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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Calvin's Commentary on Romans 1:20



So that they are inexcusable. It hence clearly appears what the consequence is of having this evidence — that men cannot allege any thing before God’s tribunal for the purpose of showing that they are not justly condemned. Yet let this difference be remembered, that the manifestation of God, by which he makes his glory known in his creation, is, with regard to the light itself, sufficiently clear; but that on account of our blindness, it is not found to be sufficient. We are not however so blind, that we can plead our ignorance as an excuse for our perverseness. We conceive that there is a Deity; and then we conclude, that whoever he may be, he ought to be worshipped: but our reason here fails, because it cannot ascertain who or what sort of being God is. Hence the Apostle in Hebrews 11:3, ascribes to faith the light by which man can gain real knowledge from the work of creation, and not without reason; for we are prevented by our blindness, so that we reach not to the end in view; we yet see so far, that we cannot pretend any excuse. Both these things are strikingly set forth by Paul in Acts 14:16-17, when he says, that the Lord in past times left the nations in their ignorance, and yet that he left them not without witness (amarturon,) since he gave them rain and fertility from heaven. But this knowledge of God, which avails only to take away excuse, differs greatly from that which brings salvation, which Christ mentions in John 17:3, and in which we are to glory, as Jeremiah teaches us, Jeremiah 9:24



As you can see, Calvin would not have seen Matthew 5:43-48 as "common grace" to any degree whatsoever. Instead, Calvin sees this goodness of God toward the reprobate not as an act of love because it brings even greater condemnation and leaves them without excuse. The blessings of God demonstrate to the wicked that He is good while they are wicked and unthankful. It has absolutely nothing to do with "common grace."

99 comments:

Christopher Lake said...

Calvin on Special and Common Grace, from his commentary on Hebrews and from his Institutes (please read each of the passages in full):

http://calvinandcalvinism.wordpress.com/2007/09/16/calvin-on-special-and-common-grace/

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher, you have to be kidding me? Right? That blog is dedicated to Amyraldianism and is merely prooftexting Calvin out of context!

For example, the referene to "common grace" isn't the modern version of common grace at all:

The answer to all this is in no way difficult. Princes are called by this name on account of a particular circumstance; as to Israel, the common grace of election is thus denoted; angels are called the sons of God as having a certain resemblance to him, because they are celestial spirits and possess some portion of divinity in their blessed immortality. But when David without any addition calls himself as the type of Christ the Son of God, he denotes something peculiar and more excellent than the honor given to angels or to princes, or even to all Israel. Calvin, Commentary, Hebrews 1:5.

Notice that Calvin qualifies "common grace." He qualifies it with the prepositional phrase "of election." Hello, this means that grace is only common to ALL the elect. And even Paul says that not all Israel is of the real Israel. There is a remnant remaining which did not fall in the wilderness, a remnant of the elect who persevered and came to believe in Christ.

Strike 1.

Your sources are corrupt and so is the prooftexting. Are you sure you have forsaken Amyraldianism????

Charlie J. Ray said...

Calvin on Hebrews 6:4

But the Apostle speaks not here of theft, or perjury, or murder, or drunkenness, or adultery; but he refers to a total defection or falling away from the Gospel, when a sinner offends not God in some one thing, but entirely renounces his grace.

And that this may be better understood, let us suppose a contrast between the gifts of God, which he has mentioned, and this falling away. For he falls away who forsakes the word of God, who extinguishes its light, who deprives himself of the taste of the heavens or gift, who relinquishes the participation of the Spirit. Now this is wholly to renounce God. We now see whom he excluded from the hope of pardon, even the apostates who alienated themselves from the Gospel of Christ, which they had previously embraced, and from the grace of God; and this happens to no one but to him who sins against the Holy Spirit. For he who violates the second table of the Law, or transgresses the first through ignorance, is not guilty of this defection; nor does God surely deprive any of his grace in such a way as to leave them none remaining except the reprobate.

If any one asks why the Apostle makes mention here of such apostasy while he is addressing believers, who were far off from a perfidy so heinous; to this I answer, that the danger was pointed out by him in time, that they might be on their guard. And this ought to be observed; for when we turn aside from the right way, we not only excuse to others our vices, but we also impose on ourselves. Satan stealthily creeps on us, and by degrees allures us by clandestine arts, so that when we go astray we know not that we are going astray. Thus gradually we slide, until at length we rush headlong into ruin. We may observe this daily in many. Therefore the Apostle does not without reason forewarn all the disciples of Christ to beware in time; for a continued torpor commonly ends in lethargy, which is followed by alienation of mind.



Calvin's earlier comments about it is possible for anyone to repent because they don't know if they are reprobate or not is in relation to his later comment that those who commit out and out apostasy never return for they have blasphemed the Holy Spirit and have willfully despised the Spirit of grace.

Again, the so-called "common grace" Calvin implies here is related only to the elect. It is a grace common to all... the elect, that is. It is NOT a grace common to reprobates for they have left grace behind!

Charlie J. Ray said...

It is just as I suspected. Your buddy left off the first part of the page deliberately because obviously the context has to do with particular election and with reprobation, not the modern doctrine of common grace. Here is the full paragraph:

But here arises a new question, how can it be that he who has once made such a progress should afterwards fall away? For God, it may be said, calls none effectually but the elect, and Paul testifies that they are really his sons who are led by his Spirit, (Romans 8:14;) and he teaches us, that it is a sure pledge of adoption when Christ makes us partakers of his Spirit. The elect are also beyond the danger of finally falling away; for the Father who gave them to be preserved by Christ his Son is greater than all, and Christ promises to watch over them all so that none may perish. To all this I answer, That God indeed favors none but the elect alone with the Spirit of regeneration, and that by this they are distinguished from the reprobate; for they are renewed after his image and receive the earnest of the Spirit in hope of the future inheritance, and by the same Spirit the Gospel is sealed in their hearts. But I cannot admit that all this is any reason why he should not grant the reprobate also some taste of his grace, why he should not irradiate their minds with some sparks of his light, why he should not give them some perception of his goodness, and in some sort engrave his word on their hearts. Otherwise, where would be the temporal faith mentioned by Mark 4:17? There is therefore some knowledge even in the reprobate, which afterwards vanishes away, either because it did not strike roots sufficiently deep, or because it withers, being choked up.

I misread the line about "irradiate". He radiates a little light into their minds only to let it die out. Surely that is not love to let them then fall away? He hates them and allows them to go into apostasy rather than giving them the grace to repent.

Charlie J. Ray said...

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom44.xii.ii.html

Charlie J. Ray said...

In the future, if you wish to quote Calvin, I would prefer that you use the primary sources at ccel.com and not that heretical blog.

Charlie J. Ray said...

That God indeed favors none but the elect alone with the Spirit of regeneration, and that by this they are distinguished from the reprobate; for they are renewed after his image and receive the earnest of the Spirit in hope of the future inheritance, and by the same Spirit the Gospel is sealed in their hearts. But I cannot admit that all this is any reason why he should not grant the reprobate also some taste of his grace, why he should not irradiate their minds with some sparks of his light, why he should not give them some perception of his goodness, and in some sort engrave his word on their hearts. Otherwise, where would be the temporal faith mentioned by Mark 4:17? There is therefore some knowledge even in the reprobate, which afterwards vanishes away, either because it did not strike roots sufficiently deep, or because it withers, being choked up. Calvin, Commentary, Hebrews 6:5.

Calvin is not saying that God is showing the reprobate His love. He is saying just the opposite. God allows them to see His goodness to bring greater condemnation upon them for rejecting Him!

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie, in Calvin's commentary on Hebrews 6:5, just after the sentences that you have in bold, Calvin writes, "But I cannot admit that all this is any reason why he should not grant the reprobate also some TASTE OF HIS GRACE..." (my emphasis)! Of course, I know it is true that the "taste" and the "spark" die out-- after all, the reprobate are the *reprobate*!

Still, Calvin clearly states in this sentence that God allows the reprobate "some taste of his grace." Now, Charlie, I thought that "consistent Calvinists" didn't believe that the reprobate receive any *grace* from God at all! The problem is, Calvin contradicts the "consistent Calvinists" here! He explicitly uses the word "grace" in relation to God's dealings with the reprobate!

Moreover, in the next-to-last passage that David quotes from the Institutes, Calvin writes:

"To sum up, we see among all mankind that reason is proper to our nature; it distinguishes us from brute beasts, just as they by possessing feeling differ from inanimate things. Now, because some are born fools or stupid, that defect does not obscure the GENERAL GRACE of God (my emphasis). Rather, we are warned by that spectacle that we ought to ascribe what is left in us to God's kindness."

Charlie, why does Calvin speak of "general grace" here if God *only* gives particular grace?

Also, I don't know David, the blogmaster, from Adam, but it clear from the writings that he features that he is *not* an "Amyraldian." Rather, he believes, as many five-point Calvinists do, that Christ died for the elect, in the sense that the atonement is "sufficient for all, but efficient *only* for the elect."

This position is consistent with Calvin, but more importantly, it is consistent with the Bible. 1 Timothy 4:10 (NASB): "For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers."

What does "Savior of all men, especially of believers" mean, Charlie? Please exegete that verse.

Charlie J. Ray said...

The common grace position is being read back into Calvin's theology. Simply because God allows for the reprobate to "taste of his grace" does not mean that God somehow "loves" them for this would be inconsistent. The proof of this the other passage from Calvin's Institutes which you did not bother to read. I posted it but you didn't bother. The fact is you have have to read entire pages of Calvin, not picking out pieces here and there. He often follows lengthy lines of thought and one thought develops into another. Here is what Calvin says about "common grace" as you call it:

25. But as the Apostle declares that God is not appeased by feigned repentance, it is asked how Ahab obtained pardon, and averted the punishment denounced against him (1 Kings 21:28, 29), seeing, it appears, he was only amazed on the sudden, and afterwards continued his former course of life. He, indeed, clothed himself in sackcloth, covered himself with ashes, lay on the ground, and (as the testimony given to him bears) humbled himself before God. It was a small matter to rend his garments while his heart continued obstinate and swollen with wickedness, and yet we see that God was inclined to mercy. I answer, that though hypocrites are thus occasionally spared for a time, the wrath of God still lies upon them, and that they are thus spared not so much on their own account as for a public example. For what did Ahab gain by the mitigation of his punishment except that he did not suffer it alive on the earth? The curse of God, though concealed, was fixed on his house, and he himself went to eternal destruction. We may see the same thing in Esau (Gen. 27:38, 39). For though he met with a refusal, a temporal blessing was granted to his tears. But as, according to the declaration of God, the spiritual inheritance could be possessed only by one of the brothers, when Jacob was selected instead of Esau, that event excluded him from the divine mercy; but still there was given to him, as a man of a groveling nature, this consolation, that he should be filled with the fulness of the earth and the dew of heaven. And this, as I lately said, should be regarded as done for the example of others, that we may learn to apply our minds, and exert ourselves with greater alacrity, in the way of sincere repentance, as there cannot be the least doubt that God will be ready to pardon those who turn to him truly and with the heart, seeing his mercy extends even to the unworthy though they bear marks of his displeasure. In this way also, we are taught how dreadful the judgment is which awaits all the rebellious who with audacious brow and iron heart make it their sport to despise and disregard the divine threatening. God in this way often stretched forth his hand to deliver the Israelites from their calamities, though their cries were pretended, and their minds double and perfidious, as he himself complains in the Psalms, that they immediately returned to their former course (Psalm 78:36, 37). But he designed thus by kindness and forbearance to bring them to true repentance, or leave them without excuse. And yet by remitting the punishment for a time, he does not lay himself under any perpetual obligation. He rather at times rises with greater severity against hypocrites, and doubles their punishment, that it may thereby appear how much hypocrisy displeases him. But, as I have observed, he gives some examples of his inclination to pardon, that the pious may thereby be stimulated to amend their lives, and the pride of those who petulantly kick against the pricks be more severely condemned.

Institutes, Book III. iii. 25

http://reasonablechristian.blogspot.com/2008/10/common-grace-refuted-calvins-commentary.html#links

You can read the entire section on my other post at the link there. As you can see, prooftexting from Calvin's Institutes is dishonest. I have read the Institutes from first to last and any idea of common grace just isn't there.

The passage dealing with Hebrews has to do with those who "appear" to be elect and then commit apostasy. This is not therefore referring to mankind in general but to those who are members of the church and then leave it. Thus, the context itself refutes common grace. Those who are members of the church are presumed elect until they commit apostasy. God shows even apostates a taste of His grace only to bring "greater condemnation" upon them.

Let me ask you? Have YOU read the Institutes? Also, if you do plan to read them, I would suggest that you compare and contrast the Beveridge and Battles translations and footnotes. Translators and editors are notorious for trying to influence how a work is interpreted.

Charlie J. Ray said...

1 Timothy 4:10 (NASB): "For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers."

"What does "Savior of all men, especially of believers" mean, Charlie? Please exegete that verse."

Do you not know how to access Calvin's Commentaries online? Calvin himself answers that question in his commentary. It is a reference to God's elect who come from all stations in life, all classes of people, all nations, all cultures, and every social status, including kings and rulers down to the lowest slave.

All does not mean a general election as in Arminianism. Nor does it constitute a "general offer" of salvation since God only elects particularly and not generally.

Furthermore, Calvin says in this verse that the term "savior" here is not referring to salvation but rather it is a general term:

Who is the Savior 76 This is the second consolation, though it depends on the former; for the deliverance of which he speaks may be viewed as the fruit of hope. To make this more clear, it ought to be understood that this is an argument drawn from the less to the greater; for the word σωτὴρ 77 is here a general term, and denotes one who defends and preserves. He means that the kindness of God extends to all men. And if there is no man who does not feel the goodness of God towards him, and who is not a partaker of it, how much more shall it be experienced by the godly, who hope in him? Will he not take peculiar care in them? Will he not more freely pour out his bounty on them? In a word, will he not, in every respect, keep them safe to the end?

Again, the point here is NOT that God is freely offering salvation to all men. As Calvin says, the term soter or savior is merely a general term. It just means that God shows kindness to all men by allowing them to exist in the first place. It is not an indication that God wants to save every single individual. Though His word commands them to repent, they will refuse and God will thus harden them by turning them over to their own evil. So any blessings in this life, as Calvin says, only bring greater condemnation to them:

God in this way often stretched forth his hand to deliver the Israelites from their calamities, though their cries were pretended, and their minds double and perfidious, as he himself complains in the Psalms, that they immediately returned to their former course (Psalm 78:36, 37). But he designed thus by kindness and forbearance to bring them to true repentance, or leave them without excuse. And yet by remitting the punishment for a time, he does not lay himself under any perpetual obligation. He rather at times rises with greater severity against hypocrites, and doubles their punishment, that it may thereby appear how much hypocrisy displeases him. But, as I have observed, he gives some examples of his inclination to pardon, that the pious may thereby be stimulated to amend their lives, and the pride of those who petulantly kick against the pricks be more severely condemned.


Book III. iii. 25

If you will read the entire section in Book III, chapter iii you will see that God does not love the reprobate. Instead He shows "kindness" to all in order to motivate the elect to repentance. It is a "public" example of God's goodness so that we will want to serve Him. However, for the reprobate who use such blessings to further their rebellion, a greater and more severe condemnation awaits them. God punishes them not by giving them repentance but by turning them over to their own devices:

"But he designed thus by kindness and forbearance to bring them to true repentance, or leave them without excuse."

If God's purpose in showing kindness is to "leave them without excuse," how can you say that this means that God loves them? I suppose God loved Pharoah when He hardened Pharoah's heart?

Wouldn't "love" redeem the lost? By your reasoning, particular grace should be given to all so that no one is lost. Essentially, you're saying that God is unjust if He does not give "common grace" to all men. However, Calvin clearly says that such "kindness" only brings them to "be more severely condemned."

How do you explain this????

http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/calvin/cc43/cc43008.htm

Charlie J. Ray said...

Philippians 3:18-21 (ESV)
18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

[1]
[1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher,

If you are not going to read ALL of the posts I gave from Calvin, then there is no chance that you are going to have an honest presentation of the total teaching of Calvin on these issues. Clearly, Calvin argues that the human nature is totally corrupt and there is nothing good in it even though all individuals are not equally wicked. The argument by Calvin is that we all have that potential to do terribly wicked things. Thus, those who remain unconverted remain under God's wrath and are objects of His wrath (NIV Eph. 2:3). Until we are converted we are literally "children of wrath."

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie, I don't necessarily need to read the excerpts from Calvin's Institutes that you have posted here, as I already have the entire Institutes myself. I do have the Battles translation, which, from most of what I have read about the various translations, is actually a more accurate translation of *Calvin's original text* than the Beveridge translation (which I would also like to eventually purchase).

Now, Battles' translation may not contain all of the *theological presuppositions* that you seem to have, for supposed "consistency's sake," (you seem to be more emphatic about "logical consistency" than Calvin himself, or even God Himself, when it comes to following the "rules" of finite human logic!), but from what I have read, Battles' translation is commonly considered to be a more accurate translation of the text, overall, than the one done by Beveridge.

Charlie, one of the major problems with your readings of Calvin is that they are unbalanced. Just as one must interpret Scripture with Scripture to gain an accurate understanding of the whole of the Bible, one must compare Calvin (NOT saying that Calvin is Scripture, or that he is inspired as the Biblical writers were!) *with Calvin* in order to accurately understand what he is communicating.

For example, in one section of the Institutes (or in his commentaries), Calvin may speak very harshly about the non-elect, and he may emphasize God's hatred of them and their wickedness. In another section, he may speak of God's *grace* (yes, grace) shown to them as a form of temporal blessing which springs from His Fatherly kindness. One must balance both "portraits" from Calvin's texts, in order to properly understand them.

In relation to Calvin's writing about God's "general grace to the reprobate" (a direct quote from Calvin), we must ask, what *is* "general grace," if not some form of temporal, unmerited favor from God? Grace, by its very definition, is unmerited favor from God, and Calvin clearly states that God does show *some* grace to the non-elect.

Now, God does not show *any grace* for people for whom He has *no* love whatsoever. Yes, it is true that these temporal blessings will *ultimately be* to the further condemnation of the reprobate. However, in this life, Calvin clearly states that these blessings are a form of "general grace to the reprobate." Grace, by theological definition, means love.

About 1 Timothy 4:10, I asked *you* to please exegete the verse. I know that I can look up what Calvin has to say on the verse, but I want to hear *your* exegesis of it. That may be part of the problem with your readings of Scripture too-- you are so given to immediately going to Calvin to see what a verse means, instead of trying to understand it for yourself and *then* going to see what Calvin says about it. Have you read so much of Calvin that you are no longer willing to exegete the Bible for yourself? Commentaries and such are very helpful tools, but they should not replace one's own prayerful, Spirit-enabled attempts to understand Biblical texts.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher, the Beveridge translation is available online. The Beveridge translation was done PRIOR to the common grace controversy so you won't find any of the biased footnotes in the Beveridge edition.

Secondly, where Battles has "grace" often Beveridge has "kindness." Grace and kindness are not exactly the same terms. While God may show grace to the elect, he merely shows kindness to the reprobate by not immediately executing judgment.

The second problem is that YOU brought up Calvin first. Now you want to challenge me to do exegesis for you? Please.

I'm not your puppet. It's obvious that the concept of context is something you're unwilling to examine.

Let's take literary criticism for example. Suppose we pull one section of Calvin out of the chapter and then misrepresent that one section out of the context of the chapter or even taking a whole chapter out of the context of the preceding and following chapters. That is totally dishonest. In fact, in one chapter where you said Calvin was talking about "common grace" the chapter was actually titled, Everything Proceeding From the Corrupt Nature of Man Damnable."

You can't even properly read in the context of the chapter as it is LABELED by Calvin himself and you are trying to bait me on my exegesis of 1 Timother 4:10? Give me a break.

Do you have seminary training? Obviously not.

And I know for a fact that the guy on that other blog has no training. This is why you lack the critical skills to see when something is out of context. Not only that but the historical situation with the common grace doctrine is that it is a rather LATE development in "reformed" theology only coming on the scene with Kuyper and perhaps Charles Hodge.

I think you have lied to me about your theological position. You seem to be implying that 1 Timothy 4:10 refers to general election. I hope that's not true?

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher, you said, "Charlie, I don't necessarily need to read the excerpts from Calvin's Institutes that you have posted here,..."

Look, YOU sent me a link with passages quoted OUT of context. I attempted to show you the full context and why the passages were misquoted. If you're not going to read the passage in context and tell me in detail WHY you think it is NOT out of context, then there is no need for further conversation.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that your only interest is in baiting me into following endless rabbit trails. If I answer one of your red herrings you immediately bait and switch to another dead end rabbit trail.

If you can't stick to one topic, then we have nothing else to discuss. I have other things to do.

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie,

It seems to me that, due simply to the fact that Battles' translation was published "post-Kuyper," you are actually *reading* the so-called "common grace controversy" *into* Battles' translation. Why assume that Beveridge's translation is superior, when Battles' has received such acclaim as it has from many different quarters? Why assume that Battles is wrong in his translation of God's "general grace" to all people, including the reprobate?

Monergism.com states that Battles' translation "is by far the best one available"-- and Monergism makes this claim in light of the fact that they *also* carry the Beveridge translation! Similarly, Library Journal states that the Battles translation "clearly supersedes the previous English versions." Charlie, a corps of expert Latinist scholars and Calvin scholars were employed to read and critique the Battles translation before it was published! Do you if this was the case for the Beveridge translation?

A question-- for whom in the Reformed stream is this common grace doctrine even a "controversy," other than the PRCA (which consists of about 7,000 members) and a small number of independent churches in the U.S., and a few Presbyterian churches overseas? The fact is, the *overwhelming majority* of *conservative* Reformed churches hold to common grace and God's non-salvific love for the non-elect, or reprobate, if you will.

Moreover, these same conservative Reformed churches also usually hold to either the Westminster Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, or the London Baptist Confession of 1689-- the very *same* confessions of Reformed faith which you claim *deny* the doctrines of common grace abd God's general, non-salvific love for the reprobate!

This issue of common grace is ultimately not a matter of the exact numbers of certain churches which hold to it though, as you have mentioned (or even, ultimately, of the historic Reformed confessions themselves). Whether common grace is true or not must be decided by looking, not at what Calvin and the Reformed confessions state, but rather, by looking at what *the Bible itself* states. I believe in common grace, based not only on Matthew 5:43-48, but also by the direct statements of Deuteronomy 10:18 and Psalm 145:9, as well as by inference from Luke 10:27-37 and Acts 14:17.

Charlie, when I wrote to you, "Please exgete 1 Tomothy 4:10," you responded to me, "I'm not your puppet." How, in God's holy, righteous name, does the tone of your response even begin to resemble the tone of George Whitefield's gracious, loving letter to John Wesley? Whitefield *disagreed with and publicly rebuked* Wesley on certain important issues, but Whitefield did so in a *loving* way which continually acknowledged their common bond in Christ. Why can't-- or perhaps, won't-- you use this tone when you disagree with Christians on similar, non-salvific issues, Charlie?

Christopher Lake said...

One more thing, Charlie-- you keep mentioning seminary training. How much seminary training have you received *in the Reformed tradition*? I see that you received your theological degrees from decidedly non-Reformed institutions. The fact is, R.C. Sproul and the huge majority of other Reformed scholars who hold to common grace and God's general love *do* have extensive seminary training-- *in the historic Reformed theological tradition.* In that light, am I so foolish for agreeing with them on these issues?

Charlie J. Ray said...

Seminary training at ANY seminary is better than NO training anywhere. Sound principles of exegesis would apply.

Furthermore, I studied the Battles edition of Calvin's Institutes while at a Wesleyan/Arminian seminary. The professor pretty much mocked Calvin and put forward even worse misinterpretations of Calvin than you.

I think for myself. It is actually better to study in a seminary not of your own tradition because it forces you to be more objective EVEN when you see the biases and presuppositions of the "tradition" in charge of the seminary.

The problem you have is that you are unable to critically examine what you see here on the internet because you don't have the crititical tools to be able to weigh the evidence.

Also, you might be interested to know that I did accept common grace at first because I didn't know better. I have read Louis Berkhof, who btw was a professor at Calvin Theological Seminary of the Christian Reformed Church. I've also read Charles Hodge, who also is not as conservative as some might think.

The short of it is that you have admitted that you have no seminary training. And the website you're borrowing from? That guy is even less credible than you are.

The trouble is you cannot appeal to "authority" to make your case. You would have to prove your case directly from Calvin himself. Appealing to Roger Nicole or RC Sproul or Louis Berkhof doesn't cut it.

Regarding 1 Timothy 4:10, if we take the verse literally it would mean that universal salvation is true. However, the Expositor's Bible Commentary says that it refers to the hypothetical salvation of those who have not yet believed.

I would not agree with that view since it implies Amyraldianism. However, I would ask you a question directly relating to that. Have all the elect believed yet? Are there yet elect persons who have not been converted to this date?

Several commentaries I consulted all said that it refers to the "potential" salvation of all men. Well, my own view is unapologetically Reformed. I believe that God IS the savior of ALL men... who are elect. From the human perspective it appears as a potential since we do not know who the elect are. So we preach to all men without exception. God is the savior of all the elect who come from the mass of mankind. It is in this sense only that God is the savior of all men. Universalism is false and so is universal atonement or universal grace or universal election.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Do you actually READ anything I post to you? I have already told you that the FOOTNOTES mentioned common grace. And the other reason was in those passages where I interpreted Calvin IN context, I believed the Latin word was better translated as "kindness" in that particular context.

I never said that Battles is not a good translation. It is a fairly good translation. However, I have to say that after comparing the Beveridge translation, which I have not actually read all the way through, Beveridge is actually easier to read and smoother. I have read the Battles translation from cover to cover at least twice.

I might also mention that appealing to numbers does not make the common grace view correct. Perhaps the majority got it wrong? It is telling that even Calvin does NOT interpret 1 Timothy 4:10 in a way that is supportive of common grace. And I might mention that Calvin's interpretation of the word "soter" is in line with the definition used in the Liddel/Scott Intermediate Greek Lexicon. So even though Calvin might be stretching the definition to avoid the implications of universalism, it is still a possible translation.

The problem with the common grace view is that it did not exist in Reformed circles until Kuyper came along just before the turn of the 20th century. This is a historical FACT. Reading common grace is as dishonest as reading Amyraldianism or Arminianism back in to Calvin. It isn't there.

And I would contend that it isn't in the Bible either. Such a doctrine flies in the face of effectual grace and particular grace. Not only that but it isn't logical.

Did you even READ the section I sent you where Calvin discusses in detail Ahab and others in the Bible who received a temporary reprieve? Probably not. You have not even bothered to acknowledge it.

And finally regarding the "love" thing. I already responded to that. Let me explain it again. I don't KNOW you. If we met in person, however, I would not respond to your verbal assault any differently. I don't back down from a fight if that's what you want.

If you want this discussion to be civil, then I might suggest that you take a LONG hard look in the mirror. You not only have no clue about objective detachment but you have continually used inflammatory rhetoric and assumed out of hand that common grace is correct by default.

Anyone with even an inkling of objectivity would go, "Oh?" if it were suddenly discovered that the doctrine was fairly recent rather than something that was around since Calvin.

This is precisely why "I" am reconsidering the truth of the matter. In fact, I'm planning to read more on the controversy from both the CRC and the PRCA view.

Richard Mouw of Fuller Seminary debated Professor David J. Engelsma of the PRCA seminary. Mouw is a questionable Evangelical an leans to the far left side of Evangelicalism. I would call him a "neo-Evangelical" because his views are very similar to neo-orthodoxy.

Charlie J. Ray said...

You can listen to the audio of the debate between Mouw and Engelsma at:

http://www.prca.org/audiosermons/ram-2/debate.html

Charlie J. Ray said...

Go to page 276 in volume 1 of the Battles translation and read footnotes 63 and 64. If these footnotes do not prove translation bias I don't know what does.

The Beveridge translation was done BEFORE the common grace doctrine became popularized. Also, Battles himself says in note 64 that "common grace" and "special grace" mentioned here have nothing to do with salvation. Apparently Battles is more objective than you are, Christopher. And Battles is a proponent of common grace.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher said, "How, in God's holy, righteous name, ..."

You know, this in any other context would be out and out swearing and taking God's name in vain. Really Christopher, you REALLY should practice what you preach. How is it loving toward God or your neighbor to use God's name in such a vain way?

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie,

I know that the "common grace" and special grace," to which Battles refer in his notes, have nothing to do with salvation. I never said that they had anything to do with salvation. They have to do with God's blessings that He gives to the reprobate.

You tell me that if "I want this discussion to be civil," I should "take a LONG hard look in the mirror." How have I not been civil with you, Charlie? The only bit of evidence that you have given me is not actually evidence, but rather, a bald assertion. You wrote that I tried to "force" you to accept the doctrine of common grace. This is absolutely untrue. I have written that I think the doctrine is Biblical, and I have given evidence for it from the Bible and from Calvin himself. The fact that you have not *accepted* this evidence does not mean that I tried to "force" you to accept it. Therefore, what *genuine* evidence do you have that I have been uncivil with you?

Charlie, in relation to the quotes from Calvin that you posted, I already addressed them. I wrote that similarly to the way that one must interpret Scripture with Scripture to truly understand it, one much compare Calvin *with Calvin* in order to truly understand his writings (not that he is inspired though!). In Calvin's writings, one passage speaks very strongly about God's hatred of the reprobate, while another speaks of the "general grace" (non-salvific) that God gives to them. One must read and weigh *both types* of passages in order to understand Calvin's view of God's dealings with the reprobate. However, you don't seem to equally weigh them. In our interactions, you have absolutely denied that God gives *any* grace to the reprobate. Calvin himself disagrees, because in at least one passage of the Institutes, he explicitly employs the phrase, "general grace," in relation to the reprobate!

You write that if I had been to seminary, I would employ "principles of sound exegesis." Charlie, R.C. Sproul has been to seminary and has received extensive training. So has John Piper. So has Mark Dever (who is my former pastor, by the way). James Montgomery Boice went to seminary, as did Cornelius Van Til. Every single one of these men hold (or held, in the case of Boice and Van Til) to the doctrines of common grace and God's non-salvific love for the reprobate. In light of the fact that these men agree with me on what we have been discussing, did they not learn "principles of sound exegesis" in their seminary training?

When I brought up 1 Timothy 4:10, I was not making any statement of "general atonement" or "universal salvation." On the cross, Jesus Christ atoned for the elect. However, 1 Timothy 4:10 seems to imply that His atonement had *some* benefits for the reprobate, though the benefits were/are obviously not *saving.*

Lastly, I was definitely *not* abusing God's name when I asked you, "How, in God's holy, righteous name, does the tone of your response even begin to resemble that of George Whitefield (to John Wesley)?" I was invoking God's holy, righteous name there to show the *seriousness* with which I was asking the question-- *in that* the tone which we use with other believers is a matter which speaks of God and the holy and righteous lives to which He calls us.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher, invoking God's name in such a context is swearing, taking God's name in vain. If you don't understand even this basic principle, how in the world would you understand the context of Calvin's remarks, comparing Calvin with Calvin. The a fortiori argument is in my favor since the reprobate will be judged. God hates those who are eternally condemned yet you say that God loves them and hates them at the same time.

What sense does that make? If you will take the time to listen to the 2003 debate between Richard Mouw and David Engelsma you will see that the real basis for common grace is not Scripture, not the Reformed confessions but human experience and sentiment.

In fact, Mouw barely even appeals to Scripture and when he does, it is a strained meaning. Mouw's book on the subject even remarks that common grace could in the end turn out to be "saving grace."

Historically, common grace leads to compromise. This is a fact.

While I would not agree with everything the PRCA stands for, i.e. a literal 6 day creation and the young earth view of creation or their legalistic view of divorce and remarriage as in all cases limited to only when the divorced spouse dies, I have to agree that they are right that broader secular culture seems to be dominate in influencing the church rather than the other way around.

As for you assertion that "I" am making bald assertions, that is patently untrue. In fact, you have over and over again appealed to the "majority" and to "authority" as the basis for your commitment to common grace. However, history, Calvin, the Reformed confessions, and Scripture all prove that common grace is a recent innovation which is meant to soften God's wrath and lessen man's total depravity so that they are not that bad after all.

Common grace is just the first baby step toward Amyraldianism, then Arminianism, then semi-pelagianism, then pelagianism. The next thing you know a church or denomination goes totally liberal and accepts human reason as the final authority and socinianism and universalism become the dominate "theology" of the visible churches.

Common grace is not consistent with Scripture, the Creeds, nor even sound reasoning. Anyone can see that even Richard Mouw has implied universalism and that he "dialogues" with other religions in such a way that implies that other religions are an alternate way of salvation.

Mouw has exalted human reason above Scripture. Fuller Seminary, once a solid Evangelical school, is now headed in an increasingly "moderate" to liberal direction. Some of its professors even accept homosexuality as something we should accept because people are "created" this way. "Neo-Evangelicalism" is a term that implies it is not faithful to Evangelicalism any longer.

I would also add that it is not necessary to appeal to common grace to explain how the reprobate can evidence some "good." The traditional reformed view and Calvin himself says this is due to the fact that they are created in the image and likeness of God and have a human nature like that which Adam had before the fall. Thus, God's good gifts of intellect, reason, artistry, etc., et. al. can be attributed to the original gifts in creation. The problem, according to Calvin, is that EVEN the image and likeness has been so corrupted by sin that man is corrupt and tainted through and through. This would include the ability to reason soundly. Common grace is not good reasoning and is merely the first compromise which leads to further compromise of biblical truth.

Corrupt human reasoning leads to all sorts of anomalies. For instance, the transgender movement is based on shoddy "science" which tries to prove that a human experience is somehow caused by an abnormal brain. Not only have they not been able to prove any such link, but the fact that there are no biological, genetic, or even physical connections to this psychological phenomenon is a strong indicator that it is an issue of corrupt human reasoning.

Even philosophers have not been able to solve the mind/body duality or explain how human conscieous itself arises out of the organ of the brain. Yet we are told that some people are assigned by society the wrong gender at their birth. Who could have known????

Common grace is essentially an incipient form of universalism, as you youself implied when you so "baldly" asserted that 1 Timothy 4:10 implies that Jesus is the Savior of all men without exception.

Soli Gloria Deo

Charlie J. Ray said...

Book 2.ch.3.sec.3 Objection, that some of the heathen were possessed of admirable endowments, and, therefore, that the nature of man is not entirely corrupt. Answer, Corruption is not entirely removed, but only inwardly restrained. Explanation of this answer.
[Calvin, J., & Beveridge, H. (1996). Institutes of the Christian religion (electronic ed.) (II, iii). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.]

Anyone can see that the context here is any softening of the doctrine of total depravity. Even title cuts against the common grace position.

The title of section 4 is the same:

Objection still urged, that the virtuous and vicious among the heathen must be put upon the same level, or the virtuous prove that human nature, properly cultivated, is not devoid of virtue. Answer, That these are not ordinary properties of human nature, but special gifts of God. These gifts defiled by ambition, and hence the actions proceeding from them, however esteemed by man, have no merit with God. [ibid.]

But we ought to consider, that, notwithstanding of the corruption of our nature, there is some room for divine grace, such grace as, without purifying it, may lay it under internal restraint. For, did the Lord let every mind loose to wanton in its lusts, doubtless there is not a man who would not show that his nature is capable of all the crimes with which Paul charges it (Rom. 3 compared with Ps. 14:3, &c). What? Can you exempt yourself from the number of those whose feet are swift to shed blood; whose hands are foul with rapine and murder; whose throats are like open sepulchres; whose tongues are deceitful; whose lips are venomous; whose actions are useless, unjust, rotten, deadly; whose soul is without God; whose inward parts are full of wickedness; whose eyes are on the watch for deception; whose minds are prepared for insult; whose every part, in short, is framed for endless deeds of wickedness? If every soul is capable of such abominations (and the Apostle declares this boldly), it is surely easy to see what the result would be, if the Lord were to permit human passion to follow its bent. No ravenous beast would rush so furiously, no stream, however rapid and violent, so impetuously burst its banks. In the elect, God cures these diseases in the mode which will shortly be explained; in others, he only lays them under such restraint as may prevent them from breaking forth to a degree incompatible with the preservation of the established order of things.

Calvin, J., & Beveridge, H. (1996). Institutes of the Christian religion (electronic ed.) (II, iii, 3). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.

This "restraint" is not common grace but merely God's "kindness" in holding back the flood of human evil and depravity from the full force of such rebellion against God.

Soli gloria Deo.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Calvin attributes God's restraint to "providence," not common grace:

Hence, how much soever men may disguise their impurity, some are restrained only by shame, others by a fear of the laws, from breaking out into many kinds of wickedness. Some aspire to an honest life, as deeming it most conducive to their interest, while others are raised above the vulgar lot, that, by the dignity of their station, they may keep inferiors to their duty. Thus God, by his providence, curbs the perverseness of nature, preventing it from breaking forth into action, yet without rendering it inwardly pure.

Calvin, J., & Beveridge, H. (1996). Institutes of the Christian religion (electronic ed.) (II, iii, 3). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher,

You said, "Moreover, these same conservative Reformed churches also usually hold to either the Westminster Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, or the London Baptist Confession of 1689-- the very *same* confessions of Reformed faith which you claim *deny* the doctrines of common grace abd God's general, non-salvific love for the reprobate!"

Simply because the various Reformed churches you mention believe the doctrine of common grace does not mean that the Reformed confessions teach the doctrine. Show me just one Reformed confession that teaches common grace. I would love to see one.

I have read the Reformed confessions many times. Not one even remotely hints at such a doctrine.

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie,

I have a small group to go to tonight, so I don't have time to address your latest comments in-depth, but I say, again, that I was *not* taking God's name in vain when I wrote what I did to you. I was writing of the *real* God, and acknowledging His name as holy and righteous. It is pointless to play a game of "Yes, you were," and "No, I wasn't," though, when you won't even *consider* what I am saying about the issue. I am a Christian, Charlie. If I take God's name in vain, I acknowledge it (confess it as sin) and repent. I have not taken God's name in vain here.

Charlie, you are appealing to human, fallen, finite "common sense" and "logic" to make your argument that God cannot love temporally, in a sense, and yet also hate, especially eternally, the reprobate. Biblically though, this sort of reasoning does not wash. The fact is, the Bible is full of paradoxes-- things which *seem* contradictory and irreconcilable to our finite reason, but which are obviously *not* contradictory and irreconcilable *to God.*

An example would be divine sovereignty and human responsibility. How can the reprobate be *genuinely* responsible for their sinful rejection of God, when He has pre-ordained that they would reject Him? The situation makes little sense, by the rules of human logic. Yet the Bible clearly states that God is sovereign over the reprobate *and* that they are responsible for their rejection of Him. Similarly, the Bible also clearly states that God hates His enemies and yet that Christians are to love their enemies, because to do so is to "be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." The clear conclusion? God *loves* His enemies, in the sense of blessing them temporally, and yet, He also hates them. We may not be able to "make sense" of it, by our finite logic, but the Bible teaches it. We must be careful not to elevate our finite, fallen ideas of "logic" or "consistency" above the Bible and what it tells us about God.

I'm waiting for you address what i wrote in the previous comment about R.C. Sproul, Mark Dever (my former pastor), John Piper, James Montgomery Boice, and Cornelius Van Til. All of these men had seminary training, and all of them hold to common grace and God's non-salvific love for the non-elect. Did they not learn "principles of sound exegesis" in their seminary training, Charlie? They all had seminary training, and they all agree with me on the issues we have been discussing.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Are you able to think for yourself or do you appeal other authorities to make your case?

Have you ever bothered to examine the evidence against common grace "objectively"?

No, I do not appeal to experience. I appeal to Scripture. And even though reason has limits, reason is not so limited that we cannot understand that the reprobate will burn for all eternity in everlasting torment and pain and punishment. Your so-called "temporal love" is meaningless in light of hell. What is the point of a temporal blessing when eternity is neverending? Calvin himself says that blessings in this life only serve to bring greater condemnation to the wicked.

For example, the wealth of the wicked blinds them to their need for God:

Proverbs 30:7-9 (ESV)
7 Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: 8 Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, 9 lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.

[1]
[1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie,

Yes, I am able to think for myself. I mentioned the fact that Sproul, Piper, Dever, Boice, and Van Til agree with me, because you continue to imply that I hold to common grace and God's love for the reprobate supposedly because I don't have seminary training, and therefore, supposedly don't employ "principles of sound exegesis." I was answering this implication of yours by pointing to just *some* of the men who *do* have extensive seminary training *and* who do agree with me on common grace and God's non-salvific love for the non-elect? Again, Charlie, are you willing to say that these men didn't learn "principles of sound exegesis" in their time at seminary?

As a presuppositionalist, I don't believe that it is possible for any person to examine evidence for anything in a completely "objective" way. However, to the best of my abilities, I have examined the evidence, both in the Bible and in the writings of men such as Calvin, for and against the doctrines of common grace and God's non-salvific love for the non-elect (or reprobate). I am simply not convinced by the writings of fallible men who explicitly deny these doctrines.

Charlie, long before our interactions, I have encountered the thought and publications of ministers from the Protestant Reformed Churches in America. These men, though sincere, are unbalanced in their readings and exegesis of Biblical texts and unbalanced in their readings and understandings of Calvin's writings.

For example, in order to support their stance against God's non-salvific love for the non-elect (or reprobate), PRCA authors severely downplay texts such as Deuteronomy 10:18-19 (NASB): "He (meaning, God) executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His *LOVE* (emphasis mine) for the alien, giving him food and clothing. Therefore, show your *LOVE* for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt."

Charlie, given that the "alien" in these Old Tesament verses is not of the land of Israel, one cannot assume that he is necessarily chosen by God for salvation-- yet the Biblical text clearly says that God *loves* him.

How do you explain this text, Charlie, in light of your stance that God doesn't love the reprobate? If *you* are able to think for *yourself,* please explain this verse without reference to Calvin, PRCA writings, or other forms of non-inspired commentary.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher, you're all over the map, buddy. Settle down. You asked about 1 Timothy 4:10. I answered it. You asked about certain passages in Calvin, I soundly refuted all of them.

Now you're appealing to someone else's view. Sproul and others. However, the historical facts stand. Common grace was not an accepted doctrine prior to Kuyper and Bavinck. And it is not even mentioned in the Reformed confessions. Not even ONE of them. I've read the most of them in detail. The Belgic Confession, the Westminster Confession, the Second Helvetic Confession, the London Baptist Confession, etc. Not even the Lutheran confessions mention common grace.

The fact is modern thinking "presupposes" common grace. You have essentially presupposed your position without thinking about it.

And have you bothered listening to the audio debate between Richard Mouw and David Engelsma? Personally, I thought Mouw was appealing more to emotivist arguments rather than Scripture or the Reformed Confessions.

I would not agree with the PRCA on their legalistic views on "worldly" entertainment or divorce and remarriage. However, their views on total depravity and the wrath of God against a fallen human race are biblical.

God wiped out men, women and children in Noah's flood. Only 8 souls lived. And in 1 Samuel, God commands the genocide of the Amalekites. God has a nice way of showing his love to the reprobates. He has them all drowned or killed in war. And not even the elderly, the women or the children were spared.

Nice way of showing love. God can and does judge humans temporally. the Asian Tsunami that killed 200,000 people was God's "temporal" judgment on wicked people who refuse to worship God. The 9/11 terrorist attack was God's judgment against America. This nation has capitulated to homosexuals and abortionists for too long.

Frankly, wimps like you have no fortitude to face the truth. God can, will and does judge godless unbelievers "temporally" and He will judge them eternally in hell.

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Soli gloria Deo!

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie,

Again, in even *mentioning* Sproul and others, I was simply answering your comments about seminary training and principles of sound exegesis. You write that I am "all over the map," but I am simply addressing what you are already writing to me, so who is really all over the map, Charlie?

I notice that you didn't even attempt to explain Deuteronomy 10:18-19's clear statement that God *loves* the alien by giving him food and clothing. Is this "alien" a citizen of the nation of Israel? By definition, no. Are we to assume that he is chosen by God for salvation? In terms of the OT context, no again, as he is not an Israelite. Why, then, does the text say that God *loves* him?

If you think that I am unable to think for myself, then *you* (who *claim* to be able to think for yourself) should be able to explain this text, without any recourse to Calvin, PRCA authors, or any other non-inspired commentary. Can you think for yourself sufficiently to do that,
Charlie? You just called me a "wimp" who has "no fortitude to face the truth." Do *you* have the fortitude to face the truth of Deuteronomy 10:18-19, which states that God *loves* a man whom we have no reason to think that God elected to salvation?

Charlie J. Ray said...

Look, I'm familiar with the bait and switch fallacy. I've answered every question you have put forth.

I tell you what. You answer my question first and then I will tell you what I think about Deuteronomy 10:18-19.

Here is my question. What is the point of common grace if the reprobate will spend all eternity in hellfire suffering forever and ever with no end. What good is a few decades of "blessing" if in the end the blessings turn out to be a curse which ends with God hatinng them and rendering them justice for all eternity?

Unless, like Richard J. Mouw, you are hoping that "common grace" will in the end turn out to be saving grace? Which is essentially universal salvation.

This is precisely the same position that Karl Barth espoused. All people will eventually be saved.

Don't tell me that common grace is compatible with an eternity in hell. It isn't. The two don't go together at all.

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie, how am I playing a bait and switch?

To answer your question about the logical compatibility of common grace and God's non-salvific love for the reprobate with the fact that they will spend an eternity in torment, what can I possibly say or give you, at this point, that will convince you? I have already given you Biblical evidence from various verses (*not* just Matthew 5:43-48), evidence from Calvin's writings, and the near-unanimous testimony of conservative Reformed denominations (except for the PRCA) and seminary-trained Reformed scholars.

You have unfailingly found ways to use abusive rhetoric with me (wimp, heretic, can't think for yourself), change the subject, rationalize the evidence away, and/or just ignore what the Biblical texts and Calvin say about God's love-- all to simply return to your ultimately idolatrous focus on logical "consistency," even at the expense of *BIBLICAL consistency.*

Charlie, it really doesn't matter, in the final analysis, that God's love, in one sense, for the reprobate, and hatred for the reprobate, in another sense, don't square with *your* ideas of logical consistency. It doesn't matter that these truths don't make "sense" to you, because whether or not they make "sense" to you, they are *still true*-- as much as absolute divine sovereignty and genuine human responsibility are both true.

Charlie J. Ray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher,

I didn't say it doesn't make sense to me. I said essentially that it is illogical.

And there ARE Reformed answers to the question without selling out to an essentially liberal idea that was NEVER part of the Reformed tradition prior to Abrahm Kuyper. Furthermore, all of the verses you have mentioned have better explanations for them than those given by proponents of common grace.

Calvin himself offers the idea of our being created in the image and likeness of God. While the image is marred almost beyond recognition, the image is still there. This is why man is capable fo great intellectual accomplishments and even great cultural accomplishments. However, that in no way MERITS ANYTHING BEFORE GOD. It does NOT merit God's love, mercy OR forgiveness.

In fact, Calvin argues that these gifts are misused to further alienate others from reconciliation with God. These innate gifts only bring further condemnation to the reprobate.

Even Paul says that God turns them over to a reprobate mind. And God HARDENED the heart of Pharoah. Yet God loves Pharoah. If God LOVES the reprobate WHY DOES GOD HARDEN THEIR HEARTS? Is this sovereign act loving? Is it unjust?

If God "loves" the reprobate, why does He predestine them to hell before they have done either good or bad???

Basically, you are appealing to human concepts of love, fairness, and justice. The implication behind your accusation is that you really think God is unjust.

Why don't you just admit it?

As for saying that you are wimping out, it seems to me that is the truth. And as for you're being a heretic, that is also true. You're a heretic on the secondary level and so is everyone else who teaches common grace. It's not only not biblical but it is not the position taught by Calvin. It is a doctrine invented by Abraham Kuyper and Herman Bavinck.

Sola Gratia!

Charlie J. Ray said...

Bait and switch is when you ask a question and then when that question is answered instead of dealing with the response you quickly switch to another topic. It might also fall under the category of endless questions. No matter how well I anwer or how often you won't face the facts.

The bottom line is that God cannot love someone He has already decreed to reprobation. Whether the decrees for election take place in the logical order of Creation, redestination, fall or creation, fall, predestination, (i.e. supralapsarianism or infralapsarianism), the bottom line is that God has already predetermined to hate the reprobate individuals forever. Any so-called "temporal love" is just an evasion of the penultimate truth. The highest truth is a finality beyond which there is no escape.

You didn't answer my question. I take then that you have no answer. You simply keep repeating a mantra that God loves the reprobate while at the same time hating them. Which is it?

Answer my question and I will answer yours.

Sola Gratia!

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher,

The author of the Calvin and Calvinism blog is definitely an Amyraldian who believes in universal atonement. I have debated him several times online and in private e-mail.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher,

Listen to this sermon on 1 Timothy 2:4-7. "God's Will to Save 'All Men'"

http://www.prca.org/audiosermons/ram/allmen.ram

You need Real Player to hear this sermon.

Sola Gratia!

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie,

The *answers* to your questions (about the "justice, love, and logic" of God's hatred for the reprobate *and* His common grace to them and His non-salvific love for them) are found in *carefully reading and comparing* Psalm 5:4-5, Psalm 7:11, Psalm 145:9, Deuteronomy 10:18-19, Matthew 5:43-48, Luke 10:27-37, and Acts 14:17 (all in context, of course).

Charlie J. Ray said...

That's not an answer. For one who demands careful exegesis you're not giving much in return.

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie,

You asked for exegesis. I've done it before, but I'll exegete. Let's look at Psalm 5:4-5, Psalm 7:11, and Deuteronomy 10:18-19. The first two Psalms clearly say that God *hates* evildoers and that He is daily *angry* with the wicked. The verses in Deuteronomy clearly say that God *loves* the alien and exhorts believers to also love him. Given that the Deuteronomic verses are in the Old Testament, there is no reason to assume thst the "alien" mentioned here is one of God's elect. He is not an Israelite, the nation with whom and through whom God worked out His plan of salvation at that time. The alien is not described *at all* as a follower of God. With this evidence, he is basically being described as non-elect, not one of the chosen. Yet the verses say that God *loves* him.

Now looking back to God's statements of *anger* and *hatred* for the "wicked" and "evildoers," in the two Psalms which I quoted, without holding to the Biblical concept of God's *non-salvific love* for the reprobate, there is simply no *Biblically legitimate* way to explain the fact that Deuteronomy 10:18-19 also speak clearly of God's *love* for the alien in giving him food and clothing and exhort Christians to show a similar sort of *love.* (verses from the NASB)

Why should we assume that the "alien" is elect, Charlie, given that these verses are in the Old Testament, and the alien is, by definition, *not* an Israelite, and he is not described at all as a follower of God? In this light, it appears, from the testimony of the *whole counsel* of Scripture that God both *loves and hates* this man. How else can you explain Psalm 5:4-5, Psalm 7:11, *and* Deuteronomy 10:18-19?

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher, once again your exegesis is based on your own presuppositions rather than the text itself. I did a very brief survey, word study, and commentary examination and it turns out that your view is completely wrong. The "alien" refers in fact to sojourners who lived within the nation of Israel and were considered proselytes of the Hebrew religion. They were required to be circumcised to become full covenant members but even those who were not circumcised were required to keep the sabbath and observe all the other commandments and religious observances of the Hebrews.

Furthermore, the law mentioned in Deuternomy 10:18 among other places has to do with protecting the rights of "resident aliens" who are called sojourners or strangers. Yet these sojourners are also proselytes without full citizenship rights and so the law called for a full protection of their rights within Israel.

Walther Eichrodt's Old Testament Theology also mentions this aspect of the OT cult status of Israel and its relationship to the sojourner:

"The static quality in the divine order established for eternity in the covenant with Israel led to disregard of the heathen[emphasis that of Eichrodt], so long as they had not become members of the covenant. (See Deu. 23.2ff; 14.21; 23.21). The validity of moral obligation extended only to those foreigners living within the immediate sphere of the people of God who were to an ever greater degree incorporated into the community, though that obligation then attached as much responsibility to dealings with them as with fellow citizens." [Walther Eichrodt, Old Testament Theology. Volume 2. Translated by J.A. Baker. (Philadelphia, Westminster Press, 1967), page 334.]

I also consulted the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament and the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia on the word "ger" or "stranger/sojourner." Both confirm that the word refers most often to a proselyte who is sojourning among the Hebrews either temporarily or with a view of becoming a full covenant member of Israel.

Furthermore, the Alexandrian Jews translated the Hebrew into the Greek Septuagint and the word they used in Greek is "proselutos" or "proselyte". And if you check the English translations, the ESV, RSV, ASV and Young's literal translation all use the word "sojourner" and not "alien" or "stranger". The KJV uses the word "stranger". And even here the context clearly shows that Israel was once a "stranger" in Egypt.

Thus, your idea that this "alien" is mankind in general is simply refuted by the context and the cultural background of the Ancient Near Eastern custom of hospitality.

In short, the weight of the evidence goes toward the idea that these are indeed "elect" individuals who are moving toward a covenant membership in the elect nation of Israel. Given that Israel is a type of the church, membership in the nation or citizenship implies a presumption of individual election as well. At least from the viewpoint of the New Testament church looking back.

So, if you have any more verses that imply "common grace," please let me know. If I may make a suggestion, however, I think you should invest in some good solid lexicons and theological dictionaries. If you want a good free one, try E-Sword. It has the English Standard Version and classic commentaries, dictionaries and encyclopedias. It has ISBE, which though the older version, is still very useful.

Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura, Solus Christus, Soli Gloria Deo!

Charlie

P.S. I would be more than happy to post the entries from ISBE and TWOT if you want to read them for yourself.

Charlie J. Ray said...

ISBE from the E-Sword free Bible software edition:

Stranger and Sojourner (in the Old Testament)
strānj´ẽr:
I. THE GER
1. Legal provisions
(1) Principles
(2) Rules
2. Relation to Sacrifice and Ritual
3. Historical Circumstances
II. THE TOSHABH
III. THE NOKHRI OR BEN NEKHAR
1. Marriage
2. Exclusion of Some Races from the Assembly
IV. THE ZAR
Four different Hebrew words must be considered separately: (1) גּר, gēr, the American Standard Revised Version “sojourner” or “stranger”; (2) תּושׁב, tōshābh, the American Standard Revised Version “sojourner”; (3) נכרי, nokhrī, נכר בּן, ben nēkhār, the American Standard Revised Version “foreigner”; (4) זר, zār, the American Standard Revised Version “stranger.”

I. The Ger.
This word with its kindred verb is applied with slightly varying meanings to anyone who resides in a country or a town of which he is not a full native land-owning citizen; e.g., the word is used of the patriarchs in Palestine, the Israelites in Egypt, the Levites dwelling among the Israelites (Deu_18:6; Jdg_17:7, etc.), the Ephraimite in Gibeah (Jdg_19:16). It is also particularly used of free aliens residing among the Israelites, and it is with the position of such that this article deals. This position is absolutely unparalleled in early legal systems (A. H. Post, Grundriss der ethnologischen Jurisprudenz, I, 448, note 3), which are usually far from favorable to strangers.

1. Legal Provisions:
(1) Principles.
The dominant principles of the legislation are most succinctly given in two passages: He “loveth the gēr in giving him food and raiment” (Deu_10:18); “And if a gēr sojourn with thee (variant “you”) in your land, ye shall not do him wrong. The gēr that sojourneth with you shall be unto you as the home-born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were gērīm in the land of Egypt” (Lev_19:33 f). This treatment of the stranger is based partly on historic recollection, partly on the duty of the Israelite to his God. Because the gēr would be at a natural disadvantage through his alienage, he becomes one of the favorites of a legislation that gives special protection to the weak and helpless.

(2) Rules.
In nationality the freeman followed his father, so that the son of a gēr and an Israelitess was himself a gēr (Lev_24:10-22). Special care was to be taken to do him no judicial wrong (Deu_1:16; Deu_24:17; Deu_27:19). In what may roughly be called criminal law it was enacted that the same rules should apply to gērīm as to natives (Lev_18:26, which is due to the conception that certain abominations defile a land; Lev_20:2, where the motive is also religious; Lev_24:10-22; see SBL, 84 ff; Num_35:15). A free Israelite who became his slave was subject to redemption by a relative at any time on payment of the fair price (Lev_25:47 ff). This passage and Deu_28:43 contemplate the possibility of a stranger's becoming wealthy, but by far the greater number of the legal provisions regard him as probably poor. Thus provision is made for him to participate in tithes (Deu_14:29; Deu_26:12), gleanings of various sorts and forgotten sheaves (Lev_19:10; Lev_23:22; Deu_24:19, Deu_24:20, Deu_24:21), and poor hired servants were not to be oppressed (Deu_24:14).

2. Relation to Sacrifice and Ritual:
Nearly all the main holy days apply to the gēr. He was to rest on the Sabbath (Exo_20:10; Exo_23:12, etc.), to rejoice on Weeks and Tabernacles (Dt 16), to observe the Day of Atonement (Lev_16:29), to have no leaven on the Festival of Unleavened Bread (Exo_12:19). But he could not keep the Passover unless he underwent circumcision (Exo_12:48). He could not eat blood at any rate during the wilderness period (Lev_17:10-12), and for that period, but not thereafter, he was probihited from eating that which died of itself (Lev_17:15; Deu_14:21) under pain of being unclean until the even. He could offer sacrifices (Lev_17:8 f; Lev_22:18; Num_15:14 f), and was subject to the same rules as a native for unwitting sins (Num_15:22-31), and for purification for uncleanness by reason of contact with a dead body (Num_19:10-13).


3. Historical Circumstances:
The historical circumstances were such as to render the position of the resident alien important from the first. A “mixed multitude” went up with the Israelites from Egypt, and after the conquest we find Israelites and the races of Palestine living side by side throughout the country. We repeatedly read of resident aliens in the historical books, e.g. Uriah the Hittite. According to 2Ch_2:17 f (Hebrew 16 f) there was a very large number of such in the days of Solomon, but the figure may be excessive. These seem to have been the remnant of the conquered tribes (1Ki_9:20 f). Ezekiel in his vision assigned to gērīm landed inheritance among the Israelites (Eze_47:22 f). Hospitality to the gēr was of course a religious duty and the host would go to any lengths to protect his guest (Gen 19; Jdg_19:24).

ISBE

Sola Gratia!

Charlie J. Ray said...

Deuteronomy 23:2-8 (ESV)
2 “No one born of a forbidden union may enter the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of his descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord. 3 “No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of the Lord forever, 4 because they did not meet you with bread and with water on the way, when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. 5 But the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam; instead the Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loved you. 6 You shall not seek their peace or their prosperity all your days forever. 7 “You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother. You shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you were a sojourner in his land. 8 Children born to them in the third generation may enter the assembly of the Lord.

[1]
[1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie,

Sorry for dropping out of the conversation temporarily-- I had some family and friend business to which to attend.

About Deuteronomy 10:18-19, I'll concede your point. There are still other verses which, at the very least, strongly imply that God does have a non-salvific love for the reprobate. One example would be Psalm 145:9. In the King James Version, this verse is translated as "The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works." The ESV translates it as "The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made." Now, without reading false, salvific notions of "mercy" into the text, surely one can at least affirm that God would not be "good" and would not show at least *some* "mercy" to people for whom He has no love?

Similarly, in Luke 6:32-36, we read, "If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you except to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be *sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.* (my emphasis) *Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.* (again, my emphasis)

Now, in verse 34, Christians are told that in loving their enemies, they will be sons of God, for *He* is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Christians are further commanded/exhorted to be merciful (to their enemies, in light of the preceding verse) *as God is merciful.* Charlie, why are Christians called "sons of the Most High" for loving their enemies (even the unrepentant ones) if *God Himself* doesn't love *His* enemies (even the unrepentant ones)? Immediately following that verse, why are Christians commanded/exhorted to be merciful, *as their Father is merciful,* if what He gives to the the reprobate is not actually "mercy" at all, but merely earthly blessings which are specifically designed to bring about further condemnation in eternity? Verses 34-35 in the 6th chapter of Luke simply make no sense, outside of an understanding of God's non-salvific love for the reprobate.

Finally, this is not a quotation of Scripture, but I find it highly ironic that in the very letter of George Whitefield to John Wesley to which you recently linked on this blog, we find Whitefield writing, "Again, says dear Mr. Wesley, 'They (the Reformed) infer from that text, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy," that God is only merciful to some men, viz the elect; and that he has mercy for those only, flatly contrary to which is the whole tenor of the Scripture, as is that expresses that declaration, 'The Lord is loving to every man, and his mercy is over all his works.'" Replying to Wesley's misunderstanding of the Reformed point of view, Whitefield writes, "And so it (God's mercy) is, but not his *saving* mercy. God is loving to every man,: he sends his rain upon the evil and upon the good."

George Whitefield, the very man whom you help up on this blog as an example of how to "publicly rebuke" someone, here affirms the very same position for which I have been arguing-- namely, that God loves and shows mercy to *everyone*-- but not *saving* mercy! Are you sure that you've read the entire letter to which you recently linked, Charlie? It contradicts your own position and reveals Whitefield as a (your words, definitely not mine) "second-order heretic."

Charlie J. Ray said...

I would not dispute anything that Whitefield said as a Reformed believer. However, you are reading into the letter what is not there since the doctrine of common grace and the free offer were not around at that time.

I would not dispute that there is a general call to all who hear the Gospel but only the elect who hear the Gospel are effectually called. In the same way, the passages you cite only show that God is forbearing for a time and in no way indicates any such thing as "common grace." Common grace and Wesley's doctrines of "prevenient grace" or grace provided beforehand to all men seem to have much in common and this is precisely why it is rejected by the Reformed theologians prior to Kuyper and company.

The theologians from the Protestant Reformed Church in America would not disagree with any of the verses you have quoted either. What they disagree with is the doctrine of common grace. It is beyond doubt that God is benevolent toward even the reprobate on at least some level. He allows them to live a full life sometimes and at other times He cuts them off. It is also true that total depravity does not teach that every single reprobate sinner is as evil to the same degree as others. In some way or other, God does seem to restrain evil in individuals and in society at large. However, this does not mean that we should accomodate to the culture as in the 3rd point of common grace. That, judging from the results in Holland, leads to a secular society with no faith at all.

Also, you should check out the other posts I made on the issue of common grace. They are easily recognizable on the sidebar. In particular you might want to listen to the debate between Dr. Richard J. Mouw, of Fuller Theological Seminary, (who is also ordained with the Christian Reformed Church), and Dr. David Engelsma, of the Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary. It is indeed an interesting debate and clearly highlights the fact that Mouw appeals to casuitic evidence and experience to make his case while Engelsma appeals more to Scripture.

Soli Gloria Deo!

Charlie J. Ray said...

Who use the difference between meriting and appropriating, to the end that they may instill into the minds of the imprudent and inexperienced this teaching that God, as far as he is concerned, has been minded of applying to all equally the benefits gained by the death of Christ; but that, while some obtain the pardon of sin and eternal life, and others do not, this difference depends on their own free will, which joins itself to the grace that is offered without exception, and that it is not dependent on the special gift of mercy, which powerfully works in them, that they rather than others should appropriate unto themselves this grace. For these, while they feign that they present this distinction, in a sound sense, seek to instill into the people the destructive poison of the Pelagian errors.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Canons of Dordt. Head of Doctrine II. Rejection of Errors VI.

http://www.prca.org/cd_text2.html#r6

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie, I didn't really mention the doctrine of common grace in my last comment. I do believe that that doctrine is *Biblical,* but rather, in my last comment, I referred specifically to "God's non-salvific love for the reprobate," and I backed it up with exegesis of Psalm 145:9 and Luke 6:32-36. I'd be interested to hear your answers to my specific exegesis.

Mouw may appeal more to "casuitic evidence" for common grace, than to Scriptural evidence for such, in his debate with Engelsma, but again, in my last comment, I wasn't referring primarily to common grace, and I *was* appealing directly to Scripture for evidence of God's non-salvific, but genuine, love for the reprobate.

You may be surprised to read this, Charlie, but it doesn't ultimately matter to me so much that you accept the doctrine of common grace. I think that our differences on this issue are partially ones of terminology-- not entirely, to be sure, but partially.

It *does* matter to me, however, that you see that the Bible affirms God's non-salvific, but genuine, love for the reprobate. This love is *overwhelmingly* clear in Luke 6:32-36 (ESV). Again, see my above exegesis.

Also, if you would not disagree with George Whitefield, as a Reformed believer, on his clear statement, in the letter to Wesley, that "God is loving to every man," then why would you say that I am a "second-order heretic" for holding to the same (Biblical) belief?

You recently posted a quote from Phil Johnson, in your entry concerning Monergism.com's John Hendryx. I don't know if you have ever read this essay from Phil Johnson, but you might want to check it out, as in it, he describes five different "categories," or sorts, of hyper-Calvinists. In sincere love for you (even though I don't "know" you), I would *plead* with you to read the full essay. According to this essay from Johnson, you fit into *three* of these different categories of hyper-Calvinists.

http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/articles/hypercal.htm

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher, I honestly could care less what you call me. If you wish to use the term "hyper-Calvinist" then it is essentially an ad hominem argument and not based on the particulars of the argument itself.

I do not accept common grace nor the free offer of the Gospel. Nor do I believe that God "loves" the reprobate. The Bible clearly says that God hates the reprobate. Jacob have I love and Esau have I hated. Not ONE of the Reformed Confessions teaches that God loves the reprobate and Scripture explicitly and openly says that God hates the reprobate. The fact that God has a general kindness toward all mankind in general does not constitute "love" since God has decreed their reprobation from before creation and their fate for all eternity is thus sealed.

The real problem with your view is that you wish to soften God's wrath against sinners when this is in fact what drives the elect to a point where God can effectually call them through His word.

You have implied that God loves the reprobate as though they could in fact be saved, which is impossible. They will openly and vehemently reject any attempt to convert them because their sentence of reprobation is always before their eyes.

Regarding your Reformed Baptist fellow, Philip Johnson, I would say that he does not represent me. I do not belong to his church and thus any theological opinion he may have that is not in Scripture nor in ANY of the Reformed Confessions is therefore irrelevant. Appealing to Johnson, therefore, is just another form of the fallacy of appealing to authority, which really is no authority at all.

And Whitefield's remark cannot possibly refer to common grace since the doctrine had not even been formuated yet. I would not disagree with Whitefield's remark that God is "loving" toward even the reprobate in a "general" and "outward" sense of the term since God does grant them general provisions in this life as an outward show of God's kindness. However, as Calvin said, this is merely a public show to prove God's goodness to the elect. Such outward kindness to the reprobate only serves to further condemn and damn them since God's goodness, kindness and mercy does not lead to their repentance but rather to further hardening and thus to eternal damnation.

Do you deny that the 250,000 people who died in the tsunami disaster were cut off from life by God's predetermined decree and by His providence? Thus, you cannot remove God's wrath and justice from even natural disasters and calamities.

Isaiah 45:7 (ESV)
7 I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.

Calvin:

I answer, that though hypocrites are thus occasionally spared for a time, the wrath of God still lies upon them, and that they are thus spared not so much on their own account as for a public example. For what did Ahab gain by the mitigation of his punishment except that he did not suffer it alive on the earth? The curse of God, though concealed, was fixed on his house, and he himself went to eternal destruction. We may see the same thing in Esau (Gen. 27:38, 39). For though he met with a refusal, a temporal blessing was granted to his tears. But as, according to the declaration of God, the spiritual inheritance could be possessed only by one of the brothers, when Jacob was selected instead of Esau, that event excluded him from the divine mercy; but still there was given to him, as a man of a groveling nature, this consolation, that he should be filled with the fulness of the earth and the dew of heaven. And this, as I lately said, should be regarded as done for the example of others, that we may learn to apply our minds, and exert ourselves with greater alacrity, in the way of sincere repentance, as there cannot be the least doubt that God will be ready to pardon those who turn to him truly and with the heart, seeing his mercy extends even to the unworthy though they bear marks of his displeasure. In this way also, we are taught how dreadful the judgment is which awaits all the rebellious who with audacious brow and iron heart make it their sport to despise and disregard the divine threatening. God in this way often stretched forth his hand to deliver the Israelites from their calamities, though their cries were pretended, and their minds double and perfidious, as he himself complains in the Psalms, that they immediately returned to their former course (Psalm 78:36, 37).
Calvin, J., & Beveridge, H. (1996). Institutes of the Christian religion (electronic ed.) (III, iii, 25). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.

Christopher, I am more concerned for you because you think "popular" opinion is always right. In this case, however, "popular" Reformed theology is not the same Reformed teaching that has prevailed from Calvin's time up until Abraham Kuyper and Herman Bavinck introduced an innovative doctrine that is not supported by any Reformed confession, catechism, or creed.

Truth matters more than ecumenical unity. In fact, the focus on ecumenical unity most often leads to compromise and then to outright liberalism. Just look at the results of the common grace teaching in the PCUSA and in the Dutch Reformed churches in Holland.

It is only a matter of time before Evangelicalism sells out here in the USA. It's already happening. I value the Bible above any man's opinion. When churches rebell against God's Word, then I must side with God.

I might add that Arminians think you're a "hyper Calvinist" just because you believe in double predestination. The fact of the matter is that God hates all mankind, including the elect, until they come to repentance. The only ones God "loves" and "hates" are the elect. According to Calvin's commentary on Romans 5, God loves the elect even before they are converted, though they are under his wrath and hated.

Soli Gloria Deo!

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher,

I find it strange that Philip Johnson would quote a "known" Anglo-Catholic on the subject of "hyper" Calvinism. Peter Toon, though formerly a Reformed person, has rejected the doctrines of grace, including justification by faith alone, and has become instead an Anglo-Catholic. The Tractarian/Anglo-Catholic heresy is essentially a return to Romish doctrines like justification by works or merits, et. al. I find it odd that Philip Johnson would not know this.

http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/articles/hypercal.htm

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie, I'm not appealing to any man *above* the Bible-- or on an equal level *with* the Bible. I appeal to human teachers *only* when they agree with what the Bible already states.

I have never said or even implied, at all in this conversation, that God loves the reprobate "as though they could in fact be saved" (in your words). I have clearly said just the opposite. Biblically speaking, God loves them but in a *non-salvific* way. Again, see my exegesis of Psalm 145:9 and Luke 6:32-36 (ESV).

I know that many Arminians would say that I'm a "hyper-Calvinist" because of my belief in double predestination. That would obviously be a twisting of the historic definition of hyper-Calvinism-- as opposed to the examples of hyper-Calvinism in Phil Johnson's article, three of which fit your positions. That is not "name-calling" on my part (such as your calling me a "wimp"); that is simply an historically accurate description of your theological positions.

I'm still interested to hear your answers to my exegesis of Psalm 145:9 and Luke 6:32-36, in the context, *not* of common grace, but of God's non-salvific love for the reprobate, which you have emphatically denied throughout this conversation. I'm appealing to the Bible, again, not man's opinion.

Christopher Lake said...

Wait a minute, Charlie-- God "loves the elect even before they are converted though they are under His wrath and hated"? I don't disagree with you (or Calvin) here, but for long stretches of this conversation, you have denied to me that God can both love and hate the same people. You have said that such an idea is not "logical," not "consistent." Now, you are implying that it is logical and consistent for the elect, but not for the reprobate, in a temporal, non-salvific sense? Luke 6:32-36 might be helpful here.

Charlie J. Ray said...

That is EXACTLY what I am saying. And why? Because God intends to save the elect! They have been predestined to salvation before the foundation of the world. Before Esau was born, before he did good or bad, God already chose Jacob. Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated.

It is inconsistent to say that God loves the reprobate when God has decreed before hand to damn every single one of them. While God shows kindness to the reprobate, it is only to demonstrate His love to the elect so they will be drawn to repentance. However, when God shows kindness to the reprobate it only brings a more severe condemnation because they are without excuse.

There is no possible way to prove that God loves someone who has no good at all in them and in fact uses God's natural gifts for their own selfish ends instead of using them for God's glory and praise.

Common grace is just a capitulation to the Amyraldians and the Arminians and is in no wise faithful to Scripture, the Reformed confessions or Calvin himself.

Instead of quoting verses out of context as you have, perhaps you could provide some "exegesis" proving your interpretation is correct? Perhaps you could demonstrate where the Reformed confessions or even Calvin supports "common grace." The doctrine isn't there. Sorry.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher, every time I "prove" my case you shift the bar again. Personally, I think the burden of proof lies with you. Can you prove that God "loves" the reprobate when the Bible clearly says that there is nothing good in anyone, including the unsaved elect. Romans 3:9-27.

Just because there is a general benevolence and kindness to all the unsaved in general, it does not translate into "God loves the reprobate in a non-salvific way." There is no such verse in the Bible that would establish such a principle.

What you are really implying is that God will save anyone who believes, which is an Arminian view. God will only save the elect and He hates the reprobate. They are objects of His wrath just as the elect are before they are saved.

So God loves the elect and brings them to salvation. God hates the reprobate and cuts them off in their sins. What part of cut off do you not understand? How is it "loving" to render justice rather than mercy?

Soli Gloria Deo!

Charlie J. Ray said...

Philip Johnson's article has many, many inconsistencies. First of all, according to Johnson, the Westminster Confession of Faith is "hyper" Calvinist! He says that "hyper-Calvinism 'encourages introspection in the search to know whether or not one is elect.' Therefore, hyper-Calvinism soon degenerates into a cold, lifeless dogma."

However, the Westminster Confession and practically all the Puritans believed that introspection was part of attaining the assurance of salvation:

CHAP. XVIII. - Of Assurance of Grace and Salvation

1. Although hypocrites and other unregenerate men may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favour of God, and estate of salvation(Job 8:13–14, Micah 3:11, Deut. 29:19, John 8:41) (which hope of theirs shall perish): (Matt. 7:22–23) yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love Him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before Him, may, in this life, be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, (1 John 2:3, 1 John 3:14,18–19,21,24, 1 John 5:13) and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed. (Rom. 5:2,5)
2. This certainty is not a bare conjectural and probable persuasion grounded upon a fallible hope; (Heb. 6:11,19) but an infallible assurance of faith founded upon the divine truth of the promises of salvation, (Heb. 6:17–18) the inward evidence of those graces unto which these promises are made, (2 Pet. 1:4–5,10–11, 1 John 2:3. 1 John 3:14, 2 Cor. 1:12) the testimony of the Spirit of adoption witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God, (Rom. 8:15–16) which Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance, whereby we are sealed to the day of redemption. (Eph. 1:13–14, Eph. 4:30, 2 Cor. 1:21–22)
3. This infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true believer may wait long, and conflict with many difficulties, before he be partaker of it: (1 John 5:13, Isa. 50:10, Mark 9:24, Ps. 88, Ps. 77:1–12) yet, being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation in the right use of ordinary means, attain thereunto. (1 Cor. 2:12, 1 John 4:13, Heb. 6:11–12, Eph. 3:17) And therefore it is the duty of every one to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure, (2 Pet. 1:10) that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, (Rom. 5:1–2,5, Rom. 14:17, Rom. 15:13, Eph. 1:3–4, Ps. 4:6–7, Ps. 119:32) the proper fruits of this assurance; so far is it from inclining men to looseness. (1 John 2:1–2, Rom. 6:1–2, Tit. 2:11–12,14, 2 Cor. 7:1, Rom. 8:1,12, 1 John 3:2–3, Ps. 130:4, 1 John 1:6–7)
4. True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted; as, by negligence in preserving of it, by falling into some special sin which woundeth the conscience and grieveth the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation, by God’s withdrawing the light of His countenance, and suffering even such as fear Him to walk in darkness and to have no light: (Cant. 5:2,3,6, Ps. 51:8,12,14, Eph. 4:30,31, Ps. 77:1–10, Matt. 26:69–72, Ps. 31:22, Ps. 88, Isa. 50:10) yet are they never utterly destitute of that seed of God, and life of faith, that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart, and conscience of duty, out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may, in due time, be revived; (1 John 3:9, Luke 22:32, Job 13:15, Ps. 73:15, Ps. 51:8,12, Isa. 50:10) and be the which, in the mean time, they are supported from utter despair. (Micah 7:7–9, Jer. 32:40, Isa. 54:7–10, Ps. 22:1, Ps. 88)

The Westminster confession of faith : An authentic modern version. 1985 (Rev. EPC ed.). Signal Mountain, TN: Summertown Texts.

The article goes on to name A.W. Pink as a "hyper-Calvinist" depite the fact that A.W. Pink believes in common grace! Philip Johnson is obviously reading modern sensibilities back into the confessions and since the 1689 London Baptist Confession is essentially the same as the WCF here, I suppose Johnson's own denomination is "hyper-Calvinist" by his own admission.

Soli Gloria Deo.

Charlie J. Ray said...

The other thing Johnson has wrong is that the PRCA does not believe in the "general" call to all who hear the Gospel. This is just patently false. In essence what Johnson has done is create a strawman and then demolished it. The distinction is between a "free offer" of the Gospel to all and the "general call" to all who hear. Johnson says that hyper-Calvinists do not teach that it is the duty of everyone who hears the Gospel to have faith. This is wrong as well. The PRCA preaches that the Gospel is a general call to all to obey the Gospel command to repent and believe. ONLY the elect will answer this general call and actually believe. It is not a "free offer" of salvation but a "command," a "duty" of those who hear to believe in Jesus. Thus, it is not pleading with the reprobate that they have a free offer of salvation. Rather it is a command that unless they repent they will likewise perish:

Luke 13:1-5 (ESV)
1 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

[1]
[1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

The WCF likewise says there is a "general call":

Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, (Matt. 22:14) and may have some common operations of the Spirit, (Matt. 7:22, Matt. 13:20–21, Heb. 6:4–5) yet they never truly come unto Christ, and therefore cannot be saved: (John 6:64–66, John 8:24) much less can men, not professing the Christian religion, be saved in any other way whatsoever, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, and the laws of that religion they do profess. (Acts 4:12, John 14:6, Eph. 2:12, John 4:22, John 17:3) And to assert and maintain that they may, is very pernicious, and to be detested. (2 John 9–11, 1 Cor. 16:22, Gal. 1:6–8)

Chapter 10, Section 4
Of Effectual Calling

The Westminster confession of faith : An authentic modern version. 1985 (Rev. EPC ed.). Signal Mountain, TN: Summertown Texts.

Charlie J. Ray said...

There are only 2 points I would disagree with Johnson on: Points 4 and 5. And he even says that A.W. Pink denies point 5!!!! This practically proves that there is no consistency on at least this point. Even Matthew McMahon's article admits that John Gill denies point 5 as well. And McMahon admits that common grace was introduced by Kuyper and Bavinck.

In my view, McMahon's two concessions as much as prove my case since it shows that the Reformed position is not what Johnson seems to say. I think Johnson is reading modern Baptist views back into the Reformed position.

Johnson practically admits that the PRCA does not deny the general call. What they deny is the "free offer" interpretation of the general call. Again, Johnson creates a strawman only to destroy it. He even admits that he believes in a universal offer of salvation: "...the offer of divine mercy is free and universal." But this is patently false!!! First of all, not every nation has even had the Gospel preached there. So not all men universally in all times, history, and places have heard the Gospel preached and preaching is the ONLY means of coming to faith. Scripture says that faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God and how shall they hear without a preacher. And even here, not all who hear are effectually called. They only hear the general call but only the elect are effectually called. (See Romans 10:13-17).

Those advocating the free offer, common grace, and that God loves the reprobate are simply arguing anachronistically and reading back into Reformed history and tradition what is not and has never been there. Kuyper is an innovator.

Soli Gloria Deo

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie, I don't understand why you continue to talk about common grace, when a few comments ago, I already left that subject behind as an "agree to disagree" matter. I said repeatedly in my last comments that I am not even dealing with common grace at this point, since our differences seem to be partially, although not entirely, ones of terminology on that subject.

Rather than common grace, I have said specifically in my last comments that I am *most* concerned with your denial that God has a non-salvific love for the reprobate. This is why I exegeted Psalm 145:9 and Luke 6:32-36, because that love is clear in these verses. I have been waiting for several comments now to read your answers to my exegesis. The closest that you have come is to merely assert that I am reading the verses out of context. An assertion is not exegesis.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher, you have not exegeted anything that I can see. What you have done is presupposed an interpretation and then asserted it to be correct. The verses you mention do not say that God loves the reprobate. This is impossible since in so many other verses that God hates the reprobate. Even A. W. Pink said this in spite of his acceptance of "common grace."

Every time I demolish your position you bait and switch to something else. Essentially, the argument in Luke 6 is the same as the one in Matthew 5:43-48. It refers to a general "kindness" and benevolence on God's part. And according to Calvin, this benevolence is a public demonstration of God's goodness meant to demonstrate God's goodness to the elect and to bring further condemnation to the reprobate who refuse to repent even in the face of God's kindness and mercy in not cutting them off.

Furthermore, the differences we have on common grace are not merely terminology. They are in fact critical differences that can lead to either liberalism or a further commitment to theological and doctrinal truth.

The doctrine of common grace is essentially a capitulation to the Arminian doctrine of "prevenient grace." That grace is given to all mankind. This is completely and utterly false.

Soli Gloria Deo.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I might add that I personally know Matthew McMahon. We were students together at Southeastern College of the Assemblies of God around 1988-1991. Honestly, though I admire his transition to Reformed theology, he was only an average student. He wasn't an overly gifted scholar despite the appearances he might give on his website.

His critique of Engelsma is essentially ad hominem and does not deal with any of the particulars of Engelsma's position. I got the same feeling from Phil Johnson's response to Engelsma. He didn't bother to respond to the content of Engelsma's arguments. Rather he simply glossed over the differences and created a few strawman mischaracterizations hoping that no one would actually look at the PRCA position.

Soli Gloria Deo

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher, Psalm 145 is a song written for Israel to sing in praises to God. It cannot therefore be lightly interpreted to apply all men in the world known to the Hebrews of their day. Instead, it should be understood to apply only to Israel. Even commentators like Delitzsch say that those who willfully exclude themselves from God's goodness are not included here.

John Gill goes a bit overboard and says the psalm comes from the time of Christ and refers specifically to those who believe in Christ. I think this is stretching it a bit. Matthew Henry, however, says it does not apply to those who are evil and willfully reject God.

Henry: "(2.) There are streams of goodness in all the dispensations of his providence, Psa_145:9. As he is good, so he does good; he is good to all, to all his creatures, from the highest angel to the meanest worm, to all but devils and damned sinners, that have shut themselves out from his goodness."

Even if we take it as a general statement, it merely says that God is kind to all. This does not translate to "God loves the reprobate."

Soli Gloria Deo.

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie, did you carefully read my examination of Luke 6:32-36 (ESV)? I did not "presuppose an interpretation and assert it to be correct." (in your words) In fact, I carefully examined the passage, looking at exactly what it says.

I will examine the verses even more carefully and painstakingly this time, again looking at *the text alone.* Verse 32 asks Christians of what benefit it is to them to love only those who love them. Verses 33 and 34 expand on this question with application, i.e. "doing good" and "lending" to those who not necessarily reciprocate. Verse 35 specifically exhorts and commands Christians to "love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return." Verse 35 further tells Christians that if they do so, "your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil." In verse 36, *within the context* of the preceding four verses (a context which includes "loving your enemies" and "doing good" to them, even when they do not reciprocate), believers are specifically told to "Be merciful, *even as* your Father is merciful." (my emphasis, to make a careful point, which I will unfold below)

Charlie, why are believers told, in verse 35, that if they love their enemies who do not reciprocate that love, they will be be "sons of the Most High," if the Most High doesn't love His *own* enemies who do not reciprocate His love? Why are Christians called "sons of the Most High" in this verse for doing something (loving one's enemies) that God supposedly does not do, in relation to His enemies?

In verse 36, why are Christians told to "Be merciful, *even as* (meaning, in the way that) your Father is merciful," if the Father's mercy to His enemies is *solely* a premeditated, precalculated prelude to their condemnation, designed *solely* to bring about their greater condemnation? Is this the spirit in which Christians are to be merciful to their enemies, Charlie?

I ask this question, because verse 36 specifically says to "Be merciful, *even as* your Father is merciful." Are Christians to be merciful to their enemies, *only* with a heart towards bringing about the further condemnation of the reprobate? Verses 32-35 do not give this sort of impression at all, and it is in the context of *these* preceding verses that Christians are told, in verse 36, to "Be merciful, *even as* your Father is merciful."

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher, I have already quoted Calvin on that point but you have an extremely and irritatingly SHORT memory. I would call it a "selective" memory. Calvin specifically says that ONLY God can judge the heathen. Therefore, WE are to be "KIND" to them and "merciful" in the context of benevolence.

What KIND of love DO YOU have for your enemies? I suppose you run up to them and hug them with affection and kiss them on the cheek? Do you act like this with every stranger you meet?

And IF God has the SAME kind of love for the reprobate that He has for the elect, then WHY do they only receive rain and sunshine instead of salvation? Why are they cut off forever in hell?

Furthermore, you have totally ignored the remarks I made about the verse, specifically that if we are to be like God, then the context says that we are to be KIND to them and merciful. This is a different kind of love than the love we have for those who are within the church or our family. In fact, the text specifically says that we are to love them the way we love our NEIGHBOR. How do we love our neighbor? We don't have deep affection for them. We show them mercy, concern, and benevolence. Charity. It is just purely IGNORANT to suggest otherwise.

The burden of proof lies with you to particularize, specify WHICH kind of love you're talking about. Is it eros? Philos? Love for sports? What is it? What context????

You didn't even mention my response to Psalm 145:9. Every time I blast your theory out of the water, you revert back to Matthew 5:43-48 or Luke 6:27-36.

Let me make it clear for you. When Luke says in verse 35 "love your enemies" and "you will be sons of the Most High" he further particularizes what KIND of love that God has for the ungodly and the reprobate: It is "kindness."

"....for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil."

I might further add that the text NOWHERE says that these are ALL reprobates who are evil and ungrateful. In fact, I would say that this refers to both the elect AND the reprobate. Some will be drawn to repentance and others will be pushed to further condemnation.

You are confusing our authority with God's authority. I have NEVEr suggested EVEN ONCE that WE are to be harsh to our enemies and I have NEVER suggested that we are not bound to be kind to our enemies. What I AM suggesting is that GOD CAN and DOES JUDGE THE REPROBATE BY CUTTING THEM OFF IN THEIR SINS. He spares them for a time, showing them kindness and mercy, which only leaves them even MORE without an excuse.

Romans 1:18-20 (ESV)
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Since the passage in Luke 6:27ff does not say that God loves the reprobate, you are basically reading an interpretation into the text based on what you THINK it implies. But the verse does not say such a thing and there are clearly OTHER alternatives which are suggested by the context itself AND by more traditional Reformed theology in Calvin and others.

I might add that IF the unsaved elect were "children of wrath" before they were converted (Ephesians 2:3), then how can you say that God "loves" the reprobate who ALWAYS remain under God's wrath?

Calvin says this confirming precisely MY exact words to you on the subject. DENY this IF you CAN:

Institutes, Book III.ii.32.

32. On the other hand, we have good ground for comprehending all the promises in Christ, since the Apostle comprehends the whole Gospel under the knowledge of Christ, and declares that all the promises of God are in him yea, and amen.299 The reason for this is obvious. Every promise which God makes is evidence of his good will. This is invariably true, and is not inconsistent with the fact, that the large benefits which the divine liberality is constantly bestowing on the wicked are preparing them for heavier judgment. As they neither think that these proceed from the hand of the Lord, nor acknowledge them as his, or if they do so acknowledge them, never regard them as proofs of his favor, they are in no respect more instructed thereby in his mercy than brute beasts, which, according to their condition, enjoy the same liberality, and yet never look beyond it. Still it is true, that by rejecting the promises generally offered to them, they subject themselves to severer punishment. For though it is only when the promises are received in faith that their efficacy is manifested, still their reality and power are never extinguished by our infidelity or ingratitude. Therefore, when the Lord by his promises invites us not only to enjoy the fruits of his kindness, but also to meditate upon them, he at the same time declares his love. Thus we are brought back to our statement, that every promise is a manifestation of the divine favor toward us. Now, without controversy, God loves no man out of Christ. He is the beloved Son, in whom the love of the Father dwells, and from whom it afterwards extends to us. Thus Paul says “In whom he has made us accepted in the Beloved,” (Eph. 1:6). It is by his intervention, therefore, that love is diffused so as to reach us. Accordingly, in another passage, the Apostle calls Christ “our peace,” (Eph. 2:14), and also represents him as the bond by which the Father is united to us in paternal affection (Rom. 8:3). It follows, that whenever any promise is made to us, we must turn our eyes toward Christ. Hence, with good reasons Paul declares that in him all the promises of God are confirmed and completed (Rom. 15:8).

Calvin, J., & Beveridge, H. (1996). Institutes of the Christian religion (electronic ed.) (III, ii, 32). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie, the issue is not that I have a "short memory." The issue is that I am exegeting a passage of Scripture, and you are responding to it either with assertions that rise out of your theological presuppositions, or with other verses, or with Calvin, but *not* with legitimate exegesis of the *passage* itself.

Luke 6:35 clearly tells Christians to "love your enemies," and that in so doing, "you will be sons of the Most High." The inescapable conclusion? The Most High loves *His* enemies-- those who repent and trust in Him *and* those who do not repent and trust in Him.

Having said that, God does *not* have the *same sort of* love for the reprobate that He has for the elect. The difference between His love for the reprobate and His love for the elect is very clear. His love for the reprobate expresses itself in blessings in this life *only,* while His love for the elect expresses itself in blessings in this life (the greatest of which is a reconciled relationship with Him!) and in the blessed fact of being with Him and other believers for eternity.

Charlie J. Ray said...

This is invariably true, and is not inconsistent with the fact, that the large benefits which the divine liberality is constantly bestowing on the wicked are preparing them for heavier judgment.

Institutes, Book III.ii.32

Romans 9:22-23 (ESV)
22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—

[1]
[1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Charlie J. Ray said...

"Now, without controversy, God loves no man out of Christ." John Calvin, Institutes. Book III.ii.32.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher, the only thing inescapable here is your equivocation, duplicity, and lack of intellectual honesty. Luke 6:35 qualifies HOW Christians are to "love" their enemies. It is NOT in showing them ubridled AFFECTION. RATHER is is the kind of love that SHOWS KINDNESS. "FOR HE IS KIND TO THE UNGRATEFUL AND THE EVIL.....BE MERCIFUL, EVEN AS YOUR FATHER IS MERCIFUL." Luke 6:35. Hello! Mercy is not the same thing as AFFECTION. The kind of love God has for the reprobate is merely MERCY and KINDNESS in giving them a temporal reprieve, which in the END only brings them further condemnation because the kindness and mercy of God is ignored, taken for granted, and only further hardens their hearts against God. You said Calvin did not teach this. You also said that Calvin taught that God loves the reprobate. I cited Book III.ii.32 to prove that God only LOVES those who are in Christ. Calvin said it.

You conceded Deuteronomy 10:18; Psalm 145:9 to my side. You conceded implicitly that Calvin is on my side because now you're accusing me of reading CALVIN back into Luke 6:27-36. and Matthew 5:43-48.

The real problem here is that you are using two prooftexts and you are clinging to a wrong interpretation of both texts all based on the fact that "modern" Reformed innovations are "popular." Neo-Reformed theology can even go so far as to go neo-orthodox or even liberal as the PCUSA and the CRCA demonstrates clearly.

The fact of the matter is that you are stubbornly clinging to what is at best an extremely WEAK argument. Furthermore, the burden of proof lies with you.

I also note that you ADMIT that God's love for the elect is DIFFERENT from His "love" for the reprobate. So what KIND of LOVE is it He has for the elect???? And what KIND of love is it He has for the reprobate IF IT IS NOT THE SAME KIND OF LOVE?

Please EXPLAIN to me what the difference IS? While you're at it, maybe you could define the word "is" for me????

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie, I find it ironic that you do admit that Scripture at least tells Christians to be "kind" to their enemies, while you have been anything but kind in your insults toward me ("wimp," "short memory," "doesn't seem to think for himself") and in your generally irascible tone throughout our interactions. Before you even say it, this has absolutely *nothing* to do with valuing "friendship" over "truth." It has everything to do with the fact that Christians are called *by God Himself in Scripture* to be gentle even in their disagreements, and you have not been gentle in our interactions at all-- and I'm not even your *enemy,* if you are in Christ!

I already described the kind of love that God has for the reprobate, and I contrasted that love with His love for the elect. The love that God has for the reprobate is temporal and expresses itself *only* in earthly blessings. By contrast, God's love for the elect is eternal and expresses itself in earthly blessings, but more primarily and importantly, in spiritual blessings, the greatest of which are truly knowing God in a saving way, having a reconciled relationship with Him, and being closely connected to His people, the church.

Just because I hold to the five points of Calvinism does not mean that I agree with Calvin on every one of his statements. He was a sinful man (like all of us) whom God gifted and chose to use in great ways. However, even Calvin could make apparently contradictory statements at times, such as writing of God's "general grace" to the reprobate on one page of the Institutes, and then writing as if God shows no grace to them at all on another page of the Institutes. Only Scripture is infallible-- not Calvin--, and Scripture is clear that in this life, God has both a temporal, non-salvific (though genuine) love for the reprobate *and* an also genuine hatred for them that will ultimately express itself in their eternal damnation.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher, I guess your opinion is better than Calvin's? I might point out that you yourself are fallible.

I would rather trust Calvin and the rest of the Protestant Reformers. I would rather trust the Reformed Confessions. I would rather trust what Scripture itself says rather than your rather tendentious and tedious appeal to brief passages in Scripture as an illustration of "love." I might continue to point out that you still refuse to precisely define what kind of love this is. However, I have pointed out from the literary criticism of the verse that Luke particularizes HOW we are to be like God. Luke specifically says that is to be "kind" and "merciful" to our enemies.

Secondly, you're taking the verse out of context if you think that I'm somehow obligated to let you get away with a gross misinterpretation of a verse which is clearly a reading of your own cultural views back into what the text actually says. If you wish to say I'm uncharitable or irascible, so be it. But you yourself have had the same tone to your comments. I have merely answered your assertions with the same force in return. You cannot simply assume your position is correct, repeat it over and over again, and then expect me to let you get away with it. In fact, you have presented no word studies to support your view, no commentary input, and no quotes from ANY Reformed Confession or from Calvin to support your view. You have not quoted even one Reformed theologian prior to Kuyper, Hodge, or Bavinck, though you did quote Phil Johnson who is no scholar, by the way. Johnson is at best a pastor, not a scholar.

I would further point out that the Scripture itself shows in the parable of the good Samaritan what "loving" your enemy is supposed to be. The Jews and Samaritans were enemies. Yet the Samaritan bound up the wounds of the Jew and paid for his hotel stay until he recovered. He didn't hug and kiss the man. He merely showed him charity and benevolence and mercy. This is the kind of mercy God shows to His enemies only to have it returned with no thanks, no glory, and ultimate rejection by the wicked reprobate. It is thus only a greater condemnation that these blessings bring upon the unbeliever.

I'm glad, however, that you finally recognize that Calvin is on my side in this. I must remind you that the quotes about "common grace" in Calvin did NOT refer to mankind at large but to ISRAEL. Thus God's grace is common to the elect, i.e., Israel was elect from among the heathen nations. Even the most basic children's Sunday school teaches this.

Christopher, I would suggest to you that if you wish to protest my lack of "kindness" then you should live what you preach. You have demonstrated not the least bit of objectivity in this matter. You have not even tried to understand the opposing side or even to properly understand the opposing side. It is only because I have relentlessly and continually rebutted your bare assertions that you have finally conceded all of the points except the passages in Matthew and Luke and even here you admit that this is a "different" kind of love God has for the reprobate. I would contend to you that there is only one kind of love that saves. The only other kind of love there is which lines up with God's wrath against the reprobate is merely forebearance, patience, kindness, and mercy. However, these temporal benefits only serve to bring greater condemnation PRECISELY because they DO NOT lead to repentance.

Romans 2:3-5 (ESV)
3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

I'm a sinner saved by grace alone. I don't pretend to be "righteous" except by the righteousness of Christ. I don't justify myself before God by my own righteousness.

You seem to have an overly haughty and proud opinion of your own humility and kindness and "gentleness." However, from my perspective you have not been charitable at all. In fact, several times you implied that I pretend to have God's authority to judge or damn the reprobate, which is a total misrepresentation of my position. In fact, I have said the opposite. God alone has the power to cut off the wicked.

When you can back up your bare assertions of the text with some real exegesis rather than bare assertions, get back to me. Until then, I will go with Scripture comparing with Scripture. The total teaching of Scripture is that God is benevolent to all, including the just and the unjust. But all unbelievers are under God's wrath. Those who are reprobate are never released from God's wrath and remain under condemnation in this life and in the life to come.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher, if I were you I would stop judging so harshly the Protestant Reformed view since you clearly have not bothered to read any of their writings firsthand or with any care. It is equally obvious that you have not carefully read Calvin either.

I would go so far as to say that you have not read Scripture carefully either. How many times have you read the Bible from cover to cover? Genesis to Revelation?

I'm willing to bet you have never done this at all.

Soli Deo Gloria

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie, the sad truth is, you displayed an irascible, mocking, and abusive tone (toward both Arminian *and* Reformed Christians) on the "Arminian Today" blog well before I even entered the conversation. When we "moved" over to your blog to continue our conversation, you adopted an irascible and abusive tone with me from fairly early on in our interactions here. The only thing that I have written here which could even be *construed* as abusive is using the "hyper-Calvinist" term to describe your theology. However, I was not using the term in a careless, abusive way, as it simply describes where you stand on certain matters of Christian doctrine and practice, historically speaking. By contrast, you have continually used insulting language with me and have displayed a sadly short temper, for one who claims to have been shown so much patience from God.

I never implied that you "have God's authority to judge or damn the reprobate." I implied nothing of the sort, Charlie. The only time that I even came close to this was in asking if the reason that you are so harsh with so many people on-line is because of your stance on God's complete lack of love for the reprobate.

I have done "real exegesis." I have examined more Scripture in this conversation than I have Calvin. I have gone through passages, verse by verse, to find the meaning and the authorial intent. I have compared Scripture with Scripture and have come to the *Biblically derived* conclusion that God both loves and hates the reprobate, in different senses. I have not employed "bare assertions" in our interactions. On that subject, Charlie, I will only say, plank and speck...

I have "bothered" (your word) to read enough of the PRCA writings to come to a Biblically based conviction that they are Scripturally unbalanced. My aim is to know Scripture so well that I don't have to read the entire body of writings of a denomination or ministry to know if those writings are Scripturally accurate or inaccurate.

Therefore, while I do read denominational writings and such, my fundamental aim is to *know Scripture.* That is where I want to spend the majority of my time. One knows God best by reading Scripture far more than one reads Calvin-- not that reading Calvin cannot help one to know God better. It certainly can. It's a matter of balancing priorities though.

Charlie, I have never been banned from a blog for the content of my posts and/or for my tone. I say that, not in a boastful way, but because it is a simple fact. Seeing your interactions with believers on other blogs, I know that you have written in irascible and abusive ways in places other than just the Arminian Today blog. I wish you would see that at least some people don't have problems with the way that you interact merely because you happen to be "contending for the faith." The simple fact is, however you may be in the physical world, off-line, when you are on-line, you interact with other Christians (even other Reformed Christians!) in ways that lack basic love, gentleness, and humility. You mock other Christians in an extremely rude way. You openly question the salvation of believers because of their stances on secondary (if even that!) matters. You don't converse in a way that demonstrates respect for believers who differ from you. I have at least tried to show you basic respect, while debating your views and disagreeing with them. Again, I say that not boastfully, but as a simple fact of what I have tried to do before the Lord in our conversations. I sincerely wish you well in your continued studies. I will end on that note.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher, you have no clue as to how do biblical exegesis. Not only have you not included any historical context, cultural context, or word studies, but you have never even consulted a basic lexicon or commentary.

Futhermore, just because you don't see yourself as abusive does not mean that you have not been abusive. You have referred to me and to the PRCA as "hyper-Calvinist." This is simply abusive language meant to overlook the the facts and establish your side without having to actually prove anything objectively.

While I have not read everything the PRCA has online, I did listen to the debate between Mouw and Engelsma, something you have not bothered to do. I also read one or two of the articles on common grace. And I have read the Insitutes from cover to cover.

Furthermore, I notice that you won't say that you have read the entire Bible from cover to cover. I have been reading Scripture from cover to cover since I was 8. While I don't do that every year anymore, I have read the Bible from beginning to end more times than I can count. I can assure you that I place Scripture in the highest place of authority. However, I am not so naive as to think that people do not misinterpret Scripture based on their "presuppositions" and their a prior assumptions. In other words, you are reading the culture of tolerance back into Scripture and into this conversation.

The fact that you think Calvin himself is a "hyper-Calvinist" speaks volumes about your lack of intellectual honesty. Personally, I could care less who thinks I'm nice, gentle, or "kind." I'm not here to please man. In fact I'm here to please God. The Bible many times over says that we should not follow the crowd or seek to please man. Rather we should follow Holy Scripture and prophetically challenge men to repent.

Also, we should be willing to reform the church continually in accordance with Holy Scripture. This does not mean, however, that we should throw out the Reformed Confessions for a kinder, gentler view of God. I'm sorry that you think modernism is better than Scripture or the Protestant Reformers when it comes to apologetics, polemics, and theological discourse. I'm of the opinion that truth is the highest good, not ecumenical compromise.

The current state of Evangelicalism is one of compromise, heterodoxy, and moral relativism. There are few churches which even see a need to preach justification by faith alone or warn of the dangers of pelagianism. I see the common grace doctrine as contributing to the decline in biblical theology within Evangelicalism and Protestantism as a whole.

I think your problem is that you wish to be an expert without doing your homework. If you wish to take other believers to task for what they believe, then you should take the time to accurately study their position objectively, indepth and firsthand before you go and attack them with ad hominem arguments and strawman arguments.

If you really wish to engage in theological debate, discussion, or discourse online, then basic intellectual honesty requires that you know what you are talking about and that you maintain objectivity. If you had done that, we could have had a much more productive conversation here. Instead, you sided with the heterodoxy of Arminianism and Amyraldianism and you jumped to a premature conclusion that common grace has been the Reformed position from the beginning. It has not. It is rather an illegitimate innovation introduced based on a misreading of both Scripture and Calvin. But heresies always spring from man's depravity and inability to reason properly.

I might add that if John Calvin, Martin Luther, Thomas Cranmer, Ulrich Zwingli, and a host of other Reformers had taken your point of view the world would still be under the deception of salvation by works/merits in the Roman Catholic Church. There never would have been a Protestant Reformation to begin with.

Soli Deo Gloria

Charlie J. Ray said...

Don't you think it is abusive to assume that I have been banned from blogs? Judge not lest ye be judged.

I would say that your pride stinks. How humble you are.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher, I might add that I never openly said anyone was not a Christian. What I said was PELAGIANISM indicates a lack of salvation. I have noticed that modern Arminians are usually more influenced by Finneyism than by Arminianism and Finney's theology is openly pelagian. Anyone who bases their justification on works or their own inherent goodness is not a Christian. Over-emphasis on even sanctification constitutes a works righteousness piety that is inconsistent with the Reformed emphasis on an objective and forensic declaration of righteousness based on the merits of Christ and His atoning death on the cross.

I make no apology for trying to provoke them to think harder. Any Arminian who thinks hard enough about it will realize that his or her own works are less than perfect, based on false motivations, and do not give glory to God but to self. This sort of justification is worthless and worthy of the fire. The only justification/righteousness which is able to save is the righteousness of Christ imputed to us.

Our sanctification contributes nothing to our justication before God and in the end will not and cannot save us.

39 Articles of Religion:

XII. Of Good Works.

ALBEIT that good works, which are the fruits of faith and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins and endure the severity of God's judgement, yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.



XIII. Of Works before Justification.

WORKS done before the grace of Christ and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ, neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the School authors say) deserve grace of congruity: yea, rather for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.



XIV. Of Works of Supererogation.

VOLUNTARY works besides, over and above, God's commandments which they call Works of Supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety. For by them men do declare that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to do, but that they do more for His sake than of bounden duty is required: Whereas Christ saith plainly, When ye have done all that are commanded to do, say, We be unprofitable servants.

Soli Deo Gloria

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher, it really is funny that you deny that you read "denominational" writings when you are promoting common grace. Common grace IS a denominational position espoused by the Christian Reformed Church. I might add that the Protestant Reformed Seminary has extremely high academic standards, including learning theological German or Dutch. They also require 4 years to complete their M.Div. program.

Engelsma has the same educational qualifications as Richard J. Mouw and to suggest that the theological writings produced by the PRCA are somehow deficient simply because they are the main ones arguing against common grace is just wrong.

I think due to the internet more Reformed theologians and students are realizing the harm that compromising with the wickedness of the world only leadst to worship in the high places and a further compromise of the Gospel. In other words, it leads to liberalism.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie,

I did not assume anything about your being banned from blogs. I did not judge you. I have personally been to one blog where you *have* been banned, due to what the moderator described as your "unChrist-like behavior," and I have seen you employing a sadly abusive, mocking tone on other blogs as well.

When I stated that you are a hyper-Calvinist, I was making an *historical, theological* statement, not a personally abusive one. Hyper-Calvinists have historically denied that God has any love for the reprobate, denied that the Gospel is a free offer to all people, and more recently, denied the doctrine of common grace, which is implicit throughout the Bible, and explicit in Calvin's works in places-- even though he also makes contradicting statements, in places, about the reality of God's love for the reprobate.

In closing, I will leave you with these two quotes from Calvin's Commentaries, which prove that he did believe in God's universal "invitation" to all people to accept the Gospel (even though I actually disagree with Calvin's exegesis of 2 Peter 3:9 here, as the verse applies only to those within the church):

"...the Lord defers his coming that he might invite all men to repentance."

Also: "So wonderful is his love towards mankind, that he would have them all to be saved, and is of his own self prepared to bestow salvation on the lost."

These quotes are not exactly consistent with the "Calvinism" of the PRCA, are they? Again, I sincerely wish you well in your continued studies.

Christopher Lake said...

One last thing, Charlie-- if you read above, carefully, in the comment to which you referred, you will see that I wrote that while I *do* read "denominational writings and such," I want to spend the majority of my reading time in Scripture.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Awwww, Christopher. I'm a fundamentalist, hyper-Calvinist, and banned from liberal blogs where neo-orthodoxy is openly promoted. How harsh I am for daring to express strong opinions about God's Word or revelation.

I noticed that you still refused to say that you have read all of the Bible. I also noticed that you again prooftexted Calvin out of context as usual expecting me to buy it. Sorry, but Calvin always makes a distinction between our perception of the elect and God's perception of the elect. God would have us preach salvation to all men that all men may be saved. Calvin over and over qualifies this to mean that all men refers to every nation, class, gender, etc. of man. This would include kings and rulers all the way down to the lowest poor man. The elect are revealed when they are converted. Calvin is not a closet Amyraldian, nor does he promote common grace. Anyone with any intellectual integrity at all can see this.

Even so eminent a scholar as Roger Nicole acknowledges that Calvin did not teach universal atonement. And since Hodge wrote his systematic theology post-Kuyper, it is no surprise that Hodge contends there is some aspect of the atonement applied to the reprobate. I disagree because Calvin nor Scripture says anything near that.

While you appeal to emotive arguments like "you're unkind, Charlie," I appeal to Scripture and to Calvin IN CONTEXT. The trouble with modern Evangelicalism, including many of the Reformed preachers and scholars, is that they, like Roman Catholics, have decided to add new innovations to the theology of the Reformation and to then claim that is it biblical. Such is not the case.

As for that "other" blog, you mentioned, they are openly promoting neo-orthodoxy which denies the infallibility and inerrancy of Holy Scripture and the propositional truths recorded therein. I gladly bear the reproach of hypocrites and those who use illogical tactics like yours to justify what cannot be justified. Simply asserting prooftexts over and over again is not "exegesis" and quoting Calvin out of context is just as bad. I wonder who the "fundamentalist" and the "hyper" whatever you wanna call it is here? Perhaps you're a "hyper-modernist"?

Charlie J. Ray said...

Here we go with the proof that you're quoting Calvin out of context:

Not willing that any should perish. So wonderful is his love towards mankind, that he would have them all to be saved, and is of his own self prepared to bestow salvation on the lost. But the order is to be noticed, that God is ready to receive all to repentance, so that none may perish; for in these words the way and manner of obtaining salvation is pointed out. Every one of us, therefore, who is desirous of salvation, must learn to enter in by this way.

But it may be asked, If God wishes none to perish, why is it that so many do perish? To this my answer is, that no mention is here made of the hidden purpose of God, according to which the reprobate are doomed to their own ruin, but only of his will as made known to us in the gospel. For God there stretches forth his hand without a difference to all, but lays hold only of those, to lead them to himself, whom he has chosen before the foundation of the world.
Calvin's Commentaries 2 Peter 3:9 http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom45.vii.iv.iii.html

It's very odd that you disagree with Calvin on this point since Calvin CLEARLY qualifies his statement by appealing to divine election and reprobation. I guess Calvin is a "HYPER-CALVINIST"?

Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

It seems to me that you're a pick and choose Calvinist. You pick what you like and throw out the rest.

Soli Deo Gloria

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher, 2 Peter is written to Christians. 2 Peter 1:10 tells us to make our election and calling sure. And 1 Peter 1:1 is addressed to "elect exiles of the dispersion...according to the foreknowledge of God the Father."

So it would not be surprising to learn that some Christians were tempted to commit apostasy under persecution and temptation. Thus, 2 Peter 3:9 might be addressed toward Christians who have fallen into sin. Thus, Calvin's view might not be entirely correct. Even if we take the position that this refers to all men, Calvin's explanation fits with the teaching of whole Bible and keeps God's sovereignty in salvation.

Honestly, Christopher, your attempt to shame me instead of dealing specifically with the objective facts in Scripture and in Calvin speaks volumes about your lack of "kindness" and "gentleness" here. You're the worst sort of hypocrite. When you are called on the facts you then resort to personal attacks against me stating that I am "unkind," that I am a "hyper-Calvinist," that I have been banned from other blogs, etc., etc. These are not arguments against the argument I have made but they are instead "ad hominem." You have argued "against the man." You have NOT argued your case effectively and when you're defeated in a theological debate you lash out in anger and unkind remarks meant to hurt me. If this is your "example" to me of how to be a loving and kind Christian, then I am sorely disappointed.

The fact of the matter is that I have the right to private interpretation and Scripture alone is my final authority. You are not the Pope nor are you buddies over at those other blogs members of some magisterium with any authority to correct my theology.

That being said, I am under the authority of the Reformed Confessions and the Universal creeds and my local church. The sad thing here is that you and your cronies have no respect for those who disagree with you simply on the basis that those who disagree with you are in the minority. May I remind you that Scripture often mentions the principle of the faithful remnant. Simply because denying common grace and God's "love" of the reprobate is the minority position today does not make it true by default. The Protestant Reformers were in the minority in their day as well.

Soli Deo Gloria

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie, for someone who is emphatic about people reading carefully, you have shown repeatedly that you do not read my comments carefully. I don't have to be told that "2 Peter is written to Christians," because I already said that in my last comment.

I further said that I *don't agree* with Calvin using 2 Peter 3:9 in the way that he does in those two quotes from the commentaries. He is using 2 Peter 3:9 to make a point about how God "invites all men" to repentance, which is true enough, in itself, but Calvin uses the wrong verse to make this point, as 2 Peter 3:9 is *addressed to the church.* I *specifically said* that it is addressed to the church in my last comment, Charlie. For you to not notice that fact proves that you don't read as carefully as you demand that others read.

Another proof is that you bring up Amyraldianism again, when neither Calvin's quotes, nor anything that I said about them, had *anything at all* to do with Amyraldianism. I wasn't even quoting Calvin from the "Amyraldian" blog that you mentioned! I subscribe to the five points, Charile. I am not an Amyraldian.

I have not yet read the entire Bible cover-to-cover. I am working on it. However, the simple, undeniable, historical fact is, most Reformed scholars who have read the Bible cover-to-cover agree with me, and not you, on the issues we have discussed! This is true of Reformed scholars *throughout history,* not just of the more "contemporary" ones.

In Matthew McMahon's article, he states that one cannot find a *single major Puritan* who holds the beliefs that you do, on which you and I have differed! You have John Gill and a few others on your side, and a serious misunderstanding of the Reformed tradition, on the issues of God's genuine but non-salvific love for the reprobate, the free offer of the Gospel to all people, and yes, on common grace. The fact that the Reformed Confessions that do not actually contain the words "common grace" is no more proof that Reformed Christians have not historically embraced the *concept* than the fact that the word "Trinity" is not in the Bible is proof that the *concept* is not Biblical. I may not have yet read the entire Bible, but what I have read has already proven you wrong about God's non-salvific love for the reprobate and about common grace. Many people who are incorrect about many Biblical matters have read the entire Bible, Charlie. The fact of having read the entire Bible does not ensure that one's theology is without major error.

This is my last comment. I again wish you well in your studies. I have Bible reading to do! :-)

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher, the fact that you have not read the Bible says it all. You have time to be an "expert" about the doctrine of common grace and to ridicule Reformed believers as "hyper-Calvinists" when you do not even bother to read the entire Bible even once.

Matthew McMahon is no scholar. I remember him well. Anyone reading his blog can tell immediately that his "scholarship" doesn't rise to the level of someone like a Roger Nicole or even Louis Berkhof.

I'm not a "scholar" either, I admit. However, I am smart enough to know when a doctrine has been developed at a later point in time. Whether or not common grace is implicitly taught in Scripture is debatable. However, whether or not the doctrine of common grace was ever taught prior to Kuyper, Bavinck, Hodge, etc. is not debatable. It is not found in any of the Reformed Confessions nor is it even mentioned in any of the Reformed writings prior to Kuyper. Kuyper himself admits it is an innovation.

Personally, I do not see it in Scripture either. The only passages even remotely supporting it are Matthew 5:43-48 and Luke 6:27-36.

I might add that the Christian Reformed Church, which initiated the common grace controversy, made the doctrine "official" and kicked out 3 ministers and a good percentage of their churches for refusing to sign their doctrinal statement promoting "the 3 points of common grace." Thus, if those on the side of common grace are promoting "love" and "tolerance" then WHY didn't they allow those who didn't accept the "new" doctrine to remain in the denomination? They were forced out.

What is typical here is the fact that someone like yourself becomes an instant "expert" on the history of Reformed theology and all based on what he has read on the internet, not bothering to read the entire Bible or classical Reformed theology. You won't find Jonathan Edwards or any other Puritan writing anything promoting common grace or the idea that God "loves" the reprobate. Sorry, but it's not there.

Charlie J. Ray said...

"Kuyper’s contributions to Society, Academia, and Christianity are legion. It is shameful that so much of his work in the Netherlands has been overturned and dominated by secular modernist and post-modernist thought. However, Kuyper’s legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of innumerable saints who have sought to embrace the Reformed tradition as a way of life, Coram Deo. Telling of Kuyper’s radical dependence upon God, when asked on his deathbed if God had been his Refuge and Strength to the end, Kuyper replied distinctly, “Yes, altogether.” On November 8, 1920, Kuyper fell asleep in Jesus." Kuyper’s contributions to Society, Academia, and Christianity are legion. It is shameful that so much of his work in the Netherlands has been overturned and dominated by secular modernist and post-modernist thought. However, Kuyper’s legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of innumerable saints who have sought to embrace the Reformed tradition as a way of life, Coram Deo. Telling of Kuyper’s radical dependence upon God, when asked on his deathbed if God had been his Refuge and Strength to the end, Kuyper replied distinctly, “Yes, altogether.” On November 8, 1920, Kuyper fell asleep in Jesus.

From: http://creationproject.wordpress.com/2007/09/04/kuyper-common-grace-part-iii/

Kuyper's contribution to Holland ended up in secular atheism and postmodernism. After the recent election of Barack Obama, I fear the same thing is happening here in the USA. The end of Christianity as we know it is near.

In the not too distant future Christianity will be relegated to the corner and labeled "fundamentalist." Christianity will be redefined so that homosexuality, abortion, and a host of other immoral and unethical abominations will become the mainstream view. Evangelicalism is being redefined so that it is now more and more in line with liberalism.

Apostasy is becoming the mainstream view and the legacy of common grace gives birth to it. Sadly, because of your allegiance to popular opinion, Christopher, you cannot see the implications of this.

Soli Deo Gloria

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie, my allegiance is to Scripture itself, *not* to popular opinion or even to the "Reformed tradition." I embrace most aspects of historic Reformed theology (not historic Reformed ideas of church government or infant baptism though), *only* because I find them taught *in Scripture itself.*

As part of my embrace of historic Reformed theology, I hold to the concepts of common grace and God's non-salvific love for the reprobate, *because* I find them taught (implicitly and explicitly, respectively speaking) *in Scripture itself.* Also, as I wrote earlier, the fact that the words "common grace" are not themselves literally found in the Reformed Confessions does not mean that the *concept* has not been historically held by Reformed Christians, including the Puritans.

While I have not yet read the entire Bible (working on it), one does not necessarily have to have read the entire Bible to be able to see that certain truths exist therein. Similarly, one *can* have read the entire Bible many times and still not see these truths, if one's adopted theological superstructure (such as hyper-Calvinism) *keeps* one from seeing them.

Charlie, I was not "mocking" or "abusing" you when I identified your theology as that of hyper-Calvinism. I was simply making an historically and theologically accurate statement. Calvin himself states, in places in his writing, that God does "invite all men" to repentance. You have disagreed with Calvin here during our interactions. He also states
in places that God does have a general love for all mankind, though only His love for the elect is *salvific.* You have also disagreed with Calvin here.

While Calvin states these truths inconsistently, and he *appears* to contradict them at points, he does state these truths in his writings. The fact that you identify as Reformed yet go beyond Calvin on these issues, by definition, *names* you as a hyper-Calvinist. This term is not an insult, such as your calling me a "wimp" clearly was, but rather, it is simply an theologically and historically accurate description of your beliefs.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Here we go again with the strawman arguments. I have NEVER denied that there is a general call to all men. What I object to is HOW it is presented. There is no "free offer" made to all men without discrimination. But there is a general call made to all men. We cannot know if Jesus died for anyone until they repent and believe. Thus, when we issue the general call we say that Jesus has called all me to repent and believe the Gospel. Being theologically correct in presenting the Gospel makes all the difference.

We do not say, "Jesus loves you and died for your sins. Why? Because this is theologically incorrect. What we do say is, Jesus commands all men everywhere to repent and believe the Gospel. We can also say that Jesus will forgive all who come to Him in humility and repent and believe. After this point we can then say that Jesus died for their sins.

However, to say that Jesus died for all men without exception or that Jesus loves all sinners without except and freely offers them salvation is not biblically correct and the wrong way to make the general call.

Since I am NOT a hyper-Calvinist any more than Calvin himself is a hyper-Calvinist, and since your ad hominem is meant to attack me as a person rather than to identify accurately what I believe, the charge of abuse, hatred, and misrepresentation stands. In short, you are a hypocrite who can't even keep your own standards, much less God's standards.

Finally, I never denied that Calvin says that all men are called to the Gospel. Clearly, Calvin says that there is a general call to salvation. Also, where Calvin mentions the love of God for all men the context usually refers to all the elect, as even your quote from 2 Peter 3:9 says, PROVIDED YOU QUOTE THE ENTIRE PARAGRAPH. Which you deliberately did not. This only shows how intellectually dishonest you are. Prooftexting out of context only makes you look foolish.

I might add that EVEN Louis Berkhof admits that TWO of the references to "common grace" in the Institutes refer to the elect! And I can assure that his other reference is likewise disputable. And Berkhof acknowledges that Calvin CANNOT BE THE ORIGIN OF THE DOCTRINE. Berkhof is from the CRCA and is an advocate of common grace:

. Name and Concept of Common Grace.
1. Name. The name "common grace" as a designation of the grace now under discussion cannot be said to owe its origin to Calvin. Dr. H. Kuiper in his work on Calvin on Common Grace says that he found only four passage in Calvin's works in which the adjective "common" is used with the noun "grace," and in two of these the Reformer is speaking of saving grace. [3] In later Reformed theology, however, the name gratia communis came into general use to express the idea that this grace extends to all men, in contrast with the gratia particularis which is limited to a part of mankind, namely, to the elect. In course of time it became evident that the term "communis" admitted of various interpretations. In Dutch theology it is often regarded as equivalent to "general," and as a result it became customary to speak of "general grace" (algemeene genade) in the Netherlands. Strictly speaking, however, the term communis, as applied to grace, while implying that it is general in some sense of the word, stresses the fact that this grace is communal, that is, possessed in common by all creatures, or by all men, or by those who live under the administration of the gospel. Thus Dr. H. Kuiper classifies the common grace of which Calvin speaks under three heads, namely: (1) Universal Common Grace, a grace that extends to all creatures; (2) General Common Grace, that is a grace which applies to mankind in general and to every member of the human race; and (3) Covenant Common Grace, a grace that is common to all those who live in the sphere of the covenant, whether they belong to the elect or not. It is quite evident that Reformed theologians also subsumed under the term "common grace" a grace that is not general, namely, the external privileges of those who are living under the administration of the gospel, including the external universal calling. At the same time they point out that this grace, in distinction from general common grace, belongs to the economy of redemption. [4] Finally, it should be noted that the term gratia communis is susceptible of, and has actually received, not only a quantitative, but also a qualitative interpretation. It may denote a grace that is common in the sense of ordinary. The ordinary, in distinction from the special, operations of the Holy Spirit are called common. His natural or usual operations are contrasted with those which are unusual and supernatural. This is the meaning of the term "common" in the Westminster Confession X. 4; and the Westminster Larger Catechism, Q. 60. W. L. Alexander declares of the common grace enjoyed by those who live under the gospel: "The grace thus bestowed is common, not in the sense of being given to all men in common, but in the sense of producing effects which are ordinary, and may fall short of a real saving efficacy."[5] So understood, the grace of God may be common without being general or universal.


http://www.mbrem123.com/calvinism/commongrace.php

So, Christopher, you don't even agree with one of the most famous Reformed theologians there is: Louis Berkhof. Berkhof is from the Christian Reformed Church AND Berkhof flatly said that common grace is a LATER development that is not found in Calvin. They could only find two references in Calvin that did not refer to saving grace and I would probably dispute both of those.

Christopher, you're not an expert on any of this since you have not even bothered to read ALL of the Bible. I can only conclude that you're simply basing your views on what you have heard or read online.

Thus, you are not qualified to judge other Christians' theology when you have not bothered to actually READ what their REAL position is. This is the WORST sort of abuse and hatred imaginable. If I am to honestly answer a muslim, I must deal with what he actually believes rather than some false caricature of what he believes. This is merely a strawman and simply makes the one making the strawman argument look foolish and shows either he is ignorant or that he is unable to think precisely and clearly on the theological issue at hand.

I have consistently refuted your misquotes of Calvin out of context with lengthy quotes and my interaction with them. Yet, you only selectively read both Scripture and Calvin. How am I to take you seriously?

Soli Deo Gloria

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie, first, you say that I am appealing to "popular opinion" and "contemporary Reformed theology" above Scripture. Then, you make a point out of how I supposedly "disagree" with one of the greatest of the more recent Reformed theologians, Louis Berkhof, on the origin of the doctrine of common grace! Which is it, Charlie? Do I appeal to "recent" Reformed theologians too much or not enough? You can't seem to make up your own mind about it! :-)

If you read the quote from Berkhof carefully, he is actually *not* saying that the *concept* of common grace is nowhere to be found in Calvin's writings. He merely states that the *name as a designation* "cannot be said to owe its origin to Calvin."

Actually, in the *very passage* from Berkhof which you listed, he writes of H.R. Kuiper's book, Calvin and Common Grace, which details *three different kinds* of God's common grace that are found in Calvin's writings!

These are "1. Universal Common Grace, a grace that extends to all creatures, 2. General Common Grace, that is a grace which applies to mankind in general and to every member of the human race, and 3. Covenant Common Grace, a grace that is common to all those who live in the sphere of the covenant, whether they belong to the elect or not." Therefore, Louis Berkhof, in quoting approvingly H.R. Kuiper's book on the subject, actually finds three different kinds of common grace in Calvin's writings! The very quote from Berkhof that you used here disputes your own point about the supposed non-existence of common grace in Calvin's writings!

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher, your comments only show how utterly ignorant you are about Reformed theology in general. I cited Berkhof because he is a proponent of common grace and he is from the Christian Reformed Church, which kicked out three of its ministers for refusing to sign the 3 points of common grace!

And Berkhof specifically says that the doctrine is NOT found in Calvin AND there are only FOUR brief passages that "allude" to it at all and of these four passages TWO refer to "saving grace."

I KNOW Berkhof believed in common grace. Berkhof says the doctrine originates with H.R. Kuiper, NOT with Calvin since there are only 4 places where Calvin even mentions it at all!

In later Reformed theology, however, the name gratia communis came into general use to express the idea that this grace extends to all men, in contrast with the gratia particularis which is limited to a part of mankind, namely, to the elect.

The short of it is that even Berkhof admits that at the best there are only TWO places in Calvin where there MIGHT be a mention of common grace. This is the very weakest evidence to build an entire doctrinal system upon, and it is not even mentioned in the Reformed Confessions. Futhermore, even the quote from the Westminster Catechism, Question 60 does not refer to all mankind in general BUT to those within the covenant (and therefore assumed to be elect even though we know that some are not and will commit apostasy).

Berkhof again:

and the Westminster Larger Catechism, Q. 60. W. L. Alexander declares of the common grace enjoyed by those who live under the gospel: "The grace thus bestowed is common, not in the sense of being given to all men in common, but in the sense of producing effects which are ordinary, and may fall short of a real saving efficacy."[5] So understood, the grace of God may be common without being general or universal.

Your problem, Christopher, is you want to be an instant expert without doing the hard work and the hard study it takes to be thorough and objective and balanced and fair. You have the irreverence for God's church to accuse your brethen of "hyper-Calvinism" when you admit you have not read the entire Bible NOR are you willing to read any substantial articles from BOTH sides of the issue to justify your position.

This smacks of a lack of love for your brothers in Christ, something you accuse me of. You should learn to suspend judgment before you go jumping to irrational and preliminary conclusions without doing the hard work of investigation and reading necessary to bring such accusations.

You, like the Christian Reformed Church, have unjustly accused your brethren simply because they have refused to accept a doctrine that is not universally accepted among the Reformed and never existed prior to H. Kuiper, A. Kuyper, H. Bavinck, and Charles Hodge, etc.

I might add that Calvin Theological Seminary removed a Professor Janssen for teaching the documentary theory of the Pentateuch and basing his higher critical views on "science." He justified exalting human reason and science above God's revelation by appealing to "common grace."

While I do not totally reject higher criticism, it is easy to see how placing science and reason above revelation leads to modernism, postmodernism, liberal theology, and ultimately unbelief and atheism. If the mainline denominations are any indication, then it seems to me that the ultimate end of common grace is theological liberalism.

Soli Deo Gloria

Charlie J. Ray said...

Since Berkhof says the name "common grace" is not found in Calvin, I would contend the doctrine is not there either.

Soli Deo Gloria

Charlie J. Ray said...

"Covenant" common grace is related specifically to those who are elect since those who in the covenant are assumed to belong to God until they commit apostasy of one sort or another. Berkhof cites Alexander as saying Question 60 of the WLC as related to the covenant and therefore is not universal or general.

Furthermore, let me say it one more time with enthusiasm: THERE ARE FOUR REFERENCES TO COMMON GRACE IN CALVIN'S WRITINGS. TWO OF THEM BERKHOF ADMITS TO BE RELATED TO SAVING GRACE. That leaves ONLY TWO which Berkhof claims to relate to "general" or "universal" common grace. EVEN if this were so, which I would dispute, two references are extremely slim evidence to be defrocking ministers over such as happened when the Christian Reformed Church disciplined 3 ministers for refusing to sign the 3 points of common grace.

Two brief mentions in Calvin, which are disputable, are hardly a solid basis for 3 points of common grace and even less basis for labeling unkindly your brethren as "hyper-Calvinists." This is ridiculous.

IF there were such a doctrine worth dividing over, one would THINK it were important enough to include in the Reformed cofessional statements. Not one of them does so.

The Canons of Dordt refute Arminianism and declares it to be a heresy, despite your contention otherwise. And the Second Helvetic Confession declares Amyraldianism to be a heresy. You seem to ignore this as well. YET, you harass and ridicule your Reformed brethren in an unloving way based on a new doctrine invented by the Christian Reformed Church called The Three Points of Common Grace. Furthermore, you have created strawman fallacies and other false arguments without actually reading ANYTHING about the issue from BOTH sides of the controversy. And you didn't bother to listen to the debate I posted between Mouw and Engelsma. YET you claim to know what you're talking about. This is the very height of pride, arrogance, and anti-intellectualism.

If you represent how the rest of your congregation deals with theology and Scripture, I would have to say that your church is heterodox at best.

Soli Deo Gloria

Charlie J. Ray said...

http://reasonablechristian.blogspot.com/2008/11/free-offer-controversy.html#links

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie, I describe your theology as "hyper-Calvinist" because you 1. deny that God has any genuine love for the reprobate, 2. deny that the Gospel is, in any sense, a free offer of salvation to all men (even though Calvin specifically writes that God "invites all men" to repentance and salvation!), and 3. you deny, in any sense, the doctrine of common grace.

Your positions on these three issues mean that theologically speaking, you *are* what has historically been described as a hyper-Calvinist. It's that simple. John Gill is considered to at least *strongly lean* in a hyper-Calvinist direction too, so sadly, it's not surprising that you quote him as much as you do.

Berkhof doesn't say at all that "common grace" actually *began* with H.R. Kuiper. Rather, Berkhof simply *approvingly quotes* Kuiper on the three different kinds of common grace that are found in Calvin's writings!

Charlie, you insult and ridicule me for the fact that I have not yet read the entire Bible and that I haven't read all of the PRCA'a writings. I have read enough of the Bible, and enough of the PRCA's writings, to know that they exhibit unbalanced exegesis, reading Biblical texts selectively, and reading God's wrath in such a way as to rule out any love on His part for the reprobate (love which is clear in Scripture, but you refuse to see it, because it doesn't seem "logical" to you).

You have repeatedly demonstrated that you don't understand certain details of my posts, by the fact(s) that you reply (quite vehemently) to things that I have never even written in the first place, you accuse me of "bait-and-switching," when I have largely only been replying to what you have written to me (including, yes, your personal insults), and you even misunderstand what the people whom you are quoting are saying-- such as Berkhof's positive quotation of Kuiper, about common grace *objectively existing* in Calvin's writings!

An honest question, Charlie-- how can I have a sensible conversation with you, when you don't seem to understand some of the quotations in your own comments, and you often misread what I say in my comments? Perhaps it really is best to just end the conversation sooner rather than later.

The main preaching elder in my church is solidly Reformed (along with all but possibly one of the other elders). He just finished defending his dissertation on John Owen.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher, you totally took my comments about the free offer out of context. I stand with all the Reformed of the past that there is no free offer. There is a general call and how that general call is presented must be in line with Holy Scripture. To tell sinners that Christ died for them is to lie. Unless they repent and believe they cannot have any assurance that Christ died for them on the cross.

Furthermore, ONLY those who HEAR the Gospel are "invited" to REPENT. Furthermore, WHERE does Calvin use the word "invites"???? Show me the exact quote.

Christ over and over commands us to repent. If we deny the Son, we remain in our sins and under God's wrath.

Christopher, you sir, have no intellectual honesty, consistently lying about my position AND taking my comments out of context.

I have over and over demonstrated that wherever Calvin uses the word "all" he is in fact referring to ALL the ELECT. You obstinately insist on reading common grace and Amyraldian, Arminian views back into Calvin despite the fact that both the Canons of Dordt and the Second Helvetic Confession deny both views as being Reformed.

I will also quote Ron Hanko on this:

"We would remind our readers at this point that we have no objection to the word "offer" as such. It can be and is used in a Biblical sense. Our objection is to those who use the word to teach that God expresses in the Gospel a desire for the salvation of all men without exception and tries to give that salvation to them." Rev. Ron Hanko.

For your further information, I only recently changed my views on common grace because I, like you, had insisted that the majority view was wrong. However, I did notice that Calvin had not even mentioned the term except in passing. Thus, to damn your brothers in the Reformed tradition as hyper-Calvinists when they are merely repeating what Calvin himself said many times over in teh Institutes and then basing your own views on TWO tiny references in Calvin is beyond ridiculous.

I changed my mind because I have integrity and intellectual commitment to the truth no matter how many distort that truth.

If you insist on the abusive language and your persistent lying and distortion of my stated positions, I will be forced to "ban" you from my blog. You will receive your first ban and justifiably so.

In the future, if you wish to make a comment, I will require you to respond point by point to what I have said and to do so with a more respectful tone. I require of you what implied I have not done. Practice what you preach or face the consequences.

Soli Deo Gloria

Charlie J. Ray said...

I have repeatedly rebutted your misreading of Scripture and only when I have shown your view to be blatantly wrong did you even concede in the least. I refer to Deuteronomy 10:18ff. And weeks later you simply return to your mantra AFTER I have solidly devastated your position.

Berkhof admits that Calvin has only TWO references to common grace that do not refer to saving grace. You did not even concede that point because you are so blinded by your stubborn refusal to be objective.

As I said, your tactics are anti-intellectual, dishonest, and downright ignorant. When you can conduct yourself with decency and a more objective presentation of the FACTS, get back to me. Until then, I will be moderating your remarks to insure you don't start the same sort of tactics again.

Christopher Lake said...

Charlie, how did I take your comments about the "free offer" out of context? Look above-- all that I wrote was that you deny that there *is* a free offer-- which you do emphatically deny (you believe, rather, in the "general call," which is different)-- and this is one of three positions that you hold which historically names you as a hyper-Calvinist.

Again, Berkhof simply *approvingly quoted* Kuiper on the three kinds of common grace in Calvin's writings. Berkhof did *not* say that Kuiper *invented* the doctrine of common grace.
I know that Berkhof believes in common grace. The point is that he approvingly quotes Kuiper here, and Kuiper is a scholar-- did he just "make up" these three different kinds of common grace to "pretend" that they exist in Calvin's writings?

Lastly, once again, Calvin's comment on 2 Peter 3:9, which I know refers (the verse, that is) to the elect, but Calvin (incorrectly) doesn't interpret it as such:

"...the Lord defers his coming that he might *invite all men* to repentance." (my emphasis)

Calvin specifically uses the word "invite" here, and he (incorrectly, I say again) is *not* referring to only the elect in his exegesis of the verse. It is clear, though, that he does believe in an "invitation" to repentance for all men, not only a "command."

Charlie J. Ray said...

Christopher, I have already warned you. I posted this last one just to demonstrate how dishonest you are. Berkhof says the 3rd example refers to common grace "within" the covenant. You have yet to acknowledge that. Berkhof also acknowledges the Kuiper is the originator of the doctrine in "later Reformed" teaching. While both Berkhof and Kuiper think that Calvin has an implicit doctrine of common grace, they admit that in only TWO instances does Calvin mention common grace in general terms and "I" would contend that in those two instances the reference is to the elect.

AND in 2 Peter 3:9 Calvin IS referring to the elect. You, as usual are NOT reading my posts. You're simply responding on the fly and you are not interacting with what I said.

I will post 2 Peter 3:9 once more to prove the Calvin IS referring to the elect:

9. But the Lord is not slack, or, delays not. He checks extreme and unreasonable haste by another reason, that is, that the Lord defers his coming that he might invite all mankind to repentance. For our minds are always prurient, and a doubt often creeps in, why he does not come sooner. But when we hear that the Lord, in delaying, shews a concern for our salvation, and that he defers the time because he has a care for us, there is no reason why we should any longer complain of tardiness. He is tardy who allows an occasion to pass by through slothfulness: there is nothing like this in God, who in the best manner regulates time to promote our salvation. And as to the duration of the whole world, we must think exactly the same as of the life of every individual; [Here Calvin is focusing on OUR perspective from below. We do not know who is elect nor do WE know God's mind]. for God by prolonging time to each, sustains him that he may repent. In the like manner he does not hasten the end of the world, in order to give to all time to repent.

This is a very necessary admonition, so that we may learn to employ time aright, as we shall otherwise suffer a just punishment for our idleness.

Not willing that any should perish. So wonderful is his love towards mankind, that he would have them all to be saved, and is of his own self prepared to bestow salvation on the lost.
[The lost refers to the elect! This sounds Arminian or Amyradian but Calvin qualifies this below]. But the order is to be noticed, that God is ready to receive all to repentance, so that none may perish; for in these words the way and manner of obtaining salvation is pointed out. Every one of us, therefore, who is desirous of salvation, must learn to enter in by this way.

But it may be asked, If God wishes none to perish, why is it that so many do perish? To this my answer is, that no mention is here made of the hidden purpose of God, according to which the reprobate are doomed to their own ruin, but only of his will as made known to us in the gospel. For God there stretches forth his hand without a difference to all, but lays hold only of those, to lead them to himself, whom he has chosen before the foundation of the world. But as the verb χωρὢσαι is often taken passively by the Greeks, no less suitable to this passage is the verb which I have put in the margin, that God would have all, who had been before wandering and scattered, to be gathered or come together to repentance.


Clearly when Calvin says all mankind he is referring to the elect because he qualifies it by mentioning the decrees of God to election and reprobation. Calvin says Peter does not mention it but CALVIN DOES mention it for the simple reason that he believes "all mankind" refers to the elect only.

Calvin over and over says that the elect are revealed when they come to faith. So when we reach out and preach to every creature, we do so because WE do not know whom God wills to save. WE preach to all indiscriminately. BUT this is not a "free" offer to all as if God wills to literally save every single person. We KNOW this is not so. God does NOT love every single person. Even the elect are God's enemies and under His wrath until they repent. Thus the general call to all men is not a free offer to all individuals. It is an "offer" or "invitation" to the elect only, though we do not know who they are. Thus, our "invitation" must be theologically correct. It is incorrect to say that God loves unrepentant sinners. Scripture clearly says that we are His enemies until we repent. We have no assurance of His love until we convert. We cannot know that Christ died for our sins unless we accept Him as our Savior and repent of our sins.

At any rate, you failed to respond to my points again. I concede that overlooked the remark in 2 Peter 3:9 that Calvin calls it an "invitation". However, only the elect will respond to the invitation and thus they become manifest as elect. So when Calvin says "all mankind" he is referring to the elect. In fact, 1 Peter 1:1 clearly says it is directed to the elect. And in 2 Peter 1:11 Peter says to make our election and calling sure. He is not willing that any of the elect should perish.

Pastor Sam Johnson on the ReformationTheology blog says this:

The second thing to notice is the clear identity of the people he is addressing. He speaks of the mockers as “they”, but everywhere else he speaks to his audience as “you” and the “beloved.” This is very important because the assumption that is usually made is that the “you” the “any” and the “all” of 2 Peter 3:9 refers to everyone on the planet.

But surely "all" means “all,” right? Well usually, yes, but not always. This has to be determined by the context in which the words are found. For example, when a teacher is getting ready to start a class and asks his students, "Are all here?" he is not asking if every last living person on planet earth is present in the room. Rather he is referring to all the students enrolled in the class. It is context that provides the basis for a sound interpretation.

So, the question in 2 Peter 3:9 is whether "all" refers to all human beings without distinction, or whether it refers to everyone within a certain group. The context indicates that Peter is writing to a specific group and not to all of mankind – “to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours” 2 Peter 1:1. The audience is confirmed when Peter writes, “This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved.” (2 Peter 3:1)

Can we be even more specific? Yes, because if this is the second letter addressed to them, the first makes it clear who he is writing to. 1 Peter 1:1 - “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect…” So Peter is writing to the elect in 2 Peter 3, saying:

“This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved.... But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (v. 1, 8, 9 - emphasis mine)

If the "any" or “all” here refers to everyone in human history, the verse would prove far more than Arminians would want to prove - it would prove universalism rather than Christianity. (Universalism is the false doctrine that teaches that everyone will ultimately be saved, with no one going to hell). If God is not willing that any person perish, then what? No one would ever perish! Yet, in context, the "any" that God wills not to perish must be limited to the same group he is writing to, the elect, and the "all" that are to come to repentance is the very same group. Christ’s second coming has been delayed so that all the elect can be gathered in. God is not willing that any of the elect should perish, but that all of them come to repentance.

Rather than denying election, understood in its biblical context, it is one of the strongest verses in favor of it.


http://www.reformationtheology.com/2005/10/understanding_2_peter_39_by_pa.php

Christopher, I have had enough of your prooftexting, your twisting my words out of context and every other dishonest and dirty tactic, including ad hominem. Simply asserting that I am a "hyper-Calvinist" does not make it so.

Consider yourself banned.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Charlie J. Ray said...

The fact that you have one elder who is not Reformed speaks volumes, Christopher. A Reformed church exercises discipline in doctrinal matters and any elder who denies the confessions should not be ordained as an elder. So much for free offers and common grace.

Charlie J. Ray said...

"We would remind our readers at this point that we have no objection to the word "offer"as such. It can be and is used in a Biblical sense. Our objection is to those who use the word to teach that God expresses in the Gospel a desire for the salvation of all men without exception and tries to give that salvation to them." Rev. Ron Hanko.

http://reasonablechristian.blogspot.com/2008/11/free-offer-controversy.html#links

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