Wednesday, September 28, 2011


You asked: Do you have an authoritative book on what counts as a "sincere offer", or necessary and sufficient conditions, so that we can demarcate sincere from insincere offers?
I would suggest two courses.
1. Check the major English dictionary definitions of "sincere" to get a firm understanding of the etymology, modern meanings, and the range of possible meanings historically.

That’s patently dishonest. I, for one, have analyzed the dictionary definitions, as well as Ponter’s ever-evolving definition.

2. Read those Calvinists who have affirmed the "sincere" or "well meant" offer of the Gospel and see how they use the term. Murray and Stonehouse might be a good place to start.

i) Since Murray was a strong proponent of limited atonement, that appeal is a double-edged sword.

ii) Why start with Murray and Stonehouse? Why not start with Cunningham on “Extent of Atonement and Gospel Offer” (pp343-48):

iii) Or why not start with Helm’s painstaking analysis?

You'll find quite a lot of the second on Ponter's "Calvin and Calvinism" site. People Steve would dub "Anti-Calvinists." You know, people who framed the Canons of Dort, the WCF.

Derek is welcome to quote where the Westminster Confession and the Canons of Dordt characterize limited atonement as entailing a “monstrous” God who tenders a “lying” offer.

3. Examine the Scriptures to see whether these things be so. Does the revealed will of God include a "sincere offer" of salvation made by God to the reprobate?

As if Manata never did that.

PS - if you have any other ad homs, feel free to add them. It is sure to do wonders for your credibility.

While Derek dishes out ad homs left and right.

Labeling moderate Calvinism as "Anti-Calvinism" is not an argument, either, just more of Steve's rhetorical hot dog filler.

I’m the one (along with Manata) who’s been presenting actual arguments, not Derek.

I can't help but point out your continual mischaracterization of his position.

Another one of Derek’s orphaned assertions.

Steve's definitions are full of baloney

That’s a really impressive piece of reasoning, Derek. Have you ever considered a career in philosophy?

Steve doesn't understand the meaning of words well enough to engage in this debate in the first place

Derek is long on assertion, short on argument.

The basic problem is that Derek is a yes-man. A cheerleader. And in that capacity he isn’t doing anything to help his own cause.

Let’s compare Derek to Bnonn. Unlike Derek, Bnonn understands the need to distinguish good arguments from bad arguments. Bnonn appreciates the need to refine or improve an argument.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Bnonn is highly intelligent.


  1. Steve and Paul,

    This cut-and-paste job on my comments is a stacked deck. I could do the same using comments from you, but I'm not going to bother with it. I would simply invite readers to go back to the original comment threads and read my words in context along with the rest of the conversation. No defense, just a call for objectivity.

    For my part, I admit I got too deep in this and resorted to some ad homs, and definitely employed some unnecessary sarcasm. In particular, my two "conclusions" about you, Steve, were offensive and uncalled for. I can see that my sinful pride fueled some of my words as our disagreement heated up. Please forgive me.

    FWIW, the logic of my "formal argument" was intentionally ridiculous in order to make the point that one need not be a professional philosopher to realize calling moderate Calvinism "anti-Calvinism" is simply incorrect. Amazingly, you (Steve) continue to use and even defend this misleading label. I never considered that you would take my "argument" as a serious attempt at formal logic. So I guess I set myself up for your comeback.

    That doesn't excuse the improper labeling of moderate Calvinism. On this point I will stand firm. It's a matter of Truth, and it is to your benefit to accept what I'm saying. Obviously, the choice is yours.

    Now the three of us have had our little brouhaha and I hope we can all shake hands (metaphorically speaking) and take responsibility for what went wrong with the discussion.

    BTW - I have always held that you are much better philosophers than I am. You'll get no arguments from me on that point. I hope you enjoy your abilities and use them for the glory of God, and speak Truth in love.

    Derek (a.k.a. THEOparadox)

    PS - nothing written above should be taken as sarcasm. These words are sincere and serious reflections on our recent experience of significant disagreement. If I have committed offenses that need to be addressed further, please give feedback and let's be sure we are fully reconciled as Christian brothers.

  2. One other question: Other than agreeing with Ponter, was there something I did that led you to the conclusion that I am a "yes man"? I work very hard at thinking independently and speaking honestly to everyone in every circle I travel. I have lost jobs and strained friendships over this. No doubt I fall short sometimes, too. But this question is very, very important to me, so I would deeply appreciate any further thoughts on this point especially. Thanks.

    PS - again I want to assure you there is no sarcasm here, and I am grateful for your willingness to bring to my attention the areas in which I have fallen short during our conversation.