A Calvinist Isn’t Determined to Discuss Divine Determination

In a FB forum, a Calvinist posited:

[A] common misconception from [everyone in this group] is that a Calvinist won’t allow their children to sing “Jesus Loves Me” because, after all – He may not. That a person who holds to the doctrines of grace shares the gospel with their children like this, “Well, you may or may not be elect so, [it may be best to wait and see whether you’re one of God’s chosen unto salvation].” We teach our children the gospel according to Scripture. The gospel is that sinners can be reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ. It’s a great relief and comfort that [we Calvinists parents] can’t do anything to mess up [our children’s] salvation. We teach them, pray for them and trust God with their souls. After all, [God] is far more merciful than we could ever be.

After some back and forth amongst Calvinists and non-Calvinists within the group, my conversation with a Calvinist kind of went like this:

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The Idol of God Being in Sovereign Control of Everything

The topic of discussion was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A quote from J. I. Packer followed, “To know that nothing happens in God’s world apart from God’s will may frighten the godless, but it stabilizes the saints.” My Calvinist friend then stated that God is absolutely and actively in control of all things and then followed up with how we must pray without ceasing and in all things trust in the Lord.

Suddenly – something clicked! I immediately wondered whether one believing God is in control of everything had to be a kind of idol worship if only because individuals are then absolved individuals of responsibility and decision making?

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God’s Total Control = Pointless Prayer

I’m currently re-reading John Piper’s book, A Sweet and Bitter Providence and am reminded that Piper is a hard determinist. I’ll likely be posting some thoughts on something Piper calls “the sovereign bullet’ in the near future. In any event, Piper has previously made deterministic statements including:

  • God [has predetermined] every tiny detail in the universe such as dust particles in the air and all of our besetting sins [because] the Bible says, “The dice are thrown in the lap, and every decision is from the Lord.
  • [Everything] including evil is ordained by an infinitely holy and all-wise God to make the glory of Christ shine more brightly.
  • God [ensures that everyone] does what God ordains – even if it involves evil.
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A Dozen Reasons People Leave Calvinism in Particular and Christian Faith in General

Just an observation … but in a Calvinistically leaning church I used to attend, the Sunday population has dwindled from around 500 (in two services) to less than 200 over the last seven or eight years. No doubt there are a number of reasons that people leave one church to start attending another. Or they stop going to church altogether.

COVID has certainly played a part in many people no longer attending church. Those people who left and haven’t returned due to COVID are perhaps the weakest of Christians.

I suspect many people stop going to church for ‘physical’ reasons such as being dissatisfied with the preaching, the music, the overall stage presence, the seating, children’s programs, how fresh the coffee is, the drive-time to church, how welcome they’re made to feel or any number of other similar reasons.

But I suspect that churches are primarily concerned with the ‘spiritual’ reasons as to why folks are leaving. And that’s what I’ve tried to compile below.

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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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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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Dr. Theodore Zachariades – Determinism – Take Two

When I first viewed the video in which Dr. Zachariades claims that God enables or precludes someone from committing adultery (noted below) I thought, what kind of demented theology does this guy possess? I have always thought that one of God’s attributes is his holiness. Is Christian faith predicated on God who would violate his own moral standards? Can I then infer that God decrees all manner of sin including murder, rape, human trafficking, serial killers, and whatever other horrid act that one can possibly conceive?

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