Wednesday, November 23, 2011

TESTING TULIP: Total Depravity/Inability

UPDATE: Please scroll down to the bottom of the Comments & click the link that says "newer" or "newest" on the lower right hand side to see the latest commets. We have now gone beyond 200 comments! 


These articles are open for discussion but only within the terms described in the introduction to the series. If you wish to participate you must adhere to the requirements in order to do so. More information about my thought process and motivations can be found in a more recent post The Implications Don't Matter if it is True.

Monergism.com has this to say about the TULIP doctrine of Total Depravity (Total Inability).
Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature; therefore, he will not--indeed he cannot--choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently, it takes much more than the Spirit's assistance to bring a sinner to Christ--it takes regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God's gift of salvation--it is God's gift to the sinner, not the sinner’s gift to God.
These are the Scriptures that they reference to support these claims.
Genesis 2:15-17;  Romans 5:12;  Psalms 51:5; 1Corinthians 2:14;  Romans 3:10-18; Jeremiah 17:9;  John 6:44;  Ephesians 2:1-10 
Here are the claims they make in point form to explicitly show what claims are being made:
1.  Because of the Fall Man is unable to of himself to savingly believe the Gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. 
2.  The sinner's will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature; therefore, he will not --indeed he cannot-- choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. 
3.  The Spirit must regenerate (make alive, give a new nature to) the sinner in order that he can come to Christ. 
4. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God's gift of salvation, it is the gift to the sinner not the sinner's gift to God. 
The Canons of Dort or the Synod of Dort are the basis of TULIP. The Canons are built on the assumption of the "Eternal Decrees of God" which are not found in Scripture, but assumed to be true based on logical inference from the particular view of the Sovereignty of God demanded by the Canons also TULIP.  NOTE: I have worked and reworked this paragraph trying to be a generous as I can be, while also being faithful to the Calvinist position and giving an objective view of the relationship. The Calvinist would not see this as circular because they see the Eternal Decrees as being the foundation which are understood from the nature of God as they see it revealed in the whole of the Scriptures.

Wayne Grudem has this to say in his Systematic Theology (copyright 1994, Inter-Varsity Press & Zondervan Publishing House):

Of the Providence of God; that God "cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do" (Page 315)

Of the Eternal Decrees of God; "are the eternal plans of God whereby, before the creation of the world, he determined to bring about everything that happens." (Page 332)

Thus while TULIP's view of Total Depravity is focused on Soteriology (the study of Salvation) that man is totally incapable of believing the Gospel the modern system of theology known as Calvinism holds that man is actually incapable of doing anything (good, evil or otherwise) by his own will.

The Canons of Dort statement on the corruption of man.

On this particular topic the Canons include 17 articles or statements. These do not include Scripture references. One can read them at the above link but I will not be responding to them each. The reasons for writing the Canons can be seen in the additional paragraphs which are responses to perceived errors of theology at the time of the writing. The Second Synod of Dort 1618-1619. Most of the articles and paragraphs actually have nothing to do with our discussion because they speak to ideas that are not, have not, nor ever will be presented at this Blog. They are about a different discussion.

That being said, Paragraph 4 adds the following Scripture references in support of the idea that unregenerate man cannot believe. Eph 2:1 & 5; Gen 6:5; Gen 8:21; Ps 51:17; and Matt 5:6.

Also, Paragraph 5 adds the following in support of "infusing" something into the will of man so that he will believe prior to belief. This is support of the TULIP view of regeneration prior to faith. Jer 31:33; Isa 44:3; Rom 5:5; and finally the church practice of praying "Restore me and I will return" from Jer 31:18.

On page 678 of Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology he discusses the idea that "Election based on Something Good in Us (Our Faith) Would Be the Beginning of Salvation by Merit." 

These are the claims of Monergism.com, the Synod of Dort, and Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology with regard to the doctrine of Total Depravity (Inability).  These are the foundational teaching resources of modern Calvinism. If anyone reading is inclined to say that I have "misrepresented" Calvinism then theirs is not the Calvinism of the Calvinists and they should find someone who wants to talk about their own Calvinism. I will be discussing the Calvinism of the Calvinists here. I do not have the energy or the will to chase a moving target. Either the Calvinism of the Calvinists is either biblical or it is not biblical. It is my soul purpose here to find out and demonstrate either possibility as it so happens to be factual.

The last time I looked at TULIP I gave statements on each of the passages cited in the reference document. This time I am not forwarding an alternate view at all so I will only comment on verses that either do or could support each of the claims.

Here we go! 


The Calvinists I interact with, and leading proponent Wayne Grudem all seem to agree that if a person can believe then they have reason to brag. I have always found this hard to understand. Can one brag because they believe the Sky is blue? However, in light of the sort of gospel that must be preached in accordance with Limited Atonement - that Jesus didn't necessarily die for your sins, and so Eternal Salvation may or may not be available to you - now I can at least understand why it would seem reasonable to TULIP believers that a person would have to do something amazing in order to believe. That I understand one potential reason why it may seem to a TULIP believer that one could brag about believing in Christ doesn't make it biblical however. There is no Scripture given as reference so I must simply consider the claim itself. Is faith meritorious?

Romans 4:16 a "Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace..." It had to be by faith so that it could be of unmerited favor. It would seem that both the primary concern of TULIP believers, that of stealing glory, praise, or credit from God in the Salvation process by a Believer being able to claim to have believed and also the secondary concern of being able to claim to be better than the person who didn't believe are not concerns which are in accord with the Scriptures.

NOTE: For each of the claims I will review all of the referenced passages, but only comment on those which I can imagine someone might use to support the claim.

Claim 1.  Because of the Fall Man is unable to of himself to savingly believe the Gospel.  The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt.

Gen 2:15-17 contradicts the claim as it indicates that Man would gain the knowledge of good and evil.

1Cor 2:14 is part of the 2nd Chapter of 1st Corinthians. The chapter starts with Paul explaining that he had determined to know nothing among them but Christ and Him Crucified. He goes on in Vs 6 stating that "However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature.." Paul continues his thought in 1Cor 3:1-4 where he states. "And I Brethren could not speak to you as spiritual people but as to carnal, as babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it. And even now you are still not able to receive it; for you are still carnal."  It is clear that the wisdom that cannot be received is explicitly NOT the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For though these new and disorderly Believers were unable to receive the meat of wisdom Paul knew they could receive the message of Christ and Him Crucified. In fact they had already received that message. Acts 18:8 Thus, 1Cor 2:14 actually contradicts Claim 1.

Rom 3:10-18 states that no one does these things. Not that no one is able to do them. It says that no one seeks after God, not that no one can believe the Gospel. Is one saved by grace through seeking? By grace through understanding? No. Eph 2:8-9 says that we are saved by grace through faith.

Jn 6:44 is the problem, Jn 12:32 is the solution. Each use the same word for draw.

Here are some potentially interesting notes:
Jn 6:37 give/grant 1325 All that the Father gives will come
Jn 6:65 give/grant 1325 None can come to Me unless it has been granted.
Acts 11:18 give/grant 1325 They glorified God saying "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance unto life!"  
Jn 6:44 draw 1670 No one can come unless the Father draws him.
Jn 12:32 draw 1670 If I be lifted up, will draw all men.... speaking of the Father drawing because He was explaining why the Father had spoken. 
Clearly Israel had the issue of thinking they were exclusively God's people. We read this over and over again. They thought they were safe because they had a blood line back to Abraham. They were God's Elect Nation. If one was to come to God one had to be converted to Judaism, they had to go through Israel to get to God. Now however, God has granted repentance unto life to the Gentiles and we come to the Father through Christ alone. 

Thus Jn 6:44 does not indicate that one cannot believe the Gospel. It is speaking of the problem of accessibility of God, not ability to Believe in Him.

Eph 2:1-10 can be read in such a way that it sounds like faith is the Gift of God. However, Greek doesn't work like English. Faith is not the gift of God. Salvation that is by grace and accessed through faith is the gift of God. "The Gift of God is Eternal Life in Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 6:23 not the faith that we have in Him. To see how the Greek works in this passage view this previous article "John Calvin Describes the Faith That Saves."  Here's a diagram that may help.
Faith and Gift are different Genders. Faith cannot be the gift of God.
Thus Eph 2:1-10 does not show that man cannot believe the Gospel.

Gen 6:5, 8:21 talk of the intent or desires of the people's hearts. They do not speak of their ability, but of their intent. Further, we are saved by grace through faith, not by grace through intent or desire.

Jer 31:33 This is about the New Covenant with "The House of Judah and the House of Israel" Jer 31:31-38. The promises here are national. This is not about individual Eternal Salvation at all.

Jer 31:18 is not speaking of regeneration, it is about restoring blessings to the Northern Kingdom. Ephraim is used by the Prophets to indicate and personify the Northern Kingdom. This is also about returning, not about becoming saved.

On the matter of Claim 1

There is no scriptural support for the idea that man cannot savingly believe the Gospel provided by these sources. I am not aware of any passage that would, or could, give credence to this claim.  Man's heart is wicked and deceitful, but it has not been demonstrated how this means that no one can believe the Gospel. 


Claim 2.  The sinner's will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature; therefore, he will not --indeed he cannot-- choose good over evil in the spiritual realm.

Firstly, one is eternally saved when they receive (or believe, or have faith in, or have trust in) the Gospel found in 1Cor 15:1-11, not by "choosing good over evil." 1Cor 15:1; Acts 18:8

Eph 2:1-5 Most assuredly the one who is still in his sins is dead in them. Gen 2:17 is the warning that this would happen and 2Cor 5:14 is the affirmation of the absolute proof that it did indeed happen. However, the claim is not about if the person is dead or not, it is about if they are in absolute bondage (no free will) to their evil nature. Genesis 6:5 says that the people of the world only desired evil things. Depravity is clearly a biblical truth which many of the passages referenced affirm. Yet do any of them say that people are in complete bondage to their evil nature and are unable to believe the Gospel? Of course no passage says any such thing.

With regards to works the Bible is clear that all our righteousness is like filthy rags. Isa 64:6 Even after we are saved OUR righteousness profits us nothing. We need the righteousness of Christ which is by faith. Phil 3:1-11 So it is true in a sort of way that unsaved men can do no good. Further, even the good that saved people can do is meaningless for right-standing (righteousness) with God; so the point is moot.

Jesus Christ said "Most assuredly I tell you; whoever commits sin is a slave of sin" John 8:34 The Lord did not make distinction between regenerated and unregenerate persons. He said whoever sins is a slave of sin, and He said "most assuredly" so I don't think this is really up for debate.

There are endless examples of God giving instructions and choices to saved and unsaved persons and nations. I am making it a point that this discussion and evaluation will not be about the implications. If Calvinism is biblical then I need to "Suck it up Buttercup!" and accept the implications - no matter if I like them or not. Likewise, if Calvinism is NOT biblical then those who have previously held to it also need to accept whatever implications that brings. That being stated, I find it hard to reconcile a God who "cannot lie" with a God who says "Whoever may" but really means "Only those I regenerate first may." If God gives a choice must be able to respond to that choice, based on the biblical fact that God cannot lie and does not tempt. Tit 1:2; James 1:13

On the matter of Claim 2

None of the referenced passages indicate that the claim is true, further the issue is about a person's ability to believe the Gospel and not "choosing good over evil."


Claim 3. The Spirit must regenerate (make alive, give a new nature to) the sinner in order that he can come to Christ.

It must be noted first that the language here says what the Spirit "must" do. This is because it is a logical inference from the other claims made in the doctrine of Total Depravity. There is not a single verse in the Scriptures that says that the Spirit does regenerate prior to faith. In fact there is not a single passage that says (or even implies) that this "must" happen either.

People must be drawn, and people are drawn. See the notes above under Claim 1 about drawing. Clearly drawing is not being regenerated.

Jer 31:18 is also noted under Claim 1 above.

Scripture says that the Holy Spirit "convinces" or "convicts" the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, not regenerates them so they can believe. John 16:5-11

I am glad to see that the Monergism website rightly notes that regeneration is when God makes someone alive again, imparts life to them, and gives them the New Nature. When the Lord explained Salvation to Nicodemus He told the man about how Moses raised the bronze serpent up and those who looked at it lived. John 3:1-21The Lord of course is referencing Num 21:4-9 where we read "So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived." We see that it was only when the person looked that they lived. Not that they looked after they had been given life.  Both the Lord, and Moses agree. One looks and so lives, not one lives and so looks.

Eph 2:1-10 states that those who are saved have been made alive. It does not state or imply that this happened, or  must happen, prior to faith.


On the matter of Claim 3

This claim is a logical inference of the other claims made by the doctrine of Total Depravity/Inability and is not found in the Scriptures.


Claim 4. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God's gift of salvation, it is the gift to the sinner not the sinner's gift to God.

The characterization of faith in the claim is false. Faith is not a "contribution" at all; it is a reception. 1Cor 15:1 Faith is not a gift to God, for it is without merit. Rom 4:16.

As established above under Claim 1 in discussion of Eph 2:8-9, faith is not the gift of God.

Jer 31:33 is discussed above under Claim 1.

On the matter of Claim 4

It is clear that Scripture does not say that God gives people saving faith.


CONCLUSION

Based on my review of the Scriptures referenced by Mongerism.com and those from the other Calvinist sources that I went looking for there is no support for the claims of the doctrine of Total Depravity/Inability.

I hope it will be noted by those reading that I didn't just limit myself to the few passages that Mongergism.com suggested. I actually searched out other credible Calvinist sources to find the strongest support possible for this doctrine. I hope that my Calvinist friends reading will concede that I did not seek to build a Straw-Man to burn. No one building a Straw-Man seeks out MORE support for the opposing position. I am also unaware of any way I could possibly have "misrepresented Calvinism" by simply quoting these highly respected Calvinist resources.

I do not want to propose an alternate theory to the doctrine being discussed, but while the Scriptures say that man is unwilling Mat 23:37-39; Luke 13:34-35; Mat 22:1-14 the Scriptures do not say that man is unable. If man were unable, if he were bound to only do evil, and was not able to know the Truth then he would have excuse at Judgment. Yet God has left man without excuse. Rom 1:18-21

I am thus constrained to report that the doctrine of Total Depravity/Inability as detailed by Monergism.com and the Synod of Dort is not biblical.

I look forward to discussion about these things. I however, do remind all of the rules (and my disclosures) for this discussion and some additional thoughts.


Resources for the discussion below: 

Image 1 Parsing Jn 10:26 - The Lord used "not" twice.



216 comments:

1 – 200 of 216   Newer›   Newest»
blessed said...

Kevin,

In John 6:44, WHO are those that are drawn?

Nolan

Anonymous said...

Great article, thank you.

To blessed above me, being drawn is not the same as being saved. The person is drawn, and they must choose to believe in Jesus to be saved, John 3:18.

Kevl said...

All, I will get back to this thread ASAP. I have just finished writing a 3,000 word script for my next video and I need to get it filmed and edited.

I'll be back after I'm done with that.

Thanks for your question Nolan. I would give you a quick answer - but I want to make sure I am accurate.

Kev

Kevl said...

Hi Nolan,

The Lord explains who these people are as He continues. They are those who receive His message.

Kev

Nolan said...

Kevin,

I would like to stay in John 6 and work through several verses before moving to the other verses that you explained if you don't mind?

In your comment you wrote that those who are drawn are those who receive His message. When you say "receive" does that mean saved?

I don't want to just assume you mean something that you may not mean.

Nolan

Kevl said...

Hi Nolan,

I actually don't want to be led through John 6. If you have an argument to make then please just explain it. I think that being asked a series of questions with an unknown agenda will lead to tension that doesn't need to exist in our conversation.

No receiving revelation does not mean saved. It means that up to the level of revelation received the person has heard and accepted it. IE 1Cor 15, where the Corinthians had "received" the Gospel. In their case they were saved because they had received the Gospel.

However, people written of in Rom 1 had understood the nature of God from Creation, but had not "received" it. They hold the truth in unrighteousness. Therefore God turns them over to a reprobate mind.

What in my article do you disagree with?

Kev

Nolan said...

I thought I was following the rules you set in place. You ask a question, it gets answered and answered in a satisfactory manner.
I was unclear as to the meaning of your response. The agenda is understanding your view of certain texts of scripture and their meaning as
you see it.

"What in my article do you disagree with? "

To start, I disagree with your interpretation of John 6:44.

you write,
"John 6:44 is the problem, Jn 12:32 is the solution. Each use the same word for draw"

I'm just not seeing how/why you use Jn 12:32 to define the text of Jn 6:44 simply because they use the same word "draw".

There is simply no justifiable exegetical reason to go to John 12:32 to define "draw" in the text of John 6:44.

To read John 12:32 "BACK" into John 6:44 you need to demonstrate that the word "draw" has the exact same meaning and objects in both the contexts.

In the context of the verses in Jn 6:37-40 it is easy to come to the conclusion that "those" the Father gives are the same ones that are "drawn" in verse 44.

In John 6:44 the plain reading of the text is that "NO" one "CAN" come "UNLESS" the father acts on that individual first. This text is not talking about the faith of the individual.
It is talking about ability/inability.

Therefore this act by the Father does shows mans inability. Without the work of the Father preceeding and initiating any action by man to respond to the gospel savingly.
Man can understand the words that are spoken by someone proclaiming the "good news" but not savingly until the Holy Spirit applies it, which shows that he was given to the Son by the Father (vs 37).
This "drawing" is salvific in nature because the text plainly says: "and I will raise him up on the last day".

You wrote in an earlier post

"At any point, Calvinists may suggest further passages in support of the points of TULIP as detailed by the reference article."

So with that, I would like to submit the following verse that also clearly shows mans inability in and of himself to respond savingly to the gospel.

John 6:65
For this reason I have said to you, that "NO ONE CAN" come to Me, unless it has been granted Him from the Father.

This verse indicates that this is actually a restatement of John 6:44 with a change of "enabled" (NASB: "granted him") for "drawn". In both cases the exact same truth is being presented.
What is missing in the citation is the fact that Jesus "was saying" this, using the imperfect tense, indicating that He was repeating this.
The ability to believe is a gift of God given to His elect as part of the work of regeneration.

Nolan

Kevl said...

Craig,

Please read the rules before you comment.

In the comment you wrote something that gets to the heart of the issue.

Fourth, you statement puzzles me when you say; “there is no passage that clearly states that man cannot believe the Gospel on his own accord”. If you do not see it in scripture, there is not much I can say to prove you different.

When you read the rules you will find out that I am not proposing any theory. I am merely looking to see if TULIP is in the Scriptures or not.

I think your statement here is the most honest I've read in a while (though I know your intent is not what I am using your statement to demonstrate) it is also an accurate representation of the problem that TULIP believers have.

Kev

Craig said...

Kevin,

I laid out some scriptures (a small sampling) that are clear that God initiates the work of salvation. Your comment that my comment is typical of TULIP believers. I am sorry, but I mean what I say. I have laid out the scriptures and if you do not see from the scripture text I laid out, there is nothing else I can do. You tell me the meaning of the scriptures I posted.

Kevl said...

Craig, perhaps you are reading too quickly.

I did not say that your comment is "typical" of anything. It demonstrates the problem that TULIP believers have.

If you claim that TULIP is found in the Scriptures then the Burden of Proof is on you. You are making the claim. I have examined the passages from the best sources I have available to me, and they do not indicate anything relating to an inability to believe the Gospel.

If you should read the rules for this discussion and follow them then I will discuss things further with you. If you are not able, or willing, to do so then I must bid you adue.

Thank you for the time you have spent. I am exploring if TULIP is biblical, not the implications of it either being true or untrue.

Kev

Kevl said...

All, I have put a great deal of effort into this study of the theory of Total Inability. I have been exceedingly open with the disclosures that I made, and I believe the rules that I have asked commenters to follow are reasonable.

They were posted almost two weeks ago and I was very open to input to ensure they were fair and helpful.

Please if you are going to attempt to show the me (and the world) that TULIP or any part of it is true then read the article carefully and respond in accordance with the rules.

I am not looking to be trapped in a clever argument, nor am I looking to trap anyone in a clever argument. TULIP (or it's various points) is either in the Scriptures or it is not.

Thanks!!
Kev

TRoutMac said...

I am a TULIP skeptic and a fan of this exploration (thank you, Kevin!)

The comments related to God's "initiation" of salvation continue to intrigue me because I am convinced that those making the comments and advocating the view, whether commenters to this blog or credible theologians such as Grudem, are overlooking the most obvious way in which God can be seen to "initiate" salvation:

I am convinced that General Revelation--creation--is not designed merely to sustain mankind, but to testify to God's existence. In fact, this is clearly the message of Psalm 19 and Romans 1. Thus, creation is the initiation the Calvinists are looking for. If God had engineered creation in a way that would have obscured His existence (and He could have) then I have no trouble saying that none of us would be the least bit inclined to seek after God. But His creation is designed with this very problem in mind… to attract every man, to give every man a reason to begin to seek answers and, ultimately, salvation. This revelation-through-creation implies, in fact requires, that every man have the capacity within himself to respond positively to that creation. And it is quite obvious that Satan understands this purpose as well, as he continues to try to obfuscate that revelation in precisely the way you would expect if man genuinely had the capacity to respond positively.

Nolan said...

just in case Not sure i hit submit

I thought I was following the rules you set in place. You ask a question, it gets answered and answered in a satisfactory manner.
I was unclear as to the meaning of your response. The agenda is understanding your view of certain texts of scripture and their meaning as
you see it.

"What in my article do you disagree with? "

To start, I disagree with your interpretation of John 6:44.

you write,
"John 6:44 is the problem, Jn 12:32 is the solution. Each use the same word for draw"

I'm just not seeing how/why you use Jn 12:32 to define the text of Jn 6:44 simply because they use the same word "draw".
There is simply no justifiable exegetical reason to go to John 12:32 to define "draw" in the text of John 6:44.
To read John 12:32 "BACK" into John 6:44 you need to demonstrate that the word "draw" has the exact same meaning and objects in both the contexts.
In the context of the verses in Jn 6:37-40 it is easy to come to the conclusion that "those" the Father gives are the same ones that are "drawn" in verse 44.
In John 6:44 the plain reading of the text is that "NO" one "CAN" come "UNLESS" the father acts on that individual first. This text is not talking about the faith of the individual.
It is talking about ability/inability.
Therefore this act by the Father does shows mans inability. Without the work of the Father preceeding and initiating any action by man to respond to the gospel savingly.
Man can understand the words that are spoken by someone proclaiming the "good news" but not savingly until the Holy Spirit applies it, which shows that he was given to the Son by the Father (vs 37).
This "drawing" is salvific in nature because the text plainly says: "and I will raise him up on the last day".

You wrote in an earlier post
At any point, Calvinists may suggest further passages in support of the points of TULIP as detailed by the reference article.

So with that, I would like to submit the following verse that also clearly shows mans inability in and of himself to respond savingly to the gospel.

John 6:65
For this reason I have said to you, that no one CAN come to Me, unless it has been granted Him from the Father.

This verse indicates that this is actually a restatement of John 6:44 with a change of "enabled" (NASB: "granted him") for "drawn". In both cases the exact same truth is being presented.
What is missing in the citation is the fact that Jesus "was saying" this, using the imperfect tense, indicating that He was repeating this.
The ability to believe is a gift of God given to His elect as part of the work of regeneration.

Nolan

Kevl said...

Hi Nolan, my last comment was to explain the interaction with Craig and didn't have anything to do with you.

I'lll get back to your comment soon.

Kev

Kevl said...

Craig,

I encourage you to read the article you continue to attempt to comment on. Sending multiple comments that both ignore what is said in the article and the rules of the conversation is not helpful. The rules are in place to ensure a fair conversation, both for you and I.

I encourage you to read the article before you post again. In it you will find that I note that the Scriptures tell us that man is unwilling, does not seek and so God draws. Yes He initiates the process. This does not mean that man is unable to believe the Gospel, nor does it mean that God must or even does regenerate people prior to faith.

I've now been as generous with you as I am going to be. Read the the article carefully, obey the rules or go elsewhere.

Kev

Kevl said...

Hi Nolan,

It's a good thing you did resubmit because I only received one copy of your comment. :)

With regard to Jn 6:44, I'm not reading Jn 12:32 back into the other verse to explain the word draw in Jn 6:44. I am using the rules of language. That a word has a meaning (or range of meanings which usage and context reveals which is proper). I cannot change the meaning of a word to suit my view, I must understand why the Holy Spirit used that word.

Since the issue in both cases is about who can or cannot come, I do not see the conflict. The context is the same, the usage is the same the range if meanings to the word is extremely limited.

You discussed Jn 6:44 this way: (I'm quoting to ensure you know what I'm referencing)

This text is not talking about the faith of the individual.
It is talking about ability/inability.
Therefore this act by the Father does shows mans inability. Without the work of the Father preceeding and initiating any action by man to respond to the gospel savingly.
Man can understand the words that are spoken by someone proclaiming the "good news" but not savingly until the Holy Spirit applies it, which shows that he was given to the Son by the Father (vs 37).
This "drawing" is salvific in nature because the text plainly says: "and I will raise him up on the last day".


I'm with you on the ability bit, yet the inability is to "come to" God, not being unable to believe the Gospel. No one can come to God unless Christ is crucified. It has been Christ's consistent message. That the Son of Man must be lifted up, and if He is lifted up then He will draw all. Jn 3, Jn 6, Jn 12 - for example.

No one is able to come to God unless Christ is crucified and they do so by His cross work.

Nothing in this passage says man is unable to believe the Good News that Christ is showing them. He's showing the necessity of the work of the Good News. - I am drifting in to proposing alternate theories. I do not want to discuss any alternate theories, either from my self or anyone else.

That one is not able to come to God apart believing in Christ's cross work does not mean that one is not able to believe the Gospel.

WRT Jn 6:65, yes Jesus is making a clear distinction here. These that do not believe cannot come to God. The wages of sin are death but the gift of God is Eternal Life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I will ask you a question in my next comment.

Kev

Kevl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevl said...

Hi Nolan,

I don't know if you are subscribed and so get notice for each comment. In case you saw my last please disregard it. I was going to follow the same course that I asked you not to follow with me.

Can you show me a verse (or passage) that indicates that man cannot believe the Gospel because of his fallen nature?

Thanks,
Kev

Craig said...

Kevin, you set the rules and then make comments that no where in scripture supports the claims you posted. You make rules and make general statements and then do not allow us to show the other scriptures.

This blog is what I expected, farewell my friend.

Craig

Kevl said...

Hi Nolan,

Hopefully you'll see this comment before you respond to my reply about Jn 6 to you.

The Lord sums up His teaching in response to the confusion of Jn 6:52, in verses 53-58. The problem is not an ability to believe, but the lack of life. We cannot get to God except by the blood of Christ. Unless we eat of His flesh, and drink His blood is what He says. He does not say "unless you are regenerated so that you can believe."

Kev

Kevl said...

Hi Craig, you wrote:

Kevin, you set the rules and then make comments that no where in scripture supports the claims you posted. You make rules and make general statements and then do not allow us to show the other scriptures.

This blog is what I expected, farewell my friend.

Craig


What claim did I make exactly Craig?

I have not disallowed you to show other Scriptures. I have asked you to actually read the article that you are responding to, which you either did not read or did not understand.

Had you read/understood it you would not have asked me to comment on your 6 points in your first email or the 31 verses in your next two comments.

Had you read/understood the article you would have focused on the distinction between inability and unwillingness.

Had you read/understood the rules you would not have tried to swamp me with 37 questions - which also show you did not read the article - you would have asked a single question.

I'm not sure what's up with your passive agressive closing "Farewell my friend" but for Nolan's benefit I will state that your behavior is consistent with the Calvinists I know.

Argue against a supposed argument, and bludgeon people when that doesn't work leave in a passive agressive way with an air of moral superiority.

I'm not sure how that is supposed to honor Christ, or bring glory to God but thank you for taking it elsewhere.

Your comments will no longer be posted here.

Kev

TRoutMac said...

I am a serious TULIP skeptic and a big fan of Kevin's little project here. The comments, both by apparent TULIP believers and the quotes from the Monergism site and/or quotes attributed to authorities such as Wayne Grudem appear to overlook some major principles.

From the Monergism site: "Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel."

Here's a major point of disagreement… clearly, the adverb "savingly" is employed here to imply that it's possible to "UNsavingly" believe the gospel… that is, it is possible to believe the gospel and yet NOT be saved. On this view, simply "believing the gospel" is not really enough. You have to believe it "savingly," whatever THAT means.

This idea that God must "initiate" salvation, that God must make the first move is, from my perspective, harmless if viewed from the proper perspective. I'm perfectly comfortable with the notion that God "makes the first move" and that if not for this "first move" no man would ever get saved. The question is, WHAT IS THIS FIRST MOVE? And those that accept TULIP seem to be overlooking the most obvious first move of all: Divine revelation via creation.

No doubt we're all comfortable enough with the idea that God designed Earth (and the universe) to accommodate and sustain mankind. But a more careful look reveals that God went way beyond what was necessary for mere sustenance; that creation has another purpose altogether: To demonstrate God's existence to man. Do we need scripture to support this? Just look at Psalm 19 and Romans 1. I take these passages to mean that God has engineered creation in such a way as to not only sustain mankind, but also to make mankind aware (with no excuses) of his position relative to God and to provide a reason to seek after God. There's your first move right there.

This implies, of course, that every man has within him the capacity to respond positively to God's general revelation… this is the response that God is trying to draw out of man WITHOUT actually changing man's will. This, it seems to me, fits 2 Peter 3:9 very well. God desires ALL men to be saved. On this view, man can justly be held accountable for his failure to respond positively. To support this further, it's clear that Satan's efforts to obfuscate God's revelation are exactly what we would expect to see if all of the above were true. Satan is constantly throwing up smoke screens around God's progressive revelation in a way that's perfectly consistent with the idea that those that are still lost can, from Satan's perspective, be kept in the dark but that this requires EFFORT on the part of Satan because those that are lost MIGHT get a glimpse of general revelation that ends up leading them to the light; toward salvation through faith in Christ. Something Satan does NOT want. The Calvinist's conception of Total Inability and unconditional election renders this revelation and counter-revelation entirely unnecessary and superfluous.

Seems to me that if we understand soteriology the God has intended it, that understanding will mesh not just with special revelation, but also with general revelation. If our view of soteriology is inconsistent with general revelation, then we ought to be concerned.

Anonymous said...

Kev my old mate, after following the NATURE of you discussions on here and FB pages you tend to forget that those you are interacting with are brothers in Christ. A major part of your energys appear to be devoted to arguing the points of reformed theology . This argument has been raging for before the reformation and will continue until our Lord returns. We are all called to be fishers of men and whether you hold incorrectly to you views or to reformed views has no bearing on this calling. The message we proclaim is the same. Whether there is an elect, whether God predestines etc has no bearing on the message we proclaim.
There is nothing wrong per se with these discussions it is YOUR attitude and forgetting that this is a " family" discussion and does nothing to edify the saints.
I encourage you to search your heart and look and pray that God will reveal any hidden agendas lurking.
Kevin Casey

Kevl said...

Thanks for the reminder Kevin.

I've laid out a number of rules for this discussion so that it remains edifying and Christ honouring.

I've disclosed my agenda, so hopefully everyone is aware. :)

It surely isn't my hope to abuse the Brethren, the Bride of Christ. This is a bit of an experiment to see if it is possible to discuss Calvinism without the baggage. When someone ignores the effort to do that and tries to bring it in.. well I'm sorry but I have to say something about it and stop it.

Nolan, and the friends he has invited all know that I have a tainted perception of modern Calvinists because of my previous interaction. I've disclosed this so that they can understand if it seems like I don't trust them.

Kev

TRoutMac said...

I actually think that this is an enormously important debate within Christianity and I think it has serious implications related to our efforts in evangelism and apologetics. When we debate the merits of Calvinism or Arminianism or any alternate view, we are debating soteriology: Salvation itself. And I can think of no more important topic of doctrine than that. Like Kevin, I have no intention of offending or brow-beating those who take the Reform view.

I have a keen interest in apologetics--giving a reasoned defense for the Christian faith. From my perspective, if Calvinism is true, I cannot give a reasoned defense because there's no reasoned defense to give. Then again, I cannot give a reasoned defense of Arminianism either. Both systems seem to boil down to a reliance on works, and I cannot and will not present someone with the Gospel of Grace only to turn around and deny it later. None of us should be willing to do that.

Stephen said...

A little late to the party but I tend to agree with Troutmac. Just because the debte has raged for centuries is no reason to not continue engaging and considering it. There are people today whose views are changing on the matter, both ways, and those who have yet to make up their mind either way.

Personally, I think Kev's been exemplary in trying to keep the discussion pointed and relevant. Too often it degrades to prooftexting and I believe Kev is doing his best to allow scripture but in manageable/discussable bites. I've been in discussions where 50 or more vv were quoted/referenced with no actual discussion of the context of those vv. It's impractical in a blog format to respond in detail that many misquoted vv.... but if you leave even one out you often get busted for that one and the other 49 answers you did give are ignored. Happens on both/all sides of the debate and I applaud Kev for simply trying to avoid that kind of mess in the first place.

That said, I'll move on and post some thoughts on the actual topic in a following post.

Nolan said...

Hi Kevin,


If the "drawing" (which I am sure you are aware, means drag) in John 12:32, means "all" men, as in every individual on the planet,
are the ones being drawn, and that meaning is pushed back into John 6:44 then it would be teaching universalism.

John 6:44
"No" one "CAN" (inability) come "UNLESS" the Father who sent Me draws "HIM"; and I will raise "HIM" up on the last day.

Notice the pronoun "him" that is drawn in this verse is the same "him" that is raised up.
If this "draw" is seen as the same as you see it in 12:32 then logically your exegesis has forced this text into a universalistic dilema.

If you replace "him" with "everyone" since it is "everyone" (all of humanity) that is drawn it would read like this:

no one can come unless the father who sent Me draws "EVERYONE"; and I will raise "EVERYONE" up on the last day.


If you are saying that the Cross of Christ draws "every single individual" , is that what scripture teaches?
1 Cor 1:22-24
For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a STUMBLING BLOCK
and to Gentiles FOOLISHNESS, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

Can you show me a verse (or passage) that indicates that man cannot believe the Gospel because of his fallen nature?

Romans 8:7-9
7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it DOES NOT subject itself to the law of God, for it is NOT EVEN ABLE TO DO SO,
8 and those who are in the flesh CANNOT PLEASE God. 9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.
But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.


I think we both agree that man has a fallen nature, but the damaging extent of that fall upon humanity is what we would differ on.
For me John 6:44 is sufficient to prove just how totally depraved our nature actually is. This verse does indicate that without the Father drawing
me I would never be raised up on the last day.

I will ask you a question depending on your response, if that is o.k.?
Or if you want to move on, I would like to comment on your interpretation of the other verses you cited.


Nolan

Stephen said...

At the risk of seeming over-simplistic, I think this quote succinctly sums it up.

"Can one brag because they believe the Sky is blue?"

In all the dicussions I've participated in about this I've been given many quotes, as Kev has pointed out as well, about how nobody seeks God, or how none are righteous, or how none do right as if all or any of these things is the same as simply believing the truth of something.

I really appreciate that Kev has drawn and holds a clear distinction between these things and faith itself because it's that one simple thing, that faith itself does not require any intrinsic goodness or righteousness. It's credited AS righteousness (Rom 4:1-5), but faith's not righteous in itself -- so all the scriptures about how bad and evil fallen man is simply miss the point -- faith isn't righteous.

I was a Calvinist/Sovereign Grace guy myself just a few years ago so I really can relate to that perspective -- but the apologetic weakness and lack of any clear scriptural support for the whole system proved so overwhelming that I simply couldn't defend it any longer, to myself or others.

More in a bit. I'd like to answer Nolan on John 6:44 because I believe he is essentially arguing a false dichotomy - that it either means what he says it does or universalism. There are better interpretations which fit the context better than either of those extremes.

Back in a bit, peace.

Stephen said...

My short answer to Nolan's question of "who" in 6:44 is answered in 6:45-47 which contains several restatements of the same or related concepts in different and clarifying terms.

In 6:45 those who are drawn/come are clarified as those who have both heard AND learned the truth the Father has revealed through some means of teaching.

6:46 directly counters the expectation of this teaching/drawing being done through direct personal divine intervention/revelation as normative.

6:47 completes the chain of thought by summarizing that being drawn and coming, in this context, means to believe.

I'd sum it up/paraphrase it something like this: No one can come to me unless he is drawn by (has heard, learned, and believed) the Father's established and revealed truth. Come to Jesus on any other basis and it will not be granted.

After having debated/discussed this passage several times (and other vv too, namely 6:65), this is the short version of where I've landed. There's also a lot that can be said about the voice of the verbs (active and middle) and the grammar of the participles throughout the passage, especially those used for believe/come/drink/eat which are somewhat interchangeable throughout. None of it supports the idea of some outside force being directly involved in the process except as the origin of the truth being believed.

I could go into a lot more detail but I'm making deliberate effort to keep it brief and digestable... and if you know me at all that's really really hard for me. :-)

Off to tuck the kiddos in, cya.

Stephen said...

One last thought before heading to bed, regarding Nolan's use of Romans 8:7-9.

This use of Romans 8:7-9 makes the common mistake Kevin referenced in his article when he said...

Is one saved by grace through seeking? By grace through understanding? No. Eph 2:8-9 says that we are saved by grace through faith.

Same thing in response to Nolan's use of Romans 8:7-9 then... salvation is not by grace through subjection to the law of God, nor by grace through pleasing God.

Good night all

Craig said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kevl said...

Hi Nolan,

I don't want you to get swamped and feel like you're getting it from every angle... so I'm going to reply to your comment to me in a short comment later today. I haven't read through Stephen's comments, but I trust they are similar to what I would say.

I DO want to clarify something though. If you knew me you would know that I have absolutely no issue with calling myself an idiot... I am generally working on 3 or 4 things at once (not a smart move) and so sometimes using simple English to explain something escapes me....

You commented about ability in Jn 6 about who "can" or "cannot" come.

The issue isn't that they can't believe, it is that they cant get to God. The drawing is by way of the Cross, both through convincing and the actual means by which we approach God. I don't want to get into alterante theories here at all.

The solution that the Lord proposes is not that the Father regenerate them so they can believe, it is that they believe so that they can come. Jn 6:53-58 He equates the eating of His flesh with belief in Him for life.

The solution proposed from the beginning of the chapter through to the end is that they believe on Him, that they can't come unless they do.

I hope that I have expressed this properly now.

Kev

Andy said...

I've been having discussions with a Calvinist friend of mine over the issue of Total Inability. He wants to argue the idea that faith is a gift from God. Having informed him the scripture does not support that idea I challenged him to provide me scriptural support for his claim. He replied, "doesn't the Bible say faith comes from above". After doing a quick search I was unable to find any derivative of the phrase "faith comes from above" in the KJV (I also checked NASB, ESV, and Darby). I did however point him to Romans 10:17 as the source of faith

"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

My friend then offered the following proof text that faith is from God.

1 Timothy 1:14 "And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus."

Now, the English rendering of this verse would seem to suggest that the source of faith is from God, but since I am not a Greek scholar I am not able to parse thought this to understand the grammatical structure of this verse to really understand it in its context since it would seem to support his claim (I still disagree, BTW). Any insight you can offer would be helpful.

Thanks,
Andy

Kevl said...

Hi Andy, the word translated "faith" there is "pistis" and it means "assurance."

Now assurance is definition of biblical faith (Gen 15:6).

What Paul is getting at in 1Tim 1:14 is that he is thankful for the grace of God. He is not teaching about the source of faith in Him.

The thrust of the verse is assurance and love are manifest in the grace of God. We are assured by it. We know we are loved by it.

To say that this passage indicates that it was the grace of God to give us saving faith, and love, stretches the language beyond reason.

I just parsed the verse using Accordance and I do not see it that way at all.

Thanks for bringing it up! I've never looked at that passage that way before, and it's good to see that this question is out there.

Thanks! I hope this helps!

Kev

Kevl said...

Craig,

You have previously bid me/us/this discussion farewell.

In case you missed it, I responded and made it clear that due to your behaviour you are not welcome to participate in the conversation.

I don't know why you are continuing to attempt to post comments since you said you were leaving but they are unwelcome.

It is not my intention to be rude or harsh. This conversation has the potential to be complicated enough without the injection of other problems.

Kev

Craig said...

Kevin,

I am sorry about the rules. This is the first time I have participated in a blog. I did not know where the rules where until I was chastised by you.

However, with that said, is anything wrong concerning my post I sent you. Was it not in humility in spirit? Did I break any rules? There is not much in this blog that argues from the reformed view and I am just trying to be voice to defend against the onslaught of the other side.

Please forgive me for previous transgression. If I have found favor with you, could you please post by previous post.

Thanks,

In Christ,

Craig

Kevl said...

Hi Craig,

I will let you post if you go back and read the article and the linked set of rules (an obey them of course).

The "normal" conversations about Calvinism focus on the implications... ie "what gives God the most glory" and I might respond "Taking God at His Word does!" they go around in circles getting everyone upset.

All this discussion is about is whether TULIP is stated in the Scriptures or not.

Please read the article and discuss it. If you have a different sort of Calvinism than Monergism.com does... then another conversation elsewhere may be better suited for you.

Also, your comments have been very long with many points in them. This will bury the conversation in needless things. Pick something and ask about it or make a point about it.

The focus should be on what does a passage say or not say.

Kev

Kevl said...

Nolan, I will get to you... sorry been a crazy day.

Kev

Craig said...

Kevin,

I greatly appreciate you allowing me back into the discussion. As I said to you previously, I did not know where the rules were being new to blogging. I will do everything I can with keeping to the rules.

You say that my posts are lengthy. I do realize that and apologize for it. However, you have said that the burden of proof is on those reformed in their theology. Please allow me to make a defense in the allotted amount of space. I do try to keep it as short as possible, but sometimes it takes much thought to defend my position. The reason for that is I believe that many people reading these posts are not too familiar to these doctrines. I know you have listed the claims and then you have listed your position that these claims are not scriptural. Please allow me to make the case that they are scriptural.

However, I will try my best to honor your request. If others believe that my posts are too lengthy, I will shorten them the best I can.

I hope you will be fair and hold everybody else to the same rules as you do me. In either case, I will follow your rules. Again, thanks for allowing me to post on your blog.

In Christ,

Craig

Kevl said...

Hi Nolan, I'm going to try to keep this as short as possible.

The large scale of the conversation is why I am trying to keep these to a "one question" type thing. I obviously cannot hold people to that entirely because that would stifle conversation as well... but let's try to keep it to one at a time so that we can not miss anything.

WRT to Jn 6:44 & Jn 12:32. You noted that if (the calvinist view of) drawing is brought back into Jn 6:44 that this would cause universalism.

Two things, 1. the language is the same, and the topic/context is the same, and the same word is used. That means the same meaning is in play. As you noted as well, the word for draw there has a limited field of meanings. It focuses on the attracting power more than the effectiveness of the drawing, but it is a word about strong drawing - it can be used to mean drag as well.

2. And this is the most important. If universalism isn't true (and I would say that it is clearly not), and the language the Holy Spirit chose to use ("draw all men") coupled with the theology of Calvinism demands that the passage supports universalism - then it is not the Holy Spirit who has it wrong.

We are not yet talking about Irresistible Grace, but if God's drawing (or dragging) is regenerating people so that they can and absolutely will repent then according to Jn 12:32 and Jn 6:44 all men will repent.

Now that is NOT the type of argument that I wanted to present to you. Because it is based mostly on the implications, not the Text.

I see no reason to modify the meaning of the word "All" or "draw" in those passages. Because since God only draws those who receive the revelation He has given them, it does not at all indicate universalism.

You asked if the Cross draws all people (everyone). I have to quote the Lord again at Jn 12:32. Rom 5:8 shows that the Cross is a demonstration of His love. His goodness one might say, which would bring me to Rom 2:4. Further, the Cross draws us by showing all of our guilt. Speaking of his mission to the lost Paul speaks of how the love of Christ draws us through recognition of our guilt. 2Cor 5:14-15

Yes the Cross draws all men.

For Romans 8:7-9, are we saved by pleasing God or is it by unmerited favor? Are we saved by subjecting ourselves or being subjected to the law of God or by unmerited favor? Paul is making exactly the same point that he made in 1Cor 2. Here though he is thankful for the fact that we are not subject to the law, but instead live by the Spirit. He is speaking about maturity in Christ, not getting saved - as I am sure you know.

You wrote the following:

For me John 6:44 is sufficient to prove just how totally depraved our nature actually is. This verse does indicate that without the Father drawing
me I would never be raised up on the last day.


I also fully agree that without the drawing of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit that no man will or even could get saved.

The difference we have is on why. I have quoted that God says man is unwilling, that he does know about God, and I could also bring up that it is not that man cannot believe the Gospel it is that without being convinced man intentionally disbelieves it.

It is not that we need to be good enough to believe, it is that we need to be convicted/convinced Jn 16:5-11.

Ask another if you want. This article/discussion is really for you anyway.

Kev

Kevl said...

Craig, I will be asking everyone to keep the comments as short as possible. It is a complicated topic and sometimes long comments are required.

However, they should always keep in mind what was discussed in the article and what the conversation should be about. What does the Scripture say? Not - What would that mean to my worldview?

Kev

Craig said...

Kevin,

I know this one is a little long. Please allow these comments to be posted. I have sent it two times previously and it will be difficult to reword it. I promise to make future posts shorter.

I would like to address Stephen’s comments if that is okay and nothing personal here Stephen. First, I want to address his comments concerning John 6:44. I have already posted comments on that, but allow me to emphasize one point. Those people Jesus was talking to did come to him, but had come for the wrong reasons. These people were Jews, which were waiting for the promised messiah. They had not heard from the LORD in over 400 years. Now Jesus comes speaking with authority and performing miracles, yet they still did not believe. Jesus, within this context, was telling them why they did not believe.

I would like to make one reference to this, if I may, from Matthew 7:21-23. This is some of the most frightening words from Jesus in all the New Testament. It says,” Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

These verses tell us that many people that profess Christ and think they are working for the Kingdom will find out with a rude awakening, that they are not welcome in heaven. The question I have is what was it about their faith in Jesus that did not commend them to be children of God. I know this is not the focus of this discussion, however, think about it.

Second, I want to address Stephen’s comments on verses 45 and 46.

In 6:45 those who are drawn/come are clarified as those who have both heard AND learned the truth the Father has revealed through some means of teaching.
6:46 directly counters the expectation of this teaching/drawing being done through direct personal divine intervention/revelation as normative.

The comment “through some means of teaching” is precisely about what we are talking of in this discussion! What are the means? I argue that verse 46 does not counter verse 44 or 45. The context of the scripture and the rest of scripture, show it is being done through direct intervention by God.

Third, I want to make clear what Calvinist believe, because some comments made in this blog make it sound like we believe things that we do not. As the reformers, we believe that we are saved/justified by faith and faith alone. Faith is the means by which we are saved. No one will enter heaven that does not believe in Christ. The question we debate is weather that faith originates within man or from God. I contend that it comes from God, because I have nothing I can bring to God to contribute to my salvation. I contend that the Holy Trinity does all the work done in my salvation. God commands me to believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ for my justification, and I contend that I cannot, due to being spiritually dead in my sin. The Holy Spirit has to give me a new heart (regeneration), to quicken, make spiritually alive, so that I can believe the Gospel. You see, the difference in what we believe is simply what comes first, faith or regeneration.

Kevin in his response to Nolan, says “The issue isn't that they can't believe, it is that they cannot get to God. The drawing is by way of the Cross, both through convincing and the actual means by which we approach God. I agree in part, the Cross is the only way to get to God. However, we have to be made spiritually alive to be able to bow at the foot of the Cross and beg for mercy and grace due to the work of the Holy Spirit in convicting us of sin in light of God’s holiness. Is this important to our faith and knowledge of God? Of course it does, otherwise we would not be defending what we believe to be true. The big question is what is the most glorifying to God.

Craig

Kevl said...

Craig, I suspect that Stephen is going to come down hard on some of the things you said in this comment.

For example your closing...

You are arguing the philosophy of Calvinism - which is exactly what I don't want here... it is an endless loop of assumptions and accusations.... I am not interested.

What gives God the most glory? Taking Him at His word gives Him the most glory.

The issue is what we THINK must be true, the issue is what does the Word say.

If Stephen doesn't respond please just drop it.

I am going to make a few comments.... because you don't seem to be getting the point.

You wrote:

The question I have is what was it about their faith in Jesus that did not commend them to be children of God. I know this is not the focus of this discussion, however, think about it.

There was nothing about their faith.. they had no faith. They had works and submission to His Lordship... but they didn't have faith in Him. That's the point of the passage. Not al who call Him "Lord, Lord" are saved. Yet the Lord says that "MOST ASSUREDLY" all who believe in Him ARE saved.

You wrote:

Third, I want to make clear what Calvinist believe, because some comments made in this blog make it sound like we believe things that we do not.

Did you even read the article? I have quoted the highest profile Calvinist sources. Monergism.com & Wayne Grudem. If that misrepresents your Calvinism, then your Calvinism isn't what we are talking about so please just move on....

You wrote:

You see, the difference in what we believe is simply what comes first, faith or regeneration.

Again, Craig, did you read the article???? Do you have any idea how frustrating it is for me to read your comments that you send multiple times when you have not bothered to read the article you are so intent on responding to?

You really don't need to tell Stephen what the issue is... that's the point of the discussion. If you can find a verse that says Regeneration comes first then THAT would actually be helpful to our discussion.

You wrote:

The big question is what is the most glorifying to God.

No the question is "What do the Scriptures say?"

Again, if you had read the article, and the linked set of rules you would know that we are discussing what the Scriptures say - not what WE THINK the implications are.

Kev

Nolan said...

Hi Kevin

I want to be sure we are clear on our agreements.

you wrote
"The difference we have is on why. I have quoted that God says man is unwilling, that he does know about God"

We agree that man is unwilling to come to Christ. I woud say that man in unable BECAUSE he is unwilling.
(John 6:44 uses the language of ability) You are unable to get (come) to Christ unless God draws you (that is what 6:44 says) .
You are unable to get to God apart from Christ (that is what you said vs6:44 is teaching) so we do that God must draw you to
Christ so you will then be able to come to God through Christ.

We agree that one must be moved upon by God to do any of this coming/believing.

You would say that ALL men are moved upon by God (previenient grace?) at the Cross
I would say "all" means all kinds, ie Jews and Gentiles, because of the context as we know "all" does not always mean all as in
everybody.

"It is not that we need to be good enough to believe, it is that we need to be convicted/convinced: Jn 16:5-11"

We agree that it is not that we need to be good enough to believe.

We agree that one must be convicted/convinced by the Holy Spirit but I think you say that the whole world is
convicted but obviously the whole world is not convinced.

So where does the convincing that you agree is needed come in?

Your treatment of John 6:44 is lacking exegetically. For one it fails to take into account John 6:37-40

37- All that the Father GIVES Me will come to Me, and the one who COMES to Me I will certainly not cast out.
38- For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
39- This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has GIVEN Me I lose nothing, BUT RAISE IT UP ON THE LAST DAY.
40- For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and
I MYSELF WILL RAISE HIM UP ON THE LAST DAY.

I noticed when you discussed vs 44 and it's context, you didn't discuss the last part of that verse "and I WILL RAISE HIM UP ON
THE LAST DAY. You have to admit that this verse is very problematic for your view that inability or total depravity is unbiblical.
If proper exegesis of the text is administered the conclusion will naturally lend itself to the inability of man as is laid out in the
article you are trying to refute.

I hope this is not too long. I agree that we need to keep it short and keep it centered around exegetical treatment of the scriptures
being discussed.


Nolan

Kevl said...

Hi Nolan, this will have to be in two parts because it is long... sorry.

We are getting beyond what the Text says, but I am unwilling to get up some mornings but I still do it because there is a conviction that I need to.

My unwillingness does not make me unable. The same is true for believing the Gospel.

We have already discussed Jn 6:44, the problem is not that God doesn't draw some. Clearly the Cross draws all men. No one could have come to God (or even Christ alone - language fails me here but you know what I mean) unless He was crucified.

Yes we agree that God makes the first move. It is clear from Romans (as Pete points out) that this first move is always Creation, and it moves to more and more specific revelation.

You wrote:

We agree that one must be convicted/convinced by the Holy Spirit but I think you say that the whole world is
convicted but obviously the whole world is not convinced.


The whole world is judged at the Cross. All the world reacts to the message of the Cross under conviction - without exception. Some are moved by that conviction to mock, others are moved by it to believe.

I AM NOT going to propose an alternate theory for you to argue against - this discussion is about TULIP and whether it is in the Scriptures or not. Not about the validity of any other theory. To answer your question about where this convincing comes in though:

The convicting/convincing comes in at every single stage. As one receives they are given more, as they reject they are turned over to a reprobate mind.

You may consider that my treatment of Jn 6 is lacking, but that is probably because I am not making a case for another theory. I would say that your treatment is (also?) lacking exegetically. You bring up Jn 6:37-40 and state the following.

I noticed when you discussed vs 44 and it's context, you didn't discuss the last part of that verse "and I WILL RAISE HIM UP ON
THE LAST DAY. You have to admit that this verse is very problematic for your view that inability or total depravity is unbiblical.
If proper exegesis of the text is administered the conclusion will naturally lend itself to the inability of man as is laid out in the
article you are trying to refute.


OK so your assertions are apparently based on the idea that "coming to" Christ is believing in Him. So you say that one cannot believe unless it is granted to him to believe by the Father.

I get your point - really I do. However, this is not at all how Christ uses the phrase in Jn 6. He equates coming to Him as the result of believing.

As we have discussed from telling them to not seek the bread that keeps them alive for a day but the bread that gives Eternal Life right through to the end of the passage.

Who is given to Christ by the Father? Jn 6:40 It is those who believe that come to Christ. None can come to Christ except they believe. None can come to the Father except they come to and go through Christ. None are willing to Believe unless they are convinced. All the world is given general revelation and all the world is supposed to be given the Gospel.

Those who believe will be saved, those who do not will be condemned.

PART TWO COMING RIGHT UP

Kevl said...

Hi Nolan here is Part Two

I'm going to quote something you wrote again because I think it is important to challenge you on it.

If proper exegesis of the text is administered the conclusion will naturally lend itself to the inability of man as is laid out in the
article you are trying to refute.


Proper exegesis never starts with an assumption. Even axiomatic truths like the goodness of God cannot be put in a passage and then have the understanding of that passage be claimed to be from exegesis.

Exegesis is only ever exgesis when what comes out is wholly, and only coming out of the Text with nothing at all being put in.

This is the same problem with the supposed issue with universalism. The universalism problem only comes into play when parts of Calvinism are inserted into the understanding of "draw" in Jn 12:32 and 6:44 (and other places).

It is exceedingly difficult for man to do, but when we study a passage we need to isolate it from our preconceived ideas. I'm not saying I have arrived, but I am pressing ahead. Philippians 3:13-14

Is there a verse or passage that says man cannot believe the Gospel because of his fallen nature?

Kev

Stephen said...

Craig, Matt 7:21-23 used to frighten me too... until I finally understood the simplicity and power of the Gospel of Grace. This passage need only frighten you if your assurance of salvation is, like those in the passage, based on something other than the Gospel -- namely submission to His Lordship +/- good works. The Bible provides many examples of those who 1) believed God's holiness and Lordship, and 2) did good works -- yet are rejected. There is however not one single example of God rejecting anyone who had faith in His saving revelation.

Don't be afraid Craig, rather find the peace of assurance that comes from faith in the simple truth that salvation by grace through faith is secured by Christ's faithfulness and power alone, not by His + yours. Once you have that straight Matt 7 will never frighten you again except as you fear for the souls of those who are likewise trusting in something other than the Gospel.

Otherwise, I think Kev already adequately answered the bulk of what you said so I'll let what each of has said stand unless Kev wants to discuss it further as I don't want to derail the main topic -- Is T biblical?

As yet not a single v/passage has been presented that actually says so

Kev, I appreciate that you are distinguishing between come and believe. You're exactly right though, "come/s" in this passage is best understood as the result of belief, not as belief itself, though in passages like 6:35 they do seem to be used essentially in parallel at times. So far as the actual discussion goes, is T biblical, nothing about being unable to "come" demands an inability to "believe". God enabled man to believe by providing and revealing the truth to be believed in the first place. Beyond that, the inspired Word consistently uses active and middle voice verbs for fallen man's role in responding to that truth which outright denies the doctrine of Total inability.

TRoutMac said...

Forgive me, but more and more I think that we're overlooking the role of general revelation when we think of Total Inability.

My contention is essentially that the creation we can observe today would NOT be what it is if Calvinism were true. Everything would be "sealed." Everything would be a "black box." We wouldn't be able to discover things like digital code in DNA. We wouldn't be able to see stars. There would be no solar eclipse. I don't know why there would be other galaxies at all. Or other planets in our solar system. God didn't have to make creation "reverse engineer-able" in order to sustain mankind. God INTENDED for us to discover these things over time. We haven't gained access to anything in His creation that He didn't INTEND us to have access to.

With that in mind… when I look at John 6:44 and see that "no one can come to Me unless the Father draws him" I think of general revelation. It's clear to me that God draws people to Him via general revelation and again, it's clear that God wouldn't have had to reveal Himself the way He has and this tells me that He had a REASON for doing it that way; a strategy. Those that are drawn AND COME to Jesus will be raised up at the last day. EVERYONE'S drawn, but not everyone comes and not everyone is raised up. At this point, I'm not aware of any reason why this interpretation is unworkable, and it appears, unless I'm missing something quite large, to resolve the disagreements about Total Inability.

I would concede, therefore, that man is "Totally Unable"; that absent God's general revelation and special revelation, man would never seek after God. God made the first move by revealing Himself in creation.

Kevl said...

Stephen,

That was a very good reply to Craig. Much more graceful than mine, and yet complete.

Thanks!
Kev

Craig said...

Stephen,

I appreciate your comment. One thing I am sure of is my assurance of salvation and Matt 7:21-23 does not frighten me. Although is has caused me to evaluate my faith long ago and I have found my faith to be secure in Christ.

Stephen, your comments are said with true grace. I do not think we can change the others theology. We are pretty set in our own theology. However, I have respect for you in the way you responded.

Thanks!

Craig

Nolan said...

"Proper exegesis never starts with an assumption. Even axiomatic truths like the goodness of God cannot be put in a passage and then have the understanding of that passage be claimed to be from exegesis."

"Exegesis is only ever exgesis when what comes out is wholly, and only coming out of the Text with nothing at all being put in."

I agree whole heartedly!!!

"The universalism problem only comes into play when parts of Calvinism are inserted into the understanding of "draw" in Jn 12:32 and 6:44 (and other places)."

From the logical and exegetical understanding of John 6:44 it does appear to teach "some type" of universalism. It is either teaching the salvation of all the elect (Reformed theology) or it is teaching the salvation of "all" every person (universalism).

"Is there a verse or passage that says man cannot believe the Gospel because of his fallen nature?"

Yes, John 6:44

Historically speaking, before Christ being lifted up in John 12:32 were "all" men "drawn" to God? If so How? If not why? I know that this may be taking a lil detour, but I think it is relative to the discussion, at least for me any way.

Nolan

Kevl said...

Hello Nolan,

Before I get to your next comment I must address something in your previous one.

You wrote:

the article you are trying to refute.

You may not believe me, but I am not "trying to refute" anything. I am searching the Scriptures to see if these things are true.

TULIP is either written in the Text of the Bible or it is not. That is ALL I am trying to establish. My motives were pure, and they remain so.

Kev

Kevl said...

Hi Nolan,

You wrote something of particular importance to our discussion - so I will make a lengthy quote of your comment.

From the logical and exegetical understanding of John 6:44 it does appear to teach "some type" of universalism. It is either teaching the salvation of all the elect (Reformed theology) or it is teaching the salvation of "all" every person (universalism).

It is the "logical" part that is causing the problem. TULIP is perfectly internally logically consistent. However, when the assumptions that logic is based on is applied to things external to TULIP the assumptions are seen to be wrong.

Now this next bit is not intended to offend. I truly intend it to help.

Because the view of "come to me" is the ability to Believe in Him you are seemingly stuck.

You are using Calvinism to prove that Calvinism must be true. That's the "logic" you are using. The process is circular, and it results in a False Dilema logical fallacy - that there are only two options available to understanding Jn 6:44.

However, if you use "come to me" as the finish line like Jesus does in Jn 6 (Exegesis) you find that Jn 6:44 teaches - if I may reword it - that no one actually gets to Him unless the Father draws him.

No one comes to the Father except by Me is exactly the same teaching.

It's easier for some reason for us to see this as the finish line though. I think it is the recent massive popularity of Calvinism that has affected our perceptions of Jn 6.

This next part is not up for debate - we are talking about TULIP not my beliefs. I am only going to share in order to show you that Calvinism has left you with a False Dilema about Jn 6:44. There is at least one more option.

In either way, the person cannot get to God except they go through the Cross, and that's not going to happen unless they are drawn - and the Cross is part of that drawing, as is General Revelation and Specific Revelation, and conviction for sin.. and all the rest of it.

If at any point the person refuses to receive, then God turns them over to a reprobate mind - Rom 1:18-32. They "disbelieve" and God turns them over so that the god of this age will blind them.

That is not universalism, and therefore there is not only a choice between Reformed Theology & Universalism for an understanding of Jn 6:44. I would argue, in another place, that this view is the most faithful to the Text.

Jn 6 does not say that man cannot believe the Gospel. There are various theories about this passage that can - if they were true - be used to support the idea that someone could not believe but it does not say - nor does it require - that someone cannot believe the Gospel.

Is there a verse that does say this?

I'll answer your question in my next comment. :)

Kev

Kevl said...

Hi Nolan,

If you need me to cite Scriptures for this I can - but I really need to get back to bed so I'm just going to answer the questions with things I know you know.

You asked how people were drawn before the Cross.

Much the same way. Creation, conviction for sin, the Law, God's faithfulness to Israel, the Holy Spirit's work in their lives, God's promise of a Redeemer. Probably the strongest draw was God's direct interaction and intervention into History. He spoke to men directly. He did amazing things for Israel.

We have an advantage in that we can look back and see it as having actually happened in History. The Cross is the ultimate tool for drawing now. We don't need God to travel with a group of people in a pillar of smoke or fire. We don't need a burning bush. We don't need the waters to be parted and our pursuers destroyed. We see the Cross. As good as all those other things are nothing is as clear and powerful as the Cross.

I don't know how true it is, but it has been said that only 1/25 of all the people who have ever lived actually lived before the Cross. If the concern is that those people were lacking the same level of drawing I would have to say they had plenty IMO.

God's program was through Israel then, one had to become a Jew to be saved. In this Dispensation God's program is open to everyone equally through the Cross. Each have been God's drawing tool, and proclamation of His faithfulness, righteousness and judgment.

Kev

TRoutMac said...

Craig wrote: "One thing I am sure of is my assurance of salvation and Matt 7:21-23 does not frighten me. Although is has caused me to evaluate my faith long ago and I have found my faith to be secure in Christ."

On what basis did you conclude that your faith was "secure in Christ?"

Jan said...

Hopefully I will not regret getting into this discussion (which is very interesting, BTW), but I just wanted to make a comment on Matthew 7:21-23. I can't help but think the whole thing rests on what the men appeal to. It is very easy for all of us, I should think, to imagine Christ rejecting a person who appeals to his own works, no matter whose name they were done in because we are told plainly that by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight. However, I wonder if it is possible to conceive of Christ rejecting someone whose claim was "Lord, we appeal to your blood shed on the cross, in which we fully expect to find our salvation." While we clearly have this passage from Matthew, with many other passages that suggest the same thing, that shows people being rejected when the appeal is to their own works. But is it even possible for Him to reject someone whose appeal is to His work, instead of their own? I am not aware of any passage that says so. (?) Rather, there are many that say the opposite. The passages from John 6 being among the most obvious, and Christ repeats Himself 5 times in that chapter that the one who eats His flesh and drinks His blood has eternal life.

Then, there is the give away of where the faith of the men in Matthew 7 lay by what they confessed/appealed to: their own works (yes, they did appeal that these works were done in His name, but they were still works that they did and did not address the thing God is concerned with, which is the problem from the garden, "in the day you eat of it you shall surely die.")

Anyway, isn't it most natural for us to appeal to what we actually trust, where we expect our salvation to lie? We do this pretty much anywhere with anything, not just salvation issues. And isn't it common that in a crisis what ever is most true is what is going to come out? Clearly, these men are in the greatest crisis ever in standing before the sovereign Judge of the universe. They aren't even going to be able to come up with something clever. I would think they would have the ultimate brain freeze here. They are going to go straight to default, which for them was the works they did in His name, not His sacrifice for them. Wouldn't you think a saved person, whose faith is in Christ, is going to say in such a state something more on the order of, "Lord, Your blood!"?

Well, I am in danger of breaking Kev's long comment rule, so I better stop here. But those are my thoughts on Matthew 7.

JanH

Nolan said...

Hi Kevin,

I would like to thank you for answering my questions. You have been very gracious in doing so. I really understand that it takes a lot of time and energy to post articles and then to respond to the many questions that are posed by commentors, especially by me as you well know. I have to admit at times during our exchange I was tempted to post something very un-edifying, that was pride rearing it's ugly head within me. I suspect you were tempted as well. But, you refrained, thanks.

I read and re-read your comments as well as the others and find no exegetical reason to abandon the "T". I think John 6:44 a and b and the surrounding context is more than enough to keep me convinced.

You said in one of your last comments that one had to be a Jew in order to be saved in the Old Testament. I know you do not want to discuss this issue as you stated, I will oblige since it has nothing to do with the article. I commented in an earlier post that to understand Reformed Theology rightly one would have to have a workable understanding of Covenant theology to some degree. I think that this is the crux of the issue. Your statement about one having to become a Jew in order to be saved makes this obvious. I am going to go out on a limb and say that I think that this is what is clouding your view of at least John 6:44 perhaps. But, who am I to say.

Your viewing scripture through a dispensational perspective and mine coming from a Covenental perspective, which by the way I have not developed fully, is probably more of the issue than anything else. As you know the twain shall never meet. I haven't seen many full blown dispys that hold to Reformed theology.

I think I want to be known first for honoring our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Reformed theology is on the list, but if it doesn't drive me to be God exalting and Christ honoring in word or deed and show love for the brethren then it is useless. I also think it is well worth defending. If it's not worth defending than why believe it.

With that, I think I am through commenting on the "T". I may still discuss the letters of the acronym in later post, if that is o.k.

You asked me if there were any other verses that show mans moral inability, honestly I agree with the article you are trying to dismantle from Monergism. I would agree with their scripture references and the exegetical treatment of those verses, so for me any on that list would do fine.

Again, thank you for your continued patience.If you didn't live so far away I would invite you over for some coffee. I am sure we would have much to talk about.

Nolan

Kevl said...

Hi Nolan,

I'm disappointed that you are done with T so soon. One of the reasons is that this article really did take a huge amount of effort and I was sort of hopping to put off a the next one for a bit longer. :) I haven't even started looking at it.

As you probably have guessed my primary work is Evangelism and there has been a great deal of study on that in the last while. My faculties are being used at capacity I think.

I'm sure we could have a great chat over coffee.

I'll leave you with this point again, I was not looking to refute T, but to see if it is stated in the Scriptures. I have not seen it stated. I understand your logic on Jn 6, but I don't think it is pulling the intended meaning from the Text.

This has been a very interesting conversation. I have never been challenged on TULIP in a meaningful way before. To be honest, the general arguments I hear from Calvinists are about side issues. I'm a by the Scriptures guy.

Yes I think that God works in Dispensations (Eph 1:10 states so plainly) but I don't hold to "Dispensationalism."

I've been learning that it is important to have a Hermeneutic that accurately interprets the Text and then to stick to that hermeneutic faithfully.

So I don't really have a system to defend, and I'm slow at answering questions. I don't have answers to pull out of my pocket.

The view that I presented of salvation in the OT is simplistic. There is of course pre-Israel and some other minor issues. Yet Israel is God's Elect Nation, and the Covenants are theirs. To gain the blessing of those covenants then one must become part of Israel. Converting to Judaism was the only option during that period, certainly I am unaware of any other plan that God had.

Thanks for the kind words, they are very much appreciated.

Kev

Kevl said...

Hi Jan,

It is understandable that as this discussion has progressed that the comments would get longer. Some things are complicated and deserve proper treatment.

The intent was that people wouldn't starte out with an "Elephant Gun" argument that couldn't really be answered reasonably in this type of environment. Of course "Elephant Gun" arguments are intended to discourage answers.

Thankfully the discussion was clear. I'm very very thankful for how Nolan interacted. Like I told him that's the first meaningful challenge I have ever had on the topic of TULIP.

Kev

blessed said...

Kevin,

I have been following along with the converstation here and agree with Jan that it is very interesting. I have never taken the time to go verse by verse
through the scriptures used to support TULIP.
I have listened to many teachings that both support and deny TULIP. I have prayed many prayers for wisdom
and understanding. I implore people to believe the gospel yet I pray that God would give them eyes
to see and ears to hear. I pray that God would open their heart.

I have not wanted to enter this discussion as I do not have a thing to offer other than questions.
Most of those questions have been answered one way or another (even if I disagree with the answer :)

But one question that has not been answered for me is why you would separate come and believe in this chapter
of John when this is the very chapter where they are used in conjuction (or parrallel as Stephen said).

Here is what you said:

OK so your assertions are apparently based on the idea that "coming to" Christ is believing in Him.
So you say that one cannot believe unless it is granted to him to believe by the Father.

I get your point - really I do. However, this is not at all how Christ uses the phrase in Jn 6.
He equates coming to Him as the result of believing.

What I understand as I read:

In John 6:34 they are asking Christ for the bread that gives life.
In John 6:35 Christ says that he who COME shall not hunger and he who BELIEVES shall not
thirst....so Christ is using them (come, believe) interchangeably here.

He goes on to say that all the Father gave Him will COME and the one that COMES will not be cast out but will be
raised on the last day.

He then goes on to say that the reason He said no one could COME unless it was granted by the Father is because
some of them see Him and still do not BELIEVE and He knew from the beginning who they were (John 6:65)....So He is explaining to
them why they do not believe...because it had to be granted by the Father and that the ones that the Father gave would
come....they would be the ones that will not hunger or thirst....the ones who COME that do not hunger and the ones who
BELIEVE that do not thirst spoken of in John6:35.

It would help me greatly if you could explain to me why coming and believing should be separated in the context of this chapter.

Thank you for the time you are putting into this.

Melissa

Kevl said...

Hi Melissa,

You wrote:

In John 6:35 Christ says that he who COME shall not hunger and he who BELIEVES shall not
thirst....so Christ is using them (come, believe) interchangeably here.


It is possible to understand it that way, but such understanding is not demanded by the Text. The result is the same.

He is equating the result. He has just told them that the work they should do in order to have bread that gives eternal life is not to work but to believe.

He is now going to equate the results. He is showing the result of belief, with their desired result of seeking Him for food - which is what they had been doing. Jn 6:26-27

Jn 6:45 says

It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.

Here we see that believing is separate from, and previous to coming to Him.

In Jn 6:47 the Lord shows the result of belief again. Then He explains what one is believing in Jn 6:48-51

He equates eating the bread with belief.

People must be raised up at the last day, and they can only be raised up (to Him) if they have been justified, and they can only be justified if they have believed the Gospel (eaten His flesh, and drank His blood).

In Jn 6:65 the Lord says “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”

What is He saying "therefore" for? Jn 6:61-64 “Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.”

He is saying 'because some of you don't believe I have told you that none can come to Me unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood.'

The problem is not that they were not granted to believe, the problem is they will not be granted to come to Him and thus have Eternal Life unless they eat & drink, which He calls believing in His payment.

The consistent problem with the Jews that the Lord dealt with was that they didn't think they needed a sin offering. They thought they were going to the Father because of their lineage.

His teaching was indeed a hard teaching. A worldview shaking teaching.

Kev

blessed said...

Kevin,

you said:

He is saying 'because some of you don't believe I have told you that none can come to Me unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood.'


I guess I do not see how you are changing what He said. He said "some of you do not believe...this is WHY I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted by the Father.

I get what you are saying about not hungering and thirsting being the results of coming to/believing in Christ (it speaks to our union with Him)and I agree.

But I still do not see how you see coming and believing as separate.

You won't thirst yet not hunger, you wont hunger and yet not thirst.
Your hunger and thirst are quenched in Christ. You will not hunger or thirst because you believe/come.

Here are some scriptures also using COME:

Ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life” (John 5:40).


“Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)take my yoke upon you and learn from Me....


“Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb 7:25).

Revelation 22:17: "And the Spirit and the bride say, `Come!' And let him who hears say, `Come!' And let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely."

John 7:37 if anyone thirsts, let him COME to me

I think I am stumbling over this because to believe what I THINK you are saying is to believe that one can BELIEVE in Christ (and therefore not thirst) yet not COME to Christ (and still hunger).

I am sorry if I am just not getting what you are saying....but thanks for trying to explain it to me!

Kevl said...

Hi Melissa,

You wrote:

But I still do not see how you see coming and believing as separate.

believing is a prerequisite to coming. Jn 6:45 one cannot come unless they believe. The problem is not that they can't believe, it is that they cannot come unless they believe. People believe when they are convinced. Jn 16:5-11.

Now I'm not going to go through each of those passages and try to refute a loosely made claim that they indicate coming is the same as believing. TULIP supporters make the fantastic claim that people cannot believe the Gospel. That claim is what is being examined, so if you develop this claim from any of these passages - or any other passage - then I will gladly look at it.

Since I am not trying to refute TULIP or even to pose an alternate theory I don't think it would be wise for me to step further into that territory than I already have.

You did however bring up several verses that seem to indicate that anyone may freely come. I do not see how any of them help prove the validity of the theory of Total Inability.

No matter if "come" means believe, or to actually arrive Total Inability states that neither is possible for anyone.

No one may freely come. Not a single person is able to freely come. The only people who end up coming are those whom it is imposed upon through involuntary regeneration.

Kev

Craig said...

Kevin,

You have stated the Reformed doctrine of Total Depravity as described by Monergisim.com. I am reformed in my theology and my doctrine of salvation can be described in TULIP. You have stated that the scriptures do support Total Depravity as explained by Monergism.com.

The question I have is “what is your belief in how one is saved”? What is your “doctrine of salvation”?
We all come to the scriptures with presuppositions and our presuppositions dictate our interpretation of scripture. You know what I believe by me claiming to be reformed, but I have no clue to what your beliefs are. I am discussing this topic from the reformed perspective, but I need to know where you stand on how one is saved.

Craig

Kevl said...

Hi Craig,

You can quite a bit of information by looking under the title "Salvation Information" on the right hand side of this blog. You can also see the Gospel video at the top right hand side.

How is one saved? They believe the Gospel. 1Cor 15:1, that Gospel is contained in 1Cor 15:1-11 explicitly stated & limited, delivered by Christ to His apostles and preached by everyone of His apostles.

You wrote:

I am discussing this topic from the reformed perspective, but I need to know where you stand on how one is saved.

I don't want to discuss this topic from a perspective. What do the Scriptures say? That's the only perspective that is worthy. I am using the Historical Gramatical Hermeneutic - not a perspective or a system.

Why do you need to know where I stand in order to defend the position you hold?

The only possible answer is because you want to convince me using argument. That is not what the honorable Bereans did. They searched the Scriptures to see if the doctrine was true or not.

http://onmywalk.blogspot.com/2011/11/testing-tulip-introduction.html

Craig, if you would read the introduction to this series (linked in the first paragraph of the article above, and in comments to you in this thread) you would find that this discussion is not a competition of views, but merely an examination of TULIP.

If I am completely wrong about my view it does not at all help the case for the validity of TULIP.

You would be much better off building your case for your view instead of wasting your time trying to find an argument that might convince me, or some error in my view.

Kev

Craig said...

Kevin,

You said, "How is one saved? They believe the Gospel. 1Cor 15:1, that Gospel is contained in 1Cor 15:1-11 explicitly stated & limited, delivered by Christ to His apostles and preached by everyone of His apostles."

I agree in what the scriptures says in those verses. Therefore we stand together in that regard. See we agree on something!:)

However, the question I have for you is, "how does one believe"? How does one "receive" or "believe" the gospel when preached?

How does it happen when two people standing beside one another hearing the same gospel preached, one receives the message and the other does not?

TULIP describes this in detail, however you deny it is based on scripture. The question is, "what is your belief in what the scriptures says that does explain the situation above"?

Craig

Kevl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevl said...

Rom 10:14-17, Jn 16:5-11, Mark 16:15-16, Acts 28:23-27... .and so on.

What does my view have to do with your defense of TULIP?

Kev

Craig said...

Kevin,

I thought it was a fair question. I say I know how one believes the gospel based on scripture (TULIP), I just want to know what you believe in how one believes the gospel of Christ. You don't have to list all thee scriptures out word for word, just list them and I can look them up (to save space). If what I believe is true is not supported by scriptures, then show me how I am to believe. You may convince me that I am wrong.

Craig

Kevl said...

Sure it's a fair question, however the motive is not fair.

I am not trying to disprove TULIP or to propose an alternate theory.

TULIP, and in this particular conversation Total Inability is either revealed clearly in the Scriptures or it is not Biblical.

I have yet to be shown a single passage which reveals Total Inability.

Is there a single passage that says that man cannot believe the Gospel because of his fallen nature?

Kev

TRoutMac said...

Craig wrote: "How does it happen when two people standing beside one another hearing the same gospel preached, one receives the message and the other does not?"

Craig, I hear this challenge offered quite frequently. The answer is exceedingly simple: Volition. That is, one person chooses to believe, and the other person chooses not to believe.

My question is this: Why do Reform folks think this is such a substantial challenge? Why do Reform folks think that I have to account for why one person believes and the other doesn't beyond what is obvious; their volition?

Why does one person buy a Ford while the other buys a Chevy?

The answer is volition. Humans are agents, we have free will. Therefore that will doesn't have to be accounted for. The buck stops with you… you are responsible for what you believe. Your molecules are not responsible, nor can it be said that your inclinations are responsible because your inclinations are just another manifestation of your free will; your volition. YOU are actually responsible for what you believe and this is precisely why people are justly condemned to Hell for having not believed: Because they are responsible for that choice.

Craig said...

Kevin,

You listed the passages, “Rom 10:14-17, Jn 16:5-11, Mark 16:15-16, Acts 28:23-27... .and so on.” These still do not explain how one person believes when they hears the gospel and another who hears the exact messaged does not believe. However, John 16:5-11 comes close.

You also said, “I have yet to be shown a single passage which reveals Total Inability.” Can you show me scripture that says anything otherwise? In your case, is there any scripture that does tell “HOW” one believes?


Craig

Nolan said...

Hi Kevin,

I see that you asked Craig the same question:
Is there a single passage that says that man cannot believe the Gospel because of his fallen nature?

You know my answer is John 6:44. How one can take a text that in it's context is clearly about inability and then, somehow change the literal meaning then change the grammar to say it means choice is baffling. This is the same argument made by Norman Geisler in his "Chosen But Free" book. Again I am baffled. I said I am baffled. I know you see it quite different than I do and are baffled by how I don't see it as clearly as "you" see it (mans ability). I'm still looking though.

What scripture can you give that explicitly says that there is a such thing as "prevenient grace" that has been given to "all" people without distinction?

Also, what is the extent or just how corrupt is man's fallen nature in your view?

I know I asked two questions but I think they are related to some degree.

I would rather hear your answer on the first one if you would not like to answer both.

I have another question that is totally not related to this article and may make me look even more silly then I already may appear but, oh well, here goes........

How in the world do you get certain parts of your comments in italics?
Is it something I can do from my keyboard? It's probably so simple that you are laughing at me right now. Please help, this really bothers me...lol


Thanks
Nolan

Kevl said...

Craig, in the passages that I already showed you there are people who are able to believe.

The idea that someone might not be able to believe the Gospel is fantastic. It is not a normal claim.

You ask me for a passage that shows someone can believe, those passages show people believing. You might as well ask me for a passage that shows that men are able to put on their shoes.

Again.... we are not testing my claims, we are testing the claim of Total Inability. It is either in the Bible or not.

So is it?

Kev

Kevl said...

Hello Nolan,

You can get text to be in italics by using the < i > text < / i > type of formatting. No spaces. Bold is done by < b > text < / b > again without spaces.

You wrote: How one can take a text that in it's context is clearly about inability and then, somehow change the literal meaning then change the grammar to say it means choice is baffling.

I did not change the litteral meaning of the words that showed inability to mean choice.

I showed that the inability was to come, not an inability to believe. The Lord Himself separates the two in Jn 6:45 as I have explained above.

One cannot come unless they believe, and believing is described as eating His flesh and drinking His blood - which fits with His overall explanation to those who wanted to know how they could do the works of God.

What I did was to use the Lord's own teaching to inform my understanding of that passage. I did not insert any theology, Calvinism or otherwise into the verse.

You wrote:

I said I am baffled. I know you see it quite different than I do and are baffled by how I don't see it as clearly as "you" see it (mans ability).

Please forgive my presumption but I am not baffled. I see the issue at hand clearly. The problem is that you are so familiar with your Calvinism that the Text has become hard to read by itself.

This happens to people who spend a lot of time in a discussion on a particular topic. It doesn't matter if it is the Bible or Politics or Science. It is actually a lot of work for me to go back to the Text in these passages as well - because I used to hold to TULIP and I have spent so much time hearing the arguments for TULIP.

I brought up the False Dilema that you have been forced into with verses like Jn 6:44 and 12:32. The reason I want you to see that False Dilema (allowing for less options then actually exist) is because seeing that will hopefully show you that you are blinded by your theology.

I'm not being mean at all, and I hope you don't take it as mean.

Grace has been given to all? Perhaps 1Jn 2:2 might show that. I am not sure why you are asking me this.

If you are getting at the idea that it is in the Text without being explicitly stated - I agree that there are things like this.

If Total Inability is required by a Text then please share that passage.... make the case. I am not going to guess what you are thinking.. and I won't respond to a long list of Scriptures.

It must be clear, and it must be based on Exogesis. Because if it is through assuming the Eternal Decrees of God to change the meanings of words then I'll just call you on it.

Man is corrupt in all areas of his nature. He is not as evil as he can be, neither is he able to be good as God is good.

Kev

Craig said...

TRoutMac,

Finally, someone has given an honest answer! We cannot go there in this discussion. It will be way out-of-bounds with the rules. You think TULIP is complex, just start talking about the human will. That is what volition means, of or related to the will, at least according to Webster.

Still it leaves a question unanswered, at least from a non-reformed perspective. How corrupt is the human? Does it include his will?

I totally agree with your statement when you said, “YOU are actually responsible for what you believe and this is precisely why people are justly condemned to Hell for having not believed: Because they are responsible for that choice.” I could not have said it better. However, I honestly believe that many people because of their need to defend human freedom reject the doctrine of predestination and election. People try to hang on to their freedom while rejecting God’s sovereignty. You see, people believe that in order to be responsible; we must have freedom to choose. I contend that there is no conflict between God’s sovereignty and man’s freedom to choose. Our responsibility does not interfere with our spiritual inability believe the gospel.

I am way out of bounds here and must stop. I could go on and on, but you know the rules. The question is still unanswered, “how does one’s will changes when the other person beside him does not change when hearing the same gospel”? If the will is free, what are the barriers? Can man overcome those barriers externally or internally?

Thanks TRoutMac!

Craig

Kevl said...

Craig, I wish you could see how you are behaving.

If you have some claim about the human will, state it with Scripture.

Kev

Kevl said...

Craig,

You wrote:

Our responsibility does not interfere with our spiritual inability believe the gospel.

What is the difference between the person who believes and so has Eternal Life, and the one who does not believe and so suffers Eternal Wrath?

Kev

Craig said...

Kevin,

I did not want to go to deep into this because of the rules. However, since you asked, I will give two scriptures. In the Old Testament, Joel 2:32 says, “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, as the LORD has said, even among the survivors whom the LORD calls.”

Another verse is John 6:63-65, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” Jesus says that in order to have eternal life we must believe in Him and at the same time, He says that we cannot come to Him unless God grants it. God must grant (empower or allow) the person so they can believe. Man is responsible and God is sovereign. The scriptures have them side-by-side and therefore must be compatible.

Of course, another verse is the one you and Nolan are discussing, John 6:44. Jesus says, “I will raise him up on the last day.” Who are the ones raised up the last day? Who are these believers? It is those that God draws to Christ. We are responsible to believe the gospel, however, it is God who draws those that are to believe. It says no one can come to Christ unless God draws them. Jesus said He is the bread that came down out of heaven. He also said, “If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” Jesus is saying we are not to depend on ourselves for life as we eat to be able to continue to live the life we have on this earth. He is saying to feed or depend on Him, His death on the cross as atonement for sin, for eternal life. We are to depend on Him and not of ourselves, and that is not possible unless God draws us to Him. That is according to the scriptures.

Craig

Kevl said...

Craig, you should read the comments that Nolan and I exchanged.

I'm not going to repeat the conversation.

Nothing you've quoted says, or requires, that man cannot believe the Gospel.

I am not going to defend any other alternate theory, but :

Jn 6:45 shows that man believes before he comes. In Jn 3 the Lord showed that belief in Him is like looking at the serpent raised up on a pole. Numbers 21:8 and Jn 3 show that one is given life when they look/believe. No that they look or believe when they are given life.

I'm trying of you posting philosophy.... where is the passage that says that man cannot believe the Gospel because of his fallen nature?

Kev

Kevl said...

Craig, the agreement is that you answer the questions posted to you.

I don't know if you missed it, or if you just have not yet posted your answer but please answer the question found here http://onmywalk.blogspot.com/2011/11/testing-tulip-total-depravityinability.html?showComment=1323121412914#c2397028928261862873

Kevin

Craig said...

Kevin,

Sorry, I totally overlooked it. To answer your question, the one who has eternal life is the one who believes and the one who suffers eternal wrath is the non-believer. I confess that. I have no problem with that. I say the very scriptures you have posted in the claims for TULIP from Monergisim.com totally define how one comes to believe the gospel. It is the work of God and not within man. No one believes the gospel without God first drawing them.

You say I have been philosophical. I have used scripture to defend anything I say. I do not think I am being philosophical when I disagree with the way you interpret scripture. With that said it must also be understood that our philosophy, our worldview or look on life, is dependent upon how we interpret scripture in how we view God. However, I did not think I was being philosophical. I did not know I had a philosophical bone in me!:) I do not think I am doing anything different from what others are doing, defending what I believe with scripture.

To mention the rules, you have yet to answer my question. How does one person believe when two people hear the same gospel and the other does not believe? I claim I can by my defense of scripture as the reformers had lain out. However, if I am wrong, please show me in scripture where we can come to Jesus within our own power and will, especially when we are spiritually dead in our trespasses and sin. What can we do spiritually good to resurrect our dead spiritual being?

Craig

Nolan said...

Hi Kevin,

You asked the question, show a verse or passages that show man's inability to believe/respond to the gospel.

In Romans 11 we see that God has caused a partial hardening to the nation Israel. That hardening(nasb),blinded(nkjv) in verse 25 will not be lifted by God until the fullness of gentile converts has come to pass. When that number of gentiles has been completed, then all of ethnic Isreal will be saved. There is much debate to exactly what "all Isreal" being saved here means exactly. For what it's worth, personally I think that God has some type of mass Jewish conversion in the last day in mind in this verse. There is a restraint put on some of these Jews to not believe the gospel and therefore be saved. In verse 7 we see some of Isreal saved the rest hardened. In vs 8 we see the Old Testament verses cited brought forward(Is 29:10,13,Deut 29:3-4,Is 6:9)to the New Testament to explain why some believe savingly and some do not.

.....and the rest were hardened; vs8 just as it is written,

“GOD GAVE THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR,
EYES TO SEE NOT AND EARS TO HEAR NOT,
DOWN TO THIS VERY DAY.”

9 And David says,

“LET THEIR TABLE BECOME A SNARE AND A TRAP,
AND A STUMBLING BLOCK AND A RETRIBUTION TO THEM.
10 “LET THEIR EYES BE DARKENED TO SEE NOT,
AND BEND THEIR BACKS FOREVER.”



I think here we can see a very clear example of the impossibility of some Jewish people to believe until the full number of gentile believers are fulfilled. This hardening must obviously still be taking place in our time and cannot be limited to the time of the apostles due to the fact that gentiles are currently being saved in our day.

This is not saying that God is causing them to NOT believe, for all mankind is born in an unbelieving state, I don't think anyone can question that, instead God is not allowing them to "respond" to the gospel until a certain time frame has passed that only God Himself knows.

So here we see scriptural evidence of some who cannot believe the gospel. Also it is very reasonable to assume that when these scriptures were written until now some of those that were hardened actually died in this state and since they did not respond to the gospel they were damned because of their unbelief.

Nolan

Kevl said...

Hi Nolan,

That God had to blind Israel, and speak in Parabels lest they believe proves that man, because of his fallen nature, is not unable to believe the Gospel.

There are people whom God hardens because of their rejection. Pharaoh, Israel and the people of Romans 1 are all easy examples.

Kev

Kevl said...

Craig,

You really need to read the article before you post again. I am tired of you posting things that show you haven't read it. For example: What can we do spiritually good to resurrect our dead spiritual being?

You also have not answered the question asked of you yet.

What is the difference between the person who believes and the one who doesn't?

I have answered your question.

There is no mystery about someone believing something they have been told and are convinced of....

You either have a passage that says man cannot believe the Gospel because of his fallen nature or you don't.

Kev

Kevl said...

Craig,

While some people believe, other people disbelieve. They refuse to believe. Believing takes no ability, it is passive. Refusing to believe is an act of will and takes effort.

The Bible talks about people believing and those who refuse to believe but never once says that people are in their fallen nature unable to believe.

Kev

Nolan said...

That God had to blind Israel, and speak in Parabels lest they believe proves that man, because of his fallen nature, is not unable to believe the Gospel.

There are people whom God hardens because of their rejection. Pharaoh, Israel and the people of Romans 1 are all easy examples

Actually in Romans 11:8 Paul changes the phraseology by quoting
Deut 29:4 in the positive affirmation by saying

Rom 11:8 God "GAVE" them a spirit of stupor, eyes to see not and ears to hear not

But, Deut 29:4 actually reads in the negative assertion:

yet to this day the Lord "HAS NOT GIVEN" you a heart to know, nor ears to hear...

Moses understands the problem of these obstinate people, and yet that doesn't cause him to stop pleading.

Here we see the sovereignty of God in the doctrine of inability

Romans 11:7 ties these two verses together(Rom 11:8 & Deut 29:4)and states that the chosen of Israel of the Old and New testament were the ones who obtained "it", salvation.

The uniting of Deut 29:4 with the New Testament indicates that this is a biblical teaching from back to front.

Nolan

Kevl said...

Hi Nolan,

These people from Deut 29 were redeemed out of Egypt. They most obviously believed, for if they had not then they would have perished. These are people who subsequently hardened themselves and desired to return to Egypt.

Further what is the point of what is being said? Deut 29:9 Therefore keep the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.

This isn't about people because of their fallen nature not being able to believe the Gospel (either promised or remembered).

Further, in Romans 11 Paul is assuring the Church of God's righteousness that He has not rejected Israel. That He has only hardened the nation because of their rejection. He is not saying that they were unable to believe, but that they rejected Him and now their program is on hold. Because they had sought righteousness by works (and blood line) instead of by faith.

In both cases we have the Elect Nation of Israel being hardened (or not softened) after they had rejected something they knew to be true.

I have no disagreement with the fact that God works in Believers hearts to make them more like Christ and that He works in the hearts of those who have rejected Him to suit His purposes. There is no conflict with the Scriptures on these points.

What is not said in the Scriptures is that man is unable to believe the Gospel because of his fallen nature and so God regenerates some few to make them believe it.

Kev

Craig said...

Kevin,

You say there is no scripture proof. I will discuss one more. I have already alluded to Ephesians 2:1, however, let us take it further. I would suggest anyone to read verses 1 through 10 for the complete context. It starts that we were “dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience”. I have to believe that dead in the trespasses and sins refers to our spiritual deadness, just as Adam suffered immediate spiritual death when he ate the fruit. We are born spiritually dead due to imputation of Adams’ sin.

What is the significance of this? Verse 3 explains that. It says, “among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Flesh here referring to our spirit, therefore we are dead spiritually and carry out passions that is indicative of being spiritually dead. Being spiritually dead, we carry out the desires of the body and the mind. Our mind is held captive to our spiritually deadness. We have to have a resurrection of our spiritual being, being made alive, before we can do anything that is spiritually good.
Verse 3 concludes with the fact that we were by nature children of wrath. Children here indicate that we are born with this sinful nature. This nature affects our whole being, our thoughts, emotions, and will. It says that we are children of wrath with God’s judgment bearing down on us.

However grim that may sound, it says that God who is rich in mercy even though we were dead in trespasses made us alive together with Christ. As I said above, we cannot resurrect our own dead spiritual being; however, the verse clearly states that God makes us spiritually alive.

To sum it up verse 10 puts the period on the statement. It says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” We cannot do good works being spiritually dead. I am not saying people cannot be benevolent, I am saying from the scriptures view (Isaiah 64:6); all our righteous deeds are as filthy rags. The benevolent act is sinful before God’s eyes if it is not from the love for God with all your heart, soul, and mind. Good works do not save us, but we are created unto good works. What is really amazing is the fact that all this was prepared by God beforehand!


Craig

Kevl said...

Craig I have received the same comment from you twice. You must read the article you are responding to. Eph 2:1-10 does not support your view.

You have not answered the question posed to you several times now.

Kev

Kevl said...

Nolan,

Unless I've missed something about Deut 29, and Romans 11 I think we're done.

Thank you for your efforts, like I have said it is the first time I've actually been challenged with Scripture for this view by any one. So I applaud you.

Unless I have missed something about these last verses - and if I have please let me know - then I fail to see Total Inability to "savingly believe the Gospel because of the fallen nature of man" revealed in the Scriptures.

I'm willing to continue talking with you Nolan, but I have to admit that I've reached my limit with Craig.. and that frustration is bleeding into my conversation with you. I don't WANT it to... but you know how it is.

Kev

Craig said...

Kevin,

What have I done to frustrate you? I have been as cordial with you as anyone can. I thought I had been compliant with your rules as much as anybody else. I have corrected and apologized when I did error. Honest mistakes.

You said, "You have not answered the question posed to you several times now." What question is that? If you are talking about the one you used a link to point to it, I apologized for the mistake and answered that one in a later post. If there is another one I missed, please point it out and I will address it.

You also said, "You either have a passage that says man cannot believe the Gospel because of his fallen nature or you don't." You asked and I responded with a passage of scripture with commentary (Ephesians 2:1-10). I sent it twice because I did not think you had received it. That was my direct answer to your question, however, you have decided not to post it. Why?

You also said, "You must read the article you are responding to. Eph 2:1-10 does not support your view." I say it does and presented my case by breaking down the verses to explain my case. It is my answer to your direct question to me as noted above. Why not post it?

I am being as honest as I can be with all due respect. I just do not see why I am the subject of your frustration. I am honestly trying to defend Total Depravity from scriptures as I possibly can. For some reason, you are depriving me of that privilege. Of course, it is your blog. However, you can disagree and still post the comments. Is it because you do not have a defense against it?

Craig

Kevl said...

Hey Nolan, just a couple of things. :)

I see how one could look at Deut 29 and see some sort of similar operation to an already developed doctrine of TD/I. Yet there the situation there doesn't develop that doctrine because it is very different in operation.

Also, the blindness in Rom 11 (actually Rom 9-11) is national, not individual. Yes this national blindness does put a serious stumbling block in the road for individuals but it is still not an individual blindness.

Additionally, the blindness is not perfect - Jews get saved every day - and is not insurmountable because the Time of Jacob's Trouble (Daniel's 70th week, the Tribulation...) will be ended when national Israel says "Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD!"

So again, it could be seen as something similar but drastically different in operation and so it doesn't develop the doctrine of TD/I.

In both cases we are dealing with people who had refused to believe something, and so were further hardened, not people who were unable to believe because of their fallen nature.

I wanted to be more charitable in my response to you... I was very frustrated (through no fault of yours) when I typed my last.

Kev

Kevl said...

Hello Craig,

You do not need to reply to this post. I’m merely posting this to show you the problem of arguing philosophically. I know this is the way you have been trained to argue Calvinism. One of my biggest issues with any Systematic Theology – most particularly Calvinism – is that they train you in the system, not in the interpretation of Scriptures. You are trained to know what Scripture says before you read it.. .and thus you are trapped in a system of thought that may or may not be Biblical.

Before I start I want EVERYONE to know that I’m not doing this to offend or hurt… but to make it obvious to everyone why I put the rules on this conversation that I did. I have endured this type of discussion with Calvinists for years… it goes around and around.. because it is one “claim” vs another “claim” and has nothing to do with interpretation…. So long as the proof of Calvinism is the refutation of another view I will remain unconvinced. What does the Scripture say? That is the ONLY proof that will convince me.

Here goes…

You say there is no scripture proof. I will discuss one more. I have already alluded to Ephesians 2:1, however, let us take it further. I would suggest anyone to read verses 1 through 10 for the complete context.

If one were to read the article above one would find that this passage has already been addressed in the article. If there are errors in the article it would be better to address them than to make the whole argument again and then repeatedly request that it be answered – again.

It starts that we were “dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience”. I have to believe that dead in the trespasses and sins refers to our spiritual deadness, just as Adam suffered immediate spiritual death when he ate the fruit. We are born spiritually dead due to imputation of Adams’ sin.

How did you come to the conclusion that this is about “Spiritual Deadness” (which you will build on in the next quote)? Is there any other option? What passage of Scripture did you use to define what this passage means?

What is the significance of this? Verse 3 explains that. It says, “among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Flesh here referring to our spirit, therefore we are dead spiritually and carry out passions that is indicative of being spiritually dead.

How did you come to the conclusion of “Flesh here referring to our spirit”? Is there any other option?

Being spiritually dead, we carry out the desires of the body and the mind. Our mind is held captive to our spiritually deadness.

How did you come to this conclusion? What does “Our mind is held captive to our spiritual deadness” mean?

END OF PART ONE - SECOND PART IN MY NEXT COMMENT.

Kevl said...

START OF PART 2


We have to have a resurrection of our spiritual being, being made alive, before we can do anything that is spiritually good.

How did you come to this conclusion? I would note that you are close to what Paul is getting at, but I doubt that it is due to exegesis.

Verse 3 concludes with the fact that we were by nature children of wrath. Children here indicate that we are born with this sinful nature. This nature affects our whole being, our thoughts, emotions, and will. It says that we are children of wrath with God’s judgment bearing down on us.

I don’t really have any argument with this, except that it is deeper then you go.

However grim that may sound, it says that God who is rich in mercy even though we were dead in trespasses made us alive together with Christ.

Made WHO alive? Why? When? How?

As I said above, we cannot resurrect our own dead spiritual being;

So what? Who said people can? How does this help the doctrine of Total Inability to “savingly believe the Gospel because of man’s fallen nature?”

however, the verse clearly states that God makes us spiritually alive.

Makes WHO alive? Why? When? How?

To sum it up verse 10 puts the period on the statement. It says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” We cannot do good works being spiritually dead. I am not saying people cannot be benevolent, I am saying from the scriptures view (Isaiah 64:6); all our righteous deeds are as filthy rags. The benevolent act is sinful before God’s eyes if it is not from the love for God with all your heart, soul, and mind. Good works do not save us, but we are created unto good works. What is really amazing is the fact that all this was prepared by God beforehand!

So what? How does this help the doctrine of Total Inability to savingly believe the Gospel due to man’s fallen nature?

Really… how does this develop your view at all? What you’ve done Craig is to provide a Philosophy of Calvinism Commentary on Eph 2:1-10. You haven’t gotten your theory OUT of this passage you have used it to make commentary ON the passage.

This is why you are frustrating me… because there is no soft way to answer you. I know you have been ill equipped by people who want you to agree with them. I know that you have never been given the tools to challenge the teachings of those who stand in front of you. James 3:1 ought to frighten those people. You are supposed to be able to critically examine all things! 1Thes 5:21

If you had read the article, and given it even a tad of heed you would know that this argument would be answered like this. Your theology has blinded you… it breaks my heart but I don’t know what to do about it. I didn’t even need to open my Bible to answer you.. because you said nothing FROM the Text. Dear Brother would you truly examine those teachings which you propagate? Do you not fear false doctrine? I am terrified of it!

Now Craig we are done. NO more. I do not want to make you feel abused. I don't want to waste more time sifting through philosophy. I don't want to offend anyone.

Kev

Nolan said...

Hi Kevin,

First I want to thank you for being charitable to me, given our past history here at your blog,
of which I take full responsibility for my past actions. Although I disagree with your theological position and your explanation of certain texts of scripture I do value what you say. You have handled your position very well, as you defend the onslaught of questions your being presented with. In the nature of offering up a polemic on "any" issue things can become tense, frustrating and wearisome. People can be easily misunderstood and charity can be completely jettisoned as one is passionately defending or propagating a so called "biblical position". I know first hand because I have done just that.

Now, to get a lil stiff, hopefully in a non-offense way I hope....

In watching the interaction between you and Craig I see charity beginning to erode and flying out the window as noted in your last comment to him.

I invited Craig to post here. he would have never known about your blog. I know Craig personally. I can vouch for Craig. He is not a person who peruses around blogs looking to pick a theological fight. So, with that I feel somehow responsible for the angst that is or has grown between the two of you.

Kevin to be honest, your blog is "mainly" a blog that offers up constant polemics on Calvinism and anything that is related to that theological bent, such as Lordship, T.U.L.I.P., nature of faith, etc.....although you have lately posted videos on evangelism, but as noted in your last video on repentance you are offering up another polemic against what Todd Friel says about repentance. I think that is fine. Nothing wrong with that. it's your blog, it's your time, spend it as you wish.
But, with that said disagreement and argumentation is what is to be expected at times. Especially here at your blog given it's nature of polemical argumentation. I know you know this. I know I am preaching to the choir.
I have watched Craig repeatedly ask for forgiveness for various infractions that may or may not have been committed.

You constantly accused Craig of not reading the article you wrote. How do you actually know he hasn't read the article. I mean did you actually see him "not" read it. All you can say is it may appear he hasn't read it but to say, obviously you haven't read it, is a stretch to say the least. I am sure he has read it by now, given the repeated admonitions to. Did he understand what you wrote may be a whole other story. Frankly, I didn't and still don't understand or agree much of what you have written. I mean the exegesis and scripture interpretation you have offered.

Kevin, I really do enjoy our interaction and you have caused me to think through things. I am truly grateful for that.

I exhort you in a true sense of charity extend and exemplify that charity to Craig.

Nolan

Kevl said...

Hi Nolan,

I tried very hard to be charitable with Craig. I didn't want to have to respond like I did wrt his commentary on Eph 2:1-10... I just don't know how else to handle that sort of discussion.

It is endlessly frustrating to me to have to sift through theology to find some exegesis or attempt at exegesis to consider.

While we didn't agree in Jn 6, at least there was real discussion about those verses. With to the point explanations of a verse, and then examination.

I truly could have spent hours just responding to Craig's one post - because I know why he wrote all the things he did.... but does HE know why he wrote them???? I don't have actual knowledge, but based on history withe other Calvinists and how he has at the very least disregarded the article he is responding to, and much of the discussion below it - I don't think he does.

That doesn't mean he's a bad guy... it just means that he's not the target audience for this discussion.

I TRULY DID NOT SET OUT TO REFUTE TULIP.... I wanted to be shown what the reason is for people believing it from the Scriptures. I know the philosophical arguments... I know the system.... but is the System built on something clearly revealed in the Scriptures or is it just a very clever and logical system of thought?

Craig seems like a genuine guy, but he's not the right guy for this discussion... I've had that discussion a thousand times with a bunch of different Calvinists.

I have NEVER BEFORE THIS THREAD been able to get a Calvinist to go verse by verse with me. Let alone consider the meanings of the words and phrases in those verses.

You have put a chink in my emotional bias towards Calvinists with this discussion. You have gone outside the norm by a country mile.

I truly did not want to have to answer Craig's comment... because I knew how it would come off. That's why I wanted to talk about the Scriptures instead of the intent of Calvinism.... because we have both seen where that discussion goes - no where good.

I LOVE God, and want to glorify Him alone!!! I desire to know Him and His Word through and through. Yet if the discussion had been based on concepts instead of the Scriptures I would have no doubt been accused of diminishing God's Glory - not in the slightest!!! Or demanding my glory... or my whateveer...

I am at a loss for what to do with Craig. I laid out rules as clearly as I could - not so I could win an argument but so that it would be a profitable discussion. He didn't seem to have read or understood the intent... or the article...

His last comment showed his complete lack of understanding of WHY I was restricting his comments and telling him to read the rules with his "Unless you don't have an answer for it" .... SIGH! It was not at all that... it was that I didn't want to rip it appart..... what good does that discussion do???

It doesn't prove anything... it's just a bunch of assumptions and so ripping it appart doesn't disprove TULIP... it just makes the guy feel bad...

He wouldn't relent... I wish I could have come up with some better way... I should have stuck with not allowing his comments from the beginning I guess.

He appologized and I just assumed that he had thus taken the effort to understand the conversation and why it was happening the way it was.

This is an extended explanation... I do not apologize for structuring the conversation the way I did - but I do wish I could have figured out a better way to handle Craig. What do you do with a guy who just won't listen????

Kev

Kevl said...

BTW Nolan,

If you want to continue please do. If there is something I have asserted that you don't agree with - please show me why.

I am glad we are building a report. I like to be challenged strongly from the Word.

I have to admit that for the first time that I can remember, today when I saw your comment about Deut 29 I had a bit of nervousness thinking "what now?"

That's a good thing!

Kev

Kevl said...

Hey Nolan,

You wrote:

Kevin to be honest, your blog is "mainly" a blog that offers up constant polemics on Calvinism and anything that is related to that theological bent, such as Lordship, T.U.L.I.P., nature of faith, etc.

This has become the focus of my walk. While I disagree with Calvinism, the Lordship Salvation controversy destroys understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It has affected my life on many levels as my personal friends and ministry partners have been converted to become followers of the likes of MacArthur and Piper.

The blog is intended to follow what I am learning, doing, and growing in.... frankly that has been mostly focused on this controversy for the last few years.

Kev

Craig said...

Kevin,

I appreciate you posting my comment. I am not ashamed of my defense, even though you tore it apart. I am not upset, for I have pretty thick skin:)

However, do understand that this was my first attempt in posting on a blog such as this. I have learned much and have much more to learn. I have not been challenged like this, which is good. I now realize that I cannot generalize anything. I have to be specific and concise.

If you will allow me, I would like to continue to participate in your conversations. I will work harder to comply with the rules and also go deeper with my exegesis of scripture. I was trying to keep it short and doing so sacrificed good scriptural exegesis. I will do better next time, I hope!

I am sorry if I frustrated you. That certainly was not my intention. I will do my best not to in the future.

Craig

Kevl said...

Hey Craig, please don't take this thread as a "norma" blog conversation.

This is highly structured because it is a contentious issue.

I just want to get away from the politics.

Kev

Kevl said...

BTW I have never solicited an apology. I just didn't want to abuse you.

You can continue, just for this conversation understand that shorter and clearer is much better. I REALLY don't want to abuse anyone...

The rules for this conversation are in place only to make sure it is profitable.

Kev

Kevl said...

Stephen,

I know this is going way back, and I'm sorry I ignored this previously.

You wrote:

Kev, I appreciate that you are distinguishing between come and believe. You're exactly right though, "come/s" in this passage is best understood as the result of belief, not as belief itself, though in passages like 6:35 they do seem to be used essentially in parallel at times. So far as the actual discussion goes, is T biblical, nothing about being unable to "come" demands an inability to "believe". God enabled man to believe by providing and revealing the truth to be believed in the first place. Beyond that, the inspired Word consistently uses active and middle voice verbs for fallen man's role in responding to that truth which outright denies the doctrine of Total inability

I get what you're saying, can you break it down a bit more. Say pull a verse and show what you're saying?

Thanks!
Kev

Kevl said...

Hi Craig,

I've just re-read this thread and I just want to tell you that I appreciate your apologies. They were not needed, but I appreciate them.

I hope that you will come to enjoy blogging, it can be very very fun!

This discussion is not at all normal for blogging. Normally you want a free for all discussion among as many people as possible. That just hasn't ever worked out for me with Calvinism so I wanted to try something completely different.

I know it is wrong... but had I known you were Nolan's friend I would have used a different tactic to try to make some things clear.... I would have enlisted him to help you see why I am acting in a way that probably seems unreasonable to some people - no doubt it seemed unreasonable to you for most of your posts. I would have liked to have been able to have Nolan chat with you...

I didn't know I had that avenue available to me.. had I know I would have used it and that would have probably been much more helpful.

Kev

Stephen said...

Hi all, I hadn't been following the conversation the last couple days so was catching up tonight. Though there's much that could be said I'd like to address one simple thing in the interest of being brief. That is this:

"How does it happen when two people standing beside one another hearing the same gospel preached, one receives the message and the other does not?"

Pete (troutmac) suggests volition is the answer yet, while I don't completely disagree, I think there is an even simpler and more fundamental answer that is less controversial than the very volition that is in question. Namely, the question presupposes the impossible -- the simple fact that there are no two people who have exactly the same set of influences, knowledge, and beliefs. Even biological twins raised in the same family have different friends and other specific experiences that shape their beliefs, and their belief foundations, differently from each other.

Basically, the question is simply invalid -- and the very simple resolution isn't even as controversial as needing to invoke volition. The question presupposes the impossible.

Catching up and then hope to be back tomorrow to answer Kev's question to me.

Glad to see see the discussion has continued so strongly, G'night all!

Stephen said...

Re-reading my previous I need to add one more option. That is, the question either 1) presupposes that the two people are precisely identical in ever single way (which is impossible) except in their response or 2) the question answers itself in a master-of-the-obvious sort of way -- that they are two different people. One was convinced, the other wasn't. Since no two people are perfectly identical there is, as Kev said elsewhere, no mystery to resolve -- not in man's ability to beleive/be convinced of something, nor in why two people hearing the same message react differently.

Finally, and I have to say this lest we get woefully sidetracked, how does any of this defend T? I could frankly be a rank atheist and proving my view wrong doesn't mean your view is right -- that kind of defense of one's own position amounts to being the continual offering of a false dichotomy. I wanted to answer the question though because I also have continually seen exactly this kind of argument offered as an alleged defense of T. But it is, as worded, either invalid or irrelevant.

OK, off to work and then I really do hope to get back to Kev's question later bcz I think it'll help.

Cheers,

TRoutMac said...

Stephen, that's an excellent point. I can't decide right now if your answer supplants my answer completely, or if it augments it… but either way, it's an extremely valuable observation.

Craig asked: "How corrupt is the human?"

This is an interesting question, Craig. And I've been accused in the past of being "semi-pelagian" or even "pelagian" (by Calvinists) because I don't buy their particular take on Total Depravity. But it turns out that such conclusions presuppose a compatibilist notion of free will.

Compatibilism says that your choices are actually restricted, that you are unable to make choices that are contrary to your nature, your inclinations, your desires, etc.

Libertarian free will is the idea that you can make choices that are contrary to your nature, your inclinations, your desires, etc.

So if you assume compatibilism, then any choice toward the good must mean that your nature isn't messed-up enough to preclude such choices.

But if libertarian free will is true, then there's no reason why we can't affirm total depravity AND ALSO affirm that we can choose God.

Calvinists regard a choice for God to be inconsistent with total depravity… but only because they assume this compatibilist notion of free will.

But if compatibilism is false (and I'm convinced it is) then the entire edifice crumbles.

Nolan said...

Kevin,

With all due respect, wouldn't you say that Troutmac and Stephen are offering a whole lot of philosophical/theological jargon? Not much scripture to back up their last few comments. I am not saying they are wrong but answers to theological questions that is derived from exegesis would be more helpful, at least for me anyway.....jus sayin..

Nolan

Kevl said...

Hey Nolan,

Feel free to press them on exactly those issues. Don't hold back, hold them to the standard.

I have not been reading their comments closely, but if they cause disruption then I will.

Since their comments are directed at me, I haven't used my time to examine them... feel free to challenge them as strongly as I do you or anyone else.

Kev

Stephen said...

Nolan, writing this from my phone so it'll be very brief.

First, I was answering Craig's question. If that doesn't interest you then move on rather than take offense at a discussion that Craig at least seems to find valuable.

Second, the reason my answer to Craig doesn't contain any scripture is because there is no scripture to answer a logically invalid question. The closest scripture relevant to the question Craig asked (which is sadly not unique to him) is Prov 26:5 but since it's not my goal to belittle him I didn't wanna bring it up.

Bottom line: His question wasn't about or based on scripture so the answer couldn't really be either short of stuffing some vv in there to satisfy a legalistic requirement.

Personally, I think you're trying to distract from the increasingly obvious problem -- that neither you nor Craig have provided a single exegetically valid answer to the question in the post. 100+ comments later and we're still waiting for even one passage or verse that actually supports your claim.

Remeber, this topic is not about my view -- my view doesn't really matter. Craig asked a non biblical question that he thinks bolsters T so I responded to it and exposed it for the invalid question that it is... and nothing personal on Craig because he's far from alone in that kind of invalid reasoning.

Out with the wife now, be back in a bit. Cheers.

Nolan said...

Stephen,

I am not trying to "distract" the conversation. Kevin issued a set of rules for this conversation. Craig got called out. So, what is fair is fair.

I have given a verse to show the inability of man in and of himself to believe the gospel.

In fact I really only hammered "one" verse because that "one" verse is sufficient. The problem is not what that verse says, exegetically. It's the unwillingness to submit to what it says that I see is the problem.

Troutmac hit on an important issue that is directly related to this article, I think. The issue of compatibilism (Calvinism/Reformed theology) and incompatabilism (Arminianism/Open theism).

Maybe a lil more on this tomorrow.

Nolan

Stephen said...

Kevin, regarding what you asked me about a few comments ago, 6:63-6:65 show the distinction between believing and coming very clearly -- that they are sequentially related and intertwined, yet are not the same thing. These vv also clearly show that what enables one to believe is not some mysterious regeneration.

Starting in 6:63 then, note to what is atrtibuted with having spirit and life -- "... the WORDS THAT I HAVE SPOKEN TO YOU are spirit and are life." (emphasis added). There's no mysterious behind-the-scenes act of regeneration required or even hinted at here, only that one be exposed to the truth to be believed.

6:64 and 6:65 are key to what you asked/discussed earlier and show a crystal clear sequential relationshp with belief first followed by access/coming being granted.

In :64 an emphasis is made twice on that there were some present who DO/DID not believe. What didn't they believe? -- that "the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life" No indication whatsoever here that they were unable to believe these words, only two fllat clear statements that they DO/DID not believe the truth of them as being presently revealed to them from Jesus himself.

:65 then shows that "for this reason" (because some do/did not believe) they can't come, it won't be granted.

If believe/come are strictly synonomous then :65 is reduced to nonsense, like this -- "for this reason, because you don't believe, you can't believe."

Rather, it only makes sense when believe and comes are understood as distinct yet sequentially related -- "for this reason, because you don't beleive, you can't come -- access won't be granted." You believe so you can come.

It might help to see these vv quoted without interruption to see the sequence and distinction that is made in these summary vv.

"It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe. For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father."

It's late so my apologies if this is muddled and/or laden with typos -- I'll be glad to clear up later whatever I've failed to address or make plain.

Regards

Kevl said...

All,

With regard to being specific. Nolan does have a right to expect specificity. There is however no verse to quote, or exegesis to be performed on for things that are not actually in the Bible.

As has been brought up over and over, there is no "refutation" of TULIP going on. The burden of proof is on those that make the claims listed in the article about Total Inability.

Obviously then the expectation of providing evidence is much heavier on the side that has the burden of proof.

This could become a very complicated thing to manage...... I have held Nolan and Craig to a few rules because I am obligated to answer their posts - which would be physically impossible otherwise.

Nolan (or any other representing the defence of Total Inability) is not obligated to answer every post.

His obligation is only as strong as his desire to prove his position. If Total Inability is Biblical then it will be revealed clearly in the Text of the Bible.

It may or may not stand up to all logical questions - if a question is unfair then I hope someone will speak up. I expect everyone to respect the others interacting so and unfair question of Nolan would be just as unacceptable as an unfair question of myself.

That being said, I am going to let Nolan raise that flag and then I will investigate.

That being said, All, please respect that it will be very hard for Nolan to answer a lot of questions.... it is VERY VERY easy to feel overwhelmed in a conversation like this. His getting overwhelmed does not invalidate TULIP at all so that result would not be helpful, in fact it could be very detrimental to the conversation.

Kev

Stephen said...

Nolan, I'm assuming you are referring to :44. The comment I made last night expounding on :63-65 exposes the incorrect presuppositions you and so many others bring to :44. Since :65 is a pointer back to :44 then whatever's true of 65 is necessarily true of :44 and vice versa. Since :63-65 show a distinction between believe and "come" your claim on :44 doesn't hold water when scriptures in question are allowed to interpret and explain themselves. There is no exegetical reason to equate the inability to come in :44 with an inability to believe.

As to rules, please show me which 'rule" I supposedly violated. I've read them -- and I am in compliance with them as best I was able considering the question asked/answered was itself non-biblical. Craig asked a specific (theological but non-biblical) question and Pete and I gave him clear, specific, commensurate replies.

Hi Ho Hi Ho...

TRoutMac said...

Nolan wrote: "The issue of compatibilism (Calvinism/Reformed theology) and incompatabilism (Arminianism/Open theism)."

Nolan, this comment intrigues me. Do you believe that affirming libertarian free will and denying compatibilist free will necessarily makes one an Arminian and an open theist? If so, why?

I hope that question doesn't run afoul of the rules, but seems like it needs to be asked.

blessed said...

Craig asked: How does it happen when two people standing beside one another
hearing the same gospel preached, one receives the message and the other does not?

One answer was: Basically, the question is simply invalid -- and the very simple resolution isn't even as controversial as needing to invoke volition.
The question presupposes the impossible. (I think another answer was volition)

Jesus said in John 10 that people didnt believe because they were not his sheep right?

John 10:26
but you do not believe because you are not of My sheeep as I have said to you

In John 10
the people say: "If you are the Christ tell us plainly"
Jesus says that He told them but they didnt believe because they were not His sheep

Stephen said...

Blessed, John 10:27 immediately answers and clarifies what is meant and shows (no surprise) essentially the same sequence and dependencies as shown in 6: and elsewhere in scripture.

John 6 = revelation -> learning/hearing -> believing -> coming.

John 10 = shepherd calls/reveals -> sheep learn/hear -> sheep believe the call -> sheep come.

This is the pattern consistently revealed throughout scripture.

In 10:27 Jesus qualifies that those who are "his sheep" and believe aren't those we are in some hard-and-fast predetermined group, but those which first "hear" and then respond to the "shepherds" call. "Hear" in :27 is an active voice verb which means -- unless you think the Holy Spirit is outright deceptive -- it's initiated directly by the "sheep" themselves, not some outside source. (that would be passive voice). The only thing these vv in John 10 show as needed to "enable" the people/sheep to hear and believe is for the truth/voice to be presented. There is no mysterious quickening, awakening, or individual election exegetically revealed in the text of John 10 just as there is no such thing revealed in the text of John 6 -- or anywhere else.

In each of the vv and passages offered in defense of T so far we have seen lots of eisegeting, not exegeting. The texts proferred so far simply say no such thing as T - theology alleges them to say.

So... and I mean this respectfully but pointedly... still wating for some vv or passage that actually supports T.

Thanks for you time and the challenge, honest.
Regards

Kevl said...

Nolan,

You wrote:

It's the unwillingness to submit to what it says that I see is the problem.

I assure you that I have no unwillingness to submit to what Scripture says.

The problem is that I have shown that the Lord doesn't use the phrases the way TULIP demands, and in fact I've shown that come to is PRECEDED by believing.

It is not that I am unwilling to believe what it says, it is that I'm not willing to take your word over God's Word.

If you can exegetically show that "come to" means Believe then please do so.... the great thing about holding this discussion to exegesis as much as is reasonable is that there is no debate about what words mean... they mean what they mean and they are used how they are used....

I've shown you why come to doesn't mean believe from the very chapter you referenced. If I am wrong, then show me how - I am much more than willing to learn. I am not refusing to believe TULIP - perhaps I suffer from a total inability to believe it? :) hehehe now THAT was funny!

Kev

Kevl said...

Stephen, your comment here is great!

Very strong explanation. Thank you.

Kev

Kevl said...

Pete,

You wrote:

Nolan, this comment intrigues me. Do you believe that affirming libertarian free will and denying compatibilist free will necessarily makes one an Arminian and an open theist? If so, why?

I hope that question doesn't run afoul of the rules, but seems like it needs to be asked.


I would say it doesn't really matter. Everyone else could be an Arminian and wrong about everything... if TULIP is in the Bible then it is true, if it is not then it is not.

:)

Kev

Kevl said...

Nolan & Melissa (Craig still here?),

Stephen wrote: Thanks for you time and the challenge, honest.
Regards


Please accept this as honestly as he gives it. Almost all of this conversation has thus far been very fun and challenging.

Melissa I love that you are asking questions that matter to you.

Kev

Lou Martuneac said...

Kevin:

Sorry that I am way late to the discussion. I didn't read the entire thread, but appreciate certain samples.

Your only on 'T' of the circle logic of five point Calvinism. When a single link in the TULIP chain the whole thing crumbles. You and Stephen have done this.

I did see a reference to one of the extra-biblical presuppositions that flow from Total Inability. The erroneous teaching that faith is the gift of God. At my blog under the current article we hashed that out briefly. Stephen made a helpful contribution.

It is tragic watching how the Calvinist will force into or extract from the Scriptures whatever they must to bolster a flimsy theology in the first place.


Lou

TRoutMac said...

At times I'm not sure I see the distinction between refuting "T" and asking the question "Is 'T' in the Bible?" The reason I say that is that if the answer to the question is "No" then this refutes 'T'. There's a fine line in there somewhere, I think.

Having said that, as I ponder whether 'T' is really in the Bible, it's hard not to wonder what's going on in Philippians 2:10-11.

This passage appears to present a steep challenge to 'T' in that most commentators seem to understand that when Paul mentions people who are "under the Earth", he is talking about the lost; the non-elect; those who are dead and in Hell. But Paul describes these (apparently) unregenerate people as doing two things which they should not be able to do given the Calvinist understanding of Total Depravity. These people bow their knee to Jesus and they confess His Lordship. The obvious question is this: If bowing the knee to Christ and confessing His Lordship are things which can only be done after one has been regenerated, then how long after they arrive in Hell did they get regenerated?

Obviously that's a rhetorical question. We know that these people were not regenerated. That's why they're in Hell. And yet, they are recognizing the truth of Christ's identity and authority. Granted, it's too late to result in salvation for them. But no matter, these people are violating the principle of Total Depravity… they're not supposed to be able to these things unless they have been regenerated.

The common escape for this seems to be that, well, these folks are sort-of under duress at this point, and the truth is only obvious to them now. But, either they're totally unable to (for example) acknowledge Christ's Lordship or they're not. If they are "totally unable" then what's happening in Phil 2:10-11 is impossible, regardless of how obvious anything might be.

To say that it's just "obvious" to them at this point is simply an appeal to their ability to become persuaded of the truth at some point… and that is not the Calvinist's view of things, seems to me.

Phil 2:10-11 would seem, then, to indicate that 'T' cannot be in the Bible.

Lou Martuneac said...

You all know that the centuries long debate over Calvinism will never be settled this side of Heaven; right?

In the meantime, I think our best efforts should be directed towards those who might be recovered and especially those who are uncertain or on the fence.


Lou

Kevl said...

Hi Pete,

You wrote:

At times I'm not sure I see the distinction between refuting "T" and asking the question "Is 'T' in the Bible?" The reason I say that is that if the answer to the question is "No" then this refutes 'T'. There's a fine line in there somewhere, I think.

The difference is the intention, and the methodology.

If I were trying to refute, I would bring up verses that obviously challenge various parts of TULIP. I would make a case against TULIP.

The problem with that is becomes an argument vs argument. Just because the better argument wins doesn't mean truth has been established.

So, instead I have decided to have the Calvinists make their case using Scripture and to test that case by the Scriptures. I have decided to get away from the politics or philosophy of Calvinism. Why? Well for many reasons already discussed, but they are just plain not testable. They are based on the Eternal Decrees of God which are not found in Scripture. So how can I test them? They are a logical inference from positions held, on which positions are built.

Why get lost in that fight right?

So, they build their case and I see if it is actually in the Scripture.

Now there is a problem with this method as well.

The only truth that can be established is whether TULIP is in the Bible or not. If it is not in the Bible then this method will not establish a true soteriology. At best it can free some from the bondage of a false system, if that system is indeed false. Of course, if TULIP is true then then I would also be freed from a false belief.

Kev

Kevl said...

Pete, if the TULIP believers here want to address that they cay - but it hasn't been the practice of this discussion that I challenge them with other Scriptures. Only that they make their case.

I agree that it seems to invalidate T, but I suppose one could say that God only decreed T for the living..... the problem with the Eternal Decrees is that they can be whatever your theology needs them to be.... they are not falsifiable so they are completely unhelpful in establishing truth - but they are a firewall against reasonable evaluation of TULIP if we make the mistake of going there.

Kev

Lou Martuneac said...

Btw, I draw a distinction between Total Inability and Total Depravity. TD is a biblical teaching (Jer. 17:9; Rom. 3) ). Calvinism takes a sound Bible principle and twists it out shape into the Total Inability,

LM

Kevl said...

Hi Lou,

There are a number of things that won't be settled in some people's minds until everyone is in Eternity - the existence of God, Creation, and Calvinism are but a few.

I am convinced that we CAN know if Calvinism is true though. I think discussions like this are the best way to do that.

I would hope that those who hold to Calvinism would look at the void of scripture supporting Total Inability and that this would make them reconsider.

Of course I'll have to eat my words if Nolan or someone else comes up with a passage that does support it. :) I'm ok with that though. I don't mind looking silly.

Kev

Lou Martuneac said...

Kev:

Thanks for the reaction. My experience with Calvinist show me many are so completely bought into the circle logic of 5point Calvinism they are impervious to any reasoned response from Scripture.

Show them the void of Scripture and it doesn't matter. They have already put together the extra-biblical arguments to patch holes. Regeneration before faith is but one.


LM

Craig said...

John 6:63-65 part 1

Hey guys! I have been away and I just finished catching up. Stephen, you touched on something, which I would like to address. It will be like beating a dead horse; however, I feel this will be profitable for everybody. I want to address John 6:63-65 like Stephen has, however, from my exegesis, not that it is superior. I was just reading John 6 last night, contemplating the context. I tried to keep it short, but there was no way. Sorry!

As a reference point I will start at verse 53, which says, “So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.’” You can see that Jesus was repeating what he had said repeatedly in verses 26 through 51. People were coming to Him for temporal food and Jesus was offering Himself as bread of life! The people had asked in verse 28 what they could do to do the works of God. Jesus told them to believe Him. He was telling them He was the promised Messiah and the Lamb of God, the manna from heaven that gives eternal life. Why did these people not believe? I believe one has to ask that question when reading the dialog between these people and Jesus in which I believe is the reason Jesus makes the comments that is under discussion in this blog.

Verses 63 through 71 shows the work of the Trinity in the salvation of sinners. I believe that we agree that it is the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration. The discussion we are having is whether regeneration comes before faith or not and the reason why. Verse 63 says, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” In my interpretation, I see that the Spirit gives life and the flesh (sinful nature) does not contribute at all (non-profitable).


Craig

Kevl said...

Hi Craig,

Not one of the people in this thread believes that the flesh "helps" or "gives life" or even "has life."

As has been discussed faith is a reception of truth, hearing it believing it being assured by it. 1Cor 15:1, Rom 4, Gen 15:6.

I am not sure how you believe your view on Jn 6 indicates Total Inability of man to believe the Gospel due to his fallen nature.

Kev

Kevl said...

Hey Craig,

Just one other quick note: You are still stuck in the False Dilemas that Calvinism teachers use. "This passage either contains Calvinism or !"

You can get information on the logical fallacy commonly referred to as a False Dilema here.

The Text doesn't say that the flesh gives life or helps in getting life... understanding the Lord's phrases the way He used them doesn't demand that the flesh gives life or anything of the kind.

I'm not making an alternate theory but the following points have already been demonstrated in this discussion: One believes and is then given life - exactly: Jn 3 which is quoting this exact same concept from Num 21.. which is the same as Jn 1 and you guessed it (*smile*) Jn 6.

Kev

TRoutMac said...

It sounds like we're back to this question of "Why do some not believe Christ's message?"

At the risk of trivializing the gospel message, perhaps the following will make the point I tried to make earlier:

Every now and then guys come through our neighborhood to try to sell Kirby vacuum cleaners. They stand there on your doorstep, recite a script and ask themselves into your home so that they can demo their machine on some "high traffic" area in your house.

Now, I don't have any stats on their success rate, but it's gotta be tiny. I'd be surprised if they make it past the threshold of more than, say, 5 out of a hundred homes. And of those, precious few will end up buying machines. The exact numbers aren't important… the point is, many people reject the salesman's pitch and send them down the street while some people (however few or many) actually let them in and might even buy a vacuum from them.

WHY IS THAT?

You see, this is essentially the same question. And if you combine my earlier comment with Stephen's comment, the sum total is this: People are different and they make different decisions. No two people are alike, and yet all have volition. No further explanation is needed.

Questions like this in every other realm of existence just aren't considered "burning" questions… in fact, no one even thinks to ask them. Nobody, 'cept maybe the Kirby salesman, lies awake at night wondering why some people let the salesmen in while others don't.

Lou Martuneac said...

"Why do some not believe Christ's message?"

Because they don't want to believe His message. ( Matthew 23:37)


LM

blessed said...

Kevin,
Could you interact with this a little more than you did?

Where do you agree or disagree?

Craig said:
Verses 63 through 71 shows the work of the Trinity in the salvation of sinners. I believe that we agree that it is the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration. The discussion we are having is whether regeneration comes before faith or not and the reason why. Verse 63 says, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” In my interpretation, I see that the Spirit gives life and the flesh (sinful nature) does not contribute at all (non-profitable).

I feel like I need things laid out in a more clear way. (like explaining to a child)

Craig says the Spirit must give life, the Holy Spirit, but you say that the Holy Spirit gives life AFTER you believe and Craig says the Holy Spirit gives life SO THAT you can believe?

Would you and Craig mind telling me if I am understanding your positions correctly?

I am still trying to work through the things that were said about Jesus saying that they couldn't believe because they were not of His sheep.
It says they couldn't believe and gave the reason WHY they couldn't believe.

Maybe someone could dumb down the explanation for why that is not what it means.

Thanks for the help!
Melissa

Kevl said...

Hey Lou, it's really not any more complicated than that, is it?

Kev

Lou Martuneac said...

Only gets complicated if you won't accept the plain sense of the Scripture. The Calvinist comes to the Scriptures and tries to force it into compatibility with his Calvinistic presuppositions. If he can't then he redefines the Scripture to force it into conformity or ignores what it says. That is how they come up with extra-biblical ideas like regeneration before faith and that faith is the gift of God.

Kevl said...

Hi Melissa,

You wrote:

Craig says the Spirit must give life, the Holy Spirit, but you say that the Holy Spirit gives life AFTER you believe and Craig says the Holy Spirit gives life SO THAT you can believe?

Yep.

I am still trying to work through the things that were said about Jesus saying that they couldn't believe because they were not of His sheep.
It says they couldn't believe and gave the reason WHY they couldn't believe.

Maybe someone could dumb down the explanation for why that is not what it means.


Note: underlined emphasis added.

Jn 10:26 is the verse you're asking about, I believe.

I'm going to quote it as it is translated most often:

But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.

I can TOTALLY see why you would interpret this to mean that they "couldn't believe"

There's a bunch of stuff to be said, so please just go with me before you say "but!" in your mind. :) I'll get to "because" in a moment.

The Lord does not say 'you cannot believe' He said 'But you do not believe' there is a huge difference here.

Check out the Greek here Blue Letter Bible

He literally says "but you believe not"

This is in line with what Stephen was getting at above when he said that the word "hear" in Jn 10:27 is ACTIVE voice. (It is actually in the "Present Active Indicative" form.)

The definition of the ACTIVE Voice is The active voice represents the subject as the doer or performer of the action. e.g., in the sentence, "The boy hit the ball," the boy performs the action.

It's something the people actually do. Where as believing is something the people the Lord was speaking to did not do.

As Stephen said, the Holy Spirit is not deceptive (Tit 1:2) and so would not say that the person did something that God actually did for them.

However, that is a SLIGHT movement from what Craig is actually saying. Craig says that the person is regenerated so that they can believe.

This is a variation that exists within the TULIP camp. In some places it is stated that saving faith is a gift of God, in other places regeneration gives the person goodness enough to believe.

So I need to discuss the word "because" and I will do that in my next comment because this is getting long.

Kev

Kevl said...

Hi Melissa,

In Jn 10:26 there is a Greek word which is translated "because" in many translations - I haven't checked to see which ones do or don't.

That word is gar Strongs # G1063

So does this mean, that because of the fact that they are not His sheep they do not believe? - and thus indicating that couldn't believe unless they were.

That is apparently how you are reading it. Again, I totally see why!

If you look at Thayer's Lexicon at the link to the greek word you'll see that it is not as simple as either of us would like it to be.

The word doesn't mean: "due to the fact of, or because" and it doesn't mean "therefore, truly then" either - it can mean either of these depending on the situation.

Here's a note on the issue at hand: "thus the force of the participle is either conclusive, or demonstrative, or explicative and declaratory."

Thayer then explains It's primary and original Conclusive force is seen in questions (in Grk writ also exclamations) and answers expressed with emotion;

The text is fairly long, but worthy of reading.

The Lord says "as I said to you" and then He paraphrases Jn 10:1-21.

What is often missed about this passage is that the Lord is talking about who He is - not who His sheep are. He is rebuking the Jews for not recognizing Him, most especially in vs 1-6.

He equates Himself with the Father, says that He is the Christ, and tells them the problem - that they don't believe.

His sheep are the ones who hear and believe and He gives them eternal life.

As Stephen pointed out the order is the same no matter where we look at it.

Because the Lord is clear we don't need to wonder which meaning to apply to the word "gar" it is "therefore you are not My sheep."

This is by far, the closest thing I have seen to proof of Total Inability. I do not see it in the Text, but from checking a few commentaries many many many people DO see it here.

If the Lord had ordered His explanation differently then it would have to be interpreted as Total Inability. Yet He explained Himself - they believe and I give them eternal life. Jn 10:27-28

He is being emphatic with the Jews, just as He had been in Jn 6. If you don't believe in Me you cannot come.

In both cases (Jn 6 & Jn 10) He proposes the solution for them - that they believe. Jn 10:37-38

If He actually HAD been explaining (to them btw) WHY they "could not believe" then following an explanation of Total Inability with an exhortation for them to evaluate Him and His works so that they WOULD believe would be COMPLETELY nonsensical.

I truly hope this helps!!!

Kev

Craig said...

Hi TRoutMac, I would like to respond to your comment. I do not want to sound like I am philosophizing, but I thought I needed to respond.

First, you said, “You see, this is essentially the same question. And if you combine my earlier comment with Stephen's comment, the sum total is this: People are different and they make different decisions. No two people are alike, and yet all have volition. No further explanation is needed.” I agree with you that every person is different and each person does make decisions due to their own likes and dislikes based on what each person determines beneficial or their best good.

The point I am trying to make, based on what I read in Scripture, is that deciding on whether to buy a Kirby vacuum is different from deciding that you need a savior. It requires nothing of your spiritual state to decide which vacuum to buy. However, I contend that the requirements to be able to decide to believe in the Savior do require spiritual knowledge to be able to decide. People must know that they are a sinner and are under God’s wrath; therefore requiring them to seek forgiveness in the Cross of Christ. This is all part of the gospel presentation and we must convey this message. However, I contend that it is the work of God through the Spirit to make them spiritually alive to be able to receive the message and without the work of the Spirit will continue to disbelieve. In context, I believe this is the message Jesus was presenting to these people in John 6.

Second, you said, “Nobody, 'cept maybe the Kirby salesman, lies awake at night wondering why some people let the salesmen in while others don't.” The only reason the Kirby salesman will lie awake at night is trying to figure out how he can modify his presentation so people will decide to buy his vacuums. Does he change the day of week he goes out or does he dress differently or maybe even be more enthusiastic in his delivery? There is nothing to change in the gospel message. The delivery or the deliverer is not the focus of the message, but the message itself. People in their own sinful nature do not even see that they need a Savior and will reject the message, or they will see a need of a savior, but will reject Christ as the Savior. You cannot effect change in a person by a different delivery. You may be able to affect their emotions for I have seen that when witnessing to my own family. Even though I affected their emotions, they still rejected Christ.

If it was up to the ability of man on his own to believe the gospel message, then all we have to do is figure out how to change that person’s mind. How can we convince them they are a sinner under the wrath of a holy God so they will receive the message? If this were the case, then the deliverer and the one receiving the message would have something of which to boast. This is one reason we have some of the craziest ideas on how to evangelize. The problem is the person’s spiritual nature and we cannot change that. However, God can change the spiritual nature of a person (Eze 36:26).

Craig

Craig said...

Lou,

I totally agree with your comment when you said, "Why do some not believe Christ's message?"
Because they don't want to believe His message. ( Matthew 23:37)” The reason they do not, based on my exegesis of scripture, no one can until they are made spiritually alive. (Eze 36.26) Before being made alive, I rebelled against God and His law. Now after being given a new heart, made alive, I see the good in God’s law and delight in it.

Kevin, I feel for you! I really do. I know you are getting slammed with a lot of material. Hang in there! This is all good.

Craig

Kevl said...

Melissa, I have added an image of my parsing of Jn 10:26 to the bottom of the article above.

The Greek is actually much more clear than the English is. The Lord uses "not" twice. Once to indicate that they believed not, and the other explaining that they are "not then" or "not therefore" His sheep.

Hope this helps!
Kev

TRoutMac said...

Craig wrote: "The point I am trying to make, based on what I read in Scripture, is that deciding on whether to buy a Kirby vacuum is different from deciding that you need a savior."

I am convinced that this represents a significant misunderstanding.

Becoming persuaded that something is true is faith. What the something is is irrelevant. You might have faith that the Kirby salesman will not waste your time and that he will not, once inside your house, lay down a very high-pressure sales tactic, you may trust that what he tells you in his presentation is the truth.

We are asked to do exactly the same thing with respect to the claims Jesus made. You either believe what He says, or you don't. If you believe what He says, then you are trusting in Him and you have eternal life… you are spiritually reborn, you have now become a new creation.

Obviously you're not going to be given eternal life by trusting the Kirby salesman. It may turn out (not making any claims here) that you get swindled, in fact. We just don't know, after all, how trustworthy the Kirby salesman is or isn't. (though I could take a wild guess!) So, the content and context is entirely different and obviously the spiritual implications are completely different. But the power is not in the faith… faith is just faith-it's worthless, has no merit. The power is in the OBJECT of faith. And of course, we have every reason to believe, to trust, that Christ is trustworthy and will deliver as promised.

Craig also wrote: "If it was up to the ability of man on his own to believe the gospel message, then all we have to do is figure out how to change that person’s mind."

As though changing a person's mind is easy. This is why we're to always be ready to give a reasoned defense (1 Peter 3:15)… because people are capable of believing the gospel. The more reasoned your defense, the better chance you have of persuading the person. But, just like with the Kirby salesman, the best presentation doesn't guarantee results. People have wills.

My view is that since I am a believer, I have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And if that's the case, then when I give that reasoned defense with kindness and respect, this is the Holy Spirit working on that person… it is the Holy Spirit's witness on that person. If I bail and say "Oh, heck… I can't persuade that person because the HS needs to work on them first" then, seems to me, I've just sabotaged the whole operation.

We're supposed to be witnesses, good ambassadors. That implies people have the ability to respond positively.

Kevl said...

Craig,

You wrote:

The reason they do not, based on my exegesis of scripture, no one can until they are made spiritually alive. (Eze 36.26) Before being made alive, I rebelled against God and His law. Now after being given a new heart, made alive, I see the good in God’s law and delight in it.


This is not "Exegesis" .

It is "Eisegesis".

The passage you cite does not state what you state. It is a promise (made to Israel...) of giving a new heart. It doesn't say that it is given so that mankind can believe... it doesn't say any of what you wrote.

You are putting your theology and perception of your experience ON TO the Text.

Kev

Kevl said...

Craig,

I am not going to post your other comment because I do not want to have the same conversation about Jn 6 again.

You believe that you are doing exegesis on the passage using the overall context of Jn 6. What you are missing dear Brother, is that you are using the context supplied to you by Calvinism to interpret the chapter. While doing so you ignore the actual order of events that the Lord explains in Jn 6:45.

We don't need to go back over all of that again. If there is some factual error in the explanations given then please speak up - but asserting that your view of the context of Jn 6 is the proper one is not nearly convincing proof.

Kev

blessed said...

Kevin,

Could you please post the comment Craig sent in? I know you do not want to interact with it but it would be very helpful to everyone else reading along.

I get it if you don't.....but I dont want to have not because I ask not ;)

Melissa

Kevl said...

Hi Melissa, look up at his comments above. It is the same argument.

Please don't make more of this than there is. I don't want to re-introduce ideas that have already been discussed because it gives the appearance that they have not been answered properly. Think of people who come to this thread next week - it won't be helpful for them.

Neither will it be helpful for the current discussion. I have spent 4 hours replying to comments already today. I don't mind the work, but I don't have the ability to repeat it.

If Craig, or you or anyone finds some fault in how Jn 6 was discussed above they may surely post THAT. To repost the same argument again is, however, not helpful...

Kev

Lou Martuneac said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lou Martuneac said...

Craig:

Your study of Scripture never revealed what you are in somewhat coded language are claiming that regeneration precedes faith. And that's because regen before faith is NEVER taught in Scripture.

For all readers- please understand that Craig's regeneration before faith is an extra-biblical false teaching that comes from Calvinistic presuppositions. To believe that means you believe that a lost man is regenerated, i. e., born again prior to and apart from faith. This is the kind mental gymnastics that flow from trying to make the circle logic of Calvinism work.

Trust the plain teaching of a Scripture and you will have a good chance of NEVER falling into the trap of Calvinism and its extra biblical teaching like regeneration precedes faith.


LM

Craig said...

TRoutMac,

I appreciate your response. We agree on so much! The words you use and the way you present them is no different from what I believe. There is a fine line separating what we both believe or not believe, especially from an evangelistic point of view. This fine line should not be what separates fellowship between two brothers in Christ. We are having good discussions in this blog. I cannot believe we are almost at 150 posts!

Our differences are based on each other’s presuppositions and as long we hold to those presuppositions, we will continue to interpret scripture as we do. Just to let you know, I have not always been reformed in my theology. I was Armenian, dispensationalist, pretrib, and premill in my eschatology. I had to evaluate my presuppositions when I was challenged while studying the scriptures.

The very scriptures you say that do not prove “T”, I say they do. I do not believe you or I will change unless God reveals it. I do not believe anything each one says to the other will convince the other to change our interpretation of scripture. I thought I made a good case in one of my submissions, however, Kevin chose not to post it.

If we both believe in original sin, our differences boils down to just how corrupt is our nature. I say totally, which includes the will, based on scripture. You say it is not total based on scripture. Either we are both wrong or one of is correct, both of us cannot be right. I guess it will be in glory before it is settled.

Craig

Kevl said...

Craig,

Perhaps you are still missing the point...

You wrote to Pete:

Our differences are based on each other’s presuppositions and as long we hold to those presuppositions, we will continue to interpret scripture as we do.

What presupposition does Pete (or I) hold that inhibits your ability to show from the Scriptures the proof of Total Inability?

So long as you continue to want to argue against someone else's view as supposed support for your view you will not be able to prove your view.

Either the Bible says man is "totally inable" or it does not. It doesn't matter what Pete thinks.. or I think.

You wrote:

The very scriptures you say that do not prove “T”, I say they do. I do not believe you or I will change unless God reveals it.

You can "say" they do all you like... but that is not convincing. We have demonstrated that they do not establish the doctrine of Total Inability - using the Scriptures not our presuppositions.

I could say that a person will not change their mind so long as they are not willing to do so. That they will only ever change their mind when they are willing to accept what is being revealed to them.

Of course this is the topic of the discussion isn't it. We have shown in every case thus far brought up that the passage either has nothing to do with the ability to believe the Gospel, or in fact establishes that the process is revelation & belief then the reception Eternal Life.

You wrote:

I thought I made a good case in one of my submissions, however, Kevin chose not to post it.

Craig, I do not want to repeat what was already done. The last time you challenged me about my motives for not posting your comment I decided to reveal my TRUE motives - I didn't want to rip appart what you wrote because I thought your argument was wholly overstated. I demonstrated the result of allowing such a comment into this thread once and I have no intention of repeating.

If you have discovered a factual error in the way Jn 6 was examined above then please bring that up. I however have no desire to go back over your presuppositions - they have been negated by a verse by verse review of the chapter.

you wrote:

If we both believe in original sin, our differences boils down to just how corrupt is our nature.

How about instead of just asserting that the will is totally corrupt to the point that one cannot believe the Gospel - how about you find a verse or passage that actually proves it?????

THAT is what this discussion is about. if you say you believe TULIP then we know that is your opinion. However, does the Scripture say that?

To me it is an absolutely fantastic assertion based on a "just so story" about how people are too evil to believe the Gospel.

Kev

Craig said...

Kevin,

With due respect, I did show it in scripture. You chose not to post it saying you did not want to duplicate what has already been said. I agree there has been a lot of discussion on John 6. However, I have reviewed the thread on John 6 and I do not see where anyone else has broken the verses down the way I did. I feel I made a good argument in that submission. I thought I addressed those verses differently than anyone else has from a very different angle from what others have approached it. I do not think I am wrong in saying that from what I have read when going back and re-reading the comments on John 6, especially on verses 63 through 65.

Craig

Kevl said...

Craig,

I already told you that we are done with this sort of thing.

In the comment you wrote the following:

As I have stated in the 2nd part of my comment, the whole context of John 6 was the people were coming to Jesus for the wrong reason and not believing His message. In response, He told them why they did not believe or come to Jesus, “no one can unless”.

No one can come to Jesus in faith that He is the Bread of Life unto salvation unless the Father grants him.

In between these statements you gave commentary on passages in Jn 6, you did not read from the passages.

You will benefit from reading this comment from me and and this one as well and this one from Stephen not to mention all the other posts that show that belief is a prerequisit to coming.

Further, this comment might show you another problem with your interpretation.

Look I get that you are doing what you can, but how about you read what has been posted here and really consider. If Jesus says that hearing and learning (believing) the message comes before coming and receiving Eternal Life, and if He says that looking in faith comes before the giving of life - then the whole "regeneration so that you can believe" deal is over.

Everyone here knows your point of view... we don't have to continually evaluate it... unless you have a passage that says one cannot believe the Gospel then you have a decision to make.

If you can show that something in Jn 6 says that one cannot believe then you can state that - but rehashing the same arguments that have come up short, even though you come at it with another point of view (which I did not see in your comment)... restating that "coming to" equals "believing in" isn't helpful.

I said we were done before. I gave you the curtsy of letting you know why your comment hadn't been posted. I don't think I'll make that mistake again. It doesn't matter how I handle it with you, you manage to imply that I am doing you some wrong.

I answered your commentary once - to show you why I don't want to allow that type of argument. I will not put myself, you or the other readers through that again.

Kev

Kevl said...

Hi Craig,

Please answer the question found here.

Kev

Kevl said...

Look Craig, I'm not ducking a strong argument - really. To do so would call my character in to complete question. I could not assert that I had not been convinced of Total Inability with honor if I ducked a strong argument from you.

Look at the things that Nolan & Melissa have brought up. In my opinion much of what they have presented is MUCH stronger and more reasonable than what I found at Monergism.com

In particular, though I have already mentioned, Melissa seems to be asking questions of particular importance to her. We've gotten past the airy arguments to the real meat of what the Scriptures say.

That's a profitable discussion. I spent HOURS today working on answers. Not make up things, but to properly investigate. If I wouldn't duck that type of question why would I duck your commentary on Jn 6?

Please Craig, look at the Text. You don't need to explain your system any more, we get it. Show me the proof. Proof isn't your explanation of what a chapter's context is. Proof is in the Text.

It's not easy. I'm not saying that it is. I find this work to be very hard, but also very rewarding. You will be blessed (heh you won't be Melissa, but you'll be blessed) by forcing yourself to use only the Scripture to state your position.

Can you state your position using ONLY Scripture? If you can't, then that speaks volumes of your position. I don't say this to be mean - I say this because what the Scripture says is the point of the discussion. I don't care what John Calvin said or what Wayne Grudem says... or what Kevin, Pete, Stephen, Nolan, Melissa or Craig says... I care what the Scriptures say. Don't you?

Kev

TRoutMac said...

Craig, there are certain things we agree on, sure. It might surprise you but I think the disagreement here is NOT about the extent of our depravity. The disagreement really stems from what each of us believes about free will.

Since you accept TULIP, you must hold to a compatibilist conception of free will in which you deny our ability to choose contrary to our fallen nature.

Libertarian free will, however, describes us as having the ability to choose against our totally depraved nature.

Now here's the weird thing… if compatibilist free will is true, then I don't even know why you're trying to persuade us, nor could any of us reason about anything. We cannot be persuaded that TULIP is true if, in fact, compatibilism is true because we're merely choosing to believe those things which our nature demands that we choose. We're just along for the ride, you see. And so are you. You can't persuade us of anything and we can't persuade you of anything because evidence and reason isn't the problem on the compatibilist view… our nature is the problem.

And yet, you try to persuade us and we try to persuade you, all using reasoned arguments. Why? Because each and every one of us knows intuitively that we have libertarian free will and that compatibilism if false. And if compatibilism is false, then TULIP is false.

I'm convinced (read: persuaded) that reasoning is only possible if libertarian free will is true.

Nolan said...

Hi Kevin,

Here are a few thoughts tell me what you think

You wrote

Further, in Romans 11 Paul is assuring the Church of God's righteousness that He has not rejected Israel. That He has only hardened the nation because of their rejection. He is not saying that they were unable to believe, but that they rejected Him and now their program is on hold. Because they had sought righteousness by works (and blood line) instead of by faith.

In both cases we have the Elect Nation of Israel being hardened (or not softened) after they had rejected something they knew to be true.

When you say "all" men are drawn to the cross, as in your interpretation of John 12:32 and John 6:44, does this drawing of "all" men include this group discussed in Romans 11:7?

You also stated:
Additionally, the blindness is not perfect-Jews get saved every day

So, you do see that individuals make up the nation Israel, some are hardened and some are softened.

If God does draw all this group the hardened and softened Jews, why would God draw them if they have no ability to respond?

This judicial hardening had to have a starting point in history.
It continues in our day and will continue into the future. So within this period of time from it's pronounced beginning to it's fulfilled ending, some who are within this time period are not given the ability(softened) to believe the gospel savingly.

So would you say prevenient grace does not apply to these people?

Again thanks for all the time you are spending on this subject. It is helpful for Melissa and myself and has created some great conversations between us. That is a good thing.

Tried the italics thing, hope it worked...

Nolan

blessed said...

Hey Lou!
You said: Only gets complicated if you won't accept the plain sense of the Scripture. The Calvinist comes to the Scriptures and tries to force it into compatibility with his Calvinistic presuppositions. If he can't then he redefines the Scripture to force it into conformity or ignores what it says. That is how they come up with extra-biblical ideas like regeneration before faith and that faith is the gift of God.

I am going to speak for myself and say that this is very unhelpful and not true in every case. I hope you can see where I have taken the very plain understanding of the texts, (for example: you do not believe because you are not of my sheep, no one can come unless it is granted,Christ says that he who COME shall not hunger and he who BELIEVES shall not
thirst....so Christ is using them (come, believe) interchangeably here) and have had them explained away. Not that I agree with the explanations....As of right now the only explanation I understand is the use of "because" in John 10:26 (I think)

I do not see come and believe as HAVING to be separate bc of the context and I also do not see "all" having to mean EVERYONE bc of the context. But I am still here reading over the comments, re reading Stephens point..trying to understand.

I think we all get that you have a very unflattering opinion of "the calvinist". Please lay off of your negative opinions so that any other words that come from you can be accepted as coming from a heart that wants to help. It seems like you think everyone here is trying to argue a point when in truth some of us are here to learn and understand. I know there have to be people here that are reading along and not posting. (Kev, didn't you say at one point that you were doing this bc you had some friends under this teaching?)

blessed said...

Kevin,

I looked up the word "because" as used in John 10:26 in the Strongs Concordance that I have and the word used is Strongs # 3754 hoti...not gar....where did you get gar and why is it different from the book that I have?

Melisse

Kevl said...

Melissa, I linked you to the greek of the passage.

http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Jhn&c=10&v=26&t=KJV#conc/26

Kev

Kevl said...

Oh and I also put a picture in the article at the end of the parsing of the passage.

Kev

Lou Martuneac said...

Blessed:

Thanks for your comments.

1) My problem is not necessarily a personal one with the Calvinist. My problem is with Calvinism and the errors that flow from it like regeneration precedes faith and that faith is the gift of God?

2) I primarily write for the lurkers, readers the undecided. That is why I take doctrinal error like Craig wrote, unravel it and repeat it in terms any casual reader can get a handle on.

I know that it can appear blunt, but there are times when plain talk is the best talk. After all this is not about winning a popularity contest, is it?

Btw most folks who surf the blogs surf quickly. They drop in, look around and nothing gains their attention they move on quickly. That is part of the reason I tend to post in bite-size chunks. Fast Food, you know.


Lou

blessed said...

Kev,

I used those resources but wanted to check my own as well....After I posted my comment I saw where the difference came in. My concordance is for the NASB and you were using the King James version (or the Textus Receptus). So in the bible that I read the word is translated in a way that means because. So it means what it says in the NASB and the ESV. Interesting. I guess our thoughts on the manuscripts used will determine how we read that statement.

Kevl said...

Hi Melissa,

Hoti can mean "so" as well... but none the less, the Lord proposes the solution of them believing. He is rebuking them for their not believing, not explaining that they cannot believe.

If I were to tell you "Melissa, you don't believe what I'm telling you because you simply cannot believe what I'm telling you, therefore believe it!" you would think I'm out of my mind. The Lord's words interpret what He was saying.

This is not arguing from implication, it is using the whole passage to interpret part of the passage.

Kev

Kevl said...

Hi Nolan,

You asked:

When you say "all" men are drawn to the cross, as in your interpretation of John 12:32 and John 6:44, does this drawing of "all" men include this group discussed in Romans 11:7?

Keep in mind Nolan that I do not subscribe to the Calvinism definition of "draw" and that there is nothing in the Text we are discussing to demand that this drawing is "irresistible."

As I have discussed previously in this thread, God draws all and turns those who refuse over to a reprobate mind.

Yes the Cross draws all men, either the promise of it or the historical fact of it - if one rejects then God turns that one over to his own ways - stops drawing. This is what happened to Israel as a nation.

You also asked about Israel:

If God does draw all this group the hardened and softened Jews, why would God draw them if they have no ability to respond?

I do not agree that individuals have no ability to respond. We see Jews coming to faith all the time, not as many as gentiles because they have a huge stumbling block in the national blindness.

God has not removed their ability to respond, He has blinded the nation so that they will not as a nation say "Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD!" because their are promises to be fulfilled when that happens. This is not about individual salvation, it is about the promises made to Israel.

God is working in the Administration or Dispensation of the Church right now and Israel's promises will have to wait in order that the fullness of the Church comes in.

Even if I am wrong about the "why" it doesn't change the fact that God says He draws all men... the why is a stumbling block for systems of theology that require a different "why" but it is a plain reading of the Text.

So would you say prevenient grace does not apply to these people?

prevenient grace is not a term that I use, so I am unfamiliar with the implications of the question. You asked about it earlier, but I could not with confidence answer except to say: The things in your comment both quoted and unquoted by myself that state that individual Jews are not able to believe the Gospel I wholly disagree with. The Nation of Israel cannot accept Her King, that is off the table right now. But the Gospel is available.

The Jews have an added stumbling block because as Paul is discussing in Rom 9-11 they could think that God is unfaithful or unrighteous because He has not continued to work through them. Paul tells them that God is faithful and that Israel will be saved, that God can use who ever He wants and how He wants to use them and so on.

Anyway I hope I answered your questions, just remember that even if I'm wrong about "why" it doesn't matter because the fact is written for us by Him.

I'm glad the italics thing is working for you because that makes it SO much easier for me to read. :) I'm selfish!

Kev

TRoutMac said...

blessed wrote: "I do not see come and believe as HAVING to be separate bc of the context and I also do not see "all" having to mean EVERYONE bc of the context."

By the same token, "come" and "believe" don't "have to be" synonymous, either. The question is, what was Jesus' intent?

I don't think that grammar necessarily DISALLOWS the Calvinist interpretation… but I don't think the grammar HAS to disallow it in order for me to recommend against that interpretation. I think, rather, that other considerations should steer us toward or away from a given interpretation (in those instances where grammar doesn't resolve the issue). And not just context, but also considerations of what else Jesus and the other authors said elsewhere and even what we know of God's character. All of these things ought to weight our ultimate decision.

So, with caution, I take your comment as a concession of sorts that, while grammar and syntax may not require that "come" and "believe" be separate, it is nonetheless possible in that it is not disallowed by grammar and syntax. And if it's not, then we're free to consider it and see if it doesn't fit better with those other considerations I mentioned.

Also, I want to say that I don't think that most Calvinists have bad motives, that they're intentionally misreading the text and twisting things to their favor. I tend to think that most Calvinists are sincere… they really are genuinely convinced that their view is true. Now I respect that. But I also think that most Calvinists have been taught, so it seems, to ignore the logical implications of Calvinism.

I think it can be shown that TULIP cripples the gospel and doesn't exactly flatter God's character, either.

Craig said...

Kevin,

I disagree with your comments to Melissa when you said, “Hoti can mean "so" as well... but none the less, the Lord proposes the solution of them believing. He is rebuking them for their not believing, not explaining that they cannot believe.” Is there any reason to deny that Jesus is doing both, rebuking and telling why.

He was speaking to Jews who was waiting on a physical king to redeem them from the Roman suppression. They also trusted in their heritage of being God’s chosen nation for their salvation, not to mention believing their works was their salvation. In verse 24, they were directly asking Jesus to tell them explicitly He is the Christ. Jesus told them He had already told them and shown them implicitly through the works He had performed and the words He gave them.

Melissa, I know you and Kevin have been discussing the word “because”, forgive me, but I would like to make a few comments to add to the discussion, if that is okay.

My Strong’s Concordance and Dictionary has “because” translated as “gar” in verse 26. Strong’s says that “gar” is used “as a primary particle; properly assigning a reason (used in argument, explanation or intensification; often with other particles).”

The people are rebuked and a reason given. They do not believe, “because” they are not of His flock. The order of the words in this sentence is critical. The not believe is in front of “because” and not of his flock is after. The sentence does not say they are not of His flock, because they do not believe. It is explicit when it says they do not believe, because they are not of His flock. The word “gar” here definitely indicates that the reason of not believing is due to not being His flock, not the other way around. Therefore, one does not believe before they become part of the flock. The belief is proof or verification of the work God has already done when He gives the sheep to Jesus as part of His flock (vs 29). Does God give them to Jesus as part of His flock because of their faith or is their faith because of being part of the flock? The later has to be the case due to the structure of the sentence.

Craig

Kevl said...

Craig - answer the question that has been asked of you.

Kev

Kevl said...

Craig you asked:

Is there any reason to deny that Jesus is doing both, rebuking and telling why.

I am TRYING not to be rude to you, but you have an truly amazing ability to avoid reading what is written.

Read this comment.

You wrote:


I disagree with your comments to Melissa when you said, “Hoti can mean "so" as well...


http://concordances.org/greek/3754.htm

Answer the question asked of you.

Kev

blessed said...

TRoutMac,

I appreciate your comment. I have never taken the time to really search out the scriptures that are used to support TULIP. It is not something I discuss or defend but I do accept it.

It is one thing to say the text CANNOT be read the way that I am reading and its another thing to say it doesn't HAVE to be read that way. I read some of these explanations and I do not understand at all....I think its because I was trying to read them as disallowing my understanding when in reality they just offer another understanding. I am going to keep following along.

Kevin,
Thank you for being patient with me!

Craig,
Thank you so much for that explanation! I was trying to see where hoti meant so and try to work out the understanding. In the KJV and NKJV gar is used but the other versions use hoti.

blessed said...

Hey Kev,
We are at A LOT of comments so I hope you have not answered this already and I am missing it. You mentioned something about seeing come to me as the finish line....what do you mean by that?

Melissa

Kevl said...

"The finish line" isn't exactly the best wording, but what I was getting at is that coming to Him was preceded by faith in Him.

Much like faith in Christ is the prerequisite to coming to the Father.

One being sent to preach, then preaching, then hearing, then believing/calling, then coming (being reconciled), then being raised up...

For the purpose of that conversation it was the "finish line" but it is obviously not the ultimate end of the whole process. It wasn't the clearest expression...

Kev

Lou Martuneac said...

Kev:

Thanks for hosting this discussion.


Lou

Craig said...

Kevin,

I think I found the question I did not answer, which you referred to me! Sorry! I am supposing it refers to your question concerning the presuppositions we potentially hold that makes our interpreting of scripture different.

There are two. The first being the human will, whether it is totally free or conditionally free.

The second is the sovereignty of God, whether is sovereign with limitations or totally sovereign, even over the salvation of sinners (predestination/election).

Both are related or bound to each other. If man’s will is totally fee, then God’s sovereignty is not. The opposite is true in the case where man’s will is conditionally free and God’s sovereignty is over ALL things.

I did not elaborate in my response to TRoutMac for the complexity and the potential of opening Pandora’s Box. This is way off the path of your intentions for this blog.

Craig

Stephen said...

Hello all. Catching up again. In reading I'm a bit more firm than Pete regarding how the main passages being discussed CAN be taken. John 6 and John 10.

John 6 is crystal clear in making a distinction between believe and come. As I showed before and no one textually rebutted -- unless I missed it -- There is no way John 6:63-65 can be read and make sense if believe and come are synonomous.

I'll confess that John 10 COULD be taken eitehr way if it was all we had to work with, but it isn't. Allowing scripture to interpret scripture, and interpreting the unclear in light of the clear are basic to solid hermeneutics. IF a clear passage (John 6) says something that conflicts with a passage that is not so clear, then go with the clear scripture. Unless you think the inspiring Holy Spirit is schizo there's no reason to think John 10 means something different than what was clearly stated elsewhere.

Finally, it strikes that the issue being discussed is T -- that is depravity and how it relates to fallen man's ability to believe -- is not actually addressed in either John 6 or 10. Seems these passage speak more to Unconditional election than depravity since, for all the debate we've had, neither passage attributes the problem to "depravity". Connecting these with depravity is a logical extension demanded by the system, but these scriptures actually state no such thing. It struck me this morning then that even if I completely conceded these vv for sake of argument they would still have no value in proving T, only U.

Kevl said...

Hello Craig,

The question I asked is here.

I asked: "What presupposition does Pete (or I) hold that inhibits your ability to show from the Scriptures the proof of Total Inability?"

I'm not entirely sure I was clear in my intent. I actually wanted to know why something Pete holds to be true would affect your ability to state your position from Scripture... I should have written the question that way.

Nonetheless...

You wrote:

There are two. The first being the human will, whether it is totally free or conditionally free.

Is there a passage in the Bible which adresses this? I would say it is not an issue that the Holy Spirit was concerned with because it is not answered or asked in the Scriptures.

I would say that man has "volition" and not "free will" because while we can desire to flap our arms and fly we cannot not will it to happen. We therefore have agency, or volition, not "free will." This is of course merely a theory which I postulate to explain my observations of the universe - it really doesn't affect your view, if your view is confirmed in the Scriptures.

You also wrote:

The second is the sovereignty of God, whether is sovereign with limitations or totally sovereign, even over the salvation of sinners (predestination/election).

Both are related or bound to each other. If man’s will is totally fee, then God’s sovereignty is not. The opposite is true in the case where man’s will is conditionally free and God’s sovereignty is over ALL things.


My immediate thought to this is to ask, where is the Sovereignty of God defined in the Scriptures as you view it?

That is in accord with our discussion. But since you are bringing up things that are not written in the Bible I will also note that it is my opinion that you (and Calvinism) have a low view of God's sovereignty.

I would say that this is just another in a series of False Dilemmas presented to convince people that Calvinism is true. "It is either that man's will is free, or that God's will is free both cannot be true." Perhaps God is able to interject into Time and do anything that is both logically possible and in line with His nature even while allowing people to make real volitious decisions.

Much like the computer programer can go in and alter what is happening at any moment or allow his program to make decisions that it is able to make.

I DO NOT want to discuss the implications of Calvinism because they are only important if Calvinism is true. So I will go no further.

So my question is this, if Pete has a different view than you do, why does that matter for your defence of your theology? To clarify my intent I will ask further - why could you not simply correct his view from the Scriptures and quote the Scripture that states your view?

Kev

Lou Martuneac said...

Kev:

You have been asking Craig, "What presupposition does Pete (or I) hold that inhibits your ability to show from the Scriptures the proof of Total Inability?"

I want to be clear so let me first say that Calvinism's Total Inability is NOT the Bible's Total Depravity (Jer. 17:9; Romans 3:9-20).

That said, for Calvinism's Total Inability to be true John 16:7-11 has to be a lie.

"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged."

Please permit me an extended excerpt from my book in the next. It will explain fully what I mean and its importance to this discussion.


Lou

Lou Martuneac said...

The Holy Spirit is come to convict the world of “sin” (note singular). What is the “sin” that the Holy Spirit will reprove the world over? That “sin” is explained in verse 10, which is the sin of “unbelief.” The lost man needs to be confronted with the Law to bring him/her to know the need for forgiveness through Christ. The book of Galatians is very helpful in this matter. The sin that is damning the lost man to Hell is “unbelief” and the only act that will result in salvation is “belief” (John 3:16; Acts 16:31).

The Holy Spirit convinces lost men of sin, righteousness and judgment so they might make the decision for, “…repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Acts 20:21). There is a fine line of difference, but it is a sharp and clear difference in this matter of submission. Submission is to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, no more, no less. A lost man cannot submit to anything else!

Lordship Salvation’s saving faith requires from a lost man an upfront commitment to cross bearing, denying self and following. This requires a decision that is impossible for the lost man to make. Those decisions and commitments are impossible for a lost man because Jesus said, “Apart from me, ye can do nothing,” (John 15:5). The Holy Spirit does not indwell this lost man because he is not yet born again. He cannot make decisions of surrender and commitment to the lordship of Christ because he does not yet know the Lord as his Savior.

Because of this dilemma the Lordship advocate must, therefore, come to another view of the order of salvation (ordo salutis). Their solution for what is an impossible decision is regeneration, i.e. salvation before faith in Christ. Thus he arrives at a position that insists regeneration, even if only in an instant of time, occurs prior to and apart from believing the gospel and personal faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible has a better answer. After repenting of the sin of “unbelief” the newborn child of God enters into the life of sanctification and begins to repent of his “sins” (1 John 1:8-10).

More...

Lou Martuneac said...

Which Concept of God is Greater?

John 16:7-11 and 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 show that the Bible clearly teaches that through the ministry of the Holy Spirit a lost man can come to understand his condition and need of salvation. According to the Bible the light of the glorious gospel of Christ can and does shine without exception on them, which believe not. Some respond in repentance, faith and believing on the Son of God and are miraculously born again.


END excerpt

Craig said...

Kevin,

The point I was making was that our interpretation of scripture verses are influenced by our presuppositions. If one person comes to the scriptures with the presupposition that man has the ability believe the gospel contrary to any outside influences, will be interpreting that scripture through those lenses. It is the same in the opposite case.

One thing to note, one’s presuppositions can change according to diligent bible study and prayer. The view of either one could change or at least should, if coming to the scriptures to know the truth for a better understanding of the nature and character of God and not just to gain knowledge to win a debate. Our view could also be confirmed and strengthened due to the same process.

The problem is that both cannot be correct. I will continue to state scripture in defense of my view and I am sure Pete will do the same for his view. Either one is true with the other being false or both are false. That is why we are having this discussion. Which one does the scripture describe?

One more point, it is hard for me to explain my view when you do not post my comments. Stephen said, “As I showed before and no one textually rebutted -- unless I missed it -- There is no way John 6:63-65 can be read and make sense if believe and come are synonomous.” I did, however, you did not post it. You have censored four of my post so far. You may say they are duplicitous and I do acknowledge they cover verses already covered; however, I approached the verses differently than anyone has to this point. I also loaded them with scripture in support of my view.

Craig

Nolan said...

Lou,

You wrote,
The sin that is damning the lost man to Hell is “unbelief” and the only act that will result in salvation is “belief” (John 3:16; Acts 16:31).....huh?....

I know this is not what the article is discussing, necessarily, but I would like to ask:

Lou..... Are you saying that the "only" sin that sends man to hell is unbelief?

Kevin, I understand if you do not allow this question, since it doesn't necessarily apply to your article.

Also, since Lou has popped in I just hope this thread doesn't and isn't allowed to be shoved into the direction of debating Lordship. That has been avoided up to this point.

Nolan

blessed said...

Stephen,


you said:
As I showed before and no one textually rebutted -- unless I missed it -- There is no way John 6:63-65 can be read and make sense if believe and come are synonymous.

Here is the explanation that Craig gave...it may be lost in the comments bc it didnt get posted (Kevin said it was already in here).
Craig says:
I know there has been plenty of discussion on whether believing and coming to Jesus was the same or not. I have to argue that it does, if I were to base it strictly on the context of the entire chapter. Verse 29, “Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’”
Verse 36, “But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.” Verse 47, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.” Verse 64, “But there are some of you who do not believe.” The very next verse should explain everything. Jesus said, “This is why”. “This is why” directly links verse 65 to verse 64, which Jesus was stating that some did not believe. Jesus was clearly telling them why, “I told you no one can unless”. In reference to the rest of verse 65, I know Jesus did not use the word “believe” when He said, “granted him”. However, I strongly believe due to the context of verse 64 and the first part of 65 (and as described in the above verses), it is totally related and can be said to be equal in meaning. I firmly believe exegesis confirms my assessment. No one can come to Jesus in faith that He is the Bread of Life unto salvation unless the Father grants him.



Kevin,
You said:If I were to tell you "Melissa, you don't believe what I'm telling you because you simply cannot believe what I'm telling you, therefore believe it!" you would think I'm out of my mind.

Where do you see that being said in John 6 using my interpretation of coming and believing being synonymous?

Kevl said...

Hi Nolan,

Unless someone brings up LS as a defense for Calvinism then no... that's not the topic. :)

Kev

Kevl said...

Melissa,

Please look to my previous comments for coming & belief in connection. To attempt to answer your question - Jn 6:45 simply refutes the view... clearly one believes - hears and learns, and then comes. Which is consistent with the rest of Scripture I am aware of.

The comment you quoted was with regard to our discussion of Jn 10:26, and I was referencing Jn 10:22-39.

Kev

Kevl said...

Craig,

We are not going to go through this again.

You quoting a verse, and then stating your theology is not explaining something from the Scriptures. You are putting your theology INTO the passage.

Look at the type of posts that Nolan and Melissa are making. Follow their example.

You are (at least seemingly) ignoring other things written in this discussion and posting the same commentary over and over.

It has been established that Jesus did not equate "coming" with "believing" and that "believing" is a prerequisite to "coming." When you say you're speaking from Jn 6 and then you write two paragraphs of commentary that ignore that entire conversation it is not going to get posted.

Why should people have to sift through your comments to find what you are intending on saying while you (at least seemingly) ignore theirs?

Is there some problem with how coming & believing have been separated? SHOW US THAT. If there is no problem, then making commentary on a passage that uses that same thought is not at all helpful.

You wrote:

The problem is that both cannot be correct.

The problem is that this argument is false. It is what is known as the False Dilema Logical Fallacy. I have already linked you to a definition previously.....

Calvinism is not shown to be true because you use Calvinistic terms to define the Sovereignty of God and then claim that there are only two options - Calvinism or a God who is not sovereign.

I also loaded them with scripture in support of my view.

You cited several verses, but you did not take your theology OUT of those verses. You used your theology and presuppositions to bend the passages to sort of fit with Calvinism.

Much like your commentary on Eph 2:1-10, Craig.. you are trying to explain what Paul & John wrote - INSTEAD of trying to understand it.

Look, I am not trying to disparage you.... I've had the conversation you've been trained to have hundreds of times.... it's a battle of competing ideas that is never won because the conversation has nothing to do with what is written in the Scriptures.

How about this Craig, why don't you quote Total Inability from the Scriptures WITHOUT COMMENTARY AT ALL.

You still didn't really answer the question.... you told me why you have different views and how those views might affect people's perspective.

Here's what I want you to understand. It doesn't matter what our perspective is if we read the Scriptures without commentary.

The only commentary should be on interpretive issues such as how the word "gar" or "hoti" should be interpreted based on it's usage in the passage.

Let the Scriptures speak and see what they say.

Kev

Craig said...

Kevin,

You are speaking out both sides of your mouth. One's commentary is how one interprets the passage. It is what one believes that God is saying in His word. If the scriptures are so plain, why the blog? If everybody else is able to make commentary and state their views, why can't I? TRoutMac and Lou both are free to make their views without any recourse. TRoutMac is even allowed to go one about his views and not even reference scripture at all. You yourself do not hold to the same limitations you hold me to. I don't get it. You treat me like a dog, however, that does not bother me. By the grace of God I can endure it.

Craig

Kevl said...

Craig,

There are several things worthy of consideration before you accuse me of talking out of both sides of my mouth....

As I explained to Nolan, If anyone gives an answer that is not driven from the Scriptures, it need not be accepted. Anyone may challenge the person to provide an answer from the Scriptures.

I can state that those comments which I have allowed have not been based on things which have already been shown to be false, or written in ignorance of the article or other comments.

I have not treated you like a dog at all. I have explained and re-explained things to you trying to get you to join the conversation that is happening, instead of the one you are trying to have.

The role you accepted by posting here was that of defending the Total Inability as stated at Monergism.com using Scripture.

Not restating the Eternal Decrees of God (which are explained in the article above)... not by restating the view of Total Inability (which is detailed in the article) and not by restating that you think that coming & believing is the same thing which has been discussed at length and apparently shown to be false.

The defence of Total Inability that would be convincing would be to find and quote a verse or passage that either states plainly or requires that Total Inability is true.

I thank you very much for your interaction here. I know you are frustrated. I can only hope that you either know, or will at some point know, that this was not, and is not, my intention.

That being said, as much as I value your passion, I will not be allowing further comments from you in this thread. I do not need this stress, and you are not adding to the defence of Total Inability. All our interaction is accomplishing is to tarnish this discussion.

You may post elsewhere, as there are not the same restrictions on the type of conversation....

This conversation is set up like it is to avoid the MANY pitfalls of talking about Calvinism. Since I am not representing Calvinism I cannot be accused of misrepresenting it. Since the best Calvinist resources were used, and real Calvinists are free to quote any passage at all, I cannot be accused of ignoring any part of the Bible.

In the end, if I am unconvinced it will be because Calvinism is unconvincing, not because I have burnt a straw-man.

If I am convinced it will be because the Bible states the Doctrine, not because I have been won over by a persuasive argument.

I hope you understand.

Kev

Kevl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
blessed said...

Hey Kevin,

I have a question about the use of the word because.

You said that hoti and gar can mean so. My question is why wouldnt we accept that it mean because as we understand it in the English language since that is the word that was chosen by the scholars that did the study and work to do the translations?

Is it because it doesn't fit into your theology so therefore it has to mean something other than because?

There are many people that read come and believe as being synonymous in the chapter in question because of the way that Jesus uses it. I would agree to disagree on that chapter.

Kevl said...

Hello Melissa,

You asked:

Is it because it doesn't fit into your theology so therefore it has to mean something other than because?

I invite you to read this comment again.

Read Jn 10:22-39.

This isn't about my theology, except that I believe God's Word is rational, and so is His behaviour.

You wrote:

There are many people that read come and believe as being synonymous in the chapter in question because of the way that Jesus uses it. I would agree to disagree on that chapter.

There are many people who believe that Roman Catholicism is true, or that one can loose their salvation, or that God paid ransom to Satan to free sinners... each of things have been considered orthodox for long periods of time. None of them are true.

You have every right to believe what you want to believe.

I desire to know what the Scriptures actually say.

You may surely go on believing that to "believe" and to "come" are synonymous. Based on what we have studied over the course of this conversation I would have to say that the Scriptures do not support this view and in fact point to something entirely different.

I am not "choosing" to believe anything about Jn 6, or Jn 10. There is no rational way to reconcile the view that come and believe are the same thing that I am aware of.

Both "gar" and "hoti" can be translated to mean something like "because." To do so however, is akin to changing the word "yom" in Genesis 1 into something akin to "age" instead of Day. Is it possible to translate it that way? Yes. Would it fit with what many people agree on as accurate theology? Yes. Would it be faithful to how the Scriptures handle it? No.

We are in the same position with Jn 10:26. If the word is "because" then the verse itself agrees with Calvinism, but the passage becomes irrational.

The same thing happens with "yom" for the passage indicates days, and the Lord talks about it as days not ages. Changing it to ages makes the Scripture irrational. So while one COULD translate it that way, and satisfy part of the view of many people's theology it undermines the whole of Scripture.

I have no theological position to protect in this discussion. I am merely looking for TULIP in the Scriptures. I didn't expect to find it, but I have looked VERY VERY hard.

Kev

blessed said...

Sorry!
I should have been clear. I said that a lot of people accept the reading of the text in the way that Craig explained because you said it was shown from scripture that it couldn't be read that way as if the explanation given was 100% acceptable to all. My point was that there are others that would not accept the explanation given. So to you it was proven unacceptable to separate and to me it was proven acceptable.
(believe me, sentence structure and parsing things are above me...I have to go with what I understand when given explanations...just being honest here!)

And with the use of because my point is that the scholars that have studied the texts and manuscripts have decided that it was the correct word to use and I do not see anything that says they were wrong. (and yes I looked back to your example) I am sure they had the entire book of John before them when they decided to use because.

I will pass your email on to Nolan :)

TRoutMac said...

To whatever extent I have violated the rules here, I apologize. Craig asked why one person believes and another doesn't, the answer to which is free will or, if you prefer, volition. And several of my comments were pertinent to that. In the interest of full disclosure, even as a staunch opponent of the Calvinist notion of Total Depravity, I cannot say I'm 100% comfortable with how some passages in John 6 are dealt with. My intuitive hunch (and at this point I can say that's all it amounts to) is that John is not saying anything about Total Depravity even IF the Calvinist's conception of Total Depravity was clearly supported elsewhere.

Now, I wonder if I might ask a question about the description of Total Depravity offered at Monergism.com. Their definition is that because of the Fall, man is unable to "savingly believe the gospel". Now, it's curious to me that they seem to restrict this inability specifically to believing the gospel: Christ, the Son of God, died for our sins, rose again on the third day, etc. My question is this: What spiritual truths is the unregenerate man capable of believing and what spiritual truths is the unregenerate man NOT capable of believing? Where is the line drawn and why? For example:

That I am a sinner is a spiritual truth, is it not? And yet it's not the gospel. (the gospel is good news… that I'm a sinner is BAD news.) If I'm unregenerate, do I have the ability to believe that I'm a sinner?

That God exists is a spiritual truth as well. And yet, it's not the gospel. So, as an unregenerate man, am I unable to believe that God exists?

Kevl said...

Melissa,

Please explain the conversation between the Jews and Jesus. Please arrange the conversation in a narrative.

What I want to know is how you think the following is reasonable, or even possible that the Lord said.

"You do not believe in Me because you are unable to believe in Me." (your interpretation of Jn 10:26

"I give life to the ones who are My sheep (given to Me by My Father) and they hear my voice." ( Jn 10:27-29 reworded using the Calvinist view of the order of salvation)

The Jews took up stones to stone Him to death. The Lord asks them for which good work they intend on stoning Him, and they claim it is for blaspheme. Jesus explains His claim, and asks why they are stoning Him for claiming to be the Son of God. Jn 10:31-36 paraphrased in a maner which I believe we would both agree to.

37 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” Jn 10:37-38 NKJV

IF Jesus was telling these people why they COULD NOT believe in Him, why is He in the next few words telling them to examine His works so that they will believe in Him.

It is illogical and irrational.

This is not akin to "Be ye perfect" which is something that IS possible through walking in the Spirit (Gal 5:16) it is not a moral standard which is set to drive someone to faith in Christ, it is an exhortation to repent (change your mind after careful consideration) based on their evaluation of Him compared to what the Scriptures say.

For example:

Melissa you cannot read the following word because I have not chosen to give you the ability to read it. The language is a mystery to you, that I will not reveal. Exegientious Now Melissa, examine the word so that you may understand it.

Examine it so that you may understand it? Jn 10:38 I just told you that you cannot understand it because you are not one of the sheep whom I have chosen to regenerate so that they can understand it. You experience total inability to undertand that word. Jn 10:26

It is an irrational discussion.

Kev

Stephen said...

Kevin, I really appreciate your last. Even though I previously conceded that I thought J10 could be taken either way I think you've built a strong case that it indeed can't be taken in support of TULIP and still make sense throughout.

blessed said...

Hey Kev,
I am working on my response to you while teaching school and cooking a roast :)

blessed said...

Kevin,

I think you laid out the narrative quite well. We are all called to believe. I do not deny the human responsibility in believing.
I can not reconcile Gods sovereignty and mans responsibility.
And it is not just this section of scripture but others, like in Joshua when God caused a nation to go to war with Israel just to destroy them (that nation) or Matthew 11 when Jesus says that God has hidden things from the wise but revealed them to them simple but then He called ALL the heavy laden to come to Him or the fact that Christ laid down His own life and it was predestined by God but the people are held responsible for hanging Him (Acts).

This is why I follow along reading and asking questions. I know that at the end of the day I can only say that this is what scripture says. And I cannot explain God. (I actually told Nolan the other day when we were talking about the things posted here that we are saying "believe, but you cannot believe" and apart from believing Gods sovereignty and mans responsibility it would sound incredible.)

I do not know the ins and outs of bible translation. I know enough to know that there are some reliable ones that stick to the original manuscripts and there are some that paraphrase. When I read that Jesus said that His sheep will hear His voice BECAUSE they belong to Him then I understand it as because. Now you say that it should have been rendered "so" instead of "because". No offense at all meant here, but do you know more about the Greek language than the people that worked on the scriptures?? I am not choosing a definition OF because, because was chosen as the definition of gar and hoti. Its just not as simple as choosing a new definition of the Greek word over all the scholars that chose the words we read and trust. If I start doing that then I can change lots of things in scripture.

My understanding of John 6 does not affect this chapter (I don't think). I see this chapter reading the way it does due to the sentence structure with the use of the word "because".

Again, I do not know a lot and certainly cannot explain things very well so I hope I do not get any more questions! :)

I hope this answer is acceptable because this is the very reason that I do not debate Calvinism.

Maybe one day Nolan can host a discussion at his blog on the Remonstrant articles to which the Canons of Dort were a response.

Kevl said...

Hi Melissa,

Thanks for the comment, and again thanking you for going after the issues that obviously matter to you.

You wrote:

I can not reconcile Gods sovereignty and mans responsibility.

I get that Calvinism teaches that man's volition must violate God's sovereignty. I would very very much like to break my own rules right now....

There is a very good video series on the "sovereignty of man" which is NOT heresy - though I understand what is probably your initial reaction.

I don't want to get into competing theories, but it may help you to think of God as both All Powerful and outside of His Creation at the same time. Calvinism is very good at describing the All Powerful part, but it SEEMS to forget that God is not part of His Creation and not subject to it in anyway.

I said to Craig that I believed he had a low view of God's sovereignty. That is because the view that the Eternal Decrees of God propose is so fragile that if any other agency does something that isn't directly controlled and orchestrated by God means that God is not sovereign after all.

God is able to accomplish all the things He has set out to do because He is able to "fit" people for purposes, among other reasons. He creates moral agents, people created in His image. These people are able and responsible to make decisions and actions. God is not the orchestrator, ordainer, or responsible for sin in any way because sin is carried out by free (volitious) moral agents.

God's will is not overpowered by man's choices. God has perfect foreknowledge of all time because for one among several reasons He is outside of time. He is able to interject and interact in time at any point as He chooses. He is not constrained by His creation.

When we see things that people are predestined for, or even "fitted" for, it is always an action or purpose. Not for Eternal Salvation. The person's choices are not foreordained, they are foreknown. When God "fits" someone for someone the word is like a mending of a net, it is an alteration not how they were created. We read that Pharaoh hardened his own heart, and then God hardened further to carry out what He wanted to happen. Even among His own people there are vessels fashioned for honor and dishonor.

If you look at predestination, and His fitting people it is always about what the person is going to do - not about if they will believe. He does not create helpless beings and then send them to eternal punishment.

I'm only offering this because of your statement about not being able to reconcile man's and God's will if they are to be considered both free.

God is God, He doesn't need to only have robots in His universe to make sure He's going to win in the end..... His sovereignty and power is MUCH beyond that kind of simplicity and frailty.

More in my next... this one is getting long.

Kev

Kevl said...

Hi Melissa,

You wrote: I do not know the ins and outs of bible translation.

This isn't really about the topic so I'm going to break my rule.

There are two documents that I highly suggest you read. The Introduction to the Darby Translation and the (PDF) Translation Notes for the NIV 2011

The first one is such a great introduction to the topic, the second one shows that even lesser translations can have a good translation philosophy. If you read these two documents you'll have a much greater appreciation and understanding of it.

More in my next.

Kev

Lou Martuneac said...

Blessed,

I read only the very first part of your comment above. May I say,

God's sovereignty and man's responsibility need no reconciling. They are not competing truths. They are both truths found in the Bible.


Lou

Kevl said...

Hi Melissa, you asked:

Now you say that it should have been rendered "so" instead of "because". No offense at all meant here, but do you know more about the Greek language than the people that worked on the scriptures?? I am not choosing a definition OF because, because was chosen as the definition of gar and hoti. Its just not as simple as choosing a new definition of the Greek word over all the scholars that chose the words we read and trust. If I start doing that then I can change lots of things in scripture.

No it is not that I know more of Greek, and it's not actually about choosing a convenient or preferable definition for a word - that would just be foolishness.

Word meanings are decided by context and usage. I discussed both in my comment about "gar" in the Received Text. Based on my own textural studies - which aren't really important here - I trust the Received Text above others in most situations... so I am completely comfortable with saying that "gar" is what John wrote. Because of the way the word is used, and where it fits in the conversation that has a conclusion of forcefully telling them to examine His works tells me that "so" or "therefore" must be the meaning.

Each of the words have a spectrum of available meanings. The only reason to choose one over the other is context and usage.

If the word means "because" the paragraph becomes irrational. Unless there are other issues that have not been explored, some matter of context and usage that I have not seen then to choose any other meaning would be to overide common sense in favor of something other than context and usage.

I do not know why so many translations have "because" there... perhaps there is a cover up of biblical proportions!!! Maybe John MacArthur's next book will be called "SO!" as a cool follow up to Slave??? hehehehehehe!!! I couldn't resist. Sorry.. that is just a joke. :)

I think the passage is perfectly understandable... but I'll give you another option - one that I don't think is needed.... but would allow for "because" to be the meaning and the passage not to be irrational.

If this is about God's foreknowledge, and election based on that then it could be made to work... it's convoluted.. and unnecessary IMO.. but it would work.

You wrote:

I see this chapter reading the way it does due to the sentence structure with the use of the word "because".

Can you use the word "because" in this chapter without it becoming irrational - without appealing to extra biblical reasoning?

I hope this answer is acceptable because this is the very reason that I do not debate Calvinism.

I think you are doing great. Don't think of this as a debate, we are just going through passages and evaluating them. There is nothing to loose here. I have no competing idea that will win over yours.

You only have things to gain here. You will gain understanding of the Truth because we are focusing on what the Scripture says.

If you are convinced that Total Inability is not biblical you still have not lost anything - you will have just gained knowledge of truth, and perhaps you will develop skills to interpret the Word without theology.

You wrote:

Again, I do not know a lot and certainly cannot explain things very well so I hope I do not get any more questions! :)

Sorry. :)

Kev

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