Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Caner On Calvinism

Ergun Caner is writing publicly about Calvinism now.

Let’s see how he fares shall we?

I am not a Hyper Calvinist. I am not an Arminian.

Neither am I, but then I know what hyper-Calvinism is. Dr. Caner has to redefine the historical usage of this term in order to characterize traditional Calvinists as hypers.

I am a Baptist, and historically we have dwelt somewhere in the middle. Indeed, we have been all over the map on this issue.

This is a category mistake. Saying one is a Baptist not a Calvinist or an Arminian is like saying I am not blue or red, I’m a Baptist.

Let’s take a test, Dr.Caner:

Dr. Caner affirms that election is based on God foreseeing ahead of time who will believe. You said at Founders “elected because I selected.” Is this Calvinist or Arminian?

Dr. Caner affirms general atonement. Is this Calvinist or Arminian? It is either Arminian or Amyraldian. Since Dr. Caner states he was elected because he selected, he is no Amyraldian.

Dr. Caner is a synergist and affirms the resistibility of grace and denies monergistic regeneration. Is this Calvinist or Arminian?

Dr. Caner affirms the security of the believer. This is Calvinist, if and only if he affirms that one’s life must manifest some fruit (e.g perseverance) as a result of his conversion. If not, Dr. Caner isn’t a Calvinist or an Arminian here, he’s an antinomian.

Dr. Caner affirms, I suppose that all men can believe in Christ and are not spiritually unable to repent and exercise faith in Christ. Elmer Towns of Liberty University and Seminary on his website (www.elmertowns.com), states clearly, “It is our position that common grace is extended to all and that everyone has an opportunity and the ability to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. It seems to us that only if God makes the same provisions for all and makes the same offers to all, is He truly just.” (emphasis mine). Unless Dr. Towns is redefining terms, this is clearly a reference to human ability by way of design, not universal prevenient grace as postulated by Arminians. Arminians teach that UPG comes as a benefit of the cross itself. It is, therefore, a type of special grace. It is difficult to ascertain what Dr. Caner believes on this, but we know he approves of Towns. If this is so, then we know that he is not an Arminian or a Calvinist, since we both affirm man’s inability to repent and believe of himself. He’s closer to being a functional Pelagian on this, rather than Arminian, so I'll agree that Dr. Caner is not a Calvinist or an Arminian, but he's not a Baptist on this either.

Dr. Caner is a Baptist, but he’s also a functional Unitarian, since he puts election and regeneration outside a chain of grace by making them depend on man for the Father to foresee faith and the Spirit to regenerate the believer. So, let’s be clear, he sacrifices his Trinitarianism on the altar of libertarian freedom. If he follows Dr. Towns language and has no doctrine of universal prevenient grace, he's a functional Pelagian too.

Also for the sake of fairness, I must add that one cannot solely blame our Reformed brothers, either. Baptists are notorious for "fighting and fussing" over such issues as the color of the carpet and the location of the water fountains. This is not the first scuffle into which we have walked and it certainly will not be the last.
So much for all those debates on the doctrines of grace coming from Baptists from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Dr. Caner has to pretend these didn’t happen to belittle them. How is discussing God’s ability to perfectly save His people from their sins on the level as fussing over the color of the carpet?

So I will not be misunderstood, let me define the term. A Neo-Calvinist is a Hyper Calvinist with a twist.

As we’ll see, Dr. Caner has no clue what a hyper-Calvinist is. He means “Five Point Calvinist.”

He cannot discuss anything without referencing Calvinism. For the "Neo-Calvinist," you are either Reformed, or you are teaching heresy.

Well, let’s see. If Scripture teaches it and you do not teach it and in fact contradict it, then what you doing? Dr. Caner has called Calvinism a virus and false doctrine. Is this not heresy? Who, then, has been accusing whom of teaching heresy?

It is the prism through which every doctrine is filtered.

This is grossly oversimplified. It is a worldview, but it is a worldview focused on God. What other valid worldview is there?

To further clarify, this type of Hyper Calvinist believes:

Read the article closely, this comes on the heels of accusing Calvinists of sowing discord in churches and seminaries, but this man has made Calvinism his whipping boy, and this man is the one who went to the Founders blog to stir up trouble with his brother Emir. So, while accusing Calvinists of sowing division, he gives himself and Emir a free pass. Furthermore, if you listen to the Drs. Caner, Dr. Falwell, and Dr. Towns libertarian freedom is the prism through which their doctrine is filtered, and Dr. Caner has accused Calvinism of being a virus and of being heresy.

1. Double Predestination. Simply put, they believe that a small group of people are predestined, even before the Creation, for heaven, and that the vast majority of the world is predestined, even created for, hell.

This is a tendentious mischaracterization. It depends on what you mean by double predestination. If you mean that God acts positively to effectually call the elect to salvation and passes the rest over, letting them go their own way, yes, we affirm this. This is not, however, hyper-Calvinism. This is traditional Calvinism. Hyper-Calvinism, Dr. Caner, affirms that God puts fresh unbelief in the hearts of the reprobate. This is called equal ultimacy. I'd add that, if for argument's sake we taught this, then it would still not violate human nature, since, by nature, men hate God and do not want to repent and believe anyway.

This is also an argument Dr. Caner must answer himself. Why does God create people knowing they will never be saved and never hear the gospel. Will he seriously argue that the people of China in the first century BC. were not created for reprobation? By the way, he should read Prov. 16:4 and Jude 4, just for starters.

What Calvinist states that it is the very few who have been elected? Has he not read Boettner? He specifically states that there is no reason whatsoever to assume this.

2. Not all babies who die go to heaven. They do not say outright that "non-elect babies who die go to hell." They simply say that they leave such issues to the sovereignty of God. This raises the issue of the very nature of God, doesn’t it? Thankfully, most theologians through the centuries have denied this teaching.

Fallacy: oversimplification. Traditionally, Warfield has classified no fewer than five different positions on this issue:

1.From the beginning a few held with Zwingli that death in infancy is a sign of election, and hence that all who die in infancy are the children of God and enter at once into glory. After Zwingli, Bishop Hooper was probably the first to embrace this view. It has more lately become the ruling view.

2.At the opposite extreme a very few held that the only sure sign of election is faith with its fruits, and, therefore, we can have no real ground of knowledge concerning the fate of any infant; as, however, God certainly has his elect among them too, each man can cherish the hope that his children are of the elect. Peter Martyr approaches this sadly agnostic position.

3.Many held that faith and the promise are sure signs of election, and accordingly all believes and their children are certainly saved; but the lack of faith and the promise is an equally sure sign of reprobation, so that all the children of unbelievers, dying such, are equally certainly lost. The younger Spanheim, for example, writes…”they are justly reprobated by God on account of the corruption and guilt derived to them by natural propagation.

4.More held that faith and the promise are certain signs of election, so that the salvation of believers’ children is certain, while the lack of the promise only leaves us in ignorance of God’s purpose; nevertheless that there is good ground for asserting that both election and reprobation have place in this unknown sphere. Accordingly, they held that all the infants of believers, dying such, are saved, but that some of the infants of unbelievers, dying such, are lost. Probably no higher expression of this general view can be found that John Owen’s.

5.Most Calvinists of the past, however, have simply held that faith and the promise are marks by which we may know assuredly that all those who believe and their children, dying such, are elect and saved, while the absence of sure marks of either election or reprobation in infants, dying such outside the covenant, leaves us without ground for inference concerning them…It is this cautious, agnostic view which has the best historical right to be called the general Calvinistic one. Van Mastricht correctly says…

Warfield, Works, 9:431-434.

Warfield also mentions that “Calvin seems, while speaking with admirable caution, to imply that he believed some infants dying such to be lost,” ibid. 431, n66. If we accept what he says, that would, it seems make Calvin a hyper-Calvinist, correct?

R. C. Sproul even calls the doctrines of infant salvation “speculative.” (Providence, Tape 10,Q&A). Sproul points out that some reformers believe that all babies who die are numbered among the elect, and other reformers believe that all babies of saved parents who die are numbered among the elect.

According to Boettner:

Most Calvinistic theologians have held that those who die in infancy are saved. The Scriptures seem to teach plainly enough that the children of believers are saved; but they are silent or practically so in regard to those of the heathens. The Westminster Confession does not pass judgment on the children of heathens who die before coming to years of accountability. Where the Scriptures are silent, the Confession, too, preserves silence. Our outstanding theologians, however, mindful of the fact that God's "tender mercies are over all His works," and depending on His mercy widened as broadly as possible, have entertained a charitable hope that since these infants have never committed any actual sin themselves, their inherited sin would be pardoned and they would be saved on wholly evangelical principles.Such, for instance, was the position held by Charles Hodge, W. G. T. Shedd, and B. B. Warfield. Concerning those who die in infancy, Dr. Warfield says: "Their destiny is determined irrespective of their choice, by an unconditional decree of God, suspended for its execution on no act.
(Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, 143-144)

Scripture itself is largely silent on this issue. It simply depends on how convinced one is about the exegetical arguments as to which position one takes. I wonder, is David's, "I will go to him" is really meant to infer universal infant salvation for all infants who die in infancy? That's a rather grand, sentimental application of the text. God may well do this. I think there is a pretty good chance He does. On the other hand, I must admit (a) He would not be unjust not to do this; and (b) if He does, it is by way of Calvary, not some kind of "age of accountability" that mitigates against us being counted guilty in Adam.

Those who affirm reprobation of infants, at least by way of abstract possibility, believe that it as it seems to lack in biblical certainty, it would be unloving to extend to someone "absolute assurance" where Scripture itself is not absolutely clear. What we can give unshakable assurance to, is that God is just and righteous desiring that none should perish; delighting not in the death of the wicked; and is at the same time both loving and holy, just and merciful, wrathful and full of grace. And in all that He does, He does with absolute perfection befitting His own righteous, holy character after the council of His will, to accomplish His purpose, for His own pleasure and for His glory alone (Cp, Ephesians 1:4-14). And it is there, that we must rest, find our resolve, and leave it with Him. simply put, there are too few Scriptures chasing this particular issue for either side to speak with great certainty,

3. God’s "love for mankind" must be redefined. Yes, they will say, God does love the world, but His love is a matter of degrees.

Has he ever read D.A. Carson? Did God love Judas Iscariot as much as Paul? Will Dr. Caner argue that Judas was not predestined to betray Christ, per Acts? Will he seriously argue that lost persons living in North America in the first century were loved salvifically by God and yet born with no hope and thus foreordained to hell?

He can love a person and still predestine them for hell. Citations such as John 3:16, II Peter 3:9, and others, are redefined or reassigned to some other topic, such as eschatology. They do not believe that God wants a relationship with everyone. That would go against their system and theology.

So much for exegesis. Is this man serious? How is 2 Peter 3:9 reassigning the topic to eschatology, when that is the context of the text?

In this text: “any” and “all” are both universal class quantifiers. What is the referent? Answer: “You/us” delimits “any” and “all.” However, unless there are other clues in the text itself, these delimiters could be out of place and the text could be universal. Are there any additional clues? Yes!

In 3:3-7 Peter sets up an “us/them” dichotomy. “Them” refers to unbelievers, specifically false teachers, who have risen up and are preaching against the Second Coming. They are mockers, “following after their own lusts,” and making light of the promise of Christ’s return. Peter speaks of this happening in “the last days,” and, since these kinds of men have risen up throughout history, we know Peter thinks of the present day as the last days. In verse 8, Peter directs his message to his audience, telling them not to let what follows escape their (“your”) attention. “You” is his audience, whom he clearly says in 1:2 have received Christ and in 1:10 are “brethren,” and in 3:1 are “beloved.” You, which is delimiting “all” and “any” refers to the brethren, beloved, those who have received Christ.

Peter is teaching that, contrary to the mockers and false teachers, God is not at all slow concerning His promise. What promise? Answer: the return of the Lord, and He is patient toward you (beloved) not desiring that any (of you) perish, but all (of you) come to repentance. To come and not perish to repentance is defined in v.14: that Christians be found by Christ in peace, spotless, and blameless, and on guard against error. Peter is teaching two things: (1) God is holding off the Second Coming until all those who have been chosen for salvation according to His plan and that (2) God is being kind toward those living at the time of His coming, commanding them to be ready and prepared.

4. Invitations are an insult to the sovereignty of God. Disturbing as this may sound, some ministers of this stripe have stopped giving invitations in their services.

This is another straw man. We do not oppose invitations. We oppose the invitation system and the abuses associated with it, like Baptist evangelist Junior Hill who entered Hunter Hills Baptist Church in Greensboro, NC a couple of years ago, opened his Bible, read one Scripture and gave a one hour invitation. We constantly exhort people to repent and believe. My pastor and folks from our church preach at the local abortion clinic every few weeks. When the text allows, we give a public, traditional invitation, but when the text does not lend itself to it, we do not. In fact, many of us have replaced the regular invitation with a time of question and answer. So, while Dr. Falwell and Ergun Caner are not held accountable for their preaching by their congregation (oh, that somebody would have questioned him on Romans 9 for saying God rejected Esau because of what he did!), we are held very solidly accountable for what we preach. Of course, Dr. Falwell himself believes Charles Finney was a great evangelist, so maybe this should come as no surprise. I wonder if Dr. Caner has chatted with him about Finney.

5. Calvinism is the only Gospel. Simply put, when a person holds this narrow view, they become exclusivists. They believe that Calvinism, and only Calvinism, is the preaching of the Gospel. One historian wrote, "Calvinism is just another name for Christianity."1 If that is true, what does that say about the myriad of preachers throughout Church history who were not Calvinists? Were they even saved?

This is another mischaracterization of what Calvinists affirm. First of all, if Scripture teaches it, then that would make it another name of Christianity. By the way, he footnotes Gerstner here, as cited in Dave Hunt. He makes all these assertions and there is but one footnote. This isn't scholarship, Dr. Caner. Why didn't he footnote the rest of his assertions.

A. There is a difference between a traditional Calvinist stating this and a true hyper-Calvinist. A true hyper-Calvinist might state that a non-Calvinist isn’t saved.

B. Calvinism has narrow and a broad meaning when Calvinists state this. It can refer to the famous Five Points or it can have much broader meaning, referring to a worldview and a particular view of God.

Calvinism is the gospel by way of dogmatic usage, in that, as a comprehensive, systematic soteriology it identifies the source of salvation, the condition of men, the nature of the atonement, the necessity of grace, and the assurance of salvation for all who will believe far more accurately than Arminianism. This is what Spurgeon meant. It is also a worldiview that shapes much of the way we view the world.

Arminianism is a mixture of truth and error as a system and a worldview. How can anybody look at historical theology and not see this? Arminianism is inherently Unitarian at a functional level. It puts, in its more Pelagian forms (like the easy believism of Dave Hunt)m both election and regeneration outside a chain effected by grace; only the cross is in view. Ergo, this is functional Unitarianism. In classic Arminianism, the kind with a real doctrine of prevenient grace (in the former this is explicitly equated with common grace, cf. Elmer Towns), a person is enabled to believe from a state of equipoise effected by grace, so, while regeneration is outside the chain of grace directly, indirectly it resides inside of it, because faith would not result in it apart from this grace. The Father, however, because He bases election on foreseen faith, is still outside the chain of grace. Ergo, this is “Bi-Nitarian.” It’s not without reason that Arminianism has historically flirted with Socinianism as a result of this. Let’s not forget the General Baptists and early Arminians in general turned to Socinianism relatively quickly, and it was only via the New Connection that they survived among Baptists. The crossroads of theological liberalism also tends to lie near or in Arminianism. Moreover, Arminianism tends toward neo-sacramentalism in Baptist churches where it takes hold, contrary to our eccelsiology. We do not affirm baptismal regeneration, yet so much emphasis is put on aisle walking and hand raising and sacramental prayers (decisional regeneration) that we end up creating neo-Campbellite sacraments of our own when we do this.

That said, it is also true not all Arminians are of the same stripe. I don’t want to paint them with a broad brush.

If you define “gospel” in exegetical terms, both Arminianism and Calvinism affirm the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and the necessity of Sola Fide and personal conversion.

When “gospel” is defined in this manner, closer to exegetical usage, the essential issue addressed by the Gospel is that man is a sinner, under the condemnation of God. The Gospel never calls upon the unregenerate to believe that they are unable to believe. Rather, it calls upon us to recognize our guilt before God, and to see Christ’s sacrificial death as the sole remedy for our guilt and condemnation.

The Gospel message is about guilt, condemnation and forgiveness. It is not about “Who chose whom?”, or “Where does faith come from?” Gospel-faith is trust in the person of Christ, having the confidence that He, by means of His Substitutionary death, has borne our sin and is fully able to forgive everyone who calls upon Him for salvation. Gospel-faith recognizes that Christ saves only those who trust in Him. It does not necessarily recognize the truth that this trust is God-given. One need not know or believe that God is the one behind your repentance and faith to experience repentance and faith. One need not understand the nature of justification before he experiences it. One need not believe in eternal security in order to be eternally secure; one need not believe it is impossible to fall away and fail to persevere in the faith in order not to fall away and persevere in the faith. Ergo, in this sense, both Calvinism and Arminianism can be said to encapsulate the gospel.

C. Broadly speaking, Calvinism is a worldview. J.I Packer put it this way in his intro to John Owen’s The Death of Death in the Death of Christ:

In the first place, Calvinism is something much broader than the ‘five points’ indicate. Calvinism is a whole world-view, stemming from a clear vision of God as the whole world’s Maker and King. Calvinism is the consistent endeavor to acknowledge the Creator as the Lord, working all things after the counsel of his will. Calvinism is a theocentric way of thinking about all life under the direction and control of God’s own word. Calvinism, in other words, is the theology of the Bible viewed from the perspective of the Bible - the God-centered outlook which sees the Creator as the source, and means, and end, of everything that is, both in nature and in grace. Calvinism is thus theism (belief in God as the ground of all things), religion (dependence on God as the giver of all things), and evangelicalism (trust in God through Christ for all things), all in their purest and most highly developed form. And Calvinism is a unified philosophy of history which sees the whole diversity of processes and events that take place in God’s world as no more, and no less, than the outworking of his great preordained plan for his creatures and his church. The five points assert no more than God is sovereign in saving the individual, but Calvinism, as such, is concerned with the much broader assertion that he is sovereign everywhere.

Then, in the second place, the ‘five points’ present Calvinistic soteriology in a negative and polemical form, whereas Calvinism in itself is essentially expository, pastoral and constructive. It can define its position in terms of Scripture without any reference to Arminianism, and it does not need to be forever fighting real or imaginary Arminians in order to keep itself alive. Calvinism has no interest in negatives, as such; when Calvinists fight, they fight for positive evangelical values. The negative cast of the ‘five points’ is misleading chiefly with regard to the third (limited atonement, or particular redemption), which is often read with stress on the adjective and taken as indicating that Calvinists have a special interest in confining the limits of divine mercy. But in fact the purpose of this phraseology, as we shall see, is to safeguard the central affirmation of the gospel - that Christ is a redeemer who really does redeem. Similarly, the denials of an election that is conditional and of grace that is resistible are intended to safeguard the positive truth that it is God who saves. The real negations are those of Arminianism, which denies that election, redemption and calling are saving acts of God. Calvinism negates these negations order to assert the positive content of the gospel, for the positive purpose of strengthening faith and building up the church.

I would strongly encourage you to take the time to read the rest here: http://www.all-of-grace.org/pub/others/deathofdeath.html

Packer goes on to state wisely:

Now, here are two coherent interpretations of the biblical gospel, which stand in evident opposition to each other. The difference between them is not primarily one of emphasis, but of content. One proclaims a God who saves; the other speaks of a God who enables man to save himself. One view presents the three great acts of the Holy Trinity for the recovering of lost mankind - election by the Father, redemption by the Son, calling by the Spirit - as directed towards the same persons, and as securing their salvation infallibly. The other view gives each act a different reference (the objects of redemption being all mankind, of calling, all who hear the gospel, and of election, those hearers who respond), and denies that man’s salvation is secured by any of them. The two theologies thus conceive the plan of salvation in quite different terms. One makes salvation depend on the work of God, the other on a work of man; one regards faith as part of God’s gift of salvation, the other as man’s own contribution to salvation; one gives all the glory of saving believers to God, the other divides the praise between God, who, so to speak, built the machinery of salvation, and man, who by believing operated it. Plainly, these differences are important, and the permanent value of the ‘five points’, as a summary of Calvinism, is that they make clear the areas in which, and the extent to which, these two conceptions are at variance.

Dr. Caner continues:

Yet, being a Baptist goes back even further than a building. In the 16th century, our Anabaptist forefathers were not so mingled with the Reformed movement in Geneva. In fact, they were hunted in virtually every country in continental Europe. Men such as Michael Sattler and Balthasar Hubmaier suffered at the hands of all of the Magisterial Reform movements, including the Calvinists.

A. Dr. Caner conveniently overlooks all the Particular Baptists who were Calvinists.

B. How does the persecution of the Anabaptists constitute exculpatory evidence against these doctrines? Caner argues like an atheist, believing sociological phenomena qualify as exculpatory evidence against the Resurrection.

C. Caner assumes, without benefit of argument, a particular theory of Baptist history.

"Calvinism has never heard of him before, and if its advocates ever think of him hereafter it will never be in a connection flattering to his vanity."
(P.H. Mell on anti-Calvinist Russell Reneau). It could have been said just as easily about Ergun Caner.

11 comments:

  1. Gene, this has to be one of your very finest articles in defense of the frequently maligned subject of Calvinism aka Bible Christianity.

    Caner, the self proclaimed "pit bull" of Fawellian theology is so confused and dramatic that he is actually cute - often clownish - a
    very interesting pulpit personality
    strong on theatrical style but weak on truthful substance.

    The more EC speaks and writes the easier it becomes for Tom Ascol and James White to prepare for their scheduled debate with the Caner brothers in October in the beautiful town of Lynchburg.

    Thanks for exposing some of the weaknesses of "misrepresentations" of Biblical theology as proclaimed by the dean of the Fawell seminary.

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  3. Dennis Clough6/07/2006 8:44 AM

    Same old Calvinist rant; "no one who opposes us really understands us!" Picture a teenage girl in tears sobbing out the above to her frustrated mother.

    And then the twisting and turning to make the unpalatable palatable!

    It's OK to believe God chose millions to go to Hell before they were born because He can do that and get away with it. What would be unthinkable (dooming the masses) in a human being becomes a wonderful manifestation of God's power to the Calvinist. This is because the Calvinist takes a horrible doctrine and wraps it a million words to hide the posion within.

    And then in order to stifle the opposition, the Calvinist takes his handy little label maker and covers the bad guys with labels. When not sure exactly how the "enemy" is attacking, he uses all his magic labels. There, that will shut them up!
    NOT!

    Dennis Clough

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  4. Dennis,

    I found your comment to be more of rant than Gene's article. Lot's of assertions, no real argument.

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  5. Dennis,

    Uhmm... HAHAHAHAHAHAH!

    That was hilarious.

    BTW, another good article at Tribalogue. Keep up the good work, Gene.

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  6. Dear DC -

    Sit down and cool off! You seem to be running a fever.

    I saw Caner have one of his many
    famous "fever and fit" theatrical performances on TV recently and it was not a pretty scene.

    Sound and fury, signifying nothing but his presuppositions and his great talent of scripture twisting.

    Only by the amazing grace of our sovereign God can anyone of us put aside his human presuppositions and embrace the humbling truth that salvation is of the Lord from start to finish.

    Read again John 6:37 and Acts 13:48 and then move on to the Roman and Ephesian letters of Paul.

    When finished you may be ready to enjoy all the spiritual blessings in the entire New Testament (I Corinthians 2:14) and then march through the Old Testament.

    Remember that all Bible believing Christians love you - and so does God.

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  7. Gene, thanks for this. I was close to tears with gratitude to God for my salvation when I read this bit of yours: "it [the Gospel] calls upon us to recognize our guilt before God, and to see Christ’s sacrificial death as the sole remedy for our guilt and condemnation."

    I find it amusing that Dr Caner willingly associates his name with the early Anabaptists since, as Diarmaid MacCulloch pointed out, a fair number of them were real, live unitarians and mystical "just me and Jesus" types. (If this were teamPyro, I could ping Phil for his promised words about personal revelation, Gothard and Blackaby. Rats.)

    Dennis Clough, to the Calvinist, it's amazing that God rescues anybody. The sins of my own that I've commited with in the last 30 minutes were enough to send me to hell. (I'm not speaking generally, I have specific transgressions in mind.) The only thing more amazing than our triune God's rescue of anyone at all is that one of them is me.

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  8. Mr. Clough,

    If you can provide me with a clear consistent exegesis of the pertinent Scriptures and show me how your position is the correct and biblical one, I will be happy to re-evaluate my doctinal positions as a Calvinist. I somehow doubt your motive in writing your comments was a brotherly correction with scripture. In order to refute a position, you must understand it. At this point, you clearly do not understand it. Do you think your above comments are compelling to any sober-minded and thoughtful Christian?

    --Jon Unyan

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  9. Let me translate Dennis' post:

    "You believe what we say you believe, and how dare you say otherwise!"

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  10. Same old Calvinist rant; "no one who opposes us really understands us!" Picture a teenage girl in tears sobbing out the above to her frustrated mother.

    No, Dennis, it's more like: "Ergun Caner consistently violates the 9th commandment when discussing this issue."

    As for rants and teenage girls. To be blunt, after reading your "response," I'm seeing you in pigtails at the moment. It's a rather amusing vision.

    And then the twisting and turning to make the unpalatable palatable!

    The gospel is the stetch of death to some the aroma of life to others. What exactly is your problem with this concept? By the way, when you can find Scripture to support "elected because I selected," by all means let us know where it is located. Who then is "twisting and turning." Let's put it this way, on a liberatarian theory of the will, you have to admit that people are converted by sheer chance, but, if you reject Open Theism, you have to admit this is a fixed reality. Ergo, you affirm real fatalism.

    It's OK to believe God chose millions to go to Hell before they were born because He can do that and get away with it.

    Yes, He can, because life is his to do with as He pleases and all those who go are guity of sin. You're acting like they are innocent and don't deserve their fate.

    What would be unthinkable (dooming the masses) in a human being becomes a wonderful manifestation of God's power to the Calvinist.

    That's true, because God is not a man. Are you a Mormon?

    This is because the Calvinist takes a horrible doctrine and wraps it a million words to hide the posion within.

    Of course, the Arminian alternative is no different. Will you seriously argue that it is? Does not God create men for no other reason than to damn them to hell? What about the North American natives in the first century? Do you believe in more than one way of salvation or a post-mortem encounter?

    And then in order to stifle the opposition, the Calvinist takes his handy little label maker and covers the bad guys with labels.

    I assume this is in reference to the terms "Pelagian" and "Unitarian." Of course, this overlooks several things. First, it overlooks the arguments behind those assertions. It also overlooks the history of free will theology in Baptist circles. Socinianism wasn't far behind. Caner claims sympathy with the Radical Reformation. That's really rather amusing since Dr. Falwell is no Anabaptist when it comes to politics. However, I'll happily concede to his sympathes and include Dr. Caner in the ranks of Socinus, since it appears he is functionally Unitarian.

    Sir, the objections you offer are all ethical, not exegetical.

    When not sure exactly how the "enemy" is attacking, he uses all his magic labels.

    Like saying I wrote a "rant" akin to a teenage girl sobbing? Dennis, if labeling is illicit for one of us, it is illicit for the other.

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  11. Dennis,

    Just as you've done at my blog, you have offered nothing here but mere rant. Where is your interaction with Gene's comments? Where is your exegesis of the relevant texts of the debate?

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