TULIP Logic versus a Calvinist’s Statement – Part 2

Dear Timothy,

I wasn’t able to make the formatting work in a comment on a previous post and so I just started “part 2” of this discussion as a new post.  I’ve looked over and thought about some of the things you said in your first response related to  my TULIP Logic versus a Calvinist’s Statement post from 11/05/09.  Allow me to toss back my $0.02 worth and I’d welcome any response(s) you may have.  The brackets I placed in your statements were for my readability to better understand what you were saying.  I’ve tried to maintain the accuracy of your statements – it wasn’t my intention to alter or change anything you said.

Below is a table containing your statements and my response.  I don’t know if this is the best way to compare and contrast our respective thoughts, beliefs, and opinions – but it seems like a reasonable start.

Timothy’s Statement Bob’s Response
Why [does] everyone who opposes God as Word implicitly say that God and Lucifer have the same language? The term “will-neutral” is new to me.  God is God and He is sovereign and whatever He speaks happens.  I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “defending God’s word as something that is “will-neutral holy information”.  The Bible talks about the Word becoming flesh (John 1:1-2) – It is my understanding that John’s Gospel is showing that Jesus is both God and man in one person.  With regard to “will-neutral holy information,” I believe that the words in Bible are from God and contain everything we need to know and understand about the nature and character of God in addition to a plethora of (quite frankly) very practical things such as how we can be saved and how God wants us to live.  Still, I sense I’m missing your main point so please clarify.This may go back to my earlier thoughts where I guess I may need to better understand exactly what you mean by “God as Word”.  Doesn’t John 1, makes clear that the Word became flesh (Jesus)?

Even so, your statement intrigues me but, again, I’m not exactly sure just what you mean by “God and Lucifer have the same language”.

Why [do] all who oppose Calvinism portray themselves to be overtly siding with the damned? First of all, I don’t oppose Calvinism.  I admit to being confused by Calvinistic thoughts and my own study leads me to think that Calvinistic thought is in error with the desire of God that no one should perish (John 3:16 and 1 Pet 3:9).  I admit to not understanding the nature, character and love of God as portended by Calvinistic thought.  So far, my own study of verses used in support of Calvinism has led me to a different conclusion.I find it interesting that you believe my questioning of Calvinism is “siding with the damned”.  Perhaps from your perspective, that makes sense.  Phil 3:15 says – And if on some point [I] think differently, that too God will make clear to [me].  Well, to date, God hasn’t made it clear to me that the teachings of Calvinism are the truth.  That said, I am conflicted because, quite frankly, there do appear to be a number of scripture references in which I can draw no other conclusion than that Calvinism is the truth.  However, there are just as many, if not more, scripture references that (to me, anyway) poke a stick in the eye of Calvinism.

That begs a question; how is it, Timothy, that you can ever have complete assurance of salvation?  Perhaps you are not part of the elect.  Perhaps you came to a logical conclusion that Jesus is who he said he is.  Perhaps you desired eternal life and prayed a prayer of salvation and maybe even had “feelings” to support and justify your newfound faith.  But you have no proof of your salvation.  Where in scripture do you see your name written and confirmed that yes, Timothy, is saved?

Playing the dissembling part to supposedly heroically defend the damned and give them ‘a chance’ to be saved is not at all the same as loving a sinner who is elect and knows nothing about election or predestination and is still very much a sinner. Have you ever shared your faith with an unbeliever?  I mean, honestly, why would you?  As I see it, you have no way of offering someone the love and hope of Christ.  You can demonstrate through your life all that God has (and is) doing through your life and perhaps instill with that unbeliever a desire to learn more.  And yet, if (using my favorite phrase) that poor schlep isn’t elect then you’re just wasting your time.  And yet, aren’t we, as believers, to be the salt of the earth – the hope and light to a fallen world?
There is no actual and non-metaphorical new birth in Arminianism. So you have to fake it and claim behavioral changes as evidence of new creatureness. Your statement is confusing to me.  If I re-write it without the double negative, it says – there is a metaphorical new birth in Arminianism.  I take this to mean that if one isn’t a Calvinist, then they can’t be a Christian for it is only Calvinists that can be saved because God chooses his elect – the Calvinists, naturally.This is exactly the kind of logic and thought process that brought about a three-year period in which I had completely lost my assurance of salvation.
Free will denies that heaven and [hell] will be filled with two different creatures.[It is a free will lie to say] heaven will be filled with those who supposedly earned [their way into heaven]. To the first part, you’re saying that I believe there is no distinction between those in heaven and those in hell.Quite the contrary – I firmly believe that those in heaven will be there because they have accepted Christ’s substitution for their own sin.  Those in hell will not have been washed clean by the blood of Christ and therefore they will have to experience the consequences of their own sin.  So, by definition then, I believe heaven and hell will be populated by two different ‘creatures’; those who have new life in Christ (heaven) and the lost (hell).

To your second point, God is the giver of the gift of salvation.  Is He any less God if I choose to accept or reject his free gift?  I don’t think so.  Does the Holy Spirit not move in the souls of people and otherwise convict them of their need for a savior?  I think it does.  I do not understand the Calvinist contention that it’s a ‘works-based’ faith to accept the leadings and promptings of God and come to a point of accepting his offer of forgiveness and salvation.

You tear the Bible in shreds before you ever begin to read it.  Then [you] read it to make fun of it with philosophical lies that don’t even make sense when examined even slightly. In my own mind, I find Calvinistic thought to be illogical based upon the nature of God as expressed in and through the life of Jesus.  Jesus is, after all, God.  Nowhere in scripture do I find Jesus identifying or otherwise making distinctions as to elect versus non-elect.  Jesus does make distinctions between believers versus non-believers Please, I truly would welcome feedback sprinkled with generous amounts of scripture to show the error in my thinking.
Keep [telling] the lies of [sinners] and defend the damned as if you really thought you were one of them [which is] a thing you have no actual say over at all. To me, this comes across as a rather judgmental statement on your part.  I’m not sure if you’re saying that I’m part of the elect or part of the damned because I’m not elect.  Maybe I am elect and I just don’t know it.  Maybe I am not now part of the elect but God will make me part of the elect later?What I do know is this: I believe that Jesus is who He says he is and that I have asked Him to come into my life and I accept, through faith, that His sacrifice on the cross will atone for my sins when I stand before God on judgment day.

Am I a Christian?

Free will [people] automatically side with the damned.  In Arminian theology, the righteous are the enemy. If you mean that I side with the damned because I come alongside a hurting soul and try to give him hope in Christ – yeah, guilty as charged.  I feel an obligation to reach out to the unsaved.  I never have understood what the great commission (Matt 28: 19-20) means to a Calvinist.  Why would a Calvinist waste time, talent and treasure to reach an unbeliever?  Calvinists have no way of knowing whether someone is elect or not.  Further, as I see it, any outreach a Calvinist does is pointless.  If that person is elect, God will save him.  If that person is not elect, then the Calvinist is wasting their time because there’s nothing that can be done to change that the poor schlep isn’t elect.  Is this Christian thinking?This is the thought process that drew me into Thomas Schriener’s comment, “God’s wrath and judgment are personally directed against sinners who have failed to praise, honor and thank him.”  Sorry to be repetitive and perhaps daft, but Calvinist thought simply makes no sense to me.
Proverbs 17:15 says; He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD. Are you saying that Calvinists are the just ones while non-Calvinists are the wicked ones.  Further, if my understanding and studying of Calvinism leads me to a non-Calvinist conclusion, then I am an abomination to the Lord?  Is that what you believe?

I didn’t intend for this post to get as long as it did.  However, as I look back on this, we seem to be dancing around a central disagreement with regard to the concept of election.  As I said in my post, the U in TULIP appears to be the bedrock of Calvinist belief.  Right now, I’ve reached a different conclusion based on my own understanding and study.

Here’s a simple overview of what I believe election to be and how it came about:

  • In the beginning, God created Adam and Eve.  Were they “elect”?
  • After the flood, those on the Noah’s arc dispersed and various nations formed.  For His own reasons, God chose the descendants of Abraham (the Israelites) to be “the elect”.  If nothing else, this is corporate election.
  • Through Israel (God’s elect), all nations would eventually hear and respond to the salvation of God and could thereby become “elect” by following the law.
  • Prophesy was fulfilled when Jesus came and preached to the Jews (the “old” elect) and the Gentiles (the “new” elect) alike about new life in Christ.

So, what does this mean or prove?  Well, Calvinists claim that one not yet saved can be an elect person – it’s just that God hasn’t brought that person to a point of salvation.  However, what I see is that it is the believers – those who have, by faith, trusted Christ for their salvation that are the elect.  Therefore, a person doesn’t become “elect” until he is a believer. As such, being elect is not future oriented wherein a person will believe because God has elected him.  Rather, becoming elect occurs the moment a person believes.  Clearly God wants none to perish.  But it’s obvious that not all are or will be saved and so there seems to be an element wherein individuals are able to accept or reject God’s free gift of salvation.  In conclusion, an elect person is a Christian.




Author: Bob

I’m an upper Midwestern guy who has recently entered the "Buick stage" of life and decided to migrate to Florida. This blog is an attempt to rectify discordant aspects within my Christian faith ... or what often feels like my lack of Christian faith. Things which make life more enjoyable include strong black coffee, charcoal grilling anytime of the year, putz'ing at a table saw, playing chess, a good orthopedic surgeon and an occasional IPA. Please feel free to poke around and comment as you wish. I welcome discussion and the insights of others.

16 thoughts on “TULIP Logic versus a Calvinist’s Statement – Part 2”

  1. Timothy,

    Just to clarify, this post is essentially a response to the first comments you directed my way. In subsequent comments, you referenced a lot of scripture. When I get a chance I’ll respond to specific scripture references.



  2. “Those in hell will not have been washed clean by the blood of Christ and therefore they will have to experience the consequences of their own sin.”

    If they weren’t “washed clean” then they were not “atoned” by the blood of Christ, right? Looks like you’re a 3-pt calvinist. Now we just need some vowels. ;)

    “Is He any less God if I choose to accept or reject his free gift?”

    Is He any less God if a man chooses to void His word and send it back empty…unable to achieve His intended purpose? He seems to think that is impossible.

    Isa55:11 …so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

    “Nowhere in scripture do I find Jesus identifying or otherwise making distinctions as to elect versus non-elect.”

    John15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.”

    Matthew 22:14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

    John8:34Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” 42Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. 43Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

    Jesus says that the reason they do not hear is because they do not belong to God…if they did belong to God (if He were their Father/if they were “born again/born from above”), then they would hear Him. Yet you argue the exact opposite.

    Same thing in John 10: 26″but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.” You don’t become one of Jesus’ sheep because you believe. You believe because you are a sheep. You make choices consistent with your nature (and unless your nature has been changed by spiritual rebirth, your nature is in pretty bad shape.) But Jesus is clear in John 3 that the Spirit goes where He chooses to give the new birth…and the metaphor of birth itself should tell you that you didn’t make the foundational choice to choose Jesus any more than you made the foundational choice to be born physically (it had more to do with choices your father and mother made, right?)

    “Proverbs 17:15 says; He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD. Are you saying that Calvinists are the just ones while non-Calvinists are the wicked ones?”

    I’m pretty sure he is calling you to be cautious in your transformation of those the bible describes as wicked, arrogant, God-hating rebels into merely “poor shleps” due to your strange definition of grace which requires that God is obligated to extend it to everyone. (i.e. you are “justifying the wicked.”)

    These sort of “if God requires them to believe in Jesus (or to “be perfect as God is perfect?”), but they are unable because their nature is corrupted then God is unjust to require it” arguments are always headed for disaster.

    Psalm 73, regarding the arrogant: From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. They scoff…They say, “How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?”

    “Does the Most High have knowledge?” That’s the basic summation of Open Theism, isn’t it? It’s not something to play with.

    1. Dennis Tolar,1) One way I’ve heard it defended is by saniyg that Christ is the propitiation for our [the believeing elects’] sins, and not only ours, but also for the sins of the whole world [the entirety of God’s people from all nations; the non-believing elect]. – I am not convinced by this argument: It assumes a particular type of election first and then sallies forth. Another argument is,2) If Christ really is the propitiation then he cannot have died for all otherwise all would be saved since God’s wrath is satisfied.- Similarly, the reason this is unconvincing is that it confuses provision & effect; God reserves the right to withhold the effect from unbelievers, and to make it actual for believers. So this does not convince me either.Thanks for the comment!

  3. Charles – thank-you for the pointed comments and rebuttals. You have posed some tough (but certainly fair) questions that I need to consider. One quick comment, though. It was not my intentiont to imply that God is obligated to extend [grace] to everyone. But I think He does. Whether we accept God’s grace is another question. I guess I’m not convinced as to the total depravity of man. But you have some references in your comment that seem to give pause to that notion. Still, I’m currently working on a reply to Timothy and because I’m such a “serial” kind of guy, it might be a couple of days (maybe a little longer) before I can delve into what you have said. But I will. So please feel free to poke around this blog, comment where you wish, and and check back here at your convenience.



  4. Bob,

    Point by point and probably more than one comment..

    1. “Will-neutral holy info”

    Two ways of seeing this both of which are biblical and sound and spirit and life:

    1. God is His Word. Christ became flesh but was God’s Word before He became flesh. He did not stop being God’s Word when He became flesh.

    On pre-Incarnate Christ:

    1Corinthians 10:1-6 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

    The phrase “Jeremiah 1:4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, ” is plainly indicative of a personification of the Word. The word came to Him ..and then spoke. So we have God AS His Word, not God “using language” as a supposed abstract to deliver information.

    That’s important. God IS His Word. When He speaks He creates and brings to pass what He wants.

    Satan on the other hand cannot do that. He is therefore, a liar. He says and cannot perform what he says. He has a speech that can create nothing and in which he constantly lies. What we have is two different speaks , not one meta language Satan and God are sharing.

    Because Satan’s speech can create nothing, it seems to provide an environment in which free will could exist. The very powerlessness of his speech seems to grant a will-neutral arena in which to act. At the least, if it were the only speech in total reality, then it, as speech, might say that free will could be logically possible BECAUSE of the powerless of ‘all’ speech. In order to have a free will, you also have to have an environment in which the will can demonstrate that freedom ..or it is not actually free. You also have to have the circumstances of being that continue that freedom from instant to instant as well as over the long term.

    That environment and those circumstances do not exist becuase God is His Word and is Creating Speech in addition to the fact that while non-creating speech /Satan’s speech can’t create anything, it is not will-neutral. It is a living spirit with a will of its own ..that is not free.

    When you hear someone ..say.. that Calvinism can’t be true because supposedly God needs the cooperation of the human will they are implicitly denying that God IS His Word and any such thing as Creating Speech / Word of God / Jesus Christ exists at all. Their speech ( non-creating speech ) seeks to maintain that it is the only speech in total reality.

    If you haven’t yet, you may very well hear a purpose of speech argument by philosophers and ‘theological’ free willers that is based on the non-creating character of human speech. It assumes free will as a starting point, then basically goes: the purpose of speech is to deliver information that people then use as they may. If people cannot ‘do’ anything with what is said, then that speech is said to be pointless. They have implicitly defined ALL speech to be will-neutral in order to seem to have proved free will. The so-called “language proof” of free will. Hegel on speech and being, Wittgenstein, higher criticism, etc..

    The non-creating character of the speech of men is taken as a positive and a necessary zone of safety and permanence of being. No one is being turned into something else every time their neighbor speaks, etc. That is true of non-creating speech. But they go further and pretend that all speech is non-creating and/or that while God is His Word, “He has to speak to men in human language” ..a thing found nowhere in Scripture and indeed repudiated in Scripture. That is a Romanist doctrine.

    You are assuming things about the environment you live in and about the Word of God that God has explicitly pointed out that you cannot assume.

    Not only does God Say He IS His Word, He Says after He was incarnated in the flesh that what He was speaking was spirit and life AND that if you could not hear Him in the Old Testament you could not hear Him at all. ( Some try to make out the OT is irrelevant now that God has come in Flesh as Word. That is not true..)

    God as Jesus Christ as Word Saying as spirit and life that His Words were spirit and life:

    John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

    God as Word as spirit and life saying you must hear Him in the OT as well:

    Matthew 5:17,18 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

    and particularly that the power of God is in the written Word as well as the Spoken:

    John 5:46,47 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

    So when you read the Bible, you do not get to treat it as if it were the same speech in which lies are spoken ..the same speech as Lucifer has.. and is unable to be powerful. It is God as Word to you just as it is God as Word to us.

    That non-creating speech seems to those who cannot hear God to be the only speech in total reality and it is natural for them to think they must do something with what they read. It is a common sense approach that makes sense to them because all they have ever heard is Lucifer’s powerless speech.

    God also Says you will one or the other of the speaks:

    Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

    note especially in this next revelation that the spirit of error is detected by its speech:

    1 John 4:4-6 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

    Arminians already have as an intuitive experience of human existence that human speech can create nothing and thus it seems to at least allow for the possibility of human free will as providing at least part of a environment in which free will might exist. That is why very many are arminians ..it makes sense to the natural man. But it is only half the truth. It is a lie that makes use of half truths and is a false gospel because it cannot create anything ( and you MUST be born again by hearing the Word of God ) and thus it ( the arminian false gospel ) proves itself to be the speech of Lucifer.

    Your natural experience as a human being denies that God as Word exists as your best honesty about your environment and you have myriads of other individuals all in the same speech who seem to validate that experience. Yet God does exist as Word that creates. Because He does, does not change, cannot lie and is speaking at all times in the same environment in which you exist, there is no free will –even for those who cannot hear Him.

    That is the distinction between Calvinism and ..everything else. Everything else depends on non-creating speech being the only speech. Calvinism depends not only on God existing, but as Word, as proactive Word and as Creating Word IN ACTION IN YOU. It does not work for you as a theory. It can only be lived and is in exact accord with everything God has Said in Scripture. Arminianism has the advantage.. for the natural man to be deceived by it.

    But those in Christ have been given grace , as would be necessary for us to know Him. We all started out in non-creating speech like all the rest.

    Ephesians 2:1-6 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

    God saved me as birthing me again in Jesus Christ. I am a first hand witness to the power of God. If God saved me, he can save you ..the exact same way He has saved all of the elect. By His Word.

    James 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

    1 Corinthians 2:9-16 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

    You should not at all be deceived: what the natural man is being taught about language is being taught at all major universities, most seminaries, certainly the media and you have to say “yes” to those lies to get the piece of paper that is supposedly the key/permission to a good job, marriage, etc, etc. Good thing they don’t actually have free will, eh?

    1Corinthians 3:18-20 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.


    In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen

  5. ..I ended up mixing the two ways together:

    1. you need an environment in which free will is at least possible to ..have free will

    2. God is His Word and cannot lie. He then cannot be the speech of Lucifer.

    To the theologians who denied Him He did NOT Say they were “brethren with bad theology”. He Said:

    John 8:42-47 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.


    In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen

  6. Timothy,

    Yikes! Say – you and Charles aren’t conspiring in an attempt to overwhelm me, are you? Truth be told, I’m delighted to have before me LOTS of things to review and consider with regard to Calvinism. Thank-you for the time and effort that you put into your recent writings to better explain what you meant by free-will holy information and speech. It is appreciated. I regret that sometimes there’s simply too much going on i.e. work, family, and all kinds of other activities to devote the time and attention to these faith matters as I would like to. Thanks in advance for your patience. I’ll probably need a week or so to respond.



  7. Just “driving by” and watched and was appreciating the “crossfire” of words going on. This video may help you understand “Calvinist” thought:


    p.s. 2 Peter 3:9 is pulled out of context in the use you are using it for. The “all” referred to is the saints and not the “non-saints”. Its a very good verse on the “preservation” of the saints (my TULIP grows funny sometimes.)

  8. Thanks for “driving by”, Marty. I am so “tardy” with a response to Charles and Timothy for their earlier comments. Hopefully soon – and I am working on a response so please stop back. And it looks like I don’t have to encourage you to jump in the fray as you seem to be doing just fine without any encouragement from me. ;-)

    The Mark Driscol YouTube video and explanation of election is similar to one I’ve heard CJ Mahaney use – in essence that we’re running straight for Hell and God, because of His love, interferes with one’s will and saves His “elect”. I must admit, this is a compelling explanation. And Mark Driscol’s example of reaching out and saving his daughter is powerful. That said, Mark Driscol (and CJ Mahaney, too) infer that repentance is a way of admitting that we can’t save ourselves. MD used the phrase, “Come back to ‘Daddy.’” My own understanding of repentance, however, comes about from my Topical NIV Bible which explains that repentance involves a conscious sorrow for one’s sins – a heartfelt “I’m sorry” expressed to God. Obviously, I can’t save myself. And the “saints” I run with understand that it’s one’s acceptance by faith of the free gift of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins which saves us. We repent (I believe of our own volition) because we understand that we have fallen short of the holiness that God desires in all of His children. However, it isn’t until we (again, of our own volition) accept Christ’s sacrifice for our sins that we are saved.

    To your comment that the word ‘all’ in 2 Pet 3:9 refers to the saints – I’m not so sure. Certainly the letter is written to saints (believers) in the early church but I’m hard-pressed to believe that within God is some sort of partiality that leads Him to save one while damning another (Rom 2:11, Acts 10:34-35). At this point, I think the word ‘all’ refers to just that – all i.e. everyone without exception and to that end, I respectfully disagree that 2 Pet 3:9 is a good verse for Calvinists.

  9. Timothy,

    It’s with regret that I have to admit that I simply do not understand many of the arguments you’re making – particularly with regard to creating versus non-creating speech. As such, it’s difficult for me to respond in a meaningful way. You stated, “Unconditional election depends on God being His Word. Quite literally, without God Speaking to us and re-creating us again by His act of Himself as Speech, there is no new birth.”

    I believe you and I agree that (per your words), “Jesus Christ is the Word of God.” However, I don’t understand your statement that, “Arminians depend on the Word of God to be the same as human language and therefore functionally claim that human language is the same as God’s Word.” You go on to infer that Arminians believe that God has: (1) the same speech in which lies are spoken, (2) the same speech that demons have, (3) the same speech as Satan, (4) the same speech as the spirit of the anti-Christ/anti-Word of God.

    I understand the Calvinist contention that man, having a sin nature, can’t seek after a holy God and it’s God who chooses some, but not all, to be saved. However, I don’t understand the importance you’re placing on speech. All that is of God is of God. All that is of man is man. I get that – at least, I think I do. When God spoke He created the heavens and earth. Man can’t do that. So, in that sense, I think I agree to the concept of non-creating speech. However, I’m missing the critical distinction with regard to speech that you’re trying make. I’m sorry to be slow in this matter.

    One last thought regarding unconditional election: I don’t doubt that God can elect anyone. In fact, I’ll agree that some people in the Bible probably were elected. The Apostle Paul had his Damascus Road experience. I wouldn’t necessarily doubt that the disciples, including Judas, were elected. In addition, based on 1 Pet 1:2, it could well be that God elected certain people in certain parts of the earth in order to help establish His church. That said, it doesn’t appear to me that election is the “normative way” that God has established to differentiate saved versus non-saved. I still believe that even though we are fallen creatures with a sin nature, God has given us the capacity (and the responsibility) to determine our own fate through free-will decisions that we make.

    Please feel free to add anything you think might better help me understand your arguments.

    I’m currently working on a reply to the various scriptures you and Timothy have tossed my way. Again, I apologize that it has taken me so long to complete a reply.



  10. Hi Bob, just recovering from gallbladder surgery so I am in pain and can’t do anything (almost) EXCEPT work at the keyboard (even sleep is iffy at this point.) But I am framing an idea in my mind about “Zombies for Jesus”. I know that sounds radical but here’s the basics, if regeneration does NOT precede faith there must be some semblance of life in the non-believer to respond to Christ’s call. Ideas like this appeal to me and my rather different view on things.

    You might also want to stop by my blog at http://corumdeo.wordpress.com and read my post on a calvinist fish fry.

  11. Dear Marty,

    I’m sorry to learn that you’re in pain. From my own experience related to arthritis and knee replacement surgery, I can appreciate how debilitating pain can be and hope the healing from your gallbladder surgery is quick and with a minimum of discomfort. Can’t sleep? Talk to your doctor about Ambien. (I should sell ad space on this blog!)

    Zombies for Jesus? I like the title and will be watching your blog for more about this.

    Take care,


  12. sorry it took me so long to drop by bob! healing seems to be on track, overdid things a bit on friday with food and too much exercise so I paid for my gastronomic sins all day yesterday… Jonathan Edwards had a resolution to “maintain a strict temperance in eating and drinking…” looks like this leaky dispensationalist has to turn even MORE puritanical (ha, ha).

    Levity and gallbladders aside, into the ring! (I like the idea of tag-team calvinists, sort of a “free-will smackdown” kind of event). But seriously we are elect from BEFORE the foundation of the world according to:

    Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

    Now this entails more of that nasty flower the TULIP, that is irresistable grace. Who God decides to save he saves! It is not an unlimited POTENTIAL salvation or atonement, but a COMPLETE one. Think of all the folks before and after Christ who have not “chosen” Christ. If Christ died for the whole world, what about them? Either he is saving the whole world or only offering a POTENTIAL of salvation if the universal atonement is taken to be true (TAG!)

    Thinking about another post “cracks in my dispensational sky…” I’ll let you know when its up.

  13. Marty,

    “Free-will smackdown”? That thought didn’t cross my mind – but it is a bit humorous. And perhaps you should stick to only water and forget about the barley, hops, malt, yeast etc. etc. that all too often gets added to water – especially during holidays. {;-DD)

    Well, do what you have to do in getting past this and on to better health. I’m not sure this relates in any way but I find it Interesting to note, however, that in reviewing Jerry Bridge’s book, “Trusting God” and there’s a quote from J.I. Packer on pg 25 that states, “He upholds His creatures in ordered existence, guides and governs all events, circumstances, and free acts of angels and men, and directs everything to its appointed goal for His own glory.” Perhaps there’s room for discussion here, too.

    I do want to respond to your reference to Eph 1:4 but think it best to do so in a new post given the number and length of responses to my original post. Please look for it feel free to fire away. And I’ll be on the lookout for your cracked-up dispensational post – or whatever.

    Later // Bob

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