08
Sep
14

Where Have All The Thinkers Gone?

I have known a few Southern Baptist pastors who have had their heads screwed on properly in regard to sound theology. Thanks to the efforts of Ernie Reisinger, Tom Ascol et.al. their tribe is increasing. Still, there are those in the SBC who call themselves “traditionalists” who imagine they have found a middle road between Calvinism and Arminianism, semi-Pelagianism, or Pelagianism.

According to their own statement, if they are not actually Pelagians, they would at least fall on the Pelagian side of Arminianism. Even the original Arminians did not believe sinners are born with a “free will.” They agreed with the Calvinists that sinners are born in a state of total depravity. They did believe God gives prevenient grace to all without exception, enabling all to accept Christ or reject him. I have yet to hear anyone venture a guess as to when God grants this supposed ability. There are a number of mysteries that surround this teaching that no one seems to wish to address. I would like to pose several questions that need to be answered before the discussion between Calvinists and Traditionals (hereafter referred to as TSB’s) can progress to a meaningful conclusion. The following are a few of them:

1. How do TSB’s define “free will?” Do they merely mean that sinners act freely in making their choices, or to they mean a person is able to choose that for which he has absolutely no desire and to which he is thoroughly averse? Do they mean a person’s nature has no bearing on his choices? If a will is to be truly free, it cannot be affected by anything, even nature.

2. If “prevenient [preceding] grace” cancels the effects of inherited depravity, does it essentially place the sinner in a state of neutrality? If so, are the recipient’s desire’s equally balanced between an affinity toward sin and hostility toward God and an affinity toward righteousness and love toward God? If so, what tips the balance? How can one ever make a decisive choice if his desires are absolutely contradictory but equally balanced?

3. In receiving this divine favor, has the sinner already received all the enabling God intends to give him? If he is left in such a state, could his condition be described as anything other than a dissociative disorder?

4. These people believe “Fallen man inherits a sinful nature.” This is part of the “O” in their acrostic “POINSETTIA.” When does that nature cease to be sinful and begin to be neutral? At what point is “free will” granted to the sinner? If it is granted at birth, why do biblical writers describe the unregenerate as rebels against God? If it is granted when a person hears the gospel, how can it be universal since all do not hear the gospel?

5. If God is not totally without control in his universe, could he not have caused that all would hear the gospel? In Acts 16:6-10, we learn that Paul and his companions tried to go into Bithynia to preach the gospel, but the Spirit did not allow them to go, sending them to Macedonia instead. Given the assumptions of the TBS’s, one would have to assume a God of love would see to it that every creature under heaven would hear the gospel? If he could have assured a universal proclamation of the gospel and didn’t, is he not being unfair? I speak as a fool.

6. If a sinner has the ability to love God, choose to obey his commandments, believe the gospel etc., why does he need to be regenerated at all?

The TSB’s have made a list of statements they with which they seem to assume Calvinists would disagree. Indeed, we would disagree with many of them, but much of their propensity to get their panties in a wad is based on their misunderstanding or misrepresentation of our beliefs.

Such people as Norman Geisler should be intelligent enough and careful enough to avoid the making brain dead statements. Yet, much of what he and others say in regard to this controversy has little to do with the real issues. He states that Jesus died for all sinners. Does he mean Jesus death is of sufficient value to save any and all who will believe? Does he mean we are warranted to proclaim the good news that Jesus died for sinners to every sinner with which we come in contact? Does he mean it was God’s intention in sending his Son to save sinners who had already perished in unbelief before Jesus died? He should be informed well enough to understand that the issue in the controversy over the atonement is not whether any sinner who believed would be saved by Christ’s death. It is whether Jesus’ death was effective in redeeming all God had intended to save.

The truth is that his problem is not with limited atonement, but with the sovereignty of God in salvation. The issue is whether salvation is all of God and all of grace or a cooperative effort between God and the sinner.

All he says is a misrepresentation of our beliefs. For him to claim Calvinists do not believe in the eternal security of the believer betrays one of two things about him. Either his scholarship is not to be trusted since he clearly has not investigated our beliefs adequately, or after having investigated our views, he has deliberately misrepresented what we believe.

Of course, we believe in the eternal security of the true believer in Christ. What we do not believe is the eternal security of everyone who has made a profession of faith. We believe “once saved, always saved,” but one must be once saved to be always saved.

I challenge some of these people to engage in a discussion of these issues. Please attempt an answer to some of these questions? Learn the real issues, and then confront them. Don’t spend your time burning straw men.

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39 Responses to “Where Have All The Thinkers Gone?”


  1. September 8, 2014 at 2:39 am

    If many doesn’t have freewill and therefore can’t change their mind on Calvinism vs Arminianism vs Semi-Pelagianism/Pelagianism, then why do you heretics spend so much time arguing it? You admit by your very attempt to touch people’s freewill and thus convince them, that you acknowledge that have freewill, and that therefore you are a professional liar and hypocrite with respect to your feigned profession of Calvinistic principles.

    • September 8, 2014 at 3:19 am

      DB,

      Why would you ever think Calvinists don’t believe God uses means to accomplish his purposes. There is no question we expect God to change people’s minds through biblical argumentation. That has nothing to do with “free will.” If you believe in “free agency” and human responsibility, I would have no disagreement with you on that point. “Free will” is another issue altogether. Your comments are simply an illustration of the prodigious misrepresentations I was writing about. One of your problems, if I remember your views correctly, is your failure to bow to the authority of the Scriptures. If you view is that the Scriptures are errant, we have no common basis of authority for a meaningful discussion. Any interchange between us would be meaningless. In any case, it would be helpful if you would read and follow the rules. If you do not do so, our interchange has come to a decisive end.

      • September 8, 2014 at 3:27 am

        So you’re saying that “you” aren’t really making arguments because “you” don’t exist. On your theory, God is making the arguments through a sock puppet that isn’t real in order to convince another socket puppet that isn’t real, which he is also controlling.

      • September 8, 2014 at 3:36 am

        Again, let me use you as a bad example. Since you have indicated you don’t intend to follow the rules, I will not post anymore of your comments. This comment is excellent example of what I have asked commenters not to do. If you had phrased you comment, “Are you saying. . . ?” I would have answered you. Since you imputed to me a view I do not hold, there is nothing I can reply. Nothing you have written remotely resembles what I believe. Just know that unless you opt to follow the rules, your further comments will be disregarded. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. September 8, 2014 at 2:46 am

    As for as thinkers go, you certainly aren’t one, since if you could think, you would think about the fact that making a logical appeal to anyone implies they have freewill and can change their mind. If you truly don’t believe anyone has freewill, you would just keep your mouth and your keyboard shut, and just let God it all — monergism — the fact that you say anything shows you are in fact a synergist, who is too stupid to realize you are. Fact is, you’re a Pelagian….just one who’s too stupid to have figured it out yet.

    • September 8, 2014 at 3:05 am

      Thank you for your kind comments. Apparently, you did not read the rules for commenting before you did so. I would normally not approve your comments since you have violated the rules, but since you are such a wonderful example of the points I was making, I have decided to leave your comments.

      As your ilk tend to do, you have opted to make reference to “free will” with no attempt to define your terms. I have asked for intelligent responses, and yours clearly isn’t intelligent. You have indicated by your response that you don’t understand the issues any better than the ones I was referring to.

      If you would like to try again, and this time attempt an intelligent response, I will respond to your comments. As it stands, your comments are too banal to merit a response. If you do no better next time, expect your comments to be ignored and deleted.

  3. September 8, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Good morning Randy!

    It seems Mr. Brainerd equates ‘free will’ with ‘free choice’, as many do. Luther or Edwards on the issue would do him we’ll.

    Your question about prevenient Grace is a good one. I’ve thought about a lot and concluded that God would need to present it at a moment when the person needing Christ is about to be presented the gospel. Of course God knows when that is to occur because of his foreknowledge. Would we also need to conclude that the gospel presentation ‘contributed’ to the salvation of a person, if he/she chooses Christ? Does the ‘contribution’ then give the presenter cause to boast, which is prohibited?

    Just my mental meanderings. I might be over thinking again.

    • September 8, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      Hello Dan,

      It is good to hear from you. I have been working on my Commentary on Hebrews and have been neglecting the blog for a while. At last, I am working on the final chapter.

      You are quite right about “free will” and “free choice.” This is why I am asking for definition. Apart from definition, we will simply continue to talk past each other. To say that sinners choose freely according to their highest inclination is not to affirm free will. If they are truly raised to a level of neutrality in reference to sin and righteousness, they have no highest inclination. If they are inclined to one above the other, their will is not truly free.

      As to prevenient grace, the issue is not whether Arminians and Calvinists both believe in it. It is that they believe it may be ineffectual and we believe it is given in conjunction with the proclamation of the gospel and is always effectual in bringing sinners to faith. We call it “effectual calling” and “regeneration.”

  4. September 8, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    As one of the deacons of what was the church I served for 4 whole weeks told me, man is responsible before God for his choices (yes! I agreed), this means he has free will to accept or reject the offer of salvation. Closed ears, unwilling to hear a question, much less provide an answer based on what the Bible says. Something to ponder: if predestination is biblical (and it is, without a doubt, one of the most clearly documents doctrines in the Scriptures: http://defendingcontending.com/2014/09/04/is-predestination-biblical/) then man cannot in and of himself choose to believe or not. His will is bound by his nature – enslaved to sin and self or enslaved to Christ.

    • September 9, 2014 at 3:23 am

      Quite well stated my brother. I am saddened to hear of yet another gathering of people who have closed their minds to and turned their backs on God’s clearly revealed truth. Their former teachers will have a great deal to answer for.

      Press on Brother! “We will not fear, for God has willed his truth to triumph through us.”

  5. September 13, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    A possible (don’t want to speak for all) definition of Free Will would be “the ability to choose otherwise”. Simply a person confronted with a decision can choose among 1 or more possible options. For example choosing dinner from a menu. The person goes into the restaurant with many desires – not to spend a lot, likes steak, in the mood for lobster, really hungry etc. They debate among these many desires (some stronger than others) and then they make a choice. And go on to enjoy the surf/turf special. 🙂

    The J. Edwards notion that a single strongest desire drives our will is not an aspect that all would agree with. But I think it is this idea that drives many of your other questions about neutrality, disorder etc.

    So your next question will be – how does one choose? And of course that is studied, debated in many circles with much difficulty. I don’t think the Scriptures tell us “how” one chooses. Just that they are to choose wisely. Our nature and bent are involved but there is still an aspect of decision making that goes beyond this. Consider – why do regenerated people still choose sin sometimes?

    • September 13, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      Mike,

      Thank-you for your respectful and carefully considered comment. At least, you have attempted a definition of “free will” which is far more than I can say for most. I think, given your definition, I would agree that sinners in an unregenerate state have the ability you describe. They can choose anything they wish. In the restaurant scenario you describe, the person’s choice is driven by his desires. The question I would pose would be whether a person would ever choose something from the menu that he abhors? Certainly he has the liberty to make such a choice, but he does not have the ability because he doesn’t have the desire.

      Regenerate people still choose sin sometimes because the desire for sin has not been completely eradicated in the regenerate. Once we are made perfect in holiness, there will be no more desire for sin and we will not be able to choose it. A person cannot choose that for which he has no desire and to which he is absolutely averse.

      What I am asking for are texts of Scripture that indicate a time prior to calling and regeneration when sinners give evidence of a desire to obey God, repent, believe the gospel etc. There are clearly many works God performs in conjunction with the proclamation of the gospel that fall short of bringing sinners to saving faith, but I know of no Scripture that indicates that God does a work in the heart of every sinner that grants him a desire to come to Christ. Common grace does not accomplish this. Those who are perishing always regard the gospel as foolishness, and a scandal until God calls them by his grace.

      Can you cite for me a verse or verses that indicate there is anything in the unregenerate other than a nature and bent toward sinning and rebelling against God?

      Thanks again for stopping by and for your comment.

      • September 13, 2014 at 3:38 pm

        I think given your definition, I would agree that sinners in an unregenerate state have the ability you describe. They can choose anything they wish.

        I never like to assume, but as a Calvinist how would this be reconciled with “God ordains all that comes to pass”. I know there are various understandings of God’s sovereignty and some differ over which areas God determines and which he allows freedom. But if He ordains/plans everything (and everything would include your desires) then wouldn’t that person actually only choose what God planned for them to desire?

        In the restaurant scenario you describe, the person’s choice is driven by his desires. The question I would pose would be whether a person would ever choose something from the menu that he abhors?

        Sure. Ever see someone do something on a dare. They abhor eating really hot food, but will eat an insanely hot chicken wing. That is where competing desires come in. This would be what happens in the regenerate as you noted. Competing desires to sin and to not sin.

        Can you cite for me a verse or verses that indicate there is anything in the unregenerate other than a nature and bent toward sinning and rebelling against God?

        I see Lydia, Cornelius, the Ethiopian eunoch, and even the Rich Young Ruler as people who desired God in an unregenerate state. When confronted with a choice some accepted the gift and some did not.

      • September 13, 2014 at 4:33 pm

        “I never like to assume, but as a Calvinist how would this be reconciled with “God ordains all that comes to pass”. I know there are various understandings of God’s sovereignty and some differ over which areas God determines and which he allows freedom. But if He ordains/plans everything (and everything would include your desires) then wouldn’t that person actually only choose what God planned for them to desire?”

        It is clearly consistent with the biblical doctrine that God ordains all that comes to pass. You need to remember that ordaining all that comes to pass does not involve actively causing all that occurs. God ordained the death of Christ but used the sinful desires of wicked men to effect it. God does not give the unregenerate their desire to reject the gospel, but he has ordained to leave them to their desires.

        “Sure. Ever see someone do something on a dare. They abhor eating really hot food, but will eat an insanely hot chicken wing. That is where competing desires come in. This would be what happens in the regenerate as you noted. Competing desires to sin and to not sin.”

        You have changed the scenario. Here another set of desires comes into the picture. Here, the person’s highest inclination is to look macho in front of his friends. He is not choosing the food because he desires it, but because a higher desire has replaced his proper judgment. He doesn’t desire the insanely hot chicken wing; he desires looking macho. What he will choose for a meal does not enter this picture.

        “I see Lydia, Cornelius, the Ethiopian eunoch, and even the Rich Young Ruler as people who desired God in an unregenerate state. When confronted with a choice some accepted the gift and some did not.”

        I am not suggesting that God does no pre-conversion work in the unregenerate as he is bringing them to faith. Common grace can certainly have this effect. The goodness of God tends to lead people to repentance (Rom. 2). In the case of three of the four individuals you have mentioned, we are talking about proselyte Jews and all of them came to faith in Christ. Additionally, no one can say at what point these people were regenerated. As far as we know, these three had been regenerated already and were simply in need of additional information.

        What I am asking from you is not ambiguous examples but clear, theological texts that explicate God’s work in saving sinners that indicate there is anything in the unregenerate other than a nature and bent toward sinning and rebellion against God. As you know, we don’t [or at least shouldn’t] build our theology on historical and narrative passages but on theological passages.
        In the case of the rich young ruler, we simply don’t know what happened to him. He, too, may have come to faith in Christ. What we do know is that, at the point Jesus spoke to him, though he expressed a desire for eternal life, he expressed no real desire leave his stuff and follow Jesus. His bent toward covetousness clearly determined his choice, at that point, to forget about eternal life in favor of his stuff.

        Please understand that I believe there are tons of unregenerate people would love to have eternal life if they could have it and continue in their sins. This is altogether different from a heart-felt love for God and a desire for obedience to his Word.

      • September 13, 2014 at 4:45 pm

        Mike,

        I want to make an additional comment regarding your latest post. Your comment about God’s decree seems to presuppose that I believe God actively causes everything he decrees. I wrote to a “Calvinist” yesterday who no doubt thinks I am a heretic because I don’t believe God forces people to act against their wills. In my view, he is in the Calvinistic minority. I think most reasonable Calvinist would agree that God can work through means [second causes], above or apart from means, or contrary to means. God does not actively cause anyone to be an unbeliever. At times, he simply leaves sinners to themselves.

  6. September 13, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Randy,

    Your comment about God’s decree seems to presuppose that I believe God actively causes everything he decrees.

    Actually, I was trying not to do that. That is why I asked you to explain that a bit.

    I would ask that if God ordains/plans everything, and does this before He created, but is not the cause then how does He know that what He plans will actually take place? How does He know what 2nd causes He will have to work with?

    How can God be sure what the strongest desire a person will have and thus act on (assuming (and I don’t) that is how free will works)?

    • September 13, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      Mike,

      Your comment about God’s decree seems to presuppose that I believe God actively causes everything he decrees.

      “Actually, I was trying not to do that. That is why I asked you to explain that a bit.”

      That wasn’t an accusation. I was merely saying it appears that is the idea that prompted your comment.

      “I would ask that if God ordains/plans everything, and does this before He created, but is not the cause then how does He know that what He plans will actually take place? How does He know what 2nd causes He will have to work with?

      How can God be sure what the strongest desire a person will have and thus act on (assuming (and I don’t) that is how free will works)?”

      I think the simple answer is that God is omniscient. He knows the inmost desires and propensities of every one of his creatures. In saying that God does not cause everything, I am not denying that he is in control of all things. It is simply that there are some events and actions he does not need to cause. All God must do is let sin seek its own level. “The king’s heart is in the Lord’s hand, and as the rivers of water, he turns it where ever he will.” God doesn’t need to cause the actions of wicked people. He merely channels them for his own purposes. He does all this pursuant to the fulfillment of his predestined purpose (Eph. 1:11). If an action or event will not bring glory to him and eternal and spiritual good to his people, he simply restrains it.

      • September 14, 2014 at 2:15 am

        Randy,

        Thanks for letting me engage on your blog. And thanks for coming over and reading some of the things I have written on these areas.

        In saying that God does not cause everything, I am not denying that he is in control of all things.
        As someone who does not hold to Divine Determinism I would agree with this statement.

        The heart of the question is does God plan and then foreknow based on this plan or does God know all things for some other reason (usually based on His timelessness)?

        Most Calvinists I read or talk with would state that God plans everything out and His foreknowledge is then based on His plans (rather than His timelessness). His plans are certain and must necessarily come to pass so that is how He knows. Causal becomes part of the discussion then b/c how can God be sure His plans will come to pass without making sure that they do.

        Are you holding that God foreknows and then plans? If so, then that is not too far off from the Arminian view point. God knew who would respond in faith and these are the people He calls the elect. They are chosen to salvation based on their faith (made possible through prevenient grace). God also knows the evil that people will do through the abuse of their free will. Some things He may stop and others (that which we see and are aware of) He permits. However, in permitting it, I would say that He has not planned it.

        If, however, God plans everything out then all of the evil that occurs is still part of the plan. It can’t be just said that He knows it will happen or that He permits it to happen (because He chooses to allow free will over stopping all evil acts). He wants all of the evil that occurs to happen.

      • September 14, 2014 at 2:33 am

        I believe God knows what will occur because he has decreed what will occur. That does not mean he actively causes all acts and events, though he is in controls of everything.

        My view bears no resemblance to the Arminian view.

      • September 14, 2014 at 2:37 am

        God is the primary source of all things, including secondary sources. Hence, man is responsible for his sin, even though in his natural state that is all he can do. God is not the author of sin – the man is. God is the author of life – including that of the sinful man.

      • September 14, 2014 at 2:51 am

        Agreed my brother. Good comment.

      • September 15, 2014 at 1:08 pm

        Randy,

        Thanks for the clarification, when you answered how God insures His plan takes place you mentioned omniscience so I was not sure how you were seeing foreknowledge in relationship to ordaining/planning.

        You are right, if foreknowledge is derived from the plan then that would not line up with an Arminian understanding.

        I understand if you are busy, but thought I would share a link where I wrestle with this idea Ordaining All That Comes to Pass. In a nutshell, I don’t see how God can be sure His plan will come to be unless He works to cause it (ie. determinism). Maybe you can help me see how that might work from your point of view.

      • September 19, 2014 at 1:32 pm

        Mike,

        I hope my latest post will help to clarify my view.

  7. September 13, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    You have changed the scenario.
    Sorry. Thought I just answered the question of when would someone choose something from the menu they abhor.

    Additionally, no one can say at what point these people were regenerated. As far as we know, these three had been regenerated already and were simply in need of additional information.

    Before we look into this further, can you clarify something. Is it possible for God to regenerate someone and then have a measurable amount of time occur before they come to faith? Most theologians I have read talk of this as being a near immediate result.

    Thanks

    • September 13, 2014 at 7:59 pm

      Mike,

      Thank-you for your continued comments and for the irenic spirit in which you are making them. It is my view that we need in-depth discussions of such issues that will bring people of different persuasions together rather than driving us further apart. Now to your comments.

      You have changed the scenario.
      “Sorry. Thought I just answered the question of when would someone choose something from the menu they abhor.”

      You changed the scenario from a person ordering dinner to a guy being taunted by his friends to eat something he didn’t want. You are quite right. A person can order something he doesn’t want to eat if he has some other reason for ordering it, in this case to accept a dare. But back to your original scenario, given the constraints you mentioned and given that he does not like to eat [indeed may even abhor] insanely hot chicken wings, would he ever choose them for his meal? I think we both know the answer is “NO.”

      “Before we look into this further, can you clarify something. Is it possible for God to regenerate someone and then have a measurable amount of time occur before they come to faith? Most theologians I have read talk of this as being a near immediate result.”

      I believe “regeneration” and faith are simultaneous, though the faith that results from regeneration may be more easily perceived in some than in others. Some continue to “see men as trees walking” even after they have received their sight.

      • September 14, 2014 at 2:04 am

        The question was would a person would ever choose something from the menu that he abhors. That certainly opens the door to a variety of scenarios in which that might happen. So I think my scenario was fair. In my understanding of free will the person at the restaurant would still have to wrestle with the competing desires to (1) not eat hot wings and (2) not look “wimpy”. He would still be free to choose either option.

        Putting this back into the aspect of salvation, prevenient grace, is what God uses to enable a person to respond in faith. This grace helps a person recognize that God is not someone to abhor but to adore. However, the choice to accept or reject God would still ultimately be up to that person.

        I believe “regeneration” and faith are simultaneous,

        That statement seems to conflict with the idea that Lydia, Cornelius, etc were ” regenerated already and were simply in need of additional information”. Can you explain further? Clearly Cornelius did not find God abhorrent. Nor did he seem bent toward rebellion against God. From the text he appears to have a heart-felt love for God and a desire to please Him. Was he regenerated/reborn at this point? If so, there seems to be a significant time gap between that and his coming to faith when Peter arrives.

        There also would need to be a logical order to regeneration and faith. Otherwise regeneration – which changes the will so that one can (necessarily) respond in faith – can’t be required for faith.

      • September 14, 2014 at 2:48 am

        What is there in the text that indicates Cornelius came to faith for the first time when Peter visited him? The issue in Acts 10 was not his conversion, but the inclusion of Gentile believers as Gentile believers and not proselyte Jews in the New Covenant Church.

        The events recorded in Acts are transitional in nature and should not be considered normative. I am asking you to provide verses from the Epistles that talk about a universal, but ineffectual grace that grants sinners the ability to believe without actually bringing them to faith.

      • September 15, 2014 at 1:21 pm

        There are several ways to approach a Scriptural approach to prevenient grace. Since I am going to assume total depravity I will offer a very brief set of passages that taken together can offer a case for prevenient grace.

        1. 1 Tim 2:4 – God wants all people to be saved & not to perish (also Ezek 18:23;32; 33:11)
        2. John 3:16 – God loved the world and sent His Son so that they would not have to perish if they believe
        3. John 6:44 – Only those God draws can come to Him (but does not require that all drawn must come)
        4. Titus 2:11 – the grace of God appears offering salvation to all people

        if the only way for someone to be saved is through effectual, irresistible grace that God withholds from some then how can He want all people to be saved? How can His plan include wanting all to be saved but wanting some to perish? This is not a question about whether those who perish deserve it, but whether God could be said to want them to be saved when He withholds the one thing (in Reformed theology) that is necessary for them to have to be saved?

      • September 15, 2014 at 3:53 pm

        Mike,

        Though I appreciate your efforts to find a verse or verses that in some way remotely support your idea of prevenient grace, not one of the verses you have suggested is remotely related to such a doctrine. Your parenthetical statement at the end of your quasi-quotation of John 6:44 is contrary to the text itself. What Jesus here promises is the same as the promise he makes concerning “everyone who looks on the Son and believes on him” (v.40), i.e., “I will raise him again at the last day.” Clearly, in verse 40 he is referring to a resurrection to life. This is that which he promises to those and all those whom the Father draws. Verse 45 makes this even more explicit. In a clear contextual reference to the drawing he has been describing he said, “Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.”

        In the forth verse you quoted, Tit. 2:11, Paul is not talking about an offer of salvation at all. He is talking about salvation itself. It is not the “salvation offering grace of God,” but “the salvation bringing grace of God.” A good translation would be, “bringing deliverance to.” He is talking about the grace that has saved these very people to whom he is writing. In context, the “all people” about whom he is speaking is not a reference to every individual on the planet but to all the ages and classes of people he has been describing in the preceding context. Even slaves, those on the lowest rung of the social ladder, may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things, “FOR the salvation bringing grace of God has appeared to all kinds of people.” He is talking about all without distinction, not all without exception.

        Unless one can show that an offer of salvation has been made to every individual on the face of the planet, who has lived, is living or shall ever live, it will be impossible to construe this passage as a reference to a preceding grace that is universal in scope. If it is a reference to an enabling that falls short of bringing people to saving faith, the very most that can be said about it is that there is a universal offer in the sense that the offer goes to people of every nation, not only to the Jews. The gospel only offers salvation to those who hear it. There is no offer of salvation to those who are ignorant of it. Where this grace appears, it teaches the recipients to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live soberly, righteously and godly in the present age. Additionally, it teaches the recipients to look for the appearing of Christ, who gave himself with a specific design in reference to these people, i.e, that he might purify for himself a people for his own possession . . . .”

        I have saved my comments on the first two verses you cited for last because they relate to the objection you have raised to our view that God both desires the salvation of sinners and has decreed that he will not save them all. In answer to this objection, I would respond that there is a mystery here that we cannot fully understand. It is much like the question of God’s permitting evil in his universe. Has God clearly revealed in his Word that he hates lying, murder, etc? The answer is, of course he has. If I were God, I would keep everything I did not want to happen from happening. I would never allow a rape, a murder, a lie, a theft, etc. Yet, as we read through the Scriptures it becomes clear that God has intended the occurrence of certain acts and events that are contrary to his revealed will. It is that not God is merely observing, from his position of timelessness, how things are going to turn out somehow. Instead, in his infinite wisdom and in pursuance of his own glory, he is actively orchestrating all events, even those events that run contrary to his revealed will. If such events would not occur apart from his direct causation, he causes them. At times, he brings them about by using the wicked propensities of evil men. In such cases, he removes from them his restraining grace and accomplishes his purposes, using their wickedness and holding them responsible for their wicked actions. Thus, in such cases, God’s revealed will runs contrary to his decreed will.

        God’s revealed will is consistent with his holy nature. Being holy as he is, he cannot but desire the holiness of his creatures. Thus, he desires all people to act in righteousness and to love him supremely. For this reason, he commands all people everywhere to repent. He is a God who delights in mercy and not in judgment.

        According to your view, God is clearly able to see to it that everyone receives an enablement that precedes their choice to either accept or reject the gospel. I would conclude from that and from what I understand of your position that you believe he has at least some control in the matter of salvation. If he is able to so operate in a person’s inner man that he is free from all influence and as free to choose one way as the other, could he not also have granted every person the ability to love him, obey him, and come to faith in Christ? If he truly wants all to be saved [and you and I agree that he does], and he could have brought that about, [and I think even you would acknowledge he could have], why didn’t he? According to your view [as I understand it. Correct me if I am wrong], he withholds the one thing necessary to actually bring people to faith not only from the non-elect, but from everyone. According to your view, he wants everyone to be saved but does not do everything that is necessary for anyone to be saved. How can you say he truly wants everyone to be saved?

      • September 16, 2014 at 2:41 pm

        Randy,

        We have certainly covered a lot of ground. Thanks again for allowing me to come and discuss our differing points of view.

        I will not be able to address every thing you mentioned. Maybe I will write up a clearer post on prevenient grace. I can understand you not wanting links posted here. But if you Google “dead heroes john 6 another look” you can take a look (should be first result) at other ways to interpret that passage.

        In context, the “all people” about whom he is speaking is not a reference to every individual on the planet but to all the ages and classes of people he has been describing in the preceding context. … He is talking about all without distinction, not all without exception.

        Reading through the chapter I agree that this is a possible interpretation. However, I would not say it is the only interpretation. For example the IVP New Testament Commentaries sees it as all without exception. If I ever get around to writing that post, I will examine that more closely.

        view that God both desires the salvation of sinners and has decreed that he will not save them all. … It is much like the question of God’s permitting evil in his universe.

        I think this is the area where we see things differently. In my response, it may not capture how you would represent Reformed theology. However, it represents how Reformed theology logically plays out.

        In the Reformed system, it is not a question of God permitting evil but of His planning for the evil to occur. That is what “ordains all” means. This is a very important distinction. The way I understand it, ordaining all that comes to pass is very similar to an author writing a story. The author plans out and writes the narrative out. The characters in the story just act according to the script they have been provided. If this is a bad analogy, please help me understand where or why this analogy fails.

        In the view I hold, God did not plan for evil to occur. He planned to give free will (as I defined it in comments above) to the people He created. Knowing in advance that they would abuse it He chose to give it anyway, thus permitting (but not planning for) people to commit all sorts of evil. He allows this to occur even though He hates it b/c He has chosen to rule over people who can freely decide their actions rather than only act out the parts that He has determined they play.

        God’s revealed will is consistent with his holy nature. … God’s revealed will runs contrary to his decreed will.

        Does this mean that God’s decreed will is inconsistent with his holy nature?

        Why would He plan for unholy things to occur? I admit, it is difficult to understand why He permits unholy acts to occur. But to actually pre-plan them would seemingly contradict statements like – in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).

        He is a God who delights in mercy and not in judgment.

        How is this true for the reprobate/un-elect? According to the Reformed view, God does everything necessary (provide irresistible grace) for some to be saved and does everything necessary (withhold irresistible grace) to make sure some are not saved.

        …you believe he has at least some control in the matter of salvation.

        Correct. I do.
        God provides the promise of salvation by grace through faith,
        God provides the means of being saved allowing Him to be just and merciful (Christ and the cross)
        God provides the conviction & enablement to respond by faith (prev. grace)
        God provides the free will ability to choose to accept or reject salvation.
        God also performs what He promised to do for those who respond in faith (justify, reconcile, regenerate, adopt, glorify).

        could he not also have granted every person the ability to love him, obey him, and come to faith in Christ?… why didn’t he?

        Not if He wanted people to freely choose Him. He wanted people to choose life over death, not be programmed to only be able to choose life.

        According to your view, he wants everyone to be saved but does not do everything that is necessary for anyone to be saved. How can you say he truly wants everyone to be saved?

        He does everything to provide and make salvation possible except believe for people (or provide irresistible grace which is essentially believing for them). He offers people the opportunity to respond to His invitation. To believe for them God would effectivley makes His creation robots not people.

      • September 16, 2014 at 5:05 pm

        Mike,

        I am going to first post a somewhat lengthy comment I left on your blog that I think will speak to some of these issues, then, as I have time I will speak to some of your comments in this more specifically. I do want to thank you again for the spirit with which you have conducted yourself in this discussion. I believe there would be far greater unity in Christ’s body if we would all pursue such discussions with such a spirit.

        The following is my post on your blog:

        Please forgive me for giving the impression that I thought any such discussion is a waste of time. What I intended is that once we have tried to make our positions clear on a given passage, it is at times like beating a dead horse to continue. At that point, unless there are other issues to be discussed in a given passage, it is probably good to move on to another issue.

        Let me say first as we continue that my views of “regeneration” may be a bit different from those you have encountered in your interactions with other “Reformed.” The fact is, I don’t even consider myself Reformed in the strictest sense of the word, and I am sure many of the Reformed would be happy to hear that confession.

        The NT speaks very little about “regeneration” using that term. The one time Jesus used the term, he referred not to an act of God in an individual sinner, but to the time of fulfillment when God would make all things new. In my view, that time of fulfillment began with the resurrection of Christ and the giving of the Holy Spirit. By that I don’t mean that everything has come to fulfillment, but that the fulfillment has been accomplished. The rest is a matter of application. For example, the entire cosmos is to be set free from the bondage of corruption. Jesus accomplished this at the cross, but that accomplishment will not be applied until he returns in glory. It is my view that when Paul uses the term in Titus 3, he may be referring, not to the act itself, but to the era of fulfillment to which that act belongs, i.e., it is the washing and renewing that, in fulfillment of the Old Testament promise of Ezek. 36:25-27, belongs to the New Covenant era. The blessings God gave to Israel foreshadowed the blessings that now belong to the NC people of God. We fulfill the types and shadows of the OC. I believe it was this promise to which Jesus was referring when he told Nicodemus he needed to be born again of water “I will sprinkle clean water upon you. . . .” and of Spirit, ‘I will put a new disposition and my Spirit within you.” Obedience to God is the result of his actions in this promise, not the cause of them. As I understand the gospel, it is not merely an invitation but a command to believe and repent (see 2Thess. 1:8; 1 Pet. 4:17; Acts 17:30). According to Jesus, Nicodemus and all those like him [note the plural] needed the acts of God described in this promise not only to enter but to even catch a glimpse of the kingdom. They all, along with the rest of us, needed God to exchange their stony hearts for hearts of flesh in order to obey God’s commandments, including the commands of the gospel.

        John seems to say more about being born again than any other NT writer. I am merely saying that from a memory glance. I have not actually gone to a concordance to count the references. When he does so, especially in his first Epistle, he represents a number of results that follow being born of God. In every case, he uses the identical grammatical construction. He talks about what is occurring in the present, then states why it is occurring. For example, in 1 Jn 4:7 he states that whoever is loving his brother [present, durative action] has been born of God [perfect, passive, indicative]. The tense of the verb describes an action that has occurred decisively in the past with results continuing into the present. I am sure no one would argue that these believers were born again because they love their brothers in Christ. It is clear that the perfect tense is antecedent to the present tense. He uses this same construction in 5:1 and tells us that “Everyone who is believing (present tense] that Jesus is the Christ, has been born of God [perfect, passive, indicative.] Grammatically speaking, it is impossible to construe believing as antecedent to having been born.

        It is my view that if our our discussion is going to be in the context of the Pauline body of truth, it should not be centered so much on the order of regeneration and faith as on the order of calling and faith. In my view, Paul’s many metaphors for God’s work in bringing sinners to conversion [creation, circumcision, resurrection, rescue from bondage, baptism, etc] are more often described as “calling” than “regeneration.”

        My question for you would be why would a person who has received divine enablement to believe the gospel be described [during the hearing of the gospel itself] as “stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears” and as “ALWAYS” resisting [to fall against or to hurl oneself against] the Holy Spirit? One would have thought Stephen would have at least have described them as neutral in the matter, “fuzzy on the whole good and bad thing” as it were.

        We believe there is a logical and causative order in the application of redemption, not necessarily a chronological order. In the days when a person could still use an incandescent light bulb, I could have illustrated this as follows: When we flip a light switch, it is impossible to tell which occurs first, the flipping of the switch or the illumination of the light bulb. Yet, it is clear to any reasonable person that the illumination of the bulb did not cause the flipping of the switch. There is a logical and causative order in these actions through the two actions occur simultaneously.

        I hope you can tell to which of your objections I am responding since I am finding myself unable to copy and paste them. This comment is about the regenerate being for a time guilty if regeneration precedes faith and thus justification. Technically speaking that is true for a split second, but it is aside from the issue. You have stated that it is “our sin problem that has kept us out of the kingdom and therefore we could not enter the kingdom even if regenerated until we were justified” or something to that effect. First, I would simply refer you to the discussion of the simultaneous nature of all these works of God. Secondly, I would ask you to notice that Jesus did not say being born from above brings one into the kingdom apart from the other works of grace he performs. But those acts of God were not the issue in this passage. He said no one will catch a glimpse of or enter the kingdom apart from being born from above. The application of all that Jesus accomplished in his redemptive work [even sanctification] is necessary for enjoying the blessings of this kingdom. Jesus’ point in this discussion was not that a person must be justified to enter the kingdom. Instead, it was that a person does not enter the kingdom in the same way that Nic and all his friends had entered the kingdom of Israel. We are born, not of blood, but of God. A person does not enter the spiritual kingdom of God through physical lineage. Justification or the lack of it is not in view in John 3.

        You have used the term ‘necessitates” in reference to “the response of faith” as though once a person is regenerated he begrudgingly but “necessarily” knuckles under and believes the gospel. This is not our view at all. No sinner receives Christ begrudgingly. In describing the work by which God brings sinners unto union with Christ, one of the metaphors Paul used was creation. He describes conversion as follows, “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” When God originally said “Let there be light” the light offered no resistance. The text simply says, “and there was light.” The light shone because God spoke. It was not the shining of the light that initiated God’s command but the light shone willingly when God spoke.

        The question is not whether sinners necessarily believe in response to God’s call. This, in my view, is the question–Who having beheld the glory of God in face of Christ would wish to resist him? He is altogether lovely and the chiefest among ten thousand. Conversion is not “a shotgun wedding.”

      • September 16, 2014 at 5:59 pm

        Mike,

        I also see “the offer of salvation” as universal in the biblical sense of that word. The offer is made to people of every nation and not only to God’s old covenant people. Unless every person hears the gospel, we cannot rightly talk about a universal offer of the gospel in the sense that the gospel is offered to every person distributively. Those who have not heard the gospel have had no gospel offer.

        In the Titus 2 passage, the choice between “the grace of God that offers salvation to all people” and “the grace of God bringing salvation to all” is not a matter of interpretation. It is a matter of translation. Paul is writing about a salvation that slaves, among others, have received that enables even them, the lowest of the low, to adorn the doctrine of God in all things. The grace of God saves all kinds of people. It is not the potential for salvation he is describing, but salvation itself.

        I clearly believe that God planned for the evil to occur because that is what clear texts of Scripture tell us. Jesus said concerning Judas’ treachery, “the Son of man goes as it was predestined of him,” at the same time he said Judas would be held responsible for the acts he committed freely and without external constraint–“but woe to that man by which he is betrayed.” Joseph’s brothers acted willfully, with responsibility for their actions and culpably, yet the text tells us that “God had intended those actions for good.” He did not merely permit them; he decreed [intended] to permit them to bring about his purpose. He works all things according to the counsel [predestined purpose] of his will (See Eph. 1:11).

        If God does not control all things, he cannot fulfill his promise to bring eternal and spiritual good out of all things (see Rom. 8:1).

        That God delights in mercy is true for the reprobate because his offer of mercy to them is as sincere as his offer of mercy to the elect. It is not, in my view, God who causes them to continue in their recalcitrant unbelief. That He does not remove their rebellion from them does not cause the rebellion. That rebellion would exist if there were no grace and mercy for anyone. God has universally flooded people with the revelation of himself and sincerely invites and even commands people of every nation to repent and believe. He has said, “Look to me an be saved, all the ends of the earth and be saved.”

        Is God’s decreed will consistent with his holy nature? I would answer “yes” in that it conforms to the ultimate end for which he created all things, namely the manifestation of his glory [the sum of his glorious attributes]. God cannot make his wrath and justice known where sin and rebellion does not exist. He has decreed to permit sin so that he might make his justice and power known and at the same time make his grace and mercy known.

        I agree with the points you have listed about salvation with the exception of the third and fourth points [given your definition of “free will.” I am still waiting for your answer relative to verses that teach that God gives a universal enabling that leaves sinners neutral, i.e., being able to choose either way, but that may fall short of conversion. I am also interested in knowing when such an enabling occurs since even those who have heard the gospel and have received powerful legal proof of evidence against them pressed on the them by the Holy Spirit [conviction], continue to be described as “stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears,” That doesn’t sound neutral to me. And, if their will isn’t neutral, it isn’t free.

        The gospel does not offer the possibility of salvation, but salvation itself. We do not believe God believes for sinners and it is irresponsible to suggest that we do. Faith and repentance are the sinner’s responsibility. If God believed for them, he would indeed make them robots, but he doesn’t. He simply makes them willing in the day of his power.

      • September 17, 2014 at 2:33 am

        I clearly believe that God planned for the evil to occur because that is what clear texts of Scripture tell us. Jesus said concerning Judas’ treachery, “the Son of man goes as it was predestined of him,” at the same time he said Judas would be held responsible for the acts he committed freely and without external constraint–“but woe to that man by which he is betrayed.”

        The closest passage I see to what you are saying here is Matt 26:24 – which says written and not predestined.

        The Son of Man goes as it is writtenof him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

        The fact that God foreknew who and in what manner the Son of Man would be delivered and then passed that information on to the prophets so that it could be recorded ahead of the event does not require that God predetermined (ordain in such a way that makes it necessary) that it be Judas.

        If God does not control all things, he cannot fulfill his promise to bring eternal and spiritual good out of all things (see Rom. 8:1).

        God does control all things. However, he chooses (as is His sovereign right) to relinquish control in such a way that people can make free will choices. That does not prevent God from interacting with His creation and stepping in to alter history.

        Also the passage (Rom 8:28) says that God will work things to good for those that love Him. It does not say He will make all things work for good.

        That God delights in mercy is true for reprobate because his offer of mercy to them is as sincere as his offer of mercy to the elect.

        If a person has no possible chance to respond and accept the gospel because He is not given efficacious grace then the offer can’t really be considered sincere (in my opinion).

        What I mean by an genuine or sincere offer of salvation is that each person that hears it has the ability to accept or reject it (through the conviction and enablement of the HS). When God said He desired that no one would perish He meant it. However, He leaves the choice to us.

        even those who have heard the gospel and have received powerful legal proof of evidence against them pressed on the them by the Holy Spirit [conviction], continue to be described as “stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears,” That doesn’t sound neutral to me. And, if their will isn’t neutral, it isn’t free.

        I tried to address this in the comments on my blog. The idea that prevenient grace makes the will neutral is not something I hold to. It gives us the ability to choose between two options.

        We do not believe God believes for sinners and it is irresponsible to suggest that we do.

        That was why I prefaced my comment by saying Reformers don’t teach this but it is a logical conclusion one may draw. However, in looking back at the comment it appeared further up so I should have restated that. I did not mean to say you hold to that. I tried to address this in more details in the comments on my blog based on your question there as well.

      • September 17, 2014 at 3:27 am

        Mike,

        Luke 22:22 says “as it has been determined” the tense of the verb refers to an action completed in the past with results continuing into the present. That means it was determined beforehand. That is predestination.

        You wrote:

        “God does control all things. However, he chooses (as is His sovereign right) to relinquish control in such a way that people can make free will choices. That does not prevent God from interacting with His creation and stepping in to alter history.”

        Please send the verse that teaches that God relinquishes control to the human “free will.” The phrase “free will” does not even occur in Scripture apart from “free will [voluntary] offering. How do we know when God has “stepped in to alter history history” and when human free will is in control?

        You wrote,

        “Also the passage (Rom 8:28) says that God will work things to good for those that love Him. It does not say He will make all things work for good.”

        Please explain what difference you see in these two statements. The text clearly does not say “he WILL work” as though at some point in the future he will work.

        I did not say you believe God makes sinners neutral. I don’t honestly think you believe sinners have a free will. If you did, you would believe they have as much ability to repent and believe the gospel as they have to reject it. That is neutrality, and that is how you defined “free will” in your first comment (the ability to choose otherwise.)

        I have now come to the point that I must insist that you produce biblical texts in context that clearly state that God has granted enabling to all people without exception to respond properly to the gospel. You have continued to state that as if it were a fact, but the only biblical support you have offered has not even come close to demonstrating your view. I will be happy to discuss biblical texts with you, but I am not really interested in your opinions. Such a discussion is indeed unprofitable.

      • September 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm

        Randy

        Thanks for pointing out Luke 22:22. Though God pre-planning to send a Savior and telling the prophets to write it down does not necessitate that all other actions are planned.

        Please send the verse that teaches that God relinquishes control to the human “free will.”… How do we know when God has “stepped in to alter history history” and when human free will is in control?

        Well, technically God is always in control. And He is involved in history sustaining His creation. However, it is not an active causative control over people that I was referring to (the general thrust of our discussion). I don’t accept determinism or the concept of compatibilistic free will. God allows people to make free will choices. In allowing choices He allows people to act against His moral will and does not immediately intervene. Hence we see evil.

        Please explain what difference you see in these two statements. The text clearly does not say “he WILL work” as though at some point in the future he will work.

        He does work. For those that love Him. That implies that not all evil will be worked for good.

        I don’t honestly think you believe sinners have a free will.

        I do think sinners have free will. We just differ on the definition. Free will is not the ability to do anything. it is the ability to choose among possible options. I can desire to play in the NFL, but I don’t have the ability. That does not mean I don’t have other choices.

        I have now come to the point that I must insist that you produce biblical texts in context that clearly state that God has granted enabling to all people without exception to respond properly to the gospel.

        I have offered both narrative and non-narrative texts.
        But there is not a single text that can be used to state the theological idea of prevenient grace.

        One thing to keep in mind is that we both accept prevenient grace. A grace that is given before one can believe. We also both believe it enables a person to believe. We only differ in whether that grace is or is not resistible.

        I see God’s desire to save all as the basis for his actions. He wants all to be saved and provides the means to save them. Christ died for all the sins of the world (1 John 2:2). He draws them so that they can come to Him (John 6) and God patiently waits for people to repent (2 pet 3:9). When the gospel is given, people are able to resist the Spirit (Acts 7:51) and Jesus weeps when people are unwilling to accept the salvation He offers (Matt 23:37).

        Throughout Scripture people are told to choose.

        In the OT is was:

        I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, (Deut 30:19)

        In the NT it is:

        Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.(John 3:36)

        You see God’s desire for all to be saved as something He wants but actively planned so that it would not happen. He planned to choose to save some but wanted to save all. He passed over the rest, denying to give them the grace needed.

      • September 17, 2014 at 2:16 pm

        Mike,

        Surely you must understand that much of what you have stated in this post is in agreement with what I have been contending and contrary to what you have been contending.

        You have offered verses that teach God’s revealed desire to save guilty rebels, that there is a free offer of the gospel to all who hear it, and that sinners are called on to choose between two options. None of this is in dispute. Free will is not the ability to choose otherwise but the ability to choose what one has no desire for, contrary to his nature. As I understand the Arminian position, it is that sinners are, by nature, totally depraved.

        That man does not posses saving grace of himself, nor of the energy of his free will, inasmuch as in his state of apostasy and sin he can of and by himself neither think, will, nor do any thing that is truly good (such as saving Faith eminently is); but that it is necessary that he be born again of God in Christ, through his Holy Spirit, and renewed in understanding, inclination, and will, and all his faculties, in order that he may rightly understand, think, will, and effect what is truly good, according to the Word of Christ, John 15:5, “Without me you can do nothing.”

        That this grace of God is the beginning, continuance, and accomplishment of all good, even to the extent that the regenerate man himself, without prevenient or assisting, awakening, following and cooperative grace, can neither think, will, nor do good, nor withstand any temptations to evil; so that all good deeds or movements that can be conceived must be ascribed to the grace of God in Christ. But with respect to the mode of the operation of this grace, it is not irresistible, since it is written concerning many, that they have resisted the Holy Spirit (Acts 7, and elsewhere in many places).

        The Five Articles of the Remonstrant’s –Articles 4 & 5

        The issue whether sinners are able to resist the Holy Spirit is not in dispute. The issue is whether they will ever do anything else apart from God’s effectual call. The key word in the verse is not “resist;” it is “always.” You ALWAYS resist. I would assume according to your view that all these people had received “prevenient grace,” yet they are not vacillating between two opinions. They are without interruption opposing the Holy Spirit.

        I don’t want to make your burden too heavy. I am not asking you to offer me a verse that uses the phrase “prevenient grace.” All I am asking for is a verse that gives some indication that God has set all sinners free from the bonds of natural depravity and enabled them to choose Christ prior to God’s effectual call. We know this call is effectual because Paul wrote in Rom. 8:30, “whom he called, them [all of them, but only them] he also justified.” This cannot refer to the universal call of the gospel since not all who hear the outward call of the gospel are justified. Just give me one verse that clearly states that what you have assumed must be true because you don’t like our doctrine, is true.

        You will also need to provide an example of a person who was thus enabled who finally resisted God’s command to repent and perished in his sins.

        Finally, you will need to show that God has given this enabling to all sinners equally. Certainly God could not be fair if he gave more revelation of himself and more ability to some than to others (I speak as a fool).

        If you can demonstrate those points, I would ask you to explain what it is that makes the difference between sinners that are equal in every way. Consider 1 Cor. 4:7.

        I will not respond to any further posts that do not address these issues biblically. You are welcome to your opinions, but your opinions are not the standard of truth.

  8. September 23, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Mike,

    It is good to hear from you. The commentary on Hebrews is not part of a series. It is an individual effort. Several years ago I wrote a Biblical-theological Study of Hebrews called “In These Last Days.” This will be a companion to that work. You can find some of the chapters from ITLD posted on my blog.

    Randy


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