Posts Tagged ‘compatibilism’

Dr. James A., PhD

It is well known that James White is a Calvinist. As a Calvinist, he has rejected compatibilism on numerous occasions, and affirmed it in others, which leaves really only a hard determinist view which is what compatibilism ultimately boils down to anyway. When White had a conversation with George Bryson and Hank Hanegraaf*, he admitted that rape of children occurs because God ordains it and has a purpose for it. That’s not soft determinism (compatibilism). Calvinists often vacillate between compatibilism and hard determinism, but both sides are normally quick to affirm that man has no free will. His only “freedom” is determined by the nature in which he has, and since God determined that very nature in the first place….well, you get the point. All of your actions are determined whether you are a hard or soft determinist, and only the Calvinist’s conflicting view of “permission” and “secondary causation” attempts to make a distinction.**

According to White, all of our human actions are not free. Following in the footsteps of Pink, Clark, and many other Calvinists who bite the bullet on free will, White concedes that man’s every thought and action is determined. To consider otherwise, in White’s opinion, makes you either a Molinist or an Open Theist.

However, White isn’t so consistent in this view when it comes to the transmission of the Bible. In White’s book, Scripture Alone, he dedicates a chapter discussion on the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy, and on Article VIII writes,

whitedictationtheory

Without going into great detail on the intricacies of the dictation theory of transmission, in a nutshell, it is the view that God controlled everything that the writers penned as Scripture (although it does NOT hold that God did not use the writer’s individuality as wrongfully implied by White). White REJECTS this view.

Now here’s the MAJOR inconsistency between White’s view of inerrancy and his Calvinism. The Dictation Theory of transmission OUGHT to be every determinist’s creed when it comes to transmission because it is the one time even non determinists accept that there are at least some things that God determines (Shhhhh…Most Calvinists believe us Non Calvinists do not believe that God ever determines anything at all!!!). Yet White deviates from his view within Calvinism that says man has absolutely no free will, to a complete capitulation of free will when it comes to the transmission of the Bible.

This reveals an ENORMOUS inconsistency in White’s Calvinist view of free will that simply can not be explained away with his normal obfuscation and equivocating rhetoric. However, it is convenient for White to reject human free will in the transmission of the Bible because his rejection of the Majority Text, Textus Receptus, and King James Bible, depends on human error. Thus, White has stuck himself in a conundrum on both his Calvinism and his view of Bible transmission.

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White Lie

**Ironically, when James White attempts to appeal to compatibilism, he refers to it as a “mystery”, something that he vehemently ridiculed Leighton Flowers for.

Simply because it is a mystery though, doesn’t mean Reformed people don’t have any Biblical information to prove their view. The Bible repeatedly shows us that God decreed all things [IT DOES? REFERENCE PLEASE], and that people are still held accountable for their actions, especially their sinful actions.Theologians refers to this as compatibilism: God’s decree is compatible with a person’s will. They don’t contradict each other.” LINK (Emphasis added)

 

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Dr James Ach and J/A

In a few recent articles*, we have exposed Calvinists for using dishonest rhetoric to maintain credibility among churches and the Christian community at large. James White, of Alpha & Omega Ministry, shows us again how Reformers-as many modern Calvinists refer to themselves as-employ the use of misleading lingo in order to stay relevant in a culture already blown about with every wind of doctrine.

White often claims to have coined a term “Theology Matters”, and we would certainly agree with that. So far so good. But the problem is that theology is not the only important thing to God, and we doubt White would disagree with that; in fact, he would probably retort that if one’s theology is right then a proper character should follow, and we would agree with that, too. However, we must emphasize that character is important because Calvinists don’t seem to think that they need to tell the truth about what they really believe in, or risk being viewed as mean, unloving, cultish, as well as expressing a view of God and “love” that most people find detestable and unacceptable.

White posted the following quote on his website with a picture of what presumably is a man who attacked four police officers in New York.

Theology Matters: Graphic Example

Callisto1947_2014-Oct-24Combine a wrathful God, a strict law, capricious forgiveness, no emphasis upon justice and equity and the fulfillment of God’s law as reflected in His nature, with the fatal exclusion of a Mediator who can show us God’s mercy and love and grace in perfection, and here is the result. Few things prove the truth of this more clearly: THEOLOGY MATTERS.

At face value, the above quote seems innocuous and theologically sound. The problem is, is does this reflect what Calvinists and James White actually believe? And if not, then why continue using rhetoric that is unsupported by Calvinist theology? Let us explain some points here that support our accusation.

Justice and Equity?

Equity (meyshar, Prov 1:3) is  a legal term. When Roman and English jurisprudence was developed, judges sometimes ran into problems in the court room of deciding an issue of law where there was no clearly established rule or governing principle. The Hebrew concept of meyshar was the wisdom of a mediator to bring justice that made the parties involved whole or “leveled the playing field”. Solomon demonstrated this kind of wisdom in suggesting to divide a disputed child in two (1 Kings 3:25). In American jurisprudence there is a federal statute  at 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that allows for legal actions “at law AND EQUITY [action in law, suit in equity]” that permits a court to grant relief using discretion that the strict letter of the law may not cover.

Applying this principle theologically, however, is problematic for Calvinism because equity is used to exercise discretion in “gray areas” or adiaphora (matters in Scripture that have no clearly defined rule where morality can not be proscribed by simply pointing to a verse on “that” specific issue).  If God had “determined all things whatsoever come to pass” as the Calvinists confessions claim, equitable discretion is not possible. Calvinism is not known for claiming to color outside of the lines of moral responsibility; it’s either black or white. It’s a governing principle behind much the Calvinists who employ Nouthetic counseling.

Yet I don’t believe that Calvinists themselves have really thought it through when they claim to believe in justice and equity. They can usually “defend” the justice of God-in their own way-but I’m not sure if Calvinists really understand the inconsistency between Calvinist determinism and the principles of equity. The concept of equity is completely incongruent with Calvinism because it permits God to “change His mind” as He did with the Ninevites in Jonah 3:8-10. Calvinists assume that God doing anything differently than what they perceive has already been determined would be an adherence to Open Theism. Although this is an absurd claim, it’s one that shows that Calvinists develop their Biblical views around their philosophy, instead of developing their philosophy around the Bible. If Jonah said God did something other then what He said He would do, and did so because of a response that depended upon human repentance, then the serious Bible student has to begin with what Scripture says, and build on that, not what some creed or confession claims and then interpret Scripture based upon said traditions.

White also explains theodicy in terms of “permission”. God restrains evil and permits a certain amount of evil for His glory. However, it is erroneous to hold that God determines all events and yet at some point in time grants permission for event to take place. Permission implies that an event in time COULD HAVE happened differently had it not been for God’s permitting it to happen otherwise. Yet if all events have already been determined, then the concept of permission would be redundant to Calvinist theology, and gives the Calvinist the same problem as equity.

With The Fatal EXCLUSION of a Mediator

Do not Calvinists claim that sinners are determined to live in and by the nature that God has given them? Why then expect sinners to act differently? If God determined that Cain would kill Abel, why should anyone be surprised that Cain committed murder? Why not thank God and rejoice for causing these sinful creatures to do His will! These murderers are doing exactly what God wants them to do because He determined them to do so, or at least (if you don’t claim to be “hyper Calvinist”) He gave them a nature that He never intended on saving, and of which will never be able to do anything other than the evil it has been programmed to carry out (this compatibilist explanation for human responsibility is how Calvinists avoid the so-called [and quite imaginary] “hyper” Calvinist label, although the results inevitably still leads to exhaustive determinism. The “hyper” term is a sleight-of-hand trick to make you stop looking at the inconsistency, if you stop thinking about the contradiction and focus instead on the imaginary scarecrow called “Hyper” then presto, problem solved!).

So yes, we certainly agree with White, that when Christ is excluded, men do heinous things. But, according to Reformed theology, these sinners are really acting in perfect obedience to God because they are doing precisely what He has fitted them to do. So why do Calvinists complain so much when sinners are being obedient to God? In fact, I’d say sinners are far more obedient to God than most Christians. At least Flip Wilson can honestly say that God gave him the nature and desires that he has if Calvinism is true. What’s the Christians excuse? If God determines the blasphemy of the sinner, does He also determine the recalcitrance of the saints? I mean, after- all, doesn’t Eph 2:10 say that the believers works are ORDAINED?

..Who Can Show Us His Love And Mercy

And now we arrive at the pet peeve I have against Calvinism. STOP TELLING SINNERS ABOUT GOD’S LOVE WHEN YOU DON’T MEAN IT OR BELIEVE IT. No honest and consistent Calvinist believes that God loves everybody. Consistent Calvinism maintains that Christ died ONLY for the elect (particular redemption or limited atonement). James White debated Dr. Michael Brown on this very issue. White has plainly stated that God does not love everyone, and admitted that it was the question of Christ’ intention on the cross after reading Palmer’s “Five Points of Calvinism” that led him to become a “full 5 pointer”, in the which if Christ’s intention was to save everyone, then everyone would be saved, but since everyone isn’t saved, then Christ must not have intended to save everyone. Although his reasoning here is backwards (not to mention fails to distinguish provision from application) because it forces Christ’s intentions to be based on an a posteriori hypothesis making the outcome prescriptive, it provides insight into White’s mens rea in committing the spiritual felony of uttering false information to prospective converts.

Of course, when the Calvinists are cornered on the issue of God’s love, they will use misleading rhetoric by spelling out that God loves people differently (an argument that White used against Dave Hunt***). But if even that is what they believe, then why not just say so instead of mixing the love of God in general terms with the wrath of God as if the contrast has a salvific meaning to a sinner?. When you see “love of God” used in contexts like what you see above, and in such general terms, it sure doesn’t sound like the Calvinist is trying to tell the sinner ” Oh by the way, God doesn’t love every one …..equally”. Why don’t they just be honest and tell them that God merely sends a gardener to water their lawn (“rain on the just and the unjust” **). Now I personally have a problem with someone that tells me that they love me even as a friend or “providentially” or hate me, and then waters my garden, but that’s the non sense Calvinists expect us to swallow when they attempt to explain Limited Atonement and Unconditional Election. They expect you to believe that God hates the sinner but shows love at the same time by watering his garden. That’s not love, that’s Bipolar Disorder. But, they know that most of the world has a common understanding of what love is, so to accommodate the listeners they use dishonest rhetoric to avoid having their motives questioned for using “funny language”.

We can debate the theology of preterition or atonement ’til the cows come home, and neither of us will budge. So we don’t expect White or other Calvinists to change their views, we are just simply asking them TO BE HONEST IN THEIR PRESENTATIONS. Tell people what you REALLY believe first and forthright instead of using dishonest and misleading rhetoric that you think and believe they will understand only to later on send them an April Fool’s post card with a map to the golden chain of redemption on the back.

This is probably a big reason why Calvinists ALWAYS claim they are misrepresented and misunderstood. It’s partly because they can’t be honest about what they really believe. One has to wonder is this part of the Calvinist ploy to take over Baptist churches and colleges? Conquer by deceit? It certainly smacks of just more similarities between Calvinism and Islam (in addition to Islamic views on sovereignty, determinism, election, love and responsibility). But if Calvinists genuinely expect to have meaningful dialogue with their opponents, then they need to start being forthright and honest about what they truly  believe about their theology, because as much as theology matters, so does character:

Ye are our epistles written in our hearts, known and read of all men. 2 Cor 3:2

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God loves sinners and desires that they be saved.  ~Paul Washer”

God hates sinners” Paul Washer

 STOP LYING!!!!!!!

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*Watch The Language-Recognizing Cultic Rhetoric Used By Calvinists

**Calvinists claim that this (Matthew 5:45) is an example of “providential” love, that God provides love for sinners in His “providence” for them. However, Jesus used this story to explain a REDEMPTIVE love-“that YE MAY BE THE CHILDREN OF YOUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN”. Christ does not speak of a different kind of rain. Jesus didn’t say that the “elect” get fresh mountain water but the unelect get rust water. THE WATER THAT BOTH JUST AND UNJUST GET IS THE SAME, JUST AS THE LOVE HE SHOWS IN HIS OFFER OF REDEMPTION IS THE SAME. The Calvinists have focused on the analogy as if Jesus was giving farming lessons, instead of examining this passage in the actual context of which Jesus was trying to express; why a person needs to offer forgiveness beyond what is expected (like the publicans).  Given the context of WHY Jesus said what He did about the rain, there’s just no excuse for the kind of bad “exegesis” that Calvinists force on this passage to impose a philosophy upon the text that is simply isn’t there. Christ is not speaking of any so-called ‘providential love” here, and Calvinists need to stop acting like that’s what this verse means.

*** “And the love God has for His own people, the elect, is different than the love He shows to the creation in general or to rebel sinners outside of His grace in particular.” (James White/Dave Hunt: Debating Calvinism, p.268)

“There is no basis in the Bible for asserting that God’s love knows no levels, kinds, or types.” (ibid, p.267).

Those who follow Twitter know there is a little troll who spams the IFB #oldpaths hashtag trying to unsuccessfully convert KJVO fundamental Baptists to Calvinism. “Wee Calvin” or Colin Maxwell (Wee, I assume, because of his small theology). He follows IFB members comments on this popular IFB hashtag, and then expounds on them on his blog, adding his own twist and fantasy to the tweeted material.

He’s targeted us a few times, but never responds after we take the time to thoroughly sink his paddle boat. He’s obnoxious, rude, foul-mouthed, and so we treat his responses to the IFB with the same courtesy minus some of the rhetoric (Prov 26:4-5, Titus 1:9-12).

Wee Calvin chose to pick on “L. Ivey” (Twitter.com/liveyneckwear) who quoted his opinion that Matthew 25:41 debunks Calvinism since hell was initially created for the devil and his angels, then the obvious conclusion is that God could not have intended to predetermine anyone to hell. Although this is not a new argument against Calvinism, it is still a goodie, because it’s true. But, Wee Calvin made an effort to defend Calvinism and did probably one of the most eisegetical hack jobs to Scripture I’ve ever seen.

Matthew 25:41 (KJV) reads:

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

And for additional analysis, we are going to throw in Isaiah 5:14:

 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.

I guess we could also cite Genesis chapter 1 to show that hell was NOT one of the things created in God’s six days of creation. Since Lucifer did not fall until AFTER creation, then hell being prepared for Lucifer and his angels could not have existed BEFORE creation.

Wee Calvin first attempts to state the “old argument”, and then offers his first rebuttal,

Well, to state the pretty obvious, it does not say that Hell was prepared only for the Devil and his rebellious angels.That is the gist of the old argument, but it is not what the Saviour said.

Seriously? Now just think of how much grammatical sense it would make for Jesus to have said, “depart ye into everlasting fire prepared ONLY for the devil and his angels”? Of course it doesn’t say “only” because Jesus is speaking of a PRESENT warning based on a place that was prepared for Satan. Wee Calvin’s argument is IRRELEVANT. That text does not HAVE to include the word “only” in order to convey that hell was initially created ONLY for Satan and his angels.

The reason that hell was created for ONLY the devil and his angels is obvious: because Lucifer and the angels were CREATED BEFORE HUMANS and BEFORE HUMAN SIN. There was no need to include humanity in hell because Lucifer fell before Adam did. Hence, hell was prepared for Satan, but not for any of humanity. The only reason that Calvinists need to this to not be true is because Calvinism would have to claim that God DID create hell for humans in order to prove that He intended on sending the majority of His creation to hell by a predestinated eternal decree of reprobation. If the Calvinist can’t show in Scripture that God did not INTEND on including humans in hell PRIOR TO THE FALL OF ADAM, then that alone destroys the entire concept of Calvinist preterition.

Point 2 of Wee Calvin’s horrific response goes:

If such were the case i.e. that the everlasting fire of Hell was prepared only for the Devil and the angels, then does God deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13) when He bids the wicked above to depart as curséd to that dread place? Is God indeed a man that He should repent i.e. change His mind, after all? (1 Samuel 15:29)

What on earth does this have to do with whether or not hell was or wasn’t created for ONLY the devil and his angels? It’s based on a question-begging fallacy and circular reasoning, i.e., it must not be true because my warped theology says it isn’t true, and therefore God can not deny Himself and therefore it’s not true.

Furthermore, Wee Calvin has a disturbed view of God’s repentance, because Scripture is FULL of examples where God in fact DOES change a course of action that HE SAID HE WOULD DO, and the story of Jonah is a PERFECT example of this no matter how much Calvinists would like to change the narrative around to fit their awful presuppositions.

 8But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.

Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, THAT HE SAID THAT HE WOULD DO unto them; and he did it not.” Jonah 3:8-10

Now this passage ALONE should settle the debate as to whether or not the Bible contains counter-factual conditionals. As Brother Ruckman says, the Bible isn’t hard to understand IT’S HARD FOR PEOPLE TO BELIEVE. Notice that “repent” in vs 8-9 show God TURNING AWAY from something He SAID HE WOULD DO. So Jonah himself answers Wee’s hypothetical unbiblical NONSENSE and shoots #2 down in 3 verses.

On to point #3, Wee Calvin argues that:

Since God turns and will continue to turn the wicked into Hell (Psalm 9:17) then He has always purposed to do so. There was never a time in the mind of God when His hatred did not burn against sin and His justice demand that the perpetrators (if chronically unrepentant) of it be banished forever from His presence. (emphasis added).

Notice the highlighted part: God was ALWAYS purposed to do so??  SCRIPTURE??? Zero. None. Notta. Zilch. Nolo Contendere. NOWHERE does the Bible state anything near what Wee just claimed. IT IS PURELY A FICTIONAL SUPPOSITION BASED ON PHILOSOPHICAL SPECULATION. 

There are a number of other problems with this speculation as well:

*How can Wee Calvin claim “there was never a TIME…when God” when God exists OUTSIDE OF TIME? In order for Wee Calvin’s argument to even BEGIN to have substance, it would require that God’s emotions be bound to future events before time was even created.

*This is the equivalent of confirming dialectical materialism which maintains a premise of matter being eternally existent. In order for sin to be a reality in the mind of God for Him to be eternally angry about it, sin would have to coexist with God. Now the Calvinist will typically dress up a straw man and label it Open Theism by accusing anyone who would raise such an argument that God must not know the future if this isn’t possible, but notice the Calvinist does so without addressing the argument of dialectical materialism, and forces God to be bound by what He knows. In other words, God is not free to create, the future has a mind of its own that binds God to act according to His perfect knowledge of future events, and therefore the future is actually equal with God (the concept behind much Yin & Yang [Shintoism], or panentheism). So while Open Theism deprives God of being omniscient, Calvinism deprives God of being omnipotent.

*What perpetrators? In Wee Calvin’s rush to sound convincing, he claimed that God’s justice demands eternal punishment against “chronically unrepentent..perpetrators”. Where did these “perpetrators” come from in eternity? Are there some eternal perpetrators that God is mad at that we don’t know about? Maybe these eternal perpetrators are the ones who caused the devil to fall. WHO KNOWS. With Wee Calvin’s speculation, the sky is definitely NOT the limit.

Wee Calvin adds that:

This being the case, we read of ungodly men who were before of old ordained to this condemnation (Jude 4) and verses of a similar nature. Since God always determined to cast the wicked into Hell, then He determined that there would always be a Hell for wicked sinners to be cast into. One logically follows the other.

Jude 4 reads:

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

One problem that Calvinists have is always interpreting “ordained” as “determined”. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING. A pastor can be ordained for a certain ministry doesn’t mean he was DETERMINED to do so. See Titus 1:5, Acts 16:4, Gal 3:19, Eph 2:10 (Ephesians 2:10 is especially critical, an argument we have raised called the “Calvinist Uniformity Conundrum”. If ordained always meant determined, then how can believers ever backslide EVEN FOR A MOMENT if their works were determined? Unless God determines that believer’s sin, Eph 2:10 is VERY problematic for Reformed Theology).

But several things to note about Jude 4:

1) It doesn’t say these men were condemned from eternity, but “before OF OLD”. That means, the judgment was something proposed IN TIME, NOT eternity.

2) It was the CONDEMNATION that was ordained, not the particular group of men. In other words, the CONSEQUENCE for rejecting Christ is what is ordained.

3) Three above is further supported by the fact that the ordained destruction WAS IN RESPONSE to those who “turned the grace of God” into something evil. For God to have eternally reprobated these men would require the ABSENCE of any reason for doing so. Thus, God can not eternally reprobate men while Jude claims that their condemnation WAS BECAUSE OF their reaction to the grace of God IN TIME. Notice moreoever in verse 7 how that those of Sodom and Gomorrah GAVE THEMSELVES OVER to their own lusts and sinfulness.

The same “decree” that God gives for life- whosoever believes in Him shall not perish- He also gives for death, that whosoever believes not shall suffer eternal punishment. The Calvinist must read their own twisted eisegesis into the text to come out with eternal reprobation because that’s NOT what Jude 4 says.

And finally, we will end with the most contradictory babbling you will ever see or hear among most Calvinists, and the greatest examples of philosophical flip-flopping of common sense and Scripture twisting extant.

First of all, the “kingdom” that is being discussed in Matthew 25:34 has absolutely NOTHING to do with any Gentile Christian believer or non believer during the Church Age. It is based on a judgment of men that occurs as a result of their obedience during the millennial reign of Christ when the sheep and the goats are separated AT THE END OF THE THOUSAND YEARS. Although we won’t go into the differences between the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God here, it’s well worth the study.

Now notice that things that Jesus condemns those men of which He damns to eternal fire in Matthew 25: 42-45 because this is just as important as verse 41:

42  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

Notice the list “FOR” which here means “BECAUSE OF”. Now here’s a hint: you can’t have a BECAUSE OF and an ETERNAL DECREE AT THE SAME TIME AGAINST THE SAME EVENT. “Because of” implies causation. Every single act mentioned by Christ is something that these men COULD HAVE done differently, BUT FOR or BECAUSE OF their action or inaction, they are condemned. They are condemned FOR WHAT THEY DID, NOT CONDEMNED FROM ETERNITY, and Christ spends 5 verses on this subject to prove that.

The sinner, as a fully responsible creature, should ever seek the Lord and rest not until he is found of Him, not having his own righteousness etc. The free gospel offer of salvation is addressed to the ‘whosoever will.’ Calvinist evangelists have always rejoiced in the preaching of it.

The sinner is hardly a responsible creature if his destiny as well as his punishment has already been determined. The Calvinist would say that he is free to choose out of the compatibilistic nature that God gave him, even though he can’t ever choose good because of it, nevertheless he is still held responsible. But the problem with even that view is that his judgment was determined before any of his choices were made, so that alone would serve to prove that the sinner is not responsible for his sin because he was damned to eternal fire before he even sinned. (See our article “Would God Have Reprobated Perfect Human Beings?)

According to Calvinism’s view of Total Depravity, the sinner has Total Inability to seek God, and for Wee Calvin to suggest otherwise is blatantly dishonest. In addition to the non elect sinner not ever having the ability to respond to the offer, it is certainly, moreover, not a “FREE gospel offer”. A free offer implies that it can actually be accepted by anyone. But if ONLY the elect can receive and respond to it, then how is it a “free offer” to “whosoever will”? IT ISN’T!! That’s how Calvinism maintains credibility by LYING to you about what they really believe.  Wee Calvin had just clarified his position by claiming that those headed for hell are going there because God determined it to be so. How then can anyone be DETERMINED to go to hell, and yet have the actual ability to FREELY respond to the gospel?  That is utter nonsense and is the most patent example of a logical contradiction if there ever existed one. These are two extremes that CAN NOT both be true at the same. The gospel can not possibly be addressed to whosoever will without any meaningful opportunity for those among the whosoever to respond to it FREELY. If you mean that “whosoever” is ONLY the elect, then be honest and say so, and stop appealing to “whosoevers” as if anybody can actually read your rubbish.

Now remember when we started, we cited Isaiah 5:14! This is very simple logic and Bible. If hell was initially created for BOTH the devil, and sinful human beings, IT WOULD HAVE A PREDETERMINED PARAMETER. Would God make a place knowing exactly how many people were going to occupy it ONLY TO HAVE TO GO TO HOME DEPOT FOR MORE BUILDING SUPPLIES TO EXPAND IT LATER?? “Hell hath ENLARGED HERSELF”. The fact that hell GETS BIGGER shows that it was not intended to hold more than it was initially designed to hold.

Hence, Calvinism is NOT safe as Wee Calvin claims, and yes, hell was created initially for ONLY the devil and his angels which proves Biblically and logically that man was never predetermined to burn in hell.

Hell and destruction are NEVER FULL. Proverbs 27:20

 

 

By Dr. James Ach and J/A

Tony Miano is a Calvinist among the crowd of Calvinists that I usually pick on, but he is an inconsistent Calvinist that does not act like the majority of his cohorts, so I don’t pick on him very much. He is not a bully and tends to avoid much of the vitriolic confrontations initiated by the likes of Fred Butler, JD Hall and that crowd [UPDATE: this has recently began to change. Since Miano has become more cozy with the likes of JD Hall, his attitude has become increasingly vitriolic]. I appreciate that Tony is one of the few professing believers-Calvinist or not-that actually preaches in the streets (and was actually erroneously detained in England for taking a Biblical stand against homosexuality, or rather, for simply answering a question about it [Considering Cameron’s recent UN speech, don’t expect England to change on this anytime soon]) and even though I disagree with his doctrine,  he is one of the few that anyone could use to prove that there are at least SOME evangelistic Calvinists.

But, public preaching of heresy is still heresy, and I can’t compliment someone’s efforts if they are holding to a false gospel, and while Miano may not have intended for his article to be taken that way, that’s the only conclusion that one can leave with, and hence the necessity to refute it.

Miano wrote an article about Christians Hating Adoption by comparing the attitude that some earthly parents have toward adoption as an alternative to abortion, to Christians who also despise God’s work in Biblical adoption. It was this Twitter comment describing his article that caught my attention:

“Christians who despise God’s monergistic work in #adoption should examine themselves to see if they are in the faith.”

In other words, if a person does not believe the Calvinistic explanation of HOW God saves people, they are not really saved. It is not enough to simply repent and believe the gospel, but you must also understand the mechanics of how it works in order to be saved. Now despite the fact that even Calvinist theologians themselves have argued for centuries about predestination, preterition, election, whether or not God actively chooses some to heaven and simply “passes over” the non-elect, or whether he purposely selected those damned to hell (see differences between infralapsarianism and supralapsarianism), Miano would have to take sides against some of his favorite Reformed theologians and declare that one of them is not saved if having a thorough understanding of how God works is a prerequisite to receiving grace.

There are a number of problems with this. First of all, how does an unregenerate person who can not, as Calvinists admit, “receive the things of the Spirit of God” according to 1 Cor 2:14 and be expected to understand the dynamics of salvation BEFORE HE IS SAVED? Miano puts a condition on salvation that according to even his own theology is impossible for the sinner to achieve.

Secondly,  Tony uses the term “Christian” in the present tense. If the person is in fact a Christian, then it is not possible that he can lose his salvation at some later point because he has not come to a thorough understand of how salvation works. Of course, if Tony is an Arminian then we’d have to argue about his views of conditional security (which in reality, all Calvinism leads to conditional security anyway if you understand the Reformed view of perseverance, but we’ve addressed that problem elsewhere).

Now I would agree with Tony that a person could have believed in vain (1 Cor 15:2), but that’s not the impression that Tony gives. Although I do note that Tony added “professing” Christian at the end of his article, and there is no Scriptural evidence that believing in vain had anything to do with failure to understand the dynamics of the doctrines of soteriology, but about a person’s unwillingness to accept the narrative of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ as the sufficient payment of our sin that satisfied the wrath of God, and is obtained by repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 26:20 (And the very fact that in Acts 26, Paul mentions doing “works meet FOR repentance” shows that repentance and works are not the same thing. Thus in God’s eyes, the command to repent is not viewed as a “work” that has salvific value. Romans 11:6, Titus 3:5, Romans 4:2-7).

LIFE PRESERVER ANALOGY

Tony takes exception to the “life preserver” analogy, which was made popular by Norman Geisler in describing the free will of the person to respond to the gospel. Miano, as most Calvinists, reject this analogy on the grounds that a dead person can’t reach out to grab a rope so the analogy is fundamentally flawed on its premise  according to their view of Ephesians 2. The problem with that critique is that it is equating spiritual death with the physical, a subject we have dealt with in refuting James White’s message about Lazarus (See, Could Lazarus Have Said No?)

If a dead man can’t reach out for the rope, than a dead man can’t call upon the name of the LORD either to satisfy Romans 10:9-13 either. Neither can dead men hear the gospel. If the Calvinist argues that God wakes him up to call upon him, then you have God waking up the person to reach for the rope, but then if the person in the pool is dead, and has been revived by God, why then would he even need to grab the rope at all? He’d be saved before he was saved…AH…but Calvinists actually believe this point-that a person can be regenerated prior to salvation. This is the Reformed way of getting around verses in Acts (e.g. Acts 10-11) where a person demonstrates seeking God (a premise that Calvinists reject is possible according to their view of Romans 3 and Ephesians 2 on Total Inability resulting from God-ordained depravity) prior to being saved.

THE FREE WILL OF THE PREACHER CONUNDRUM [J/A]

Tony’s theology (and really, most Calvinists) ignore the fact that there is still something required of the sinner to be saved, he preaches it all the time: repent and believe. Now here’s what Tony and all Calvinists miss;  Can God save the person without your command for them to repent? Not normally according to Romans 10:14-17  because that’s just not how God chose to do it . Calvinists readily admit this fact and confess that God uses human instruments as the means to gather his elect. But then that still brings you back to square one. If man is used as an instrument in gathering the elect which is necessary for the sinner to hear the words that save (John 6:63), then it’s STILL NOT MONERGISTIC. Although the Calvinists will argue that the sinner himself was made to repent and believe (a whole other heresy) they can not account for the synergistic acts of the preacher which is a requirement for that person to hear the gospel and be saved.

If you disagree, then read Ezekiel chapters 3 and 18 and see what happens to the sinner when the watchman DOES NOT give them God’s message, and then ask yourself this question: If the sinner’s destiny is determined, then why does God hold the watchman accountable at all?

 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling-block before him [notice that the stumbling block comes AFTER the sinner’s refusal to turn, not based on some decree made in eternity before the world began], he shall die: BECAUSE thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.” Ezekiel 3:18-20

[*This is in reference to Israel, but the means of salvation should be consistent with eternity if Calvinist soteriology is to be taken seriously. Although you will quickly see the Calvinist who is normally Covenant Theology oriented become a Dispensationalist when trying to explain this passage as it relates to the free will of the watchman]

Furthermore, Calvinists often contend that God controls even the means of the salvation process (that’s the whole point of monergism), but they have overlooked something crucial: does God control the preacher? For a Calvinist to be consistent, they would HAVE to say yes, otherwise they breach the golden chain of redemption because if God uses the preacher as the means of bringing the gospel to the sinner, then for the entire process to be truly monergistic, God must also control the preacher as well as the sinner and the sinner’s reactions. But here’s the problem, PAUL SAID THE PREACHER HAS FREE WILL:

 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. 1 Corinthians 9:16-17

Thus, Paul gives 2 different scenarios, each of which he can freely choose from. Yet this is contrary to what Calvinism teaches. Paul makes it clear that God does not control the means of salvation which means that even if the relationship between the sinner and God were solely monergistic, without any counterfactual conditionals, the relationship between God and the preacher IS NOT and since that is a necessary step in the sinner hearing the gospel (Romans  10:14-17) the entire Calvinist house of monergist cards falls apart at the free will of the preacher. Regardless of whether you believe the sinner’s fate is predetermined or he actually has the ability to reject the gospel of his own volition, any Calvinist explanation must answer this conundrum. (We will address the Reformed heresy of the secondary causation fallacy when someone brings it up, although this somewhat scratches the surface.) The autonomy of the preacher/watchmen is a death blow to monergism.

SORRY- INSUFFICIENT CREDIT

The statements made by Miano are actually a classic strawman that Reformers use against non Calvinists, i.e., that we think we are actually taking credit for our own salvation if we confess that we called upon the name of the Lord for salvation and willingly choose to repent and believe the gospel as an obedient libertarian free will act. In other words, Calvinists think that a person who is rescued from a heart attack goes around town bragging that he saved himself from his infarction instead of giving credit to the heart surgeon that saved his life.

Was Paul taking credit for his salvation when he said “I was NOT DISOBEDIENT unto the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19), or when he said ” I know whom **I** have believed”? 2 Tim 1:12.  One can not be both determined to act and describe their actions as being freely committed and be true at the same time. To be obedient unto the gospel is both a command (2 Thess 1:8) and a decision one must make of his own volition (John 8:24-the Bible is FULL OF “if” statements regardless of how much Calvinists reject them, “if” you do not believe, you die in your sin, etc..).

Furthermore, if, as Miano says, that the person is not saved who believes this way, does he all of a sudden forget about his monergism when he admonishes that sinner to EXAMINE HIMSELF? If the person is merely a professing Christian, and not “a possessor” then isn’t that person in the same boat as the sinner Miano preaches to on the street? still in his sin and unregenerate? How then can that person “examine himself”? It seems that along the way, Miano has forgotten to be consistent with his monergism! (And yes, I am aware of 2 Cor 13:5 which has nothing to do with this context, and is an often misquoted verse. Focus!)

MIANO’S MISUSE OF ADOPTION

The problem with using adoption to support Tony’s story is that he is comparing physical adoption of INFANTS not yet born to spiritual adoption which can occur at any age of a person’s life. Does Paul use physical adoption as an analogy in Galatians 3 and Romans 8? Yes, of course, but not how Miano is using it to prove that since an infant has no say so in who his physical parents are that it automatically follows that the subject of adoption in Galatians has no choice in who is spiritual Father is, and if Tony (and any Calvinist) were aware of the requirements for adoption used in Paul’s analogy of the schoolmaster, they would see how erroneous this analogy is. The synergistic relationship between the pupil and the schoolmaster debunks any theory that the adoption process was one of a determined and irresistible status.

Adoption is a beautiful concept that guarantees the believer’s salvation and security, but it is no more ordained against the persons will than a Jew was saved because he was an Israelite (John 1:11-13, Matt 3:9, John 8:39). Like the prodigal, the son can waste away his inheritance willingly (1 Cor 3:11-15), but can not jeopardize his parent/child relationship, the father will always be his father. The New Testament does not use adoption to emphasize the “how” of the salvation process, but the why of salvation’s permanency. 

Although Tony seems to equate disagreeing with despise, I DO despise any ‘doctrine’ that adds to the not only Paul’s clear explanation of the gospel in 1 Cor 15, but also it’s simplicity  (2 Cor 11:3). I also despise strawmen that are erected to mischaracterize the beliefs of many born again soul winners. If this is what Miano preaches on the streets to lost sinners, then it is a false gospel, or at least displays a gross inconsistency on what is required to be saved, and what is expected to be secure.

J/A and Dr. Elisha Weismann

Seek ye the Lord while he may be foundcall ye upon him while he is near: 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:6-9

There is a clear distinction between the mind of God and the mind of man. The struggle to define the boundaries of accountability and free choice is drawn between definitions of freedom. Free will is the ability to choose A or to not choose A without any compelling force that causes the choice, as opposed to determinism which is the view that God from eternity past has determined all things whatsoever comes to pass. Yet if determinism (viz, compatibilist freedom/soft determinism) is true, and our minds are simply following predetermined responses, then ultimately God is having a universal chess match with Himself.

Free will is important in distinguishing the difference between an infallible creator, and fallible humans. Permitting free will demonstrates that man makes choices that God would not make, and thoughts that God would not think, actions that God would not take. Free will shows that God’s thoughts and actions are infinitely superior to humans. By God allowing man to think and act independently without any external or internal compulsion, man proves that he is incapable of making the best and wisest choices. When man is given the choice to decide between A and B, and chooses B where God would have chosen A, man’s free will shows that he can not possibly be like God.

Free will proves the sovereignty of God far more than a deterministic system. If God determines that man chooses A, then ultimately man has not actually had the ability to make a decision that is independent from God, and if God controls the response as well as the decision, then there is no way to prove that man is not just as equally as intelligent as God.

In a compatibilist form of free will, compatibilists deny that man has the ability to refrain from choosing A or B, but only the freedom to incline and such inclinations being programmed into the man’s will. Thus man is still doing what he wants to do out of the will that he has been programmed with.

Thus, if a computer prints out the letters “ABCDEFG”, it does so not because it chooses to but because that is the manner in which the software has been designed to produce the sequence of letters. The computer is in effect printing what it wants to print based on the software that has given it its available options. However, if a glitch is introduced into the system that causes the computer to print “AXYZEFG” can the computer itself be blamed for its production?

The actions of the computer reflect the programming of the software designer. When a computer fails to produce what it was designed to produce, the creator of the software is held accountable because there is no distinction between the results produced by the computer, and the actions of the programmer. Thus ultimately, man who is pre-programmed to act out of a determined inclination can not be responsible or accountable for what he produces because his own actions and inclinations were not the cause or the ultimate origin of the glitches, but that of the programming.

For God to be the cause of man’s sinful actions and poor choices, deprives God of the ability to claim that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts because inevitably, our thoughts ARE His thoughts if our thoughts are the result of His determining. Compatibilist freedom is no more than a human philosophical attempt to be God. It turns our frailties into God’s attributes by proxy and extension.

Let God be true, and every man a liar (Rom 3:4). Albeit, man can not be said to be a liar if his thoughts and actions are concurrently dictated by that which God determines them to be predisposed to. Ultimately, God would be the cause of the lie, and could not consistently maintain His own truthfulness. The Bible shows an obvious distinction between choice and causation, yet determinism would opine that the 2 are equal:

“Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD” Deuteronomy 12:11

Only libertarian free will provides the distinction between God and humans. Only the permissive will of God that allows humans to act independently and autonomously proves that man is a complete failure in comparison to God. God proves nothing of Himself by determining men to fail. There is a way that seems right unto man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Prov 14:12. We see this concept often in our own families with our children. We often permit children to do things that we don’t always approve of, only for them to return later and say “Dad, you were right”. If we force them to do precisely what we desire, we can make no distinction between their reasons, will, and choices from ours. Thus we demonstrate that we are wiser than our children by allowing them to freely fail.

The concept of free will and accountability for choices is ingrained not only into our morals but also our governments. In the legal system, duress is a defense against actions that compelled the defendant to act otherwise than he would have chosen to. Likewise those who compel another to commit a crime are charged with conspiracy.The Bible is replete with examples of free will and accountability:

“And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.” 1 Kings 18:21

“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” Daniel 1:8

“There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Genesis 39:9

” Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” Hebrews 11:25

“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” Luke 14:28

“Go and say unto David, Thus saith the Lord, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.” 2 Samuel 24:12

” And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21

” But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them….I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” Deut 30:17,19.

Furthermore, the Old Testament is full of moments where God shows anger for rebellion against Him. Isaiah 65:2, 2 Sam 4:21, Exodus 4:14, 2 Kings 13:3, Numbers 12:9, Joshua 7:1-13, 2 Sam 24:1, Isaiah 5:25, Judges 2:14. That fact that God reacts negatively to decisions that are made against His will show that God did not determine their actions. It would be absurd to imply that God is angry over actions that He determined and caused.

” And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech;which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.” Jeremiah 32:35

“Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.” Isaiah 65:12

The fact that the Bible itself proscribes against compelling others to sin and choose to act negatively is telling of the character of God. Mark 9:42, Romans 14:21.

There are clear Biblical and logical reasons to reject any form of determinism and compatibilist freedom. Divine determinism is an affront to the sovereignty of God because it not only makes the human will and mind equal to God and provides no distinction between His thoughts and our thoughts as it only claims to limit capacity but not origin, it fails to prove that God always chooses that which is ultimately the best and wisest choices by eliminating any standard of comparison to that which is autonomously inferior, thus obscuring God’s own will as well as turning options themselves into a deity equally rivaling God’s omnipotence.

When determinism is compared to Scripture, and reduced to its logical denouement it fails miserably as a legitimate explanation of our relationship to God, our accountability and responsibility for decisions, the very existence of choices, and God’s own autonomy and omnipotence. No Christian should ever be a compatibilist. Only free will rightly provides the distinction that demonstrates the holiness and sovereignty of God.

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See also short excerpts from Dr. Elisha Weismann’s debate on secondary causation on our forum