Sunday, March 02, 2008

Paul 'The Inconsistent Calvinist' Apostle

Say that Ben Kangaroo is correct and that if an event E is fixed, then it is 'pointless' and 'meaningless' and 'a waste of time' to pray about E. Not only that, but any means to the end of E are illusion. E will happen regardless.

So, I could drop my Calvinism and follow Ben, or I could bite the bullet, remain inconsistent, and follow the Apostle Paul's actions (yes, those remarks were meant to be sarcastic).

Recall this story from Acts 27


ACTS 27:21 After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: "Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23 Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.' 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island."

The Shipwreck

27 On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land. 28 They took soundings and found that the water was a hundred and twenty feet deep. A short time later they took soundings again and found it was ninety feet deep. 29 Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight. 30 In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow. 31Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved." 32So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it fall away.


Notice that God promised that they would all live.

Notice that they prayed.

Notice that Paul told them to stay with the ship or they would die.

[Scratches head]

Why would they 'pray?' That was meaningless. God said they would live. So they would regardless of their prayer, right? Why didn't Paul condemn this action?

And, why did Paul tell them to stay on the ship? They would live regardless of whether they left the ship or not, right? God ordained the ends, and so the means of staying on the ship couldn't possibly have caused them to keep their life, right? Staying on the ship was 'pointless,' it was 'meaningless,' it was 'a waste of time.'

Seems to me that if the above is not 'inconsistent,' then neither is something like this: God decreed in advance that sinner S would not die in his sins, he also ordained that S would be saved in answer to prayer from S*. So, if S* didn't pray, S would die in his sins.

Since this essentially the same as what we find in Acts 27, and since Acts 27 doesn't report any inconsistency, then Calvinism has no inconsistency in praying for the lost. (And, if you note my last post, Roo Stew, I cite a multitude of other reasons and purposes for prayer. So, the case is only strengthened by the above observation).

I take it that, for the Christian, any argument that implies that the Bible advocates inconsistency, and that the Apostle Paul was inconsistent in moments like Acts 27, is a fallacious argument. Ben Kangaroo's argument (same with his cohorts on the matter) so implies the above. Therefore it must be rejected.



  1. I don't know, Paul; I mean, by not being mean or sarcastic in this post, you haven't really left the Arminians anything to critique you about.

  2. Perry, I was sarcastic. I say so at the top.

  3. Something tells me that the response from the other side will be some form of gobbledygook like:

    "God's knowledge of future events is like our knowledge of past events."

    You see my fellow Calvinists, God is just a spectator who can see the future. Nothing more. He doesn't determine any of it...


  4. This is actually quite a good explanation of compatibilism.

  5. Rhett,

    Then I guess they can answer the question in Isa. 40:

    14 Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him,
    and who taught him the right way?
    Who was it that taught him knowledge
    or showed him the path of understanding?

    We know who it was. It was Paul and the sailors and their actions! They 'taught' the Lord knowledge and showed him the path of understanding.


    Our God knows the future because he planned it all out. He concults his decree, that's how he knows everything. They confuse epistemology with metaphysics. Events don't come before and cause God's knowledge.

    And, the answer doesn't help. Since God can't be wrong, then it is true that they would live. So why did they need to stay on the ship? Because the ends (life) wouldn't happen without the means (stay on the boat). The basics here is our position. So, they can't complain. The ends/mean argument has been established. So tyhey'd need *another* argument to get where they want to get. And, I doubt they can do any of this without begging crucial questions against the Calvinist. So, what was an inconsistency *within* our system has now been moved to an inconsistency *between* our *two* respective systems! But surely *that* isn't enlightening. I already *knew* that Arminianism was inconsistent with Calvinism! ;-)

    So, I'm still waiting for actual inconsistencies to be deduced.

  6. Q.E.D. Indeed!

    Quod Erod Demonstratum! (Just about the only Latin I know!)

    That which was to be demonstrated!