And Here’s to You, Mrs. Robinson – Another Response to Your Claims re Unconditional Election

Well … Mrs. Robinson … you’ve certainly done it again … posting a Calvinistic defense of unconditional election into a forum that is largely made up of people not agreeing with Calvinism. The responses as to your post, as one would expect, tend to challenge various aspects of Calvinism in general and unconditional election in particular. And kudos to you for garnering over 100 comments. I’m happy if even one person reads something I write and smiles. But if I were to make a generality, I sense that people respond not so much by what you say but rather what you don’t say. It seems as though you toss out your premise(s) and then don’t defend or otherwise argue back to folks making counter claims. At least, that’s what I see.

I’ve got some time. So, I’m going to look at the verses you referenced along with your stated premise see what all I can make of it. Oh, and by the way, I will be keeping score.

In the opening salvo, you stated,

“Here lies the error within this group- You believe you are saved ‘for your faith’ not ‘by your faith.’ This makes your faith an idol. Faith is passively received, not actively achieved. It is merely the instrument by which we receive Christ’s righteousness. It must be granted to us to believe (Philippians 1:29) and it is a gift from God, not given to all men. (Ephesians 2:8) You cannot muster up faith or the will to believe. (Romans 9:16) If you understand the Scripture, it is because He has opened your mind. (Luke 24:45)”

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And Here’s to You, Mrs. Robinson – Your References Don’t Support Divine Sovereignty and Unconditional Election

I looked through scriptures referenced in your blog post (noted below) defending God’s sovereignty and unconditional election. I don’t know … some of the verses may tangentially appear support God Sovereignty and unconditional election. Unfortunately, like many ardent Calvinists, you don’t differentiate between God’s sovereignty vs God’s determinism. Calvinists often appear to use these terms in an almost overlapping manner as if they’re equivalent. I certainly don’t think so. Further, I think it’s necessary to have a Biblically cohesive framework. That is, all scriptures must tie together to derive a logical set of beliefs. Hence, I think you run into difficulties when on the one hand you claim that God only chooses certain individuals (i.e. the ‘elect’) for salvation but verses such as John 3:16 and 2 Pet 3:9 clearly state that God wants all to be saved and for none to perish – meaning no one is intentionally excluded.

And just so you know, because of my competitive nature, I’m going to be keeping score. And no “appreciation trophy” will be awarded. You’ll either win or lose.

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And Here’s to You, Mrs. Robinson Regarding John 6:37 – It Doesn’t Infer Unconditional Election

You wrote in the Facebook Soteriology 101 Discussion group, “There are so many crystal-clear passages declaring God’s sovereignty over men and their salvation that as A.W. pink says, These Scriptures are so sweeping, and so dogmatic that all controversy concerning the subject ought to be forever at an end. Yet rather than receive them at their face value, every device of carnal ingenuity is resorted to as to neutralize their force.” You further add that if God had purposed the salvation of all men, then all men would be saved and reference John 6:37 – All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whomever comes to me I will never drive away.

The first obvious things to be noted is that the passage says nothing about regeneration. I’ve seen before where Calvinists begin to analyze a verse or passage with their Reformed theological presuppositions and thereafter develop an interpretation from that basis.

The second thing to note from Pink’s quote – it’s a non-sequitur. God has provided a way of salvation. Faith in Christ. That God has left the decision to accept this free gift to individuals in no way means that God has failed. God calls all. But not all respond.

I’ll grant you – at first glance, John 6:37 seems to offer an appearance of what you’d refer to as unconditional election. But with so many verses stating that God loves all and wants none to perish, then perhaps there’s another interpretation that is more in-line with all that is within the Bible.

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And Here’s to You Mrs. Robinson re Acts 13:48 – It Doesn’t Infer Unconditional Election

I’m certainly not qualified to comment on aspects of scripture when one delves into the Greek or Hebrew. By necessity, I have to trust those who have studied the languages, history and culture. I welcome debate and don’t mind being challenged on things I believe. But perhaps I’m becoming calloused – or possibly even jaded when I see a Calvinist posit something (in this case, the meme above) about their doctrines – particularly as to unconditional election.

I have no doubt that the five-point Calvinist extraordinaire, Mrs. Robinson, stridently believes that Acts 13:48 is a standard-bearer verse in support of unconditional election. But it should be noted at this time in Paul’s ministry, the Jews had become hardened as to, well, matters of faith. The Jews wished to continue as per the law. The Gentiles, on the other hand, were certainly more receptive to eternal life through faith. No one could rightly describe God-fearing Gentiles as totally disabled, hardened or God haters in need of some sort of supernatural grace to effectuate faith. Rather, they already had faith in God. Or at least many of them did. As was, the Gentiles simply did not as yet know about the Messiah. Cornelius is a good example of a devout and God-fearing Gentile (Acts 10:2). And this isn’t something emanating from the foundation of the world. Rather, Cornelius is told by the angel, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.”

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Help! Is There a Cure for Calvinitis?

A medical “itis” is never a good thing. The same thing could be said as to a theological “itis” Maybe I should join a twelve-step support group – “Hi, my name is Bob and I have Calvinitis.” The condition of Calvinisticalism occurs when something normally easy to read and understand suddenly becomes difficult and complicated because word definitions have unknowingly been altered to convey a completely different thought. This condition is most prominent when a non-Calvinist reads a Calvinist’s letter and must superimpose Calvinistic tenants onto that letter in order to understand just what actually being inferred. For example, the below letter is from a Calvinist pastor inviting his congregation to participate in small group discussions about the prodigal son. I’ve imparted Calvinisticals to make clear the inherent Calvinist logic and thought which may not be obvious to those unaffected by Calvinitis. The bolded and bracketed wordings are the Calvinisticals.

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Fighting God’s Decree Through Prayer

A Calvinist friend sent this out via a FB post:

Dear friends – perhaps you’ve noticed that I haven’t posted anything in past few days. If you’d be so kind, please pray for my father’s healing. As God promises in his Word, he can heal any sickness, disease, and infirmity. And that’s where our hope is right now – that our mighty and inerrant physician – who is in control over everything would bring his healing powers to my father. I appreciate your prayers in the name of Jesus. All glory be to him.

I lost my own father twelve years ago and so I’m sympathetic to this friend’s request. However, I’m frustrated because we’ve had numerous discussions as to whether or not God controls the events in our lives. This Calvinist believes God divinely determines all things including when an individual will leave this earth. That being the case … I would think that this Calvinist’s prayer would NOT be for the healing of his father but instead should be for God to grant peace to the dying father and family members.

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God … Prayer … Amputees – A Disconnect?

Mark 11:24 – Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

In his book, Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster states, “Prayer catapults us onto the frontier of the spiritual life. Of all the spiritual disciplines, prayer is the most central because it ushers us into perpetual communion with the Father.” Although I’d heard many people praising God for all kinds of answered prayers as to health, grades, direction in life, seeing a relative become a Christian, etc, prayer never seemed real to me. The more I heard about answered prayers, the more I wondered whether prayers were really being answered prayers rather was the ‘answer’ the culmination of contributing factors with the most logical outcome being the final result?

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Predestination – A Squirrely Doctrine … and a good laugh!

Sometimes you just have to laugh! This was sent by a friend who’s “on the other side” when we discuss such things as the Calvinist doctrine of predestination. He apparently thought I needed a good laugh. And he was right. Source unknown:

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My Top 10 Difficulties with Calvinism

Calvinists obviously have their tenants and beliefs, but I sincerely doubt they understand why so many express serious disagreements with Calvinistic doctrines. After a recent encounter, and in no particular order, I cobbled together 10 difficulties that I have with Calvinist doctrines.

1st point: Many Calvinists seem to delve into the Greek language when doing Bible studies if only to ‘prove’ a point. I prefer the NIV and believe it to be a reasonable translation. The scholars who put together the NIV (or any other translation for that matter) typically have advanced degrees and have studied the language, culture and history. How can I hope to do better?

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An Unborn Child Is Most Likely Damned Through Calvinism’s Doctrine of Unconditional Election

Calvinist says – If anyone ends up in hell, it’s because they deserve to be there on account of their sins. They will be there justly/in justice. That anyone is saved from hell is a matter of mercy and grace. Grace and mercy, by definition, are not obligated. If it were obligated, then it would be justice, not mercy or grace.

My response – A significant error in your Calvinistic beliefs is that, according to your doctrine of unconditional election, God essentially chooses whom he will and conversely not save. Consider what if a child dies in the womb or is otherwise aborted. Has this child actually sinned? No! So, even if this child had a ‘sin nature’, the unborn child has not sinned. Yet if God didn’t unconditionally elect this child, then God is damning someone who is innocent of sin.

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