Saturday, March 11, 2006

A God Inspired Apostate?

Never failing to attempt to mount an attack on the Christian faith through the testimony of his own personal life, John Loftus uses his “deconversion story” as a means of questioning the character of the Christian God. But all that Loftus has done is take his Arminian, synergistic view of God and transfer it from his previous “Christianity” over to his newly defended atheism. Biblically speaking, is unbelief preposterous? Can the holiness of God not account for unbelief? Can the Potter’s freedom to mercy whomever he wills and harden whomever he wills not account for rejection of the gospel? And, can these attributes of God in conjunction with a Biblical anthropology as well as a Biblical harmatology (a realization of the total depravity of man, being unwilling and unable to believe) not explain to us why people like Loftus exist today? Based upon his own personal story, Loftus attempts an answer in the negative:

As an edited afterthought to this….I had some successes while a Christian minister. Had I stayed in ministry I could’ve made even greater contributions to the Church. So, why didn’t God protect me from the darts of the Devil? If I was a valued member of his people, why not protect me from my doubts?

Loftus assures us of his success and effectiveness as a Christian minister. I wonder, however, by what standard he judges this success, and whether or not that standard matches that of the Christian God. Given Loftus’ secular outlook, he has no other way of judging his years in ministry apart from mere externals (e.g, the number of people attending his church, etc). Is this really what God is concerned about? What if God judges “success” differently? Does it not begin to make sense why God, in his sovereignty, had Loftus leave the ministry by leaving the spurious faith he had?

I mean, are there not covenantal curses in having an unregenerate leader in God’s house? Apart from the mere mercy of God, should we expect him to move greatly through a person within whom the Spirit does not dwell? Should God not want to remove the deceiver from his house? Is God so limited in resources that if he loses Loftus, he would fail to accomplish his will in his church? Or, stated differently, does Loftus really have such a high view of himself?

Why did he let me slip through his hands like he did?

This assumes, without benefit of argument, that Loftus was ever “in his hands” in the sense of “in his salvific will.” But if we are talking about the decretive will of God, Loftus has not “slipped through” God’s hands. Rather, Loftus is exactly where God wants Loftus to be. Why? Because,

Daniel 4 4 …for his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;
35all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
and among the inhabitants of the earth;
and none can stay his hand
or say to him, “What have you done?”

This statement, by the way, was made by someone who was much more roughed up in his lifetime than the deconversion of John Loftus. This was a person who had just had the sovereignty of God manifested in his life in a way that no one else in history of man (to my knowledge) has ever experienced: his mind was turned into that of a cow’s. And it was when Nebuchadnezzar returned to his sanity that he made this statement, and there is probably not a more sane statement he could have made.

I am now a fairly effective advocate against the Christian faith.

I wonder who else in the universe shares Loftus’ opinion here… ;-D

Did he not know this could/would happen?

He not only knew it, but he planned.

Does he not care whether I lead people toward him or away from him?

God’s concern is the accomplishment of his will on earth as it is in heaven. Do you think that God fails to accomplish his will in heaven? Should he, then, fail to accomplish it on earth, even in the lives of real people?

No doubt, Christians will respond that I rejected Christianity of my own free will.

This would be a weak and unbiblical defense. You rejected Christianity out of the sinfulness of your own will, but your will has never been free from the sovereign will of God.

But does free will really solve this problem for the Christian? Then let them tell me exactly what God can do for us as free willed creatures. For example, if we pray for safety when we travel, then exactly how can God grant us safety from someone hell-bent on robbing us when we stop for food at a restaurant? If God cannot do something to prevent that robber from exercising his free will to rob us, then he is a useless God.

It seems that John Loftus notices the incoherency of free-willism. It is a wonder why it took his becoming apostate in order to understand this.

And if God simply sovereignly decreed that I should be an apostate, then he is his own worst enemy.

How so? It’s just assumed and asserted, not shown. God decrees according to his will. Therefore, if his decrees are indeed in conjunction with his will, then how can they be at enmity with his will? It is simply amazing how the slightest bit of reasoned thought destroys these autobiographical objections that Loftus brings to us on a daily basis.

With decrees like that there must be a great amount of internal conflict within the Trinity itself! For such decrees are contrary to his stated desires (II Pet. 3:9).

If Loftus’ exegesis was bad as a proclaimed Christian, it is worse as an apostate. Would Loftus like to exegete 2 Peter 3:9 for us, perhaps? Would he like to count for us the amount of times that the words you or beloved appear in the surrounding context? Would he like to explain to us why he uses the universal quantifier differently than he supposes how it is used in the Scriptures?

In fact, that means God decreed I should start this Blog too!

By Jove!…

Maybe God should just see a shrink

For being clay, Loftus sure knows how to talk back to the Potter.

…along with those who believe he can decree two contradictory things (and they are indeed contradictory things to decree, not merely unexplainable, unless one says God has a different logic than He’s given us).

And John Loftus, like a good atheist, uses the word “contradictory” while abandoning the correct definition of a contradiction. Remember, the law of non-contradiction states that A cannot equal non-A, in the same respect. Is Loftus going to argue that God’s perceptive will and his decretive will are within the realms of “the same respect“? No, it takes bad exegesis that rips a passage about the return of Christ out of its context and forces an eisegetical soteriological reading into it in order for Loftus to attempt to establish a contradiction on the part of God.

Evan May.

24 comments:

  1. Is Loftus going to argue that God’s perceptive will and his decretive will are within the realms of “the same respect“?

    BTW: I had a master's level class with the late Calvinistic professor Kenneth Kantzer, the "dean of evangelicalism," where we read through and thoroughly discussed Calvin's institutes.

    Logical gerrymandering. That's what you do with these two distinctions. Your theology is a sham. Try to actually understand it, okay. I mean, really try to understand it. Either your God ends up acting just like the Arminian God with these distinctions, or your God is completely sovereign. Which is it, in the end?

    If your God is sovereign then God decreed what I am doing (could I have done otherwise?). I am leading people away from him. If I'm effective, people will die without Christ. People will be in hell as a result of my efforts (according to your God). He decrees this. I cannot do otherwise. The people who suffer in hell for all eternity bring him glory. This is just laughable to me.

    Your God could have equally decreed that we all loved and obeyed him and that there was no sin on earth and no need for a Savior. Or he could've decreed that everyone on earth heard and believed the gospel of Jesus. But these two scenerios do not bring him as much glory as the one we find ourselves in, where I am leading people away from him, and who with the other billions (?) of people will suffer in hell for eternity?

    Where's my laugh machine. I know I have it somewhere. Oh. Here it is.

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

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  2. Hey John,

    I can set up a public debate between you and I on Gene Cook's radio show. How about it? This way you can publicly show how silly Christianity and Calvinism are. Are you down?

    ~Paul

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  3. BTW: I had a master’s level class with the late Calvinistic professor Kenneth Kantzer, the “dean of evangelicalism,” where we read through and thoroughly discussed Calvin’s institutes.

    BTW: Given the ignorance you have shown concerning the Arminian version of Christianity you once claimed, I have no reason to believe that you understand any of the Calvinism that you studied in your supposed years of seminary.

    Logical gerrymandering. That’s what you do with these two distinctions.

    Again, you use the word "logic" as if you know what it means. Why? Don't just assert. Show it!

    Either your God ends up acting just like the Arminian God with these distinctions, or your God is completely sovereign. Which is it, in the end?

    My God is completely sovereign. I thought you said that you understood Calvinism...

    I also noticed that in your attempt to establish a contradiction on God's part, you have not given me any exegesis of 2 Peter 3:9. Indeed, your entire argument depends on such a text. So why not stop the assertions and give me some justification? Why not count the many times in which the words you or beloved appear in the surrounding context? Why not tell us why you use the universal quantifier differently than you assume the Scriptures do?

    If your God is sovereign then God decreed what I am doing (could I have done otherwise?

    Oh my...do you actually read my posts before you respond to them? Did you miss everything I said? Of course he decreed what you are doing.

    I am leading people away from him. If I’m effective, people will die without Christ. People will be in hell as a result of my efforts (according to your God). He decrees this. I cannot do otherwise. The people who suffer in hell for all eternity bring him glory. This is just laughable to me.

    So it’s laughable to you the lump of clay. But do you honestly expect me to take this as a critique of Christianity? You haven't shown me any logical inconsistency that is internal to Christianity. Rather, you have merely told me that your presuppositions disagree with Biblical principles. But we already knew that, did we not? So why are you coming here and spamming the combox?

    Your God could have equally decreed that we all loved and obeyed him and that there was no sin on earth and no need for a Savior. Or he could’ve decreed that everyone on earth heard and believed the gospel of Jesus. But these two scenerios do not bring him as much glory as the one we find ourselves in, where I am leading people away from him, and who with the other billions (?) of people will suffer in hell for eternity?

    Understood Calvinism....yeah right.

    Understood Christianity even...yeah right.

    "But these two scenarios do not bring him as much glory as the one we find ourselves in"? Do you think that that is the basis for God's decrees? Have you already forgotten that the Christian God is the self-sufficient God? There is no scenario where he would receive either more or less glory than he already has. There is perfect fellowship in the trinity, and God possesses all qualities intrinsically and eternally in infinite measure. He is no more glorified now than he was before creation. The only thing different is the means by which he reveals his glory.

    No, God's decrees are built upon a much more ultimate motivation: his sovereign will. There is nothing more ultimate than the will of God. If there were, would he still be God?

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  4. Paul, why should I help increase your stature among Christians by acknowledging your presence after you so malign me and twist what I say with straw men arguments in order to make a name for yourself? eh? Why? That's what I suspect you want...isn't it? Because we both know that after such a debate those who began listening as Christians, who will be in the overwhelming majority, will come away thinking you won no matter how stupid sounding and overbearing you are, because that's the nature of those people who listen to his program.

    But I'll think about it.

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  5. I do not need to provide an exegesis of II Peter 3:9, because Christians with different theologies will interpret the key texts in the Bible differently.

    I have John Jefferson Davis' Handbook of Basic Bible Texts: Every Key Passage for the Study of Doctrine & Theology where he provides the key Biblical texts that different Christian denominations exegete differently and which makes them different from the other denominations. Then he lists the major works that support each different interpretation. Whatever interpretation you offer me on one of these texts your own brothers in Christ will refute, which makes me just sit back and let you guys duke it out. And laugh....again...because I did that myslef until I realized it was fruitless. I even see this carried on your Blog in several posts.

    You really don't understand how people can take a document and twist it for their own theology. How someone there treated I Pet. 3:15 was interesting, and a case in point.

    All I have to do is ask the philosophical type of questions about the supposed purposes of your God and whether your God is in need of a shrink and/or is loving as he said he was, when according to your own theology he could have created a world where we all obeyed and there was no need for a Savior, or where everyone heard the gospel and believed. Your theology demands that biliions (?) of people must suffer for your God to be glorified, and that is what is absolutely laughable to me.

    Oh, my laugh machine just developed a higher pitched quirck.....hiehiehiehiehiehiehiehiehiehiehiehiehiehiehiehiehiehiehiehie.

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  6. The only thing different is the means by which he reveals his glory.

    Logical gerrymandering. Put the pieces together now. Come on...you can do it.

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  7. I do not need to provide an exegesis of II Peter 3:9...

    So...you made an argument from a Biblical text, but refuse to substantiate your argument? Oh..ok...

    All I have to do is ask the philosophical type of questions about the supposed purposes of your God and whether your God is in need of a shrink and/or is loving as he said he was, when according to your own theology he could have created a world where we all obeyed and there was no need for a Savior, or where everyone heard the gospel and believed. Your theology demands that biliions (?) of people must suffer for your God to be glorified, and that is what is absolutely laughable to me.

    Again...all you are doing here is telling me why you dislike (your interpretation of) Christianity. We already knew that, right? Stop spamming the combox unless you are going to come here with a decent argument.

    Logical gerrymandering. Put the pieces together now. Come on...you can do it.

    Substantiate your argument. Come on, now...you can do it.

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  8. You realize, Loftus, that this really comes down to your exegesis of 2 Peter 3:9. You may appeal to various interpretations by various Christian theologians, as if to undermine the clarity of Scripture, but this really comes down to your exegesis of the text. Are you going to argue that the synergistic interpretation of 2 Peter 3:9 is as legitimate as the monergistic interpretation? If you are, then this comes down to how you are going to defend the legitimacy of the interpretation. You can't appeal to the works of others unless you are willing to defend their works.

    Though....finding substantiation for one of your arguments is indeed a rare occurrence...

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  9. evanmay,

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    I don't have to do anything you say.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Loftus:

    Of course, you don't have to do what I say. But you also don't need to be posting at a blog that has its goal to "debunk" Christianity. However, you have chosen to commit to such a cause, and have attempted to semi-construct some arguments against the sovereignty of God. You bring your arguments (in spam format) here as well. Do you want a response or do you not? I mean, really, do expect no one to point out the foolishness in your statements? Do you only intend upon monologue? Is it too much for me to ask you to substantiate your claims concerning the text of Scripture?

    I must say, you lack a tremendous amount of maturity when it comes to these issues.

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  11. Sometimes I think you'll be reasonable and so I post in hopes we can have a reasonable discussion. Then after reading your response I think "this is a waste of my time," so then I do what your Bible tells me to do. I treat a fool according to his folly, and I refuse to cast anymore pearls before the swine.

    At that point it turns into fun for me. I taunt you. I ridicule you. But it's only because you've proved unworthy of a reasonable response. At that point you couldn't get me to explain anything.

    But if you are stupid enough to think I cannot explain what I write, then keep on reading our Blog.

    I haven't even begun yet.

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  12. so John, if we're so "stupid" then a debate with me should be a cake walk, right?

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  15. John Loftus,

    Are you really a college graduate? Or are you some 12 year old child playing practical jokes pretending to be all grown up? I'm really not sure at this point.

    By the way, what's the big deal that billions (?) of people will burn in hell for eternity? You act like human beings have some kind of intrinsic value or something. Are human beings more valuable than a lump of coal? Does one pile of atoms really have more value or worth than the other pile?

    -Craig (http://ecsowder.blogplot.com)

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  16. "You're not my daddy!"

    Remember that defense? You're 5 years old, your teacher tells you to do something, and then you respond with "You're not my daddy! I don’t have to do anything you say!"

    This is what Loftus has done here. I ask him if he would substantiate what he is saying rather than simply waste our time by spamming the same comment over and over again. His response is, "I don’t have to do anything you say!" This is the "You're not my daddy!" defense. It's somewhat like the "Nanny Nanny Boo-Boo" defense, but slightly different. In "Nanny Nanny Boo-Boo," the defense is the actual response. But in the "You're not my daddy defense," we are given no response.

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  17. By the way, what's the big deal that billions (?) of people will burn in hell for eternity? You act like human beings have some kind of intrinsic value or something. Are human beings more valuable than a lump of coal? Does one pile of atoms really have more value or worth than the other pile?

    So, this justifies what YOU believe somehow? How? And why is it you presuppositionalists have only one argument.

    Paul, I know why you want to debate me, as I've already explained. Besides, what precisely do you want to debate; 1) Van Tillian presuppositionalism, or 2) where Cain got his wife, or 3)whether Calvinism is better than non-Calvinism? If it's 1) then it's not worth my time, since it is an extreme minority viewpoint, one that the overwhelming numbers of Christians reject and can debate with you about; If it's 2) or something like it would be okay. If it's 3) then this is best left between Christians themselves to debate. They debate about most everything that can be debated about, including infant baptism here on tripupblog.

    You must propose something to debate, Paul. Okay? If you're merely wanting to debate me no matter what the topic is, then the real reason you want to debate me is because of what I stated earlier.

    What shall it be, Paul. Offer it up, so I can consider it. If you want to debate the universe and God and everything in it, then I might start off wanting to debate the best way to cook oatmeal. Or we could just play a game of pool, where the winner is the better man. ha. That's what you really want, isn't it? You want me to play a child's game where the winner is the king of the hill and played before your audience who wouldn't proclaim me the winner if I trashed you so completely you quit the debate in the middle of it.

    Oh, but I cannot have any fun here without being called a 12 year old, can I. Why the double standard? So respond with all seriousness because I don't have an ultimate standard for laughter.

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  18. So, this justifies what YOU believe somehow? How? And why is it you presuppositionalists have only one argument.

    Nice dodge, Mr. Loftus. You must be too busy doing your 8th grade pre-algebra homework to give a reasoned response. Sorry to interrupt.

    No, my question in itself doesn't justify my belief, but it does discredit your criticism. It does little good to criticize the alleged irrationality of my worldview without offering something rational in its place. Skepticism is a dead worldview, Mr. Loftus.

    Now, once again, would you care to explain why it upsets you so much to think of a bunch of atoms burning eternally? Or will you maybe turn on the laughing machine this time?

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  19. And by the way, Mr. Loftus, one good argument is all you need when all you're faced with is a bunch of bad ones.

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  20. Let me ask you again, since you avoided it.

    So, this justifies what YOU believe somehow? How? Did you read the part about God receiving Glory from the eternal sufferings of perhaps billions of people? And you claim I have the burden of proof to say this state of affairs is evil and absolutely incompatible with your good sovereign God? Hmmm. Go play some more in your playpen.

    And why is it you presuppositionalists have only one argument.

    Claim what you want about an argument that only convinces an extreme minority of believers. You'd better come up with better ones. This one is ridiculous even to fellow believers, so how much more is it so with unbelievers.

    First convince the majority of Christians to adopt it, and then it may have a tiny chance to be effective with unbelievers. Do you get it now?

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  21. Let me ask you again, since you avoided it.

    I avoided nothing, unlike yourself, as is demonstrated yet again by your latest response.

    So, this justifies what YOU believe somehow?

    I answered this question already. I said that no, my question **in itself** doesn't justify my belief, but it does discredit you, which is what my intention was with my comment.

    Did you read the part about God receiving Glory from the eternal sufferings of perhaps billions of people?

    Yes, Mr. Loftus, I'm well read and I know all about that particular Christian teaching. Would you like to present an actual argument sometime?

    And you claim I have the burden of proof to say this state of affairs is evil and absolutely incompatible with your good sovereign God? Hmmm. Go play some more in your playpen.

    No, what I asked you to do was justify the standards of value and goodness that you are assuming in the various bits of mumbo jumbo you've been posting in this comment section. But it would also be nice if sometime you would actually attempt to show how these doctrines are really problematic, rather than just saying you find them laughable. Guess what? I think the idea that everything evolved from a single-celled organism is laughable as well. Does THAT sound convincing to you?

    And why is it you presuppositionalists have only one argument.

    And why is it you focus on things that are irrelevant like the number of arguments a person uses? The number of arguments a person uses says nothing to the validity of the arguments. Is this because you have no substantial arguments and have to divert the attention elsewhere so nobody notices the emptiness of your words?

    Claim what you want about an argument that only convinces an extreme minority of believers. You'd better come up with better ones. This one is ridiculous even to fellow believers, so how much more is it so with unbelievers.

    First convince the majority of Christians to adopt it, and then it may have a tiny chance to be effective with unbelievers. Do you get it now?


    Proof is not persuasion, Mr. Loftus. And by the way, argumentum ad populum is what we like to call in logic a "fallacy" and does not constitute a sound argument. Do you get it? Maybe when you graduate 8th grade and move into high school or college you will learn these basic things.

    By the way, feel free to post a real argument at anytime. We're all waiting.

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  22. John, we can debate the famous great debate, "Does the Christian God exist?" This seems like it should be right up your alley, considering the fact that you take yourself to be a "debunker" of "Christianity." So, your burden shouldn't be to hard to prove, right?

    Anyway, I'm not interested in wasting my time answering your rather childish questions. If you want to save them for your cross examination period, then be my guest.

    So, the challenge has been offered. If you don't accept I'll take that as a rejection of my proposal. I'll let people draw whatever conclusions they want to about the reasons why you're afraid to debate.

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  23. Paul,

    Thanks for finally suggesting a proposition to be resolved.

    John, we can debate the famous great debate, "Does the Christian God exist?"

    With you taking the affirmative on this?

    That will be easy.

    Bring 'er on.

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    ReplyDelete