Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Suggestions for debating like a true Hyper Calvinist

Some of you are really bad at debating. I mean really bad, and this is to your discredit. You go and read Dabney's systematic theology, or an argument made by a moderate Calvinist and are stumped. "Uh, well I, uh..."
Since I don't want to go back to jail (I've done my cage stage time) I'm printing up this here public service guidelines on how you can debate like a pro against the moderates.

1. Insist that if followed, their argument makes God out to be a [Insert societal pervert here]. 
Nothing is more devastating than a well placed analogy.  For example: God doesn't really love the non-elect in any meaningful way, because if that were true then God would be a flaming homosexual, or a transgendered monkey hooker. And since He's not that, He must not love the non-elect.  Example two: God is not some hot high school senior who is wooing the ugly girl to a dance even though He knows He's not going to ask her out, therefore moderate Calvinism is wrong.

2. Attack the person, not the argument.  It's only ad hominem if you are trying to distract from their argument. But we know that they are wrong from the very beginning, even before they open their mouth. Their presuppositions are wrong, therefore you have no real need to interact with their argument. For example: You assert that because it says world it means world. You are a [insert societal pervert here.]

3. Point out you have addressed that argument already and defeated it.
You don't actually have to have addressed it. Just say it's defeated, and it's as good as done. For example: you assert Christ is weeping over reprobate Jerusalem, but as I have shown on a number of occasions, this is not the case.

4. Drop the fallacies bombs. 
Go to it! Get some wikipedia on! Pick 5 and sprinkle them throughout. For example: You assert that God loves the non-elect because the Bible speaks of common grace. But this is really only affirming the consequent, and denying the antecedent.  Look, your argument is nothing but a red herring. Non clausa pro clausa. That's just a straw man.

Now read a fine example here. At last you're ready.  Good hunting out there!

On Sarcastically Busting Pirate Balls for their Godless Gambling and Heresy!

Captains journal, 9/27/2011.
Me crew and I were having a jolly laugh at the Triablogue being afire when I heard from the water "You know, we're not done in yet."
I looked and beheld there Captain Manata, clinging to a flimsy bit o driftwood.  Soggy, but not surrendered.
"I say again, you thought you had a good turn sir, but she'll hold fast yet. You have no leg to stand on in this discussion."
"Ye be swallowing too much saltwater Captain." Says I. "She's afire now, and this here  peg leg of mine works just fine to prop up such theology as I be havin'."
"Nonetheless I cordially invite you aboard to discuss the matter further."
Now tis a strange thing to be noticed in such a manner- I could hardly refuse the offer, so I had me first mate extend the gangplank whilst they pulled him aboard his own vessel. 

Only thing is, Captain Manata hasn't seen the likes of me before. "Red beard" Ponter is strong and clever, wild as a shark, but this here sea lover is decidedly more deadly.
"Sit down please, I'd like a word with you sir.  I’ve refuted your “can” argument a dozen times. Suppose you “offers”your  neighbor a piece of pizza for dinner. Your neighbor accepts. You say you’ll bring a piece over later. When the pizza comes, it turns out God has decreed that you will eat the entire thing. You weren’t planning on this when you offered it. However, since God decreed that you would eat the entire pizza, then you couldn’t provide a piece given identical decrees of God. So, as the claim stands, it’s been refuted, since I think all would say that you made a sincere offer of pizza yet couldn’t deliver."
Says he.
"Aye, but that is naught but gibberish. Yer smooth talk means little to such untrained wretches."
Says I.
"Very well. I suppose I could make another go at it... it’s not just that the person, considered as a libertarian free autonomous agent, doesn’t “want” God’s offer, it’s that God determined that he would not want it, and so the person is not able, given that decree, to want otherwise. God made sure that the reprobate would not accept. If I could make sure, make certain, make unavoidable, your denial of an offer to come to a party at my house before I asked, and then I went ahead and “offered” you a seat at the party, would I be sincere?"
Not knowing me, Manata didn't realize that I parrrley with a loaded pistol. Once he finished talking I pointed it straightaway and fired:  "Yer presupposition is askew landlubber.  God doesn't determine the fate of the reprobate as He does the elect. There be no wall separatin' the wide oceans of mercies of God from the non-elect save their own obstinate hearts. They, and they alone are responsible for their fall and sorry condition, tis not God who cast them inexorably into the miseries.  God is like the sun, His positive decrees are always warm, always good, always pure. To the non-elect He simply does not manifest His goodness, whereas you assert He manifests badness.  Now, I'll be using you for chum." 
"Raa! Chum!" barked Sammy, the sea dog, bird on my shoulder.
Then I left.
And we sailed away. As far as I know their ship finished burning, and there they be at the bottom of the sea, green zombies insisting that God causes fresh evil in men, having predetermined by His own councils before the foundation of the world to damn them without regard to their deeds or character.  Some of the crew may have been picked up by the Supralapsarian, but Captain Manata wasn't among them.
Beware then sailors, that you don't let your anchor too far down in highCalvinist bay, or they are liable to climb up the chain and board you.

Monday, September 26, 2011

those who believe in Owenic limited atonement can have no place for the revealed will of God.

A worldview determines what you believe enough to live by, and what you don't.  It's the grid that filters external information- things that make it through the screen get stored as memory or moved on for value assignment, things that don't make it through get ignored, rejected, or ridiculed.  When a baby is born and begins to look around they are acquiring a worldview that will enable them to understand and process their surroundings.  Things fall toward the ground, people have faces, food is valuable to keep me alive, people wear clothes.
Once we reach adulthood our worldview hardens up and does its job of resisting new things more effectively.  We see a magician make a building disappear and doubt it because our grid says to us that buildings don't just disappear.  We hear that some Indian breatharian goes a year without food or water and we think it's a lie because of our experience.  Politicians promise hope and change, we don't even need to pay attention because our worldview exists to minimize the amount of time we waste on liars and frauds.
Worldviews work the same way for Biblical understanding as well.  When confronted with the facts of the resurrection the non-believer simply refuses to process the facts, and shuts it out entirely. They can be helpful when a false teacher starts spouting off the notion that Christ is not a savior but a good example, but can also be harmful, like when an Arminian simply refuses to accept John 6:45.

I think that this is the problem with the Owenic sense of atonement, there simply is no framework for allowing a universal love from God- once 'limited atonement' is accepted as a fundamental basis for scripture the universal sense of salvation is crushed.  The worldview simply will not allow any other interpretation, or facts, or even scripture, to pass.  Wear rose colored glasses and suddenly you can't see white anymore- it's rose.

The proof is trivial, just take any disputed passage and find the high Calvinist explanation for it.  See, I happen to know that only the elect are ultimately propitiated for on behalf of, because only the elect are saved, therefore 1 John 2:2 means world equals Gentiles. Not only our Jewish sins but our Gentile brother's sins.
I happen to know God gave Himself as a ransom for some men, not all men, therefore in 1 Tim 2:6 all means elect.
If God really desired all men to be saved, then He would save all men.  Ergo, 1 Tim 2:4 doesn't mean that God sincerely desires all men to come to Him, it really means that He intends to save the elect from every strata of society. It means all kinds of men.
I happen to know that if God wanted the Gospel to save everyone, then the message would go out to every people, nation, and place.  But it doesn't. Therefore Titus 3:4 means that God has made His salvation appear to the elect alone.
I know that God punishes the wicked, therefore John 3:16 doesn't mean He loves His humans He created in any way, it means He loves His elect in every way.
I know that God only took away the sins of the elect, therefore John 1:29 really means that the elect is the world.
More could be said. Obviously, I have not touched on the false teachers 2 peter 2:1 for example, or many of the other verses that speak to a sort of universal love God has for mankind because I think the point is made.
When the foundational principle of scriptural interpretation is adopted: God intended to save the elect, effectually saves the elect, and only cares about saving the elect, then there can be no room for anything else.
The sovereignty of God then serves to crush His perceived willingness to offer salvation to the non-elect.  After all, we reason, cannot God accomplish anything He wants? Did not Nebuchadnezzar speak correctly when he said that all the nations of the earth are accounted as nothing before Him, and He does His pleasure in all the earth?
There is simply no room to believe anything else. God is sovereign, He ultimately is not willing to let them perish because He is not pleased enough to do so, therefore God hates the non-elect and does not offer them forgiveness.

In sum: the framework of limited atonement completely  swallows the notion that God would have His feelings trampled on by men. It simply filters that bit of information away.  Verses that speak unambiguously to the notion of God loving the non-elect or providing them a way must not be talking to the non-elect.
We have then a God no bigger than our own understanding. A very nice, small, manageable God.  There is simply no room, no space, for the concept of unlimited atonement or an offer to the non-elect once the principle of limited atonement is settled upon.  And once there is no room for an unlimited atonement, then the idea of offering the reprobate salvation when it hasn't really been procured for them is senseless. There is no place for such a revealed will.

For those of you who may have read the title and thought that a big important proof was coming and I didn't deliver, I ask you to look again and consider the matter.  By it's very nature Owenic limited atonement
automatically corrects all scriptures to it's own interpretive framework. To say the title of the blog post is to prove it. Search and see.

In closing let me point out something more valuable than the assertion on how a badly formed worldview can keep us from a correct scriptural interpretation, and that is this: I think the high and hyperCalvinist love God and hate Christ. 
God has marvelous, beautiful, omnipotent, unlimited sovereign power. But how does He use it?  Christ who is the express image of the Father, the very essence of Him, the walking, talking display of God's might and sovereignty did not come to use His crushing power on men, but stooped to wash their feet. Not to condemn the world but to save it was the message John recorded. Not to cast the bars of the gates against the wayward sinners and tax collectors, but to bring the lost sheep back in rejoicing.  Not to annihilate the cities of Samaria that rejected Him, but to prevent His disciples from doing so.  Not to bring more illness justly applied for sins, but to work miracles for the lame, the blind, the deaf, the leapers.  He was not the judge come to put a final end to Jerusalem like we would expect, or would do if it were us, but instead He breaks down, weeping bitter tears that they would not come to Him. Behold the man on the cross crying out for God to forgive the men that put Him up there!  His power was used for service, though He had every right to demand it of us. 
No, let's not forget the parables on hell, or the moneychangers in the temple, nor the rebuke of the religious elite.  But lets also not construct our worldview that can't see the Lord Jesus for what He was either, the compassionate savior who was tempted as we were in every way, and so is sympathetic.  Yes He is just, but you know, He's also loving. Beware then hypers, that in so exalting God's majesty that you forget it finds it's fullest revelation in Christ.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Why the RSV sucks

Grandma likes to turn on a TV station that plays kids songs when we go over there. There was a song that came on tonight which was a Swahili (or something African sounding) version of Waltzing Matilda- Nyangl Matilda.
Now I don't speak whatever language that song was in, in fact I don't even know what it was, but I do know that they got it wildly wrong.
In that old time Aussy gibberish matilda is not a proper noun, it's a bed roll, or a bag.  Nyangl Matilda is therefore obviously incorrect, there should be two words I've never heard of, not just the one. 
But that's not all, for I would be willing to bet that they translated waltzing as dancing, when the word in context really means to stroll or walkabout.
Now what does this have to do with the title of the post?  Simply that unless you have some basic understanding of the material you cannot get the translation right.
Anyone who asserts that Jesus is not God cannot hope to make a meaningful translation of the scriptures, since they are all concerning His Son.  If you do not understand His Son, then you don't understand the book. You can translate the words but you have translated wrongly. Only in knowing the meaning behind the words can you properly pick the right words. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Free offer of slavation - guest blog

Today we are blessed to have a special guest interview, Philip the high Calvinist here to discuss the free offer of the gospel. The question before us today is, is the gospel indeed a free offer to the reprobate, or is faith a duty only?
[Begin Transcript]
Good to have you with us Phil.
Likewise.
So lets begin with the most famous verse, you know, the-go to verse for us "moderate Calvinists"
I think you mean you semi-pelagianists.
uh anyhow, it's Isaiah 7:11-13, I'll read it here: "Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz "Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven." But Ahaz said, "I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test." And he said, "Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also?" It sure seems like God is making an offer here to the wicked King Ahab. What do you make of this?
First of all, there is no question that God never makes offers to the reprobate. The verse "seek ye first the kingdom of God" is addressed to believers only, the invitation in Revelation to drink, to take freely, to buy without price, is to believers in the church only.  Seeking and taking come only after regeneration. Ahaz must therefore have been elect. 
But Ahaz breaks into full blown idolatry in 1 Kings 16:3- almost the first time we meet him he's burning his son alive to an idol.  1 Kings 16 is a list of his idolatry and then it ends with him dying.
Well fine perhaps hes reprobate, but my point still stands. But look, I mean, just go back to the text here in Isaiah. What do we have here? The Lord spoke to Ahaz, does that mean it's an offer? Context context context. When we see the word 'all' does it mean 'all without exception'? Clearly not. When we see John 3:16 that God so loved the world does it, world I mean, does that word mean 'sinful mass of humanity' or does it really mean 'elect'? Elect, obviously. So put this in context. The Lord is ordering Ahaz to ask for the sign. It's not an offer, it's a command.
You are really going to assert that this is not the form of an offer? You really think that this is not an invitation to test and see the Lord is good?
Why would God make an offer to the reprobate in the first place? If He knows ahead of time Ahaz will say no and reject the offer then it's not really an offer is it? It's just a vessel to increase his condemnation.
The Lord expressing His goodness, kindness, and mercy causes the reprobate condemnation? 
Yes.
Not the inward depravity of man? Not the rejection of the goodness. The goodness itself is what damns men?
Well yes. I mean God isn't some cosmic welfare program where everyone gets a free ride. He's a person, He created some vessels for wrath and some for mercy.
That's the worst argument I have heard yet, okay you know...
Of course I know, I know much more than you, you idiot. Read the Institutes. Read Owen. Read Gil. If you had half a brain you would know all this stuff. We don't even need to read or interact with the Bible because... 
What!? no, that's just not acceptable, not in this forum do you get to...
Gonna cut me off because you can't take it eh? Don't like the truth when you hear it?  You sound like a reprobate yourself here, rejecting the Bible...
Mute his mic, that's just, okay, let me take a moment to point out something, every time we get more than 1 minute into these interviews the high calvinist digresses into name calling. Now I'm going to unmute the mic, and let you have the floor if you refrain from ad-hominem attacks okay?
... in fact your whole stupid "4 points" of calvinism is a logical absurdity. If you weren't such a pompus imbecilic monkey, or some sort of theological drooling refugee you might know that...
Okay thank you, this interview is over. Well my apologies, that's just the way it goes sometimes. And that's all the time we have left so see you next time.
[End Transcript]

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

From a non pastor to a non believer

 The end of the OT (Malachi) prophesied that Elijah would be sent to "restore all things" before the dreadful (yikes!) day of the Lord.(God himself coming down, Mt of Olives splitting, death and destruction, etc)
John clearly did not do that. John the Baptist did not even know he was Elijah (are you the prophet?Christ?Elijah? He answered "no" to all these questions) but Jesus said "...If you are willing to accept it, he (John) is Elijah WHO IS TO COME".
So my thinking is this: that when John comes back as Elijah (maybe under another name again, who knows?), only then would he restore all things and turn children's hearts to their fathers....etc. Then God would come and do all things that were prophsied.
So until then, we are still under the old law like the Jews and Muslims. That's my opinion based on this understanding of prophesy and events anyway. Of course I could be wrong. Wise men have argued about the bible for centuries. If we argue that Jesus would fulfill those things at his 2nd coming, then doesn't that prove all the more that we are still under the old covenant?
I think early Christianity followed the law until they were wiped out by the universal (roman catholic) church.

I have another observation: in the book of Revelation, the lamb is said to have been slain SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME.
Jesus (if I'm not mistaken) comes back as the Son of Man with clouds in heaven (also in the Rev), unless he is not the Son of Man. It is difficult when he refers to son of man as a 3rd person. Then later there is a rider on a white horse named Word of God, King of Kings, Lord of Lords which can only be God. So son of man (Jesus?) and word of God are 2 completely different entities.
So "I give my glory to no one" and "I am the only savior" makes more sense now. Or does it?

I've been reading and doing a lot of research, praying directly to God, praying for discernment and understanding but let me tell you, it is leading me out of Christianity. I believe in 1 God, no equals, pure, no associates. I have done my search on the origin of certain doctrines including the trinity (3 persons co-equal, co-existing). Jesus clearly states he is not equal to the Father so many times. I don't know if anyone has the answers to these but I just wanted to share these thoughts and observations with you.
My belief in God as the only savior has led me not to trust the teachings of Paul. Jesus never said to worship him but he did say "worship God alone and him ONLY shall you serve". Also, the "son of man came to serve, not to be served". So making him equal to or even a god would not give "there is no other god besides me" meaning. Perhaps "God in him" would make more sense? But the spirit left him before he died. God would not let "His Holy One" (the spirit?)see corruption.
There are many more things that have become questionable to me after reading much of the bible.

Dear Sir,
By the providence of God I have read your letter to Pastor J and have been encouraged to respond. I am myself not a pastor so I ask your forgiveness in advance for the problems that that can create.
I see that you have several concerns here, the Bible is unreliable, Christ is not God, the Christian covental framework of grace is groundless, among others, therefore I will forgo an in depth answer to each individually and  attempt to treat the sickness rather than the symptoms.
You have a bad presupposition when you say that you have been praying and thinking- you are under the assumption that you have the functioning hardware and powers of reason to draw valid conclusions and carefully weigh evidences impartially.  This is decidedly not the case.  Your powers of reasoning are bent, fallen, lost. All of ours are.
Prov 3:5, Jer 4:22 are our warnings, verses like Luke 10:21, Rom 3:11 are the confirmation.  Our minds are born broken, and before we can understand the God of the Bible we need our minds restored.  Specifically we are commanded to be transformed by the renewing of our minds that we may then be able to discern the perfect will of God, and the corollary is true as well, without renewed minds we will know nothing of God outside of what lies we invent to ourselves.
Since minds are unreliable, the conclusions we reach are untrustworthy, ultimately because our wills and desires are fallen and tainted. We have no love for Christ, we have no love of doing the right thing; we do not really want to know the truth, John 3:19 because at bottom we despise the idea that Jesus is God and in Him only is there life.  Our misplaced love causing our other senses to go askew is why Jesus said we need new eyes John 3:3, why He only asked some to hear him Matt 11:15, 13:9, 13:43, and why He said we new abilities of understanding Matt 19:11. By default we have minds that are hostile to God, and cannot submit to Him Rom 8:7, we have wills that are deceived by choice into rejecting the grace of Jesus 2 Cor 4:3-4 and will not come to Him.
Therefore I tell you that you must come to Christ in humility, believing in Him that He is true, and that He is God or you will never have an end to your difficulties. But if you do trust Him, confessing Him with your mouth and believing Him with your heart then you will not only be saved but you will be given understanding and wisdom to untie any knot of scripture you encounter. You must stop doubting Christ and start doubting your doubts.You must come to see that the cross of Christ stands at the center of not only human existence and history, but the center of a man's life.  In Him only do we live and move and have our being.  The scriptures, all of them, are about Him Luke 24:27, and unless you rely on that premise you will not be able to make headway against the mysteries of the gospel.
Therefore to help you I pose to you Lewis' trilemma.  There is no doubt that Jesus claimed to be God, asserting divine prerogatives Mark 2:7-10, condoning worship of Himself as God John 20:28-29, and it's beyond dispute that the people understood Him to be claiming to be God John 10:33.  Christ is either telling the truth, in which case He is God, or He is a liar, and the only one who would lie about such a thing would be Satan himself, or a lunatic on the level of a man who believes himself to be a poached egg. You must decide where you stand, if indeed you continue your course and say with the Pharisees of old He is Satan, or with the Christians of today that He is God.
Once that issue is settled I think you are wise enough to re-read the scriptures and come to the right conclusions about your current problems on your own. Specifically I would recommend John 1:17, Luke 22:20, 2 Cor 3:6, Heb 9:15 with regards to the issue of new covenant, 2 Peter 3:15-16 with regards to the authority of Paul, and Matt 17:12 about Elijah already fulfilling his purpose of pointing to Christ.
If you have any difficulties after becoming a Christian please let me know and I would be glad to help.
In Christ,
P

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Sincere offer of Salvation

Ponter kicked off an argument with Triablogue on the issue of the sincerity of the gospel with this argument:
  1. God makes a sincere, universal offer of Salvation to all men, particularly non-believers. (See for example Revelation 22:17 - "The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.")
  2. God cannot forgive men apart from the atoning work of Christ on the cross.
  3. Therefore, Christ must have made a universal atonement for sin which allows Him to make a universal offer of salvation, for it would be impossible for men to be saved if Christ has not paid their penalty.
Triablogue attempted to defend themselves here here here here here here here (among other places) with the argument that God doesn't need to be sincere because He knows the non-elect will not accept His offer. But is this reasonable? No, because an offer is sincere if the person wants to provide it. An offer is valid if the person can provide it. What is absent this definition: the person who accepts the offer. 

It's a common assumption that because the reprobate don't want to accept the accord God can't seriously be intending to save them, or that because God knows who will be saved He doesn't actually want to save the non-elect.  But the sincerity of God has nothing to do with them, it has everything to do with Him. How can God know the future and still make the offer even though He knows the outcome ahead of time? Because He is love. He earnestly, genuinely, loves them enough to make the offer. Whether they love Him enough to accept the gospel is not the point. The point is that He loved them enough to make it.

Now the Triabloguers and modern Calvinists think differently, they reason that because man is fallen and the offer will be rejected it cannot be valid. In other words what they are really saying is that God is insincere when He says He loves them, and doesn't want them to perish.  What God really wants is actually for them to perish. 
Take for example God's offer to wicked King Ahab. In what reality can it be seen that God wanted Ahab to perish when He is extending an olive branch, and giving Ahab second chances, patiently waiting that he may repent? But because Triablogue have a desire to defend their position to the death they have to ignore those verses that speak counter to their philosophy. Because scripture is clear God is sincere in that He earnestly desires the salvation of all men, how else do you account for Him yelling at men to turn, turn from their sins lest they perish?  He is also not insane, when He is asking man to come, to reason with Him, that their sins may be as scarlet they will be washed white as snow, so, being rational, He wouldn't make an offer with His whole heart that He could not make good on.
And all this has nothing to do with the man. God's love is not called into question by evil men, in fact the opposite is true, it's seen even greater for what it is. The cross is ever so much more glorious because of our desperately sick hearts.
Thus says the Lord about Himself, Exodus 22:27 "...I am compassionate"
Thus He sincerely wants to save the non-elect men, but they will have none of it. Let their unwillingness to to be saved never impugn God's willingness to save them.