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Monday, 30 April 2018

CALVINISM: THE HORRIBLE DECREE

John Calvin was a second generation reformer born in 1509 in Noyon, northern France. He was a young man of about twenty six years old and a recent convert to Protestantism when he wrote his first edition of the Institutes of the Christian Religion. Soon after its publication, Calvin began his ministry in Geneva, Switzerland. He revised and expanded the Institutes over a number of years, until the fifth and final edition was published in 1559. Calvin got much of his inspiration for the Institutes from Augustine of Hippo, the founder of Roman Catholicism.

There is no evidence that Calvin was actually a born again believer. (Matthew 7:15-20). He is said to have been strongly devoted to Roman Catholicism as a youth and he trained for the priesthood at the Coll├Ęge de Montaigu until around 1530. It is unlikely that Calvin's break from the RCC was based on theological differences or a heart for reform. Rather his withdrawal from the college appears to have been the result of a conflict between his father and the cathedral chapter of Noyon over a business matter in 1527. Calvin's father and older brother were excommunicated in 1528. As a result, Calvin's benefices and expectations became uncertain. In other words, Calvin's departure from the college was an inevitable consequence of these events. Calvin's father subsequently enrolled him in the University of Orleans to study law.

The basis of Calvin's soteriology was double predestination aka limited atonement:

Calvin: "All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death." {1} 

Calvin's doctrine of double predestination was taken directly from Augustine, whom he frequently referred to and directly quoted in his writings. It appears that Augustine's flawed teaching on predestination was an overreaction to the error of Pelagius and was a throwback to Gnostic Manichaeism. Critically, Augustinian predestination was not taught for the first 300 years of the early church period, as the writings of a considerable number of influential early church fathers demonstrates. {2}

Calvin: "The decree is dreadful indeed, I confess. (Decretum quidem horribile, fateor)."  - the horrible degree. Double predestination is extremely problematic and differs from the plain teaching of the bible in a number of key respects:

* everyone who believes in Jesus shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16).
* everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:21).
* God commands all people everywhere to repent. (Acts 17:30). 
* The Lord.. is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9).
* God desires all people to be saved. (1 Timothy 2:4). 
* Jesus gave himself as a ransom for all. (1 Timothy 2:6).
* He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2).

Calvin's mandatory implementation of his version of Christianity upon Geneva pre-empted even God Himself, or rather Calvin's idea of God. Following Augustine's example, Calvin literally forced "regeneration" upon the populace by his own, rather than God's "sovereign" intervention! In November 1552, the Council declared Calvin's Institutes to be "a holy doctrine which no man might speak against", hence Calvin became known as "the Pope of Geneva". Failure to become one of the "elect" was punishable by death or expulsion from Geneva. Failure to attend church was a punishable offence and all entertainments and shows were banned outright.

Calvin's compulsive implementation of paedobaptism (infant baptism) is a further indication of his flawed understanding of soteriology. Calvin denied that a conscious decision was necessary in order to become a believer, and he viciously overruled any objections from the Anabaptists. Protestants were known to “baptize” Anabaptist "heretics" by drowning them in rivers! Calvin defined baptism as: "..the sign of the initiation by which we are received into the society of the church, in order that, engrafted in Christ, we may be reckoned among God's children."

Free-will, a dirty word to Calvinists, was expunged... and so proceeded Calvin's rule of terror. Calvin's vile actions even contradicted his own writings:

Calvin: "..the kind of drawing, it is not violent, so as to compel men by external force; but still it is a powerful impulse of the Holy Spirit, which makes men willing who formerly were unwilling and reluctant." {3}

CALVIN'S STATEMENTS SUPPORTING PERSECUTION
Prefatory Address in his Institutes to Francis, King of the French, 1536. "But when I perceived that the fury of certain bad men had risen to such a height in your realm, that there was no place in it for sound doctrine, I thought it might be of service if I were in the same work both to give instruction to my countrymen, and also lay before your Majesty a Confession, from which you may learn what the doctrine is that so inflames the rage of those madmen who are this day, with fire and sword, troubling your kingdom. For I fear not to declare, that what I have here given may be regarded as a summary of the very doctrine which, they vociferate, ought to be punished with confiscation, exile, imprisonment, and flames, as well as exterminated by land and sea. This, I allow, is a fearful punishment which God sends on the earth; but if the wickedness of men so deserves, why do we strive to oppose the just vengeance of God?"
Letter to William Farel, February 13, 1546. "If he [Servetus] comes [to Geneva], I shall never let him go out alive if my authority has weight."
Letter to the Lord Protector of Somerset, adviser to King Edward VI, October 22, 1548. "[They] well deserve to be repressed by the sword which is committed to you, seeing that they attack not the King only, but God who has seated him upon the throne, and has entrusted to you the protection as well of His person as of His majesty."
Letter of August 20, 1553, one week after Servetus arrest. "I hope that Servetus will be condemned to death."
Defense of Orthodox Faith against the Prodigious Errors of the Spaniard Michael Servetus, published in early 1554. "Whoever shall now contend that it is unjust to put heretics and blasphemers to death will knowingly and willingly incur their very guilt. This is not laid down on human authority; it is God who speaks and prescribes a perpetual rule for his Church. It is not in vain that he banishes all those human affections which soften our hearts; that he commands paternal love and all the benevolent feelings between brothers, relations, and friends to cease; in a word, that he almost deprives men of their nature in order that nothing may hinder their holy zeal. Why is so implacable a severity exacted but that we may know that God is defrauded of his honour, unless the piety that is due to him be preferred to all human duties, and that when his glory is to be asserted, humanity must be almost obliterated from our memories? Many people have accused me of such ferocious cruelty that I would like to kill again the man I have destroyed. Not only am I indifferent to their comments, but I rejoice in the fact that they spit in my face."
Preface to Commentaries, July 22, 1557. "To these irreligious characters. and despisers of the heavenly doctrineŠ. I think that there is scarcely any of the weapons which are forged in the workshop of Satan, which has not been employed by them in order to obtain their object. And at length matters had come to such a state, that an end could be put to their machinations in no other way than cutting them off by an ignominious death; which was indeed a painful and pitiable spectacle to me. They no doubt deserved the severest punishment, but I always rather desired that they might live in prosperity, and continue safe and untouched; which would have been the case had they not been altogether incorrigible, and obstinately refused to listen to wholesome admonition."
Comments on Ex. 22:20, Lev. 24:16, Deut. 13:5-15, 17:2-5. "Moreover, God Himself has explicitly instructed us to kill heretics, to smite with the sword any city that abandons the worship of the true faith revealed by Him."
Letter to the Marquis Paet, chamberlain to the King of Navarre, 1561. "Honour, glory, and riches shall be the reward of your pains; but above all, do not fail to rid the country of those scoundrels [Anabaptists and others], who stir up the people to revolt against us. Such monsters should be exterminated, as I have exterminated Michael Servetus the Spaniard."

PERSECUTIONS AT CALVIN'S GENEVA

The Minutes Book of the Geneva City Council, 1541-59 (translated by Stefan Zweig, Erasmus: The Right to Heresy):
"During the ravages of the pestilence in 1545 more than twenty men and women were burnt alive for witchcraft.
From 1542 to 1546 fifty-eight judgements of death and seventy-six decrees of banishment were passed.
During the years 1558 and 1559 the cases of various punishments for all sorts of offences amounted to four hundred and fourteen.
One burgher smiled while attending a baptism: three days imprisonment.
Another, tired out on a hot summer day, went to sleep during a sermon: prison.
Some workingmen ate pastry at breakfast: three days on bread and water.
Two burghers played skittles: prison.
Two others diced for a quarter bottle of wine: prison.
A blind fiddler played a dance: expelled from the city.
Another praised Castellio's translation of the Bible: expelled from Geneva.
A girl was caught skating, a widow threw herself on the grave of her husband, a burgher offered his neighbour a pinch of snuff during divine service: they were summoned before the Consistory, exhorted, and ordered to do penance.
Some cheerful fellows at Epiphany stuck a bean into the cake: four-and-twenty hours on bread and water.
A couple of peasants talked about business matters on coming out of church: prison.
A man played cards: he was pilloried with the pack of cards hung around his neck.
Another sang riotously in the street: was told 'they could go and sing elsewhere,' this meaning he was banished from the city.
Two bargees had a brawl: executed.
A man who publicly protested against the reformer's doctrine of predestination was flogged at all the crossways of the city and then expelled.
A book printer who in his cups [columns] had railed at Calvin, was sentenced to have his tongue perforated with a red-hot iron before being expelled from the city.
Jacques Gruent was racked and then executed for calling Calvin a hypocrite.
Each offence, even the most paltry, was carefully entered in the record of the Consistory, so that the private life of every citizen could unfailingly be held up against him in evidence." (See Pike, pp. 61-63).

Sources quoted in Philip Schaff's History of the Christian Church, vol. 8:

"The death penalty against heresy, idolatry and blasphemy and barbarous customs of torture were retained. Attendance at public worship was commanded on penalty of three sols. Watchmen were appointed to see that people went to church. The members of the Consistory visited every house once a year to examine the faith and morals of the family. Every unseemly word and act on the street was reported, and the offenders were cited before the Consistory to be either censured and warned, or to be handed over to the Council for severer punishment."
Several women, among them the wife of Ami Perrin, the captain-general, were imprisoned for dancing.
A man was banished from the city for three months because on hearing an ass bray, he said jestingly 'He prays a beautiful psalm.'
A young man was punished because he gave his bride a book on housekeeping with the remark: 'This is the best Psalter.'
Three men who laughed during a sermon were imprisoned for three days.
Three children were punished because they remained outside of the church during the sermon to eat cakes.
A man who swore by the 'body and blood of Christ' was fined and condemned to stand for an hour in the pillory on the public square.
A child was whipped for calling his mother a thief and a she-devil.
A girl was beheaded for striking her parents.
A banker was executed for repeated adultery.
A person named Chapuis was imprisoned for four days because he persisted in calling his child Claude (a Roman Catholic saint) instead of Abraham.
Men and women were burnt to death for witchcraft. (See Pike, pp. 55,56).

From Other Sources:

Belot, an Anabaptist was arrested for passing out tracts in Geneva and also accusing Calvin of excessive use of wine. With his books and tracts burned, he was banished from the city and told not to return on pain of hanging (J.L. Adams, The Radical Reformation, pp. 597-598).
Martin Luther said of Calvin's actions in Geneva, "With a death sentence they solve all argumentation" (Juergan L. Neve, A History of Christian Thought, vol. I, p. 285).

"About the month of January 1546, a member of the Little Council, Pierre Ameaux, asserted that Calvin was nothing but a wicked man - who was preaching false doctrine. Calvin felt that his authority as an interpreter of the Word of God was being attacked: he so completely identified his own ministry with the will of God that he considered Ameaux's words as an insult to the honour of Christ. The Magistrates offered to make the culprit beg Calvin's pardon on bended knees before the Council of the Two Hundred, but Calvin found this insufficient. On April 8, Ameaux was sentenced to walk all round the town, dressed only in a shirt, bareheaded and carrying a lighted torch in his hand, and after that to present himself before the tribunal and cry to God for mercy" (F. Wendel, Calvin, pp. 85, 86).
Compiled by Jack Moorman {4}

How anyone would want to be associated with the name of Calvin after becoming acquainted with the history is staggering! Calvinism, whether Five Point Calvinism (TULIP), New Calvinism, Partial Calvinism, or whatever "ism" it is known by, is not based on the Holy Scriptures. (Galatians 5:9).

I have spent some time reading the material of former five point Calvinist, Dr Leighton Flowers, and also watching some of the exchanges between Flowers and his adversaries on YouTube. {5}

Flowers puts forward a compelling view of what he calls the "traditional" approach as against Calvinism, and he exegetes some of the scriptural passages very well. While I agree with Flowers technically, I have a huge problem with his excessive forbearance towards leaders who are aggressively pushing the Calvinist agenda. Sometimes it seems that Flowers would rather condemn those who call out false teachers than the false teachers themselves! A number of people involved in apologetics are called to.. contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 1:3). "Winning the argument", in human terms, as Flowers puts it, is the last thing they are interested in doing! I find Flowers reductionism and his condemnation of those speaking out against apostasy highly offensive! Perhaps more attention to the damage being done to the flock might be in order! (Matthew 7:15; 2 Peter 2:1-2; 2 Timothy 4:3). The practice of "Stealth Calvinism" is particularly despicable i.e. the Founders Ministries advice to Calvinistic pastors to avoid full disclosure while interviewing in order to gain leadership positions! {6}

Flowers advice to those finding themselves under the authority of a Calvinist pastor who has insidiously taken over leadership of a "traditional" church: ".. bear with the pastor and pray for him ... ask questions, be patient, serve him, support him and to speak to him.." {7}. This counsel seems very tolerant and loving, but is it? Paul warned about the problem of false teachers who creep in unnoticed. (2 Peter 2:1). If a man has hidden his Calvinism prior to taking up a position as a pastor, then his personal integrity comes into grave question. (Luke 16:10). An elder should be above reproach and an example to the flock. (1 Timothy 4:12). ..to hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. (Titus 1:6-9 cf. James 3:1). The new pastor has created the problem, not those who are upset by his teaching. Not everyone is strong (Romans 14:1); and yet all will be obliged to come under the authority of, and be subject to, false teaching.. actually a different gospel. (Galatians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 11:4). Must a whole congregation suffer and be sacrificed because of one man's dishonesty? (1 Corinthians 5:7-8). I thought that shepherds were supposed to lay down their lives for the flock, not the reverse! (John 10:12-13). I do not think that Flowers would have got on very well with some of the advice the apostle Paul gave at times! (Romans 16:17; 2 Corinthians 11:13). My advice is to politely ask questions, at the beginning, and obviously to pray. After patiently exhausting the possibility of a resolution, failure to act decisively is tantamount to putting up with another gospel. (2 Corinthians 11:4). The sad fact is that Calvinism does split churches, and there comes a time when separation becomes inevitable. (2 Corinthians 6:17).

One teacher I highly recommend is Pastor Kevin G. Thompson: Beyond The Fundamenals. {8} Thompson takes a very strong position and calls out Calvinism for exactly what it is - philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition.. (Colossians 2:8). It is disappointing that Thompson has not applied the same rigorous exegesis to the pre-trib rapture debate. I am sure he would change his mind to embrace the pre-wrath position if he did.

{1} http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.v.xxii.html
{2} https://bjorkbloggen.com/2012/05/08/quotes-from-old-church-fathers-supporting-free-will-and-objecting-to-the-sinful-nature/
{3} http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom34.xii.vii.html
{4} http://www.a-voice.org/tidbits/calvinp.htm
{5} https://soteriology101.com/
{5} https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPRJ7X3hyFvm-3Jo8rVWYOw
{6} https://player.fm/series/soteriology-101-former-calvinistic-professor-discusses-doctrines-of-salvation/stealth-calvinism-and-pastor-search-committees
{7} https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RxcEGCh_Hc
{8} http://beyondthefundamentals.com/calvinism-defeated.html

15 comments:

  1. Treena - nothing which you’ve written surprises me. I have long since held the opinion that the ‘Reformation’ didn’t go far enough. I’ve always likened it to a surgical procedure to remove a tumour where the surgeon has closed up without removing all of the growth - whereupon it immediately starts to grow again - as your short biography of Calvin ably testifies.

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  2. I do have some respect for Luther Jack. At least he tackled Roman Catholicism and taught the five solas. He was not completely successful I agree, and he wrongly held on to some RC traditions. If it were not for the Reformation then we would all be RC now. I have nothing but disgust for Calvin. God bless.

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  3. I agree with Calvin's soteriology, that is all. I see it very CLEARLY and unequivocally taught in God's word.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Charles Spurgeon:

    "I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what is nowadays called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel and nothing else."

    Spurgeon is of course only referring to the acronym TULIP, not everything the great reformer did.

    I most certainly DON'T agree with everything Calvin taught and did...far from it! But let us not forget that Calvin emerged from very great darkness and superstition, he WAS after all a Roman Catholic priest! I depart from his teachings where they don't agree with Scripture. As Jack infers, the Reformation is on-going, yet is ever dwindling!
    God bless.

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  4. I have to respectfully disagree with Spurgeon on this Colin.. though I am told he was a great preacher in some respects. The scriptures, rightly understood do not teach double predestination. God bless.

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  5. Treena you say that the scriptures, rightly understood do not preach double predestination - but I must respectfully disagree.
    Jesus states in John 3/18 that those who do not come to believe on Him are already condemned.
    And we know from John 6/65 and Romans 8/29 that no person can truly receive Jesus and be conformed to His likeness - unless His Father has eternally willed it.
    So....in electing some to salvation, it will automatically follow that the 'non-elect' will remain condemned.
    Yes/No?
    God Bless

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  6. John 3:18 "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God."

    The reason that people are condemned is because they do not believe. We were all condemned before we chose to believe.

    Dr Leighton Flowers talks about the "messianic secret" or "judicial hardening" of the Israelites.. "They are being temporarily blinded in their already calloused condition so as to accomplish redemption for the world.."

    Flowers: "At this vital time in human history, they are being 'judicially hardened' or 'cut off' (Rom. 9:1-3) or 'sent a spirit of stupor' (Rom. 11:8) so as to seal them in their already calloused condition (John 12:39-41; Acts 28:27). Scripture tells us that God is hardening the calloused Jews in order to accomplish a greater redemptive purpose through their rebellion. It is God’s ordained plan to bring redemption to the world through the crucifixion of the Messiah by the hands of the rebellious Jews (Acts 2:23)..

    In John 6 Jesus is addressing a large group of people nicknamed “the elect of God” who have “grown calloused” against His clear revelation and thus are being “given over to their stubbornness” or “blinded” from seeing the truth of who He is. This contextual information is very significant when attempting to understand the author’s intention with regard to the natural inability of mankind from birth, one of the primary Calvinistic premises..

    The doctrine of judicial hardening completely undermines Calvinism’s doctrine of Total Inability. There is no practical or theological reason for God to put a blind fold on those born totally and completely blind from birth. And there is certainly no reason to judicially harden a soul born in the “corpse-like dead” condition of “Total Inability” proposed by the T of the Calvinistic systematic.

    Plus, in my interpretation the hardening is not a permanent condition set before time began that seals most of humanity into a hopeless condition for all eternity. Instead, it is a temporary condition of those who have freely rebelled for a long time, which ultimately has the redemptive goal of provoking the hardened Jews to envy so that they too might be saved (Rom. 11:14).."

    These are excerpts Jack. The whole fascinating article is a must read: https://soteriology101.com/2016/01/02/the-messianic-secret/

    It is unlikely that I will be able to do any better than Flowers or Thompson on their excellent exegesis, though I do intend writing something more about the theological side of things at a later date.

    God bless.



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  7. The problem which I have Treena is that I do not believe in 'free will' - I believe in 'self will' which is an entirely different attribute.
    Free will and self will are very often confused, but they are distinctly different.
    Free will is an illusion - not even God has free will - to retain His eternal status God must operate in absolute obedience to His eternal precepts - if He allowed the cancer of self-focus to seed and grow within the constitution of His self-sacrificial Triune being His reward would be death.Its as simple as that.
    Self will (Sin) is a transitory state which, unless nullified by divine self sacrifice, will take any individual from life to death. (The wages of Sin is death?)
    The exercise of 'self will'(Sin) always results in death - which is why our Father through Jesus' had to selflessly and sacrificially choose those who would believe in Him.
    Our salvation is God's choice and God's alone.
    It cannot be otherwise
    God Bless

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  8. I'm wondering how Calvin would have answered a stranger who might ask him this question: "Can I use my free will to become one of your followers?" I'm also wondering how and when Calvin knew positively that he was truly predestined for eternal life with the Lord. As you may surmise, I am a "kindergartner" when it comes to Calvinism and will welcome any analysis of my wondering - whether or not you use your free will when responding to me!

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  9. WHAT SHALL WE/I DO?

    37Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:37...)

    30Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:30-31).

    “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. (Isaiah 1:18).

    I recommend you listen to the following:
    Why Regeneration Cannot Precede Faith https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fXKP_L8jFw

    God bless.

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  10. Matthew 13/11 comes to mind where Jesus explains that only some have been enabled to know the mysteries of heaven…
    And in John 10/22-30 Jesus confirms that only those who God has given to Him will effectively believe into eternal life.
    It’s not a difficult concept to understand – Christians are given the remit to proclaim the gospel of Christ crucified and invite reaction – but only those who have been spiritually quickened will be able to effectively respond and thereafter become consciously aware of having received that which they have already been given – The Holy Spirit.
    Speaking personally, I became a Christian in 1986 and for many, many years after, I honestly believed that I had, on my own initiative, chosen to believe in Christ. But through the years God, via His Holy Spirit, has been pruning and disciplining me - and is continuing so to do.
    And it was through this very humbling and ongoing sanctification/chastening process that God, in his time, showed me that He had chosen me, and that I had not chosen Him.
    Why did God wait through the passage of very difficult and humbling years to reveal this?
    Because I needed humbled – I needed to know that it wasn’t because of any innate quality of mine that God had chosen me. I needed to be shown that I was no better than the worst of sinners.
    God’s timing is sometimes confusing, however we are told not to lean on our own understanding.
    For instance, it is only in recent years that God has revealed the total corruption which affects ‘traditional’ denominations.
    Did you know that careful study of the Bible will reveal that Christ was crucified on the Wednesday and died late afternoon on that day - and thereafter rose, surprise, surprise, three nights and three days thereafter on late Saturday afternoon?
    So much for ‘Good Friday’ and Easter Sunday aka the Lords Day – and so much for Sunday - the New Sabbath
    God Bless

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  11. There is a 'book' called the "book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" Revelation 13.8, WHO put the names there, God or us? As Luther rightly said "Freewill is a name for nothing". Certainly we have a 'free will', for (unless restrained!) we can choose to do whatever we 'will'! nevertheless, God is sovereign, and His will overrides anything His puny creatures 'will' do. This is absolute pre-destination at work.

    I quote an "excerpt" from Flowers/Thompson (I believe Dispensationalists?) with my interjections in brackets capitalised only for emphasis.

    "The doctrine of judicial hardening completely undermines Calvinism's doctrine of Total Inability (NO IT DOESN'T!). There is no practical or theological reason for God to put a blindfold on those born totally and completely blind from birth (WHY NOT?). And there is certainly no reason to judicially harden a soul born in the "corpse-like dead" condition of "Total Inability" proposed by the T of the Calvinistic systematic (AGAIN, WHY NOT?).

    "All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will...and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?" Daniel 4.35, but perhaps Mr Flowers may well take God to task on this, and say to Him "What doest Thou?
    Mr Flowers appears to have a humanistic bent, in the natural, there is much that I don't like in God's Book. From our own human reasoning was it right that ALL the children should be slaughtered in Joshua 6.21, 8.26, 10.41 and many other places beside, as God commanded?

    I see wickedness increasing all the time and to me the doctrine of human Total Depravity jumps out at me from God's word; Genesis 6.5, 8.21, Job 14.4, 15.14, Psalm 51.5, Jeremiah 17.9, Romans 7.18 etc.

    Where does Faith come from? according to John 3.3,7; "above"! for "WHO maketh thee to differ?" God, of course, 1 Corinthians 4.7!
    Is there any divine spark in the natural man? 1 Corinthians 2.14 & Romans 8.7 will answer this question.

    God bless.

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  12. Jack...

    Matthew 13:11... Jesus was speaking privately to his disciples. I would put this verse amongst those that Flowers refers to as a temporary hardening of the Jews in general in order to facilitate the inclusion of the Gentiles in due time.

    John 10:22-30. Again, Jesus was addressing a specific group of people.. The sheep in this context are the Jewish people. The unfaithful Jews were not of the truth. John 10:24-28; John 10:38; John 18:37). “For if you believed Moses, you would believe me;” (John 5:46).

    “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” (John 10:37-38) Was Jesus contradicting Himself? Their reprobate condition was obviously subject to change upon repentance.

    Jesus switches between the future tense .. those who will believe.. and those who have been given by the Father during Jesus’ earthly ministry.

    Jesus says this PRIOR to the church age and is referring to his disciples.

    My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (John 10:22).

    ..and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:35-40).

    I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, (John 17:20).

    The total corruption which affects “traditional” denominations also affects the Calvinists. For instance, John Piper's association with Beth Moore, Rick Warren, Lectio Divina,, Christian Hedonism, replacement theology... John MacArthur says we can take the mark of the beast and be saved! and on and on.. Apart from a remnant, they have pretty much all lost the plot, whether “traditional” or Calvinist.

    God bless

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  13. Treena, you recommended we watch ‘Why regeneration cannot precede faith’
    I haven’t listened to it because I already know that regeneration can’t precede Faith – but with a one essential proviso:
    We must know whose faith we are talking about – and the circumstances under which that faith operated to bring about spiritual regeneration.
    The faith is not human in derivation – the faith is that faith which belongs to Christ and allowed Him to know absolutely that in giving His life at Calvary - He would be resurrected after three days and three nights in the grave.
    Christ’s faith is divine in origin and is not an attribute owned by fallen man. If any person has real faith, then it has been gifted to him/her by God through His Holy Spirit.
    If a person has faith to truly recognise Christ as his/her Saviour - then that faith was not sourced in themselves ……….rather it was given to them by Christ, through the Holy Spirit.
    God Bless

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  14. Treena Gisborn said...
    Colin..
    "The expression, "book of life," is found only in this book and Philippians 4:3. In all the places where it occurs it seems to refer primarily to Christians (cf. Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 20:12, 15; Revelation 21:27; Revelation 22:19). At baptism the Christian's name is written in the "book of life," from which there is always a possibility of it being blotted out (Revelation 3:5)." http://biblehub.com/revelation/13-8.htm

    God is sovereign undoubtedly .. nevertheless he has created human beings with the ability to choose whether or not to follow Him. "..choose this day whom you will serve." Joshua 24:15. Invitations to follow Jesus are too numerous to mention. Matthew 11:28; John 7:37 etc.

    You know that I believe Genesis 6:5 refers to the total corruption of the human genome. "Just as it was (emphatic) in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man." I think we must consider this further possibility without prejudice. The OT makes no sense at all unless we can grasp that the judgement upon Canaan was linked with Nephilim hybrids. Certainly, the reason that the ten spies did not enter the land of Canaan initially was due to the presence of giants. (Numbers 13:28). These hybrids stood in an entirely different relationship to God from humans - they were not redeemable! They were to be devoted to destruction i.e. completely obliterated - in some cases along with the livestock. This would explain why everything in some cases, not only humans needed to be destroyed.
    you shall not leave alive anything that breathes. Deuteronomy 20:16
    For more information see:
    http://nephilimfiles.blogspot.co.uk/2017 /09/the-nephilim-were-on-earth-in-those.html

    God bless

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  15. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8
    Nevertheless we are exhorted to put our trust/faith in God
    Isaiah 26:4; Psalm 62:8; Proverbs 3:5 etc. etc.

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