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The Great Commission negates Calvinism/predestination teaching

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/24/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,980 times Debate No: 32868
Debate Rounds (3)
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The Great Commission: Jesus command to all those in his church to go and preach the gospel to every creature on earth and make disciples of all the nations.

Negates: nullifies, contradicts, shows that the following cannot be true, etc….

Calvinism/Predestination teaching: the teaching that there is no free will, God controls the actions of all, including our thoughts and choices, even our choices that will send us to hell because the potter decided it brings him glory to have clay set aside for destruction, and only an elect few made to ever be able to go to heaven.

Terms and Nature of this debate: this is obviously a Christian theology debate, so biblical references and a Christian perspective are necessary for you to defend your side of the resolution, you cannot argue God does not exist for in this debate its axiomatic that he exist and the Old and New Testament is his divinely inspired word. This debate is over the very popular controversy that divides denominations everywhere possible more than any other, the Wesleyn Vs Calvism debate or better known as the Free Will Predestination debate.

And while this very fun topic to discuss and debate has many points of contention that commonly come up, like arguments over the consequences of the fact that God is Omnipotent and sees the future, or how the theology affects answering the Problem of Evil in apologetics, or the nature of a loving God, and of course proper translation and interpretation of scripture references……for this particular debate I would like to avoid getting into to deep of arguments about any of those things. Instead I would like this debate to focus specifically on one very common charge brought up against Calvinism, the charge that if there is no Free Will there is no point in Evangelism or Witnessing to the Lost and thus the Great Commission makes no sense.

Usually that’s really more of an emotional point than it is a logical case against Calvinism. To show how the teaching of predestination can negatively affect the spirits of those preaching the gospel to the lost, cause after all what’s the point? Nothing you do or say changes where a persons soul is going to go (according to Calvinist).

So I’d like to take that normally emotional charge and put it in its most logical format as a case against Calvinism. That Calvinism not only logically disheartens one witnessing, but that the very fact that Jesus gave us the great Commission itself directly/ indirectly indicates that there is free will, and the state of the souls of every creature on earth is that of a soul that can be saved, nobody is ‘made for the purpose of burning in Hell’. ‘The Lords ways are mysterious’ defense only carries so far, and in this matter there is nothing mysterious to this fact, if there is no free will and the souls that will one day be in hell were made for since before they were born and the souls in heaven were elected for it before they were born then Jesus flat out would not tell his disciples to go preach the gospel to every creature on earth, for the gospel is not for every creature but only the elect. And so the scriptures on the Great Commission are thus indirect evidence against the doctrine of predestination.

And for some further direct evidence on the same point I claim is indirectly made in the scriptures about the great commission, I point to the scriptures in Ezekiel the reality of the real choices that can still be made by every person we are called to witness too. God tells Ezekiel that if he does not warn the city to repent of there sins or God will bring destruction there way, then God will hold Ezekiel accountable for there lack of repentance, there blood will be on his hands, but if he does bring the word to them then it will be off his hands and onto the people of the city. It will then be because of there choices in response to the prophets warning that brings or repels there destruction. These passages are only understandable if seen in a Free Will Context. A prophet has no power to stop or cause a people to repent, because God is in control of everything according to Calvinist. Yet these passages are contrary to that interpretation of what it means to be a Sovereign God, because God tells his prophet that if the people do not repent and the prophet did not warn them then it is indeed the prophets fault. By being quite the prophet removes the choice from the people to repent of there sins, Now holding true to Calvinism means reading this to mean a mortal Prophet must be able to override the God’s control over other peoples wills because when its God will they should repent but a prophet can stay silent and cause those people to never repent because of it……this is absurd. The truth is the prophet overrides the will of nothing by being silent or speaking up because God does not express his sovereignty by controlling the wills or his people in that sort of way. We are given ability to make choices on our own independent of God and when the prophet tells us to repent we must make a choice between repenting or ignoring the warning and carry on as we were.

I would like it if my opponent were honestly a Christian that believes in Predestination if that’s at all possible, and whoever takes this debate I request that we try not get into much scripture outside of these two I have already given, I understand there are a lot of passages quoted by both sides that are also relevant to the free will predestination debate, but its just the validness of this particular contention I want to debate. Of the necessity of non-pre-destined choice being made by people for there to be a Great Commission, and for it to make a difference in weather a prophet is accountable for the city’s sins or not that he does or does not preach to.

Final round is for conclusions and summary alone, no new arguments then…….other than that I thank whoever accepts in advance and wish you luck.



I accept, and may the odds be ever in your favor!


Pro says that the Calvinist/predestination teaching is "that there is no free will." To be more precise, the position is that there is no libertarian free will with respect to the decision to accept or reject the gospel. Calvinists typically subscribe to compatibilist free will. The difference is that under compatibilism, our choices are determined by our strongest preference, motive, or desire, but under libertarianism, there are no antecedent conditions whatsoever that are sufficient to determine our choice, including our own desires and motives.

"Freedom" has a different meaning under compatibilism and libertarianism. J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig explain that under compatibilism, "We are free to will whatever we desire even though our desires are themselves determined. Freedom is willing to act on your strongest preference."[1] Under libertarianism, "a free act is one in which the agent is ultimately the originating source of the act itself…This means that if Smith freely does (or wills to do) A, he could have refrained from doing (or willing to do) A or he could have done (or willed to have done) B without any conditions whatever being different. No description of Smith's desires, beliefs, character or other things in his make-up and no description of the universe prior to and at the moment of his choice to do A is sufficient to entail that he did A."[2]

My own view is that all of our choices are determined by the net effect of all of our psychological states (including our desires, motives, biases, inclinations, preferences, etc.) prior to and up to the moment of choice. The greater hand our own desires have in bringing about our actions, the more free we are. As Jonathan Edwards put it, "He that, in acting, proceeds with the fullest inclination, does what he does with the greatest freedom, according to common sense."[3]

I take it that when Pro says, "free will," he means libertarian free will.

Pro also says that under Calvinism/predestionation, "God controls the actions of all." According to the Westminister Confession, "God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established."[4] So while it's true that God is in control of everything that happens, including our choices, he doesn't necessarily control everything directly. Rather, he uses secondary causes. This is important because it's relevant to some of Pro's arguments.

The meaning of the resolution

Pro's point of view in this debate can be worded a few different ways:

1. There is a contradiction between the great commission, and the Calvinists' denial of libertarian free will.

2. The great commission presupposes libertarian free will.

3. If there is no free will, then there is no point in witnessing or evangelism, and the great commission makes no sense.

4. The great commission is evidence against predestination.

These are all basically saying the same thing.

Pro's "arguments"

But Pro doesn't so much argue for his point of view as he simply asserts it with various paraphrases. The closest he comes to an argument is this sentence:

"If there is no free will and the souls that will one day be in hell were made for since before they were born and the souls in heaven were elected for it before they were born then Jesus flat out would not tell his disciples to go preach the gospel to every creature on earth, for the gospel is not for every creature but only the elect."

But this is just another paraphrase of his main contention. If we add to this statement the premise that "Jesus did tell his disciples to preach the gospel to every creature on earth," then we'd have a modus tollens argument with the conclusion being "Therefore, there is [libertarian] free will." But the resolution of this debate is not that "We have libertarian free will." Rather, the resolution is the first premise of the modus tollens--that if there is no free will, then there would not be a great commission. So Pro hasn't offered us an argument for his resolution. He's just paraphrased it in a number of ways.

My arguments

Here's a couple of reasons why I think his contention is false.

First, as I explained earlier, God can use secondary means rather than causing each choice directly. Preaching is a means by which God calls the elect. It is only superfluous if it has no hand in bringing about conversion. However, even if there is a deterministic causal chain from God's will to your conversion, as long as preaching is part of that causal chain, it is not superfluous. Since, under Calvinism, God ordains everything that comes to pass, that includes not only the ends (i.e. the conversion of the elect), but also the means (i.e. preaching). So it is not true that preaching makes no difference given predestination.

Second, if predestination is true, there is no reason to expect God to tell us who the elect are so we can decide who to witness to and who to ignore. It is perfectly consistent for him to tell us to preach to all people and leave it to him to decide who will be receptive and who won't.

Pro's Ezekiel argument

Ezekiel wasn't involved in the great commission, which makes him irrelevant to the resolution, but I think Pro was trying to make an argument from analogy. Ezekiel preaching is analogous to the great commission, and if Ezekiel's warnings presuppose libertarian freedom, then so does the great commission.

But my first point above fully addresses the Ezekiel argument. Pro's objection is that under Calvinism, Ezekiel shouldn't be held accountable for the city's blood since his choice to warn or not should have no bearing on their choice to repent or not. If God predestined the city's choice, then Ezekiel is not responsible. But Pro is neglecting the fact that if God controls everything, that includes Ezekiel's choice of whether to warn the city or not. If there is a deterministic causal chain from God's decree to the city's choice, and Ezekiel is a link in that chain, then Ezekiel's choice has everything to do with what happens to the city.

A 3rd argument against the resolution

Calvinists do not deny that people make choices. Rather, we deny that people make choices spontenously apart from cause or reason. Our choices are determined by antecedent conditions, especially our own psychological states. It would be pointless to preach if preaching had no effect on people's choices. It only makes sense to preach if it's possible that by doing so, you can influence their choice.

Libertarians do not deny that antecedent conditions influence our choices. They just deny that antecedent conditions are sufficient to determine our choices. But influence comes in degrees. The stronger the influence, the closer it is to determining the act. If it is contrary to free will for an act to be determined by an antecedent condition, then free will must come in degrees. The more influence an antecedent condition has over our choice, the less free we are, which means we have the most freedom when we act out of total indifference with no influence at all.

How is it, then, that the great commission can be contrary to freedom? If freedom is increased when influence is decreased, then preaching and witnessing, if they are to have any effect at all, must diminish freedom. If it doesn't diminish freedom, then it's superfluous.

So if anything, the great commission is more likely to be inconsistent with libertarian free will than it is with Calvinistic compatibilism.

[1] J.P. Moreland & William Lane Craig, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, p. 271.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Jonathan Edwards, The Freedom of the Will, Part IV, Sec IV.


Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for his prompt response and for accepting this debate.

To begin I shall start with…..

Compatiblist Clarification: For the same reasons a Liberal journalist will only refer to a ‘pro-lifer’ as ‘anti-choice advocate’ and a Conservative journalist will only refer to a ‘pro-choicer’ as a ‘Anti-life advocate’ I will be referring to what Con terms ‘Compatibelist free will’ as ‘Pantheist free will’, and I accept his term ‘libertarian free will’ and will be using it to refer to the what I spoke of when I said ‘Free Will’ in round 1.

Con’s description of the Compatibelist since of free will is only free in the since that a Panthiest would believe in. The Pantheist rejects speaking of God in any terms other than generalities, they see God and the universe as one and the same or as ‘the whole show’ as C.S. Lewis put it in his book ‘Miracles’. Everything being apart of ‘the whole show’ all things are caused by God/the universe. C.S. Lewis charges Pantheism as practically being ‘Religion itself’ in the since of what we mean when we say Religion is an enemy of the church that threatens to take it over. C.S. Lewis also stated he considered Nazi German worship of a great Racial spirit a form of Pantheism just ‘trunicated for barbarians.

Now I know it makes no real substantial point other than a ad-homien fallacy I suppose to make the comparison cause after all Calvinism is not Pantheism……But they are the same in there since of understanding free will, so Compatibleist free will can be called accurately Pantheist free will, so for rhetorical persuasive reasons that are shamelessly manipulative, I will referring to it as Pantheist free will (also its easier to spell).

Pantheism Freedom and Libertarian ‘degrees of freedom’: Con makes an interesting twisted case on how the Great Commission actually indicates Calvinism and not Wesleyenism because admitting you have to be a role at all in there choice for salvation through your preaching means there free choice is not made out of true libertarian free choice because it was influenced by your preaching.

I’m not sure what the name would be for this fallacy, but basically by bringing up ‘degree’s’ of freedom relative to the amount of influence you have on yourself, while the issue is far more complicated sounding, the issue itself has not been changed. Is your actions ultimately still not predetermined by non-controlled influences, can your choice you make go either way things left as they are? Yes, then its still libertarian and degree’s or no degree’s your choices are up to you not your influences.

Meanwhile consider the implication of what you are saying from a Pantheist free will perspective. When I choose to sin, it is because according to your own words ‘determined by the net effect of all of our psychological states (including our desires, motives, biases, inclinations, preferences, etc.)’. So my desires (among other things) were so strong I could not possibly choose any other way than to sin in that particular instance. Do I even have to cite the well known comforting scripture that belief stands in stark contrast to? 1 Corinthians 10:13 God will not allow us no temptation we cannot overcome. Ether that is true or Calvinism is but I cannot see how both can be. For from your Pantheist view of free will if I could have overcome a temptation to sin, then I would have because my desires along with other causes would have resulted in my resistance winning out. And my desires been of such to cause me to overcome the temptation to sin, then it wasn’t truly a temptation was it, for temptation by its very nature is our desires pulling toward the sin, but according to Con the actual total net whole of my desires was not to sin it was really to be holy, if they really were to sin then I would have. Either way that plays out Calvinism and 1 Corinthians 10:13 cannot both be true.

The Great Commission: Now while I’ll mention other passages as far as they are relevant to what comes up this debate like the one I just mentioned in 1 Corinthians, like I said at the start, the focus of the debate and the resolution is the Great Commission. My opponents argument is that its perfectly fine under the Pantheist free will view that Jesus would give the great commission to his disciples to preach the gospel to every creature on earth because they are part of the predestined chain of events that lead many to salvation, through there preaching and teaching, the elect will hear, and choose to believe, that we do not know who is elect and who is made for destruction so it makes since that we have to take the message to everyone. After we take the message to all its up to God to make the non-elect ignore the gospel and the elect hear and obey it. My response to this specifically if Calvinism were true we should actually be able to have expected that when Jesus gave the great commission he would have included your explanation in his own words like ‘because you cannot know who is elect and who is made for destruction, so you must share the gospel with the elect and the dogs alike’ or something to that effect, because this is a kind of obvious question big deal kind of question Jesus would have know should come up if Calvinism is true. If Wesleyenism is true however, then we should expect Jesus would have given the great commission phrased exactly as he did.

The Ezekiel Analogy: yes it is part of an analogy, because it’s about God’s same command to go out and witness put in context of on a personal level along with consequences of disobedience. Con gives the same response to the Ezekiel Analogy though, but this time because Con has applied the view of everything being apart of a chain of events controlled by God, It makes the problem all the clearer. Con admitted that Ezekiel would be responsible for the city and the city would not be if he chose to keep silent based on the reasoning that he is the determining factor in that chain of events. Ezekiel, should he keep silent, though he has committed no sins is guilty for the cities sins if he does not speak up against them to the city, if he does not warn them to repent. Con has thus admitted a prior chain that ultimately determined actions at the end of the chain is responsible for those actions in such a way that the city is not. Thus carry this though to its logical Calvinist extreme. Ultimately it could never be Ezekiel’s fault, for Ezekiel’s choice itself to not preach would not be his own doing. God is the one who failed to make Ezekiel choose to obey his own commands and thus it is God who is responsible for the City.

This is a big deal because it means when God tells a prophet to go and preach the gospel or he will be punished for the cities sins that never herd it because of the prophets refusal, and the prophet does not do it, then he did not do it because it was the will of God that he would not do it since that is the way God designed him to choose, and while it was really the will of God that the prophet not preach God told the prophet it was is will in the form of a command to go preach. So Calvinism naturally makes a liar out of God in every instance of our disobedience to his commands about what is his will for us. And by this same exact line of reasoning Calvinism thus makes a liar out of Jesus when he gave the great commission, for Jesus told the disciples to preach the gospel to every creature, thus including the non-elect, and when they go carry Jesus message to the non-elect, and say ‘Jesus died for your sins’ they are lying because according to Calvinism Jesus literally did not die for any of the non-elects sins, only the elects sins did he die for. So long as Jesus did not include the caveat ‘so long as you are not made for destruction’ Jesus is lying to every non-elect person his disciples preach the gospel to.



It's a rare pleasure to have your opponent admit that he's committing a fallacy. That way, you don't have to bother to address it. But in the interest of precision, I think we should at least name the fallacy. In using a dysphemism ("Pantheist free will"), Pro is committing the fallacy of poisoning the well.[1] The object in poisoning the well is to create a bias in the reader before the reader gets to the arguments. As Pro admitted, it is a form of manipulation. But I appreciate his candor.

Some new arguments

Before responding to Pro's recent post, I want to throw out a few additional arguments for why I don't think the great commission negates predestination.

1. The gospel is not just an invitation for people to embrace the gospel. It's also a proclamation about Jesus Christ. Given God's desire to make a name for himself, even among non-believers (cf. 1 Chronicles 16:8, Ezekiel 20:9, Psalm 106:8, etc.), it should not surprise us that God would want his greatest act to be proclaimed among all people, whether he intends to save all of them or not. According to Paul, "we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing" (1 Corinthians 2:15).

2. The gospel does sometimes have a good effect on the non-elect, restraining their sin. Many people who were not Christians have been influenced by Jesus' moral teachings. But the gospel also reveals the depth of depravity among people, proving that "men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19).

3. In the great commission, Jesus commanded his apostles to preach the gospel to every creature. But he said this after talking about the unforgivable sin of blaspheme. Presumably, there were some people who were actually guilty of that sin or who have been guilty of that sin. If Jesus didn't think there was any inconsistency in preaching the gospel to all creatures, even though some had committed the unforgivable sin and therefore could not be saved, then we shouldn't think so either.

My old arguments

In the last round, I made three arguments against Pro's point of view. Let's see how he answered them.

Argument from secondary causes

Here, I argued that the great commission is consistent with predestination because preaching is the means through which God calls the elect. Although Pro acknowledged that I had made this argument, he gave no response to it.

Argument from the unknown elect

Here, I argued that the great commission is consistent with predestination because we don't know ahead of time who are elect and who are not, and it it perfectly consistent for Jesus to have us preach to all people, leaving it to God to decide who will accept the message and who will reject it. Pro doesn't dispute that this explanation solves the supposed inconsistency. Instead, he claims that if this explanation is true, we should expect that Jesus would've included it in the great commission. This response fails for a few reasons.

1. It's highly speculative because it's an unsubstantiated assertion about what Jesus would do. There are lots of things Jesus taught without explaining. When his disciples asked why he spoke to the crowds in parables, Jesus said, "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted" (Matthew 13:10). Also, in the bread of life discourse (John 6:26-65), many people left Jesus (v. 66) when Jesus said they must eat his flesh and drink his blood, but Jesus didn't bother to explain himself to them. He let them go.

2. The gospels are not exhaustive accounts of what Jesus said and did, so for all we know, he did explain himself.

3. Jesus already explained that his own sheep will hear his voice and follow him, whereas others do not believe because they are not his sheep (John 10:26-27). This is essentially the same thing I'm saying--that the elect will recognize their shepherd when he is preached to them, but those who do not belong to Jesus will not. Jesus preached to both groups, and so should we.

Argument from the nature of the will

Here, I argued that the great commission is more consistent with compatibilism than with libertarianism. The reason is because preaching is superfluous unless it has an influence over people's choices. Under libertarianism, no influence from preaching is sufficient to bring about conversion, but under compatibilism it is, because we always choose according to our strongest motivation.

Pro responds by pointing out that regardless of how strong an influence is, as long as it isn't sufficient to determine choice, the person still has libertarian freedom. I agree with him, but that doesn't address my argument. It is still the case that libertarian freedom comes in degrees and that the stronger the influence from preaching, the less hand libertarian freedom has in our choice. Under compatibilism, a person's conversion can be explained by a desire that arose due to hearing the gospel preached. Under libertarianism, no antecedent conditon is sufficient to explain a person's conversion.

Pro also claims that 1 Corinthians 10:13 is inconsistent with compatibilism. But this debate isn't over whether compatibilism or libertarianism are true. This debate is over whether predestination (which entails compatibilism) is consistent with the great commission. I'd love to provide an answer to this, but then I'd be wasting precious space responding to an irrelevant point.

Argument from Ezekiel

The argument from Ezekiel is Pro's only argument for his point of view. Even though Pro has the burden of proof in this debate, he is mostly on the defensive.

In the last round, I argued that given determinism, as long as Ezekiel is part of the causal chain, he has everything to do with what happens to the city. So preaching is not superfluous under predestination.

In his response, Con focused on irrelevant points, like whether Ezekiel is morally responsible for his choice. That's a great topic, but it's beside the point. The point is whether Ezekiel has anything to do with the city repenting, and whether preaching the gospel has any effect on people converting.

Pro makes a relevant point, though. He argues that Calvinism makes God out to be a liar because on the one hand, the will of God may be that a person doesn't repent, but on the other hand, he tells us that his will is that we repent. But this is easily reconciled by pointing out a distinction between God's sovereign will (what God does) and his moral will (what God commands). God's moral will may be that people repent while his sovereign will is that they don't repent, so there is no lie.

Pro says Calvinism makes Jesus out to be a liar because the great commission requires us to tell the non-elect that Jesus died for their sins when, in fact, he didn't. But nowhere in the Bible (including the apostlic preaching recorded in Acts) does it say we should present the gospel by telling everybody that Jesus died for their sins. When presenting the gospel, Paul says, "Christ died for our sins" (1 Corinthians 15:1-3) and Jesus tell us that he laid down his life for his sheep (John 10:11). That's what we have to tell people.


I want to urge the voters to keep their eye on the ball. The resolution of this debate is that Calvinism/predestination/compatibilism is inconsistent with the great commission. It's not over whether Calvinism/predestination/compatibilism is true. It's not over whether morality is consistent with Calvinism/predestination/compatibilism. It's not over whether people are responsible for their own choices under Calvinism/predestination/compatibilism. The question is whether it makes sense for Jesus to have commanded his disciples to preach the gospel to all creatures, given that some people are predestined to salvation and some are not. As long as God can use preaching is a means through which he brings about the conversion of the elect, there is no problem for Calvinism.


Debate Round No. 2


Poisoning the Well: If you will check your source, you’ll see poisoning the well is when one commits an ad-hominen, (attacking the person giving the argument rather than the argument itself). So you can’t call what I’ve done that technically speaking because I do not attack you by calling it Pantheist Free Will, In fact I think I’ve only shown respect for you personally so far, even if I do disagree with your theology. The only thing the terminology I use you could say attacks is the argument itself, meaning it can’t be called any form of an ad-homien. However like I said, its not an actual argument I’m giving, just a professional tactic in persuasion. What you call poison I call sugar diluter.

Anyway addressing the older arguments first

Argument from Secondary Causes/ Ezekiel analogy: contrary to how Con perceives this debates progress, I did in fact respond to his point about secondary causes, in was under the Ezekiel analogy though as I perceived though as being the same point. Hope that cleared things up.

Con tries to pass off whether Ezekiel is responsible to be irrelevant and a separate topic for debate. It is in fact very relevant however as my explaining the dilemma between your view and evangelism laid the groundwork for my ultimate concluding charge which you did find relevant enough to respond to, so I will let my unchallenged groundwork rest this final round to focus my character space on your rebuttal.

Con say’s my ultimate conclusion that his system makes God out to be a liar is easily reconciled by…

“…pointing out a distinction between God's sovereign will (what God does) and his moral will (what God commands).”

I’m a little flabbergasted that Con actually said this in the debate as if that settled the point for his side and not mine, or that he actually said this and didn’t see how crazy that sounds logically considering he even spelled out what the he means by sovereign will and moral will. He’s entire statement could be paraphrased this way without changing his meaning at all…

“There is a difference between what God tells us and what God actually does ergo he is not a liar”

Exactly what do you think it would take to call someone a liar then? How do you not see you basically just defined what a liar is and ascribed that attribute to God. You just said what he say’s and what he does contradicts.

Anyway I carried by analogy in its relevance to Jesus Great Commission, and Con quotes where Paul said “Christ died for OUR sins” as if that makes point. On the contrary it makes mine, because Paul said he died for ‘OUR’ sins, he didn’t tell the people he died for ‘MY’ sins and ‘MABYE YOURS’. And as for what Jesus said in John 10, I invite the audience to read the whole parable here. and turn your attention to 10:9 in particular “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture.” Sounds a lot like the sheep that can enter through his door is anyone that try to come through him, as long as they do not seek some other way in avoiding him, those are the way thieves come in. The sheep in the parable are not even the complete set he plans to lay down his life for as he describes the addition of the gentiles later in 10:16. If one needs any more evidence that how broad our Lords flock is and that it encompasses the whole world, not just a pre-selected part of it according to the gospel we don’t need to look much farther than everyone’s favorite verse John 3:16 ‘for God so loved the WORLD he gave….’

“Under libertarianism, no antecedent condition is sufficient to explain a person's conversion.”: That’s kind of the point of libertarianism and Free Will Con. If there was an antecedent condition then it would not actually be free will, it would be your Pantheist free will. There being no antecedent condition that explains a persons choice is only a problem for Atheist, for the atheist must find natural causes and explanation for everything, everything ties back to the Universe and whatever the great ‘theory of everything’ is. We on the other hand believe in God, we allow for the supernatural because we are Theist. We allow that our soul is more than a brainwave, more than an organ affected by chemical reactions, we allow that are soul has spiritual substance to it and is eternal and will last forever somewhere if not here on earth. Now if you are a Pantheist I suppose you do still have to have an antecedent condition for choices, but Christianity is not even remotely compatible with Pantheism because miracles are not allowable by there beliefs.

1 Corinthians 10:13: Con say’s my argument from this passage is irrelevant. It is relevant however, and its certainly at the very least as relevant as your own argument about Libertarian free will being in degrees so I am not about to let to point go. “there shall come no temptation you cannot overcome” is relevant to the nature of the choice that goes on in the witnessing scenario relevant to the resolution. And when a evangelist comes to preach the gospel to you when you are unsaved, there is a temptation to ignore the evangelist. Unbelief is a temptation. Being Apostate is a temptation. And by temptation I mean these things are sins we are tempted towards. Unless you challenge that blasphemy is actually not a sin and thus debate over the promised nature of temptation is irrelevant, then the passage in Corinthians remains very relevant to the debate.

Unknown elect: as long your dropping arguments then I guess I shall too for space. I see what you mean about that being speculative and this really wasn’t my strongest case anyway.

Cons new arguments:

The gospels not just an invitation…: retrospectively I should have started the debate quoting this passage, commonly called the Great Commission Matthew 28:19-20 “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them….and teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you….” It is in fact a command to baptize everyone in all the nations, and to make disciples out of them all, and to teach them all to obey gods command. In short go convert everybody.

Non-Christians are influenced by Jesus teachings…: You are confused. Just because the atheist and agnostics on this website commonly like to say Jesus had some good teachings so they can feel all moderate like there reasonably meeting you half-way does not mean Jesus has influenced them. They decided for themselves we shouldn’t judge other people is bad and so they are happy they see in Jesus this value they picked out for themselves. They just as easily quote however society, social order or taboos, or other ancient philosophers for there most preferred since of right and wrong. Jesus is only a true influence in restraining there sin if they recognize his authority. Jesus only has authority recognized as the Son of God, the Word, the great I AM. Those that recognize this authority are not lost they are saved.

The unforgivable sin of blaspheme…: You can’t commit blaspheme against the Holy Spirit when Jesus had yet to send them ‘the Advocate’ or to teach the people about it. So presumably no, this sin had not been committed except by those witnessed to.

Conclusion:The very idea of being commanded to witness starts to fall apart in a Calvinist view of theology when we look at all these specifics in witnessing context. And so the Great Commision makes no sense if we accapt the Calvinist Pantheist model and the resolution is affirmed.

I thank my opponent for this excellent debate, I hope I managed to be at least a half-way adequate opponent for Con.



We come now to the final post of the final round. If you have made this far, give yourself a pat on the back, and make the effort worth while by voting. :-)

In this round, I'm just going to try to make some clarifications in case the debate was hard to follow, and I'll also give some short responses to what Pro said in his closing.

The resolution of this debate is that the great commission is inconsistent with the Calvinist view of predestination, which means that given the great commission, the Calvinist view of predestination must be false.

According to the Calvinist view of predestination, some people are predestined by God to be saved, and some are not. That raises the question of why Jesus would command his followers to preach the gospel. After all, it would seem that if a person is predestined to salvation, then God will save them regardless of what we do. And it would seem that if a person is not predestined to salvation, then God will not save them regardless of what we do. Either way, it doesn't seem to matters whether we preach or not. It's hopeless to preach to the non-elect, and it's redundant to preach to the elect.

That is basically what Pro has been arguing in this debate. He uses Ezekiel as an analogy. Just as the apostles were commanded to make disciples of all nations, so also was Ezekiel commanded to warn people so they would repent. But if Ezekiel refuses to warn people, and those people die in their sins, God holds Ezekiel responsible for their blood (Ezekiel 3:16-21). Now, it only makes sense to hold Ezekiel responsible if his warning could make a difference. That shows that Ezekiel's warnings can have some effect on whether the wicked repent or not. That, in turn, is supposed to show that it is not predestined whether the wicked repent or not. And by analogy, that is supposed to show that the great commission is inconsistent with predestination.

That is the sum of Pro's argument. The bottom line is that Pro think preaching would be superfluous given predestination because whether we choose to preach or not will have no effect on whether the elect are saved or the non-elect are damned.

I gave six arguments in response, explaining why the great commission is not inconsistent with predestination. Some arguments are meant to show that even if some are predestined to salvation, preaching still serves a purpose. Other arguments are meant to show that even if some are not predestined to salvation, preaching still serves a purpose.

1. God ordains the means as well as the ends. In any deterministic chain, each link in the chain is essential for everything that comes after. So if God predestines people to be saved, and uses means to do it, then the means have everything to do with why people end up saved. Preaching is the means by which God calls the elect. It is not superfluous because it is effective in bringing about God's desired end.

Pro never responded to this argument. He claimed in his conclusion that his Ezekiel analogy is his response. But this argument actually answers his Ezekiel analogy. The reason Ezekiel is held responsible for his warnings is because his warnings do, in fact, make a difference. Ezekiel is the means by which God intends some people to repent.

2. The elect are spread throughout the world, mixed in with the non-elect, and prior to conversion, we don't know who is who. It makes sense, then, for us to preach the gospel to all creatures, leaving it to God to determine who will respond and who won't.

In the conclusion, Pro dropped this argument, admitting that the had not made a good response to it. This argument explains why Jesus would have the apostles preach even to the non-elect, which is one of the things Pro objected to.

3. The great commission is more effective given compatibilism than libertarianism. Under compatibilism, our choices are determined by our strongest desire and motivations, which can be influenced by preaching. Under libertarianism, preaching can only be effective insofar as it diminishes libertarian freedom.

Pro agrees that the point of libertarian freedom is that there are no antecedent conditions that are sufficient to explain a person's conversion. By extension, he must admit that preaching can never be a sufficient explanation for why a person converts. That means preaching is less effective under libertarianism than it is under compatibilism.

Pro insists that 1 Corinthians 10:13 is relevant to this debate because it's relevant to the nature of choice. I agree with him that it's relevant to the nature of choice, but it is not relevant to this debate. If the resolution were simply, "Calvinism/predestination/compatibilism is false," or "Libertarian freedom is true," then he could use both the great commission and 1 Corinthians 10:13 to try to prove his point of view. But this debate is over whether the great commission in particular proves that we have libertarian freedom. If there happen to be other passages, like 1 Corinthians 10:13, that prove the same thing, that's irrelevant to this debate. If he wanted to use 1 Corinthians 10:13 to refute compatibilism, then he should've had a different resolution.

4. The gospel is not just an invitation, but also a proclamation, and God has a motive to make his name known even among the non-elect.

Pro doesn't bother to dispute my claim that the gospel is a proclamation or that God would want it proclaimed even to the non-elect. He just points out that the great commission is an invitation. But that's beside the point. There's no question that the great commission involves an invitation. The question is whether it also involves a proclamation. In Pro's definition of the great commission at the beginning of this debate, he said Jesus commanded the church to "preach the gospel to every creature." The gospel is a proclamation about the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-5).

5. I made two points: (1) that even non-believers are influenced by Jesus' moral teachings, and (2) that the gospel reveals the depth of depravity among people.

Pro ignored my second point. He responded to my first point by simply denying it. Admittedly, I didn't offer much in support of that first point, and I don't think it would be appropriate for me to offer a new argument in this last round in support of it. Pro disputes it with nothing more than assertions, though. Since it's his assertions against mine, I suppose we are at an impasse with that point. But keep in mind that Pro has the burden of proof in this debate.

6. Jesus did not think it was inconsistent to preach the gospel to every creature in spite of the fact that some creatures commit the unforgivable sin and therefore can't be saved.

Pro claims that nobody could have committed the unforgivable sin until after Jesus sent "the advocate" and those people had been witnessed to. If you read this passages in its context (Mark 3:22-30), the reason Jesus brought up the subject of the unforgivable sin was because he was accused of having an unclean spirit. In other words, some people were committing blasphemy against the Holy Spirit by calling the Holy Spirit "unclean." So yes, some people were guilty of the unforgivable sin, and Jesus commanded his apostles to preach to every creature anyway. This answers Pro's argument that Jesus wouldn't have commanded us to preach to every creature if there were some who could not be saved.

That's about it. The only issue left is what to name the fallacy Pro admits to committing by calling my position "Pantheism." I don't care what you call the fallacy. It's enough for the purposes of this debate that Pro admits it's a fallacy and continues to commit it.

Thank you for coming to tonight's debate.

And thank you, Marauder, for being a gentleman and a scholar.

Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by philochristos 4 years ago
Wahoo! Congratulations.
Posted by Marauder 4 years ago
I just realized this was my 100th debate.
Posted by Marauder 4 years ago
yeah I have a procrastination habit sometimes. But I never let it keep me from posting on time....well almost never.
Posted by philochristos 4 years ago
I'm glad you didn't forfeit. You were cutting it close!
Posted by Sola.Gratia 4 years ago
I'm voting :) You can count on it.
Posted by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
I'll vote.
Posted by philochristos 4 years ago
Judging by how few the views are so far, I doubt we're going to get a good voter turn out. :-(
Posted by Marauder 4 years ago
I did have a summery for round two, and an opening paragraph defending my paraphrasing....but they had to get cut, which isnt too bad when I don't have to cut into any of my actual arguments.
Posted by philochristos 4 years ago
Wow, thanks! I'm really close to posting my opening. I've been working on it since I accepted.
Posted by Marauder 4 years ago
experiencing right now the Joy and Fear that simultaneously comes from seeing my debate has not only not been accepted by a troll or a poor noob opponent, but has in fact been accapted by one of the best and most respected members on the site specifically in the field of the topic of my challenge.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Paradox_7 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con struck down Pro's argument in the first round, but Pro gave a very honorable fight for his position. Unfortunately, Pros arguments did veer off topic often, but Con kept returning us to the topic at hand, and presented an excellent defense of Calvinism.
Vote Placed by Sola.Gratia 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: This is the best debate I've yet seen. Pro and Con did a very excellent job in their conduct. Both used reliable sources, and had great spelling and grammar so they both remain a tie with those points. However I think Con made better arguments because he seemed to have analyzed everything critically and came up with great thoughts to grab Pros attention to answer. So Con gets the points for better arguments. Great job to you both though!