvinism is taken to its logical outcomes and extremes. But no-one really wants to go there!

Thanks again for re-introducing this topic for consideration and discussion. I hope you won't mind me addressing the "T" in TULIP in an article of my own here soon!

JM

Virgil's picture

John,

Thanks for your comments, and I am looking forward to your "T" article. Hopefull you won't beat me to the punch..:)

SuperSoulFighter's picture

I was close, Virgil! Our articles were well-timed! :>)

JL's picture

I don't see where Virgil began with philosophy. All I see is an illustration of his point using a poem in a philosophy book. Virgil used the illustration before he made his point. If Virgil just gave the simple one word Biblical answer (two words in English), people would be screaming at him for his "blasphemy."

What does it mean to be made in the image of God?

I AM.

This is the issue. Calvinism denies it. Calvinism claims, "I ain't." Calvinism claims that only God can say, "I AM."

God is the Great I AM. I am a little I AM. God was, is, and forever will be. As a created I AM, I am and forever will be.

I AM is not compatible with Calvinism.

JL

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

SuperSoulFighter's picture

I once wrote a paper on this, in Bible school, JL. I pointed out that God's very title "I AM" reveals Him as the source of all identity. Rather than saying "I am an extra-terrestrial of advanced intelligence" or "I am a supernatural spirit being", He simply states "I AM". All identity is derived from that which HE has brought into being. It's a profound philosophical AND Biblical point.

JM

JL's picture

John,

It certainly is profound. So is Virgil's personal claim, "I AM."

JL

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

SuperSoulFighter's picture

True. Because of our insufficiency in and of ourselves, however, "I AM" (i.e. "I exist as an autonomous, self-conscious entity") is only our STARTING point in this life. We ultimately attach many other qualifiers to that original self-awareness statement ("I am a parent; I am a student; I am a business person; etc.").

God's statement ultimately addresses His transcendence of all finite identifiers and qualifiers. He originated all (He IS the Origin of all), and so He finds His identity, ultimately, in Himself. Only HE remains consistent in identifying Himself as "I AM".

JL's picture

John,

Neither Virgil's point or my point is to question God's I AM status. We completely agree.

The issue here is our status. We, who are "made in the image of God," are also I AMs.

JL

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

KingNeb's picture

JL said: I don't see where Virgil began with philosophy.

let's read his title one more time-

Preterism and Calvinism: The Philosophical Argument

thereignofchrist.com

JL's picture

Neb,

I'm not a theology nor a philosophy major. Neither is Virgil. If he were 15 or 20 years older, Virgil could have used any Neil Diamond song to illustrate his point. Did Neil Diamond's music come from a philosophy book?

Are you familiar with Calvinist Gary North's "philosophical argument" why we must all be "pragmatic Arminians?" It's not a Biblical argument. Nothing in the argument is Biblical. Yet North thinks the argument is unassailable.

Virgil's argument starts with a profound Biblical premise: I AM. His illustration shows how fundamentally profound this premise is. NO ONE HAS TAKEN ISSUE WITH THE PREMISE. If you really don't like that illustration, then use your concordance and prove it's not Biblical. Try Gen. 3:10, 4:14, 15:2, 16:2,5,8, 18:4 and hundreds of other places in the Scriptures. This is so profound, everybody knows it and takes it for granted. No one questions it. No one can question it.

Virgil then made an argument of the same type North made for "pragmatic Arminianism." As far as we tyros are concerned, it's a "philosophical argument." NO ONE HAS TAKEN ISSUE WITH THE ARGUMENT ITSELF. You just don't like the label Virgil put on it. You sound like my daughters arguing about what color something is. It's blue for my sake.

You theology and philosophy majors are arguing angels and pinheads. What a waste of 8 years of school. If you don't like what Virgil said, say something substantive or fix the argument to meet your rigorous standards.

JL

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

davo's picture

Virgil: That indeed is the question, and my answer is yes, ALL humanity has been reconciled to God, the kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our God, and the perfect has come in AD 70 and it now permeates all creation.

However, that does not mean everyone is saved, especially if you are presenting the argument from the free-will perspective. Some people can freely reject the new covenant of God and His presence. Compare what I am proposing with Israel entering the promised land. All Israel made it into the promised land, however not every Jew lived in covenant with God - not that although living out of covenant with God, they still enjoyed the benefits and promises of the promised land, i.e. the milk and honey promised to Moses.

Virgil, you're sounding dangerously more like Ed and myself – all have in deed been reconciled. This whole issue IMO is only an issue because the essence of "salvation" has been misunderstood and thus misconstrued. Salvation was never about us getting to Heaven – Jesus got all humanity there by virtue of His atoning death. Salvation was/is all about coming into the call of God for service – being saved to serve i.e., coming into the priesthood.

Thus the first-fruit elect were not elect to get to Heaven, but to minister the world shaking revelation that in Christ all have been [past tense] reconciled. Those who grasp/ed this message [by faith] enter/ed into eternal life i.e., a relationship with God in this life, which was and is a life of service, being priests [not in the "religious" sense] before God and unto our fellow man, imparting healing to the nations [Rev 22:2] – the everlasting Gospel [Rev 14:6] etc.

And further, on the point about Israel: all Israel, the good, the bad and the ugly, all were redeemed out of Egypt [bondage] without their consent; those of faith however entered into the greater blessing of God in the Land of Promise i.e., they were delivered more fully into His care, provision and purpose = salvation. That is the difference between redemption-reconciliation and that of salvation. All humanity is redeemed-reconciled, those of faith find salvation [eternal life], which is the life of service in Christ.

So from this perspective [pantelism] the Arminian-Calvinism debate becomes rather moot. I refer you back again to my article – Fulfilled Grace –

davo – pantelism.com –

davecollins's picture

Dear Davo, another interesting thought provoking response! Your view that "Jesus got all humanity to heaven by His atoning death" is very interesting.

Your scholarship is quite evident and your genuine kindness is refreshing.

Your fulfilled grace position seems to be more manipulative and controlling then our calvinistic approach..at least we have to respond to God's Life with repentance and faith.

Would you comment on 2 Cor.5:20?..why plead with people to be reconciled to God, if already done?

Also,1Peter 1 seems to talk about a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time for those who received the great mercy which caused them to be born again to a living hope thru the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.The outcome of their faith was the salvation of their souls at the revelation of Jesus.

Would you comment on vs.3-9? Thanks for your time davo!

davo's picture

davecollins: Davo, seems to believe that the reconciliation was an automatic, no response needed, get into heaven free event.
I believe the Bible teaches the inseparable pair of repentance and faith are required.

Dave, you appear still not to grasp what I'm saying. With regard to salvation "getting or going to Heaven" was not the issue. No one before Christ had ascended to Heaven upon death [Jn 3:13], Jesus opened the way for all, through his flesh [Heb 10:20; Jn 14:6] – the reconciliation established this [2Cor 5:19]. Repentance and faith are required if one is to come into the service of God, i.e., His priesthood – this brings one into the realm of real life in this life, i.e., eternal life aka "salvation". Being sanctified is being brought into the call. This had particular significance in the "this generation" as they were the one's through whom the redemptive plan was coming to fruition, IOW, in their time, it was a work in progress [Phil 1:6].

davecollins: Would you comment on 2 Cor.5:20?..why plead with people to be reconciled to God, if already done?

Quite simply this: Paul was urging them to come into the reality of what Christ was establishing in that transitional generation. The reconciliation was established through the Cross, grasping this reality by faith would bring them fully into the freedom and realisation that their trespasses actually were no longer held against them. So many are bound to performance, not knowing that what Christ performed at Calvary removed the offense of sin [Jn 1:29], removing its potency by the sacrifice of Himself [Heb 9:26]. Their ignorance of this reality does not negate their reconciliation, it simply means they are missing out on the freedom knowing it brings.

davecollins: Also,1Peter 1 seems to talk about a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time for those who received the great mercy which caused them to be born again to a living hope thru the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.The outcome of their faith was the salvation of their souls at the revelation of Jesus.

In a very literal sense, those who heeded Christ's words would indeed be "delivered" [saved] in the Lord's Day, out of harms way. We know many believers did in fact pay with their lives, but not through disobedience, but through martyrdom. Either way, their inheritance [reward based on righteous works, not works of self-righteousness] was secured for them – the reward however was not Heaven itself.

davo – pantelism.com –

Virgil's picture

Would you comment on 2 Cor.5:20?..why plead with people to be reconciled to God, if already done?

Because, it wasn't a completed process yet. Read verses 18 and 19...the world was in the process of becoming reconciled to God. If all these people were already predestined to be saved, why would they need someone to beg them to be reconciled to God? Reconciliation was completed at the fall of the temple, when the first century believers, the elect ushered in the presence of Christ.

davecollins's picture

Virgil, You are exactly correct!! It was not a completed process yet! The message of, Jesus is the Christ, needed to be sounded forth so that men could repent and receive God's grace by faith....The very fact of their conversion gave evidence of their election (see 1 Thes.1:5-6)

Virgil, to answer your question, why plead if predestined, those who were predestined,were called by the preaching of the gospel, unto sanctification and glorification. Their reception of the Word gave proof of their predestination.

Davo, seems to believe that the reconciliation was an automatic, no response needed, get into heaven free event.
I believe the Bible teaches the inseparable pair of repentance and faith are required.

Complete in Christ,dave

Virgil's picture

Virgil, you're sounding dangerously more like Ed and myself

Now come on Davo...don't pat yourself on the shoulder just yet...I hope I will still have hair when I'll be your age..hehe

Yes, I agree with you on what salvation is, and it's funny that you use the word "first-fruit" when talking about the first century Christians...James called them the same in James 1. Calvinism has taken the whole thing out of its historical context and is applying it to believers today.

I don't see this as an arminian-calvinism debate. I see it as clearing up the errors of futurism which continue to permeate the minds of many preterists today.

Thanks for your input..I'll take a look at your article. :)

Roderick's picture

Virgil & others,

I'm still mulling this over. As you know, I consider myself "Calvinistic", so I'd like to interact in detail on your study here. But until then, I'd like to make some quick observations:

1. Calvin wasn't even alive when the so-called 5-points of Calvinism / TULIP were advocated. Rather, the so-called 5-points were drawn up at the Council of Dordt in 1618. John Calvin died in 1564. The 5-points were in response to the Arminian concept of free-will, which had 5-points of Remonstrance. It was the Arminian concept of free-will that was a new concept. The "Calvinist" concept had long been the "Protestant" concept of soteriology.

2. The idea that "following" Calvinistic concepts leads to a deadness toward affecting the world is an old and worn out accusation, because some of the most prolific "evangelists" through-out history have been "Calvinistic" -- Jonathan Edwards, C.H. Spurgeon, B.B. Warfield and lots more. I think there is a built in bias with preterists that are coming from a Church of Christ background - which is blantantly semi-pelagian / arminian, to the point that some CoC congregations teach that people can "lose their salvation", so much so, that if a person was to die without confessing a sin, though they had been faithful Christians most of their lives -- they would nevertheless go to Hell.

3. Preterism has great impacts on Ecclesiology, and Soteriology. We are just at the beginning of how all this will be played out. So, I appreciate Virgil's, Sam Frost's, John McPherson's studies on these issues.

Keep it up Virgil! I'll respond in more detail later.

In Christ gracious,
Roderick

Virgil's picture

The historical aspects of my argument will be covered in the next article, but I appreciate your comments Roderick. :)

- virgil

DrDre's picture

Virgil,
First I know you are attacked from all sides on this issue. So I want to say that I just have some comments/questions? Calvinism is the only doctrine that I have held to that squared well preterism in my estimation since my re-evaluation of everything that I once believe (what a painful process, and I still have some unresolved issues). I would like to see you interpret the Scriptures, as opposed to starting w/philosophical argument/lesson. I think that I understand why you did it (just to open up our minds?) I am trying a wait and see approach. I think that you are using the arguments that Arminians use against Calvinism (e.g. the negative aspects of Calvinism or it denies humans freedom). How do you feel about the T in the acrostic TULIP? I know that you feel that the acrostic is not found anywhere in the Scriptures, but neither is the word trinity but it is a faithful representation of our Triune God. Well I kinda rambled a bit. Thanks for all of your service to the cause...

Dr. Dre

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Just a comment from my corner, DrDre. I think I will post another article on the "T" in Tulip which I, personally, find to be the most odious (i.e. antithetical to the clear teachings of Scripture) doctrine of the lot. But I don't want to "steal Virgil's thunder".

I've written an article on this already. You can find it by clicking on my name on the left menu bar. I have a few thoughts to add to that previous article, however. This is an important topic Virgil has re-introduced here. And I appreciate his doing so.

John McPherson

DrDre's picture

John,
Have you been following the dialogue between Virgil and myself on the other thread about reading Calvin...

Dr. Dre

SuperSoulFighter's picture

I've caught bits and pieces of that discussion, DrDre, but I believe I'll go through it completely and find out what the two of you are considering together.

Thanks for the invite!

John

Virgil's picture

Dr Dre - the reason the traditional arminianist arguments haven't worked is because they were presented from a futurist perspective. I will frame the argument as a preterist. :) Thanks for waiting...

Oz's picture

[Virgil deleted a bunch of babble]

Also In Reference To Virgil’s Column Preterism and Calvinism: The Philosophical Argument - Part 1 – Virgil along with Terry Hall have sealed their own heretical fate. Terry Hall lost His congregation and filed for bankruptcy after pleading for money from Planet Preterist visitors, yet did Terry Hall keep that money when he was ousted from their meeting place (building/”church”), or did he return it to those whom gave before he filed for bankruptcy?

[Virgil deleted a bunch of babble]

Virgil's picture

If this is your best attempt at defending calvinism, I feel sorry for you my friend.

If you are going to personally attack me, at least get your facts straight. A "congregation" is a body of believers assembled together. Terry Hall is the minister of our congregation here in Xenia, Ohio. Because of financial hardship outlined in this article, our congregation lost the building in which we were meeting.

Furthermore, as far as I know, Terry Hall didn't file for "bankrupcy" so I am not sure why you would even make up something like this, or are you hoping that you would hurt my feelings or his feelings by doing so?

I really hope that whatever your motivation is, is not what God elected you to do, because if God really predestined you be saved, and if this is how saved people treat other brothers in Christ, that's even more evidence for me that He is not involved in predestination.

By the way, I removed all your other comments here, and I banned you from this website permanently. Planet Preterist is not a platform to slander other Christians.

davecollins's picture

Bro. Virgil writesThe TULIP negativism projects both a Creator getting a sense of identity by forcefully manipulating his creation, and an imperfect, miserable and choice-less world heading for an inevitable end. Does this not sound familiar? Is this not the perfect excuse for Christians to avoid interaction with the world and ultimately create a sense of “we are?” Is TULIP Calvinism in fact not a direct contradiction of the Preterist position on the Kingdom of God ultimately encompassing the entire world, just like the stone in Daniel grew to a mountain encompassing the entire earth? Is TULIP Calvinism also not a contradiction of Revelation 11.15 which teaches us Preterists that “The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and His Christ?”

Dave replys; Virgil, it seems like your interpretation of Dan. and Revelation has led you to a Comp. Grace position:>)

Seriously, The issue comes down to the question of continuance past AD70 of the patterns firmly established in Biblical records.
The evidence for God's gracious choice is overwhelming in the OT and NT.

Obviously, one can be a full Preterist and a full Calvinist ( doctrines of grace) without viewing the whole system as negative, manipulative, miserable or futuristic. I was once lost and seperated by sin, now I am alive in Christ due to God's grace. That makes me a grateful and humble servant in God's completed salvation.

Regarding the promise of Christs Spiritual Kingdom in Daniel and Revelation...What Adam lost as the first man, Christ, the Life Giving Spirit regained as the 2nd Adam.

He reigns everywhere and His sovereign rule is known by the inhabitants of His New Jerusalem.
Those outside the gates are also in His Kingdom, though they do not know it yet, that is why we share the glorious gospel of redemption/restoration/ reconciliation in Christ.

Contrary to your conclusion and assumption, the vast majority of Calvinists I know are very faithful in sharing Christ. I think it is because they know that no one is beyond the reach of God's mercy.The elect are identified and converted thru the proclamation of the Word, just like in the transition period.

The "philosophy" is fine for poets and liberal professors, but not very relevent or weighty in theological discussions. I will wait to see your exegesis of the sure Word of scriptures on this issue.

I am truly sorry that another Christian would insult you with those derogatory words due to your differing view of soteriology. Your friend, dave

SciotaMicks's picture

Dave,

The two problems I see are:

1) Predestination did indeed occur pre 70AD, but only to an extent. God used CERTAIN people to accomplish His goals. Not EVERYONE was predestined to some fate - yet Calvinism somehow abuses these examples to conclude that everyone is predestined to some sort of fate.

2) The concept of Election is clearly a first century doctrine. I can't possibly understand how a Preterist overlooks this detail and continues to espouse Calvinism.

Well, okay, I have further issues with TULIP but will not comment on them here.

davecollins's picture

Dear Armothe,You write; Not EVERYONE was predestined to some fate - yet Calvinism somehow abuses these examples to conclude that everyone is predestined to some sort of fate.

Dave; We do not believe that everyone was predestined to some fate. We do believe that noone on their own would be able to choose Christ.Like a pig can't become a sheep.
All were condemned due to sin...The elect were predestined to become sons of God according to God's sovereign will..like trophies of grace.

You also write; The concept of Election is clearly a first century doctrine. I can't possibly understand how a Preterist overlooks this detail and continues to espouse Calvinism.

Dave; It would be great if there was a verse that clearly says that election is only for pre-A.D.70.
Bro. Mcpherson's verse in Eph. says that they who first trusted in Christ had hope and they were to the praise of His glory,.. but does not exclude any others,in the future,to have hope in Christ.

Here again the question is, did the pattern of God's gracious choice cease after Jesus' return? The transition period is definitely the last days of the Old Covenant, however it can also be considered the first days of the New Covenant.
What would change in the nature of the lost and separated that would enable them to understand spiritual things apart from God's regeneration post A.D. 70?
My preterism helps me understand the "nature and timing" of last things. My calvinism helps me understand the heart of man and the gracious method of God's salvation.
To me, I see no contradiction in Preterism and Calvinism. I think they compliment each other as Biblical truth.
Have a great day!

SciotaMicks's picture

Predestination: In other words some people were predestined to go to Heaven, and the rest to Hell? I'm not convinced the concept of predestination exclusively applies to a post-death experience, rather; examples of predestination in the Bible revolve around various people playing crucial role in God's plan as it plays out on earth.

Election: Like much evidence for Preterism, there is no clear distinction made as to whether or not the elect continued post-parousia. You say there is no evidence to exclude. I say there is no evidence to include. Virgil already posted some notable verses.

Let's not forget that when we became Preterists we followed the rule of audience relevance. Let's remain consistent.

davecollins's picture

Dear Armothe, my question was ; what changed in the nature of man post ad70 that He no longer needs to be regenerated/chosen by God to understand spiritual truth?

Virgils verses say nothing about a different method post AD70...These specific events pertaining to the pre parousia elect are irrelevent in answering the issue at hand.

The Bible was not written to us, but it was written for us. It's Spiritual principles need to be studied for our own application.

When Paul told the church at Thessalonica that it was God's will that they abstain from sexual immorality, that was written directly to and for them. I think we would all agree, that admonition has value for us ,also.

Throughout the Old Covenant we see God exercising the freedom of His will in choosing vessels for honor and patiently enduring vessels of wrath.

Everyone here seems to understand the concept of election(or at least acknowledges it's existence in the Scriptures) during the New Covenant period.

We are still in the New Covenant age and always will be.I believe the heart of man remains dead to the things of God without His power bringing deep conviction,repentance,faith and conversion.
He adopts us into His family,and we say Hallelujah!

Since some of you believe that the method has changed and now is obsolete after Jesus' return, shouldn't you be the ones to show the reason for the change?

Virgil's picture

If the verses I provided are unsatisfactory, at least you can explain why, not just dismiss them nonchalantly. I want you to tell me how Jesus can come back in AD 70 to gather his elect, and how there can still be an elect today. Did some people fall through the cracks?

davecollins's picture

Dear Virgil, I wrote "Dear Armothe, my question was ; what changed in the nature of man post ad70 that He no longer needs to be regenerated/chosen by God to understand spiritual truth?

Virgils verses say nothing about a different method post AD70...These specific events pertaining to the pre parousia elect are irrelevent in answering the issue at hand."

(Even if some did fall thru the cracks Virgil, Jesus still would have gathered them:>))

Virgil, be sure I didn't dismiss your verses,they are God's Word ... I just don't think they shed light on post AD70,except in showing a pattern of election.
The verses you gave are definitely for the pre-parousia period,however they say nothing about a change of method for post-parousia...Since the natural man cannot receive or understand the spiritual things of God,it seems to me that they still need a new nature,which requires God's will and power.Why do you think that has changed? If you do.

I believe the method of being right with God remains "genuine faith". This requires repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus. I believe this is an enduring spiritual principle.

I am still thinking about Davo's view, however it seems he sees the benefits promised for those in Christ as common benefits for all,ultimately.

SciotaMicks's picture

When Paul told the church at Thessalonica that it was God's will that they abstain from sexual immorality, that was written directly to and for them. I think we would all agree, that admonition has value for us ,also.

We all know that there are some truths in the Bible meant for a specific group of people, and others which are to be applied universally. It's a matter of reading them in context. Christians have been debating the issues of head-coverings or singing accapella for ages. This point really isn't relevant to our discussion.

Everyone here seems to understand the concept of election during the New Covenant period.

Let's keep in mind that the 1st Century Christians were not yet living in the New Covenant age (Christ had not yet returned). Thus you cannot make Election a New Covenant doctrine, rather a transitional one. Did the transitional period end?

what changed in the nature of man post ad70 that He no longer needs to be regenerated/chosen by God to understand spiritual truth?

Pre 70AD God's plan was not complete. God chose to use various people to accomplish His plan of redemption; resulting in these people being inspired by the Holy Spirit leading them to spirtual truth. When the New Jerusalem (covenant) was realized in 70AD, God's plan was complete. All of mankind was now able to enter into spiritual truth through Christ, with God.

Rev 21:4 - and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and the death shall not be any more, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor shall there be any more pain, because the first things did go away.'

Rev 21:6 - and He said to me, `It hath been done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End; I, to him who is thirsting, will give of the fountain of the water of the life freely;

Rev 21:13,25 - at the east three gates, at the north three gates, at the south three gates, at the west three gates... and its gates shall not at all be shut

Since some of you believe that the method has changed and now is obsolete after Jesus' return, shouldn't you be the ones to show the reason for the change?

Sounds a lot like the question Futurists pose towards Preterists. I suppose I find it curious that the Preterist is ready and willing to admit that Christ returned in 70AD, but yet nothing really changed. Have the true truth-searching Preterists even given serious thought as to what 70AD *really* meant?

- Do we still get to heaven through righteous deeds?
- Does Hades still exist?
- Do parts of the Jewish law still exist and should remain observed?
- Does God still chooose people above others to lead into spiritual truth?

If a Preterist believes that any of the above still ring true today, I'd like an answer from them as to what exactly the New Covenant accomplished. What was the point?!

davecollins's picture

Ok Armothe, I'll try to answer;
Do we still get to heaven through righteous deeds? Never did! there is none righteous. All our deeds are like filthy rags. the just shall live by faith
- Does Hades still exist? No,it was emptied at the parousia of Jesus.
- Do parts of the Jewish law still exist and should remain observed? It completely passed after all was fulfilled.
- Does God still chooose people above others to lead into spiritual truth? That is the issue. Undeniably, you can have 1000 people hear the same gospel message, and only have 2 receive it. Personally, I believe that God still opens up the heart to receive spiritual Life.

Armothe;If a Preterist believes that any of the above still ring true today, I'd like an answer from them as to what exactly the New Covenant accomplished. What was the point?!

dave;Read Hebrews, The New Covenant is a much better covenant with much better promises. One perfect sacrifice for all time.The shadow vs. Substance.The reality of living daily in His Presence . Being His very dwelling place.He will never leave or forsake us, and lots, lots more!

davo's picture

davecollins: I believe the heart of man remains dead to the things of God without His power bringing deep conviction,repentance,faith and conversion.

Yes I agree; without Him bringing His "call" into man's heart 'man' is left unilluminated to the reality "of the things of God" [LIFE]. Answering and responding affirmatively to it in conviction, repentance, faith and conversion, one enters into His priesthood of service - being saved to serve. "Coming to faith in Christ" was never about fire insurance, but about service. All who answered the call of God as found in the OT did so not to get to Heaven - that wasn't an issue, but to minister to His people. Through Christ's atoning sacrifice humanity is restored and now the people of God. "Believers" are God's ministers to His creation.

davo – pantelism.com –

davecollins's picture

Davo, Thank you for your response.With so much talk of flaming retribution, wrath of God, and vengence etc..it is hard for me to see "humanity restored, and now the people of God" understood by the first generation, or now.

Your friend, dave

Virgil's picture

It would be great if there was a verse that clearly says that election is only for pre-A.D.70.

Why are you are asking for only one verse? :)

Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short - Matthew 24:22

For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. - Matthew 24:24

And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds - Matthew 24:31

And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? - Luke 18:17

Did Jesus come back in AD 70? Did he gather his elect? If he did not then when will YOU be gathered from the four winds? Are you crying to Him day and night like the elect in Revelation 7? Did you come out of the great tribulation like them?

Virgil's picture

Contrary to your conclusion and assumption, the vast majority of Calvinists I know are very faithful in sharing Christ.

Dave - I never came to such a conclusion, and I do not believe that the majority of calvinists are NOT very faithful in sharing Christ.

The "philosophy" is fine for poets and liberal professors, but not very relevent or weighty in theological discussions. I will wait to see your exegesis of the sure Word of scriptures on this issue.

This article was never intended to be a theological discussion. It's a reasoned analysis of God, calvinism and free-choice.

Despite the very obvious points which I made (I went out of the way to make them), you still see my article as denying God's grace and sovereignty. I never did such a thing, and this shows how engrained calvinism and its exclusive association with grace and sovereignty is in people's minds. Do you really find it impossible for someone to reject election and still see God's overwhelming grace and sovereignty? Why is knowing the future and creating the future so indistinguishable to you guys?

davecollins's picture

Virgil, Sorry! when you remarked about our view being "the perfect excuse to avoid interaction with the world" I thought you implied a non-caring about the salvation of the world. Sorry, I didn't intend to misinterpret your conclusions.

Virgil;"Do you really find it impossible for someone to reject election and still see God's overwhelming grace and sovereignty? Why is knowing the future and creating the future so indistinguishable to you guys?"

Dave;I believe your understanding of grace and sovereignty would be severely distorted and partial. You would see a "participating grace" whereas I would opt for a compelling and conquering grace.

Regarding God's sovereignty; Job said, No one can thwart God's plan. Paul said,We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God...
Also in Romans 9 we see a glimpse of God's sovereignty over His creation.This is how I would distinguish the two verbs.
To "know" the future can denote a passive observance vs. "create" the future shows powerful action according to His will, IMO....dave

BillyVern's picture

Virgil,

You ask for some controversy with your article.
Being a Christian does that.
I too believe Calvanism is terribly negative.

However, I do not think of the Ten Commandments as being negative.

Was God being negative in Gen. 4? If Cain would do what was right he would be accepted?

I cannot find victory in Calvanism, but Cain was offered victory.

Thank you Virgil, thank you.

KingNeb's picture

Billy,

The "negative," that I was trying to get Virgil to acknowledge he was experiencing, was his FEELINGS against God's "restrictiveness" present in Scripture, NOT Calvinism apart from Scripture. Calvinism was merely reflectly the restrictiveness that was already there in Scripture.

God is restricting our behavior in the Ten Commandments, and Calvinism was explaining God's restrictiveness, in issues such as salvation, in the five points (TULIP) in response to Arminian questions of long ago. Virgil reasoned that one of the writings was from God and the other was from man, which was missing the point.

Just because man identifies God's "restrictiveness" in man's writings doesn't mean it has to be a "downer" emotionally (negative). What I surmise really happened was Virgil negatively reacted to God's restrictiveness. God's restrictions can be a "downer" in humanistic thinking, but that doesn't make it, ipso facto, unBiblical.

What I fear, and have observed in many preterists' thinking on issues other than eschatology, is that the Bible is being interpreted with the spirit of secular human reasoning which is influencing many other Christians today. If someone writing about Scripture, or Scripture itself, points to some idea or behavior by means of identifying a Scriptural pattern or principle AND it doesn't jive with the allowance of INDIVIDUAL freedom to do whatever one thinks he should be able to do, then Christian "liberty" is declared. In other words, if God doesn't say something EXPLICITLY (precept or law or command), secular human reasonaing says it doesn't apply to me, Biblical pattern and principle be damned.

The very thought that any man doesn't have a FREE WILL (make REAL choices without God's influence on issues such as salvation) or doesn't have true Christian "liberty," fits into this "autonomous individual" idea, dating back to the Garden where Adam and Eve wanted to DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES. "Doing what's right in our own eyes" God calls it, and many Christians deceptively rationalize it by proof-texting or claiming supposed Biblical "silence."

Genuine Christianity acknowledges that Scripture speaks to EVERYTHING we think, say, or do on this planet. The concept of "Christian liberty" is being used in the body of Christ today to stretch, bend, and push the concepts that God has revealed about himself (salvation, for example) as well as the limits God has set for human behavior (modesty, women's role, man's role, etc.).

thereignofchrist.com

Virgil's picture

Billy - I never said that the Ten Commandments were negative. I never made that comment and I do not believe that. :) Thanks!

PreteristAD70's picture

Virgil:

Have you read the entire Institutes of the Christian Religion?

--Mike

Virgil's picture

Mike, I have not, and I am not planning on reading it :) Calvin himself is not under attack here. Honestly, I am not as interested in his own theology as I am interested in the covenantal relevance of the first century elect. Calvin was on the right track - he was just off by about 1500 years. Of course, I am speaking in terms of the elect. I completely disagree with the other bogus ideas of TULIP.

Recent comments

Poll

Should we allow Anonymous users to comment on Planet Preterist articles?
Yes absolutely
23%
No only registered users should comment
77%
What are you talking about?
0%
Total votes: 43