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patricktrester
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SaintEleos
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Four Point Calvinism

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/27/2017 Category: Religion
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 502 times Debate No: 100338
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patricktrester

Pro

The following debate will be over four of the five points of Calvinism. The four points within question are Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints. Each round that contains Biblical positions should be cited as well as any extra-Biblical sources with in-line format as well as a bibliography (MLA format preferred). Information cannot be copied or pasted without proper reference, as this will be considered plagiarism. The primary means of defending a position should be through the Scripture's applied with critical thinking and a thorough understanding of the context. Finally as a reminder, this debate should be approached in a manner that upholds integrity and respect.


The following assumptions will be applied during this debate (Piper):

  1. “The Bible is the Word of God, fully inspired and without error in the original manuscripts, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that it has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct” (Article One, “Bethlehem Affirmation of Faith”).
  2. Right thinking about what the Bible teaches about God and man and salvation really matters.
  3. The work of the Holy Spirit, and the pursuit of his work in prayer, is essential for grasping the truth of Scripture.
  4. Thinking is essential for grasping Biblical truth.

The definition of the four points of Calvinism will be defined as seen below (Slick): Italicize mine

I. Total Depravity

Sin has affected all parts of man. The heart, emotions, will, mind, and body are all affected by sin. We are completely sinful. We are not as sinful as we could be, but we are completely affected by sin. Because of this man is unable to turn to God out of his own will apart from God's divine intervention.

II. Unconditional Election

God does not base His election on anything He sees in the individual. He chooses the elect according to the kind intention of His will without any consideration of merit within the individual. Nor does God look into the future to see who would pick Him. Also, as some are elected into salvation, others are not.

III. Irresistible Grace

When God calls his elect into salvation, they cannot resist.

IV. Perseverance of the Saints

You cannot lose your salvation.


The debate will be separated into 5 rounds:

  1. Introductory Statements
  2. Total Depravity
  3. Unconditional Election
  4. Irresistible Grace
  5. Perseverance of the Saints

Text Cited

Piper, John. "TULIP: Introduction." Desiring God. N.p., 07 Mar. 2008. Web. 26 Feb. 2017.

Slick, Matthew J. "The Five Points of Calvinism, TULIP." Calvinist Corner. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2017.


Introductory Statement:

My name is Patrick Trester, I am a student in General Education and Biblical Studies at Liberty University. I will be defending the four points of Calvinism that are in question.

SaintEleos

Con

I am Matthew Trester, I am student at Metropolitan University and I will be arguing against the merits of Calvinism.
Debate Round No. 1
patricktrester

Pro

An amendment was made via direct phone contact, in agreement the debate will now encompass all arguments of Calvinism in each initial statement to allow more rounds for rebuttals.


It is impossible for man to become a Christian out of any will of his own (Holman Christian Standard Bible, Romans 9.16; John 1.12-13); everyone is utterly wicked and defiant without God's intervention in salvation (Psalms 53.2; Romans 3.11-12). Because man cannot follow God in his natural state, it is necessary for God to soften man's heart, so that he may conclude of his need for a Savior and gain a desire for Christ (Romans 11.4-8). Because God is all knowing, every action and every intervention is determined by Him before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1.4-8). God chose those who He would soften and harden not based on the individual's response, because all are utterly wicked, but rather God predetermined salvation in accordance with the mystery of His will (Ephesians 1.9-11; Romans 11.25). Since everyone is sinful and has committed crime against God (Romans 3.23); God's wrath abides on all men and no one is good or deserving of God's grace (1 John 4.10; Romans 3.25).

Scriptures that point to the lack of man's will in choosing God

"So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy." (Holman Christian Standard Bible, Romans 9.16)

"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1.12-13)

This is not saying man has no free will, but rather a limited will that cannot choose God.

Unless God changes man's natural notions, man will not desire the True God as seen through the Scriptures.

"For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God... we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." (1 Corinthians 1.18,23-25)

This verse says unless someone is called, the cross is rendered as foolish. Meaning for someone to not deem the cross as foolish, means that they were called by God.

"God has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there is anyone who understands, Who seeks after God... THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALLHAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE." (Psalms 53.2, Romans 3.11-12) King David's words with the Apostle Paul's paraphrase.

If no one seeks God, then how does anyone ever find Him? If no one understands, then how are they given understanding?

Those who aren't elected, are hardened.

"'I HAVE KEPT for Myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL.' In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God's gracious choice. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace. What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; just as it is written, "GOD GAVE THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR, EYES TO SEE NOT AND EARS TO HEAR NOT, DOWN TO THIS VERY DAY."" (Romans 11.4-8)

God blinded man's perception and hardened their hearts, and to this very day God's grace is based on His sovereign choice, not by our works. (Also, see believing in Jesus is a work in John 6:29)

"Why, O LORD, do You cause us to stray from Your ways And harden our heart from fearing You? Return for the sake of Your servants, the tribes of Your heritage." (Isaiah 63.17)

Just as through the book of judges, their hearts were hardened by the separation of God's presence. God leaves us to our own devices apart from Him, so that we realize our righteousness is by God's intervention, not by our own hand. The Apostle Paul parallels Romans 9, with this portion of Scripture. Just, as both mention God being the potter, and we the clay, the Apostle Paul says “But who are you, a mere man, to talk back to God? Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” (Romans 9.20)

Belief is given by God, not asserted by man.

"However, there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray Him.) Then Jesus said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless the Father” has granted it to him." (John 6.64-65)

"But because you are not My sheep, you refuse to believe. My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand." (John 10.26-27)

If you consider this with the parable of the sheep and the goats it raises the question: "Can a goat become a sheep?" The even more interesting thing is that goats and sheep looked pretty much the same in Jesus day. It’s just modern ones have been bred for specific reasoning’s. In fact, some goats have wool like sheep, and some sheep have hair like goats. Also in the sheep in the goats, the goats acted negligently because they were goats, and the sheep did those things because they were sheep. Rather than negligence creating goats, and obedience creating sheep. Likewise, as the verse above says “because you are not My sheep, you refuse to believe” rather than “because you refuse to believe, you are not my sheep.” The major difference between Sheep and Goats was behavior. Goats are more independent and stubborn, while sheep are obedient and are fearful of the shepherd.

Those who have tasted the Holy Spirit cannot fall away:

“For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, became companions with the Holy Spirit, tasted God’s good word and the powers of the coming age, and who have fallen away, because, to their own harm, they are recrucifying the Son of God and holding Him up to contempt. For ground that has drunk the rain that has often fallen on it and that produces vegetation useful to those it is cultivated for receives a blessing from God. But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is worthless and about to be cursed, and will be burned at the end.” (Hebrews 6.4-8)

The reference to thorns and thistles are those who hear the Word of God, but get choked up in deceit, for the desires of this world (Matthew 13.22). It is likely that those who are in the thorns were never saved at all.

This is most likely a hypothetical argument. See next section.

“For if we deliberately sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire about to consume the adversaries.” (Hebrews 10.26)

This verse and the prior verse likely go together in the context of the Epistle written. If you were to take this as none hypothetically, than someone who once was Christian, but turned away, there would no longer be a sacrifice for sins and it would be “impossible to renew” them to repentance.

“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish--ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10.28)

Is it really eternal life if it can be taken away? Does God lie if He takes away the promised eternal life? Can a saved person snatch themselves from God’s hand? Does that contradict this Scripture? If they could it would be impossible to renew them to salvation.

It’s interesting that we never see anyone be born again, and again. But it is someone who was dead, and is now alive. Someone who was blind, and now have gained their site. There are no instances in the New Testament of someone gaining the Holy Spirit and then losing it. There is no instance of someone being born again, regaining sight, or gaining hearing to only lose it again. Though there are instances of someone who appears they might be saved, but like the seed on the path or in the thorns, it never matures to salvation.

Pure Reasoning:

When God in all His foreknowledge created everything, He knew just the right amount of stubbornness that would prevent Adam and Eve from disobedience. He knew that the attributes that He gave them how changing it would affect them and their descendants all the way to you and me. This day, God crafts us in the womb, God chose what traits pass on, how they translate, how are emotions determine decisions. To our smallest being, we are crafted by God, in foresight of all things we would do, seeing the result of His craftmanship.

It is common occurrence in the Scriptures for those who are unsaved to be known as a dead man, blind man, or a deaf man. Now can a dead man give himself life so that he may rise? Can a blind man give himself sight so that he may see? And can a deaf man renew his hearing so he may hear? But rather life is given in accordance to God’s will, understanding is given by God, and eyes are opened by God.

What is the free will and what motivates it? Is not the free will just are carnal nature following the impulses of our flesh? Why do you do anything? Is it not because you desire to? If you do something you don’t want to do, it is because you are desiring to attain a greater desire and that is a necessary step in gaining that greater desire. For the only times, we act contrary to our desires in its entirety is when we are forced to. Even when forced by others, it’s out of the desire to not be punished even further. So, can our “free will,” or rather, our carnal nature come to God?

SaintEleos

Con

[Side note Sorry for the grammar, capitalization and spelling mistakes]
I would like to begin by acknowledging that Calvinism is a plausible or logical way to view god. Calvinism parallels the bible well in some ways , the christian god is described as powerful Genesis 1:1 says "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth". I myself cannot create a detailed picture of the earth using even tools like a pen and paper let alone an entire universe so this god is immensely more powerful than I am and honestly more powerful than anything else I understand in the universe. Calvinism describes a god who is also powerful one who has set out the entire timeline and mapped it to his will. Every action of every "THING" living or otherwise set in a place where it belongs is indeed a most powerful god. Indeed Calvinism paints a picture of a highly intelligent and powerful god that resounds in glory and majesty. I say again would agree with that! On every level. It might occur to a person in this moment that this debate is done and over with I assure you however this is not the case we humans paint many pictures on what we believe god is like each extracted from various influences around us and apply to our understanding or concept of god and a picture is formed of how we perceive god. Thus far describing god as only majestic and powerful Calvinism, arminianism, Islam, open theism, or perhaps even a person's passionate worship of the "flying spaghetti monster" are all pictures of a god that you might worship who is majestic and powerful . The real question is which of these theologies best matches the entire character of the god of both the old testament and the son of god Jesus the Christ our Savior. Sure they agree, Matching a simple characteristic to god is easy, Islam believes in a god of majesty and power but its theology does not align with that of the biblical account of god but we must be careful not to ignore other core qualities .Calvinism and the god of the bible hold many of the same truths and values but not are in line with god. We must asses the simple assumptions of Calvinism and the inner workings of it coming together. Let's begin with a place where Calvinism and god diverge.
Total Depravity: It can be agreed that before the fall that man was good, in early Genesis god created man in his image and says that it is good. Let's be clear there was no sin in humans, as far as we can tell in scripture in perfect god and man were in perfect coexistence with god. Later Adam and Eve enjoyed a non Kosher fruit salad at the cost of the displeasure of god and man experiences this thing we Christians call the fall. Sin enters the world and life for man is forever changed as man becomes sinful.
Total depravity is the belief that we are so mindlessly depraved we could never choose god we are hopelessly lost to sin and its wickedness and evil. I have a question for you, does god love wickedness or evil? Of course not! There are many verses that tell us god is against evil Psalm 34:16 "The face of the Lord is against evildoers, to cut off the memory of them from the earth". If I asked you if god loves people I would assume you would say yes. Perhaps the most redundant and restated position in the bible is that god loves you. sinners and saints everywhere will tell you about that everyone has heard that Jesus loves them. If there is no good in us why would god love us? Its not a question of he being able to tolerate us he Abhors the wicked Psalm 11:15
"The LORD trieth [tests] the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth." If we are purely evil what is there for god to love in us? In this place we have a choice either god loves things that are wicked or we are something else he can love. One might say well he sees not who we are but who we will be but there are Three problems with that 1: god loves us yet while we are sinners Ephesians 2:4-5 - But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ" by grace you have been saved " and also Romans 5:8 - but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 2: God would not actually love us if the only good came from him, he would simply be loving himself, if all that we are is wickedness save what god gives us what is there is for him to love but himself? 3 It conflicts with some of the core tenants of Calvinism anyway. Though there are other things like if man is inherently sinful was Jesus not a man or was he sinful? How can we be completely depraved and still maintain the image of god?] If we were good what happened to that goodness? is god's light so easily snuffed out?
Unconditional election: "Before you were born or had done anything good or bad, God chose whether to save you or not- Piper" Unconditional Election is not unlike an an extension of total depravity, If we are purely sinful there is really no reason we could deserve grace and we can never earn it on our own so god must choose who to give it to. No man is without being sinful so god chooses for his reason who will live in eternal life and who will be sent to eternal suffering and damnation. I have a question for you reader, is it fair to punish a person for something they have no control over? If the moon right now in this instance exploded because a meteor flew into it would it fair to hold you accountable despite you having no bearing on its collision? Would it be fair to send you to prison despite you not being capable of changing the circumstance or causality? If we are entirely sinful and you can not choose god or goodness why are you being held accountable for god's decision? You are going to hell, not him, for a decision he's made and you have no bearing on it. Now it might be thought fair to say Hey! That man is sinful, sin demands justice, you are still sinful. This is true, But let's return to the meteor example, let's say it is argued that it is your fault the meteorite destroyed the moon because it was pulled in by the earth's mass and you being a part of that mass also brought down that meteor upon the moon. Would that accusation be just? Can you help or change the fact that you are made of matter? Can you change yourself to as a man before the fall? If you cannot resist sin in any capacity how can you be held accountable for doing it? Is that how we raise our children? Does a good parent blame a child for needing to eat? [not the quantity but simply the need to do so?] sure it's a burden to feed a child but one can hardly expect them to not eat and live. If you can not feed a child should you be a person in the care of children? Why did Jesus WASTE time teaching people if it can not help them get saved? Why does god give us the law at all? Jesus has invested an enormous amount of energy into people who did not accept his word and did not take. Crowds upon crowds were spoken into and some accepted the word of god and others denied it. If the people did not choose to say yes or no to salvation did god say it for them? If our decisions are so easily made by god for us again why do we bear the consequences for it? If we are simply puppets of a god that chooses our vindication or destruction why would it be unfair to blame him for the sufferings for decisions he made for us? If he made the decision why should he not bear the consequences? Is that a good god? Is that justice? really ask yourself is that Justice? The bible says god is good and just but I see Calvinism describe a god that is anything but so the god of the bible and the god of Calvinism cannot be the same. Would a god that truly loves us allow this to happen to that which he calls his own? If that is the way things are would not a god of love save everyone? Why would he risk a single soul? Why not send an angel down like he did for Paul? Because he hasn't we must assume his plan is that so many people go to hell and if that's the case is this a god of love or suffering? How can we trust a god that just as easily saved you sends your neighbor to hell with no chance for them at all? Calvinists will tell you that they believe in a loving god and I am not telling you they are lying but rather that they are mistaken. It is easy to read the positive and loving statements of the bible and the wise words of our benevolent father and transfer those feelings into Calvinism, but let's be clear. Calvinism and conflicts with the god of the bible who instead of making a perfect servant [which considering things like genes and experiences would be easy] he toils for his subjects. God debated with Abraham and Moses and in some cases changed his original course, Is that a god of total predestination as Calvinism implies? No man has a perfect understanding of god and we all seek to do good with our imperfect theology. Many great men of god were Calvinist and as I said before Calvinism is not illogical its just not the god of the Bible who loves every person and soul.
Debate Round No. 2
patricktrester

Pro

Bold and italics are quotes from you.


Let's be clear there was no sin in humans, as far as we can tell in scripture in perfect god and man were in perfect coexistence with god.

If man was originally good and Jesus says God alone is good; why did Adam and Eve fall into sin? We have three options:

1. God failed at making Adam and Eve perfect and good.

Problem 1: they were not actually good since they were in direct disobedience to God’s singular law.

Problem 2: Jesus said, “No one is good but One--God” (Luke 18:19) so if Adam and Eve who were sinless, chose to sin, how can we who are not good, ever stay away from sin?

2. God failed to foresee the events taking place, and somehow Adam and Eve’s freewill was not a possible breach of goodness, but it still broke God’s law.
Problem 1: this is self-contradictory.

Problem 2: even I can leave my son alone with a cookie I told him not to eat, and I know he’ll eat it. How much more will God know that we are sinful.

3. Adam and Eve were good, only because God was present. When God left the garden, Adam and Eve went to sin for fulfillment. So, the only reason Adam and Eve were good, was because God Himself is good, and when God makes things good, for them to remain good, is necessary for them to be in constant need of Him. Surely if God was standing there with them, they wouldn’t have sinned. Yet, God in His foreknowledge knew that this was a necessary step in His pre-determined will. To show that man is sinful apart from Him and that He is the only good in us.

If we are purely evil what is there for god to love in us?

The boastful cannot stand in Your presence; You hate all evildoers.” (Psalm 5.5) For, everyone is a doer of evil. Everyone has made an idol in their life, everyone has lied at some point, nearly everyone has lusted committing adultery in their heart, nearly everyone has blasphemed, and nearly everyone has hated someone at some point making them murderers of heart. So, if all evildoers (which is me and you) who God hated, He chose to die for us when we were doing detestable things toward Him. He died for us while we were mocking Him, punishing Him with our sin. Jesus took all that He hated, to love those who do not deserve love. Thereby, demonstrating the perfect love of God. Jesus said that no one is good but God alone, so yes, the only Good in us is God (Luke 18.19), the only love in us is God (1 John 4.10,19), and the only righteousness in us is God (Isaiah 64.6). God loves us not on our own merit (Otherwise it would no longer be grace, or a gift), but out of demonstration of His perfection, His holiness, and His love.

"Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)," - Ephesians 2:3-5

If man is inherently sinful was Jesus not a man or was he sinful? How can we be completely depraved and still maintain the image of god?

  • Man chooses sin when separated from God. So, then man’s salvation is determined on God’s presence rather than his inherent nature. Which concludes with man’s salvation being determined by where God lays His presence (The Holy Spirit). Jesus had the Spirit of God from birth. “This is My Servant; I strengthen Him, this is My Chosen One; I delight in Him. I have put My Spirit on Him.” (Isaiah 42.1)

Is it fair to punish a person for something they have no control over?

  • “Everyone called by My name and created for My glory. I have formed him; indeed, I have made him. Bring out a people who are blind, yet have eyes. and are deaf, yet have ears.” (Isaiah 42.7-8)
  • “It is I who sweep away your transgressions for My own sake and remember your sins no more.” (Isaiah 42.25)
  • “There is no one who calls on Your name, Who arouses himself to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities. But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64.7-8)

1. God affirms that He has hidden Himself from Israel and made Himself known to those who did not seek Him. (Isaiah 45.14; 65.1)

2. When the Apostle Paul quotes this, he says “So then it does not depend on human will or effort but on God who shows mercy. For the Scripture tells Pharaoh: I raised you up for this reason so that I may display My power in you and that My name may be proclaimed in all the earth. So then, He shows mercy to those He wants to, and He hardens those He wants to harden. You will say to me, therefore, “Why then does He still find fault? For who can resist His will?” But who are you, a mere man, to talk back to God? Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?” Or has the potter no right over the clay, to make from the same lump one piece of pottery for honor and another for dishonor? " (Romans 9.16-21)

3. “In Him we were also chosen as God’s own, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything by the counsel of His will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, would be for the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1.11-12)

So, then God has chosen us, saves us according to His plan, by His will, and for His glory.

4.“we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8.28)

  • If I left my son in a room alone with a bunch of cookies I told him not to eat and he eats them even though I knew he would, am I the unjust one? Or is it him who did the wickedness? Should I not punish him for his disobedience so that he learns not to do that in the future? On the other hand, if I refuse to punish him even though I put him in an instance of sin, doesn’t that encourage him to sin even more? That there are no consequences for his actions? I can predict my sons sins long before they are ever committed.

If he made the decision why should he not bear the consequences? Is that a good god? Is that justice? really ask yourself is that Justice?

  • You do not define good and you do not define justice. God does.

o “What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” (Job 2.10)

o “You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present resultR39;—R39;the survival of many people.” (Genesis 50.20)

o “I will heap evils on them. I will spend my arrows on them.” (Deuteronomy 32.23)

o “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” (Isaiah 45.7)

o “In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4.4)

This is typically interpreted as the “god of this age” being the devil. Regardless though, God has allowed him to blind unbelievers so that they cannot see the Gospel of Christ.

  • For, God to not be sovereign over evil, would mean for evil to be sovereign over God. All evil is under the sovereign control of God. Sometimes God bends evil to happen for good to come out of it, and sometimes God uses evil things to judge those who are evil. What appears evil to us, God can use for good. His ways are higher than ours. (Isaiah 55.9)
  • Just because something is distasteful does not mean it’s not true.

Would a god that truly loves us allow this to happen to that which he calls his own?

  • Using your reasoning, why would God even place the tree in the garden so that we may sin?

If that is the way things are would not a god of love save everyone? Why would he risk a single soul?

  • Are you saying God is limited in power to save everyone? Because regardless to whether you believe in predestination, you have to believe God did not intend on saving everyone.
  • God would be perfectly just to save nobody. Because nobody deserves God’s grace, yet He provided atonement for everyone, thereby demonstrating love for everyone, just those who are in their natural selves cannot receive salvation without the help of the Holy Spirit.

Because he hasn't we must assume his plan is that so many people go to hell and if that's the case is this a god of love or suffering?

  • The Apostle Paul says “what if God, desiring to display His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience objects of wrath ready for destruction? And what if He did this to make known the riches of His glory on objects of mercy that He prepared beforehand for glory— on us, the ones He also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?” (Romans 9.22-25)

How can we trust a god that just as easily saved you sends your neighbor to hell with no chance for them at all?

  • Are you saying God would no longer be trustworthy if He elected whom He desires to save? You have to realize nobody deserves heaven. Everybody deserves hell. But, by God’s grace He chose to give salvation to some. So is God being unfair? By no means, God is entitled to give grace to whom He wants to give grace. If I give money to one poor man am I unjust for not giving to all the other poor men? No, rather it was a gracious thing for me to do, but those who are envious in their heart will call what I did which is good, they call it evil, because of the evil in their hearts.

God debated with Abraham and Moses and in some cases changed his original course.

  • “God is not a man who lies, or a son of man who changes His mind. Does He speak and not act, or promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23.19)
  • “Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind." (Samuel 15.29)
  • If God does not change His mind, then God foreknew what Moses response would be so that He could demonstrate grace when asked to.
SaintEleos

Con

I would like to start by first addressing the pros more immediate arguments and then move to the verses from the previous round and increase the exactness of my intentions. Let me be clear, I am not contesting the idea that god is good. I am contesting that the Calvinist god is good and that because of that they are incompatible. God has given us some sense of justice and it is on some level left to us to sort out what is right and what is not right. It is in the spirit of this debate that we analyse what we know to make the best estimation whether or not god actually contains the qualities that Calvinism teaches.. Adam and Eve: And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day Genesis 1:31. Adam and Eve by god's own sight were seen as good [containing the capacity for evil but still good] and still they were tempted away from him. There is no evidence that if the serpent never came by that Adam and Eve would ever have taken of the fruit. Sure god made us capable of sin but even with the devil himself tempting Eve she and Adam resisted for a time [note: god's presence absent] which is a testament to the goodness god created and saw in them. If we were evil from the start the serpent would not have been needed they would have rushed to the tree as soon as god left, lusting for what they were told not to have.

Us and Sin: If god does not love sin and we are entirely sinful how can he love us before we are saved. We know he loves us even while "dead to our transgressions", verses and verses are devoted to the subject. But understand if we are only sinful, and god hates sin [another subject we can quote verses and verses for] how can he love us? Either we are not entirely sinful [a debated subject] or god loves sin [which Calvinism also acknowledges god hates sin]. Are we not made in the image of god? When we see young children are they depraved? Sure they have their moments but Jesus in Matthew 18:3 he says we are too become like children. In our youth before we have had a chance to hear god should we not be the most wrong? Why do we perceive children so innocent then?

As for your example with the cookies and your child: A charming example we can relate to but let's put things in perspective. [You left your children alone with a bunch of cookies and told them not to eat them and he eats them as you expected he would]. 1 It is not one child we are talking about but you setting up billions and billions of children 2 You told him not to eat them but what about the billions of lives that never hear the gospel? Israel was a small and reclusive country, they stayed to themselves. Who told those people not to eat the cookie? They were hungry looking for fulfillment how could you not understand them seeing a cookie without direction and taking it. 3 You are more intelligent than a child, how are you not taking advantage of the child? How mad would you be after all you made the child you understand its limitations how much can you blame a child for reaching limits you imbued into it? 4 The punishment is eternal damnation. If you were setting up billions of children for damnation by putting them in situations you understand that they are not capable of handling properly, yes, I would call you unjust and a bit of a psychopath actually. If you called yourself a being of love, I would scoff and call you a liar, I would do everything to stop you because your misplaced sense of love is destroying far more than it is giving. Sure the child needs to learn consequences but what's the point of teaching it consequences if you set it up for eternal destruction. Are your combination of actions more profoundly loving or destructive? If a friend boasted about how he punished his child after locking them in a room with a cookie would you be quick to call them a good parent? If you have created a system of such incredible suffering [such as a system of creating a life only to be destroyed by something out of its own power] why would I not judge a tree by the fruit it bears? The Christian god is loving. The god of Calvinism is petty and cares more for cookies and blind injustices then it does for the people it says it loves and then condemns the majority to destruction. They are not the same. You can be held accountable for a situation you created. If I abducted 100 children and threw them in a room together without food for 200 days would you be angry with them for eating each other or me? How am I not the murderer? If you were the judge you tell me who would go to prison for the deaths, me or the children ?
I also find it interesting that simple quotations about God not changing his mind are given without explanations for say Exodus 32:12-14.

It is easy to cherry pick verses from the bible that fit to build a specific picture of God. I could cherry pick verses to paint God as angry, manipulative, or unforgiving. If a person wants a specific god it is easy to build themselves one from the expansive library that is the bible. If want to feel god will punish my neighbor, all I need is my perspective to view a verse from and to look at the right verses. This is also true with Calvinism. The bible contains verses on near every subject, some specific and others broad, and it is easy for us to select for ourselves the qualities of a god we want to serve. Indeed the Pharisees, masters of knowledge, understood the text well and forgot his heart and so too I feel this with Calvinism. One example I often see quoted for Calvinism: But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1.12-13) Calvinists often interpret that it is by the will of God men are always turned, but it is also equally easy to interpret that God is offering people the right to choose. It is incredibly easy to approach a verse and decide what it means before you even have read it. Beware of the man who confirms complex ideas from simple verses. What this means is that squabbling over verses that confirm what you believe does not amount to much, anyone of us can build any picture of God and find it which is why addressing every verse is unnecessary as I have already demonstrated what can confirm for you can be evidence to contrary for me.. This does not mean that hope is lost. Verses are the word of god and thus true but we must be careful not to manipulate them. If a person should seek to understand God it should be done by asking themselves: 1) does this fall in line with the character set forth by Jesus? Jesus was longing patient considerate and hated wrong doing. If it conflicts with this it is more likely a man's idea rather than God's. 2) does this conflict with the ten commandments or loving a neighbor as yourself [yes even the ones of religions we might not like] and putting god first in your life. There are other similar ways of holding ourselves in line with god; this is just one way.

It is entirely possible that god predestined the entire world, this however does not mean he did. God creates us from the ground up and he could certainly predestine all of existence and people by natural phenomena. This is very attractive to us, I mean if I was god I might make every decision myself as the adage goes "if you want something done right do it yourself". You want a god of power? Here is a god of ultimate power. But we serve a god that does not always get what he wants. Every Time a righteous man suffers a defeat we know god does not delight in that. When Israel turned away from God, he was unhappy. Our god is not a god made in man's image who must control every possible action in the universe but one who allows us to make choices. Our god is not insecure in his will, but rather, so secure we are allowed to work against it at times. Saul worked to crush the early Christian church only to join it later. Why would God not have just made Saul to be a Christian leader through genes and life? Why did he not make Jonah from birth to be a man who would preach to Nineveh and save him a rather smelly trip? In fact in Jonahs case we see a man who strained against god's will for quite a time before eventually deciding god's path was the right one. God is not looking for machines programmed to do his will but servants he has woo"ed to want to do his will. He wants you to want to wash the dishes not just wash the dishes! How useful would a man be in eternity that fakes righteousness how long could he keep up the charade? 10 years? 1000? 10000000000000000000000000000000000 years would still leave him all of eternity. More on predestination in the next round.
Debate Round No. 3
patricktrester

Pro


Since this debate is if the Bible supports Calvinism, I will address what few Scriptures you’ve used in this debate and then expand on the entirety of Scripture so I don’t look like I’m “cherry picking.” Furthermore, if you examine the context of my verses they will only encourage my point. Scripture has to be interpreted with the rest of Scripture otherwise you lose its credibility. Also, this debate is not on your contestable subjective definition of “good” or “love” but rather the sovereignty of God in salvation.


Exodus 32:12-14; so does this contradict Numbers 23:19 and 1 Samuel 15:29? The answer is simple, God’s repentance is not as man’s repentance. Man’s repentance involves a change of mind, but God’s repentance is a pre-determined change of action. How else do you reconcile these verses without ruining the credibility of the Bible? Also, most translations say in this verse God either “relented,” or God “repented.” The word in Hebrew is a general reference to “comfort self” which leads plenty of room for interpretation. (Strong’s Concordance)


John 1:12-13; we know that this verse brazenly says “not of the will of man” but rather the “will of God.” How can you than interpret it as the will of man? Let’s interpret this with the rest of Scripture. Romans 9:16 says “So than it does not depend on human will or effort but on God who shows mercy” and if you look at the context, it furthers what I’m saying. Now what is the intended meaning of “not of the flesh?” John 3 (which is in the same context) says in verse 6 that “whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit.” So Jesus differentiates those who are in the flesh, and those who are in the Spirit in the same context of John’s Gospel. Meaning that it is not the will of the degenerate man, but rather the will of God. Furthermore, this is affirmed throughout Scripture in texts such as 1 Corinthians 2:14 which reads “But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from God's Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually.” Jesus affirmed this in the same Gospel when He said “However, there are some of you who do not believe. (For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray Him.) Then Jesus said, This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless the Father has granted it to him.“ (John 6.64-65). Jesus than says in the same Gospel that those who do not believe, do not believe because they are not His sheep (John 10.26-27). So, if belief is the result of being God’s sheep, how than does one become a sheep? The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 8:29-30 “those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.” Notice God conformed those He foreknew in the likeness of His son; rather than foreknowing them because they were conformed to His son. Furthermore, we see that He justifies those that He calls in His predestination. Ultimately leading to the conclusion that we are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2.10). So at face value it means God’s will. At further examination it still means God’s will.


Your righteousness which is regarded as menstrual rags to God (Isaiah 64.6) does not make Him love you. You can’t even love God apart from Him enabling you to (1 John 4:10,19-20). In fact the Apostle Paul writes that those who love God, were “called according to His purpose” (Romans 8.28). That is the point of grace. There is nothing good in us, but God demonstrated His love regardless to us not deserving it. God’s love was manifested even more so by our heinous behavior. Paul writes “It is rare indeed for anyone to die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5.7-8). Our unworthiness of God’s love demonstrates even more His mercy and love. Hate is a feeling, God’s love is in despite of those feelings. His election is not based on who we are, but rather it is based on God’s divine purpose. In fact we were “enemies of God” when Christ redeemed us (Romans 5.10). As John Newton recounts "Ah! sir, the Lord must have loved me before I was born, or else He would not have seen anything in me to love afterwards." Charles Spurgeon adds to this by saying:


if God had not chosen me, I should never have chosen Him; and I am sure He chose me before I was born, or else He never would have chosen me afterwards; and He must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why He should have looked upon me with special love. So I am forced to accept that great Biblical doctrine.


A brazen example of God’s sovereignty is in Acts 13:48 which reads “When the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and glorified the message of the Lord, and all who had been appointed to eternal life believed.” How else can you interpret this than God’s election? The only reason they believed, was because they were appointed to eternal life by God. Therefore, belief is the outcome of God’s election, just as works are an outcome of God’s election, and just as our desire for God’s will is an outcome of God’s election.


Even on the fundamental level of “who is born to who” we see God’s election in action. For many have died without ever having the opportunity to hear the Gospel. And, if it is not necessary to hear the Gospel as Romans 10:14 tells us, why send out missionaries to people who have never heard if their rejection of the Gospel would end up condemning them? God has desired to impart His grace through the means of His people.


You say “He wants you to want to wash the dishes not just wash the dishes” but the Bible is clear that God changes our desires. Those who are elected to His will, love doing His will because God implanted that desire in them. Just as God did for Israel “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances” (Ezekiel 36.26-27). God makes us love Him. Man does not “fake” righteousness, rather God makes man righteous through the work of His Holy Spirit.


It is important to note: just because man cannot follow or choose God from his own will, does not mean man has no will. Rather it means man has a limited will. That is, man can choose sin, can choose wickedness, evil, works, or even religious activity. But he will never choose the one and only God for the right reasons, or in the right way from the flesh. So when man sins is it God’s will? No, it is man’s will. Though, any good thing done out of love is by God’s will because it is written “we love because He first loved us” (1 John 4.19). And since God is love, man can only truly love by God’s indwelling Spirit. So all credit of unrighteousness goes to the flesh of man. All credit for righteousness goes to God.


Does a blind man ‘will’ himself to see? Does a deaf man ‘will’ himself to hear? Does a dead man ‘will’ himself to life? These are the comparisons God has given to those who don’t believe. It is only by a healer that the blind see, the deaf hear, and the dead rise. Likewise Jesus said “unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3.5). If one must be born of the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God, how does one become spirit, if 1 Corinthians 2:14 says “the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from God's Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually.”


Your defense is against Jonah who heard from God directly and was bent to do God’s will by the demonstration of God’s power over a fish? The Apostle Paul who was divinely shown the power of God through Jesus? Why not also contest God’s sovereignty in revealing Himself in power through a burning bush to a murderer? Do you think Saul, Jonah or Moses would’ve been saved apart from God’s power? Those examples are working against you. Do you think Israel would’ve been obedient if God wasn’t constantly reminding Israel that “I am with you” in the book of Joshua? In the absence of God’s presence, man degrades himself to sinfulness. Do you think Adam and Eve would’ve sinned had God been standing there with them? But we see God walked with them daily, yet was searching for them after they sinned. That is not to blame God for their sin, but rather it is to show that man is only good in the presence of God, and God desires to show His mercy not on any basis of who we are, but on the basis of His goodness, His love, and His righteousness. It is truly an underserved gift.


A final thought on Adam and Eve only falling away because of temptation. If a being who is good will not do evil unless tempted; why then, did Satan fall away? Did God create evil? Did God create something imperfectly? And when God made Satan was He ignorant to what Satan would do? If so, than how did God foreknow He was going to have elect from before the foundation of the world? (Ephesians 1.4)



SaintEleos

Con

Let me begin with some rebuttals [forgive me for my grammer this time I ran short on time]
Your usage of Romans 10:14 is a profound [and troubling] example of the interpretive nature of verses.
Romans 10:14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
Approaching this verse from a Calvinism Lense I can see how this could be interpreted as a "why even bother spreading the gospel as they do not have ears to hear" message but it can be equally interpreted as "how can they become christians if we don't preach so they can hear so they can believe". Two choices [on a low key hundreds or even thousands of interpretations] how do we decide? Well let's use our god given good sense and look at the context and see how this message applies within the scope of what Paul was trying to say. Verse 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Verse 11 As Scripture says, "Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame Verse 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile"the same Lord is Lord of a land richly blesses all who call on him and finally 13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. In 10 we learn in action and Love we are justified and saved in 11 that we will not be put to shame in 12 we learn there is NO difference between Jew and Gentile as long as we make the choice to call on him 13 everyone who calls on the name of the lord will be saved in 14 This calling paul talks about is important but how do we get there? We learn this in 14 To call we must believe, and to believe we must hear, and to hear someone must preach "teach" to us[the verse has a beautiful flow to it forwards and backwards]. The exact verse you used to say one cannot be saved [by the church's effort] is actually used to tell us why we must preach the gospel. If you read this chapter you will find a theme of Paul writing about Righteousness by faith [often bible commentaries call this is the righteousness by faith chapter of romans] . If he was going to make the point that we must be selected why was it not made abundantly clear in the rest of the chapter that it is as simple as all who are called by the the lord all who make the choice of service and faith in the lord shall be saved.If that was the intention Why would he have made the emphasis on our actions in the chapter, 10 your heart you believe and are justified, 11 anyone who believes in him 13 and very clearly everyone who calls on the name of the lord will be saved every one of these examples is actually us making the choice to choose and follow the lord if Calvinism was true why would not every one of them be the lord calling on us? It is because Calvinism is a man made mental construction and not of the Lord and does him a disservice to describe him that way. When we quote scripture on a such one dimensional bases as a single verse we risk interpreting the message out of context and remember the message of the bible is the inspired word of god not our own interpretations of singular verses. We must let the scripture speak to us and not allow us to speak for it. Were not the pharisees that killed Jesus masters of the law? Im sure they convinced themselves they were right but we must learn from their example and not blind ourselves but rather use our mind and body that was created in the image of god the heavenly father! And this is just one verse if I was to address everyone made to make Calvinism look like the god of the bible im not sure I could do it in 30 rounds.

If you are hungry for verses that challenge Calvinism I can offer these but know this, these verses were not made to directly challenge Calvinism they address oftentimes specific instances in the bible and reading them out of context can be misleading, I encourage you to do some research on each one : Romans 10:17 [a verse close to the one we addressed] "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of god". If Calvinism was in fact true should it not read "faith cometh by the order and grace of god"? This chapter is about righteousness if Calvinism was fact why is so much focus put on our actions rather than gods? Calvinism says we are incapable of choosing god yet it is our choice rather than gods that is spoken for the majority of the chapter. John 1:12 "But as many as received him, to them he gave he power to become the sons of god, even to them that believe on his name" this verse [which surly the interpretation will be contested] says as many that receive him have the power to become the sons of god, this power to become which must be received [which is an action not on the sender end] is not absolute, we do not just become like a son god rather we must still follow through with the actions which is similar to choice. Matt 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him I will also confess also before my father which is in heaven 33 but whosoever shall deny me before men, him I also deny before my father which is in heaven. Again why is our salvation so predicated on our actions like this? Do we really need to remind god who he has chosen? Has already forgotten?

Now for the examples of Jonah and the others
I am not contesting the Idea that God can influence and work to change a man's will what I am challenging is that it is always the rule. Surely god can select men for a specific purpose John the baptist is a great example of that. God reallllly wanted Jonah to do something, and no he would not of done it without God's intervention. But god did not create a perfect servant, he could have made Jonah through genes and life experience someone who just would have done it anyway. Instead he made his servant Jonah [a masterpiece as each of us are] mistakes and failing in all a man of will and fear, a man who had to be pushed into making the right choice. It was a lesson that was taught to Jonah and a lesson cannot be taught without something teaching nor something to receive it. Even after everything in the fish Jonah could STILL OF SAID NO, a unwise choice for sure! But he still had to make the decision. These are stories of god choosing and teaching his servants, Moses, Abraham, Elijah, Paul, and Jonah are all examples of god teaching and shaping servants but also their failures highlight that their will and choices are still their own. If the failures are not theirs than whose are they? If god exercised ultimate control over everything why would they not have been made for these tasks and in some cases not struggled with them so greatly? Not everyone is afforded such a miracle and if saints are just given there place in the kingdom where is your burning bush? How can you be sure you have not just convinced yourself of your faith and not been chosen? If you are unsure call upon the name of the lord now! How can it fail? Surely I say without the Lord man would be destructive indeed but ever since we have eaten from the garden of Eden we know right from wrong good from evil. That is why even in the far corners of the world when Christianity had not touched it there were still acts of kindness and men seeking goodness. God has instilled within us the ability to choose as we chose that tabooed fruit so long ago.
Debate Round No. 4
patricktrester

Pro

Main points are your words, subpoints are my reply.
  • Approaching this verse from a Calvinism Lense I can see how this could be interpreted as a "why even bother spreading the gospel as they do not have ears to hear"
    • I've never heard a Calvinist believe in this interpretation, and if they did it would be incorrect. You are misunderstanding Calvinism. Spurgeon put it like this, "If God had put a yellow streak up and down the backs of the elect, I’d go up and down the streets lifting up shirt tails to find out who had the yellow streak up and down his back. Then I’d give that person the gospel. But God didn’t do that. He told me to preach the gospel to every creature and that whosoever will may come.”
    • Also see 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth."
    • As believers, we don't know who the Elect are, but we do know that when we find them, they will respond in saving faith eventually. Therefore, sharing the Gospel is a act of obedience, and it relies on God "who gives the growth."
  • All who are called by the the lord all who make the choice of service and faith in the lord shall be saved.
    • So Calvinism actually agrees with this. God's Elect predates the action of someone who calls on the name of the Lord to be saved. Election is the "why" someone chooses God, the "why" someone feels compelled to give their lives over to Christ.
    • Ask yourself "what is freewill?" Is not freewill a carnal nature? I do what I desire most? What is the determining factor of a freewill? Is not purely the motivations of the flesh as enhanced by our desires?
    • The message of God is not desirable. We know this because Paul writes to Timothy "For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new." (2 Timothy 4.3) and "If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone." (1 Corinthians 15.19)
      • Now with this in mind, we must read Scripture not on the basis of what we want to believe, but on what the Bible is saying regardless to what we want. Lest we would fashion God into our own image. Honestly you sound somewhat like the homosexuals who say the God of the Bible can't be good because He denounces their love. You can't change God on the basis of your subjective definition of good, but purely His definition. So I believe even the things I don't like in the Bible. Which involves some portions of Calvisim.
      • Ask your friends if they are good. 9 out of 10 likely will say something along the lines "I'm pretty good." And that is why the message of the Gospel isn't good to people. Because Jesus didn't come to save the self-righteous, but rather the wicked. Until people realize they are desperatly wicked, and nothing good lives in them, they won't respond positively to the Gosple. Even some of the most wicked you people you can think of, if you were to ask them if they are good, they would boastfully say "yes." But God desires the meek, those who know they are sinful. That is why He gave us the law. Yet, we are told that only the elect will respond to it. This is why two people who were raised up exactly the same, yet can hear the message and only one respond. It's because of God's calling on someone's heart that differentiates those who do respond, and those who do not.
  • It is because Calvinism is a man made mental construction
    • Well I've actually never studied Calvin's words. I've only read what the tenets of Calvinism are, and found them in the Scriptures long before I ever knew what Calvinism was. I've never learned from the doctrines of man, but rather I've searched the Scriptures for myself just like the Bereans in Acts 17:11. That is why when people ask I say I'm "reformed," which technically is Calvinistic, but since I look only to the Scriptures and not to the words of Calvin it makes more since to say "reformed." Reformed Evangelical to be exact. (Because evangelizing is a huge portion even to Calvinists)
  • We must let the scripture speak to us and not allow us to speak for it.
    • Everything I said fits into the context and all learning has been taught to me with the help of the Holy Spirit. I also believe all Scripture must be interpreted with Scripture with prefrence to context. "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit--the Father will send Him in My name--will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you. " (John 14.26), "We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people." (1 Corinthians 2.13), "Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him." (James 1.5)
  • Romans 10:17 [a verse close to the one we addressed] "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of god".
    • You failed to have context. Look at the next verse: "But I ask, "Did they not hear?" Yes, they did:" and the Apostle Paul continues to say how they were Spiritually blinded. So God Elected others in verse 20 "I was found by those who were not looking for Me; I revealed Myself to those who were not asking for Me." If you continue even more into Chapter 11 you see EVEN MORE verses on election (Such as the chosen remenant). So, you failed to apply context.
    • Consider the parable of the sower, all were given the same seed that can result in fruit, but it depended on landing on the right environment. Also consider the parable of the tares.
  • John 1:12 "But as many as received him, to them he gave he power to become the sons of god, even to them that believe on his name"
    • Calvinism does not contest this. But rather, man in his free will REFUSES to receive God. Yet, the ones that do respond do so because of God's influence on their hearts prior to belief. As Jesus said, "But you don't believe because you are not My sheep." (John 10.26)
I honesly think you just haven't grasped the understanding of what Calvinism is. It does not refute free will, rather it refutes man's natural state towards God. Calvinism doesn't preach a "sound good" message to tickle the ears. This is what it tells me: I'm not good, only God is; meaning I'm utmostly sinful. God choose me not because I'm wise, but because I'm foolish; It's by God's grace alone that I'm saved; nothing I do can earn it, I can take no pride in my salvation. All glory, all goodness, all righteousness, and all love is directed to who God is, leaving me completely empty of anything good. I would love to take pride in myself for these things, but its not me who deserves the glory, rather its Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit that transformed me and changes the way I live my life. God is not a respecter of persons to choose me based on who I am or what I've done. Rather God has chosen the foolish vessels to demonstrate His glory and His goodness so that no man can boast. But because of God's grace, it transforms the believer into obedient sons that will never stumble. "Make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For, if you do these things you will never stumble." (2 Peter 1.10) "We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks. But to those who are called, Christ is God's power and God's wisdom. Because God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom..." (1 Corinthians 1.23-24)

Lets really think about "freewill." The freewill acts only according to desire, for instance if I choose something I don't like, its because the benefits outweight the instant gratification. For instance, if I really want a hamburger, but I also want to be healty. My freewill acts on my carnal nature, whatever I find more important or more desirable in that moment. Whether its my resolve to eat healthy, or the instant gratification of a burger. This is why the Bible says we are slaves to sin, until we are made alive in Christ. Sin has contaminated the hearts of man so bad, that from infants we envy, we lie, we hate, and we dishonor our parents. No one can be righteous by the Law, rather the Law was made to reveal that every man has failed, and is under God's wrath. Man's natural state is enmity with God. And the only way to be reconciled, is through the work of Jesus Christ. God's Elect are the one's that respond with belief because God has called them, predestined them, and has worked on their hearts to respond in repentance. So yes, the elect believe in God, they choose God and call on His name. But only because God had first worked on their hearts. "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 10.26)

Consider 2 Corinthians 4:4-6, "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
Notice the unbelievers cannot even see the Gospel because they are blind. Therefore God says, 'Let light shine out of darkness.' So than it becomes necessary for God to clear our vision, so that we may inturn respond to the Gospel He has allowed us to see.

SaintEleos

Con

Calvinism directly says that it does not allow free will, but the combination of the whole results in a lack of ability in choice [at least in what could be considered the most important choice in Christianity, the ability to choose God]. Total depravity, by the intros own definition, says they are "unable to turn to God" and if they cannot make that choice on their own accord how can we say that choice is really afforded them? If I was given the "choice" of ending world hunger and all I would have to do is jump to the moon and I fail, can it really be said I failed because I chose not to? If a man is unable to turn to god [as I am unable to jump to the moon] is it his choice that he does not do it? Unconditional election says we cannot even try to make it more likely for God to choose us, perhaps even if we could not choose it ourselves but make ourselves more likely to be chosen [thus choosing to be considered among the elect] we could say we have some responsibility or choice but this does away with that notion anyway. Irresistible grace says we cannot resist, thereby removing the ability for us to choose and perseverance of the saints says we cannot choose after conversion either. Calvinism [specifically total depravity] also often contains a rather puritan nature and nurture argument [like nature vs nurture] that we are a product of depravity and can only make decisions based on our feelings and sensations. I am not contesting that our decisions are not based on spiritual interference [God but also perhaps the devil], the sensations of the flesh and upbringing [nurture, our environment], or our inherent qualities [nature, or the soul] but rather all of them and our faith is no exception. A person could turn to God through intervention even if raised to hate god or a person could turn away from God's edicts even after supernatural intervention [like perhaps Saul or as Solomon and David turned away from his edicts for a time]. If a person was raised Christian thier whole life and was also born with the qualities to be very spiritual and so learned to love the bible and God, how much spiritual intervention might be necessary compared to someone who has never heard of Jesus picking up a bible and reading. The first man could learn to love God and his precepts without much intervention unless you consider the bible itself is an intervention. God gave us His holy word no man would produced it without him. But then God has intervened on both of them but that does not mean that the choice will be the same. In this way, through the bible or other acts, God has intervened for everyman and some are blessed with easier choices than others. If we have no choice in goodness why, even if abused, children are capable of acts of goodness? A child might spare a little food for their hungry brother at his own cost even if their parents might not teach them it. You could say it is programed in them via nature to on some level care for another but is that not a good thing? Does God not call it good to care for the widow? The poor? If we are given this quality do we not have therefore some inherent goodness? How then does being totally depraved stand up? If we are unconditionally elected in such a way as "God does not base His election on anything He sees in the individual" why do we not see christian partisans appearing in the middle of countries with no Christianity present? It appears Christians are found where they are given the chance not everywhere equally distributed across the globe based on none of their own qualities?. Why are they elected from areas around the christian faith? You might say not everyone who says they are a christian is an elected christian but why then are the Jews more elected and even more so around Jesus a greater amount elected? Again a retort might be well God could elect people who do not call each other christians, but what would they look like in history? Great teachers? The greatest teachers that seem applicable are great religious leaders that teach things incompatible with the bible and Calvinism. Did God elect them and teach them things that are wrong or were they taught things that are wrong? You say perseverance of the saints, but in this case even the Divine truth did not persevere through these hypothetical elect.

If we are totally depraved how can we hope to understand God without His intervention? Truly if we can not choose Him, how can we understand him with this assistance? Thusly, should not Calvinism be divinely inspired? If it is should it not also be inscrutable? Is God not capable of accurately inspiring us [which is required to attain any sort of accurate rightness whether seeking to embrace it or understand it] to do it with perfect accuracy? Why then are we debating 4 point calvinism! Surely if it was divinely inspired, God did not send us a false point amongst the correct? If he did it for a divinely inspired document like Calvinism should it not also be the same for the bible? Which books of the bible are false!? If Calvinism is not divinely inspired and the product of man, does 4 point calvinism not condemn itself? If it is purely the product of man how much faith should you really be putting in it?

A common false human attribution to God is that He must control everything. If we see God as all knowing, including the future, we often assume we have no power to change anything; it's already done. This future sight plus that which god is all powerful results in a god that does indeed have the power to control every outcome and eventuality. This, however, does not mean he must. Imagine an artist wants to create a painting of a bridge. But this artist, like God, can see the future and knows how every interaction with that painting will go. He understands the critics, and common man alike. He could make that painting to cause whatever effect he desires in the people maximising his own glory or distaste if he cared to. He could do anything, but he can also create the image of the bridge that he originally intended, let's not forget this started as an act of his expression. This artist like god can balance consequences for his work but also create his work to be the expression he desires. Just because he has the power to create whatever result he wants does not mean he gets it. Oh and how we know god does not always get what he wants! He abhors evil it happens anyway, he calls israel to follow him they don't, and he watched his one and only son jesus die and who would say he enjoyed that while it happens. This difference is our choices, we commit evil god does not want us to, israel chose to turn away from him he wanted them with him and Jesus died because we killed him and god allowed a path to salvation for us. The bible tells us that god says "the meek shall inherit the earth" so god seems to value meekness. Meekness is a quality similar to humbleness but the addition of also being strong of having power but containing humility, It is to be of means or strength but not to trample over others with that power. What does that say about the character of god? " When god tells us that he is our father it is symbolic and literal. Literal because he created us but also symbolic as he cares and guides us like our parents do [I would go as far to say we have children in this manner to better understand god's aims and wants]. If calvinism was a parent it is a parent who assumes the worst of its children, fashions them to be without goodness, and controls every decision. We have mothers like that sometimes calling them super tiger moms and we can see often what is wrong with that! Is god so insecure that everything must be done exactly his way? I don't see the evidence for it. Sure he often works with exact intention but he didn't have Paul from birth serve him but rather had the security to allow Paul to make the wrong choice and later show him the error of his ways. The lord need not control our every action.

I would like to say I have enjoyed this debate and I hope that both myself, my intelligent opponent, and anyone who viewed this might better understand God through it.
Amen
Debate Round No. 5
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