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31 comments on “why I am a Calvinist

  1. Hmm. I’m not sure I agree with the first arguer, that the first part, “All that the Father gives to me” applies only to people. Because in other places in John’s Gospel, Jesus explains that his knowledge comes straight from the Father, and his miracles come from the Father as well. He could also be speaking of tasks.

    Furthermore, if the saved were those and only those given to Christ by the Father, then what would be the significance of “whoever comes to me I will never cast out”? This suggests that perhaps there are two classes of saved: those who were given to Christ by the Father, and those who choose Christ on their own.

    This brings to mind Romans 9-10, which discusses the matter of predestination. Paul argued that some people were chosen by God (perhaps from before the time of creation), but he also seems to allow for an option of freely choosing Christ whether one was pre-ordained or not. IOW, the New Covenant overcomes predestination in the case of those not pre-ordained for salvation.

    • Hmm. I’m not sure I agree with the first arguer, that the first part, “All that the Father gives to me” applies only to people. Because in other places in John’s Gospel, Jesus explains that his knowledge comes straight from the Father, and his miracles come from the Father as well. He could also be speaking of tasks.

      No, the context surrounding John 6:37 clearly indicates that Christ is talking about persons.

      Furthermore, if the saved were those and only those given to Christ by the Father, then what would be the significance of “whoever comes to me I will never cast out”? This suggests that perhaps there are two classes of saved: those who were given to Christ by the Father, and those who choose Christ on their own.

      No. Read: “All that the Father gives to Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” If the Father has given a person to Christ, that person will come to Christ, and Christ will not cast out that person who comes to Him.

      This brings to mind Romans 9-10, which discusses the matter of predestination. Paul argued that some people were chosen by God (perhaps from before the time of creation), but he also seems to allow for an option of freely choosing Christ whether one was pre-ordained or not. IOW, the New Covenant overcomes predestination in the case of those not pre-ordained for salvation.

      I’m curious to see how you could ever possibly gather such an interpretation. It seems rather contrary to Paul’s statement that God’s choice of Jacob and rejection of Esau was “so that God’s purpose according to [His] choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls” (9:11), as well as his statement that “it [does] not [depend] on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy” (9:16). If someone wins salvation by his willful exercise of faith, then it is no longer dependent upon God who has mercy, because a man may make God a debtor to him by being smart enough? strong enough? good enough? to exercise faith in Him.

      • No. Read: “All that the Father gives to Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” If the Father has given a person to Christ, that person will come to Christ, and Christ will not cast out that person who comes to Him.

        Then we see in 6:40: “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

        I can see how one would read the passage your way, but my way is not precluded either — this passage is not ironclad in favor of predestination.

        I’m curious to see how you could ever possibly gather such an interpretation.

        Ah. In many places, Paul distinguishes between the “elect” and the “called.” The elect are those who are pre-ordained for salvation. Paul’s then argues for a new covenant under Christ which gives an avenue of salvation for the called not available to them under the old covenant.

        In chapter 9, Paul makes a case for predestination — or, perhaps, in accord with the demands of rhetoric he is laying out that argument in order to append it with his own. My argument is this: Paul asserts that under the old covenant, people’s salvation depended entirely on the mercy of God, because people tried to reach salvation through works (and not faith). Paul’s examples are Pharaoh and Esau, who were both handled under God’s old covenant.

        But then Paul asks,

        [Romans 9:22] What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction?
        [23] What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory—
        [24] even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

        In other words, Paul asks, is there a circumstance under which God may choose to have great patience for those who were previously outside of those who were pre-ordained to be saved?

        Then he adds,

        [25] As he says in Hosea:
        “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”
        [26] and, “It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’

        Paul is arguing that through Christ, the Father is extending mercy to those who were not among those pre-ordained to be saved.

        [10:4] Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

        Those who have faith “died to the law [the old covenant]” — wherein many of them were among those not pre-ordained for salvation can achieve it through faith.

        [9] If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
        [10] For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
        [11] As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
        [12] For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,
        [13] for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

        • Then we see in 6:40: “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

          I can see how one would read the passage your way, but my way is not precluded either — this passage is not ironclad in favor of predestination.

          It is frankly ununified if one reads it the way you suggest.

          Ah. In many places, Paul distinguishes between the “elect” and the “called.” The elect are those who are pre-ordained for salvation. Paul’s then argues for a new covenant under Christ which gives an avenue of salvation for the called not available to them under the old covenant.

          “And we know God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to [His] purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined [to become] conformed to t image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these who He justified, He also glorified” (Rom. 8:28–30).

          I don’t think you can argue for a sharp dichotomy between the “called” and the “elect.”

          In chapter 9, Paul makes a case for predestination — or, perhaps, in accord with the demands of rhetoric he is laying out that argument in order to append it with his own. My argument is this: Paul asserts that under the old covenant, people’s salvation depended entirely on the mercy of God, because people tried to reach salvation through works (and not faith). Paul’s examples are Pharaoh and Esau, who were both handled under God’s old covenant.

          So do you think now it is no longer dependent on God’s mercy but that we can be saved by the exercising our faith? I.e., we no longer have to be uncertain and merely hoping for God’s mercy but can be sure?

          But then Paul asks,

          [Romans 9:22] What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction?
          [23] What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory—
          [24] even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

          In other words, Paul asks, is there a circumstance under which God may choose to have great patience for those who were previously outside of those who were pre-ordained to be saved?

          Paul is here essentially stating his theodicy, and is contrasting the “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction” with the “vessels of mercy prepared for glory (who are both Jew and Gentile)”—i.e., reprobation vs. election. He’s not asking whether there’s a circumstance under which God has great patience with vessels of wrath (the reprobate)—he’s explaining WHY God has great patience with them: in order to reveal the riches of His glory upon the vessels of mercy (the elect).

          [25] As he says in Hosea:
          “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”
          [26] and, “It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’

          Paul is arguing that through Christ, the Father is extending mercy to those who were not among those pre-ordained to be saved.

          No, he’s arguing that God has predestined more than just Jews, as he stated in v. 24; and, in fact, not all Jews are elect, per v. 6.

          Those who have faith “died to the law [the old covenant]” — wherein many of them were among those not pre-ordained for salvation can achieve it through faith.

          And who has faith?

          • I don’t think you can argue for a sharp dichotomy between the “called” and the “elect.”

            Not if the elect are also among the called.

            Consider also:

            [Romans 8:1] Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
            [2] because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
            [3] For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,
            [4] in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

            If everyone who reads this and has faith in Jesus is among those fore-ordained for salvation, then the sacrifice of Jesus was simply a hollow, scripted gesture given because God cannot overpower his own paperwork. Is God, then, second in power to his own Law?

            Rather, it is more miraculous to suggest that the resurrection of Jesus demonstrates God overcoming that law, particularly for those who would have been destroyed otherwise.

            After all, Jesus would not have been in general fit to play the role of a sin sacrifice. He was a human being, not a goat; his blood did not spill on the altar in the Temple and he was slain by Romans, not by a Levite priest. So God was going outside his Law and his Temple just to accept him as a sacrifice. (I know, in light of Hebrews, that it’s more complicated than that, but this is a big part of the doctrine of substitutional atonement.)

            In Romans 7, Paul wrote that “the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.” In fact, in what I bolded above Paul implies that he was among those pre-ordained for destruction. After all, he spent part of his life persecuting Christians, and he experienced in himself powerlessness to resist sin. He writes that he found the power to overcome that sin in Jesus.

            So do you think now it is no longer dependent on God’s mercy but that we can be saved by the exercising our faith? I.e., we no longer have to be uncertain and merely hoping for God’s mercy but can be sure?

            I wouldn’t say that; I do not believe scripture supports the idea of “prevenient grace”. I would say though it’s more a matter of God allowing a new avenue of mercy to those who would not previously have had it available.

            Paul is here essentially stating his theodicy, and is contrasting the “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction” with the “vessels of mercy prepared for glory”

            As Paul wrote, “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: ‘I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth'” (Rom. 7:17)

            Sounds as though vessels of wrath were also, in their way intended for the glorifying of God — as their destruction has been used in demonstration to the righteous of God’s power and glory. If so, then God did not previously show them “great patience.”

            And who has faith?

            Hmm, I sense here a circular kind of definition: that we can tell the elect because they are those who have faith, and we can tell those who have faith, because they are are among the elect. Paul would not spend so much of his time on this issue if the elect and those who have faith are clearly one and the same.

            Those who are elect would supposedly not have to do anything to secure their salvation; why then does Paul require “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (10:9)? Again, this would be a hollow gesture coming from those whose salvation had been guaranteed since before time.

            • If everyone who reads this and has faith in Jesus is among those fore-ordained for salvation, then the sacrifice of Jesus was simply a hollow, scripted gesture given because God cannot overpower his own paperwork. Is God, then, second in power to his own Law?

              God must be consistent with His own nature. The Law is a reflection of His nature. So if we break the Law (thereby offending against God), we must either satisfy God’s righteous wrath by enduring it ourselves, or else God must satisfy Himself in accordance with His nature. He sent His Son to be the propitiation for sin. Thus God took upon Himself His wrath and the punishment due His people, and the offense is wiped away. That is what is so marvellous about Christ’s atonement for us! Not only are we granted pardon, but the offense for which we are responsible is rectified in the blood of Christ.

              Rather, it is more miraculous to suggest that the resurrection of Jesus demonstrates God overcoming that law, particularly for those who would have been destroyed otherwise.

              You miss the entire understanding of what election entails. Were it not for being predestined, we WOULD be destroyed. As Paul writes in Eph. 2:1–3, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 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 working in the sons of disobedience. 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.” Election does NOT mean that the elect were prevented from being sinful, or that their sin was never of any account. It only means that they were set apart from the lump of sinful humanity as the people upon whom God would choose to exercise His mercy.

              After all, Jesus would not have been in general fit to play the role of a sin sacrifice. He was a human being, not a goat; his blood did not spill on the altar in the Temple and he was slain by Romans, not by a Levite priest. So God was going outside his Law and his Temple just to accept him as a sacrifice. (I know, in light of Hebrews, that it’s more complicated than that, but this is a big part of the doctrine of substitutional atonement.)

              You’ve got it completely backwards. It was the blood of goats and the mediation of Levites that did not provide full satisfaction of the Law, because goats are sinless only on account of their incapacity to be sinful, and Levites are sinful and thus themselves require a Mediator before God. Yes, indeed, you must take Hebrews into account.

              In Romans 7, Paul wrote that “the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.” In fact, in what I bolded above Paul implies that he was among those pre-ordained for destruction. After all, he spent part of his life persecuting Christians, and he experienced in himself powerlessness to resist sin. He writes that he found the power to overcome that sin in Jesus.

              In order to gather this interpretation, you must assume that those predestined for life were never under God’s wrath and were never sinners, which is quite contrary to everything Paul writes.

              I wouldn’t say that; I do not believe scripture supports the idea of “prevenient grace”. I would say though it’s more a matter of God allowing a new avenue of mercy to those who would not previously have had it available.

              This is completely contrary to the whole point of the example of Abraham in Rom. 4, and the litany of Old Testament saints in Heb. 11. The means and the path of salvation has not changed: it is still and has always been through faith in the Redeemer, which is granted only by the gracious and merciful choice of God. If God has not elected someone, that person will remain a sinner destined for hell (and quite happily in his own estimation, though ignorant of the extent of his misery).

              (cont.)

            • (cont.)

              As Paul wrote, “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: ‘I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth'” (Rom. 7:17)

              Sounds as though vessels of wrath were also, in their way intended for the glorifying of God — as their destruction has been used in demonstration to the righteous of God’s power and glory. If so, then God did not previously show them “great patience.”

              Indeed, they were (and are) intended ultimately for God’s glory (in this case, the exercise of His perfect justice), but they were not themselves glorified, were they? (Nor were they intended to be!) And where do you get the idea that God did not endure them with great patience previously but does now? Pharaoh lived and was made a king in his domain, although Pharaoh’s destiny was never to be eternally glorified, while God endured him with great patience rather than destroying him in the womb (because God had a greater purpose in mind—to manifest the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy). You’re making a dichotomy that simply does not exist anywhere in the text (i.e., between the estate of the vessels of wrath prior to and their estate subsequent to Christ’s death). The dichotomies that exist are election/reprobation, Jew-exclusive/Gentile-inclusive, and works-righteousness/faith-righteousness.

              Hmm, I sense here a circular kind of definition: that we can tell the elect because they are those who have faith, and we can tell those who have faith, because they are are among the elect. Paul would not spend so much of his time on this issue if the elect and those who have faith are clearly one and the same.

              You can take it up with Christ Himself:

              “I told you [that I am the Christ], and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I five eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given [them] to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch [them] out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:25–29).

              So, His sheep are the ones who hear His voice, and the ones who hear His voice are His sheep (otherwise, they do not believe!).

              Those who are elect would supposedly not have to do anything to secure their salvation; why then does Paul require “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (10:9)? Again, this would be a hollow gesture coming from those whose salvation had been guaranteed since before time.

              Hollow in what way? The means by which the salvation of the elect is secured is precisely what Paul states. What you fail to recognize is that God’s election guarantees salvation according to God’s provision. This is what God has provided, and thus all of the elect will come to this provision because God has so chosen. The elect are not saved by virtue of being among the elect; otherwise, God is indeed a respector of persons. The elect are saved by virtue of God’s merciful choice through Jesus Christ.

            • Re: ?

              I’ve looked at the only Theodotus source that i have but I don’t see the argument there. Could you point us to a reference?

              FWIW, if the argument is as you have outlined it then it simply doesn’t do justice to the text of either John 6 or Romans, as has more than adequately demonstrated.

          • Re: ?

            Anyway, the main reason I mention that is not to prove by appeal to any authority but to demonstrate that this is not just some argument I concocted on my own, but one that has been talked about since virtually the origin of the church.

            And I think it merits a lot of thought, because it adds a lot of fuel to the idea of Christ as victor over death. I mean, if God chose everyone who was saved before the beginning of the world, and nothing anyone does after that makes any difference, then why the heck did Jesus die?

            • Re: ?

              I mean, if God chose everyone who was saved before the beginning of the world, and nothing anyone does after that makes any difference, then why the heck did Jesus die?

              To fulfill God’s justice. Even the elect justly deserve death, because even the elect are sinners.

  2. heresy?
    How bizarre for an Anglican.

    XVII. Of Predestination and Election.
    Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. Wherefore, they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called according to God’s purpose by his Spirit working in due season: they through Grace obey the calling: they be justified freely: they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God’s mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.

    As the godly consideration of Predestination, and our Election in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal Salvation to be enjoyed through Christ as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: So, for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God’s Predestination, is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the Devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wretchlessness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.

    Furthermore, we must receive God’s promises in such wise, as they be generally set forth to us in Holy Scripture: and, in our doings, that Will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the Word of God.

    If I were you I’d be a bit more wise about throwing the label “heretic” around.

  3. It is not important to me whether you agree with me. I will not engage with your pettiness. I merely noted that your theological errors are so many, it’s hardly surprising that you would compound them.

    So, the answer is that you cannot document your libel. Whatever happened to your appeal to charity? With the next breath you accuse me of pharisaism, heresy and theological error but not one shred of evidence to back your assertion.

    I think the correct response now is “put up or shut up”.
    Please document my
    i theological errors
    ii pharisaism
    iii heresy.

    In your own time. Being charitable, of course, you’ll be able to do this – or have the grace to withdraw your unsustainable assertion.

  4. But I’ll ask you a question: if the Anglican Communion is against a theological innovation, does that mean that it is illegitimate for one province or diocese to do it? If you say “yes”, then I suppose you’ll agree with me that the Diocese of Sydney needs to repent, right?

    It’s hard to say what they must repent of if you don’t actually point anything out. Not suprising, though. Thus far you’ve managed an unsupported allegation of

    i pharisaism
    ii heresy
    iii theological error
    iv theological innovation that requires repentance.

    in your own time…..

  5. you’re wonderful!!

    yet another unsupported allegation!!! Where do you get all this from?

    Did you not even read the Article? It’s Calvinistic (for want of a better word) predestination.

  6. “games with a liar”?

    You’re great. This is the most entertainment that I’ve had in a long time. Blatant lies about my theology; the claim of

    i pharisaism
    ii theological error
    iii heresy

    and now a quick escape with “I have no interest in playing games”

    If you have no interest in games then don’t play the game of making unsustainable assertions. It puts you in a very bad light.

    So, one last time, will you document your claims or will you admit that they are false?

  7. If it is an innovation contrary to scripture, for example ordaining a man who is in a sexual relationship outside of heterosexual marriage, then yes; it is wrong.

    If, however, it is “not repugnant to the Word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, (that others may fear to do the like,) as he that offendeth against the common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the Magistrate, and woundeth the consciences of the weak brethren.” then I don’t think there is much problem.

    I also note, that Article 34 continues:
    “Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish, Ceremonies or Rites of the Church ordained only by man’s authority, so that all things be done to edifying.”

    Now, the only thing that I can imagine you’re raising here is the matter of lay administration of the Eucharist. It’s not proscribed by scripture and a number of African bishops who were very concerned over the matter have had their fears allayed after discussion with the Metropolitan and one of his suffragans.

    So, it must therefore be something else that you were thinking of. What was it?

  8. oh dear. Those Anglican Reformers must be an embarassment for you.

    So, for example, Latimer:

    “We read in the Acts of the Apostles, that when Paul had preached a long sermon at Antioch, there believed, saith the evangelist, “as many as were ordained to everlasting life.” With this saying a great number of people have been offended, and have said, “We perceive that only those shall come to believe, and so to everlasting life, who are chosen of God unto it; therefore it is no matter whatsoever we do, for if we be chosen to everlasting life we shall have it.” So they have opened a door unto themselves for all wickedness and carnal liberty, against the true meaning of the Scripture. For if the most part be damned, the fault is not in God, but in themselves. They themselves procure their own damnation, and despise the passion of Christ by their own wicked and inordinate living. Here we may learn to keep ourselves from all curious and dangerous questions, when we hear that some be chosen and some be damned. Let us seek a good hope that we shall be amongst the chosen, and live after this hope, that is, uprightly and godly, that thou shalt not be deceived. Think that God hath chosen those that believe in Christ, and that Christ is the book of fife. If thou believest in Him, thou art surely written in the book of life, and shalt be saved. Let us rather seek to know that we may be in Christ; for when we are in Him, then are we well.”

    from http://www.anglicanlibrary.org/latimer/clean.htm

    ps, care to back up your assertion that Moore can’t provide a competent theological education or will that go unsupported as well?

    pps, can I just get some clarification? Does “shoo, you’re bothering me” count as self-satisfied smugness or is it another form of insult that you deem acceptable?

  9. And here, Latimer preaches against double predestination, never says that anyone is predestined to damnation, and insists that the damned are damned only by their own sins.

    which is exactly the position of all of us who hold to double predestination. People are damned by their own sins and it is the choice of God that they are not elected to glory.

    Moore may be able to teach some, but they have not taught you Christian charity, or Latimer. But you are (ironically!) irreformable. Enjoy your wallow, enjoy your sect, enjoy your superiority. I choose life over your darkness and death.

    on the contrary, you’re the one who is making unsupported assertion after unsupported assertion.

    now, can you please clarify for me,

    Is accusing someone, without any substantiating evidence, of
    i heresy
    ii theological error
    iii pharisaism

    Christian charity?

    I do hope you’ll be able to clarify this, because there is a great gulf between your accusations of me and your other writing.

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