The Will of God Will Never Take You Where the Grace of God Will Not Protect You – Part 2

Per WordPress statistics, the most popular post I’ve written – by far – was, The Will of God Will Never Take You Where the Grace of God Will Not Protect You (noted below). This would seem to show a huge interest within Christian faith as to God’s will – what it is, how do we know it and what can be expected when we follow the will of God.

Nicole states one can know whether something is the will of God by way of:

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What Is the Ultimate Aim of Calvinism?

Dave Hunt and James White, in a heated back and forth exchange, cobbled together one of the best books to understand the variance of thought as to Reformed Theology. Hunt is very anti-Calvinism. White is very pro-Calvinism. I readily admit my difficulties with Calvinist doctrine – especially unconditional election and this book has been an eye-opener to understand both sides of the equation.

I’m struck by a statement of Hunt, “Never forget that the ultimate aim of Calvinism is to prove that God does not love everyone, is not merciful to all, and is pleased to damn billions. If that is the God of the Bible, Calvinism is true. If that is not the God of the Bible who is love (1 John 4:8), then Calvinism is false. The central issue is God’s love and character in relation to mankind, as presented in Scripture.” (Debating Calvinism, pg.21)

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The Logic of Free Will vs Determinism

As much as I’m troubled by the doctrine of unconditional election, I think I’m even more bothered with the belief that God not only controls but brings to pass everything, anywhere, and at any time with whomever. To believe that God desires abortion … because, after all, it is legal in the United States (and elsewhere) is something I can’t accept. To me, I can only conclude that yes, we as individuals are free to make decisions and carry out actions of our own free will and volition. I recently came across a Facebook forum in which determinism was being discussed and one individual put forth some rather cogent questions and answers.

Q. How did we get free will?

A. God sovereignly decreed that humanity would have the freedom to choose.

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Some Thoughts on Abraham Piper – the Son of Prominent Calvinist John Piper

Kids can be challenging. Yet, we love them. We’re concerned for them, and we do the best we can for them. We don’t always like the decisions they make. And so, as a parent who dealt with a challenging teenager, I’m sympathetic to John Piper and what he must be experiencing with his son, Abraham. With our son being as defiantly independent as he was, about the only comfort I took was the hope that in the end, the natural occurring consequences of our son’s choices would bring about enough difficulty in his life for him to decide that just maybe it would be better to make other decisions. I’ve always thought that experience was a very good teacher.

However, in John Piper’s worldview with respect to his son Abraham, there’s nothing that could be hoped for. God has already chosen the path for Abraham. And that path appears completely devoid of God. John Piper is a ‘hard-determinist’ wherein God initiates and controls everything including the final outcome of any event or action. Nevertheless, I have no doubt that John Piper loves and cares deeply about his son. I have no doubt that John Piper wants only the best for his son. But John Piper, believing in God’s absolute determinism and God’s decreeing of all things which are to come realizes that there’s nothing that can be done to alter the course of his son’s life. This is most certainly one of the bitter fruits of Calvinistic theology – some people are blessed and given eternal life, and some people are screwed and cast off into the pit of hell. It wouldn’t surprise me for Abraham, having grown up with his father’s extreme Calvinistic teachings to ask himself, “What kind of God is this?”

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Sovereignty vs Free Will – A Wretched Discussion with Todd Friel

I’ve seen some of Todd Friel’s videos. He’s the host of Wretched Radio and is VERY Calvinistic in his theological approach to salvation. He begins a short video on determination (noted below) by responding to a letter from a viewer who’s confused as to whether God controls one’s desire for a favorite kind of breakfast cereal. Well, Christan determinism 101 per Todd Friel:

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Mrs. Robinson Infers Determinism but Isn’t Determined to Clarify Deterministic Inferences

What Mrs. Robinson posted:

Remarkable passage regarding God’s sovereignty. Exodus 34:24 – “For I will drive out nations from you and enlarge your borders, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times a year to appear before the Lord your God.” Three times a year, every male Israelite, at the command of God, left his home and inheritance, and journeyed to Jerusalem to keep the feasts of the Lord; and in the above Scripture we learn He promised them that, while they were at Jerusalem, He would guard their unprotected homes by restraining the covetous designs and desires of their heathen neighbors. (Excerpt from the Sovereignty of God by A.W. Pink)

Interesting. So, you mean to tell me that God has access to ALL men’s hearts? I thought they had to give Him permission. He could only make that claim to the Israelites if He was sovereign over the reprobate.

“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever He will.” Proverbs 21:1

I asked:

I understand you to infer here and elsewhere that anything and everything that would ever happen to anyone anywhere in the world is a direct result of God wanting it to happen. That is, nothing happens outside of what God has divinely ordained. Is this an accurate reflection of your beliefs? Would it be fair for someone to consider you to be a divine determinist?

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Repent and Believe – Does the Calvinist Actually Believe This Is Necessary?

The conversation with a Calvinist went something like this:

Calvinist: Repent and believe. This is the same message of the gospel that the Calvinists has as the non-Calvinist.

Me: But irresistible grace states people are unable to refuse God’s offer of grace and salvation. Doesn’t an individual’s total depravity preventing him from seeking God? So, how does repent and believe factor in? Where’s actual requirement that the sinner must repent and believe prior to his salvation. Per Calvinistic determinism, God has already ordained the events that will happen. So, the sinner’s repentance and his believing come after he’s already been saved. It happened because God willed it to happen. Repent and believe infers a requirement that an individual must do something which, per Calvinistic doctrine, 1) he’s unable to do and 2) God has already done all that is needed. Therefore, wouldn’t it make more sense for the Calvinist to simply say that one’s salvation is predicated on God’s desire – just wait and see – and you’ll know one way or the other in due time?

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The Fear of the Lord

I’ve never liked the phrase – fear of the Lord. And maybe that’s the best translatable word to use. Still, I’ve always felt that the use of that phrase connotates a negative inference as to the nature and character of God. If anything, love and fear appear to be completely opposite constructs.

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Ephesians 1:4 Made Simple – By JD Martin

Simple is often better. The more one has to abandon the common-sense reading, the more likely it is wrong. Let’s apply this to Ephesians 1:4. The text says God chose us in him.

Wrong interpretations:

  1. God chose us to be in him.
  2. God chose us by him.
  3. God chose us through him.
  4. God chose those who are in him.
  5. God chose the church.

All of these interpretations are wrong. This is simply not what the text says. Here is the right interpretation: “God chose us in him.”

The object of God’s choice is not “those who are in him” or “the church.” The object of God’s choice is “us.” Christ is not the agent of God’s choice (by) but the means (in). Furthermore, the means of God’s choice is not through Christ but in Christ, that is, by union with Christ (positional). The purpose of God’s choice is not to be in him, but to be “holy and blameless” before him.

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The Last Words of Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

Sometimes I experience a “Yes – that makes so much sense!” moment as I read something – such as these last words of Steve Jobs which popped up in a newsreader on my computer. As many know, Steve Jobs was one of the founders of Apple Computers. He was a billionaire many times over, and his sage words below speak volumes as to (I think) what he wishes he’d better put his time and efforts towards over the course of his life. I have no idea as to any spiritual aspects within Jobs’ life. Nevertheless, at the end of his life, great wealth, titles, positions and the admiration of those throughout the world fell far short of satisfying his deepest longings. And if nothing else, I’m sensing the need to make some phone calls, write some letters – including a letter of apology to someone I’ve offended and look for a nice Valentine’s Day gift to give my bride.

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