LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Monday, April 02, 2007

Another question for non-Calvinists

The question for this post is in large bold print. It is not to debate TULIP. Here is the question.......
In the non-Calvinist’ theological system, does God make the playing field level by giving everyone an equal opportunity to come to faith in Christ?

The answer would seem obvious, but many non-Calvinists seem to think that God provides an equal opportunity to everyone. This is seen in the following quotes from non-Calvinists who have commented on this blog and their on blogs:

“God made the field level - everybody has the exact same ability to come to Christ.”

“I would say that God has sovereignly made a creation that is able to *respond* to Him.”

“Would it violate His sovereignty to give man latitude and freedom to rebel from Him or respond to His wooing and drawing?”

“God grants choice to people, who are made in His image.”

“Men and women have the ability to believe.”

“God is at work in this world through His Word, the testimony of Jesus Christ and the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit – without the intervention by God - no one would come to Him.”

I would submit the following reasons that the non-Calvinist theological system does not give everyone an equal and fair chance:

1. Age of death: The longer an unbeliever lives, the more time and opportunity he will have to respond to God’s wooing and drawing that the quotes above indicate that all men get. An 80-year old will have 60 more years than a 20 year old that dies in a car accident. The 20-year old unbeliever doesn’t even come close to having the opportunity as the 80-year old person.

2. Location of birth: Being born and raised in the heartland of America certainly affords a much better opportunity than being born and raised in Iran.

3. Parental circumstances: Being born with parents that are devout Christians affords a much better chance than parents that are atheists, Buddists, or Muslims.

Therefore, the non-Calvinist playing field is not level and an equal opportunity for even hearing the good news is not even close to being a reality. In contrast, the Calvinist’s theological system playing field is very level since all of humanity is dead in sin and unable, apart from God’s intervention, to come to salvation. Therefore, God shows grace and mercy by saving some. Paul in Romans 9 says God is not unjust or unfair in doing this and I am not going to accuse God of injustice either.

For those that do accuse Calvinism of being harsh and unfair, I would reconsider the so-called fairness of the Arminian or non-Calvinist system before making that charge.

Praise God for his mercy and grace in saving sinners as we prepare our hearts to celebrate the great salvation that Jesus Christ purchased for us this Easter Sunday.

24 Comments:

Blogger Exist~Dissolve said...

1. Age of death: The longer an unbeliever lives, the more time and opportunity he will have to respond to God’s wooing and drawing that the quotes above indicate that all men get. An 80-year old will have 60 more years than a 20 year old that dies in a car accident. The 20-year old unbeliever doesn’t even come close to having the opportunity as the 80-year old person.

Your reasoning here is fraudulent in that it equates "opportunity" with a linear and causal conception of human relatedness to God. Besides, how is one to adjudicate between those who have responded to the wooing of God's spirit and those who have not? Certainly not your or me.

The historic faith of the church is that God is merciful to all and will be reconciled to all that desire to be reconciled with the Creator, not those who have aligned themselves with Western conceptions of what it means to living in reconciliation with God.

2. Location of birth: Being born and raised in the heartland of America certainly affords a much better opportunity than being born and raised in Iran.

I explicitly reject this notion. Being born in the heartland of America may actually be an incredible hindrance. Again, you are injecting your Western, Americanized conception of God's will and purposes upon this question.

3. Parental circumstances: Being born with parents that are devout Christians affords a much better chance than parents that are atheists, Buddists, or Muslims.

According to your standards, perhaps. However, God is reconciled to those who desire to do the will of God, not to those who have privileged births.

Therefore, the non-Calvinist playing field is not level and an equal opportunity for even hearing the good news is not even close to being a reality. In contrast, the Calvinist’s theological system playing field is very level since all of humanity is dead in sin and unable, apart from God’s intervention, to come to salvation. Therefore, God shows grace and mercy by saving some. Paul in Romans 9 says God is not unjust or unfair in doing this and I am not going to accuse God of injustice either.

Actually, within Calvinistic methodology, there is no "field" at all. As God's will is the only actuating principal within reality, everything that attains in reality is explicitly and infallibly in keeping with the will and ontology of very God. Therefore, this "sin" for which God supposedly damns humans is merely an expression of the will which God was pleased to act upon in accordance with the holiness of divinity. The only player in this entire act is God; therefore, to speak of "fairness" and "justice" is entirely non-sequitur.

For those that do accuse Calvinism of being harsh and unfair, I would reconsider the so-called fairness of the Arminian or non-Calvinist system before making that charge.

Strawman. I would never accuse Calvinists of advocating an "unfair" God, only a neurotic one. It is easy to answer the charge of unfairness. However, I have yet to see a reasonable response to the other.

April 02, 2007 10:54 PM

 
Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

Those are good points Jazzy. Of course I'm not in love with Heidegger, so take that with a grain of salt.

April 03, 2007 12:45 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

E.D......
You said.....
However, God is reconciled to those who desire to do the will of God, not to those who have privileged births.

Are you asserting works salvation?
Up until this point in time, all Americans are privileged to be born under a free enterprise and freedom of religion system. Any other form of "privileged" that you speak of is read into my post.

The Arminian system holds that man has within himself the ability to come to faith in Christ. Therefore, more time equals more opportunity. More exposure to Christian teaching and Christian people equals more opportunity. More training from Christian parents equals more opportunity. A person born in a Christian town in America to Christian parents that lives to an age of 80 has a better opportunity to decide to come to faith in Christ than someone born in an Iranian town to Muslim parents that dies at age 20. I do not see how this can be disputed using Arminian theology and normal reasoning ability.

April 03, 2007 10:49 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Jonathan,
What do you mean about Heidegger? While I do not discount philosophy, my training was in a technical field..........
Wayne

I believe that someone that graduates at Auburn has a better chance of being an Auburn fan than someone that finishes at Alabama.

Is that solid reasoning?

April 03, 2007 10:55 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

The Calvinist playing field is no more level than the Non-Calvinist.

Calvinists usually believe that God uses 'means' in reaching the Elect. And they usually hold that the non-elect will be condemned for not availing themselves of those 'means.'

Some people encounter more 'means' than others.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

April 03, 2007 10:56 AM

 
Blogger Exist~Dissolve said...

Some people encounter more 'means' than others.

Yes, but per necessary conclusions based upon Calvinistic philosophy, these "means" are encountered in as infallibly an ordained way as their primal causes and terminal effects.

April 03, 2007 11:36 AM

 
Blogger Exist~Dissolve said...

Are you asserting works salvation?

C'mon, you know me better than that.

The Arminian system holds that man has within himself the ability to come to faith in Christ. Therefore, more time equals more opportunity. More exposure to Christian teaching and Christian people equals more opportunity. More training from Christian parents equals more opportunity. A person born in a Christian town in America to Christian parents that lives to an age of 80 has a better opportunity to decide to come to faith in Christ than someone born in an Iranian town to Muslim parents that dies at age 20. I do not see how this can be disputed using Arminian theology and normal reasoning ability.

I will grant that your characterization of Arminian theology may be reasonable (although I would dispute a few of the points). However, this post was directed to "non-Calvinists," not Arminians.

Therefore, as I am no Arminian (and would argue nearly as strenuously against the categories of Arminianism as I would against the equivalent within Calvinism), your response does not really deal with what I have written.

It is easy to take on the weakest opponents of one's philosophical system. Arminianism, after all, is only slightly less challenging to subvert philosophically than is Calvinism (being as they share about 80% of the same categories). But this is like the atheist concluding that God does not exist based upon the absurd claims of rabid fundamentalists; they are easy targets, philosophically, but a fully robust argument engages the most difficult responses, not the easiest.

April 03, 2007 11:42 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

E.D...
These Arminian and non-Calvinist definitions get tricky. The Free Grace people get offended at being called Arminian because the orginal Arminians did not believe in eternal security. However, many Ariminians now hold to eternal security which would make them one point Calvinists I suppose. At any rate I used the term non-Calvinist rather than Arminian to not offend them.

April 03, 2007 6:56 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Matthew,
I take it you agree that the non-Calvinists' theological system does not allow fair and equal opportunity for accessing faith.

Thank you. BTW, I am glad you have come to like cats. Jazzy will be pleased.
Wayne

April 03, 2007 7:00 PM

 
Blogger Dawn said...

The non-Calvinist does have a level playing field. A level playing field to the non-Calvinist means that we are all capable of responding to the gospel in a positive way, but not all will. We all have the ability to seek God.

April 04, 2007 4:50 AM

 
Blogger bluecollar said...

Dawn - "We all have the ability to seek God."

Could you please supply chapter and verse?

April 04, 2007 6:09 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Dawn,
Do you consider the following an equal opportunity under Arminian theology:
A person born in a Christian town in America to Christian parents that lives to an age of 80 has a better and longer opportunity to decide to come to faith in Christ than someone born in an Iranian town to Muslim parents that dies at age 20.

How do you handled Rom. 8:7-8, Rom. 8:29-30, and John 6:37,65?

Wayne

April 04, 2007 9:25 AM

 
Blogger Dawn said...

Mark: "Could you please supply chapter and verse?"

Acts 17:27 "That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:"

2 Chronicles 15:13 "That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman."

Lamentations 3:25 "The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him."

Deuteronomy 4:29 "But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul."

These are just a few verses, but they show that we have the ability to seek the Lord.

As an aside. I have not read Dave Hunt's book "What Love Is This". The only book by Dave Hunt that I've read (and I didn't even read it all) is the "Debating Calvinism" by James White and Dave Hunt. If memory serves, I didn't always agree with Hunt's interpretations.

I applaud the Moorhead brothers(?) diligence in obtaining their doctorates in the original languages, but, as I'm sure you know, not all experts always agree on their findings and interpretations.

I hope you are not implying that we cannot understand the word of God if it has been translated in English. I really do not believe that is what you were tyring to convey.

My own bible teacher has two doctorates and one of them is in theology and he is a non-Calvinist. He's been teaching and studying God's word for almost 40 years.

April 04, 2007 11:59 PM

 
Blogger Dawn said...

Jazzy: "Do you consider the following an equal opportunity under Arminian theology:

A person born in a Christian town in America to Christian parents that lives to an age of 80 has a better and longer opportunity to decide to come to faith in Christ than someone born in an Iranian town to Muslim parents that dies at age 20.
"

Yes, I consider all this equal as we all have revelation of God no matter where we live or how long we've lived. (Romans 1&2; John 1:9, etc.) But I also believe that God will not allow someone whom He KNOWS is going to be a believer to perish before he believes.

Jazzy: "How do you handled Rom. 8:7-8, Rom. 8:29-30, and John 6:37,65?"

I've responded to these on the first "Question for non-Calvinists" thread.

April 05, 2007 12:48 AM

 
Blogger bluecollar said...

Dawn,

I am honored that you visit here. As I said before, I like making new friends, even if they don't agree w/my hold of the Doctrines of Grace.

That said -

You say, "These are just a few verses, but they show that we have the ability to seek the Lord."

I disagree. The "Calvinist" would say that these scriptures, while going out to all, will only be heeded by the elect. The rest would merely scoff and reject them.

You see, the heart of our disagreement lies in the fact that men are dead in trespasses and sins, as discussed on the other thread. As long as there is disagreement here then there is no hope we can see eye to eye. I think that Gayla, Dave and myself articulated the Doctrines of Grace view very accurately.

Summary:

Before man is regenerated he is hostile to God. He loves his sin too much. After regeneration his affections are changed. He goes from being a sin loving, God hating person to being a God fearing, semi sin hating person (I don't hold to sinless perfection).

Mark

April 05, 2007 6:47 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Dawn,
You said..........
Yes, I consider all this equal as we all have revelation of God no matter where we live or how long we've lived.

If these two situations are equal, do you find it odd that the percentage of Christians in an American heartland town would be about 3000% higher than those in a Muslim dominated town in Iran. Dawn, the Bible does not ask us to abandon all reason and logic. So to assert that someone born to a muslim cleric has the same opportunity as someone born to say Billy Graham to use their free to will to come to Christ defies reason.

YOu said....
I also believe that God will not allow someone whom He KNOWS is going to be a believer to perish before he believes.

This is true and the death date is ordained for unbelivers as well. He knows who is going to be a believer because he predestines and calls them at the appointed time (Rom. 8:29-30). He sure wouldn't need to call someone he see's is going to come without his call. Also, the call spoken of in these two verses cannot be considered the general external call because it is clear that the call in view here is 100% effective. IOW "Those he called he justified" means that all he called is saved. If this calling goes out to everyone as you say then 100% would be saved. Read Romans 8 carefully and think about that.....

April 05, 2007 8:42 AM

 
Blogger Dawn said...

Mark, first of all thank you for the kind words. I'm honored that you're honored. Even though we disagree, I still learn from you guys.

Mark: "You see, the heart of our disagreement lies in the fact that men are dead in trespasses and sins, as discussed on the other thread. As long as there is disagreement here then there is no hope we can see eye to eye. I think that Gayla, Dave and myself articulated the Doctrines of Grace view very accurately."

I agree that there is no hope that we can see eye to eye.

Mark: "Before man is regenerated he is hostile to God. He loves his sin too much. After regeneration his affections are changed. He goes from being a sin loving, God hating person to being a God fearing, semi sin hating person (I don't hold to sinless perfection)."

I agree that before man is regenerated that he is hostile toward God, but hostility does not equate to inability. And yes, he does love his sin too much. Again, loving sin does not render one incapable. I agree that once we're born again our affections will change.

Thank you for your time.

April 05, 2007 12:59 PM

 
Blogger Dawn said...

Jazzy: "If these two situations are equal, do you find it odd that the percentage of Christians in an American heartland town would be about 3000% higher than those in a Muslim dominated town in Iran."

No. (I'll take your word for the % being accurate.)

Jazzy: "Dawn, the Bible does not ask us to abandon all reason and logic. So to assert that someone born to a muslim cleric has the same opportunity as someone born to say Billy Graham to use their free to will to come to Christ defies reason."

I agree. We are absolutely expected to use all reason and logic. The bible says that these people are able to seek Him. (I know we disagree.) If that is the case, then those who will seek God will find Him. God will make sure of it. It could very well be that God has put them where they are because He knows that they will not seek Him and would not come to Him even if they were born into Billy Graham's household. I rest in the fact that God will not allow His sheep to perish.

Jazzy: "He knows who is going to be a believer because he predestines and calls them at the appointed time (Rom. 8:29-30)."

He knows who is going to be a believer because He foreknows AND whom He foreknows He predestines. Though I believe He also predestines to fulfill certain purposes that have nothing to with foreknowledge, rather they have to do with his will.

Jazzy: "He sure wouldn't need to call someone he see's is going to come without his call."

I don't believe anyone is going to come without the call. Though He knows who will come and who will not.

Jazzy: "Also, the call spoken of in these two verses cannot be considered the general external call because it is clear that the call in view here is 100% effective. IOW "Those he called he justified" means that all he called is saved. If this calling goes out to everyone as you say then 100% would be saved. Read Romans 8 carefully and think about that....."

The call spoken of in Romans 8 is what I would call the effectual call. Meaning that those who were called by the general call placed their faith in Christ making it an effectual call to the point of salvation. If the call of God is 100% effective, then all would be saved. But we know the word says that many are called, but few are chosen. Those who are justified are those who have been effectually called.

Do you have a verse(s) of scripture which you believe states that the call of God is 100% effective other than Romans 8:30?

April 05, 2007 2:06 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Dawn,
You said…………
The call spoken of in Romans 8 is what I would call the effectual call. Meaning that those who were called by the general call placed their faith in Christ making it an effectual call to the point of salvation. If the call of God is 100% effective, then all would be saved. But we know the word says that many are called, but few are chosen. Those who are justified are those who have been effectually called.

Dawn, I believe we are close here…. The text does not say ‘most of those he called he justified’ or ‘some of those he called he justified.’ It says, “those he called, he also justified.” If the general call brings people to faith, then there would be no need for an effectual call. If a farm wife called her husband and children to dinner and some didn’t come, she may need to ring a bell for a louder call. However, if they all came and sat at the table, then she wouldn’t need to ring the bell. The general call goes out to everyone, but this text cannot be talking about that since the call spoken of here is 100% effective. I am doing a verse by verse photo commentary on Romans 8 over at my blog and I am on verse 34. I would invite you to check out some of these meditations.

Other verses beside Romans 8:30 that show the call is 100% effective: John 6:37, 44, 65 together, Romans 1:6-7, Romans 9:16, Romans 9:23-24, Hebrews 9:15, Jude 1, 1 Peter 2:9, 1 Peter 5:10, Rev. 17:14.

There are also many verses that state that the general call is 0% effective such as Romans 8:7-8, 1 Cor. 2:14, Eph. 2:1-2, John 6:44, 65.

The important thing is that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

Thanks,
Wayne

April 05, 2007 6:26 PM

 
Blogger Dawn said...

Wayne, thank you for your patience and your persistence. Maybe I'm wrong in my "wording". But then we're just playing semantics.

Jesus said that many are called, but few are chosen. Maybe I should be using the word invited. I know that is one of the definitions in the Greek for the word "called."

So, many are invited and few are chosen. Those who are invited, but do not receive or accept God's invitation by placing their faith in Christ are not called any further to become the sons of God.

Another way to say it is that He calls us all to repentance and those who heed the call are called to His purpose.

I guess my point is that the basis of God's call is whether or not one's faith is placed in Christ.

We are at an impasse here, but I do appreciate your time in discussing the matter with me. I will take a look at your study on Romans. Thanks.

April 06, 2007 1:12 AM

 
Blogger bluecollar said...

Dawn, Good Morning, my new friend!

You say, "I agree that before man is regenerated that he is hostile toward God, but hostility does not equate to inability. And yes, he does love his sin too much. Again, loving sin does not render one incapable. I agree that once we're born again our affections will change."

You see, and I agree, many Calvinists camp on the "inability" aspect. The "Westminster Confession" and "The London Baptist Confession" do. Let me explain what they are driving at:
Man's hatred of Crist, seen vividly throughout the new testament, prevents him from WANTING to come to God on His terms, namely, through Christ.

Christ, The Way, The Truth and The Life - God's ways, His terms. Man is blind and hostile to these ways and terms. In man's view Christ is to be scorned, scoffed at and mocked, even hated. Why? Because he is a child of wrath by nature. He is controlled by the spirit that works in the children of disobedience. He does not have the Holy Spirit Who alone is the Life Giver and Opener of blind eyes. See, for example, Gal. 5:16-23. Subtract the Holy Spirit's presence and what you have is nothing but works of the flesh, a life driven and occupied by and totally focused on them.

Dawn, I hope you become a regular here. You are pleasant to talk to and interact with. Again, please be a regular here.

April 06, 2007 10:04 AM

 
Blogger Dawn said...

Good morning my new friend Mark! I'm so blessed to be called your friend. Truly.

Thanks for the invitation to become a regular commenter. I will definitely make Bluecollar a must read.

I understand what you're saying about being blind, children of wrath, etc. without the spirit's intervention. But the bible states that Jesus lights all men. I'll have to think more on this before I can respond properly. Maybe I'll blog about it and let you know when I have. I'll have an entry put up today, but it doesn't truly address the things you've mentioned here.

John 10:37-39 "If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him."

It is scriptures like this where Jesus is trying to persuade these men that show me man is capable of responding positively to the gospel, but for various reasons some do not.

Thanks for the challenge. I hope to address in the near future.

April 07, 2007 10:33 AM

 
Blogger bluecollar said...

Dawn - Right now I am in the middle of taking care of my dad whom we just moved into a Home. I am running his belongings over to him there.

When I have more time I wish to expand on the thoughts surrounding what I laid out in Gal. 5. Thanks for your patience, and friendship.

April 07, 2007 11:03 AM

 
Blogger Dawn said...

Mark, I pray that things go well with your dad in his new habitation.

I look forward to your post on Galatians 5 (whenever time permits).

April 07, 2007 11:09 AM

 

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