Monday, March 3, 2008

Leaving The Play Ground (For Now)

The gentlemen at Triablogue are apparently hurting for material. For someone as dumb as I apparently am, who is defending an obviously indefensible sorteriological position, they sure seem to give me a lot of attention. Why do they feel like they need to addrsss my arguments if they are not a threat to their position? Do they really believe that someone might be taken in by my foolishness? They have even lifted comments written by commenters in my comboxes and dedicated entire posts to "refuting" those threatening comments. Just what has gotten these gentlemen so freaked out and rattled?

For some reason they have targeted me for the purpose of throwing their theological eggs at. I am fine with them not liking what I am saying concerning Calvinism, but why draw so much attention to me and why see me as such a threat? Paul began his crusade with insults that only grew worse. When I asked him to tone things down and show a little respect if he wanted me to continue dialogue with him, he said, "save the drama for your mama." Paul responded to my initial response just as I predicted but decided to change one thing. And what thing was that?

Here is how I envisioned things going with Paul after my response to his critique of my post:

"Now I am quite sure that Paul will respond in force. I have seen an example of how this will likely develop with his interactions with J.C. As J.C. continued to dismantle his arguments (and numerous “hypotheticals”), Paul’s posts quickly disintegrated into theological temper tantrums, baseless assertions, ridicule and mockery, and bold and childish claims of victory without ever really even addressing the main issues. They became so long that anyone trying to address them and carefully untangle his sophistry would have needed to shamefully neglect his family in order to take the time to give a detailed response. He is masterful at confusing his readers to the point where they just assume he must be right."

Just as predicted Paul followed through with everything I mentioned above except for one thing. He made his response shorter. Now why would Paul do that? If Paul wanted to change something, why not change the disrespectful tone and childish claims of victory? Instead, Paul became more insulting and put pictures up all over his post of things like dead kangaroos. So why was it so important for Paul to shorten his reply?

Here is what he said at the beginning of his post:

"Before I begin, I guess I should point out that Mr. Kangaroo (and some of his Arminian peanut gallery members) commented about my loooooooooong posts. So, I'll make this short than his latest response to me. Three pages shorter, to be exact. Any whining and complaining about comments I didn't interact with are thus rendered moot. You can't have it both ways, that is."

I admit that I gave Paul and easy out and he was glad to take it. He could ignore much of what I wrote and focus on the areas where he still felt he had a foothold. Paul knows that most of his fanboys will not even bother to read my responses, they just wait for him to respond and assume he has "refuted" those stupid Arminians again. Maybe Paul just wanted to appease me; but If Paul was so concerned about the length of his post, then why no concern for the other things I mentioned?

Paul has been egging me on for a response and I had declined until he promised to engage in civil dialogue (to which he responded with the very mature, "save the drama for your mama"). He has since posted again. Now why would Paul be concerned about length in his first response (apparently because I complained that his posts are too long to respond to), and then decide to write a follow-up post? Doesn't that just put back at least most of those "three pages" that he so graciously spared me from the first time around?

The games continue as Steve Hays chimed in with his own post correlating Calvinistic prayer with theoretical issues relating to time travel (which only demonstrates how difficult it is for Calvinists to "make sense" of simple things like intercessory prayer). So now I really have my hands full. I wonder, then, why Paul and Steve feel the need to keep going with their responses. If Paul successfully refuted my response in his Roo Stew post, then why the need for all this follow-up? Why the need for Steve Hays to add his two cents and appeal to theories of time travel? It makes me wonder. Why are they still so insecure about their position? Why the need to keep trying to bolster their arguments? This seems like very strange behavior unless, perhaps, they recognize that despite all of their sophistry and insults they have still not made their case or refuted my initial post or my response to Paul's critique. I am amazed that I have somehow managed to get them so riled up. How many more follow-up posts can we expect to follow? Will some of the other Triablogue team members jump in to the fray? Why does Paul need so much defending?

I am tempted to let my posts stand as it seems to me that if Paul had successfully refuted me the first time there would be no need for these follow-up posts. But I will give Paul the response he wants because he has been much more gracious in his latest post and I appreciate that effort. I might even explore the mysteries of time travel with Steve Hays, but these things are not my priority right now. I will get to them when I get the time and for now I am going to focus on finishing my series on perseverance and provisional atonement. Maybe the Triablogue team will keep piling on the material, in the mean time, in an effort to overwhelm me or continue to try to vindicate their position, but I hope that they will find some better things to do with their time. They have already convinced their fanboys so the only purpose in continuing with it is to try to make it impossible for me to ever respond so that they can claim victory. So I promise a response to what has been written so far but it is not my greatest concern. For now I am leaving the playground so Paul and Steve will have to figure out some new ways to entertain each other.

87 comments:

Paul said...

I think the purpose of Steve Hays’ response was in his words And if you find this analysis difficult to follow, then don’t raise philosophical objections to Calvinism. Stick with exegesis, which should have been the yardstick all along. That seems to sum it up.

As for why Manata put up another post, if you followed the combox on their site, you would see that he was engaging JNORM who said that he came to defend you. So while the post also related to your claim it was not intended for that specifically. It was geared more from the comments that were generated from his reply to you.

I doubt that they are rattled or fear what you wrote; it seems that they are exposing your false claims to Reformed theology. I have seen you take offence with what another blogger wrote and responded to it. Seems that if they did not respond someone may take that as a sign that you were right and that Reformed bloggers had no answer to your charge.

kangaroodort said...

Paul,

Why do you feel the need to defend these guys?

As far as sticking to exegesis you have apparently not read much from Triablogue as they are often all about philosophy.

I personally think that the Bible is quite clear that our prayers have a genuine affect on God. The burden rests on those whose theology (or philosophy, if you will) would undermine what the Bible seems to plainly pre-suppose.

It is like Calvinist trying to brow beat Arminians because we hold to free will and make claims like: "The Bible nowhere teaches free will", which Arminians find very odd. The Bible seems to plainly pre-suppose that man has the feedom to choose in the sense that people have always understood "free will", etc. The burden of proof rests with those who wish to calim otherwise.

Calvinists affirm monergism and determinism. They should therefore explain how intercessory prayer makes sense within such philosophical assumptions. Arminianism doesn't need to engage in "philosophy" to make sense of intercessory prayer because intercessory paryer fits perfectly within an Arminian framewrok, and an Arminian understanding of God's word (like the Arminian assertion that the word of God plainly teaches that God desires to save all, etc.)

Arminianism is rather simple and takes the Bible at face value. Calvinism is extremely complex and often appeals to mystery in order to resolve blatent contradictions. Yet, Calvinist try to undermine Arminianism through sound reasoning, etc. Go figure.

God Bless,
Ben

Carrie said...

This seems like very strange behavior unless, perhaps, they recognize that despite all of their sophistry and insults they have still not made their case or refuted my initial post or my response to Paul's critique.

I haven't kept up with all of the exchanges, but Paul did clearly refute your charge of inconsistency in Calvinistic prayer. Beyond that, the Triabloggers engage in many critiques and discussions of what others write. That is why their blog is so interesting, b/c they are expanding or refuting real-life arguments, not just reiterating text-book teaching. I certainly don't think you have scared anyone over there.

It is like Calvinist trying to brow beat Arminians because we hold to free will and make claims like: "The Bible nowhere teaches free will", which Arminians find very odd. The Bible seems to plainly pre-suppose that man has the feedom to choose in the sense that people have always understood "free will", etc. The burden of proof rests with those who wish to calim otherwise.

Great. I have yet to see an Arminian make this argument. Do you have a link to a post where you can show how the Bible plainly teaches free will?

Paul said...

Ben,

I was not trying to defend them; I was just trying to shed more light on the subject of your post here. I think that Calvinism works well with intercessory prayer and that they have made a good case that it is not inconsistent in Reformed theology. The problem I see you have here is that you equate Calvinism with determinism, when it is compatibilism that is the standard that most hold.

Here is where I see it my friend, both views hold to “monergism” when it comes to regeneration and justification. The Calvinist would add perseverance, but you do not hold to that so let us leave it for now. So when we talk of “monergism” we are talking about regeneration and justification and nothing more. You seem to think that “monergism” carries over into everything else, but it does not. So while we have those two things in common the difference comes into when it occurs. You seem to be of the opinion that it occurs after faith & repentance and we would say before.

So both sides agree that “monergism” is regeneration & justification, why do you think that it is more than that? If you truly want to engage the Reformed view then argue against compatibilism rather than determinism.

Also, while I may not engage them the way that some of them do on occasion, I do think that they at times make good points. For example, while I thought that Manata post was decent, I enjoyed Genebridges comment and felt it was dead on.

We have interacted before and I have the highest respect for you and your views. While I do not agree with you on most things I am proud to call you a brother in Christ. While I wish that we all could talk about these things in a Christ like spirit, I realize that we can get caught up in the emotion of the moment and say and/or do things that we should not, I am guiltier of that than most. I have taken enough of your time; may all praise and glory go to Christ our Redeemer.

Carrie said...

Ben,

I had another question based on your earlier post:

Believers are influenced by God to pray for the lost. God is influenced by the prayers of believers to act to save the lost. God works in us by way of the influence and response model that is appropriate to interpersonal relationships.

1. How is what you described here different than what Paul described as "means"?

2. Would you pray for the lost w/out God first "influencing" you to do so?

3. Let's say I am unsaved from a strong Christian family. If I have a whole group of people praying for me (my family), am I more likely to be saved than say some forgotten street orphan in Africa who has no one praying for them?

4. Are you an open theist?

kangaroodort said...

Carrie,

Thanks for stopping by. You wrote:

I haven't kept up with all of the exchanges, but Paul did clearly refute your charge of inconsistency in Calvinistic prayer.

That comment seems a bit strange since you admit that you have not kept up with the exchanges.

Great. I have yet to see an Arminian make this argument. Do you have a link to a post where you can show how the Bible plainly teaches free will?

If you want some posts related to the issue just click on "free will" or "determinism" in the label section.

1. How is what you described here different than what Paul described as "means"?

It is different because of the underlying assumptions of both systems. Prayers as a means makes sense in Arminian theology while it doesn't in Calvinism.

2. Would you pray for the lost w/out God first "influencing" you to do so?

No. I believe that I need God's preceding grace to do anything good.

3. Let's say I am unsaved from a strong Christian family. If I have a whole group of people praying for me (my family), am I more likely to be saved than say some forgotten street orphan in Africa who has no one praying for them?

Most likely.

4. Are you an open theist?

No. If you read the posts I referred you to, you will see why. I would especially refer you to the interactions in the combox of "Struggling With Regrets".

God Bless,
Ben

kangaroodort said...

Paul,

You wrote:

The problem I see you have here is that you equate Calvinism with determinism, when it is compatibilism that is the standard that most hold.

Compatibilism is still determinism, it just asserts that "free will" is "compatible" with determinism, and it makes it "compatible" by re-defining "free will" to essentially mean, "The freedom to do what you can't avoid".

You seem to think that “monergism” carries over into everything else, but it does not.

Did you read my post on sanctification in Calvinism?

Also, while I may not engage them the way that some of them do on occasion, I do think that they at times make good points. For example, while I thought that Manata post was decent, I enjoyed Genebridges comment and felt it was dead on.

I agree that they make good points sometimes, but I don't think they have made enough of them with regards to this issue. I haven't read Gene's comments yet, but I will now that you have mentioned them.

We have interacted before and I have the highest respect for you and your views. While I do not agree with you on most things I am proud to call you a brother in Christ. While I wish that we all could talk about these things in a Christ like spirit, I realize that we can get caught up in the emotion of the moment and say and/or do things that we should not, I am guiltier of that than most. I have taken enough of your time; may all praise and glory go to Christ our Redeemer.

Likewise brother.

God Bless,
Ben

Paul said...

Ben,

I have read your post on sanctification and I still hold that you are not seeing the distinction. Let me try to see if I can articulate what I see the problem being. You ask how can one not resist the monergistic grace and yet resist the sanctifying grace; please let me know if this is a gross distortion of your question or concern. The answer is in the difference between the two. The reason that one cannot resist the effectual grace is because it is “monergistic” and the reason that one can resist or hinder sanctifying grace is because it is “synergistic”. Now we both agree that the regeneration and justification are “monergistic” right? The question you are really asking is how can this “monergistic” event occur first. In your view the “monergistic” aspect is the result, whereas in my view the “monergistic” aspect is the cause. I pray that I am making some sense, even if you do not agree.

So the question is easy to answer and I wonder why the person has never gotten an explanation on the why. It seems that your problem in seeing this from my view is your belief that the whole thing is “monergistic” when in fact it is not. If I am saved it is only because of God, in that He gave me to His Son, the Son atoned for me on the cross and the Spirit applied it to me when it pleased God to do so. I have no part in that, you see while I was dead and still a sinner he quickened me. Now I see my sin for what it is and it horrifies me that I did and still at times do sin against God my Savior. As I grow in my walk with Him I am seeing my former sins as heinous acts of rebellion against a loving Father and it grieves me terribly to realize it more each day. While I do not sin with the same consistency that I did while I was dead, I still at times sin and resist His correction & pruning work. The reason I do that is because my sanctification is a ‘co-operative’ endeavor, my birth from above was purely “monergistic” and effectual.

This is why I hold to “perseverance”, I realize that it was God alone that saved me and He alone that keeps me. If He were to withdraw His grace and protection I would become a hardened sinner once more, but He is faithful and has promised to never leave me. If, by my own stupidity, I were to wander out of the pasteur that He has provided for me I know that He will come to find me and when he does he will put me on his shoulders and carry me back to the flock.

I know that I have digressed to talking about perseverance and that you do not hold to that, but in reading some of your work I take comfort in the fact that your view of apostasy is the willful renouncing of Christ, not just falling into sin. While I do not agree that a true believer would ever do such a thing I find no need to engage you on this matter.

This does still speak of how intercessory prayer is consistent in Calvinistic theology. Again, I think the story of Paul’s shipwreck speaks very clearly to what we mean when we say “means”.

BTW, I do not define free will as the freedom to do what you can’t avoid., but that is a separate issue:)

May our Lord and Savior bless you and keep you.

Jnorm888 said...

I'm sorry Ben for not defending your view well. I jumped in unprepared. I should have read both sides thoroughly before commenting.


But through trial and error I came to see why Paul thinks he won.

You used the word "pointless" when talking about intercessory prayer in the calvinistic scheme of things.

And I think in Paul's mind. ....I may be wrong, but I think in his mind he thought that all he had to do to prove you wrong was to show a point.

It didn't matter what it was. He just had to show "a reason". Any reason.

So on a technicality it would seem as if he "proved" his point.

The point of "prayer in the Calvinistic scheme of things" not being pointless.


However, if one looks beneath the surface one will see that such a thing is "superficial"

It is superficial because if God ordains both the end as well as the means then "intercessory prayer" in the calvinistic scheme of things is pointless.


So even his points were pointless. But one wouldn't be able to see that if they were only looking at a tree in a forest.

One would only be able to see that if they were looking at the whole forest.



So I later saw Paul's "point" as a "technicality". And surface level at that.





I don't know if that makes sense, but that's how I see it.





JNORM888

Carrie said...

That comment seems a bit strange since you admit that you have not kept up with the exchanges.

I meant I haven't read through all the exchanges you have had with Triablogue, just the ones on prayer. You mentioned a longer history that I have not kept up with.

That comment seems a bit strange since you admit that you have not kept up with the exchanges.

Thanks, I will check those out.

It is different because of the underlying assumptions of both systems. Prayers as a means makes sense in Arminian theology while it doesn't in Calvinism.

Okay, then I guess I don't understand the underlying assumption in Arminianism unless it is that your prayers can change God's will. That is an odd concept for me to swallow from a biblical perspective.

Most likely.

So the deciding variable that is different b/w the two is the prayers of others? That would mean my salvation is somewhat dependent on the actions of others which again, is difficult to swallow from a biblical perspective.

Just for the record, I am not 100% Reformed. I have been investigating Reformed theology for a year or two now and lean strongly that way as it seems to make the most sense biblically, but I am still interested in seeing if the Arminian perspective makes any sense. My questions come from my thinking through everything.

Thanks for responding.

womenstudyingthescriptures said...

Carrie,

Another aspect of the non-Calvinist belief, is that man has the ability to resist God's grace. Therefore, a key factor to men coming to salvation would be their response to God's grace. Accepting the Word of God will bring one to salvation, while resisting it will harden him. This ends up being the determining factor. Hope that helps a little.
Rachael

rex said...

hehe, im from Asia(The Philippines) and you got my attention...

Hmmm, so i have an idea?

kangaroodort and j.c.,

I want to dedicate my blog at wordpress in translating your articles into Tagalog(our native tounge).

Can i have your permission to do so? Im kinda lazy in formulating my own arguments into tagalog so ill just copy yours and translate it?

^_^

Thanks and Godbless.

rex said...

While I do not agree that a true believer would ever do such a thing I find no need to engage you on this matter.

-- in my opinion, i think every Calvinist should.

thanks.

Anonymous said...

Carrie,

I hope that you have read enough Reformed literature to know that when someone says

Another aspect of the non-Calvinist belief, is that man has the ability to resist God's grace.

It applies to Calvinism as well. In fact, I have not come across one that denies that man's ability to resist God's grace:-)

Rhett said...

Ben,

Ohh, Come on man...! Don't tell me it's come to this!

I told you what would happen if you engaged them.

You've always been great at dishing it out. Don't tell me you've finally met your match.

Btw, As far as "fanboys" go, I've noticed you have your share of them too. And they seem to be just as convinced that you can't lose.

:)

Gordan Runyan said...

Sorry to see this, Ben.

And not just because I've found the recent exchange entertaining, either.

Anonymous said...

Rhett, you said: "Ben,

Ohh, Come on man...! Don't tell me it's come to this!

I told you what would happen if you engaged them.

You've always been great at dishing it out. Don't tell me you've finally met your match."

As one you might classify as a "fanboy" of Ben's because I think he has come out on top in the exchange, I wonder why you act as if he has given up. You almost seem eager to claim victory for the Triablogue crowd. Is that because you are worried that Ben has presented good solid argments they are having trouble dealing with?

Ben simply said that he would respond to Paul, but that he would not rush to do it, but take his time and not allow the ongoing debate divert him from other priorities he has.

And considering the rudeness with he has been treated, it is quite understandable that he might have even decided to stop the exchange. There are probably several people who would advise him to do just that since debating with someone who is hostile or uncivil can be a waste of time or counterproductive.

Anyway, here is an excerpt from what ben said that sums it up pretty well:

"I am tempted to let my posts stand as it seems to me that if Paul had successfully refuted me the first time there would be no need for these follow-up posts. But I will give Paul the response he wants because he has been much more gracious in his latest post and I appreciate that effort. I might even explore the mysteries of time travel with Steve Hays, but these things are not my priority right now. I will get to them when I get the time and for now I am going to focus on finishing my series on perseverance and provisional atonement."

Rhett said...

Anonymous Fanboy,

Who said he gave up? That remains to be seen. I just said that it looks like he met his match. I've never known Ben to back down from anything, I'm no prophet, but I've predicted the outcome of this since Feb 20:

http://rhettsrants.wordpress.com/2008/02/20/spottin-some-blogs/

Carrie said...

Accepting the Word of God will bring one to salvation, while resisting it will harden him. This ends up being the determining factor.

Not in the example I gave which Ben answered.

Since previent grace is universal, the only difference b/w the two people was that one person had people praying for him and the other didn't. Ben said that the one who had multiple people praying for him was "most likely" to be more likely to end up saved.

And why is that? Why would the person who had multiple people praying him be more likely to "accept the word of God" than the person who had no one praying for him?

kangaroodort said...

Paul,

I really don't have time for a mini-debate in the combox right now. I don't think you are trying to debate me but I can see this thing going on and on and I don't want to go down that road with you or anyone right now. I will address a few of your comments and if they are not sufficient for you then I apologize, but I am not going to continue with it.

You wrote:

You ask how can one not resist the monergistic grace and yet resist the sanctifying grace; please let me know if this is a gross distortion of your question or concern.

I think you misunderstand. I see regeneration, justification, and sanctification as monergistic works of God in that God alone can do them. He alone can forgive sins, give new life, and make someone holy. I also believe that all of salvation is synergistic in that it is conditioned on our faith response. You see that faith response as part of God's monergistic and irresistible work of regeneration. I see that faith response as the condition that the sinner must meet before God will justify, regenerate, and sanctify, and I find plenty of Biblical support for this.

So for me salvation is synergistic in that it is conditioned on faith, and it is monergistic in that God alone can save in response to that faith. God does the work, but He only does the work for the believer who is in union with Christ Jesus through faith in Him.

The question you are really asking is how can this “monergistic” event occur first. In your view the “monergistic” aspect is the result, whereas in my view the “monergistic” aspect is the cause. I pray that I am making some sense, even if you do not agree.

I agree that in Calvinism regeneration is the cause, but I disagree with calling God's monergistic work the result of faith in Arminiansm if that is to define faith as the cause. Faith does not cause regeneration in Arminianism. Faith is the condition that must be met before God will act. God alone is the cause of regeneration, justification, and sanctification.

While I do not sin with the same consistency that I did while I was dead, I still at times sin and resist His correction & pruning work. The reason I do that is because my sanctification is a ‘co-operative’ endeavor, my birth from above was purely “monergistic” and effectual.

But you then either make sanctification unneccessary for salvation, or you admit that "salvation" is not monergistic; and by your own definitions you make sanctification a "work" of man because you also claim that unless God unconditionally and irresistibly regenerates the sinner, then faith as a condition would really be a "work". Why not say the same with respect to sanctification?

This is why I hold to “perseverance”, I realize that it was God alone that saved me and He alone that keeps me.

I would hope that the reason you hold to perseverance would be more grounded in the word of God rather than on your understanding of monergism. If God alone keeps you, then how is sanctification synergistic as you say? According to you, if you are at all responsible for your spiritual progress, then you will fail, so how can you say that sanctification is co-operative as you did above?

If He were to withdraw His grace and protection I would become a hardened sinner once more, but He is faithful and has promised to never leave me.

I agree that without God's grace it is hopeless and that he will never leave the believer. However, if a believer makes shipwreck of his faith then God will be faithful to deny him according to His promise.

If, by my own stupidity, I were to wander out of the pasteur that He has provided for me I know that He will come to find me and when he does he will put me on his shoulders and carry me back to the flock.

I think you are laying too much stress on this parable alone. In the parable of the prodigal son, for instance, the Father does not go out and through his son on his shoulders and bring him back home. Truly God seeks out his wandering sheep but that is not all that Scripture has to say on the matter. There are those who wander and are never recovered.

This does still speak of how intercessory prayer is consistent in Calvinistic theology. Again, I think the story of Paul’s shipwreck speaks very clearly to what we mean when we say “means”.

Well I will get to that later :)

BTW, I do not define free will as the freedom to do what you can’t avoid., but that is a separate issue:)

Yes it is.

God Bless,
Ben

kangaroodort said...

Jnorm,

Don't sweat it bro., you don't have to defend me. I understand your confusion.

kangaroodort said...

Carrie,

You wrote:

Okay, then I guess I don't understand the underlying assumption in Arminianism unless it is that your prayers can change God's will. That is an odd concept for me to swallow from a biblical perspective.

Here are some passages that you might need to reflect on some (Ex. 32:10-14; 2 Kings 20:1-11; 2 Chron. 33:10-13; Jonah 3:6-10).

So the deciding variable that is different b/w the two is the prayers of others?

I think that is a little over simplified but our prayers certainly factor into the equation.


That would mean my salvation is somewhat dependent on the actions of others which again, is difficult to swallow from a biblical perspective.

I don't think it is so hard from a Biblical perspective, though it may be hard from your theological perspective (e.g. 1 John 5:16).

Just for the record, I am not 100% Reformed. I have been investigating Reformed theology for a year or two now and lean strongly that way as it seems to make the most sense biblically, but I am still interested in seeing if the Arminian perspective makes any sense. My questions come from my thinking through everything.

I am glad to hear that you still have an open mind and are still seeking truth with regards to this issue. I pray that God will guide you and give you wisdom in that process.

God Bless,
Ben

kangaroodort said...

Rhett,

Thanks for your 2 cents:

Ohh, Come on man...! Don't tell me it's come to this!

I told you what would happen if you engaged them.


And of course you have not helped matters any with regards to your comments concerning the "gobblygook" at Triablogue which were strikingly similar to the comments I made at your blog (I, Robot) that you refused to even post, much less expose as "gobblygook". There is more that I could say on that but I will let it go.

Btw, As far as "fanboys" go, I've noticed you have your share of them too. And they seem to be just as convinced that you can't lose.

I don't have a problem with fanboys who are up front about being fanboys on either side. I do have a problem with supposed "nuetral" "anonymous" observers who want to to give their "unbiased" and "objective" opinions, which always seem to favor Paul for some strange reason.

Thanks again Rhett,
Ben

kangaroodort said...

Gordan,

Sorry to see this, Ben.

And not just because I've found the recent exchange entertaining, either.


Why are you sorry? You know I love to entertain you :)

kangaroodort said...

Carrie,

Sorry I missed this one:

Since previent grace is universal, the only difference b/w the two people was that one person had people praying for him and the other didn't. Ben said that the one who had multiple people praying for him was "most likely" to be more likely to end up saved.

And why is that? Why would the person who had multiple people praying him be more likely to "accept the word of God" than the person who had no one praying for him?


I think I answered this in my initial post.

God Bless,
Ben

kangaroodort said...

Rex,

E-mail me when you get the chance.

Thanks,
Ben

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

Ben,

I do not want to debate you and know that you have your hands full, but I would appreciate some clarification on one thing. You wrote that you believed sanctification to be purely "monergistic" is that the standard Armian view? That seems very strange to me, I know it is due to my lack of understanding so I ask for some clarity on the matter.

I have read the works of Arminius and even he said that regeneration precedes faith, granted he believed in progressive regeneration, but it is odd that a professed Reformed Arminian would be against it. I realize that this will get us off the path so you do not have to get into that at this time. I would appreciate clarification on the sanctification question, if you have the time. May the grace of God be with you in all you do.

womenstudyingthescriptures said...

There are several variables and influences on salvation, Carrie. As Ben said, prayer is but one of the influences on salvation because there are obviously others. For one, we know that the Scriptures say that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. In this situation, it would appear that with the proud or if you will, "stiffnecked" person God would give less grace to, whereas the humble He would give more grace to. Salvation isn't an exact math equation afterall, and even if you wanted to make it so, you're missing some variables.
God bless.
Rachael

kangaroodort said...

Paul,

I am sure you can imagine how much I appreciate the gracious interaction.

Paul, what I am saying is that we do not make ourselves holy. Only God can sanctify. I can't sactify myself. That is all I mean when I say that sanctification is monergistic. However, the believer needs to yield to God's sanctifying work so in that sense it is synergistic. That is how I see things from start to finish in salvation so my view is very uniform, whereas the C view is disjointed IMO.

The C wants to say that we cannot yield to God's grace in initial conversion unless it is irresistibly caused and that if we were able to yield to it without God "making" us yield to it, then it would be a "work" of man.

One of the inconsistencies I was pointing out was that the C should carry this assumption through to his or her view of sanctification. But they do not. They don't see our yielding to God's work of sanctification as "working" for or "meriting" salvation. Why not? If it is synergistic and the Arminian view of synergism, according to them, with regards to intial salvation would be analogous to "working" for or "meriting" salvation, why do things suddenly change with regards to sanctification?? I am saying that the C undermines his argument with regards to intial salvation by granting a synergistic element to sanctification.

I thought I made that clear in my post, but maybe I didn't communicate it very well.

With regards to Arminius I do not believe he understood regeneration preceding faith as Cs tend to argue. Here is a comment I left at Billy's blog today with regards to this same question,

Billy wrote:

Commenting on Arminius' use of the word regeneration above, upon further reflection, in my opinion, I believe he used that term in the sense of prevenient or awakening grace, whereby God frees the will of the individual He is drawing. Notice in the third paragraph above Arminius used the word "illumination" alongside of regeneration.

I replied:

I think you are quite right. It seems to me that Arminius uses "regeneration" in two senses. One has reference to the renewal of someones faculties (an overcoming of depravity) so that the sinner is capable of putting faith in Christ, and one has reference to spiritual renewal which can come only as a result of faith union with Christ. This second sense of "regeneration" is the "strict sense" that Arminius speaks of as follows:

"Besides, even true and living faith in Christ precedes regeneration strictly taken, and consisting of the mortification or death of the old man, and the vivification of the new man...For Christ becomes ours by faith, and we are engrafted into Christ, are made members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones, and, being thus planted with him, we coalesce or are united together, that we may draw from him the vivifying power of the Holy Spirit, by which power the old man is mortified and we rise again into a new life." [Works Vol.2 pg. 233, Wesleyan Heritage Collection].


Hope that helps clear things up even if you still disagree.

God Bless,
Ben

Paul said...

Ben,

Thank you for that clarification. I am still of the opinion that you are not seeing it and the blame falls on me for not being as clear as I should be on this. Your answer though is very helpful in expressing what I mean to say. In Calvinism sanctification is not “synergistic” in the way that you would define it, but rather in how you described above when you wrote ”the believer needs to yield to God’s sanctifying work” this is all that the Calvinist means when he says that sanctification is “synergistic”. The reason that there is effectual grace is if there were not then we would all be damned. The story of Israel in the OT is a good illustration of what I mean. Here we had a people that were constantly turning away from the grace offered by God. They would go through periods of “accepting” God’s grace, only to “reject” it shortly after. That is what I see all of us doing today if there were no such thing as effectual grace.

As for Arminius, believe me I have read and studied his work and he is a strong advocate of “progressive” regeneration. Until the Spirit has awakened the dead sinners mind and heart he cannot respond. In fact when you read his works on this subject you would be hard pressed to distinguish between the Calvinist view of regeneration, just to the Calvinist it is a one time event and not a “progressive” gradual process that one goes through.

Oh well, I do enjoy having a good discussion about these things and thank you for being so gracious and kind. While we may never agree on these things this side of heaven, I am thankful that we are brothers in Christ who keeps us. May all honor and glory be to Christ our Savior.

Robert said...

Ben wrote:

“It is like Calvinist trying to brow beat Arminians because we hold to free will and make claims like: "The Bible nowhere teaches free will", which Arminians find very odd. The Bible seems to plainly pre-suppose that man has the freedom to choose in the sense that people have always understood "free will", etc. The burden of proof rests with those who wish to claim otherwise.”

Observing calvinists a common canard is: show your view of free will from the bible. This initially innocuous sounding request is actually laden with all sorts of traps. If you mention that “I believe in libertarian free will” they reply where is **that** in the Bible (you will of course not find the term libertarian free will; nor will you find an explicit definition of free will as “free will is . . .”). If you define free will as being able to make choices, and having a choice in any technical sense, they will claim that you are being philosophical and that exegesis is to be preferred over philosophical reasoning (this is an unfair criticism as good philosophical reasoning is just robust common sense: and good exegesis will involve some philosophical reasoning). Or they will carefully redefine the word “choice” so that it no longer means what is ordinarily meant by the word “choice.” (they will speak of "choiceless choices" and having a choice even though it was impossible that you do otherwise). Or if you operate from a simple and stipulated definition of “choice” (say as it is ordinaril understood by vast multitudes of people) they will then be upset that you are "appealing to popularity". It is as if whatever you say, there is always a “what about . . .” kind of response indicating not an interest in the truth, but someone set in their view and only desiring to argue.

The issue is rather simple: does this ordinary conception of choice exist in reality or not?

If all events are exhaustively predetermined, then choice as ordinarily understood, cannot exist, never exists. On the other hand, we can then ask: if we start with a stipulated definition of the concept of free will as ordinarily understood, then we need to see whether or not the evidence of both scripture and our personal experiences confirm or disconfirm this conception of free will (I say scripture, because if free will is real there will be evidence of it in situations which scripture presents; and in our own personal experience because if it exists there ought to be evidence of it in our daily experience as well). I believe the evidence of the reality of choices as ordinarily understood both in scripture and daily experience is overwhelming and abundant.

I am reluctant to share examples from scripture because someone who claims to disbelieve in free will as ordinarily understood as a major, major axe to grind (and if they are an argumentative contentious type person how would sharing the truth with them be any different than what Jesus speaks about when he refers to "casting pearls before swine?"). One must be in extreme denial of reality to argue against the reality of choices as present both in the bible and daily life.

It is similar to discussing the existence of the mind with someone who claims that they do not believe in the existence of the mind (i.e., a physicalist who denies the reality of any immaterial realities including God, angels, souls and minds). Even in arguing their point they inescapably use their mind (the immaterial reality where their reasoning takes place) to make their argument. It is difficult to deal with someone in such enormous denial about their ordinary experience and what they are as persons (created in the image of God with an immmaterial soul/mind). Similarly, the determinist who argues against choices, in the very arguments they make are making choices (e.g. which arguments they will use or not use is their choice, what order they will present their arguments is another choice, what language they use is a choice, the words and sentences they use involve choices, their every intentional action in fact involves choices; so in making their argument against the reality of choices they necessarily are engaging in choices). If someone is in denial about common ordinary reality to this depth and extent, then they will do whatever they can to attack and challenge common sense ordinary reality (in this case choices). They are involved in an extreme form of skepticism. On top of their denial of ordinary reality, there is a strong emotional investment in their deterministic belief. So they will react with intense emotion to the challenge of theirj preferred beliefs.

Ben you wrote: “The Bible seems to plainly pre-suppose that man has the freedom to choose in the sense that people have always understood "free will", etc.”

This is a good point: the bible situations seem to clearly presuppose the ordinary conception of choices (i.e., that the person does one thing but also could have done something else, done otherwise than he ended up doing). If we look at scripture we will find instances of situations where it is clear that the person did do one thing but also could have done otherwise. If those instances are present in scripture then the evidence for free will is present in the bible.

Ben you also wrote: “The burden of proof rests with those who wish to claim otherwise.””

Another very good point: if someone is going to claim that “we don’t have minds”, I want to see a good argument for that. If they then use their mind in constructing their alleged argument for the non-reality of the mind, I will conclude their position to be wrong because it is self-refuting (i.e., in the very statement of their argument, they establish the reality of the very thing they claim does not exist). Likewise, if someone makes the outrageous claim that choices as ordinarily understood never occur (note if you are going to claim that every event is predetermined then, you involve yourself in what in logic is called a universal negative; that there are no, there can be no instances of free will as ordinarily understood; and it must be remembered that a universal negative is refuted by any instance of the contrary, so if there is even a single instance of free will in either the bible or our own experience, then exhaustive determinism is false, and demonstrably so).

The burden of proof is upon the one making an assertion: so if someone claims that free will as ordinarily understood does not exist, cannot exist, **they** have to prove this point. They have to overcome the overwhelming evidence in both scripture and daily experience for free will as ordinarily understood. The attempted arguments I have seen do not even come close and they all as they are themselves intentional actions involve choices. Put another way: as soon as the determinist engages in ordinary language use which presupposes and involves multiple choices, they refute themselves.

If you do take the time to present scripture examples of free will as ordinarily understood, the committed determinist will simply **reinterpret** them all. Just as the anti-existence of the mind fellow will simply reinterpret all evidence to line up (at least in his mind, :-)) with his desired belief, the theological determinist does the same thing.

It is interesting that someone named Carrie wrote:

”Great. I have yet to see an Arminian make this argument. Do you have a link to a post where you can show how the Bible plainly teaches free will?”

If Carrie is a committed determinist, I could choose to present situations in scripture that present the reality of choices as ordinarily understood, but she would simply reinterpret them to line up with her desired belief in theological determinism. So why should I choose to do so?

And regarding my choice, not to do so here (which is a choice) or now (which is another choice: I could choose to do so in a later post), did I also have the ability to have presented some verses now, if I had chosen to present some examples here and now? I end with this example because it shows that things work both ways: I have claimed the determinist inescapably involves himself and makes choices when presenting their arguments. The same applies to me as well, if I engage in ordinary language use, I necessarily and inescapably make choices in presenting my arguments. This is true because no matter who you are, what you espouse, you have and make choices as ordinarily understood. And you necessarily involves yourself in choices because God made us that way. If someone has a problem with the reality of choices, their real problem is not with a philosophical notion (i.e., libertarian free will) but with God’s design plan. God sovereignly designed us to be capable of choices and created an actual world in which the reality of choices is a constant and daily reality.

Robert

Rhett said...

Ben,

You know what...

I'm tired of you bringing up that silly comment of yours. If it hurt your feelings that bad, I'm going to dig it out of my email archives and post for all the world to see. It's going to be the main attaction now. Perhaps that will make up for it?

Btw, I've never pretended to be neutral or unbiased. You made a wrong assumption there.

(I'll have the comment up ASAP)

Later,

Rhett

Robert said...

Hello Ben,

I have had experiences with the Triablogue guys which leads to the conclusion that they really do not care about doing things in a biblical way. For them arguing for their determinism is more important than obeying biblical commands about how believers are to interact with one another. They continually and repeatedly insult both believers and unbelievers (e.g. you have pictures of Kangaroos, they put up pictures of dead kangaroos). There is no indication that the pridefulness and condescension and verbal acid on their part is lessening to any extent. I took sensible steps towards this problem with no indication of any repentance on their part for their sinful actions whatsoever.

Interesting that Manata wrote:

”Likewise, the sarcasm is used for entertainment purposes and parody purposes. "It is not meant to offend and I'm sorry if it bothers you."”

To which you responded:

”Really Paul? Is that all that is intended? Just parody and entertainment?”

Don’t believe it Ben, there is a big difference between the good natured jibes between friends who respect each other and have a love for each other, and the **sarcasm** couched as humor by enemies who in reality hate you. Ben the Triablogue people are not your friends.

Rather they see you as a threat to their erroneous theology and so someone who they would love to see verbally destroyed. It is significant that they consider you to be a threat however. Much of it is not for the sake of rational discussion (they are not into that as their constant and repeated put downs of others who disagree clearly proves), rather, it is to prove to themselves and to their friends that their calvinism is true. When an enemy says he is “just joking” don’t ever believe it.

Recall the words of Proverbs about this kind of person:

“When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, The foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest.” (Proverbs 29:9)

This kind of person’s habitual response is to get angry (which is shown by sarcastic acid laced comments) or mock and insult (which is shown by the repeated put downs). Look at the posts of the Triablogers what is present over and over? Anger and Laughter. And then ask yourself if this anger and laughter repeatedly displayed is the fruit of the Spirit or the works of the flesh. And then after the vicious comments and put downs they want you to believe that it is all just in fun? Right. Don’t believe it.

Even other calvinists realize this about this kind of person. As Marion Clark puts it:

“The fool has no interest in wisdom. He may enjoy words, but only as toys in which to enjoy foolishness. When a person tries to reason with him, the fool treats the effort as nothing more than a game of words which he believes he always wins.”

Ben you wrote:

”Please explain how a request for respectful dialogue if this discussion is to continue is an "appeal to pity". If you will agree to handle yourself in a more respectful and godly manner then I will be glad to get to that response.”

Ben they are not into ***respectful dialogue*** (just look at their track record) nor can they do so in a godly manner (again look at their track record). Their track record is crystal clear. If I were you, I wouldn’t even waste time responding to any of them. All you will get for any efforts on your part is the “same old same old”, the same anger and laughter and mocking of yourself and your arguments.

Instead of wasting valuable and already limited time on argumentative types, continue putting out good material that biblically and rationally presents the truth (rather than wasting time with someone who does not appreciate what you have to say nor does he really want the truth).

Robert

kangaroodort said...

Rhett,

You are very confused and have not been fair at all in what you have said here. You make it seem like I have been pestering you to post those comments which is simply not the case and you know it. The only reason I brought them up was because of the snide reference you made to them at Triablogue.

The comments about nuetral commenters was not about you. You just misunderstood me there and I apologize for the confusion. I was talking about anonymouses who started popping up claiming to be nuetral and calling themselves things like "not arminianorcalvinist", etc. If you thought I meant that I thought you were one of those guys then you misunderstood and I again apologize for the confusion.

God Bless,
Ben

Rhett said...

Ben,

In that case, I apologize. My comment at Triablogue was not a direct quote of your comment, though I did have it in mind at the time I left the comment.

I had assumed that the unapproved comment issue was a sore spot for you or something. (See what happens when I assume!)

In any case, your long lost comment has no been revealed! :)

Bernabe Belvedere said...

Ben, I posted this in the combox of an earlier article of yours. I realize you've been busy. I'm just wondering if you've had a chance to consider my brief reply:

Kangaroo said:
Kinda like how Calvinists redefine words like..."apostasy" (leaving something you were never really a part of)

I'm curious as to how you would interpret 1 John 2:19. Would you deny that these "defectors" are, in fact, apostates? You appear to be insinuating that it's not possible to leave something you're not really a part of in the first place. But notice John's nuanced conception of apostasy as defecting from outward participation rather than defecting from inward identity.

"They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us."

1) The apostates "went out" from the true believers. The phrase "they would have remained with us" indicates that they were with the true believers in one way or another.

2) And yet they "didn't really belong to" the group of true believers. Their apostasy demonstrates they never belonged to that group to begin with.

Please address John's concept of apostasy displayed above in light of your charge.

Anonymous said...

"Calvinists affirm monergism and determinism. They should therefore explain how intercessory prayer makes sense within such philosophical assumptions."

Uhhhhhh, I did. Where have you been, Ben?

FireNFlame said...

I can think of at least three strengths that Calvinism have over Arminianism.

1) Calvinists can interpret the word "all" to mean "all kinds" or "all the elect" so that the Bible remains consistent with Reformed Theology. This way, they can work around all universal passages.
2) Calvinists can interpret "foreknowledge" to mean "foreloved" instead of "know beforehand", rendering many conditional election passages moot. In fact, there is probably no Greek vocabulary an apostle can use to describe "knew beforehand" that cannot be interpreted by Calvinists to mean "loved beforehand".
3) Calvinists can appeal to God's secret will if #1 and #2 don't work well for a particular passage.

rex said...

On 1 John 2:19, i think Calvinist apply the Hasty Generalization fallacy on this one, not all who are 007 agents ^_^ inside the Church that are really never been "with them".

There are certainly apostates who are in e.g. remain in the Vine etc who were once with them and have stayed with them but have decided not to continue etc.

...

kangaroodorth yeah ill email. But ill practice my english first so if ever ill translate it accurately etc.

Thanks and Godbless evryone, and also please pray for my country Foreigners! ^_^

Kidding.

kangaroodort said...

anonymous,

Uhhhhhh, I did. Where have you been, Ben?

I have been right here Paul(?)

Just because you have convinced yourself that you have accomplished something and dogmatically declared it doesn't mean you have actually accomplished it.

Like I said, I have left the playground for now so you can save your comments. I will get to your defense of intercessory prayer when I am ready, and I am only doing that because I said I would. You're just going to have to try to deal with not getting any attention from me for awhile. After I address your posts then I am done with you guys regardless of how many eggs you want to throw my way.

God Bless,
Ben

kangaroodort said...

Bernabe,

I did respond at the "Clarifications and Rebuttals" post right after you and Paul asked the same question one right after the other. I addressed the response to Paul so maybe you missed it. Here is what I wrote:

Paul,

Thanks for letting me know that you responded. I appreciate that. I will check it out when I get the chance and also address the 1 John 2:19 passage that you a BB seem to think makes your case regarding the meaning of "apostasy".

I have actually already dealt with the "never really saved" angle in everyone of my posts on perseverance with regards to John 15; Rom. 11; 2 Peter 2:20; and Heb. 6. After I finish my post on Heb. 10 I will further address the Calvinist definition of "apostasy" and discuss your 1 John 2:19 proof text.

God Bless,
Ben

kangaroodort said...

Fireflame,

You make some good points. Calvinism does have the advantage don't they?

Bernabe Belvedere said...

Ben, thanks for taking the time to address my question in the near future.

Blessings,
Bernabe

Dawn said...

Robert, Calvinists say they do believe the unregenerate have a choice; however, they will ALWAYS "choose" to reject God unless they are born again first. I do not see that as a genuine choice for every man in view of the idea that God chooses only certain people for salvation.

Dawn said...

I'm deeply disappointed that Jason Engwer is associated with these guys at Triablogue. I discovered his writings several years ago and had always respected him. Disheartening to say the least.

kangaroodort said...

Bernabe,

You are quite welcomed and thank you for the respectful dialogue.

God Bless,
Ben

Paul Manata said...

ben, i sent you an email to your account listed under your name on your blogger profile

Carrie said...

There are several variables and influences on salvation, Carrie. As Ben said, prayer is but one of the influences on salvation because there are obviously others.

Do you have scriptural support for all these variables? Honestly, I can't think of what variables are involved in salvation except grace.

For one, we know that the Scriptures say that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

I don't think those passages are talking about the grace that precedes justification if you read them in context.

it would appear that with the proud or if you will, "stiffnecked" person God would give less grace to, whereas the humble He would give more grace to.

Okay, so despite the fact that I think you have wrongly applied the use of "grace" from those passages, your answer doesn't make sense to me.

First, if I was given more grace b/c I was humble, then I would have a reason to boast. Second, and I admit I am not overly familiar with the details of Arminianism, but I thought UPG was suppose to overcome TD and bring the sinner to a point where they could choose or reject Christ. If I have that right, then what you are saying is some people are brought to a point where they are more likely to choose Christ? Wouldn't that undercut a freewill decision?

Please feel free to consider my questions rhetorical. I get tired of answering combox questions and my questions are meant more to point out where things just aren't making sense in my mind.

Carrie said...

Ben,

I just noticed your header:

"Make it a matter of constant and earnest prayer, that God would stop the plague."

Is the "plague" Calvinism?

Robert said...

FireNFlame said...

Someone with the moniker “FireNFlame” wrote:

“I can think of at least three strengths that Calvinism have over Arminianism.

1) Calvinists can interpret the word "all" to mean "all kinds" or "all the elect" so that the Bible remains consistent with Reformed Theology. This way, they can work around all universal passages.
2) Calvinists can interpret "foreknowledge" to mean "foreloved" instead of "know beforehand", rendering many conditional election passages moot. In fact, there is probably no Greek vocabulary an apostle can use to describe "knew beforehand" that cannot be interpreted by Calvinists to mean "loved beforehand".
3) Calvinists can appeal to God's secret will if #1 and #2 don't work well for a particular passage.”

Thanks for sharing this, it once again shows a major problem with the calvinist system. I have dealt with various cult members and remarkably they “interpret” the bible by always “reinterpreting” passages so that the bible passages miraculously end up lining up exactly with what their cult leaders teach.

Let’s tweak these three points to show the ominous but clear parallel:

1. Jehovah’s Witnesses can interpret the word . . . . to mean . . . . so that the Bible remains consistent with the teachings of the Watchtower organization. This way they can work around all the deity of Christ passages.
2. Jehovah’s Witnesses can interpret . . . . to mean . . . instead of . . . . rendering many . . . . verses moot. In fact, there is probably no Greek vocabulary an apostle can use to describe . . . that cannot be interpreted by JW’s to mean . . .
3. Jehovah’s Witnesses can appeal to . . . . if #1 and #2 does not work well for a particular passage.

If you don’t like the JW’s and have never seen them in action doing this very thing, then simply substitute Mormons or Christian Scientists or . . . . The point is that all groups that have a non-biblical system of theology do this exact same thing: they attempt to neutralize what the bible says by reinterpreting it so that it just happens to perfectly coincide with their false system (my friend Walter Martin pointed this out to me years ago). Fortunately,most christians can see through these shenanigans and see that the context is often ignored and the plain meaning of a biblical text suddenly disappears replaced by what the cult wants the verse to say.

Take a famous example, John 3:16. It says that God loves the World (which is a set of people larger than the set of people who will come to faith in Jesus) so He gave His Son, Jesus, for that World. The calvinist comes along and reinterprets the passage so that the plain meaning disappears and is replaced by a meaning which **better** fits the false calvinistic system.

Note I am not saying that calvinists are cultists, only that when they engage in the three moves mentioned here (and others like them), their “reinterpretation” of bible texts parallels precisely what cults do to force verses to fit their systems [it should also be noted that this error is not solely committed by calvinists to support their system, other christians sometimes engage in this as well]. We should have the bible creating our conclusions rather than a system of thought independent of the bible causing reinterpretations of scripture (especially when these reinterpretations lead to conclusions that are not what the bible is teaching, but are what the independent theological system is teaching).

Robert

Robert said...

Hello Dawn,

You wrote:

“Robert, Calvinists say they do believe the unregenerate have a choice; however, they will ALWAYS "choose" to reject God unless they are born again first. I do not see that as a genuine choice for every man in view of the idea that God chooses only certain people for salvation.”

The determinist will claim that we **make** choices (and by this is meant something like to commit to a certain course of action). But their determinism precludes us from **having** a choice. Take a simple example: after dinner at a restaurant it is time for desert. The waiter than comes with a tray of fake deserts resembling the available choices for desert. And I am sitting there with a determinist. The difference in our views of free will can easily be shown by the fact that if I am right, then in regards to the dessert I can make a choice of one dessert and I also **have** a choice (meaning that I can choose one dessert or another dessert, both possibilities are possibilities that I could actualize/pick, though I could not actualize both at the same time, unless I were a glutton! :-) ). The determinist on the other hand can claim that he is able to **make** a choice when selecting a dessert but his determinism does not allow him to **have** a choice (he cannot actualize different possibilities, he can only actualize the one possibility which necessitating factors cause him to actualize; not having access to both possibilities he can only actualize one possibility so he does not **have** a choice). People need to keep this distinction in mind, the determinist can talk about making choices but he never has a choice.

I posted on another blog another example of the reality of choices in an ordinary life situation, Dawn you might get a kick out of it so here it is:

Reminds me of the time I was discussing exhaustive determinism with a theological determinist/calvinist at a restaurant. The waiter comes up and the calvinist asks more
questions about what the available options that day were. So the server is answering these questions about the available choices for the calvinist, so I couldn’t resist. I asked the server: do you believe that you have free will? He answers: “of course, I’m explaining the choices this guy [the determinist] has so he can make a choice.” I was laughing so hard, and for some reason the determinist changed the subject and we didn’t talk about determinism any more that day! :-)

Dawn when you wrote: “I do not see that as a genuine choice for every man in view of the idea that God chooses only certain people for salvation.”

You provide a very good example of exactly what I mean: if God predetermines every event as the determinist so badly wants to believe, then only those preselected for salvation will be saved (can be saved). And they had no choice in the matter as did those whom God predetermined would be damned for eternity (they never had a choice either). Exhaustive predeterminism leads to some radically false consequences (e.g. if everything is predetermined then we never ever **have** a choice, every time you think you **had** a choice your belief that you **had** a choice was wrong, in every case you could only do what you were predetermined to do).

Robert

womenstudyingthescriptures said...

Carrie,

At Christmas I received some gifts from people. At no point did I say, "woo hoo, look at these gifts I got for myself!" I did have to accept them but it is recognized that it is the kindness of the giver who is to credit.

I see even less room for me to glory in salvation. I deserved death. God sent His Son Who died for me. He sent His Word so that I might know the message of His Gift. He sent His grace so that when I heard His message, I might receive. I continue to walk with Him by the grace that He gives. I see absolutely, positively no room for boasting there.

Robert said...

Womenstudyingthescriptures wrote:

“At Christmas I received some gifts from people. At no point did I say, "woo hoo, look at these gifts I got for myself!" I did have to accept them but it is recognized that it is the kindness of the giver who is to credit.

I see even less room for me to glory in salvation. I deserved death. God sent His Son Who died for me. He sent His Word so that I might know the message of His Gift. He sent His grace so that when I heard His message, I might receive. I continue to walk with Him by the grace that He gives. I see absolutely, positively no room for boasting there.”

Great, great, Post you really hit the nail on the head. The bible presents salvation being a gift that is offered to unworthy sinners who deserve hell. Yet God has mercy on all (cf. Rom. 11:32) through the giving of His Son Jesus on the cross. You are right about how we receive gifts with gratitude and thanksgiving and not boasting. A couple other factors convince me that you are absolutely right here. First is the scripture repeatedly ignored by calvinists and others who claim that faith leads to boasting: “Then what becomes of our boasting? It is EXCLUDED. By what kind of law? By a law ofworks? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” Romans3:27-28.

Second is lots of experience in evangelism. I work with inmates, some who before they were converted were some of the most arrogant, nasty, boastful folks who had done awful/the worst imaginable things. After they came to Christ they became humble people and every last one of them has a thankful attitude towards God for their salvation. None of them is boastful. This is because it is the nature of saving faith to be humble, to be what I call a “begging faith” (the Spirit leads us to see our sinfulness and that Jesus is the only way of salvation, that we cannot save ourselves, that salvation is by faith in Christ not our efforts, etc. etc. and this leads us to a place where we then beg God to forgive our sins and save us). Despite the clear scripture and the clear testimonies and experiences of those who have been saved the calvinist over and over repeat their argument that if a person has faith in the gospel without having been regenerated first then they may boast about their salvation. These folks need to take Romans more seriously and get out and evangelize some people and see how saving faith really happens.

Robert

Anonymous said...

Perhaps its best for you guys, Ben & J.C., to take a break. Those guys at Triablogue have exposed your flaws and the house of cards that your view is based on. Especially you J.C., they took you behind the woodshed, at least Ben has the brains to walk away.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Haha! Hays' argument is rather ridiculous and doesn't intimidate me in the least. He's been worked over by J.P. Holding on this subject before, who's exposed his hollow banter. I'll put out a response to his silliness at my earliest convenience.

Jnorm888 said...

Robert,


Are you the same Robert of energetic procession? I'm only asking because you said your old friend "Walter Martin".

I may be wrong but I think the Robert at Energetic Procession use to work for the Christian Research Institute before the scandel that happened with Hank.



JNORM888

Anonymous said...

you mean this J.P. Holding?

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Anonymous, if you believe Brian Flemming says, then I truly pity you. See here for details.

Arminian said...

Ben,

It looks like you were right about you having riled up the Triablogue guys, and their tactic of just piling on posts with the result that you just can't keep up with the quantity. You might do well to get out of wrangling with them as soon as you can, and go back to putting out the excellent material that you do. Of course, you're refutations of PM have been excellent as well. But it looks like there will be no end to the flood of posts against you. And it might accomplish much more to go on with regular posts on various topics rather than getting mired down with their responses to your posts.

The Seeking Disciple said...

While I admire you for defending Arminianism against Calvinism, I don't admire being in your shoes for these blog debates! You guys seem to make the Calvinist wasps come out in bunches.

I agree with you though that the guys over at Triablogue do spend quite a good bit of time debating various other blogs. And yet they find it most fun to pick on yours. I haven't (and hope I don't ) made it to their list. Too much work involved for this Arminian.

Robert said...

I want to make some additional points about this calvinist argument that: if we are able to respond in faith to the gospel message and the work of the Spirit without having first been regenerated that our faith may lead to boasting. The nature of saving faith is so important that it deserves some further comments and defense against the calvinist misunderstanding of the nature of saving faith. Previously I made three points against this argument of calvinists: that scripture explicitly refutes this claim (Rom. 3:27-28 says that saving faith excludes boasting), that observation of others who have been saved shows that they are not boasting about their salvation or faith, and the nature of saving faith is such that it humbles a person rather than leading to boasting.

Another point is the salvation experience of those making the argument themselves. Assuming these calvinists are saved persons who have experienced saving faith themselves. Their own experience of saving faith negates their very argument. We could ask one of these calvinists who makes this argument: “so in your own experience of saving faith, did your faith lead to boasting?” They will answer with an emphatic NO. Then the follow-up question is: “OK so your experience of saving faith did not lead to boasting, why not?” And the very reasons they would give in response negate their argument.

Another reason to find this calvinist argument to be dubious is that cultists make the same argument as well. When shown that salvation is by faith alone not by works, some cultists that I have encountered have responded with: “but that faith that you have is still something you do, so you still have reason to boast about it.”

This brings up a common denominator in both the cultist and calvinist who make this argument: they show by their argument that they really do not understand the nature of saving faith.

And this brings up an interesting observation: I have never once seen or heard a noncalvinist saved person/Christian use this argument that Calvinists use claiming that if a person has faith and is saved that their faith may lead to boasting. Now why is this? Why is it only the calvinist who makes this argument and shows a misunderstanding of the nature of saving faith? And why have I never seen another calvinist correct a fellow calvinist on this argument? If I calvinist brings up this weak and false argument, why don’t I ever, ever see another calvinist say: “hey that does not fit what Romans 3:27-28 teaches? You are misunderstanding the nature of saving faith in making this argument??

What I believe this indicates is a serious misunderstanding of the nature of saving faith on the part of some calvinists. And the fact they have not even corrected the problem in their own ranks is sad. People who do a lot of evangelism, know that saving faith does not lead to boasting. So why does this calvinist argument keep making the rounds? Why don’t the calvinists drop this argument?

Robert

Anonymous said...

J.C.

A quick Google search of J.P. Holding will show any objective seeker that he is not a source that should be appealed too.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Anonymous, a foray into research of any substantial depth will show that Google searches are not a reliable source of factual data, as you've plainly demonstrated by posting a link to a lunatic like Flemming.

Anonymous said...

Of course, but the google search will show more examples of J.P. Holding not being a reputable source other than just Felmming. I assume that the hundreds of others are all lunatic's.

Boba Fett said...

Hi all,

See Mr. J.C. Thibodaux get absolutely ruined in the discussion thread here:

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2008/03/whats-point.html

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Arminian said...
Ben,

Of course, you're refutations of PM have been excellent as well. But it looks like there will be no end to the flood of posts against you. And it might accomplish much more to go on with regular posts on various topics rather than getting mired down with their responses to your posts.

Thu Mar 06, 01:41:00 PM

************

So he sez without actually responding to my latest, or Ben responding to my latest, or even reading my latest. These kind of statements make you look like a homer. Anyone listen to Jon Rome? Homers are nerds!

PM

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Boba Fett,

I've nailed the coffin shut on Manata's case and answered Steve Hays' post on my site.

Arminian said...

J.C.,

Yup. Nice job as usual. Pretty funny too as often.

Tom M said...

Because He sees the future even more clearly than we do the present, next superficial objection please.

Would there still not be a possibility, however remote, that there is some uncertainty? It would be like us knowing how our kids will react in a certain situation, but there is always that one time where they go counter what we think or know. Seeing the future no matter how clearly would not account for those rare times that something goes counter. What this would do is make God reactive in the whole process.

Anonymous said...

For those wondering what Scripture says

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Would there still not be a possibility, however remote, that there is some uncertainty?

No. God's knowledge transcends time, and is therefore not merely guesswork.

Tom M said...

I have a hard time with seeing how if God knows exactly what we will do "before" it happens how that means that we have the ability to make a counter choice. it would seem that way maybe to us, but to God it would be fixed. I am not good at logic or this kind of abstract thinking so perhaps you could flesh it out for me a bit more.

Pizza Man said...

Hey Ben and J.C, I agree with Arminian. Don't get too bogged down with your critics "pile on" tactics. Your original posts are much more interesting (at least to me) than responding to responses of responses of responses. :)

Robert, very good stuff. Do you have your own blog? If not, you should.

-Kevin

Dawn said...

JC, I thought you should know that the link you posted for JP Holding on Thu Mar 06, 01:25:00 PM is not a good link.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Oh, sorry Dawn, here's the correct link.

Dawn said...

Thanks for correcting the link, JC. BTW, great post on your site called Triabologna.

Anonymous said...

Let me see if I can get a grip of the Arminian view of ‘libertarian free will’. Man is free to do anything that he wants, meaning he is not a robot, but he will do nothing but sinful things without the grace of God. What the grace of God does is free man to be able to decide to make “good” choices freely or “sinful” choices freely. If man accepts this grace then he will continue on the path to heavenly bliss, if he rejects he stays on the path to eternal damnation. When he is in heaven then his “libertarian free will” allows him only to make “good” choices, but not “sinful” choices.

So we have only a small percentage of the population as a whole that is able to make either “good” choices or “sinful” choices. Unless you are also claiming that “universal prevenient grace” gives all men at all times the power to make both “good” and/or “sinful” choices; if that is true then all men can make the “choice” to be a Christian at any time in their life. If not true, then man without this grace can only make “sinful” choices. So what God does is free man to be able to make “good” choices. Does the ability to make “good” choices remain if man rejects becoming a Christian or does he revert back to only making “sinful” choices freely?

This is all very fascinating, it seems that Christians on Earth have the best deal in all of this because only they have true ‘libertarian free will’. All the other people can freely choose what they want, but only from “sinful” options.

Tom M said...

I want to thank the anonymous who posted the link 'For those wondering what Scripture says' this was good stuff. This is what we as a group of believers should do, look to what they Scripture say and stop all of this bickering.

Robert said...

Hello JNORM,

You wrote:

“Are you the same Robert of energetic procession? I'm only asking because you said your old friend "Walter Martin".

I may be wrong but I think the Robert at Energetic Procession use to work for the Christian Research Institute before the scandal that happened with Hank.”

No, I am not **that** Robert. I really respected Walter though, he had a real heart for the lost, did some incredibly helpful work with the cults, and his version of the “Bible Answer Man” was really good and worth listening too. I also liked the huge cross he sometimes wore around his neck: probably the biggest cross I have ever seen on a man’s neck! No doubt where he was coming from! :-)

Robert

Boba Fett said...

Hi Mr. J.C. Thibodaux,

You wrote: "Boba Fett,

I've nailed the coffin shut on Manata's case and answered Steve Hays' post on my site."

Hmmmm: http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2008/03/jc-thibodauxs-chasezs-boy-band-theology.html

Seems he got out of the grave and is walking around like a Zombie, terrorizing Arminian villagers, or you burried the wrong person!

Katie F. said...

Hi boys, have you seen this, yet? The small section he called "J.C.'s Boy Band Theology" was rather interesting. Maybe someone didn't read up before they "proof-texted?"

Jnorm888 said...

Katie,

Paul Manata is acting childish. Is this the way christian adults are suppose to act?

I think Paul needs a chill pill.



JNORM888

Pam said...

Hello,
I apologize for intruding into your blog this way. I belong to a "sober" blogging community. We have been harrassed so harshly by a blogger from Australia named Micky. I have been following his trail to see if he has harrassed other blogger groups and found some comments on your blog from him. We are trying to figure out how to get rid of him. Im just wondering if you remember him and how you got rid of him. (he is the one who calls everyon shape shifting reptiles) He has left almost 200 nonsensical comments on my blog in the last 3 days. Our community is desparate for some ways to get rid of him.
My blog site is
http://sobriety-is-exhausting.blogspot.com/

kangaroodort said...

Hey Pam,

Don't you mean "shift shaping" reptiles :)

Send me and e-mail and I will try to help. You can find it at my profile. That guys is almost as bad as Triablogue so I know what you are going through.

God Bless,
Ben

Katie F. said...

Hi Mr. JNORM888, sir,

You state:

"Katie,

Paul Manata is acting childish. Is this the way christian adults are suppose to act?

I think Paul needs a chill pill."

As opposed to J.C. 'nailing the coffen shut' on Manata, I suppose?

What about the title of his post: 'Triabologna'?

How about his response to Steve Hays to the effect that: "*Yawn* Before the event occurs from our perspective, genius."

Or, how about, "Duh. Thank you Hays."

With all due respect, it is hard to take you boys seriously when you are so obviously biased and employ a double standard. Now, I'm just thinking out loud here, but could it be that you have no other answer to the Triablogue guys than to impugn their character so as to shift the topic of discussion away from their arguments? Maybe you are upset at what they did to your arguments? But, maybe you have an explanation for why you hold one person to one standard, and another person to another standard.

/
/(-\
,---' /`-'
/( )__))
/ // \\
`` ``

~~Katie~~

kangaroodort said...

Katie,

You are right, I believe, that all of us can and should do better in our interactions. However, Steve and Paul are very heavy on the rhetoric and mockery, so it becomes a real challenge to respond to those guys without a little rhetoric in return. That is why it is much better not to get involved with any discussion with those guys because it becomes very hard to remain civil.

JC can defend himself but surely you have noticed that the personal attacks and mockery from TB far exceed anything that comes from me or JC. That doesn't make it right if JC and I don't control ourselves, but you cannot deny that there is a big difference here.

Speaking for myself I cannot think of any personal attacks I have made on Paul or any of the TB guys. That doesn't mean that I haven't been a little rough in describing their arguments, but I have not, to my knowledge, personally insulted any of them.

Now I know that you think I have not responded because I can't deal with Paul's arguments but you are simply wrong. I have promised a response and I will deliver. However, I do not answer to them and they do not control me. I will respond when I feel like it. I have far better things to do right now and if it drives them crazy to be ignored and not treated like top priority, then so be it.

I find it interesting that you use those little flurishes when you sign your name. The only other person I have seen do that is Paul Manata. Probably just a coincidence though.

I am disabling any further comments in this thread because it is turning into a playground talk. Just a bunch of nanananabooboo back and forth which is not really productive and certainly not edifying to anyone.

God Bless,
Ben