Five articles of Remonstrance: Article #1

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161 Responses

  1. We are just discussing # 1, right?

    And where did those summaries come from? They look like a Calvinist misinterpretation of Arminian belief. Also, I’m not sure it’s fair to say Arminius believed these five points. Much like Calvin and his followers, the Remonstrants further developed the beliefs of Arminianism after his death.

    This is a good idea for discussion though. I’m guessing we’ll get into Dort next?

    AS far as article # 1 goes – I don’t see how anyone could disagree with how it is stated at the top. The summary below, however, is hard for me to imagine anyone agreeing with.

  2. Andrew says:

    3. Universal Atonement – The position that Jesus bore the sin of everyone who ever lived.

    Now Michael, you mentioned that you believed in “universal atonement” with the caveat that the application of it is only effectual for the elect. From the surface this appears remarkable similar to be one of Arminius’ points if not the same.

  3. Andrew, I know Michael can certainly answer for himself, but just FYI, this article was posted by Reuben.

  4. “Fall from Grace – The Teaching that a person can fall from grace and lose his salvation.”

    “…shall persevere in this faith and obedience of faith, through this grace, even to the end.”

    Perhaps I’m mis-reading, but these two statements seem to contradict one another (?).

  5. Xenia says:

    I agree with it all.

  6. Michael says:

    I only have a minute as I’m getting Trey off to school.
    The synod of Dort was a hundred years after the death of Calvin.
    The development of the “five points” in response to the Arminians reflects a development in Calvinist theology that Calvin didn’t write.
    The argument about “limited atonement” wasn’t on his radar…that was developed by later Reformed writers.
    Calvin consistently exegeted passages about the extent of the atonement in a universal manner.
    His views on the application of the atonement, or election, were obviously monergistic and predestinarian.

  7. Gary says:

    What is it that compels me to believe that I was capable of repenting of my whole life and confessing that to God? If I had no choice or ability, then I can only conclude that God is the puppet master and love and grace are a hoax.

  8. Ricky Bobby says:

    “monergistic and predestinarian.”

    a.k.a. God picks winners and losers, a few for heaven and the vast majority of humans throughout history for eternal torment forever with no end, ever.

    Sounds pretty Loving and Just and Holy…err, I think we need to redefine those terms.

  9. They all, the Arminians and the Calvinists would have saved a great deal of time, effort and intellectual heartache if the would have just adopted the Book of Concord.

    But both parties dug in and just became stiff necked theological wannabes. 🙂

  10. “But both parties dug in and just became stiff necked theological wannabes”

    You know, I kind of agree with that.

  11. Michael says:

    I edited the article to focus on point 1.

  12. Michael says:

    Actually the Reformed would have been united except that Luther refused to compromise on his view of the Eucharist…

  13. Michael, might I ask again, where did the summary com from? WHy not just discuss the article as it is written?

  14. Xenia says:


    “Although human nature was seriously affected by the fall, man has not been left in a state of total spiritual helplessness. God graciously enables every sinner to repent and believe, but He does not interfere with man’s freedom. Each sinner possesses a free will, and his eternal destiny depends on how he uses it…. etc”

    … is the Eastern Orthodox view. I agree with it, no big surprise. We are synergists.

  15. Michael,
    I know, Luther and Calvin agreed on 14 of 15 points of the Augsburg Confession. Calvin was swayed by Zwingli’s memorial view and Luther would not compromise on the words of Jesus “This IS (that is a capital IS) my body.

  16. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    I think that oftentimes there is a poor choice of words used that have created much division regarding God’s foreknowledge of who would and would not be saved.

    I also think that people do not read the entire Bible or they do but they don’t consider who God is and what He has said, but rather rely upon others to reason things out to fit their own desire to live in the flesh while deceiving themselves and others that they are saved when they are not. I think that people really do not consider the following:

    1. That one does not have to hold to Calvinism, nor to Arminianism, but rather make sure of the calling that they are saved and that they work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, which means that if you are not stuck in Romans 7 and walk in Romans 8—then I would think that the person is in the Lord.

    2. I don’t think it’s an either, or proposition of the two camps, but rather it’s a blending of the two.

    3.“before the foundation of the world, hath determined” I don’t think this is meaning what is being argued by the Armininianism. I believed that if God is all-knowing, why wouldn’t He have a plan worked out that is a witness to who He is in all His majesty and glory. And why wouldn’t He already know long before we were born if we were going to choose to worship Him and not go after something else. In my mind, this is telling me that even before I wink an eye, He already knows where my mind is going to go to and being so, He will do what He will to keep me on the path or if He knows that I am not one of His, nor ever will be, He can and will use that also to push forward in accomplishing His purpose, regardless of the wicked and rebellious heart that I may maintain against Him.

    4. This does not negate the human will. We have a choice—He just knows it long before we make it, and will do everything to make Himself known to us, but at even before this He knows. But we must know this as well—and so He permits us to live and to die accordingly.

    5. On “Free Will.” Even sociopaths know the difference between right and wrong—they just don’t care. Even a child is known by his or her ways.

    6. “Conditional Election.” Again poor selection of words. I believe that it is true, being that God is able to look into the future and see who, will or will not received the gift of salvation and repent. It is because He can do this, that I have no problem whatsoever in also knowing that He has a plan for those that that are His own to dwell with Him forever in His kingdom. I don’t think He chose people for salvation, but He knew who they would be (future) or who they are (in times, before time, as we know it) and in this His plan to redeem them has been working out throughout the ages to accomplish this. I also believe that it isn’t all about the human race. I believe it has much to do with that which has been at war with Him, long before God created Man and Woman.

    7. “Universal Atonement.” Jesus blood was shed for the entire world—that is for those who repents and believes—neither term is passive, but an active choice and action manifested by a changed heart and one that is willing to walk in obedience and not make an excuse for the flesh. Jesus has told us, “many are called, but few are chosen.” The debt was paid for the sins of the world, but unless he or she humble themselves and follow after Him, then what is that, for even the demons believed. Changing the meaning of scripture is not following after Him. It is suiting one’s desire to maintain a sense of control over that which they do not want to give up, however.

    8. “Resistable Grace – The teaching.” All throughout life, we have millions of opportunities to go this way or that when we come to the fork in the road. Each time we decide to do wrong then cover it up by rationalizing, or justifying it, we become more and more harden and indifferent to sin and corruption. If we do not permit our hearts and conscience to be pierced by the truth, then we go initially go into a functional type of denial but inevitably will get to a place that we no longer know the difference between the right and wrong. Everything becomes relative, most convenient, and satisfying. Our mind have become dull and we are no longer are able to see beyond ourselves—god is just another name to be used to objectify and to exploit. I believe therefore, a person can resist His grace, by virture of not even having seen it, for how can one see it, if their hearts resists it. Not that they never saw it, but rather chose a different path to pursue instead.

    9. “Fall from Grace – the teaching that a person can fall from grace and lose his salvation.”

    a. Lord, Lord, didn’t we——–
    b. Watch that you do not fall away from the faith
    c. For they who were in the faith, have fallen away (departed) 1 Timothy, Chapter 4:1.
    d. It would be better for them not to have known Christ
    e. A man’s house is swept clean but then he leaves it unattended and
    f. Satan, the highest of all the angels took many with Him in His rebellion, yet he knows God.

    If one is really saved, he or she will have the Holy Spirit to empower them to walk in obedience. Jesus said those who obey the Father are His and those that don’t are of the devil. Some would say that if one falls away, they were never saved in the first place.

    Two things I know though is this: This is not a case of deliberately leading a lifestyle of sin, but rather growing in the Lord, putting on the mind of Christ and putting off the Old person, getting rid of anything that hinders us from laying our lives down to serve Him by loving others as He has loved us. It doesn’t mean that I will be perfect, but as much as depends upon me, I will strive to submit myself to enabling Him to do what He will and in this the more I am submitted, the less I will sin against Him and the less I will do harm to another.

    So, yes—I believe a person can walk away from the faith, but I think that it would be most difficult to do once knowing what they did and then renouncing it all, either by their words or by their behaviors. Do people get off the path—yes, I believe they do, but I also believe God knows who will and who will not return with a bit of whatever is needed to draw them back.

    In this, I believe God’s “predetermination” is already known or “foreknown” comes into play for those who are chosen (those he foreknew who would choose His grace, mercy, and gift of life) and called for His good purpose and for His pleasure to reveal His glory in the name of His beloved son, Jesus and through the Holy Spirit.

    I have a question and I’m most serious about this, so if anyone would like to be tender-hearted towards me and tell me where in the scripture I can find this, I would sure appreciate it.

    Where are we told that Jesus died on the cross to cover our past, present, and future sins. I say this, because there are people who are saying they can do whatever they want to do, its all covered by the blood and they are no longer under the law and have liberty.

    In my Bible, Paul tells us that when we Jesus was made a sacrifice for
    sins past, so that we could be cleansed and have a new life with our savior, not to continue wallowing that which we were to put off (repent).

    Romans 3:24-25
    24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

    25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

    24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,

    2 Peter, Chapter 1:9-10

    9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

    10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

    2 Peter, Chapter 2:20-22

    20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,”[e] and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

  17. Shaun Sells says:

    I think this would be a little less confusing if he had used more commas I only counted 19 and a couple semicolons and colons as well. Good heavens, what an overqualified run on sentence.

    I do think it is interesting that he never mentions free will in the first article, but that is how we have logically filtered or summarized his statement. I find writing these things as outlines with subordinate points helps in the understanding (hopefully the formatting will remain after I submit):

    A. That God,
    1. by an eternal and unchangeable purpose in Jesus Christ his Son,
    2. before the foundation of the world,
    B. hath determined,
    1. out of the fallen, sinful race of men,
    C. to save in Christ,
    1. for Christ’s sake,
    2. and through Christ,
    D. those who,
    1. through the grace of the Holy Ghost,
    E. shall believe on this his son Jesus,
    F. and shall persevere in this faith and obedience of faith,
    1. through this grace,
    2. even to the end;
    F. and, on the other hand, to leave the incorrigible and unbelieving in sin and under wrath,
    G. and to condemn them as alienate from Christ,
    H. according to the word of the Gospel in John 3:36: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him,”
    1. and according to other passages of Scripture also.

    So to clarify there are two major points here with some clarifications of each.
    1. God has determined to save those who shall believe on Jesus and persevere to the end.
    – His purpose to do so was eternal and unchangeable in Jesus Christ.
    – Because it was eternal it was before the foundation of the world.
    – The race of men is fallen and sinful.
    – This salvation is for Christ’s sake and through Christ.
    – This is salvation is by/through grace of the Holy Ghost.
    – This requires perseverance until the end.
    2. God has determined to leave the unbelieving in sin, under wrath, and alienated from Christ.
    The proof text for these points is John 3:36 (and other unmentioned texts) which essentially states that salvation is based on belief on Jesus.

    So, although free will is most assuredly implied, the real issue that this brings up is that of perseverance of belief. If I believe today, but not in ten years then I was never saved. It seems that makes belief at death the only time that belief has any value.

    I disagree with this statement based on the perseverance issue. I don’t believe we live in a state of constant flux and hope our faith doesn’t wain in the last days. I believe that scripture indeed presents a tension between faith and perseverance, but it is not intended to be eternally punitive but instead is intended to be an encouragement to those who believe.

  18. “1. Human Free Will – This states that though man is fallen, he is not incapacitated by the sinful nature and can freely choose God. His will is not restricted and enslaved by his sinful nature.”

    This, or the longer description posted later, are NOT what Arminians believe. I’m reading everyone from Arminius himself to Roger Olsen, and all emphatically deny these statements.

    “In this state, the free will of man towards the true good is not only wounded, maimed, infirm, bent, and weakened; but it is also imprisoned, destroyed, and lost. And its powers are not only debilitated and useless unless they be assisted by grace, but it has no powers whatever except such as are excited by Divine grace.”

    The Remonstrants:
    “Man does not have saving faith of himself, nor out of the powers of his free will, since in the state of sin he is able of himself and by himself neither to think, will, or do any good (which would indeed to be saving good, the most prominent of which is saving faith). It is necessary therefore that by God in Christ through His Holy Spirit he be regenerated and renewed in intellect, affections, will, and in all his powers, so that he might be able to understand, reflect upon, will and carry out the good things which pertain to salvation.”

    Roger Olsen:
    ““Arminians together with Calvinists affirm total depravity because of the fall of humanity in Adam and its inherited consequence of a corrupted nature in bondage to sin. A common myth about Arminianism is that it promotes an optimistic anthropology.”

    We will never get anywhere by posting inaccuracies and caricatures of other’s beliefs.

  19. Michael says:

    I just got back from taking Trey to school.
    My mornings are usually very busy and I don’t have time to pull over on the road and approve moderated comments.
    The only comments that will be approved are ones specifically on topic.

  20. Michael says:


    I just edited this and posted the actual five points of the Remonstrants.

  21. Michael says:

    A note about Dort and “heresy”. This was a kangaroo court. The state church of the Netherlands was Reformed and the “Remonstrants” or “Arminians” had about as much chance at reform as I have of becoming a CC pastor.

  22. Xenia says:

    Now that the thumbnail sketch of The Five have been replaced, I can no longer say that “I agree with it all.” I actually agreed more with the caricature! The actual articles are a little too Protestant for me to give it the Xenia Stamp of Approval. But, I agree with much of it.

  23. Michael says:

    Here’s the main difference between the camps as to Article 1.

    Arminius believed that election was according to divine foreknowledge…which he defines as God knowing who would choose Him and thus electing them before the foundation of the world.

    The Reformed doctrine is that God specifically chose those who would be saved and that His foreknowledge is assured only because of His decree.

  24. uriahisaliveandwell says:


    🙂 what is a remonstrant?

  25. Michael says:


    Arminianism is Calvinism’s step child…very Protestant.

  26. Michael says:


    A protester…one who objects.
    As I said Calvinism was the state religion and required teaching in the universities.
    The Remonstrants wanted the freedom to modify those doctrines and teach and preach them.

  27. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    . . . and so, is the initial paragraph that of Calvinism and the 5 points , that of Arminianism?

  28. Uriah, The Remonstrants is also what the followers of Jacobus Arminius were called. Both the article posted, and the five below describe their beliefs.

  29. “Arminius believed that election was according to divine foreknowledge…which he defines as God knowing who would choose Him and thus electing them before the foundation of the world.”

    Where is that seen in this article? I realize that is what has resulted, but I’m not sure we can even make that characterization. As it is written, is there anything in Article 1 that you disagree with?

  30. Michael says:


    The problem with the bare articles is that they don’t contain the arguments that went with them.
    I have to kind of fill in those blanks myself and yes…I have hacked the hell out this project.

    So…while on the surface I can affirm the first article, I cannot affirm the reasoning behind it.

  31. uriahisaliveandwell says:


    @21 too funny.

    By the way my people are Dutch and Prussian Jews (now Poland). Germany has taken over after 1870, but after the World War II the Prussian area that had become Germany was then made to be part of Poland. The Prussian empire used expand all of Poland. Most of the holocaust camps were in this area. My people came during the early and mid 1800’s to survive the ending of the graces given them by the King of Prussia at that time, as the change in governing authorities and RCC was once again wreaking havoc and destruction upon them. Only a few got out–I am the last in the line of 4 generations that was born from one of the six brothers who immigrated with their parents.

  32. Michael says:

    The Calvinist response isn’t a sequential match to the articles, but looks like this.

    Total Depravity
    Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature; therefore, he will not–indeed he cannot–choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently, it takes much more than the Spirit’s assistance to bring a sinner to Christ–it takes regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God’s gift of salvation–it is God’s gift to the sinner, not the sinner’s gift to God.
    (Genesis 2:15-17, Romans 5:12, Psalm 51:5, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Romans 3:10-18, Jeremiah 17:9, John 6:44, Ephesians 2:1-10)

    Unconditional Election
    God’s choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world rested solely in His own sovereign will. His choice of particular sinners was not based on any foreseen response or obedience on their part, such as faith, repentance, etc. On the contrary, God gives faith and repentance to each individual whom He selected. These acts are the result, not the cause of God’s choice. Election therefore was not determined by or conditioned upon any virtuous quality or act foreseen in man. Those whom God sovereignly elected He brings through the power of the Spirit to a willing acceptance of Christ. Thus God’s choice of the sinner, not the sinner’s choice of Christ, is the ultimate cause of salvation.
    (Romans 9:10-21, Ephesians 1:4-11, Ephesians 2:4-10, Romans 8:29-30, Acts 11:18, Acts 13:48)

    Limited Atonement
    Christ’s redeeming work was intended to save the elect only and actually secured salvation for them. His death was a substitutionary endurance of the penalty of sin in the place of certain specified sinners. In addition to putting away the sins of His people, Christ’s redemption secured everything necessary for their salvation, including faith which united them to Him. The gift of faith is infallibly applied by the Spirit to all for whom Christ died, thereby guaranteeing their salvation.
    (Matthew 1:21, Romans 5:12-21, Romans 3:21-26, Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:5-6, Philippians 1:6, John 10:11-30, John 17:6-12, Romans 8:28-30, John 6:44, Acts 20:28)

    Irresistible Grace
    In addition to the outward general call to salvation which is made to everyone who hears the gospel, the Holy Spirit extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation. The external call (which is made to all without distinction) can be, and often is, rejected; whereas the internal call (which is made only to the elect) cannot be rejected, it always results in conversion. By means of this special call the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man’s will, nor is He dependent upon man’s cooperation for success. The Spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ. God’s grace, therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended.
    (John 3:16, Matthew 22:14, Acts 17:29-31, Matthew 23:37-39, John 6:44, Romans 8:28-30, John 1:12-13, John 3:1-8, Ephesians 2:8-10)

    Perseverance of the Saints
    All who were chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and given faith by the Spirit are eternally saved. They are kept in faith by the power of Almighty God and thus persevere to the end.
    (John 3:16, John 6:35-40, John 6:44, Philippians 1:6, Philippians 2:12-13, Jude 24-25, Ephesians 1:13-14, Romans 8:28-30, Romans 8:35-39)

  33. “So…while on the surface I can affirm the first article, I cannot affirm the reasoning behind it.”

    Now that makes sense, thanks for the precision.

    Question – DId the Anglican articles require the same background information?

  34. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    What period of time (to be exact, if possible) did the Remonstrants-Arminianism set forth their protest against Calvinism.

  35. Shaun Sells says:


  36. 1609 – I think?

  37. AHhh Shaun beat me to it!

  38. Michael says:


    It seems that most of the Anglican articles needed a measure of background information.

  39. Shaun Sells says:

    Also keep in mind that Calvinist TULIP did not come about until at least the 1800’s and wasn’t popularized until a 1963 book. The TULIP is supposed to summarize the Canons of Dort.

  40. Xenia says:

    This isn’t an argument, just how we see it in Ortholandia:

    1. Adam and Eve were created as perfect specimens of humanity but they needed to “grow up.” They were immature.

    2. In their immaturity, they foolishly listened to the Devil and ate of the fruit. God had warned them that if they ate of it, they were surely die. He didn’t say He was going to kill them, just that the natural consequence of eating of the fruit would be ultimately fatal. And it was.

    3. Part of this death was estrangement from God. No more walking together in the Garden in the cool of the evening. However, mankind retained the image of God but not His likeness. The image is marred and we are not much like God anymore.

    4. Even though the image is marred, we still long for God. Everyone has this longing unless we harden our hearts. This longing for God is seen even in non-Christian religions. It is misguided but still indicative of hearts that want to return to the Creator.

    5. Since the image is only marred, even unbelievers will do good works because their God-given conscience tells them what is good and what is evil, even if they don’t recognized the Source of their conscience Therefore, no one is “totally depraved” unless they choose to be.

    6. However, these good works are not good enough. Death still reigned unitl…

    7. … the Incarnation. Mankind was trapped in the snare of our own sinfulness, and the world was under the thumb of the Devil. The Lord Jesus Christ became one of us to live the perfect life, to die for us, and to “trample down death by death.” (Some may remember my meat-grinder analogy. Death could not hold the Lord!) He rose again and those of us to believe in Him will rise again, too.

    8. Communion with God has been restored for those who freely choose to follow the Lord. Death has been defeated, the Curse has been repealed. We can live in Eden again if we so choose, walking with the Lord in the cool of the evening. (Metaphorically speaking.)

    9. We can also freely choose to abandon the path. Not from sin but from willfully choosing to leave the Lord.

    10. The disciplines of the Church help keep us on the path.

  41. Michael says:


    The longer I study Calvin and his contemporaries, the more I loathe the TULIP.
    It represents one group of Reformed believers, not all, and certainly not Calvin.

  42. Michael says:


    That was very well done.
    In contrast, Calvinists believe the fall resulted in man being dead in his sins and trespasses and unable to see the kingdom of God without sovereign, divine, regeneration.
    The Arminian would agree with total depravity, but believes God has given a measure of grace, “prevenient grace” that enables one to hear and believe the Gospel.

  43. Shaun Sells says:

    Michael –

    Agreed. I assume it was a well meaning attempt to take the longer document of the Canons of Dort and simplify them for the layman, but as with all simplifications they fall short of the original and run through different time, culture, and opinion filters than the original.

  44. Andrew says:

    “The Calvinist response isn’t a sequential match to the articles, but looks like this”

    “Limited Atonement
    Christ’s redeeming work was intended to save the elect only and actually secured salvation for them. His death was a substitutionary endurance of the penalty of sin in the place of certain specified sinners.”

    Michael, so let me get this straight. This Calvinists response is not what Calvin really believed or what you believe? This is something that came years later?

  45. Michael says:


    It was also a development of doctrine.
    As I’ve said, Calvin and most of his contemporaries taught a universal atonement with a limited application.
    It’s only in the writings of his successor, Theodore Beza, that we first see a doctrine of “limited atonement”.
    That became the standard, for reasons I know not why.

  46. Michael says:


    That is correct.
    Even great later scholars such as Hodge and Dabney taught a form of universal atonement.

  47. Shaun Sells says:

    The Arminian focuses on Romans 8:29 “those He foreknew, He also predestined…”

    The Calvinist focuses on Romans 8:30 “these whom He predestined, He also called…justified…glorified.”

    The big pinch between the two is the word “foreknew” – precisely what did God foreknow? Those whom He had chosen or those whom would choose Him? Verse 28 should help, but it seems to include both groups “those who love God” and “those called.”

    That is why I fall in more of a synergistic camp – although I don’t want you to hold me to it because my view teeters back and forth every time I look at the issue. It is maddening really.

  48. Michael says:


    I hope you have a great discussion over there.

  49. Michael says:


    The question is actually about the definition of the term “foreknowledge”.
    We believe that the proper definition is that God foreknew the person…set His love upon and chose the person, not simply foreknew the persons actions.

  50. Shaun Sells says:

    Michael –

    Limited Atonement as taught to me by a couple of 5 pointers is why I originally started to read up on Arminianism. I was more of an Efficacious Limited Guy, limited in effect not power.

    Now I would say I’m a few points shy of a Calvinst and a few points shy of an Arminian…story of my life, I don’t quite fit anywhere.

  51. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    So, historically speaking there were a lot of factors playing out on the religious schema and being influence by an increasing challenge to those who were more traditional in their beliefs:

    “Originating about 1650 to 1700, it was sparked by philosophers Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677), John Locke (1632–1704), Pierre Bayle (1647–1706), Voltaire (1694–1778) and physicist Isaac Newton (1643–1727).[2] Ruling princes often endorsed and fostered figures and even attempted to apply their ideas of government in what was known as enlightened absolutism. The Scientific Revolution is closely tied to the Enlightenment, as its discoveries overturned many traditional concepts and introduced new perspectives on nature and man’s place within it. The Enlightenment flourished until about 1790–1800, after which the emphasis on reason gave way to Romanticism’s emphasis on emotion, and a Counter-Enlightenment gained force.[3]”

    It appears to me that Calvinism might have a response to Luther, but a reaction towards liberalism? So are we repeating history, here in the United States?

  52. Xenia says:

    We always are mindful of the tension between God’s sovereignty and our free will. We will always say that thus-and-so will happen if God wills it but we also say that man has free will. This looks very contradictory, I know.

  53. Shaun @ 51 – That’s me too. I can see truth in both systems, but can’t fully buy into either side.

  54. Shaun Sells says:

    @50 – my struggle there (and I know this is more of a personal opinion struggle) is for God to foreknow some people that He would love implies that He doesn’t love those He did not choose. It seems that God so loved the world (which in my mind means all people, but I was told by a Calvinist friend that world only includes the chosen few).

  55. uriahisaliveandwell says:


    Isn’t Hodges and Dabney straight out of liberalism during the enlightenment period when “higher critical text” was instituted and the Bible retranslated by Westcott and Hort (athiest) and then Nestle-Land?

    Don’t mean to go off track–just seems to me that when liberalism gets into the picture—God takes on a different image and so does His Word. So mapping out the historical picture to see how this all fits with one another.

  56. Michael says:


    I don’t know where you would get that idea.
    They were both very conservative theologians and Hodge one of the all time greats.
    German higher criticism was met head on in this country by Calvinists.
    Machen’s “Christianity and Liberalism” is still the gold standard.

  57. Michael says:


    Calvin would say that God loved the world, but not everyone in the world the same way or with the same intent.
    God has demonstrated throughout biblical history that He does not love all people equally.

  58. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Michael and Josh,

    Someone once told me that I had to pick one or the other–couldn’t be a middle of the road sort of person. Per scripture, I just couldn’t go with one or the other.

  59. Michael says:


    I would also greatly disagree with your assessment of the work of Westcott and Hort and the Alands.
    Translation of text is not a faith, it’s a science.

  60. Michael says:

    The purpose of this exercise isn’t to demand that people make a choice… it’s to understand how different camps come to their understandings.

  61. Ricky Bobby says:

    “Translation of text is not a faith, it’s a science.”

    Yes, and as such, the “best” scholars have done the best critical work on the text with the least tainted bias and applied the “science” properly…and come to different conclusions than the biased presuppositionalists.

    Hard to claim “science” in one breath and then ignore the best scientific work done on the subject while accepting a cheap biased imitation.

  62. Michael,

    I’ll have to go back over my files on the Hodges things.

    “Machen’s “Christianity and Liberalism” is still the gold standard.”

    Machen—my hero, well along with Matthew Henry.

  63. Michael says:


    This is a totally different study.
    Westcott, Hort, and Kurt Aland were translating from the source documents original language reference works, not interpretive ones.

  64. Wescott-HOrt and Nestle-Aland are generally only ever decried by the King James Only folks. Erasmus’ Greek New Testament, “Textus Receptus”, was the best compilation of Greek manuscripts available to him. W-H, and N-A after that, are merely the product of having many, many more manuscripts.

    Uriah, @ 59 – I agree with you. Scripturally, I can’t jump full on with either side.

  65. What in the world is RB talking about in # 62 – Who are these “best” scholars?

  66. Uriahisaliveandwelll says:


    Out of respect to this being your blog–how about if we talk about this at another time. Translation includes more than just replacing the Hebrew with Greek Words—as the Greek languarge does not have words for many Hebrew words. So, contextually speaking, one can be in error when translating to carry forth what was originally stated. If you do not have the Holy Spirit, you will translate according to your world view. Anyone can look this up in the beginning of their bibles–it’s all there. There’s a huge difference between translating word for word and translating per one’s understanding of what makes sense to them.

  67. Uriah, are you a KIng James Only kind of guy?

  68. Michael says:


    I appreciate the respect, especially this morning.
    It’s probably not a subject you want to broach with me as I utterly reject all those arguments.
    There is not now, nor ever has there ever been a direct word for word translation of the Bible in English.

  69. Michael says:

    The King James is a great version…as are most of the rest.
    I prefer the ESV and NASB but that’s a personal preference.
    The doctrines remain the same in any orthodox version.

  70. Ricky Bobby says:

    Unfortunately, as much as I’ve fought it, Bart Ehrman is probably one of the best textual critics (from a scientific perspective) as there is today and in history with regards to the New Testament.

    If you appeal to “Science” and the science of Textual Criticism…you have to view Ehrman’s work as important and this presents some issues for an inerrant, infallible, ‘perfect’ position with regards to the texts of the NT. It doesn’t mean the NT doesn’t contain truth, but if you appeal to the science of Textual Criticism, there are some factual things that Ehrman and others like him have discovered and documented.

  71. Michael,

    On your comment regarding not picking one position or the other, I understood that if you are directing this at me–I was only agreeing with your comment made at #51 and the Josh’s as well.

    By the way, those manuscripts were a total of 2 found in a wastebasket of a RCC library.

  72. I agree that the King James is a fine translation. It’s just that I have only ever heard the Nestle-Aland complaints from KJV-only people. I was just curious.

  73. Xenia says:

    Well…. I don’t have the references at my fingertips but in at least one popular Protestant version of the NT, the word “tradition,” a word not much-loved in some circles, was translated as “teachings.” Just sayin’

  74. Michael says:


    Textual criticism is a completely different field than what Aland/Westcott/ Hort work in.

  75. Ricky Bobby says:

    “The doctrines remain the same in any orthodox version.”

    This is not a correct statement.

  76. Xenia says:

    Uriah, no, they were found in the trash of an Eastern Orthodox monastery!

    (St. Catherine of Sinai)

  77. “By the way, those manuscripts were a total of 2 found in a wastebasket of a RCC library.”

    Ahhh, gotcha. I won’t argue with you. The King James is a fine Bible translation.

  78. Michael says:


    You beat me to it…

  79. Ricky Bobby says:

    Wrong Michael: Kurt Aland (28 March 1915 – 13 April 1994) was a German Theologian and Biblical Scholar who specialized in New Testament textual criticism. He founded the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung (Institute for New Testament Textual Research) in Münster and served as its first director for many years (1959–83). He was one of the principal editors of Novum Testamentum Graece for the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft and the The Greek New Testament for the United Bible Societies.

    He specialized in New Testament “Textual Criticism” just like Ehrman.

  80. Xenia says:

    I think most Bible versions are fine to read, with the exception of cultic productions like the NWT. To tell you the truth, the most beneficial Bible-reading I ever did was when I read The Living Bible. The notes at the bottom of some Bibles, on the other hand….

  81. Xenia says:

    Are going to let this happen again?

  82. Xenia says:


  83. Uriahisaliveandwell says:


    I’m not a die hard about it, but I do seem to go back to it as it is where my spirit sours and the glory of the Lord seems to become so much more visible than in any other translation. I have many translations, but they are seen in light of the KJV authorized and 1611 copies I have.

    I understand the arguements used to justify the others, but none of them hold water as far as I am concerned. Not when I look at scripture such as Romans 8:1, for instance. At the same time, hey if someone is walking with the Lord and not making excuses to treat another badly–and is standing up against abuse and corruption in the church and for those abused, betrayed, and left under the bus, not just in word, but also in deed by seeing to their needs, if able—then they “get it.”

  84. Ricky Bobby says:

    X, let the truth and correcting errors happen? I think an intellectually honest person wouldn’t want to stop that from happening…but you seem to have a dogmatic agenda that isn’t about seeking truth.

  85. Ricky Bobby says:

    Intellectual dishonesty from a presuppositionalist position is supposedly of the devil. Correcting errors in an effort to find the truth should be encouraged, not peer-pressured away.

  86. Michael says:


    Nestle/Aland is the standard Greek text for translation purposes.
    It is just that…the Greek text as taken from the latest manuscripts.
    It is theologically benign and used by almost all teachers and students of Greek.

    The personal theological predilections of Aland have no bearing on the volume…it’s used by conservatives and liberals alike.

  87. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    I really don’t want to get away from the thread. It’s a good thread and I for one am learning from it. I’m going go back and look at my file on Hodges and the other guy to see if my memory is serving me right. Until then, I am most interested in hearing more on Michael’s or Ruebens topic posted for today.

  88. Ricky Bobby – Which of Ehrman’s works on Textual Criticism have you read? Hint : His popular Skeptical books were not about Textual Criticism. Do you understand the field of Textual Criticism?

  89. Michael says:

    For the sake of this thread we are are going to assume that those participating are those who affirm the historical Christian faith and the Bible as the Word of God.
    We are not debating the Bible…again.
    We are discussing the differences between the traditions in regard to the doctrine posted.
    We don’t have to stick to Article 1…we can move about the cockpit.

  90. Uriahisaliveandwell says:

    The Living Bible is a paraphrase like The Applified Bible. Except the latter includes many different words that could replace the Hebraic text.

    “The Living Bible (TLB) is an English version of the Bible created by Kenneth N. Taylor. It was first published in 1971. Unlike most English Bibles, The Living Bible is a paraphrase. Taylor used the American Standard Version of 1901 as his base text.[1]”

  91. Xenia says:

    Uriah, yep, I know that the Living Bible is not really a translation but I read it at a time in my life when it was just what the doctor ordered. That happened to be a time of spiritual growth for me so despite its deficiencies, it is dear to my heart.

    But I am off-topic.

  92. uriahisaliveandwellell says:


    Thanks for the correction on where they were found. I truly mean this, no offense is meant but be it in a wastebasket in an EO/RCC, it wouldn’t make a difference to me. Neither would make them more credible.


    On topic: the person who mentioned that came after Calvin, it is my understanding that he distorted what Calvin was teaching. In your opinion, is this correct. if so, how or what was the distortion and is there some sort of chart that campares the three position (one that would include Arminianism)?

  93. uriahisaliveandwell says:


    Found the name you mentioned—Theodore Beza.

  94. Rob Murphy says:

    I think I’ll wait it out and see if Middle Knowledge comes up . . . as Michael has said, guys who came after Calvin who tried to “help” often messed things up. From the Wesleyan perspective, some of the later thinkers did a good job on Middle Knowledge and, for me, made the foreknowledge and predestination discussion one that I’m more comfy with intellectually.
    a little discussion here by William Lane Craig

    For me it’s not a cure-all and I don’t expect it to be for anyone else, either, it just makes me come at things a bit different, which is always good exercise for my thinker.

  95. Michael says:


    I don’t think “distorted” is a fair word.
    Beza was a great theologian and those after him such as Turretin were as well.
    Doctrines develop…and they developed a doctrine of limited atonement according to their best understanding of the Scripture.
    There is ample biblical basis for it and I once held to it myself.
    They were trying to answer the question ‘who did Christ die for?”
    They believed that Christ died only for the elect, not for the whole of humanity.

    To be more specific, the Father gave to the Son a specific group that He would die for and insure their salvation.
    These texts would be paramount;

    “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.And 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.For 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 6:37–40 ESV)

    ““Do you take offense at this?Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.””
    (John 6:61–65 ESV)

    “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.””
    (John 8:47 ESV)

    “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
    (John 10:14–15 ESV)

  96. Michael says:


    There is no monolithic teaching in any of the three categories.
    The one major difference between Calvinism and every other tradition is that we believe God is totally sovereign in election, that it is His choice and not that of man and that he has limited the salvific application of the atonement to the elect only.

  97. Michael says:

    I have to go pick up the boy…

  98. Ricky Bobby says:

    ok, then don’t appeal to “science” stick to dogma and tradition.

  99. uriahisaliveandwell says:


    “Distortion” was my understanding of what you stated:

    As I’ve said, Calvin and most of his contemporaries taught a universal atonement with a limited application.

    It’s only in the writings of his successor, Theodore Beza, that we first see a doctrine of “limited atonement”.

    That became the standard, for reasons I know not why.

    In my minded you were saying that Calvin taught universal atonement using a limited application, whereas, Beza made a whole doctrine out of it and then it became stardard par for the course in understanding the 5 points of Calvisnism. To me, this = distortion of Calvin’s the application of universal atonement.

    I mean, if it’s not what Calvin taught, then either that is a distortion or it is building or developing an idea into a whole doctrine–which means a belief that Christians were supposed to hold the fort down upon. And if this is not what Calvin believed then, yeah I can see where Calvinism could take a heavy hit on something that he may have alluded to, but never meant it to be construde in the way that it was.

  100. Xenia says:

    ok, then don’t appeal to “science” stick to dogma and tradition.<<<

    Will do!

  101. Steve Wright says:

    The most neglected pages in any Bible are the Introduction notes from the translation committee.

    Reading those can be quite profitable.

  102. #51 and #54
    I agree.
    I think the whole argument is really based in an inaccurate view of how God interacts with us time bound creatures.
    He isn’t limited in living life from before Creation to now, like us linear creatures.
    He is back there now with Adam, Abraham, David just as fully as he is here with us now at this point of our time.
    When the KJV translates:

    And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

    (Revelation 13:8, KJV)

    I think this could very well be a good translation. From His perspective, He could have been slain from the foundation of the world.
    The only time God lived a non-linear existence, was during the Incarnation, now that He is ascended he is back to a non-linear existence.
    Don’t ask me to explain how this works ’cause it makes my head hurt if i think about it too much.
    He is not just at all places at once he is also at all times at once.
    We poor limited creatures try to explain this aspect of God and it comes out as some system, but I am convinced that it is all because we can barely wrap our minds around a Being who lives in this fashion.
    It boggles my mind just to think about it.
    I see truths in both systems, but not contradictions. The real problem is our view of God’s reality.
    Truly God is more awesome than I can imagine.

  103. Steve Wright says:

    When discussing textual criticism scholars, someone like the late Dr. Bruce Metzger, one must recognize that is its own world. A specialty field that is a lifetime commitment.

    People like Dr. Metzger don’t pastor a local church, and frankly don’t typically even write theological commentaries on various books of the Bible.

    I can’t even grasp (and believe me I try) the scholarship brought to the table by Dr. Metzger, Kurt Aland and others.

  104. Michael says:


    I just brought that up because it was claimed that I couldn’t be a Calvinist and hold to a universal atonement.
    It also is a historical issue for me.
    Calvinism itself is a misnomer…he taught nothing original to him and was a respected scholar, but not above his peers.
    You will find “Calvinism” in any of the Reformed writers of the same time period all of whom borrowed and learned from each other.
    Calvin’s major influences were Luther, Bucer, and Bullinger…all of whom he borrowed from liberally, as well as Augustine and Chrysostym.
    So, I do not begrudge the development of “limited atonement” it’s just not an accurate description of Calvin’s theology.

  105. Michael says:

    My apologies to both Reuben and the readers for botching this thread so badly.
    It has not been a good day.

  106. Michael says:


    I just saw on Facebook your quote about evangelicals not caring about their Christian brethren in Egypt…quoted favorably by another CC pastor.
    Your light is shining all over the place…

  107. #107
    Speaking of that.

    Hebrews 12:3
    Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.

  108. Sorry all wrong scripture reference. Hebrews 13:3

  109. Xenia says:

    Michael, I now know that many evangelicals do care about the Christians in the Middle East. I am happy to have been proven that I was wrong.

  110. Xenia says:

    I don’t think the thread has been botched. You never know where one of these crazy ol’ Reformation articles will take the blog. It’s always educational.

  111. pmheavisidep says:

    There is also the Lutheran perspective on this which would fall along the lines of speaking only up to the point that Scripture speaks.

    So while there is indeed an objective justification(i.e. Christ being the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the World), there must be a subjective(personal application) justification in order for one to be saved.

    As for the predestination/foreknowledge question, we would point out that there are no places in Scripture where we are told that God actively damns people or has damned people from before the foundation of the Earth. Instead Scripture speaks of people being foreknown, chosen etc. form all eternity.

    Thus when the Lutheran is presented with the question of why some and not others, we can safely say what Scripture says and not go further into where it doesn’t and be comfortable with the paradox.

    MLD can add to this as I have probably missed some points and I really didn’t want to bore you all with quotes from the Book of Concord(but don’t tempt me 🙂 )

  112. Steve Wright says:

    When speaking of believers the word, predestinated, only has three occurrences. And always the believer is predestined UNTO something, namely one of the results of salvation – and not salvation itself.

    I don’t think this is a distinction without a difference as some might argue.

    All believers in Christ are predestined to receive these three results. (adoption (to wit the redemption of your body), obtain an inheritance, conformed to His image) – not predestined to salvation itself. If you are a believer, there is no doubt whatsoever these results are yours.

    A destiny (no pun intended), predetermined – like a plane flying to Dallas. I would argue it is conditional whether one gets on the plane or not – but everyone who gets on that plane is going to get the same result.

  113. Reuben says:


    You know I was in that camp for a long time. Even used the bus/plane analogy, but you and I both know those cute one liners fail in light of soteriology.

    There is no “applicational” way to look at salvation. It is out of our realm.

  114. Lutherans believe in predestination – you can’t escape it because it is in the Bible. However, and I have brought this point up before… we look at it differently. When Paul speaks of predestination, the Calvinist (this is in general – I am sure some don’t) looks at it as if Paul were discussing a doctrine, putting together a systematic theology – and that doctrine is how God populates heaven and hell.

    The Lutheran sees that Paul was speaking to people who were unsure of either their salvation or in many cases people who didn’t think they could ‘hang on’. So Paul assures them, “no, when you look back you will see that you are sure in Christ because it was God who chose you.” About the only time you will hear a Lutheran speak on predestination is when someone denies it.

    2 completely different ways to look at the same word.

  115. Steve Wright says:

    I’m just dealing with the text. There are only three uses in the entire New Testament of this word, predestined, in context with believers. Frankly, since there are only three, I think we make too much noise about it myself.

    But in looking at each of the three – we see a different result is ALWAYS spoken of, not simply salvation.

    I could care less about the plane or bus illustrations. Throw it away. The offer the Lord makes is open to all throughout the Bible. And all who choose to respond, choose to respond.

    And those who do, have an ordained future as to what will happen after death.

    Like Michael said, I’m not really looking to argue people into my point of view. But at the same time, I am unpersuaded by (some not all) Calvinists constantly going back to predestination over and over again as if that is the clear cut “answer” to this issue.

    Jesus said nobody comes unless they are drawn. He also said (same book of John) He, through the cross, will draw all to Him (same word, draw, and no I do not think He is teaching universalism).

  116. Reuben says:


    Predestination is a concept derived from scripture, much like trinity or rapture. That is a bit of a Bryson-ish argument again…

  117. Bryson-ish argument? Reuben, you really shouldn’t insult Steve like that. 😉

  118. Rob Murphy, the pastors at our CC have been taking some classes from Dr. Fred Chay of Phoenix Seminary. He also heads up the Free Grace Alliance. Middle knowledge/Molinism/Free Grace seems to be the direction we’re leaning in. I don’t know enough about it yet to discuss it intelligently, but since you mentioned it…

  119. Steve Wright says:

    Reuben, I was going to make a joke about the NL standing to lighten the mood but I know that baseball,, unlike theology, is no laughing matter to a lot of folks.

    Please note. Nowhere have I misrepresented Calvinism or attempted to speak for Calvinists on predestination. I simply explained what I believe, and why. Not looking to argue, but not swayed by the occasional Calvinist who has been yelling “predestination” at me over the years.

    Unfortunately, it is all too common experience for (some) Calvinists to insist on how wrong those of us are who articulate in a Scriptural manner an alternative view.

    So either the third time will be the charm, or three strikes and I’m out but either way this “at bat” is done for me now. For the third time…

    Look up the two Ephesians chapter one passages, and the Romans chapter eight passage (where the word is repeated) and you have the entirety of the use of the word as to believers. That is my point.

    Obviously the word is Scripture. Not sure what you mean by a “concept derived from Scripture” unless you are giving credence to what MLD wrote earlier about making a doctrine that pulls together a systematic theology. I don’t.

    My preference is to make as a priority the actual verses that mention predestination, when deriving my teachings on predestination….as I have done above. Seems like the logical starting point.

    I also showed what I see is a clear balance, and a slight (and I do mean SLIGHT) counter to the John verses Michael cited in a post above – by mentioning my own two John verses of interest in this issue of being drawn to God. 6:44 12:32

    My John messages are all public. I assure you there is no Arminian tap dancing found therein. People can agree or disagree. It matters not to me. If I taught those verses faithfully, after much study and effort, then that’s all that concerns me when I stand before Him Who will judge.

    Moving on….

  120. “If I taught those verses faithfully, after much study and effort, then that’s all that concerns me when I stand before Him Who will judge.”

    Steve, I truly admire this about you.

  121. uriahisaliveandwell says:


    @103 So appreciate how you simplified all of this while making it clear that we are not God who is infinate and unlimited, whereas, all we can know is what is in the moment—everything else, outside of His Word, is merely an attempt to develop (or make clearer ?) the doctrines that have already been established in scripture. The whole counsel of God goes along way, but it still misses the whole of what we shall yet know when we are face to face with Him.
    100% in agreement.

  122. uriahisaliveandwell says:


    “is invalid because it was not communicated to them in a number of ways (Old Testament and New Testament)by God.”

    Oh—–okay thanks for clearing that up for me–it threw me for a loop. Also, found my file on Hodges–yup, he’s right up there with Machen. Now trying to figure out who it was that was squae in the liberal camp with a last name that began with “H.” Hmmmm.

  123. uriahisaliveandwell says:


    Please disregard quote at #123. My copy/paste did not clear 🙁 🙂

    The correct quote: @ 105

    “So, I do not begrudge the development of “limited atonement” it’s just not an accurate description of Calvin’s theology.

  124. So far, only Shaun has brought up an objection to the actual article.

    “So, although free will is most assuredly implied, the real issue that this brings up is that of perseverance of belief. If I believe today, but not in ten years then I was never saved. It seems that makes belief at death the only time that belief has any value.”

    Even this is assuming something not stated in the article, that being that perseverance is conditional. The article does not say that a believer might not persevere, only that a believer will persevere. As it is written, I don’t even see how a Calvinist could disagree. (I know Shaun is not a Calvinist.)

    All that to say, Article 1 is a well written contribution to the faith. AS STATED, it is hard to find disagreement.

    Good work Remonstrants! But don’t get comfy, we’ll tear you apart in a couple of weeks 🙂

  125. Rob Murphy says:

    @ 119 Captain Kevin – I’ll be interested to see what you think as you explore. Bringing up middle knowledge cost me GPA points when I went to a ‘Bible College’ in Vista, CA.
    It seems a worthy discussion to me but is often treated like one of Cinderella’s aesthetically challenged step-sisters. Seems there’s only so much vitriol for theological debate . . . well, there’s more than enough vitriol, we just like out selective targeting. Mutually Assured Theological Destruction . . .

  126. Vista, eh? I used to live in Oceanside..

  127. Missed this discussion yesterday and now I want to catch up. Good to see you interacting so much with this Michael. I love your knowledgable and nuanced answers. My interest has for a long while now been upon what I consider to be the historically bound context of this debate. In other words it is a 16th century debate that I think 1st century people would have not recognized it as what they were writing about.

    Election as the doctrine of eternal destinies loses its real historical moorings in the unfolding covenant of God. Election was related to the seed not the eternal destinies of individual members of the covenant. Jacob’s election was as to his carrying of the blessing of father Abraham it was not as pertaining to heaven and hell. The eternal destiny debate is the obsession of Romanism and sadly Rome’s means of controlling the masses. (a bit simplistic I know)

    These theological debates are like ships that got off course just a few degrees…It caused ships to sail off to uncharted destinies.

  128. Steve Wright says:

    . Election was related to the seed not the eternal destinies of individual members of the covenant. Jacob’s election was as to his carrying of the blessing of father Abraham it was not as pertaining to heaven and hell.
    I’m with Dread on this. Well said.

  129. “These theological debates are like ships that got off course just a few degrees…It caused ships to sail off to uncharted destinies.”

    Well said.

  130. Rob Murphy says:

    I was hoping it was determined that Dread would post . . .

  131. ***Total Depravity
    Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature; therefore, he will not–indeed he cannot–choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently, it takes much more than the Spirit’s assistance to bring a sinner to Christ–it takes regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God’s gift of salvation–it is God’s gift to the sinner, not the sinner’s gift to God.***

    The assumption here is that saving faith is a function of the will and is disabled by sin, indeed made impossible. I would argue that faith, strictly speaking is neither an act of free will nor can it be disabled by sin. The use of dead and blind as metaphors to describe the human condition do not require those metaphors be taken to the degree that calvinists (little c) maintain. We agree that humanity is universally under sin. We do not agree that being in sin makes humans unable to receive the revelation that creates faith. God by revealing himself enables faith. But having God reveal himself does not guarantee faith as we obviously see in Genesis in the account of Cain.

    “It takes much more than the Spirit’s assistance to bring a sinner to Christ,” is an assertion that is not in evidence. The Spirit is God and his assistance is quite sufficient to reveal salvation to the sinner. That is everywhere maintained in scripture. Non-calvinists do not contend (at least this one does not) that faith is ‘something man contributes to salvation’ that is a calvinist caricature to turn faith into a work. It is an ingenious means of converting the oppositions argument into something that it is not. Faith as a gift of God is constitutionally a part of the imago dei. God gave faith when he made us in his image. Total depravity must thereby argue that sin damaged the image of God to ruination. That is not in evidence in either scripture nor life. Thus we do not argue that faith is the sinners gift to God. The sinner has no gift to bring but must receive… oops that may be construed as a work.

    In truth I think the Western doctrine of Total Depravity has done more to cripple the lives of regenerate believers and done more to darken the conception of what we preach than perhaps any other doctrine. It has been the fountainhead of self loathing for believers and condemnation of unbelievers. We have elevated groveling to a spiritual virtue akin to the best fruit of the Spirit. The renewed interest in teaching believers who they are in Christ is a direct result of the outcomes of teaching Total Depravity. It is the basis of our ongoing argument over our self-identification as sinners or saints. Of course all things have excesses and the best examples probably do not create the same mess. But those of us in pastoral work are always confronted with the endless self-torture of our church members. And they run off the psychiatrists for pills and potions to cure their self-hate.

    Let me posit rather that faith is indeed a gift of God to all people and that it is part of the creational constitution of being in the image of God. Let me also say that faith is activated by the initiative of God’s self-revelation through scripture, preaching, and many other means. Thus faith is a response to revelation. Go to Hebrews 11 with that in mind and the definition will serve you well. The mystery of course is those who as Hebrews also speaks, receive revelation but didn’t mix it with faith. Let me suggest that our endless explanations of why this is and how this works is what gets us into so much pernicious argumentation. The truth is there are yet things we do not know. And I am more willing to argue that point than to deal with defending God’s arbitrary and sovereign choice to either condemn or pass over some to his glory. If it was so glorious we would not find ourselves writing thousands of volumes to defend it.

    Sheesh, more than I intended to say and less than needs saying… alas

    Stuttering Dread

  132. I should have said “they run off TO psychiatrists”

  133. Let me also say that Michael is the finest example of Calvinism that I have ever seen. My own mild calvinism and attempts to embrace it fully as a younger man were smeared by the smugness that so often attends the doctrine. No charismatic with their new found charismata was ever more smug than a calvinist who has finally discovered the ‘doctrines of grace’ and entered into the utopia of being right… more right than the almighty. If all calvinists were as fair and even tempered (at least in that regard) as Michael we would find there were a great many more of them. WELL maybe… I am sure there are as many as God has determined to have.

    Synergy Dread

  134. Michael says:


    Thank you for your kind words.
    One brief comment and place of possible agreement.
    I do affirm the doctrine of total depravity in man BEFORE regeneration.
    To continue to affirm that in a blood bought, adopted by the King believer after regeneration (as many of my Reformed brethren so), is a mockery of the work of Christ and a complete confusion of heavenly identity.

  135. Muff Potter says:

    Babylon’s Dread @ nr. 134:

    I must echo your sentiment. Even though I disagree with both Michael’s & CC’s theological belief systems, Michael’s actions when he took up common cause with his enemy so that the least of these in Mexico could have clean water, speaks volumes about the real Jesus.

  136. Michael says:


    I don’t want any enemies in the Body of Christ.
    This whole project for years has been to try to facilitate mutual understanding….I may not agree with your doctrines, but I trust you came to them through much struggle and thought.
    When we can communicate those thoughts and struggles with each other without rancor, we all win.
    The other thing I try to communicate is that we’re all in process…or we can be without fear.
    BD forced me to consider things that were outside my camp as have many others here…and I’m richer for all the work I put in.
    The older I get the more magnificent God is to me…and my greatest failure has been an inability to communicate that.
    Thank you for your affirmation and input here.

  137. Michael,

    Thanks for that common ground

  138. Michael says:


    So may Reformed liturgies have us referring to ourselves as ‘worms” or worse…and I don’t think that’s my identity in Christ.

  139. Steve Wright says:

    Dread is on an absolute roll! Post 134 is so right on, both as to Michael and that smugness found in so many others.

    When I was truly a babe in Christ, my very first encounter with someone I now know was a Calvinist (had no idea of such things then), was in the CC bookstore trying to buy a couple commentaries and this guy is hanging around and walks up (doesn’t work there) and starts evaluating my books with his nose stuck up in the air. One of them had some Spurgeon mixed in and he told me that one might be OK – but he was less than thrilled with the others and was wanting me to not buy them!.

    I was 25 and a college graduate. I was a novice in most things theology but not life, and trusted that just about any commentary in the CCCM store would hardly be heretical. I also did not know yet that it was OK to tell someone at church to go take a hike. 🙂 So I played nice and still bought what I wanted.

    Didn’t know about Calvinism – just knew this guy was a major league you know what. From then on I would run into the occasional Calvinists who just liked to hang out at Costa Mesa and argue with all of us about our bad theology.

  140. Reuben says:

    Interesting. So I guess I would be in the “worm camp”, and maybe someone can show me why I am wrong…?

  141. @ Reuben – 1 Peter 2:9 ?

  142. Reuben, It would suggest that you simply look for the basis for wormology in the scriptures. We who are in Christ are given a new identity. We have been changed. Humility is virtuous, self loathing is definitely not. Such a worm as I … the only reference to worms in the NT scripture does not apply to a human. I am afraid we are affected more by Isaac Watts than by Paul and John…

    George and Ringo Dread

  143. Steve Wright says:

    Reuben, I think Ephesians One does a good job there – and since it also is the chapter with predestination in it….

    I see no “worm theology” in that chapter to the blood-bought child of God.

  144. Michael says:

    “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insightmaking known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christas a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
    (Ephesians 1:3–14 ESV)

  145. Michael says:

    We are “in Christ”.
    We are perceived as sons and daughters of the most high God.
    There are no worms in Christ. 🙂

  146. I have no idea what worm theology is, but there is a difference between who we are alive and on this earth and who we are ‘in Christ’

    Paul does a marvelous job of describing the Christian in his daily life in Romans 7.

    The best we can do is the Lutheran theology of 100% justified and 100% sinner.

    That old man still clings to my flesh and bones daily … that part of me is not ‘in Christ’

  147. Reuben says:

    I think a lot of these passages are speaking of the splendor of salvation, but not the splendor of us.

    Paul likewise speaks of the unending battle between the flesh and the Spirit.

    I am on a roof and wish I could hash this out more…

  148. Reuben says:

    Just saw MLDs, and think I am Lutheran on that point as well.

  149. Yes I think MLD is OFF on this… but then he might be right about him, Luther and Reuben, just sayin’ … Think Roman’s 7 is a nuanced argument of Paul who is writing as a man under the law… not as a man in grace… but then there are those three exceptions I mentioned.

  150. Babs,
    Why would Paul write as “a man under the law” if he was a man “in Christ”?

    He is not writing as “a man under the law” – he is writing as a man

  151. I often here people speak about how they are a new creation in Christ – so I ask, why would God make a new creation that still sins … in my case constantly?

    People forget about the old man that is still in them. Luther said that he needs to be drowned daily.

  152. Steve Wright says:

    why would God make a new creation that still sins
    Because now, and only now, it is possible also to please God.

    Before you challenge it, get out the concordance, and look up the expression “please God”

    Has nothing to do with the old man still there, the flesh battling the Spirit, or other truths that also describe the Christian.

  153. Xenia – that’s not quite right either. Tischendorf saw loose pages from Codex Sinaticus in a basket. But it wasn’t a waste-basket. And the monks were not burning the pages. (I have prepared a short video-lecture on YouTube about this.)

  154. Steve,
    You must have misread something in my comment. What i am saying is that evangelical Christians tell me that they are a NEW creation and that they do not have to fall into sin any longer because God has made them this new creation.

    When I ask, “well, do you still sin?” they will say “yes, but I don’t have to, but I get drawn to it – but God has given me the power to resist.”

    So that is when I will say “if God has made you a new creation (which I assume is different from the old creation) then why did he make a new creation that still sins.?” that’s the point.

    I don’t know where you were going with the “please God” – those words are not even in the 2 Cor 5 passage.(I do see a similar statement in v9, but since you told me to use a concordance, that could not be it.)

    But people have always pleased God – even in burning sacrifices – it was pleasing in his nostrils.

  155. Xenia says:

    James Snapp, I will look at your video with interest. Thank you!

  156. Xenia says:

    May I have a link?

  157. Xenia says:

    I would be very happy to learn that those venerable EO monks did not throw the Bible in the trash!

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