Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Endangered Theological Blogger #546: The Thibodaux-daux Bird

The Thibodaux-daux Bird

Thibodaux's latest Jambalaya (On The Bayou) is simply the desperate bleatings of a dying species. From now on, if someone is philosophically or theologically exterminated, it will be known as "going the way of the Dauxdaux." After this post, Josh will be "as dead as a Dauxdaux." Much like his cousin, the Dodo bird, Thibodaux's etymology is not clear. It may have reference to the repugnant sound the Dauxdaux makes as it constantly repeats its shrill cries. It may refer to the psychological trait that manifests itself in the assumption that repeating yourself more than once magically makes your original assertion that much more credible. Or, it may be related to dodaars ("plump-arse"), the Dutch name of the Little Grebe. The connection may have been made because of similar feathers of the hind end or because both animals were ungainly. However, the Dutch are also known to have called the Mauritius bird the walghvogel ("loathsome bird" or "nauseating fowl") in reference to its taste. Whatever the etymology, it is unimportant for our purposes. The bird has been fatally wounded. The humane thing to do now is to put it out of its misery.

Anyway, for those who want the entire context, here it is:

* 1. Thibodaux's challenge

* 2. My answer to 1.

* 3. His response to 2.

4. My response to 3.

* 5. His response to 4.

Thibodaux's comments will be in red.

My response to 5:

"You know, I've been in several informal debates now, and I can honestly say that this is the first time I've ever had a male opponent even mention the prospect of (putting 2 and 2 together from the title) tickling my tummy, or offer any commentary concerning another man's anatomy for that matter."

I wasn't even thinking along those lines. Well, we all know where Thibodaux's head is. Anyway, I hope to take another first. I bet this is the first time you've been referred to as a Dauxdaux bird. Also, I now think I know what Thibodaux's problem is. His father never tickled him as a boy. And, he also mentioned that he has children, if they are male then I assume that he never says that he's going to tickle them. If he says that that is acceptable in the context of the father/son relationship, then I wonder what his beef is? I'm just showing him who is daddy is. (Note: Thibodaux will probably complain about this too. Note that he tries to use sophistic rhetoric (e.g., implying I have homosexual motives), but complains about my rhetoric. Either Thibodaux is so self-deceived that he doesn't see that he does the same thing his opponents do, or he's jealous of my superior rhetorical abilities. Either way he shouldn't act so upset, it simply makes him look desperate. Makes his sarcastic rhetorical devices appear forced. Seeing how manly he is, I'd advise him to quit acting like a cry-baby when we are both obviously playing by the same rules.) For example, in his first ever post to a T-blogger, he writes,

"Must have dispelled one too many of the widespread misconceptions they spread about Arminian/Synergist theology. Militant Calvinists hate that. So now one of the headstrong Triabloguers has decided to open fire on my article, but as I'll demonstrate below, it would certainly help his case if he could aim in the right direction." Or, take this gem, "Why this assertion is necessarily so or where any inherent problems lie he never really specifies, but blindly he ploughs on...." Or, what about this, "I love rabid Calvinist logic?" SOURCE And this was just in the first few paragraphs of his first post. I could cite myriad others.

Thibodaux has no problem maligning those he debates with as "militant" and "headstrong" and "bad aims" and "blind" and "rabid" etc., etc., etc. Apparently when Thibodaux tries to use a little rhetorically flare, it's okay. Apparently when he likens someone with the name "militant" (especially useful as rhetoric these days with terms like "militant Muslim"), and seeks to poison the well against them, he's okay since he's "one of the good guys." Or, to refer to someone as "blindly ploughing on" is just an honest and non-emotive laden comment. Used in a purely objective way. Likening us to dogs (i.e., rabid Calvinists) isn't pejorative at all, is it? Thibodaux's hypocrisy has only served to show just how seriously one should take him and his holier-than-though attitude. All his comments about how he's debating with integrity serve to undermine him and sully his character. Perhaps he can lay off the "I'm so better than you guys approach" and just fire back with his rhetoric (or don't use any at all if he's not mature to get back what he gives), and then get on with the debate? Perhaps not, because what then would he have to blog about? Surely nothing substantive.

I had said, "Also, note that Thibodaux tries to appeal to the pity of his audience. He can't be a bully because he's outnumbered 8 to 1." He responded,

"'Pity?' Interesting thought. Of course I would technically have to be losing for that to work...."

First, a fallacy is a fallacy whether you're "winning" or "losing." Second, you are technically losing. In fact, Arminianism has already lost. Welcome to reality.

I pointed out that Thibodaux had no room whining and moaning about being up 8 to 1 considering he leveled the challenge, he replied:

"The challenge, if you recall, was issued as part of my response (in case anyone wanted to take up a real debate) to a critique written against a post I made on Arminian Perspectives, which was not addressed to or aimed at anyone from Triablogue. In other words, Triablogue came to me. Forgive me for standing up to you and meeting you head-on."

Maybe one or two T-blog members came to you, but you are the one who made the challenge a blank check for any T-blogger to cash in. Let us recall the words of the Dauxdaux bird:

"In any case, the Challenge I issued to Triablogue still stands open, are any of you up for it?"

See, you said it was YOU who issued the challenge to ALL OF US even though not ALL OF US responded to you. In fact, I never even heard of you until I read one of the posts on T-blog. So, my point stands. Don't try to gain pity when you are the one who challenged all of us. Don't whine about it being 8 to 1 when you're the one who asked for it to be 8 to 1! That just makes you look pathetic.

I had written, "I wouldn't feel sorry for someone who tried to mess with a bunch of bayou gators, I'd call him stupid." Thibs responded:

"Oh yeah, 'stupid.' There's a big touche' if I've ever heard one. Did he come up with that one all by himself? Now if we can dispense with the revisionist history and ad hominem, we can move on to more substantial poin-- never mind, let's just work with what he's got. He actually argues quite a few ridiculous concepts, which I'll list further below for strictly comedic purposes; for now let's stick with his comments that resemble meaningful."

I already showed that there was no revision on my end. There is on Thibodaux's end, though. Apparently Thibodaux is allergic to the facts and so takes offense at my referring to him as stupid (for issuing a challenge to 8 people, all of whom can eat him for lunch). He also wants originality (but above I was chastised for my originality when mentioning my touching his doughy tum-tum, causing him to say, "Hee hee," so he's not very consistent). Hopefully he likes being listed on the endangered theological bloggers list as the Dauxdaux bird. He should have no complaints with anything I've said above, then. Granting me that point, I'll now move on and clean up all the debris left from him stepping on the land mines that littered the landscape of my last post.

Now we can get into the material. As I did last time, I'll follow Thobodaux's headings.

The Purpose of the Warnings

I have been pointing out that the warnings (among other things) serve as means to bring the elect to glory, to final salvation. Thibodaux doesn't like this, he thinks we can't provide any useful reason for the warnings. I take it that this is a sound argument:

[1] If some X is a means in bringing some Y to an end, then X is not meaningless.

[2] The warnings in the Bible are an X (a means of God to enable the elect to persevere).

[3] Therefore, the warnings are not meaningless.

We are to "tremble at the threatenings." Indeed, Reformed theology has always taught that if you don't "tremble at the threatenings" then you don't have saving faith: "By this faith, a Christian believes to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of God Himself speaking therein; and acts differently upon that which each particular passage thereof contains; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life, and that which is to come" (WCF XIV:II). Therefore, not taking the threatenings seriously, but presumptuously thinking that we are set, that we have already taken hold of the prize, is an evidence-indicator (a fruit --> root inference) that we never had saving faith in the first place. The threatenings cause us to grab hold of Christ. Holding on to Jesus is the only way to heaven. Thus the threatenings are means of salvation (or, of reaching glorification).

To this Thibodaux responds:

"If you say "tremble at the threatenings," then try to explain that the consequences of threatenings could never actually occur to whom they were delivered, then you have produced dissonance aplenty, as you are in effect telling us to tremble at a sheer impossibility. So reformed theology yields a rather confusing view that despite its noble sentiment in commanding to heed the admonitions of God, its cardinal doctrines undermine them by leaving no real reason for those that are not elect to tremble at the warnings given (as the consaeces already irrevocably apply to them, the heeding of any warning being unable to reverse it), nor the elect to do so since it also holds that the consequences of such warnings could never apply to them at all. So whether you're elect or not, Calvinist doctrine still renders them void of any real meaning."

This is simply to repeat his original claims. I take it that his argument can be expressed thusly:

[4] If someone S makes a hypothetical statement H such that it is impossible for the antecedent to become instantiated, then S has made H meaningless.

[5] Calvinism implies that God gives an H in the warnings passages such that it is impossible for the antecedent to become instantiated.

[6] Thus on Calvinism's assumptions God makes meaningless assertions.

I countered this by [1] - [3] above. Second, [4] is an unproven assumption. It's certainly not an assumption he can derive from the Bible. Third, given what he's claimed elsewhere, he shouldn't associate himself with [4] since: "Though our viewpoints do often overlap, I prefer not to associate my doctrinal beliefs with the name of a mortal man." Is [4] a "doctrinal belief?" If not, then how does he critique perseverance of the saints (POS, hereafter) with it? If it is, then let him show it in the Bible, or else he must disassociate himself from [4]. Third, we can show the unbiblical nature of this extra-biblical assumption ([4]) thusly:

In Genesis 15 Abraham wants to know how he can trust God's promises. God tells him to get some animals. Abraham knows what to do, he cuts them in half. It is then God who walks through the carcasses. As virtually every biblical scholar agrees, what is being performed by this act is God declaring that: "If I violate my covenant promises, then I will be like these animals." That is, God says that IF he were to violate the terms of the covenant, he would put himself to death.

But if Abraham were Thibraham, we would hear him say, "That is meaningless, God! You can't kill yourself, so why say that if you violated the terms of the covenant you would kill yourself. Don't you know that if someone makes a hypothetical claim in which the antecedent is impossible to instantiate, he has made a meaningless claim?"

Next, take this text from Jeremiah 32:20 "This is what the LORD says: 'If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, 21 then my covenant with David my servant—and my covenant with the Levites who are priests ministering before me—can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne."

Here Jehovah is stating that the Davidic covenant will never fail to have a king sitting on the throne of the house of Israel. To show that a king will always persevere on the throne Jehovah states that: If my covenant could be broken, then a king would not persevere. The obvious implication is that it is impossible for this covenant to be broken. Is this a meaningless claim?

As we read one we see: 23 The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 24 "Have you not noticed that these people are saying, 'The LORD has rejected the two kingdoms he chose'? So they despise my people and no longer regard them as a nation. 25 This is what the LORD says: 'If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed laws of heaven and earth, 26 then I will reject the descendants of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his sons to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and have compassion on them.'" Again God offers a hypothetical with an antecedent that is impossible to instantiate, yet we would hardly say that this is a meaningless text in Scripture.

Furthermore, we note another argument implicit in the quoted portion:

[7] If the elect will persevere, then there is no need to take heed of the warnings; no need to tremble at the threatenings.

[8] Calvinism states that the elect will persevere.

[9] Therefore there is no need for us to take heed of the warnings; no need to tremble at the threatenings.

But we can see that this denies the means argument. It is as if the Dauxdaux bird thinks that we teach that the elect persevere no matter what they do or what happens. But this is fatalism. We teach that the ends do not come about (generally) without the means. My argument has been that this trembling is one of the ways true believers are strengthened. Only those who trust in Christ will be saved. The warnings serve as means to keep us trusting in Christ! Just like hearing the word, partaking of the sacraments, and fellowship of the saints are all means God uses to strengthen us in the faith, so are the warning passages. Those who don't fall away will reign with Christ. The warnings serve as one of the very means God uses to keep the elect from falling. They incite us to greater prayer and watchfulness. To say that if POS were true, we would not need to be watchful is to beg the question. If one is not watchful, one is giving an evidence-indicator that he is not a saint. I just reverse his argument, then:

[10] If the elect will persevere, then they will take heed of the warnings; tremble at the threatenings.

[11] Calvinism states that the elect will persevere.

[12] Therefore there we will take heed of the warnings; tremble at the threatenings.

The minute you don't think you need to take heed of the warnings is the minute you provide evidence you may not be a saint. Thus I'd argue that POS presupposes taking the warnings seriously.

As I said last time: Lastly, the purpose of the warnings for believers is that they are means to keep them in the faith. Keep them trusting in Jesus. Take them in a nonchalant way, provide and evidence-indicator that you're not saved. Saved people trust in Christ. Saved people believe that if we do X, then Y will happen. So we don't do X, thanks be to God.

But Thibodaux responds:

"But concerning warnings with a damning consequence written specifically to the saints, you believe that Y can't happen, which drives your belief that X can't happen either. So Calvinists end up making the possibility of an apparently possible condition contingent upon its consequence. Interesting logic."

The warnings are given specifically to the entire congregation, first off. To the saints and the false professors. Second, Y can't happen because we will not X. Means, Thibodaux, means. Third, the only reason Thibodaux thinks we have a problem is because of his belief in [4]. That assumption remains an unproven one. Fourth, had Thibodaux been on the boat with Paul in the first century, he would have stopped doing anything!! We read:

Acts 27: 18 We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19 On the third day, they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.

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.

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. "

Given Thibodaux's rather unbiblical logic, he would have just put his feet up, refused to do any rowing, hoisting, bailing, etc., and said, "Paul, to tell me that if I don't do X we will not make it is ridiculous. Indeed, you have promulgated the doctrine of the Perseverance of the Sailors (POS!), hence to warn me that if I do not cut the lines, etc., we will be destroyed is to speak incoherent babble."

It is thus clear that Thibodaux's ideas are out of accord with the worldview we see held to in the Bible. All of his points crash upon the rocks of the myriad arguments I've lobbed which I have received from the text of Scripture and from sound reasoning.

I said, "Thus we do not "mess around." We do not "take things lightly." We "cling to Jesus Christ." We pray that he will keep us in the faith. That we would not deny him. That our profession would be genuine." And Thibodaux responds,

"I didn't say that you did, but neither should you make the word void by writing off the warnings that God gives to the saints as impossibilities."

Well then, if we don't, and if you didn't say we did, then you admit that we take the warnings seriously. That they serve as means for holding on to Christ. If you admit that we take them seriously, then you admit that we don't make the word of God void. All you're saying is that we have to take the warnings the way you do. But Thibodaux is not my standard. Its not solo Thibodaux daux. If you admit we do the above, then you admit we do them (in part) because of the warning passages.

For any true believer, in and of himself, it is a possibility. It is only impossible because God will not let us fall. WCF XXVII: II. This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ, the abiding of the Spirit, and of the seed of God within them, and the nature of the covenant of grace: from all which arises also the certainty and infallibility thereof.

Moving along....

"Mr. Manata imports false assumption into his argument, as I do believe that the warnings are a means of salvation, the problem with his view is that they can only be so effectively if one believes them to be genuine and possible to violate."

And we are going to get proof for this assertion when, exactly? It doesn't justify your tendentious claim to simply announce it, again. And, how's this: The commandments of God serve as means by which to judge the unregenerate. They are commanded to BE PERFECT. But, it is not possible that they could be perfect, especially given Thibodaux's affirmation of total depravity. Does he reason that they are not genuine since it is not possible for any merely human being to keep all of them? Furthermore, we do believe them genuine and possible to violate. But if we violate them we only prove that we were never joined to Christ in the first place. Thus we endeavor to trust in Christ and plead for his spirit to strengthen us until we cross the Jordan. Lastly, you last sentence assumes a position not found in the Bible. But, you claim that POS contradicts the Bible. You furthermore said that you won't associate yourself with doctrines of men. But if your last sentence is a doctrinal position, and you cannot find it in the Bible, then you need to disassociate yourself with it. At the very least you need to provide a cogent argument for your assumption. It surely isn't a truth of logic. It surely isn't an obvious claim - not to me or thousands of other people. And I've argued that it is contradictory to what we find in the Bible. So, you have nothing by way of a "challenge" at this juncture. (Read that last line with a Bush the elder accent.)

Moving along...

"Indeed Christ is telling us how and to what extent to battle sin, but there's no indication within the text of a contrast between differing types of people here. The nature of His warning,

And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

is such that it could only be specifically addressing those who believe, since the issue of battling sin is irrelevant for those who have no saving faith, and would have no bearing on their escaping hell. It is not a contrasting description, but a prescription, as well as a powerful warning to those faithful to Him."

And of course "it is better that one of thy members should perish and not thy whole body should be cast in hell." So what's the problem. How do you get from that, to this: "POS is false, therefore." It's not an obvious implication. It's not like: "John is in California," so, "John is in America." You're going to actually need to put forth an argument rather than assuming libertarianisms ought-implies-can assumption. Their "inability limits responsibility" assumption. We're not Arminians here. So we don't get bothered when we read "arguments" that simply preach to the choir.

He continues,

"He tried to answer me on Hebrews 4,

'His assumption that they are "sincerely following Christ" is vague. People can be sincerely wrong. But, if he means that they have genuine saving faith, let him show it, not assert it.'

Which I already did, in that the author of Hebrews is addressing those who have believed (vs 3), and have Christ as their High Priest (vs. 14)."

Those who have believed "enter that rest." Those who have Christ as their high priest are those who have intercession made for them. Those who have intercession made for them are those who will be saved completely (7:25). This high priest actually saves his people. Anyway, Thibodaux has not proven anything. There is not one instance where we ever read of an apostate as one who ever had true faith. Hebrews says that THEY ARE OF A DIFFERENT KIND OF SOIL THAT THE SAINTS WHO PERSERVERE. It's not as if they were of the same kind, but one just persevered whereas the other didn't. The saint and the apostate are of different natures!

Hebrews 6:4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.

Do you get that Thibodaux? The apostate - land which was burned - was a DIFFERENT KIND OF LAND that the believer - land that drinks the rain often and produces crop- who made it into heaven. One NEVER produced crop. One DID. Thus apostasy is an evidence-indicator (a root to fruit inference) of NEVER HAVING BEEN A TRUE BELIEVER IN THE FIRST PLACE. Thus NO ONE who have ever produced fruit can be said to be an apostate! The Reformed doctrine is that only those who produce fruit will persevere. You CANNOT show that ONE OF THEM apostatized since I JUST SHOWED that apostates NEVER DID produce even ONE STINKEN BLUEBERRY.

This is why we can say of the apostate that, 1 John 2:19 "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us." The apostate was NEVER "of us." Had they been "of us" then they WOULD HAVE CONTINUED WITH US! Continuing to the end is proof of being a true believer. An "us."

Thus in Hebrews the apostate is never viewed as one of the elect, a true believer.

The Father, Christ, believers, and salvation are described differently by the author of Hebrews than by you. So says Dr. Roger Nicole:

"Hebrews describes God as all-powerful (1:3; 2:10) and fulfilling the designs of his will (2:4). His counsels are immutable (1:12; 6:17, 18) and his faithfulness is the ground of the confidence of believers (2:17; 6:10; 10:23; 11:6, 11). These are precisely the divine perfections in evidence in the doctrine of sovereign grace!

Hebrews describes the ministry of Christ, not in terms of what it might perform if only men should be willing, but rather in terms of what it does and will certainly accomplish. Christ is viewed as the one who leads his sons to glory (2:10), who brings to naught the devil (2:14), who delivers all ... the seed of Abraham (2:15), who propitiates for the sins of his people (2:17, 12:24) so that no divine wrath remains against them. He is the surety of the better covenant (7:22; 12:24); the perfected of the faith (12:2); the shepherd of the sheep (13:20) - and what shepherd worthy of the name would feel that all his job entails is to protect the sheep from enemies on the outside, but he is not responsible for sheep slipping away from the flock?; the High priest, representing his people and interceding for them (7:25) - and what kind of intercession would this be that would not even protect them from ultimate apostasy?

Hebrews describes believers in terms that imply permanent status: those who shall inherit salvation (1:14), God's sons (2:10; 12:5-11), Christ's brethren (2:12, 17; 3:1), God-given children (*2:13; cf. John 17:2, 6, 9, 11, 12), the seed of Abraham (2:16), God's people (2:17; 4:9; 8:10), the partakers of the heavily calling (3:1) and of Christ (3:14), Christ's house (3:6), the heirs of the promise (6:17; 8:6; 9:15), those who have been sanctified once for all (10:10, 14; 13:12, 21), the assembly of the first-born enrolled in heaven.

Hebrews describes salvation in terms that do not admit of defection or termination: the sons are brought to glory (2:10), the people of God enter God's rest (4:3, 9), the hope is well-grounded (6:18, 19), the new covenant is one where members do not fail (8:10, cf. 10:15-17), the saints are perfected forever (10:14; 12:2), the kingdom cannot be shaken (12:28), the salvation is to the uttermost (7:25), eternal (5:9; 9:12) and marked by endless life (7:16)." -- Roger Nicole, "Some Comments on Hebrews 6:4-6, And The Doctrine of The Perseverance of God With The Saints," in "Standing Forth: Collected Writings of Roger Nicole," p. 441-42.

Indeed, who are those addressed? 10:39 "But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved."

I had wrote, "Those who believe WILL take hold of that final rest. The only ones who failed to enter were people who heard the good news. There is no argument that a true believer could fail to enter forthcoming." And Thibodaux thinks this a counter:

"As I pointed out, many who heard the good news also drank of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4), yet they did not enter into His rest. If it is speaking of eternal rest and also speaking to we who have believed that are entering, then such a warning against falling after Israel's example is a powerful argument."

Yeah, and their livestock "drank of Christ" too! Do you think cows will be in heaven, saved by the blood of Christ from their fallen bovine nature? Anyway, no one doubts that some people who partake in external graces which are given to God's people may apostatize from their profession of faith. And my particular tradition recognizes the existence of an external covenant community, just like that within Israel. Thus not all who are Israel are Israel. A true Jew is one who is one inwardly. So, at best you show that external covenant members fail to enter into God's rest. This says nothing of the elect, though. Remember, the elect and the apostate are not even in the same league. One is revealed to have never been in possession of what the other had.

I wrote of Thibodaux's reversed problem, "But how could God say this if it was possible that each and every single person saved could (contrary to the decree) all deny him?" Thibodaux gives away the farm:

"Because He already foreknows that such will not be the case."

See that. Thibodaux says that God can guarantee THESE PEOPLE that they will make it into heaven because God KNOWS THAT THEY WILL. But, Thibodaux's argument rears its ugly head and bites Thiboduaux in the rear toe. The warnings are ADDRESSED TO EVERYONE. So, as Thibodaux has pointed out more than once, "For the warning to be real or genuine, those to who it is given have to be able to actualize the state of affairs warned against. It is a real and genuine live option." But this could not be if God KNOWS that they will not fall. For if God knows that P, then P is true. And so Thibodaux has God saying, "I know that not-P, but watch out for P anyway!" But according to Thibologic, "this is meaningless."


Thibodaux takes a cheap shot now and attacks one of my claim without the support I provided. He says,

"When he asked about Hebrews 10:13-14, I responded, This text is often misinterpreted as saying that once sanctification is done, it cannot be undone because we've been made 'perfect forever.' This was not what the author was saying, he was indicating that Christ's sacrifice only needed to be performed once as opposed to the yearly sacrifices made under the old covenant (see the preceding context, note verses 3 and 11). [He responded:]

'This is extremely simplistic.'

Wow, that's a brilliant objection, which I would thank our astute detective for pointing out. Did he think I was giving him a short answer, or writing a commentary? I don't recall parsimony being a major exegetical error."

Of course I pointed out what was simplistic in his statement. I wrote:

This is extremely simplistic. It is true that the author is referring to the one-time sacrifice of Christ as opposed to the yearly sacrifices by the OT high priests, but what do we draw from this? The OT sacrifices could never save, "because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins" (v.4). This is contrasted with Christ's. For, "Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy" (vv. 12-14). Thus we see that the death of Christ took away the sin of those it was made for. He therefore continues, "The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:

"This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds." Then he adds:
"Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more."

And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin."

What, does God write his law on their minds, and then erase it, and then write it, and then erase it, and then write it, and then erase it, ad nauseum. This is where Thibodaux's position leads.

Those who "have been made perfect" is in the perfect tense, the present passive participle is used. Thus the status of God's people (this is the covenant I will make with THEM) is expressed in timeless terms (see France, 247). The "emphasis is being laid on the fact that by the same sacrifice those who have been cleansed and 'perfected' are now eternally constituted God's holy people" (ibid). What we have here is the fulfilling of Jeremiah's prophecy. The bringing about of the Covenant of Redemption. God's plan to save his people, who He foreknew and loved from the foundation of the world. Those who the lamb was slain for from the foundation of the world. The OT law and sacrifice was a "reminder of sin," this sacrifice is the "removal of sin." He remembers their lawless acts "NO MORE." This is why there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.

But then he doesn't even respond to hardly any of this! He just picks on my claim that his comment was "simplistic." And it was. He pointed out a truism, but he shows he hasn't wrapped his head around its full and glorious meaning. One even wonders how Thibodaux thinks this new covenant is a "better" covenant? One wonders why the Bible makes all thus hub-bub about a "better" high priest. The old covenant couldn’t secure salvation and final forgiveness of sins, and apparently neither can the new covenant!

I said "hardly." Here's his response to all I wrote:

"More of the "saved, unsaved, saved again, unsaved again" canard. He continues, Those who "have been made perfect" is in the perfect tense, the present passive participle is used. Thus the status of God's people (this is the covenant I will make with THEM) is expressed in timeless terms (see France, 247).

That argument from tense is fraught with problems, since the present participles only indicate presently ongoing action, not irrevocably ongoing action, Galatians 1:4being a good example.

Uh, the "perfect tense" and "present participle." A.B. Davidson says of these present participles "the words are timeless designations of the two parties, taken from the part characteristic of each." "He has perfected" (v.14) is perfect tense. The link is between the SACRIFICE and being made perfect. The sacrifice of Christ was a one time, timeless, once for all, unrepeatable, sacrifice. Anyway, I'll side with eminent scholars Bruce and Davidson over you.

I wrote: The "emphasis is being laid on the fact that by the same sacrifice those who have been cleansed and 'perfected' are now eternally constituted God's holy people" (ibid). What we have here is the fulfilling of Jeremiah's prophecy. The bringing about of the Covenant of Redemption. God's plan to save his people, who He foreknew and loved from the foundation of the world. Those who the lamb was slain for from the foundation of the world. The OT law and sacrifice was a "reminder of sin," this sacrifice is the "removal of sin." He remembers their lawless acts "NO MORE." This is why there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.

Thibodaux responded:

"Through such lengthy discourse my answer of what being made 'perfect forever' means still meets no real objection, nor has he made any headway in his points, since simply citing evidence for the covenant of grace between God and man does not constitute evidence that it is unbreakable."

This is simply sophistic rhetoric intended to put his own side at ease. Surely he notes he has dropped the ball in trying to respond to my argument. But, he just has to "say something." Furthermore, Thibodaux gives us more evidence of the question begging nature of his challenge. For THE REFORMED doctrine of the covenant of grace DOES provide evidence for POS. WCF Ch. XXVII II. "This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ, the abiding of the Spirit, and of the seed of God within them, and the nature of the covenant of grace: from all which arises also the certainty and infallibility thereof." And the LBC, XVII II. "This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father, upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ and union with him, the oath of God, the abiding of his Spirit, and the seed of God within them, and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof."

Thus Thibodaux's critique simply TAKES FOR GRANTED that the majority of reformed theology is wrong. But if he's going to do that, why bother typing up a "challenge?" What Thibodaux is effectively doing is saying, "Pretend that all your other doctrines are wrong, and then try to answer this challenge." Thus his challenge is only a challenge if we leave out THE REST of our system of thought. But GIVEN THE TOTALLITY of Reformed thought, there is no challenge to be had. It's would be like if I made a challenge which denied libertarian free will, assumed determinism, and ask Thibodaux to show how all men were able to genuinely actualize alternate possibilities.

Thibodaux now argues that God's will can be thwarted:

[Manata writes], He cannot demonstrate the possibility of an elect, regenerate Christian falling away since the Bible says this won't happen:

John 6:38-40, 44 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

Jesus says everyone who comes to him, who believes on him, will have eternal life.

"Yes, provided we remain in Him. It is indeed not God's will that He lose any, but this does not preclude men from acting out of line with God's will and displeasing Him."

Notice the failure god Thibodaux serves. Jesus says this:

38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.

The Father sends the Son to earth on a mission, but Jesus fails. Notice that the Father "gives" a people to the Son. So, what does the God-man say about those the Father "gives" Jesus?

37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.

So, EVERYONE given by the Father comes to Jesus. What happens if you come to Jesus?

44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.

Thus if one comes, one is raised. Jesus tells us that IF ONE COMES, then he will raise that one. There is no warrant to draw a disjunct between the HIM who comes and the HIM who is raised. Thus, ALL the father gives will come, and ALL who come will be raised.

This was a statement of fact. Jesus didn't say, "My Father really, really, really, really, no, I mean, REALLY, wants all of you he gave to me to be raised to everlasting life on the last day, but that's just his wishes, he actually wished that on his 1,000,000,000,000th birthday. He closed his eyes and everything. So, he's up there a wishin, and I hope he gets his wish, but it's ultimately up to you and your freedom."

Thibodaux's eisogesis is plain for all to see.

Thibodaux just doesn't "get it:"

"It is not a nonsensical statement to tell someone that they will never perish in the strongest possible terms if the understood condition of remaining in Him is currently being fulfilled. The difficulty Mr. Manata is having is in his view of assurance and conditionality. When faced with statements of both assurance (definite statements of "I will" or "I will not"), and condition ("if you"), the statements of promise and assurance don't render the conditions void, they are contingent upon fulfillment of the conditions. So if Christ says "you will never perish," it does not nullify the conditions He also states such as "abide in me," nor the consequence of not fulfilling the stipulations. A good example of this sort of guarantee to a promise with an understood condition is found in Deuteronomy 31:8,"

Right, and Reformed believe that Christ will grant all of his the ability to abide in him. YOU JUST ANSWERED YOUR OWN CHALLENGE!! Quit beating a straw man.

LBC XVII I. "Those whom God hath accepted in the beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, and given the precious faith of his elect unto, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved, seeing the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, whence he still begets and nourisheth in them faith, repentance, love, joy, hope, and all the graces of the Spirit unto immortality; and though many storms and floods arise and beat against them, yet they shall never be able to take them off that foundation and rock which by faith they are fastened upon; notwithstanding, through unbelief and the temptations of Satan, the sensible sight of the light and love of God may for a time be clouded and obscured from them, yet he is still the same, and they shall be sure to be kept by the power of God unto salvation, where they shall enjoy their purchased possession, they being engraven upon the palm of his hands, and their names having been written in the book of life from all eternity."

The Reformed position is that the conditional is true. That is, anyone who does instantiate the antecedent, the consequent will surely come true. So, only those who abide in Christ will persevere. The Reformed faith states that God will cause all believers to abide in Christ. To always trust in him. He uses the warning passages as means to bring about this end in terms of the historical outworking of the decree.


"Next Paul tries to hit me with Romans 8 [SNIP vv. 28 - 39]

'Thibodaux needs to square his doctrine with Scripture. After all, I'm just squaring his hypothesis with the indisputable and clearly established facts of Scripture.'

To which I replied, "Of course no created thing can separate us from Christ." To which he retorts,

'Thibodaux can't follow out his syllogism:

[1] No created thing can keep us from attaining everlasting life as found in being united to Christ.

[2] True believers are created things.

[3] Therefore, true believers cannot keep us (themselves) from everlasting life as found in being united to Christ.


Perhaps he missed the point of my citing John 15 and Romans 11. It does not say, as premise 1 of Paul's syllogism states, that "no created thing can keep us from attaining everlasting life as found in being united to Christ," but that "no created thing can separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ our Lord." Thus a true believer being a created thing cannot of his own power force God to void His love and favor, but if he violates the terms of God's covenant and despises His goodness, the Sovereign God Himself will cut the offender off, the result being that he won't obtain eternal life."

I didn't miss your point. I've already argued against the assumption that apostates and believers are cut from the same mold. Recall that we have proved that apostates NEVER BORE FRUIT and that true believers YIELDED A CROP. Now, with that in mind, let's look at John 15:1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."

So, Thibodaux, I'm still waiting, hello (echo, crickets chirping, baby cries in the background and makes the long silence that much more uncomfortable) ....






Are we ever going to get an argument that apostates were ever BELIEVERS, true believers, the elect, the SAINTS in the phrase "Perseverance of the Saints?????"

The point of Romans 8 is that NOTHING can keep those called from reaching the end.

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Thus we have:

[13] All those justified will be glorified.

[14] All saints (elect, true believers, fruit bearers) were justified (upon their placing faith in Jesus Christ at a moment in time).

[15] Therefore, all saints WILL BE glorified.

[16] If all saints will be glorified, then all saints will persevere.

[17] All saints will be glorified.

[18] Therefore all saints will persevere.


Will any (internal) New Covenant member break God's covenant? Let's see what Hebrews states,

Hebrews 8:6 But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.

7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8 But God found fault with the people and said:
"The time is coming, declares the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah.
9 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their forefathers
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they did not remain faithful [they broke, says Jeremiah] to my covenant,
and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.

10 This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
11 No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,'
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more."

It appears that the members of THIS COVENANT cannot break it. It will not be like the last one. Why? Because they BROKE that one. It is GOD who keeps this new covenant. Jesus keeps and fulfills the terms of it. This is imputed to those who have faith in him. God then causes them to walk in his ways. What do we read of the new covenant members?

Ezekiel 36:25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.


Faith is indeed given by God, though there is a synergistic aspect to holding to it, for it is also written,

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

and warns,

But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. (1 Timothy 5:11-12)

and yes, it even cites examples,

Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. (1 Timothy 1:19-20)

Boy, I sure hope you can "hold to it" by your strength. You're a better man that I.

Anyway, the reformed have always said that God does not guard is APART FROM our faith, but only working THROUGH our faith so that he enables us to continue to believe in him. Also, the apostles addressed groups of people in the churches, and throughout the world. There was no way to know if every single member of the audience ws saved. Thus they took their PROFESSION of faith in the judgment of charity, telling them that they needed to always profess faith in Jesus. He also does not want to give false assurance to those who may be unregenerate and self-deceived. Lastly, the Bible makes a distinction between saving faith and a non-saving faith (cf. James). So, just because someone is referred to as "having faith" that doesn't mean that they have "saving faith." A faith the produces, what(?), FRUIT! If one has a faith that produces FRUIT then what have we seen? They are pruned to bear more fruit (John 15). They receive the blessings of God (Heb. 6). Thus if someone has saving faith they will have fruit and if they have fruit the CANNOT BE an apostate, as I have proved above.

In response to my argument from the land in Hebrews 6, Thibodaux offers this pittance:

Oh I followed the argument, fortunately plenty of light spilled in through the many holes. Proving that some supposed believers are false professors (which is doubtless true) does not preclude the possibility of true believers falling away.

I proved that EVERY apostate is referred to as BARREN LAND. I proved that if one is of the fertile ground then he CAN NEVER be said to have been the other kind of ground; because, that ground was NEVER fertile. So, I ask again, can Thibodaux give any example or argument, from the Bible, which treats those who fell away as those who truly believed? Can he? Even one?

Thibodaux offers more sophisms:

"Next we learn that I can't possibly be right because the facts I present would contradict their premises,

'Salvation is 100% of God. We maintain that the denial of the perseverance of the saints is due to holding to a synergistic model of salvation. We maintain that those who have once been united with Christ, will always remain united. Your argument must assume an Arminian theory of the atonement, which we reject.'

So now what I say can't possibly be true because it might contradict other premises you hold? The solution isn't difficult: Some of your premises may be incorrect."

No, son, what you say HASN'T BEEN PROVEN since you're resting on premises NOT ARGUED FOR in this debate. You challenge ASSUMES premises for it to work. Have you a clue how argument are supposed to work? Try this one on for size:


>>Since it is true that God determines every jot and tittle of his universe, and since it is true that he determined who will be saved and who will not, then I challenge you to show me how all men have the genuine possibility of actuating the state of affairs by which they would be heaven bound.<< Continuing...
'You thus have disputed and hotly debated hidden premises upon which your
argument rests.'

"Hidden premises? All I'm doing is making a case, I
can't help it if the facts happen run over your premises. I have presented the
fact that Christians are warned against falling away and the implications
thereof as evidence against a specific doctrine. If my point is indeed valid
evidence against that doctrine, then the premises and/or reasoning the doctrine
was derived from must yield to fact, not vice-versa. "

Thibodaux just doesn't get it, does he? His entire challenge is predicated upon the assumption of the falsity of OTHER reformed doctrine. If those are TRUE then they will inform him on how he must INTERPRET (because he IS interpreting, make no mistake) the warning passages. Here, maybe this will help show you how your "challenge" looks to us:

[19] Calvinists believe in the POS.

[20] The Bible has warning passages.

[21] Those just have to mean what I want them to because if not, then it makes them "silly."








[30] Therefore, Calvinism's POS is inconsistent with the Bible.


Thibodaux now proves that his parents need to sue whatever college he went to and ask for a refund.

Then he tries to tutor me on logic. When he used the syllogism,

1) If you tell someone the truth, you have been sincere with them.
2) When Jesus says what will happen to someone IF they do such and such, he is telling the truth.
3) Therefore, When Jesus says what will happen to someone IF they do such and such, he has been sincere with them.
4) If you've been sincere with someone what you've said isn't pointless.
5) Jesus was sincere.
6) Therefore what Jesus said wasn't pointless.'

I replied,

'There's a problem with premise 4, if one impossibility based upon another is sincerely stated, it's still pointless. One could sincerely (albeit absurdly) and truly warn another that if he were to hit the ground hard enough with a hammer, the very globe could be split asunder. While such a statement is technically logically sound, it is devoid of any worthwhile signification as such a condition is impossible for a human being to fulfill. For Christ to be sincere, accurate, and meaningful, the warnings He gives must be possible to violate.'

Let's note that his first sentence isn't a verse in the Bible,

Neither were any of his premises...we'll see more on this topic further down.

So what? Thibodaux is the one who said that he was critiquing POS against what the Bible clearly taught. He said,

"The Holy Bible. And just as in any other field, any doctrine that arises among us must fit the facts that are clearly established (from the word of God in our case), else be rejected as errant."

But if his idea that "if one impossibility based upon another is sincerely stated, it's still pointless," isn't in the Bible, then he's not proving that POS doesn't "fit the facts that are clearly established (from the word of God in our case)."


I had asked him why he thinks P.4 is problematic. His reason why was based on his extra-biblical premise; he said it would be like warning someone not to hit the earth with a hammer because it would split asunder. I said that this was disanalogous because this would have a true antecedent and a false consequent, giving his condition a false truth value. He responded:

"He misses the point again, for if enough physical force of impact were applied to the earth, it would indeed be split. I also did not state that one could not hit with a hammer at all, but if one were to hit it hard enough that it would split. He misunderstands the parallel I'm drawing."

This is wild. There have been meteors that have hit the earth and not split it asunder. I know of no hammer in existence that could do what he says, and I know of no human that could muster a force stronger than the meteors that have collided with earth. Not even the A-bomb we dropped on Hiroshima split the earth, yet Thibodaux things that a mere man could take a Stanley Fat Max hickory handled hammer and split the earth asunder! Perhaps he would respond by saying, “Yes, but if such a man and such a hammer existed, then…” But then if such a man and such a hammer existed we would have a disanalogy. This would be a real possibility, he could instantiate the antecedent of the conditional: If you hit the earth with this hammer, then it will split. Our position is that no saint will instantiate the antecedent of a warning. His counter is disanalagous. Furthermore, what purpose would his hammer warning serve? I’ve already given a reason for the warning passages. His counter-argument is simply disanalagous.

I asked what his problem with premise 4 of my 6-premise argument above was. Usually if someone has a problem with an argument, they critique its validity or its soundness. What’s wrong with premise 4? I asked if it were false and he responds like a Douxdoux bird:

It's a not necessarily true premise, which does not necessitate that it be false. Pretty basic logic.

So what? We want to know if it is false or not. If it is not false, and if the form is valid, then one must accept my conclusion.

If he says that P.4 is usually true, except when giving a warning to someone, how does that follow? Let's re-phrase 4:

4* If the warning you give someone is true in that if they did X, then Y would indeed happen, then it isn't pointless.

What's wrong with 4*? Is it false? How so? Does the Bible teach that it is false? If not, then how does POS contradict "the facts that are clearly established (from the word of God in our case)?" That is what YOU SAID you were going to prove. Is your position doctrine? If it is not found in the Bible then it is a mere "mortal's" doctrine and you must disassociate yourself from it. Or, perhaps you take it to be a truth of reason? How so? Offer an argument. And, I have already shown that your assumption doesn't square with the facts of the Bible. If your assumption were true, then if you were on the boat with Paul, and he gave you a warning after he had just told you that God promised that you would make it through, you would have to laugh at him and tell him that his warning was pointless!

He continues...

"Not analogy, parallel, for the exact same form of warning that he contends the biblical warnings constitute is employed, i.e. a pointless warning against a theoretically possible event conditioned upon the ridiculous."

Not analogy. Disanalogy. Not parallel. Unparallel. The exact same FORM was used, yes, but the CONTENT and PURPOSE of each is RADICALLY different. Furthermore, the possibility of an elect falling isn't a "theoretical possibility." It is flat out impossible, given the decree of God and his persevering work and salvific promises. Now, it may be that I am not one of the elect. I can only know that I am so long as I persevere, and hence the warnings are used by God as means to keep me trusting in Christ. If I continue to trust in Christ, I will achieve final salvation. We don't "let go and let God," though. God brings us there by using means that play our providentially in the historia salutis.

Thibodaux spouts heresy. I asked him what of the commands to never sin once. Be perfect. This is impossible to keep in this life time. Thus on Thobodauxian assumptions, it is meaningless. He retorts:

[Manata said] 'We cannot do this in this lifetime. Only when we are glorified. But on Thibodaux's assumptions, it is pointless to command these things since it is impossible for us to obey them! Might as well talk to a rock.'

"While there is no one who never sins, such a command is not impossible for a Christian to presently keep at any given time, hence it's relevance is still very great. It's not impossible for the condition of fulfilling the command to be true, but rather for it to be always and invariably true."

I'll just let John speak for me: 1 John 1:8 "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." No one can be PERFECT at any given time. Only when we are in heaven. And, the command is to ALWAYS be perfect. We CANNOT do this. Therefore on Thibodauxian assumptions, Jesus' claims are meaningless. Pointless.

Secondly, unbelievers are commanded to be perfect, right now. They cannot. Hence the command is pointless. Thibodaux has lost. It's over. Rosanne Bar is singing the National Anthem.

Thibodaux cuts his throat some more:

It was actually a clarification against Paul's misguided argument, stating that (hearing a warning = impossibility to persevere), which I did not argue for since it is logically invalid.

Right, so the MERE FACT that warnings are EXPRESSED in the Bible DOES NOT lead to Thibodaux's conclusion. Good one! To get to his conclusion he needs his extra-biblical assumption. We will label Thibodaux’s Assumption TA hereafter:

[TA] "Rather, a sincere warning addressed to the saints does indicate that it is possible to not persevere."

Can he prove TA? Is it a biblical doctrine? Further, we grant that it is possible to not persevere if God does not give us this persevering character by his grace.


"We also go on a fun series of why I must be wrong because if I my assertion were correct, it would (gasp!) contradict other stuff in their doctrine!

'And so we see that, again, you simply assume non-reformed categories. You must deny our conception of covenant, atonement, regeneration, faith, justification, God's sovereignty, etc., for your argument to work.'


No, not wrong. I've shown that elsewhere. The function of this current critique of mine is that your "challenge" is a petitio principii. It would be like if I offered this challenge to you:

CHALLENGE: Given that anyone who believes must be regenerated first, and given that if one is regenerated one cannot fail to become unregenerated; i.e., one doesn't revert back into a conceptus after he is an infant or older, and given that those who believe are justified and hence declared forever righteous, and given that if these things are true one cannot fail to reach the end - which is glorification, how could you deny perseverance?

Now doubt you'd deny my question begging assumptions! Get it now, Thibodaux? Or are you about as deep as the water my 2 month old bathes in?

Moving along...

Mr. Manata also pushes his arguments into the realm of utter ludicrousness. Never mind the fact that an impossible condition renders a literal warning logically meaningless,

Oh really? Care to show how this LOGICALLY follows? What law of logic are you referring to? Give a criterion for logically meaningless statements. One might be:

* I am and am not in Barcelona.

Furthermore, they serve a function, a purpose. One what theory of meaning is something like this meaningless?

I said, "The warning passages don't say "the falling away of one of God's elect can be actualized." This is an assumption you're adding to the Bible."

Thibodaux responds via an argument from incredulity:

Yeah, God's giving us some warnings of the highest possible magnitude with the worst consequences imaginable, and here I go just blindly assuming there's danger involved -- silly me! Chalk that up there with, "the word 'Trinity' isn't even in the Bible!" and, "where's the verse that mentions offering plates?" I could just see this kind of logic running rampant in the garden of Eden:

There is danger involved. If you do X, then Y will happen. And, if you do X, you show yourself to be an apostate. I have proven that ALL apostates were NEVER believers. They NEVER abided in Christ. So, if you want to avoid apostasy, heed the warnings!


"But ever the superficial debater,

'One could "be with God" from the standpoint of man, from the standpoint of his profession of faith. Indeed, Hebrews says that the believers "stand" by their "profession" and so to "fall away" may very well be to "deny your profession." Phenomenological language may also be employed (cf. Schreiner, etc). So, it is not at all clear how you meant your phrase.'

Which is why I was doubly clear by stating that they fall into condemnation, as opposed to remain in it. I could just see this guy in the first century: "What do you mean by 'believers' in Acts 5:14, Luke?!? Are you speaking phenomenologically or not?!?!?"

Thibodaux is ever the superficial thinker. Of course Luke didn't speak in Husserlian terms, but the IDEA was there. For example, we read:

Matthew 13: 24 Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

27 "The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?'

28" 'An enemy did this,' he replied.
"The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?'

29" 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.' "

Note first we have the affirmation of MY argument - that is, apostates and believers are DIFFERENT KINDS. They are not THE SAME yet one just persevers and one doesn't. They are fertile ground or thorny ground. They are wheat or tares.

Second, note the phenomological aspect of this verse. The tares and wheat APPEAR to be very similar, such that trying to remove the tares would open the possibility of pulling the wheat too! So, Thibodaux is showing just how minor league he is. How bush league he is. He simply gets by on sophisms. He's all bite and no bark. All talk and no action. His entire line of argumentation consists in saying things like: "What do you mean by 'believers' in Acts 5:14, Luke?!? Are you speaking phenomenologically or not?!?!?" This is not substantive. He's trying to get by on looks and not talent.

Thibodaux’s challenge has been answered. He can not bother himself with the facts all he wants, but that doesn’t change the fact that his argument has not persevered. The saints will persevere, not Thibodaux’s “But your doctrine doesn’t fit with an assumption I want to make” argument. Here’s a hint for Thibodaux: Reality doesn’t bend to your assumption. And, one more for good measure: if you’re going to respond, post an actual argument. We all know what you want to be the case, but if you put poop into one hand, and you put wanting in the other, guess which one fills up first?


  1. He got SERVED!

  2. I’d add that the charge of “meaninglessness” is a philosophical objection, not an exegetical objection. Arminians and other libertarians constantly employ this bait-and-switch tactic. They begin by claiming that the Bible “obviously” supports their position. But as soon as their exegesis is challenged, they abandon the exegetical appeal and default to a philosophical objection. And they aren’t any more successful on the philosophical front.

  3. Mason, do those links to 14 year old Chirs Hallquist have anything to do with my post?

  4. Please note the Mason who previously commented is not the Mason which blogs over at Thoughts On The Way.

    Just trying to keep my name clear.

  5. Paul said:
    Mason, do those links to 14 year old Chirs Hallquist have anything to do with my post?

    Hmmm...I think there's an even better way to respond to this, Paul! For instance:

    ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz 1234567890 .;'":()/?-

    All Mason has to do is pick letters and/or numbers and arrange them in the correct order and he'll have the counter argument to his position.

    I figure my response is just as relevant as his was. :-)

  6. Peter, your response was *more* relevant than his since it was relevant to his irrelevant comment. His comment was irrelevant, all around the board. :-)

  7. (The Real) Mason,

    We knew it wasn't you because (the fake) Mason began his post by saying, "I don't get it." isn't that the battle cry of the atheists 'round here?

  8. Manata,

    I haven't seen a smack down like that since, well, er, your last critique of Josh Thobodaux.

    Mike S.

  9. Mason,

    Try and keep up, buddy:



  10. What is this? The Masonic post pointless URLs day???

  11. Mason, you need to keep up. Get your head in the game. Quit day dreaming. Pay attention. I've already dealt with Tremblay:




  12. we've blogged on that too, Mason. Keep trying though, buddy.

  13. too late, Steve did that one


  14. also note that Lowder's piece, by its nature, admits that there is no sound argument against God, at least as of yet.

  15. mason said...



    Got that one covered too, mason.