Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Need For Reform, or The Pelagian Captivity of the Church

Augustine, valiant for truth against the heretic PelagiusI believe it was RC Sproul who first spoke of the "Pelagian Captivity of the Church", perhaps he borrowed it, but that's where I first heard this diagnosis. Dr. Sproul is right you know, evangelicalism in America is indeed captivated by the philosophy of Pelagius. This is bigger than the fact that Calvinists make up less than 10% of American Christendom.

This also goes deeper than your typical Arminian "Whosoever" free will theology. The depths of the captivity can be seen by the types of Christian books are being written, the vast majority of the popular books have self improvement/growth at the center and usually involve a set number of steps. This is a form of law light, that makes the Christian walk, shall we say, "do-able".

Also, the major trends within evangelicalism clang as shackles announcing the sway of Pelagian theology over the mind of American Christianity. Trends such as the Emergent church, with its radically autonomous postmodern theology. (Yes I know the Emergent church is diverse and broad and you can't pigeon hole the whole.) Also, the growing popularity of open theism, and denial of original sin both attest to the prevalence of Pelagianism.

These are the symptoms, and they support what Dr. Sproul has said on the state of American evangelical theology. So what is Pelagianism?

I would summarize Pelagianism as a theological system that elevates the will of man and puts the onus upon man and his resolve in order to be saved. This will take the form of particular denials and affirmations but I want to keep it simple.

So, not to repeat what has been said often, for further clarification as to what Pelagianism is I would refer readers to great articles if they have no idea what I am talking about. I assume knowledge of the debate on the reader's part, so if you don't know don't be lazy, click and learn! These describe the man Pelagius, his theology and his conflict with Augustine over his teaching. It's by Sam Storms and a good intro for someone who has no clue what I am talking about (Link HERE)

I would like to more or less get at what is the connection between Pelagius, and all of the present trends. Take Open Theism for example (a theological system that denies that God knows the future and ordered it). Philosophically Pelagius and all modern Christians must answer the problem of evil (why is there evil in the world, and how can a good God permit it?). If we don't ponder such things and wrestle for answers we will be intellectuals lightweights, giving shallow platitudes as elixirs to those who have fallen ill in our post-modern world.

These shallow platitudes have manifested themselves in theologies such as open theism and it's answer to the problem of evil. The answer the open theist gives to the problem of evil is that God simply doesn't know what is going to happen and therefore can't do anything about it. Evil is due to man's free will, and for man's will to be free God simply can not know his future choices.

What's amazing to me is that when I talk with open theists they want to tell me I am the one leaning on pagan philosophy rather than the Bible. I believe that serves as the definition of delusion. Open theism is born wholly out of a philosophical attempt to answer the problem of evil, the issue is that they seek to answer the PE with Pelagian free will assumptions, and this is the logical end, God doesn't know the future.

That's where open theism comes from, logic applied to Pelagian assumptions of autonomy. Pelagian thought is the root Open Theism is the fruit.

Now I would say that we are by our very nature we are prone to this sort of I think I can...I think I can...thinking. We naturally think man is the master of his own destiny, and thus we create rules God has to play by in His dealings with man. Any suggestion of a God who does not abide by our rules is appalling and seen as a monster. This is why we have men in arguing against Reformed theology blasphemously call irresistible grace "Divine rape". Others fearlessly call the God of Calvinists a "Monster".

God wasn't playing by their rules.

What I have described is the more polemical issues of the Pelagian captivity, what I really want to point out is how this mindset is really the underbelly of all the silly trends that are blowing through evangelicalism year after year. (Whether it is Post-Modern "Christian", Books with self improvement steps, Revivalist meetings etc).

All of these genres of silly trends have the same thing in common, man is dead at the center and God is beholden to the beck and call of man.
Partly what I see feeding this radical theological self absorption is the affluence we currently possess in the West. Perhaps if we were abased like some of our other brothers in the world we would think less of ourselves and more highly of the Sovereign One.

I think I will wrap up here, my main argument here is that what the Church needs is twofold Reformation and Biblical God wrought Revival. In this post I have attempted to point to the heart of what needs to be reformed, I see that as the man centered Pelagianism that is the impetus for all of the other things that pop up. So rather than dealing with all of the bullets being fired (Emergentism, Revivalism, Joel Osteenism, Rick Warrenism, TBNism etc) I want to take the gun away, and I see that as an unbiblical view of man, the fall and it's effect, and a shallow view of Christ's accomplished work.

In short the church is captivated by Pelagian thought, she needs to return to her Protestant roots for as of now much of what passes as evangelicalism has more in common with Rome than Luther and Calvin.

I have no answer as to the how of Reform, but our God is gracious and merciful, He likes to shine when things look the bleakest. Let us seek His aid for His Church. "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints." (Eph 6)

The comming posts shal deal with the marks of a true revival, since there is much debate over the recent Todd Bentley meetings I will weigh in on that.

6 comments:

Preston N said...

BOB

I find Calvinist such as yourself very entertaining. On one hand you write a post asking what's up with all this Pelagianism in the church and that something needs to be done about it. OK then sir put your theology where your mouth is - stop blithering about it in a public forum and start confronting the one who is really responsible for all this - GOD!! Since man is unable to do anything from a freewill standpoint , but is predestined or foreordained to do everything then God is the person you need to take issue with. God is the one who has preordained Pelagianism and Open Theism therefore you need to just settle down and stop your whining.

You see the issue most of us 90% folks in Christianity take with Calvinist - its that you utterly live inconsistent with your theology. If you truly adhered to predestination then you would realize that its God fault for all this and not any one else. But alas there is the rub! In your own mind you believe that man DOES have a choice and does have a freewill - if you didn't then why all this complaining! You seem to act as if we have a choice here - but according to your theology we really don't!

The issue the rest of us have with Calvinism is that your theology DOES makes God out to be a Monster because God is somehow more concerned with his power and Sovereignty than about love. You never seemed to want to address this inconsistency in your post. You see the issue most people have is that Calvinism grossly violates man's God given sense of natural law or right reason! We all have a sense of right and wrong and of justice and God gave us this little nugget of reason so we may come to understand knowledge and truth. Whenever this is violated then this is a good sign something is NOT truth, but a lie - i.e. Calvinism!

The rub most have with Calvinist is that God is more concerned about himself (his power) than about God being the embodiment of love. Want to see what God looks like - look at Jesus. I never seem to find it in the gospels Jesus going around more concerned about sovereignty than about loving mankind. Why do Calvinist have a problem with God setting aside his knowledge or power so that he may LOVE or better yet allow man to love Him! God is not some power hungry deity - as Calvin made him out to be. Besides, who made the rule or where is it found in the bible that if God is not TOTALLY in control he is somehow not God......let me clue you in there isnt! This is a philosophical concept made up by men who were severely influenced by Paganism. Open Theism is not a Pagan philosophy - but rather predestination and original sin are. The seed of paganism Calvinism has its roots from is Augustine. Prior to him, the only place most of the 5 points of Calvinism were found were in Gnosticism and Pagan philosophy. I suggest you read this to help you sort out your history: http://www.gospeltruth.net/gkphilo.htm


As for making God play by "Our Rules" is a fallacy. If God desires relationshop with his creation - like any good parent would want to do - then don't you think it would be a good idea on God's part to make sure we have the ability to understand him? Instead with Calvinism we have God playing some twisted form of "Cosmic Peakaboo" with us? The bible is clear evidence that God wants us to come to a knowledge of him through his word and yes through the Holy Spirit. As Calvin put it God is off in some distant "fog" in which man can not truly know him. Well sir that is a lie! God humbled himself to very level of his creation so that we WILL know him! When Jesus said when you see me you SEE THE FATHER!! Furthermore, when Christ spoke to people he did so by how??? Through parables - WHY? By appealing to man's sense of right reason, through his God given sense of natural law. The very reason Jesus' could not be refuted was that he was logically consistent and thus appealed to "the rules" as you so aptly put it!

Besides, sir you are so severly blinded by Calvinsim that my rambling here will do little to prick your mind or your heart about what you have said about Open Theist or the so called heresy of Pelgianism (whatever that means). Good luck in your search for Truth - I just hope God manipulates your brain to find it.

Bob said...

Preston,

Thanks for your comments, I am very welcome to criticism and debate and do not "moderate" people like some blogs do so that no one can criticize them. So thanks for coming by and feel free to add what you wish to the discussions over here.

As for what you have said, you make the common error in viewing God's predestination and man's responsibility. You assume that one can not have both in a theological system. That really is what you are saying, either predestination and foreordination of an all knowing God, OR we can have responsible moral agents.

This my friend is the definition of a false dichotomy fallacy and is why you are an open theist. Let me quote you so it is clear, you commit this fallacy as you write:

"I find Calvinist such as yourself very entertaining. On one hand you write a post asking what's up with all this Pelagianism in the church and that something needs to be done about it. OK then sir put your theology where your mouth is - stop blithering about it in a public forum and start confronting the one who is really responsible for all this - GOD!! Since man is unable to do anything from a freewill standpoint , but is predestined or foreordained to do everything then God is the person you need to take issue with."

So because God has foreordained events and predestined individuals to be in his Bride (Eph 1:3-4), YOU make the conclusion that therefore man has no responsibility and therefore I should not treat them as such. This is a false dichotomy, and is the one of the major planks in open theism.

Sovereign, All knowing, Predestinating God can NOT exist alongside free, moral agents who are responsible for their choices. That is the false dichotomy.

Scripture says otherwise, God is both Sovereign over men's salvation so that none come to Christ but by His drawing and ALL whom He draws will come to Christ and be saved. Let's exegete John 6 to prove this:

" All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.
And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:37-40)


"ALL" v.37 is a universal clause, meaning everyone, and is often meaning everyone of a particular group. In this case ALL refers to those the Father has given to Christ. Do you see that? "All" is both universal and particular in it's scope. So logically it could be read: "ALL X's come to Jesus and are raised to the resurrection of life"

X meaning those given to Jesus by the father. So if someone is given to Jesus by the father that person comes to Jesus, and will be raised up at the last day. And not only that if that is true Jesus says He will not lose those whom the Father has given Him. (they wont fall away) But will believe unto life eternal. That's what the text says.

This is a brief exegesis however my point is twofold here, 1. I didn't get this sovereign predestination view of God from pagan philosophic ideas, I got it from the Bible, that's what John 6 says. 2. Also, I wanted to show that well God has given some people to Jesus, and it is they ALL of them who come and believe, Christ says He will lose NONE of them but raise up ALL of them at the last day. Again, that's just what it says.

That being the case I don't think you and I would disagree that there is a hell. Assuming what I have said above either God is unjust in damning those people, or there is no injustice on God's part at all, and all the damned are morally responsible.

That being the case I am both commanded to exhort people to sound doctrine (Tit 2:2-5), and to win souls (Matt 28). There is no inconsistency here, I am not privy to who the elect are, all I know is that no one comes to Christ but by God's sovereign regenerating grace.

Heretics are responsible for their false teaching and will be judged by God. And yes you are correct heretics repent of their error by the merciful grace of God. That is why I am prayerful in evangelism and apologetics, only God can open the eyes of the sinner. They don't all of a sudden wise up of their own accord and cling to sound doctrine (that would be a work would it not?), it is by grace that they return to sound teaching.

As for those God has not chosen and leaves in their error, and their moral responsibility:
These individuals are still responsible for their sin even though God has see fit to pass them by. It is His prerogative to select who shall be His bride, or to even have a bride from sinners at all. God would have been just to damn the whole lot of us, but in His mercy He has chosen to save some.

Now it honestly took me thus far to do what I see as a fair reply to the ideas loaded in your first paragraph which I quoted. I have spent this much time on it because you repeat yourself and this is the heart of your error.

But I will briefly address the rest of what you said now:

"If you truly adhered to predestination then you would realize that its God fault for all this and not any one else."

How is God at fault that men and women hate Him? It is just silly to me that people always say this stuff. He doesn't actively "MAKE" people unbelievers/haters, that's just what the natural man is and does. If He in His predestination leaves some in this state to be damned for their rebellion why is He at fault?

You confuse Calvinism with determinism, a common straw man, and pound away at this scare crow you have erected in your backyard with "Calvinism" written on it's shirt. You pound away at this Straw man and the real calvinists are looking over the fence into your yard wondering when you will wear yourself out and come figure out what we are really saying.

So let me make this clear, God's predestination of the damned is not active, it is passive, He leaves them to their free wills, and they always choose sin and God rejecting idolatry. They are entirely to blame.

"But alas there is the rub! In your own mind you believe that man DOES have a choice and does have a freewill - if you didn't then why all this complaining! You seem to act as if we have a choice here - but according to your theology we really don't!"

How you lash out at that scarecrow! Next time I suggest a kick. No Reformed theologian says we don't have a choice. What we say is that left to ourselves in our sinful state held under the sway of the wicked one (Eph 2:1-3) no one ever chooses God. They will always choose sin, in that sense men are bound.

No one ever complains, "I want to believe in Jesus but God won't let me!" The unregenerate want nothing to do with Christ, at least the Jesus of the Bible. The problem is the heart not so much will power.

"The issue the rest of us have with Calvinism is that your theology DOES makes God out to be a Monster because God is somehow more concerned with his power and Sovereignty than about love.

Perhaps your idea of love. I find it the most loving thing that God has in His mercy had a plan to glorify Himself in the saving of sinners through King Jesus.

And yes sir it is all about HIS GLORY, He's the center of it all, your speech betrays your man centeredness. If God is God, and He is the definition of perfection (Oh wait you don't believe that God is perfect...your an open theist) but anyway if He is the definition of perfection, beauty, Goodness, Holiness it would be an injustice for Him not to seek His own glory. We give crowns to beauty queens, trophies to athletes, praise to just rulers is not God all of these things to the ultimate and therefore deserving of the ultimate glory not to be shared with another?

The marvelous thing is that in seeking His own glory He is loving sinners and saving them. Things angels desire to look into.

Now here's the real rub:

"You see the issue most people have is that Calvinism grossly violates man's God given sense of natural law or right reason! Whenever this is violated then this is a good sign something is NOT truth, but a lie - i.e. Calvinism!"

And you want to say I lean on pagan philosophy? Natural law? Pheh!

This was and is my point with open theists, you erect laws of what God can and can't do and make God altogether to your liking. When I come along and start quoting chapters like John 6, Eph 2, Romans 9, you have to reach for the panic button and start whipping out some "laws" that God is bound to that you guys just made up. Do tell sir what are some of these natural laws that God can not violate?

Now I really don't know what to make of this:

"Why do Calvinist have a problem with God setting aside his knowledge or power so that he may LOVE or better yet allow man to love Him! God is not some power hungry deity - as Calvin made him out to be. Besides, who made the rule or where is it found in the bible that if God is not TOTALLY in control he is somehow not God......let me clue you in there isnt!"

We have a problem with that because it is not Biblical, where does the Bible say God set aside His foreknowledge in order that we could have as you see it "true free choice"?

As for God being in control, and if He is not in control He is not God, yes that is very much Biblical. That's why the true God was able to manifest signs and wonders when the worshippers of Baal could not, He was in control. That's why the true God brought rain when Baal could not. Christ command the wind and waves, feeds 5000, puts to death death in His death so that we might never die.

It is a distinguishing mark of God the one true God that He is sovereign, it is what sets Him apart from the false time and time again in the Bible. Also the Bible repeatedly attests to God's sovereignty:

"all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, "What have you done?" (Dan 4:35)"

God is sovereign over men's physical frames:

"Then the LORD said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?" (Ex 4:11)

Now I could go on citing texts but this is becoming a post in itself so lets finish the rest of the response, as for Calvin by the way I would suggest actually reading his works before smearing his name.

I just can't believe that in a post where you cite no Bible, you fall back on the so called "laws of nature" that you have the gall to say that I am the one leaning on the legs of pagan thought. It's amazing how ridiculous we can be. I would suggest you start drinking from the wells of men outside of Bob Enyart and your cliche up there in Denver. Read some Spurgeon, you don't need to be a Calvinist to appreciate his stuff.

As for Augustine, again this displays your ignorance and regurgitation of nonsense being fed to you by men who themselves haven't done their homework. The 5 points of Calvinism were formed in reply to the Arminian 5 points in the remonstrance, Calvin and Augustine knew nothing of TULIP. It's just a helpful acronym to summarize a much broader Doctrine of God and soteriology.

Furthermore, you dont say HOW Augustine was pagan, you just say it, cause you don't like what he represents (I say represents rather than says because you probably never read City of God or his Confessions). You just say these things and think that makes them so without any real reference, kind of like this next statement:

"As for making God play by "Our Rules" is a fallacy. If God desires relationship with his creation - like any good parent would want to do - then don't you think it would be a good idea on God's part to make sure we have the ability to understand him? Instead with Calvinism we have God playing some twisted form of "Cosmic Peakaboo" with us?"

What fallacy would that be? Hmmm?

I argue that you open theists make up unbiblical rules (which you cited these "natural laws"), and then from there you reject descriptions of God that are Biblical and shave off attributes to so God plays by these rules you made up.

The amazing thing is that in the sentence I just quoted you do the very thing I argued that you do. You define "Good parent" and say God must to be a "good parent" act in manners x, y, and z. Therefore no predestination, sorry John 6. If that's not fitting God into the mold of your man made rules I don't know what is.

Again God is not obliged to do any such thing as you have described. He is not bound by any of the shackles with which you would hold Him with. He would be perfectly just to have made us let us fall and never had any more interaction with us. You have no right to call this "unloving" (an amorphous word) it is called justice. Last I checked God wasn't obliged to love people who rebel against Him and hate Him, but out of His mercy, He has done just that.

You see you really don't know the depths of your sin, and therefore you don't know the greatness of grace. You seem to see grace as something God is obliged to give by some rules He has to follow.

You are right that the Bible is evidence that God wants us to know Him, my point is that unlike you I see the Bible as a merciful gift not something God was obliged to bestow to keep in accord with the definition of "good" that exists outside of Himself.

Also in the paragraph you seem to take a rather heretical view of the incarnation of Christ, shaving off Christ's divine attributes.

I am just blown away by this statement because of it's clear contradiction with scripture:

Furthermore, when Christ spoke to people he did so by how??? Through parables - WHY? By appealing to man's sense of right reason, through his God given sense of natural law. The very reason Jesus' could not be refuted was that he was logically consistent and thus appealed to "the rules" as you so aptly put it!"

Actually when we turn to Scripture we see Jesus tell us WHY He spoke in parables:

"he said, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that 'seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.'"

Well would you look at that, Jesus seems to say that there are certain people (the elect) to whom the secrets of the kingdom are given the rest are left in the dark and without understanding. As for Jesus appealing to "the rules" I have no idea what you are talking about, if you mean love your neighbor and stuff yes He did appeal to that, but that is the OT, not some natural rules you keep alluding to.

Well were at the end so lets just quote the last paragraph and be done with this gauntlet:

"Besides, sir you are so severly blinded by Calvinsim that my rambling here will do little to prick your mind or your heart about what you have said about Open Theist or the so called heresy of Pelgianism (whatever that means). Good luck in your search for Truth - I just hope God manipulates your brain to find it."

The ghost of John Calvin has pulled the wool over my eyes, and as you accuratly put it your rambling is no longer effectual. How shall I ever be free from this view of God entranced vision of all things!

Woe is me, for I am no longer a humanist! We don't haver seeker sensetive churches, because we know that no one seeks God (Rom 3:10) the only One who does the seeking is Christ, who came to seek and save the lost (Lk 19:10)...Woe! Woe! Woe to us!

In all seriousness, it has been by God's mercy that I came to these truths, I was an Arminian at one time and wrestled with the issues of the problem of evil and flirted with open theism. I rejected it because it wasn't Biblical.

I just find it blasphemous that you speak so scathingly about God's eye opening grace to people.

To close I do want to ask you a few of questions:

1. What does God know given your view?

2. How does God govern the events of the world?

3. What does God do if anything in order to save a sinner?

4. How do you interpret John 6? (If it doesn’t' mean what I said then what DOES it mean?)

Preston N said...

Bob

You stated the following:

How is God at fault that men and women hate Him? It is just silly to me that people always say this stuff. He doesn't actively "MAKE" people unbelievers/haters, that's just what the natural man is and does. If He in His predestination leaves some in this state to be damned for their rebellion why is He at fault?

You confuse Calvinism with determinism, a common straw man, and pound away at this scare crow you have erected in your backyard with "Calvinism" written on it's shirt. You pound away at this Straw man and the real calvinists are looking over the fence into your yard wondering when you will wear yourself out and come figure out what we are really saying.


Bob, thats funny - here is what one major Calvinist scholar had to say about this very subject. Most Calvinist I know would heartedly disagree with you here. Determinism and Calvinism go hand and hand my friend. Here is what Loraine Boettner once stated in his paper "The Foreknowledge of God":


"In so decreeing He(God) necessarily decreed all that was to come. In fine, God foresaw the future events of the universe as certain, because He had decreed to create; but this determination to create involved also a determination of all the actual results of that creation; or, in other words, God decreed those results."

Foreknowledge must not be confused with foreordination. Foreknowledge presupposes foreordination, but is not itself foreordination. The actions of free agents do not take place because they are foreseen, but they are foreseen because they are certain to take place. Hence Strong says, "Logically, though not chronologically, decree comes before foreknowledge. When I say, 'I know what I will do,' it is evident that I have determined already, and that my knowledge does not precede determination, but follows it and is based upon it."

Since God's foreknowledge is complete, He knows the destiny of every person, not merely before the person has made his choice in this life, but from eternity. And since He knows their destiny before they are created, and then proceeds to create, it is plain that the saved and the lost alike fulfill His plan for them; for if He did not plan that any particular ones should be lost, He could at least refrain from creating them.

We conclude, then, that the Christian doctrine of the Foreknowledge of God proves also His Predestination. Since these events are foreknown, they are fixed and settled things; and nothing can have fixed and settled them except the good pleasure of God,--- the great first cause,--- freely and unchangeably foreordaining whatever comes to pass. The whole difficulty lies in the acts of free agents being certain; yet certainty is required for foreknowledge as well as for foreordination. The Arminian arguments, if valid, would disprove both foreknowledge and foreordination. And since they prove too much we conclude that they prove nothing at all."


You see Bob Determinism IS Calvinism. It seems you just don't have the stomach to admit this as probably it doesn't sit well in your own conscience. You somehow can't understand why the rest of us just can't see it any other way? well that's probably because when you follow this arguement to its logical conclusion thats where we all end up!

Besides, your argument here is old. On one hand you want to say God has foreordained all things (both good and evil) but yet he is not responsible for any of the evil stuff. This is where logic is usually thrown out the door with most Calvinist. Its as if your saying something can be True, False or Both. As we all know this is just absurd to think this way. As Boettner has stated so very clear, EVERYTHING is fixed from "Eternity Past" and NOTHING will happen that was not already determined by God himself! If its fixed then we have no say so in the matter!

Bob, if I were you I would either get a stronger stomach for your own theology or start searching for some sound doctrine.

Preston N said...

One other thing Bob. Here is how I would dissect John 6.

John 6:37 -- “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

If “irresistible grace” is taught in this passage, it is for all who believe on Christ and not merely for a special few who were sovereignly pre-elected to be saved.

This verse does not say that God has sovereignly pre-chosen only some for salvation and that it is those pre-chosen ones that are given to Christ. One must read all of that into the verse. It simply says that all that the Father gives will come to Christ. The question is this: “Who is it that the Father gives to Jesus?”

That question is answered plainly in this passage only three verses later: “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn. 6:40). (Of course Calvinist argues that it is only the elect who can “see the Son,” but one must read that into the verse also.)

Thus, all those who believe on Christ are given by the Father and they are received and are not cast out.

John 6:39 -- “And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”

I've explained this under John 6:37. Verse 40 says that those that are given by the Father are those who believe on Christ.

John 6:44 -- “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

This is an important statement and it teaches that men cannot be saved apart from divine drawing. Sinners do not seek God on their own (Rom. 3:11). If John 6:44 stood alone, apart from the rest of the Scripture, it would be possible to see Calvinist Irresistible Grace in its language, but it does not. The Lord Jesus plainly taught that ALL men are drawn. “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32). Not only that, but He also said that ALL men are given light. “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (Jn. 1:9). Further, the Holy Spirit has come to “reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (Jn. 16:8).

Besides Bob, what I have found is what most Calvinist really need is to read scripture without presuppositions when your reading the bible. I suggest you read the bible with some sound hermeneutics rather than through the distorted lenses of John Calvin.

Preston N said...

Bob you also stated:

And you want to say I lean on pagan philosophy? Natural law? Pheh!

Since you seem to deny natural law, How then would you explain when Paul speaks of Romans 2:13-15:

13for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. 14For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,

This is the very definition of natural law. That mankind instinctively knows what is right or wrong, what is just or unjust, what is good and what is evil. This ability to have right reason is the very thing by which God says "I have created man in my own image". How is it then that men have guilt or shame? Its because they know from the HEART they have sinned - man needs no Law to know right from wrong, but knows instinctively he is guilty. I would be interested hearing you explain these verse to say something else.

Side Note: I hope you enjoy the liberties we have in this country for if it were not for men such as Edmund Burke and John Adams, who were fierce proponents of "natural law" we would not have the freedoms nor the constitution you so enjoy today. The very preamble of the constitution states "We hold these Truths to be SELF EVIDENT" . "Self-Evident"!! Thank God a Calvinist did't help write the constitution for it would have read "Men are too Totally-depraved to know truth". You might have faired better with the likes of Hobbes and his idea of "Soveriegnty". But I digress!

Bob said...

Hey Preston, I pasted your 3 replies onto the newer post dealing specifically with this debate, my further replies are going to be made there as well.