Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Some clarifications on the authorship of sin

OK, let me make a clarification. Indeed, the phrase "author of sin" does really need clarification. This is one way of clarifying the idea, by pointing out that on a Calvinist view the difference between a world in which I sin and one in which I don't is the result of action by God, while on an Arminian view, it looks like a world in which I don't sin is not a world that God has the power to actualize. I mean here a world identical to this one up to t. God may know this by consulting his middle knowledge, he may know it by simple foreknowledge, or he may not find out about it until it happens (open theism).

On some libertarian views, my decision today affects God's decision to instantiate the world, even though that took place before the foundation of the world. George Mavrodes, for example, is a defender of backwards causation. But all these views make my choice the deciding factor in whether I sin or not.

I take it that when the Calvinistic God is called the author of sin, however, the intent is either to argue either that God is morally blameworthy for sin, or that humans are not blameworthy for sin. The second of these claims requires an incompatibilist account of blameworthiness and, in particular, fitness for retribution.

I think a lot of secular compatibilists, such as Dennett or Schlick, see retribution as a barbarous notion, and think that holding a person morally responsible is a matter of behavior modification. In fact, my master's thesis in philosophy at Arizona State developed that idea. A person could accept some forms of compatibilism while being a cheerful incompatibilist (or incoherentist--the idea of retribution makes no sense) about retribution. A Calvinist doesn't have those options open to him. He is committed to the idea that compatibilist freedom is sufficient to make a sinner fit for retribution.

The first of these claims is that God being the author of sin in the sense described makes him blameworthy for sin. Now the point made by then-atheist/compatibilist Flew would hold if compatibilism were true, namely, that God could have created the world in such a way that everyone freely does what is right. That Calvinist will have to argue that could have does not mean should have, and that God has a reason for creating a world with sinners and even reprobates as opposed to the world of Mr. Rogers, where everyone freely does what is right.

The Calvinist response is typically that God decrees sin so that the sacrifice of Christ can be possible, and God decrees reprobation because the existence of reprobates gives God the opportunity to glorify himself through his wrath against unrepentant sin. This glorification is explained either by saying that it makes the blessed in heaven more grateful for their salvation, or by saying that it is intrinsically good for God to display his wrath as well as his mercy. I find both of these responses perverse in the extreme. But maybe that's just because I suffer from a bad case of Calvin Derangement Syndrome.

Of course, the Calvinist can also say that this is all part of God's secret will, so of course we have no idea why He does it.

90 comments:

Anonymous said...

"I take it that when the Calvinistic God is called the author of sin, however, the intent is either to argue either that God is morally blameworthy for sin, or that humans are not blameworthy for sin. The second of these claims requires an incompatibilist account of blameworthiness and, in particular, fitness for retribution".

Wait, the ellucidation that we are now supposed to receive is that God is the author of sin if we assume libertarianism about free will and moral responsibility???!!!

Well then Arminianism makes God a loser and a failure and an impotent, hand-wringing wussy if we assume Calvinist assumptions. Not to mention immoral and unworthy of worship. Did I mention wussy?

Therefore, Arminianism is false. **I obviously am making a point and am not trying to offend Arminians with invective for no reason**.


One might also add that plenty of philosophers, both determinists and indeterminists, claim that indeterminism rules out human responsibility and does not afford agents the kind of control needed either for a freedom worth having or moral responsibility.

That Calvinism is so obviously false and Arminianism so obviously correct may be one of the most overrstated claims in the history of philosophy and theology.

Arminians like Victor tell us that it is wrong for humans to determine other humans to do some evil. He further argues that if we would call it evil for us to do we must if God does it since we can't call our black God's white. Those are premises Victor has put forth and accepts. Calvinists come back and say that it is wrong for humans to allow immoral acts that they knew would happen if they did not intervene. For instance, if you knew that your co-worker would molest a child unless you intervened, and you had the power to intervene, and you did not, you would be morally responsibly. Then, using Victor's principle that we can't call white for God what would be black for man we can deduce, from premises Victor endorses, that Arminianism's God is evil.

On top of this we have some of the best philosophers ever, Christian and non, that argue that libertarian freedom is incompatible with foreknowledge. The Arminian case is far too shaky for the grand, sweeping declarations of victory we so often see from the hands of Arminian epologists (and this is more general, not necessarily meant to apply just to Victor, though Victor's confidence can't match what he can show).

Really, what I would appreciate is for Victor to admit that he cannot show, and indeed no one to date has shown, that Calvinism is evil or makes God the author of sin unless one shows that by assuming the falsity of what one is arguing against, which is subject to reversals like above and also just begs the question. So, perhaps we can all grant that if you assume indeterminism then determinism looks false. If you assume something like source incompatibilism then compatibilism about moral responsibility is false.

Anonymous said...

"The first of these claims is that God being the author of sin in the sense described makes him blameworthy for sin".

But why does that make God the author of sin? I don't get it. Does author mean blameworthy? That seems odd. How do we figure that. It's not self-evident. It's not analytic. And why is God blameworthy? I don't get it. There seems to be no philosophical work being done by these posts. No clarification. I am stil as befuddled by the claim as I was before reading the post.

"Now the point made by then-atheist/compatibilist Flew would hold if compatibilism were true, namely, that God could have created the world in such a way that everyone freely does what is right".

But this isn't toally accurate. Flew has a problem with hell at all. Indeed, he said so in the C.S. Lewis as Philosopher book you contributed to. Flew has a problem with hell even given Arminianism. And the best part of Flew is that he dodged all his critiques responses by appeal to intuition! It was beautiful.

"The Calvinist response is typically that God decrees sin so that the sacrifice of Christ can be possible, and God decrees reprobation because the existence of reprobates gives God the opportunity to glorify himself through his wrath against unrepentant sin. This glorification is explained either by saying that it makes the blessed in heaven more grateful for their salvation, or by saying that it is intrinsically good for God to display his wrath as well as his mercy. I find both of these responses perverse in the extreme. But maybe that's just because I suffer from a bad case of Calvin Derangement Syndrome".

Of course we argue that you have the same problems and also that you can't make an actual argument against Calvinism. Well, that is to say, you can't make one nearly as rigorous or philosophically sophisticated as something like the AFR. If the AFR was argued for the same way Calvinism is argued against here, it would have been dead the moment it was published.

So Victor, I challenge you to present your argument against Calvinism in the syle of a rigorous philosophical argument, one that could appear in a peer reviewed jornal.

Victor Reppert said...

OK, you're getting ahead of me. What I did was distinguish the statement that God is the author of sin from the implications that are supposed to be drawn from it. I don't need incompatibilism to be able to say that God is the author of sin in the sense defined. I do need it to support the further claims that I have spelled out, which are distinct from the claim that God is the author of sin. I don't see anything in the phrase "author of sin" that entails that God is blameworthy for sin, or that humans are not blameworthy for sin, if Calvinism is true. These claims require further argumentation.

Victor Reppert said...

These posts were considerably more narrow in intention than to provide a critique of Calvinism. They were designed to show that the Arminian claim that Calvinism makes God the author of sin comes out true on one plausible analysis of what it means to say that God is the author of sin.

Vincent Cheung writes:

When Reformed Christians are questioned on whether God is the "author of sin," they are too quick to say, "No, God is not the author of sin." And then they twist and turn and writhe on the floor, trying to give man some power of "self-determination," and some kind of freedom that in their minds would render man culpable, and yet still leave God with total sovereignty.
On the other hand, when someone alleges that my view of divine sovereignty makes God the author of sin, my first reaction tends to be, "So what?" Even Christians who disagree with me stupidly chant, "But he makes God the author of sin, he makes God the author of sin. . . ." However, a description does not amount to an argument or objection, and I have never come across a half-decent explanation as to what's wrong with God being the author of sin in any theological or philosophical work written by anybody from any perspective.

Anonymous said...

Victor,

Vincent Cheung isn't a respected, i.e., acknowledged, Reformed authority. In fact, he's been sharply criticized mainly and mostly by Calvinists.

Anyway, to be fair to him, it is clear in context that Cheung is only saying that one would need to define what author of sin means first before we know whether it is a problem to call God names like that or to deny certain assumptions.

But getting back to it: So here's the argument so far (best as I can tell):

1. Calvinism makes God the author of sin.

Because

2. Calvinism says that God ordains whatsoever comes to pass.

And,

3. If you ordain whatsoever comes to pass you are morally blameworthy for all the sins that come to pass.

And,

4. If you are morally blameworthy for a sin you are the author of that sin.

Therefore,

5. God is the author of sin.


For the argument to work you would actually need to establish 3, which you have not done yet.

To the extent that you have tried, i.e., "the wrongful cause principle" you were met with the "wrongful permission principle".

I would love to see the rigourous argument that proves the conditional in 3. To me it seems like a non-sequitur.

See what I mean?

Anonymous said...

Let's also note that we are morally blameworthy for Adam's transgression, i.e., we have all been judged and reaped consequences from it, and need a savior otherwise we would go to hell, but in what sense can it be said that we authored Adam's sin? Therefore, 4 is also false.

Anonymous said...

"I don't see anything in the phrase "author of sin" that entails that God is blameworthy for sin, or that humans are not blameworthy for sin, if Calvinism is true. These claims require further argumentation."

Okay. Sounds good.


FWIW, the Westminster Confession and the London Baptist Confession, two pretty good guides to Reformed beliefs on many matters, both claim God ordains whatsoever comes to pass and that God is not te author of sin. SO apparently Calvinists, and the historical context of their time, understood 'author of sin' to mean something other than 'ordainer of all that comes to pass.'

Kyle said...

Victor - I thought you gave a pretty fair synopsis of the Calvinist take on things, though I don't follow why you find the Calvinist explanation for reprobates to be perverse.

I think I missed what the Arminian position was for why there must be reprobates. Is it because he can't prevent them?

Victor Reppert said...

The idea is that salvation requires response on the part of humans to God, and obedience that is brought about by God is less than real obedience. It is like rocks obeying the law of gravity. I mean, what else can rocks do? If I were to sustain someone love by constantly having to apply Love Potion #9, would it be love?

Lewis wrote: “The moment you have a self at all, there is a possibility of putting yourself first—wanting to be the centre—wanting to be God, in fact. That was the sin of Satan: and that was the sin he taught the human race. Some people think the fall of man had something to do with sex, but that is a mistake. . . . What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come . . . the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

Now mind you, I don't have a refutation for the position of evangelical universalists, people who think that God will find a way to win everyone over to choosing God over self. But if the self-over-God choice is possible once, one would think it's possible ad infinitum, and someone who makes that choice ad infinitum would be out of fellowship with God permanently.

As for the reasons for reprobation presented by Calvinists, I think them perverse because, in the case of the idea that people have to be damned in order for the blessed in heaven to see the graciousness of their salvation, I have argued at several points that God could accomplish this by other means rather easily, given the fact that God is dealing with people who have already received the redemption of Christ, which is why they are in heaven in the first place. These are people who see God, not through a glass darkly, but face to face. I don't see that anything about God's nature needs to be revealed to them, and surely this need not be done at the cost of eternal misery that dwarfs the suffering of Auschwitz and the Soviet Gulags combined.

Unless, of course, the punishment of sinners has intrinsic value. The impression one gets is that God would be less than fully glorified unless God didn't have the opportunity, not merely on earth, but in eternity, to express his wrath, and hence he's got to decree the existence of reprobates in order to get that glory. Apparently, Sodom and Gomorrah isn't good enough. To me, the punishment of sin is less of a complete defeat for sin that repentance for that sin. So long as the sinner remains unrepentant, he or she may suffer for that sin, but the sin remains unrenounced.

Further, to me, wrath isn't some separately existing attribute that God has. If God creates us so that we can't be permanently happy except in him, but we use our free will to separate ourselves from him, then the resultant misery is guaranteed to feel like wrath. Wrath is part of holy love. If you are a good husband, and you find your wife was unfaithful, you won't just ask "was it fun?"

Robert said...

Hello Victor, [part 1]

“The idea is that salvation requires response on the part of humans to God, and obedience that is brought about by God is less than real obedience. It is like rocks obeying the law of gravity. I mean, what else can rocks do? If I were to sustain someone love by constantly having to apply Love Potion #9, would it be love?”

I agree and that is why I sometimes use the analogy of calvinism producing humans that are merely “Stepford wives”. I and I believe God is the same, want real humans not robots!

I like the Lewis quote and it fits the nature of sin as “playing God” or as one friend involved in AA tells me that they use the word “Ego” for “edging God out.”


“Now mind you, I don't have a refutation for the position of evangelical universalists, people who think that God will find a way to win everyone over to choosing God over self.”

I understand what you are saying here, but I continue to believe that the bible properly interpreted does contradict and hence refute universalism. Both calvinism and universalism seem to me to have a similar problem: there are some very clear and explicit bible verses that directly contradict them and hence refute them. They attempt to reinterpret these verses to give them alternative explanations but I do not find these alternative explanations to be persuasive (actually they are quite strained and desperate). So I reject both as being unbiblical and unpersuasive.

“But if the self-over-God choice is possible once, one would think it's possible ad infinitum, and someone who makes that choice ad infinitum would be out of fellowship with God permanently.”

And I believe that goes to what hell is: partly it is the eternal experience of saying to God “you will not rule over me, I will rule over myself . . .” Lewis said something similar about Hell not being a person saying to God “your will be done,” but God saying to a person “your will be done” (i.e. you don’t want me so you won’t have me you will only have yourself).

Robert

Robert said...

Hello Victor [part 2]

“As for the reasons for reprobation presented by Calvinists, I think them perverse because, in the case of the idea that people have to be damned in order for the blessed in heaven to see the graciousness of their salvation, I have argued at several points that God could accomplish this by other means rather easily, given the fact that God is dealing with people who have already received the redemption of Christ, which is why they are in heaven in the first place. These are people who see God, not through a glass darkly, but face to face. I don't see that anything about God's nature needs to be revealed to them, and surely this need not be done at the cost of eternal misery that dwarfs the suffering of Auschwitz and the Soviet Gulags combined.”

That is a persuasive reason for rejecting the calvinist notion of reprobation for the sake of the elect. Another reason to reject it is what it says about God’s character if it were true. A third reasoon to reject it is that the bible does not teach it.


“Further, to me, wrath isn't some separately existing attribute that God has. If God creates us so that we can't be permanently happy except in him, but we use our free will to separate ourselves from him, then the resultant misery is guaranteed to feel like wrath. Wrath is part of holy love. If you are a good husband, and you find your wife was unfaithful, you won't just ask "was it fun?"”

The key line here is that “wrath is part of holy love”. A good person hates what is harmful to those whom they love. Sin brings the greatest harm to humans because it separates us from God. God hates sin because he, like no other, realizes how sin destroys things. It seems to me that a person who is morally perfect is just the person who will hate sin the most. Not because he merely hates people who sin (which is all of us) but because he better than anyone understands that sin kills and destroys. And worst of all from God’s perspective, it separates man from God.

Just as God hates sin because of how it kills and separates persons from himself, similarly I believe the images for hell in scripture, are the strongest precisely because from the perspective of one who loves all and desires loving relationship with all, for someone to be unnecessarily separated from the one who perfectly loves is the worst possible eternal destiny from God's perspective.

Robert

Kyle said...

Two things -

1. I think my question was stated wrong. I meant something along the lines of, assuming that a universalist position isn't true, according to an arminian perspective, since God already foreknows who is not going to repent, is there nothing he can do to prevent it? Can't he, for instance, neglect to create those people?

2. It seems that no good Christian can talk about hell without pointing out how well it displays the goodness of God's character. That is, without glorifying God.

William Watson Birch said...

Anonymous,

Vincent Cheung isn't a respected, i.e., acknowledged, Reformed authority. In fact, he's been sharply criticized mainly and mostly by Calvinists.

I suppose that is why he is featured on Monergism, because he "isn't a respected, i.e. acknowledged, Reformed [you mean Calvinist] authority"? Where's the "sharp criticism" from Monergism?

I suppose you reject R. C. Sproul Jr. as well, since he logically believes that God is the "author of sin," or whatever other term you prefer for naming God as the One who, as Grudem states, "cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do" (Bible Doctrine, 147). Will you now state that Grudem "isn't a respected, i.e., acknowledged, Reformed [you mean Calvinist] authority"?

a helmet said...

Anonymous,

Calvinists univocally say that God, who is holy, is the potter of vessels of dishonor. The potter of vessels of dishonor IS the author of sin. This is how Calvinism makes God the author of sin.

By the way, Calvinism argues humans are blameworthy for their sins on the basis of their desires of their hearts that cause them to commit sins. But God, who is holy, is said to have predestinated and determined exactly these desires! Since humans are said to be culpable or blameworthy on the basis of these desires and God is the originator of these desires, God would indeed have to be the blameworthy author of sin.

You should abolish the "greater good defense".

-a helmet

Robert said...

[response to Kyle part 1]

Kyle wrote:

"1. I think my question was stated wrong. I meant something along the lines of, assuming that a universalist position isn't true, according to an arminian perspective, since God already foreknows who is not going to repent, is there nothing he can do to prevent it? Can't he, for instance, neglect to create those people?"


First, you are not thinking things through sufficiently from an Arminian perspective here. If God foreknows that outcome (the outcome that a particular individual ends up in hell), then that means that that same individual must have freely chosen to reject every opportunity that God gave them before they ended up in hell. People do not just end up in hell by accident, or by God's decree (i.e., Calvinism). No, they only end up there AFTER A LIFETIME OF REJECTING GOD’S LOVE AND MERCY, OVER AND OVER AGAIN (i.e., Arminianism). God's love and mercy is seen for that individual, in that he sincerely reached out to these people, enabled them to have faith, and yet they repeatedly rejected Him (and in fact rejected Him for a LIFETIME).

Second, according to scripture even one sin is enough to get you to hell if it is not dealt with. So technically speaking if God wanted to prevent anyone from going to hell the options would seem to be: (1) to not create human persons at all (if they can’t sin because they don’t exist, then they cannot end up in hell; we know this is not the option that God chose as we are having this discussion); (2) to create human persons who are incapable of sin (that obviously did not happen as Adam and Eve sinned as have every other human person except Jesus), (3) create people who can and do sin but provide a way of dealing with their sins that prevents them from going to hell (this is in fact the approach that God has taken, this is revealed in the bible, God provides Jesus as an atonement for the sins of the world, makes this plan known through gospel presentation and then those who accept it can be in relationship with God and have their sins forgiven and dealt with through the cross).

The biblical message regarding sin and evil is not that God **sought to prevent it**, but that He allowed it and is taking steps to **overcome it**.

Robert

Robert said...

[response to Kyle part 2]


So in fact we know that the third option is the one that God chose and that God has taken steps to prevent people from going to hell by overcoming sin through the work of Christ. In the Arminian perspective since he desires for all to be saved and gives opportunities to people to be saved, he in fact has done what needs to be done for someone to be prevented from going to hell. Now if those same people who have the atonement of Christ provided for them, have the work of the Spirit in their lives revealing Christ, revealing their sinful condition and need of a Savior, etc. etc. And despite all of that they repeatedly and continuously reject it all, then if they end up in hell: they then have no one to blame except for themselves.

That is far different from Calvinism where God decides beforehand who will be lost and then ensures that his already made decisions will become fact and these people never get a legitimate chance to avoid hell. In Calvinism God in fact **wants them (the “reprobates”) to go to hell** before they are even born and makes sure that they go there. These are opposite views regarding the lost and their ending up in hell.

The calvinist will try to mitigate this problem in his view by arguing that the final outcome is the same in both views (whether God decrees it or God foreknows it the outcome is the same so both views face the same problem supposedly). But this evasive maneuver intentionally covers the fact that in one view God gives legitimate opportunities to be saved and they freely choose to reject them for a lifetime, and in the other God wants them damned from eternity and gives them no chance to be saved and **makes sure** (necessitates) that they are damned.

If two people take a class and their final score for the class is 98 and yet one did so legitimately, they studied hard, did the necessary work, did not cheat in taking the tests and the other did not study, did not do the work, cheated on the tests and paid the instructor under the table to get the grade and overlook the cheating we would not say that since the outcome is the same (they both received a 98) that it does not matter that they got there in very different ways. Likewise the Arminian and Calvinist views are very different in how the person ends up in hell.

Robert

Anonymous said...

William Watson Birch,

Trying to defend your poor scholarship I see. Notice that Monergism plainly says that they do not endorse all of the content on their site. Monergism collects a lot of material. Anyway, yes, Cheung is not a respected or acknowledged Reformed thinker. Indeed, no one even knows who he is or anything about him! Besides, where do you get the idea that "if it is on monergism, it is as good as gold"? Monergism includes credo and paedobaptist material. Post mill and amill. I can go on. I trust my point is obvious to all without a world-coloring agenda.

Moving on to Sporul jr, yes, again, he is not an acknowledged Reformed authority. He has a name because of his dad but he is hardly considered a authoritative source to go to. Now, maybe these guys are the guys you listend to when you were supposedly "reformed," and that would explain why you are so incompetant in your critiques of Reformed theology.

Here's a hint, don't try to act more knowledgeable about the state of the Reformed world than those steeped in it. It is highly unlikely that a hostile critic knows more about the state of a position than adherents of the position. Here's one hint: there is not one scholarly Reformed book that cites either Cheung or Sproul jr. work. None. No serious scholar takes them serious. So, yes, you're wrong. As usual.

Anonymous said...

Let's skin and gut Birch some more, since it's so fun. Then I'll hang him on my trophey wall.

Birch says:

"or whatever other term you prefer for naming God as the One who, as Grudem states, "cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do" (Bible Doctrine, 147). Will you now state that Grudem "isn't a respected, i.e., acknowledged, Reformed [you mean Calvinist] authority"?

Of course Grudem is a top-notch scholar. Not even in the same leage with guys like Sproul jr and Cheung. But of course Birch doesn't interact with Grudem in a scholary way. He adds no context and simply quote mines. In this passage Grudem is talking about concurrance. All orthodox positions believe that God upholds and cooperates with everything. God has to uphold the muscles of the rapist's penis, otherwise the rapist couldn't rape. This is so on Arminianism.

Even Arminians say that God is the cause of sin. For example, in the process of exploding myths about Arminianism, Roger Olson states:

“God is the first cause of whatever happens; even a sinful act cannot occur without God as its first cause…” (122)

So, I see your Grudem and raise you an Olson.

Since you're still off for the summer, come back any time you want to go to school again, son.

William Watson Birch said...

"Anonymous,"

Trying to defend your poor scholarship I see.

Spoken just like a blogger on Triablogue. Interesting! You gotta love "anonymous" cowards.

Monergism includes credo and paedobaptist material. Post mill and amill. I can go on. I trust my point is obvious to all without a world-coloring agenda.

And yet, look at all the material by Vincent Cheung that they promote on their site (linked above). Not bad for one who is "not," as you say, a "respected, i.e. acknowledged, Reformed authority"? If he is not a well-repsected authority on Reformed theology, why would Monergism link to so much of his material?

Does Monergism provide their readers with writings by Charles Finney, for example? Aboslutely not. I wonder why. And yet they offer Cheung's various theological writings. I'm sure it has nothing to do with him not being well-respected.

Here's a hint, don't try to act more knowledgeable about the state of the Reformed world than those steeped in it.

Right, because only Calvinists truly understand Calvinism. What a cult-mentality you and some other unfortunate Calvinists maintain. The more words you spew forth the more you validate my theses concerning you.

It is highly unlikely that a hostile critic knows more about the state of a position than adherents of the position.

And logically, you just indicted yourself concerning Arminianism. Congratulations! You are the vicitm of your own sad logic.

Anonymous said...

More Birch trees to cut down:

Birch cites Grudem:

"as Grudem states, "cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do" (Bible Doctrine, 147). Will you now state that Grudem "isn't a respected, i.e., acknowledged, Reformed [you mean Calvinist] authority"?

I see your Grudem and raise you an Olson:

According to Olsen, God doesn't ordain sins, but "every human act, including sin, is impossible without God's cooperation" (121).

According to Olson: “God is the first cause of whatever happens; even a sinful act cannot occur without God as its first cause…” (122)

How's that tall glass of cold milk taste?

Anonymous said...

BTW, I don't mean Calvinistic when I say Reformed. I mean Reformed. Olson makes this same error and doesn't even interact with the arguments of confessionalists; which I suppose you haven't either. No suprise here, though.

William Watson Birch said...

"Anonymous,"

It goes down smooth, given the cookies that accompany it: God does not desire for anyone to sin, but He does desire to permit
or allow for us to sin. Hence the LFW view.

I don't mean Calvinistic when I say Reformed. I mean Reformed.

Good for you. That's historically accurate.

William Watson Birch said...

"Anonymous,"

And did you neglect to record: "that God does not cause sin, and that human liberty (to commit sin freely) not be abridged," Olson on Arminius's view is what you're referring to (122)?

Also: "But that does not mean God is the efficacious cause of them or wills them, except according to his 'consequent will.' God allows them and cooperates with them unwillingly in order to preserve the sinners' liberty" (122-23).

You are being intentionally deceptive with scholarly data, and I want everyone here to see it for themselves!

Anonymous said...

William Watson Birch.

I see you don't have an answer to my counter-argument. Expected. I cited an Arminian saying exactly the same thing Grudem says. God causes sin and God cooperates with the sinner. Are you oblivious to my refutation? it is so clear that your my position is no longer the proper object of rejoinder from you. No you can clarify and recast and move goal posts and I'mm meet you there. But going strictly on what you said, I refuted your claims. I also note you didn't inderact with my rejoinder to your claims about Cheung and Sproul jr. Didn't really expect you to, though.

My claim about Reformed theology is not historically inaccurate. It is if you use the hack scholarship of Olson. I however mentioned the arguments of the confessionalists. You give no indication that you have read their arguments.

Anonymous said...

I was not dishonest with Olson. I simply cited bits and pieces from him like you did with Grudem.


Olson says God does and does not cause sin. So apparently there is a sense in which he does and a sense in which he doesn't. Same for Grudem.

Also, how would you prove that I was "intentionally" dishonest? how do you have access to my mental states? if you cannot do this I ask you to apologize or have all here see that Arminians have no problem lying about people and making claims that theyn cannot rationally support. They have problems if Calvinists do this. They are respecters of persons.

William Watson Birch said...

"Anonymous,"

I can't wait to see this show up on a Triablogue post.

I see you don't have an answer to my counter-argument. Expected. I cited an Arminian saying exactly the same thing Grudem says.

Uh, using the same words is tantamount to the same argument or meaning? Clearly, IF YOU READ MY SECOND RESPONSE AT ALL, the clarification I presented, from Olson's text itself, the text which you yourself quoted from, was obvious enough. What Grudem means and what Olson means (presenting Arminius's argument) are two entirely different things. I realize that might be difficult for you to comprehend. Usually Calvinists cannot look past their own presuppositions to see anything objectively.

Read them again. Grudem (i.e. Calvinism): God "cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do." I know this may be a difficult distinction, so I'll go real slow. God "causes" people to act as they do. That includes cooperating with people to sin. God causes sin.

Now, follow along, "anonymous." See, in Arminianism, God, according to the Olson book which you yourself just quoted from, "does not cause sin, and that human liberty (to commit sin freely) not be abridged" (122).

Do you see the difference? Grudem: God causes people to sin. Olson: God does not cause people to sin. Did you follow that? Did you catch the polar opposites? Let me know if you didn't get that, and I'll try posting some charts, or maybe some diagrams with stick figures.

My claim about Reformed theology is not historically inaccurate. It is if you use the hack scholarship of Olson.

I'm so embarrassed for you, really. The reason I do not "react" (respond) to every little statement that you make is really for your benefit. I said that you WERE, read it (YOU ARE) accurate in what you stated about Reformed theology not being synonymous with Calvinism. Did you understand what I just wrote? If not, let me know. I can draw up some diagrams for that as well.

I however mentioned the arguments of the confessionalists. You give no indication that you have read their arguments.

I'm utterly amazed at your presumptuous nature. How on earth could you possibly know what I have and have not read. Is it merely because I did not quote from such and such. I've read some of Nietzsche also, but one would never know it by interacting with me.

William Watson Birch said...

"Anonymous,"

Olson says God does and does not cause sin. So apparently there is a sense in which he does and a sense in which he doesn't. Same for Grudem.

It is NOT the same for Grudem as it is for Olson, as stated in my above response.

Grudem uses a thing we call a preposition. God causes people to sin. That is not what Olson (or Arminius) stated. That is how you're being dishonest with the text.

And it is YOU who should apologize for doing such!

Anonymous said...

William Watson Birch,

Perhaps you could spell it out for me.

Are you disagreeing with Olson that no sin could occur without God's cooperation? Or that God is the cause of sin.

I just don't see it. Surely you have a better response than to announce that I'm wrong.

And, maybe I am stupid and so can't interpret Olson right. Or perhaps I missed something. You are accusing me of a sin and you have no proof. You can apologize or stand before the father and give an account. Either you, we both know you cannot prove I was dishonest yet we know you are so proud you will not apologoze. That's because Arminians are mean, hateful people. They are what they worship. I treat you like you treat calvinists. Don't like tasting your own medicine? Then lay off the rhetoric and address the arguments.

Anonymous said...

I don't see it Birch. I see you shouting and yelling but I don't see how you have got around the Olson quotes. At best you make him contradict himself.

Anonymous said...

Olson "[Arminius' denied that God is in any way the casue of the first sin..." (145)

Olson: "For [Arminius] God is the first cause of whatever happens; even a sinful act cannot occur without God as its first cause..." (122).

You're gonna lose this war Birch. Pick on someone your own size.

Anonymous said...

Birch doesn't tell people that the heading of his quote from Grudem is titled: "Concurrance."

Grudem is simply laying out the historic position on this doctrine. One that Arminius asnd Olson would agree with.

Birch also sweeps under the rug the fact that Olson says, point blank, that NO SIN could occur if God did not first CAUSE it and also COOPERATE with it.

This means that no rape could occur unless God upheld the blood need for an erection to occur. God sustained and upheld the muscles needed to rape. God cooperated with the rapist.

It is literally mind-boggling that Arminians think they don't have the eaxact same problem they say calvinists have.

Going back to grudem. Where Birch needs to direct his guns is at providence. Grudem's view of concurrance is the view all orthodox scholars have held.

Birch's entire debate strategy is to posture about how embarrassed he is for people. He sounds like a little kid and yet he's 40. grow upo, Birch. No one is impressed by your bluster.

Anonymous said...

"sin requires the divine concurrance, which is necessary tom produce every act; because nothing whatever can have any entity except from the First and Cheif Being, who immediately produces that entity. The concurrance of God is not his immediate inful into a second inferior cause, but it is an action of God immediately flowing into the effect of the creature, so that the same effects in one and the same entire action may be produced simultaneously bu God and creature." - Jacob Arminius in Arminian Theology, Olson, p.122

William Watson Birch said...

"Anonymous,"

You are my own size.

Are you disagreeing with Olson that no sin could occur without God's cooperation?

No. I have yet to disagree with Olson's comments in this thread whatsoever. The subject, if you'll recall, is how sin comes about.

Do you, "anonymous," disagree with Grudem? It seems that you do. You seem to be timid in admitting that in Calvinism, God directs people "to act as they do." Do you disagree with this?

This is all just a smoke screen from you. You run from Grudem to Olson in a (poor) attmept at disproving Arminianism. And yet it is Calvinism's claims concerning God's relationship to sin that is the crux of this discussion.

Olson, defining Arminius's argument, did not state that God causes people to "act as they do," did he? Olson, again, defining Arminius's argument, stated that God, in his sovereignty, "cooperates" with people. But that is only half the story. And this is how you are being dishonest with the text.

Olson goes on to say that "God does not cause sin, and that human liberty (to commit sin freely) not be abridged" (121). You have yet to acknowldge this. Why? You are avoiding this. Why? You state Olson's first clause without qualifying it whatsoever so that it will corroborate with Grudem. That is dishonest.

I see you shouting and yelling but I don't see how you have got around the Olson quotes.

I'm not shouting or yelling one iota. How on earth do you get me shouting or yelling? But don't think that I (or others) cannot see what you're trying to do with that accusation.

Olson: "For [Arminius] God is the first cause of whatever happens; even a sinful act cannot occur without God as its first cause..." (122).

Olson continues: "Arminius argued that when God has permitted an act [something which Calvin would never admit], God never denies concurrence to a rational and free creature for that would be contradictory. In other words, once God decides to permit an act [again, something which Calvin would never admit], even a sinful one, he cannot consistently withhold the powerr to commit it. . . . This is why Scripture sometimes attributes evil deeds to God; because God concurs with them. God cooperates with the sinners who commit them. But that does not mean God is the efficacious cause of them or wills them, except according to his 'consequent will.' God allows them and cooperates with them unwillingly in order to preserve the sinners' liberty" (122-23).

This is NOT what Calvinism (or Grudem) teaches. Olson and Arminius state that God is NOT the efficacious cause of sin (as does Grudem and Calvinism), but that God does "cooperate" with them "unwillingly" so that the sinners' "liberty" is preserved.

Thus when a sinner sins, it is not because God put it into the hearts or minds of the sinner to carry out a foreordained decree of God. Are you intentionally ignoring this fact? Olson and Arminius admit to God's sovereignty and providential control over every sinner, but they certainly are not teaching that God "cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do." In Arminius's theology, God does not "cause them to act as they do," they act freely.

What say you?

Anonymous said...

"However, in the case of sinful or evil acts, whereas the same event is produced by both God and the human being, the guilt is not transferred to God, because God is the effecter of the act but only the permitter of the sin itself." (122).

It is nothing but intellectual dishonesty to hold a position like this and yet think only Calvinism's God gives us a problem of evil.

If a rape could not occur unless I gave it permission, how woiuld *I* not be guilty? If a rape could not occur unless *I* cooperated, how owuld *I* not be guilty? If a rape could not occue unless *I* was the first and ultimate cause, how woild *I* not be guilty? If I knew that a rape would occur at time t unless I interveded and prevented it, and I had the power to intervene and prevent it, how would *I* not be guilty?

I would, and we all know it. So to kick Olson when he's down, let's read what he says:

Olson claims that in judging God’s actions we must avoid the idea of God as one "whose goodness bears no real analogy to the best of human goodness" (111) and his justice "cannot be so foreign to the very best [human] understandings of justice ... that it is emptied of meaning" (120).


All human conceptions of goodness and justice would say that *I* was immoral in all the above circumstances. So Arminians must mean that "the guilt does not transfer" because God can apparently do some things that would be sinful and wrong for humans to do, yet not be responsible. But Arminians don't apply this reasoning to Calvinism. They seem to think that if they determined or ordained or brought it about that a sinner would rape a women, then if God did so he too would be immoral. Yet why don't they afford the Calvinist position the same charity they afford their own? Why does the "guilt transfer" on the Calvinist position, especially since we are considering a sui generous case of divine interaction with the world??? I'll tell you why, it's because Arminians are masters of self-excepting fallacies and they are respecters of persons.

William Watson Birch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William Watson Birch said...

"Anonymous,"

If a rape could not occur unless I gave it permission, how woiuld *I* not be guilty? If a rape could not occur unless *I* cooperated, how owuld *I* not be guilty? If a rape could not occue unless *I* was the first and ultimate cause, how woild *I* not be guilty? If I knew that a rape would occur at time t unless I interveded and prevented it, and I had the power to intervene and prevent it, how would *I* not be guilty?

Then why on earth are you so toubled when Arminians point out (even if inconsistently from your point of view) that Calvinism libels God as the "author of sin" (whatever that means)? Certainly he is the "author of sin" and you have even admitted such (using the "guilty" language).

Is your whole goal an effort to point out that Arminianism, too, charges God as the "author of sin"? So then, the actual charge is not the issue, is it? It's the inconsistency, from your view, that Arminians are also guilty of making God the author of sin but do not realize it?

William Watson Birch said...

"Anonymous,"

You have (again) missed the big picture, haven't you?

In your rape scenario, Calvinism confesses that the actual rape was God's idea for someone to carry out, and then God himself set up all of the circumstances so that the perpetrator would have no other choice ("choice" being a fiction, given that there is no such thing as free will) but to rape. For remember, God put the idea of rape into the perpetrator's mind ("causing sinners to act and to do" that which God had decreed).

Yet in Arminianism, God did not put the idea to rape into the heart and mind of the perpetrator, but did allow it to happen. And because he allowed it, Calvinists want to say that Arminianism is no better off than is Calvinism, failing to draw the distinction between God allowing sinners to carry out sinful deeds (Arminianism), and God causing sinners to act and to do that which he has decreed (Calvinism).

The Dude said...

Birch:

Olson said God directs people to act as they do. I inderstand that you have the need to read Grudem as meaning that people are puppets and God directs them in that sense, but Grudem is clear that this isn't what is meant.

I know Olson says that God does not cause sin, but he also states that he does. So he must have different senses in mind, same with Grudem. Why can't you grasp this?

Oslon says that sinful acts are PRODUCED by God.

Produced: to bring into existence; give rise to; cause: to produce steam.

I have cited Olson stating clearly that GOD CAUSES SIN. You cannot get around this. This renders all your remarks about Calvin's God as the causer of sin totally undercut and arbitrary.

I also deny your attempts to weasle out of Arminianisms problem of evil by the words you think get you off the hook. My claim is noit that the positions are identical but that Arminianism has no less a problem of evil. I do not find that the rape of a child needing God's cooperation and permission in order to occur get your god off the hook. The quotes I cited show this quite clearly.

I showed that Arminians can get their god off the hook by stating that what would normally render a human morally responsible does "not transfer" to the case of god-cooperation-with-evil and god-causing-of-sin. I make the same move.

I showed that your position says the same things as Grudem and that your attempt to excuse your god and not Calvin's God is nothing but arbitrary ad hocery.

William Watson Birch said...

And on top of that, Calvinists insist:

I'll tell you why, it's because Arminians are masters of self-excepting fallacies and they are respecters of persons.

I think I'm finished dialoguing with irrational people.

Anonymous said...

I also cited Olson as saying God does not cause sin IN ANY SENSE then him sayting that God causes sin!!!!! This is a contradiction and shows his muddleheadedness. You cannot refute this.

Anonymous said...

William Watson Birch said...
And on top of that, Calvinists insist:

I'll tell you why, it's because Arminians are masters of self-excepting fallacies and they are respecters of persons.

I think I'm finished dialoguing with irrational people.

August 26, 2009 1:22 PM


I can certainly understand why you would want to end the debate.

William Watson Birch said...

The Dude,

Olson said God directs people to act as they do.

Where? You give me the EXACT quote from Olson, where he stated that God CAUSES PEOPLE TO ACT AS THEY DO.

If you cannot, then you are just as guilty as the "anonymous" person who is being dishonest with the text. Give me Olson's words, which you said he wrote, in just that way (like Grudem) - that God "causes people to act as they do."

William Watson Birch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William Watson Birch said...

"Anonymous,"

I want to end the debate for two reasons:

1) I have plenty of homework to accomplish this evening

2) You are an unreasonable rationalist

3) I do not have all of the time that you certainly have to spend on the computer (for you constantly demonstrate the amount of time you have on the comupter on a daily basis)

The Dude said...

Birch:

"In your rape scenario, Calvinism confesses that the actual rape was God's idea for someone to carry out, and then God himself set up all of the circumstances so that the perpetrator would have no other choice ("choice" being a fiction, given that there is no such thing as free will) but to rape. For remember, God put the idea of rape into the perpetrator's mind ("causing sinners to act and to do" that which God had decreed)".

Still don't get it I see.

God knew that if he created this world then a rape would occur unless he intervened. He created it anyway. Guess it was his idea for the rape to be carried out in actuallity.

Of course that you have to resort to straw men in order to win tells us a lot about you. What is meant by "God puts the idea in their mind?" If, as Olson says, the thought was PRODUCED by God, then on your own terms, in this sense, God put the idea in the mind of the rapist too!!!

If, as Olson says, God had to cooperate with the sinner or else the thought of the rape would not have arose in the mind, in what world to you think there is a substantial difference?

If, as Olson says, God caused the idea to come into the mind, what is the difference?

If God created the world where the sinner would freely sin given a certain set of circumstances, and god created those circumstances, how do you think you're off the hook?

Besides that, why do you think ability to do otherwise is a requirement for freedom. William Lane craig denies this. Dave Hunt denies this. Linda Zagbeski denies this. Michael Bergmann denies this. They are all big name libertarians and philosophers. They know more about action theory than you ever will.

I just don't find your arguments credible.


Furthermore, I showed where Olson says God directed them, though the *words* aren't there, the *concept* is. if God PRODUCED and CAUSED and COOPERATED with the rape, and if he didn't do that the rape wouldn't happen, how didn't he direct it.

"For someone to lifet his or her hand requires God's concurrance, God loans, as it were, thge power sufficient to lift a hand, and without God's cooperation even such a trivial actm woudl be impossible." (Olson, 117).

Now just apply that to the rapists erection!!! That you don't see the problem you have is evidence of your close mindedness and inability to apply the same critical mind tom your own position that you do to the Calvinist's.


Moreoever, when God ordains evil he ordains it to a good end. Even Arminius and Olson allow that this is unproblematic:

"Nothing is done without God's ordination or appointment: if by the word ordination is signified that God appoints things of any kind to be done, this mode of ennunciation is erroneous, and it follows as a concequence from it, that God is the author of sin. But if it signifiesd that whatever it be that is done, God ordains it to a good end, the terms in which it is conceived are in that case correct.

If that is our position, and it is, then you HAVE NO ARGUMENT!

The Dude said...

More hack arguments from Olson which testify against Birch because Birch is too uncritical to find the problems.

Birch cited Olson thus:

God cooperates with the sinners who commit them. But that does not mean God is the efficacious cause of them or wills them, except according to his 'consequent will.' God allows them and cooperates with them unwillingly in order to preserve the sinners' liberty" (122-23).


But Olson also says:

"In other words, whatever happens, including sin, is at least allowed by God, but if it is positively evil, and not only evil to a mistaken understanding, it is not authored or authorized by God. God permits it 'designedly and willingly', but not efficaciously."

Pick on someone you own size, Birch.

drwayman said...

Anonymous - It would behoove you not to post anonymously on blogs. I will demonstrate in the next blog.

Anonymous said...

I have looked over my posts and after much prayer, I regret my comments especially the one that says that we should gut Birch. I realize that is not the kind of thing a Spirit-filled Christian should say. Please forgive me.

drwayman said...

Lest anybody thing that anonymous wrote that last post...

I am demonstrating to anonymous that not revealing himself weakens his argument.

ANYBODY could pose as him and make him say anything that they want.

I don't think we should respond to anonymous people on the internet. They should be brave enough to take responsibility for what they say.

Anonymous said...

drwayman,

You demostrated nothing. You also reveal your weaknesses. You have certain cultural sensitivities that you think apply to spirit filled Christians. Applying rules the custom of Babylon to the kingdom of God. I could equally respond that you are anonymous. No one knows who drwyman is.

Anonymous said...

Since you are a raving Arminian, I can see why you would take issue with my posts, though. I would want them discredited too.

Anonymous said...

Prasing and gloating over "Calvin's wall of shame" is not what a Spirit filled Christian should do.

You're an Arminian respecter of persons.

Anonymous said...

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there.
(Titus 3:1-12 ESV)

Anonymous said...

"As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned."

So I take it that the Arminians who continue to "warn" us, ad nauseum refuse to obey this verse but expect the people they warn to obey it?


They don't think certain parts of the Bible apply to them since they are respecters of persons.

arminianperspectives said...

Anonymous (the one who keeps referring to Billy by his full name, and arguing over quotes by Olson and Grudem),

Are you Paul Manata?

Since you are so concerned about honesty, I trust that you will honestly answer this very simple question.

The Dude, a.k.a. Boba Fett, a.k.a. Bill Smith, are you Paul Manata or any other Triablogue contributer?

I thank you in advance for your honesty in answering these questions.

God Bless,
Ben

steve said...

arminianperspectives said...

Anonymous...Are you Paul Manata?

Since you are so concerned about honesty, I trust that you will honestly answer this very simple question.

I thank you in advance for your honesty in answering these questions.

****************************

Since Ben equates honesty with revealing one's true identity, I trust that Ben will direct the same question to "Robert."

What is "Robert's" true identity. What's his full name?

I'm sure the Ben will be evenhanded about this, and not be a respecter of persons.

localtheo said...

So tell me where in the bible it says God causes sin?
By the way most of our theology is theoretical and unprovable until Christ himself returns, instead of arguing over rubbish why dont you try doing as Jesus instructs through the use of a parable in Matt 25?
Anon I am Arminian but rather than spend my time debating hyper Calvinists id sooner do the stuff Jesus suggests.
Because debating a hyper calvinist equates to teaching a pig to sing it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

arminianperspectives said...

Steve,

My question wasn't directed to you, unless your response is an admission that you are "anonymous" and “Boba Fett”, a.k.a., "The Dude", a.k.a. "Bill Smith", since you have now responded to a question directed to whoever they are.

Since Ben equates honesty with revealing one's true identity, I trust that Ben will direct the same question to "Robert."

I don't equate honesty with revealing one's true identity. I am equating honesty with being honest in answering my question. However, I am sure you would agree that purposely posing as someone other than who you are is dishonest and deceptive.

What is "Robert's" true identity. What's his full name?

I'm sure the Ben will be evenhanded about this, and not be a respecter of persons.


It is not my job to defend Robert, but I do know that he has explained his reasons why he does not use his full name. I can vouch for him since I have had personal correspondences with him and I know his last name. I also know that Robert is in fact his legal first name according to those correspondences.

But, as was pointed out, even if someone wrote their first and last name, it wouldn't mean that they are who they say they are on the internet. Anyone can make up a last name as well as a first. For a long time I did not want anyone to know my last name since I was uneasy about that being on the internet, but I eventually allowed my last name to get out.

TurrentinFan is "anonymous" in that he does not reveal his name on the internet. However, we all recognize him as "TurrentinFan". He doesn't have to reveal his whole name to provide a steady reference for himself. It is the same with Robert or anyone else (you may know my last name, but you still don't really know that I am not using a fake name [and there are a lot of people in the world who share my first and last name anyway], except for the fact that I assert that the name I use is my real name).

Now if Robert, or TurrentinFan, or Steve Hays, or Ben Henshaw, or anyone else, begins to write as "anonymous" or create a different profile, and then argue on the internet as if they are not the same person, and refuse to admit that they are that person, even when asked (or worse yet, lie about it), then that is dishonest. It is a fairly common opinion on the internet that sock puppeting of that sort is dishonest, and frowned upon even by unbelievers.

I will no longer be interacting with you concerning this matter, as my questions were not addressed to you (unless, as already noted, your response is simply your way of admitting that you are "anonymous" and "Boba Fett", etc.).

God Bless,
Ben

steve said...

arminianperspectives said...

"However, I am sure you would agree that purposely posing as someone other than who you are is dishonest and deceptive."

Brace yourself in case Rich Little or Meryl Streep sue you for libel.

Robert said...

Hello Victor, [part 1]

The original intent of this thread was to **clarify** the concept of “author of sin”. An “anonymous” calvinist tried to hijack the thread and throw out a red herring by attacking Billy from CLASSICAL ARMINIANISM here I want to get back into the issue and explain why from an Arminian perspective we see the calvinists who argue that God “ordaineth whatsoever comes to pass” to be **making God the author of sin.”

By “author of sin” we mean that any view that ends up making God the **direct cause** of sin is unbiblical and wrong. Most non-calvinists believe that God does not desire for sin to occur though he allows it. Furthermore, we believe that only men and angels sin, and when they sin, they do so without being coerced or forced to do so.

A person is **coerced** when they are forced against their will to do something (e.g. the paradigm illustration being if a person is forced to rob a bank because he has a gun pointed at his head or his family is being directly threatened if he does not). Arminians and calvinists agree that this would be coercion and that this would not be right.

Calvinists further argue that free will means you are “doing what you want”, acting “voluntarily”. For non-Calvinists acting voluntarily is not enough to be acting freely. This is the case because if someone had the ability and power to take over your body and mind and thoughts and desires and beliefs and motives, everything about you and then directly caused you to do something, then we do not believe that you would be acting freely. Not only would you not be acting freely, you would be FORCED TO DO WHAT YOU DO.

Analogy to illustrate the two ways a person may be forced to do something (one against his will/coercion, one controlling his will/contrained). Say Joe works at a bank and receives credible and reliable information that his family is being held hostage and will be shortly killed unless he robs the bank where he works. If Joe carries out the demands of the kidnappers we would say he was coerced, forced into doing what he did against his will and we would all agree that he was not acting freely.

But say a super scientist, Dr. Black, has developed a superior device (in the past Black could ensure outcomes by preventing people from doing something thus ensuring a desired outcome) now he has a device that allows him to directly and covertly (i.e. without the person who has the device turned upon him being aware of it occurring) every aspect of another person (their body, their mind, their will, their beliefs, desires, everything) called the “possession machine” (this is way beyond merely intervening but involves actually controlling every aspect of another person).

If Hans Gruber the scientist turns on the machine and directs it at “Joe”, Hans now completely and directly controls Joe and his actions. Now via the machine Hans constrains Joe to rob the bank. Is Joe acting freely when the machine is turned on him? I would say no. Is Joe being coerced against his will to rob the bank when the machine is turned on? I would say No because if you control his will and everything about him they you would not have to go against his will you would simply control his will and everything else about him to obtain the outcome that you want. Is Joe acting “voluntarily” when he robs the bank when the “possession machine” is on him? Yes, because if acting voluntarily is defined as doing what you want and not being coerced, then Joe is not being coerced and is doing exactly what he wants to do. When the machine is on does Joe experience libertarian free will? NO, he has to do exactly what Hans wants him to do. Now when the machine is on, is Joe being forced to do what he does? I would answer Yes because if Hans directly and completely controls him then he has to do what he does, his action is not free it is necessitated and impossible that he do anything other than Hans is directing him to do.

Robert

Robert said...

Hello Victor, [part 2]

This second way of being forced to do something though not involving coercion nevertheless is being forced to do something. Let’s call this type of force being **constrained** to do something. So one can be forced to do something by means of coercion or constraint.

Now the calvinist come along and claims that God first preplanned everything (that is the decrees in eternity, the blueprint for how things will go in history, not causing anything but planning everything). The calvinist also believes that God ordaineth whatsoever comes to pass. The non-Calvinist hears this and then thinks: if it is all preplanned and if God then ensures via his sovereignty as conceived by necessatarians, that every preplanned detail gets done as it was predetermined, then what human history amounts to is that instead of “Hans”, God has this universal possession machine that directly and completely controls everything in the world (this machine is the calvinist’s mistaken conception of God’s sovereignty as God predetermining every event and directly and completely controlling everything to ensure that his total plan is brought about as history). So rather than “Joe” alone being directly and completely controlled and FORCED to do every action that he does, this type of control is exercised upon all human persons at all times. That would mean says the non-Calvinist that we are all “Joe’s” and our every action is necessitated, our every action is something that we are forced to do, we have no choices and do not have free will.

Now someone might suggest that may not be a bad thing when it comes to our doing good actions (atheists and calvinists regularly argue: well then why doesn’t God make human persons who are incapable of sin [which amounts to asking that God have the machine on and produce only good actions through us]). The problem comes if the machine also causes us to do sin, to do evil. In that case we would be **being forced** to sin by God himself (and what would that say about God’s character or what he says about sin and obedience in scripture). While it is true that he would be using our bodies, minds, thoughts, to do these actions (sort of like a finger moving through a finger puppet, “finger puppet theology”). The problem is that he would be directly causing us to sin. And if he is directly causing us to sin in this way, then he **is** the author of sin argues the non-calvinist.
The calvinist objects and claims that we not God do the sins and that we not God are responsible for these sins. The non-Calvinist sees this as special pleading in line with the calvinist deterministic system rather than what the bible actually teaches.

Another problem with this universal possession machine is that we ordinarily make a distinction between remote and proximate causes, claiming that God may be the remote cause of sin (he created the world in which sin occurs) but not the proximate or direct cause of sin (that is us or angels). The universal possession machine wipes out this distinction as since God is directly and completely controlling everything and all persons the distinction between remote and proximate becomes meaningless.

Now with these things in mind, now Victor you can understand why we see the calvinist view of God’s sovereignty as making God THE AUTHOR OF SIN. And the calvinist cannot come back and say that we have a problem with God’s sovereignty as well (that is because we define God’s sovereignty: as He does as He pleases at all times and in all situations, God can and is sovereign in this sense, without being sovereign in the calvinist sense).

Robert

arminianperspectives said...

Cary Grant,

You wrote,

Brace yourself in case Rich Little or Meryl Streep sue you for libel.

I appreciate the joke. Surely it was a joke since someone like Carey Grant must be able to decipher the simplest of contexts like when I clarified the phrase you quoted with,

Now if Robert, or TurrentinFan, or Steve Hays, or Ben Henshaw, or anyone else, begins to write as "anonymous" or create a different profile, and then argue on the internet as if they are not the same person, and refuse to admit that they are that person, even when asked (or worse yet, lie about it), then that is dishonest. It is a fairly common opinion on the internet that sock puppeting of that sort is dishonest, and frowned upon even by unbelievers.

Anyway, very funny. I always liked Rich Little. BTW, this is directed to Cary Grant who posted above, and for some reason claims the pseudonym of "Steve". It is not directed to the "real" Steve (assuming he is a real person and not just a computer construct or something) who uses a profile photo of Cary Grant. Take note of this distinction as it is very important and if ignored could lead to terrible misunderstandings by all those who read this.

God Bless,
Ben

arminianperspectives said...

To those people/puppets who keep on using the the phrase "respecter of persons", could you please carefully explain what you mean by the phrase. Thank you.

A.M. Mallett said...

Of course, the Calvinist can also say that this is all part of God's secret will, so of course we have no idea why He does it.

... and of course the Calvinist also claims to know God's secret will and peddles their version of such secrets throughout their dogmatic opinion.

A.M. Mallett said...

arminianperspectives said...

"However, I am sure you would agree that purposely posing as someone other than who you are is dishonest and deceptive."

Brace yourself in case Rich Little or Meryl Streep sue you for libel.


Is sockpuppetry now an admirable Calvinist distinctive?

Anonymous said...

The question I keep coming back to is why does it matter so much?

What point is there in accusing or judging someone? If the idea is sound and worth interacting with then I interact with it, if not then I worry not one breath about it.

It seems that we are getting to wrapped-up in who is “the Dude”, “Bill”, “Henry” or …

My view is if someone does not want to give their “real” name then so be it, if they bring-up anything worth interacting with then I try to engage them, if not I just move on. After all, if my view and reasoning are sound I care little if someone calls themselves Bob, Bill, Dick or Harry.

Just another .02 from one more anonyomous:)

bossmanham said...

The question I keep coming back to is why does it matter so much?

Suck puppeting is a deliberate attempt to try and bolster your own argument by making it look like more people agree than really do. It is deceptive (lying) and childish. You middle-aged T-bloggers should know better. It displays the weakness of your argument, and shows your desperation and immaturity, that you would do anything to win a debate. The truth of scripture is abandoned in order to win a debate. Therefore, it also damages the minute witness the T-bloggers may have left.

That's the problem.

bossmanham said...

Mallet says:

... and of course the Calvinist also claims to know God's secret will and peddles their version of such secrets throughout their dogmatic opinion.

Sounds a bit like the claim a bunch of first century heretics made that the apostles spoke against. Psst...gnosticism.

steve said...

bossmanham said...

"Suck puppeting is a deliberate attempt to try and bolster your own argument by making it look like more people agree than really do. It is deceptive (lying) and childish. You middle-aged T-bloggers should know better. It displays the weakness of your argument, and shows your desperation and immaturity, that you would do anything to win a debate. The truth of scripture is abandoned in order to win a debate. Therefore, it also damages the minute witness the T-bloggers may have left."

The only "middle-aged T-blogger" I know of is me. What evidence does Brennon have that I am, or ever have been, a sockpuppet?

His accusation is especially ironic in the context of the sanctimonious moralizing he indulges in.

So, Brennon, present your evidence. You've made a sweeping charge. Painted with a broad brush. Present your evidence.

steve said...

A.M. Mallett said...

"... and of course the Calvinist also claims to know God's secret will and peddles their version of such secrets throughout their dogmatic opinion."

Of course, that's a deliberate falsehood. Calvinism appeals to the revealed will of God. Predestination is a revealed truth.

Anonymous said...

I understand that you think it bolsters the argument if more people agree, but it is easy to see if these people are bringing anything new to the discussion and if not then you can either chalk it up as someone being on their particular bandwagon or you could accuse someone of deliberately lying.

If the particular argument is weak and desperate then no amount of people agreeing, real or imagined, will strengthen the argument.

It just seems to me that it is easier to knock down a desperate and weak argument, much easier than it is to go around accusing someone of deliberately lying.

Reading your comment where you address my comment I can read the animosity and hostility you have to these “T-bloggers” and would say that the Christian spirit is lacking.

And just to put your mind at ease, I’m not a “T-blogger” and I do not know any of them. What I do see is that you think that the people or “T-bloggers” are rude and crude so you think that you can be that as well, but if [IF] they are then that still does not give you a reason to write about them as you do.

Again this is just my .02 worth.

localtheo said...

Hey Guys
i posted this on my blog and with SEA , the post is over at http://localtheology.com
please think about it.

Division and Dissension
Aug 29th, 2009 | By admin | Category: Arminianism, Calvinism

I am a member of the Society of Evangelical Arminians, which means I prefer and accept the Arminian points of view regarding salvation, justification and election over those of Calvin.

Both Arminius and Calvin have made significant contributions to theology and understanding the requirements of God in regards to our lives and praxis. I wonder however at the debate that rages across the internet via blogs and websites propogating one view or the other. Does it Glorify God or does it denigrate God and Christians in general?

If we believe that we are to be salt and light as Christ instructed, we have to debate on a level different to the secular world, we need to discuss variant theologies with patience, understanding and compassion.

Having been guilty of not displaying any of these traits myself this has prompted me to stay out of them as much as I can and lately to examine my own motivations in engagement, this led me to wondering where do we Glorify God in these debates.

Personal attacks against ones education, integrity, hopes and desires have become the norm, rather than just a solid exegetical look at each sides views. Self righteousness and self aggrandizement have crept in, in a major way. I am guilty of it and I have noticed that many of Calvin's adherents resort to personal attacks rather than responding in a Christ like manner. We as a community have adopted the tools of the world to engage with one another, demonstrating to the world that for all lofty ideals and self proclaimed righteousness we are no better than those without Jesus. If anything we are worse as the level of attacks is spiteful and malicious.

Are we adherents to Christ, Arminius or Calvin?

1 Corinthians 3:3-5 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men? 5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe– as the Lord has assigned to each his task.

We are still guilty of the same sins that Paul reminded the Corinthians of. We are debasing ourselves and Christ by stooping to tactics that are unworthy of us and more importantly of Christ. Showing this to the world we are not being salt and light nor are we advancing the kingdom. We are showing that we are weak and small minded and are more concerned with debate and being “right” than showing love as Jesus instructed us.

It is surely easier to be destructive than loving, this again reflects our own falleness and participation in sin by holding onto our own natures rather than being renewed in the nature of Christ. We need to engage in a better manner and reflect Christ in our engagement, and demonstrate to the world that belief and faith in Christ changes our natures and the ways we relate with each other. Relating from love and understanding is being salt and light. I will continue to ponder this and pray for my won redemption in this matter as well as other participants. I would also ask that we each humbly seek the will of the Lord in this matter and behave as fellow believers towards one another no matter how divergent our theologies are.

God Bless You.

A.M. Mallett said...

Steve stated:
Of course, that's a deliberate falsehood. Calvinism appeals to the revealed will of God. Predestination is a revealed truth.

I reply:
Scriptural predestination is certainly a revealed truth and that revelation, in print,is as follows:

Eph 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

And to understand the above, one must meditate on the following, that which contradicts the Calvinist notion of predestinaton being the preeminent thought.

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Ro 8:29-30 AV)

Predestination is always focused as something applicable to believers, those in Christ, rather than the non-Christocentric focus of Calvinist thought. In the Calvinist frame of mind appealing to the contrived mystery of God's will the process is always predestine first and primarily, Christ being the enabler of mystery. In opposition to that gnostic reliance on secretive wills, Christianity takes a Christocentric view and has predestination being a result of Christ.
Perhaps all one need do is quote Calvin to emphasize how Calvinism relies on what is never stated in scripture as the foundation of it's soteriology. Perhaps the t-blogger will unwittingly beat me to the punch.

Robert said...

I usually don’t choose to respond to an anonymous poster but this one merits some comments.


What I want to see (and hopefully you are in agreement) is people having rational and civil discussions. The concern is that if people sock puppet and post anonymously they can then engage in personal attacks of someone else with no accountability. This detracts from rational and civil discussions (do you agree?). I have no problem with someone disagreeing with me or even strongly challenging what I believe, that is to be expected. What I don’t appreciate is belittling comments and put downs that add nothing to the discussion of the points under discussion.

Would you agree that these “extra” things are not conducive to rational and civil discussions?

“If the particular argument is weak and desperate then no amount of people agreeing, real or imagined, will strengthen the argument.”

For me it is not just presenting strong arguments, it is about the manner in which this is done. It is similar to the old adage: “it is not just what you say, but how you say it.” You seem to be focusing on only the strength of particular arguments. I say we should focus on that but also on how the discussion is carried out.

“It just seems to me that it is easier to knock down a desperate and weak argument, much easier than it is to go around accusing someone of deliberately lying.”

If someone is sock puppeting as two or more persons and using this as a way of attacking their “opponent” this is dishonest and deceitful and from a Christian perspective unacceptable sinful behavior. That is one of my problems with the Triablogers, we now know that Paul Manata has been the one posting as anonymous and “the dude” as well as “boba fett” and now “bill smith”. Ben/Arminian Perspectives directly questioned this person earlier in this thread and no response has come forth. And yet the person continues to post as “anonymous” and “bill smith”.

“Reading your comment where you address my comment I can read the animosity and hostility you have to these “T-bloggers” and would say that the Christian spirit is lacking.”

Not sure exactly whom you are referring to here, but there is bad history between some of us and the Triablogers. In my case my actual first name is Robert (which Ben vouched for earlier) and yet they have been relentlessly claiming that I am not Robert but someone else. Whenever they make this claim they are lying about me and publicly slandering me (again not acceptable nor conducive to proper discussions)

Earlier Paul Manata as “anonymous” and “the dude” was attacking Billy Birch from CLASSICAL ARMINIANISM. Manata made the kind of nasty and belittling comments that again add nothing to reasonable discussions of issues. Fore example he wrote: “Let's skin and gut Birch some more, since it's so fun. Then I'll hang him on my trophey wall.” This kind of comment is not necessary to the discussion and takes away from rational and civil discussion (would you agree?).


“And just to put your mind at ease, I’m not a “T-blogger” and I do not know any of them. What I do see is that you think that the people or “T-bloggers” are rude and crude so you think that you can be that as well, but if [IF] they are then that still does not give you a reason to write about them as you do.”


First as you are writing anonymously yourself, how do we know that you are not one of them writing these things to cover over the inappropriate remarks made by Manata earlier? But let’s assume you are not. Second, if you want to see whether the Triablogers are “rude and crude” just go to their blog and see how they interact with people that they disagree with. I am in agreement with you concerning that the focus ought to be on the arguments and their strengths and weaknesses. But this is difficult when a professing Christian is speaking of “skinning and gutting you some more since it is so much fun.”

Robert

Robert said...

Hello Localtheo,

I really appreciate your comments. You make some great points and hopefully people will take what you say to heart and do better in their discussions with one another. As I was saying to someone in my previous post, we should seek to assess the strenghts and weaknesses of arguments being presented: but that is not the whole picture. We should also do so in a way that is rational and civil at the same time.

Thanks again for your exhortation. I hope that everybody takes your words seriously.

Robert

arminianperspectives said...

The question I keep coming back to is why does it matter so much?

Likewise, why does it matter so much to that person to pose as someone other than the person he/she is normally known as in such interactions, and on the internet in general? Why does it matter so much that said person refuses to answer straight forward questions concerning who he/she is?

Those are the questions I keep coming back to.

arminianperspectives said...

And just to put your mind at ease, I’m not a “T-blogger” and I do not know any of them. What I do see is that you think that the people or “T-bloggers” are rude and crude so you think that you can be that as well, but if [IF] they are then that still does not give you a reason to write about them as you do.

Again this is just my .02 worth.


Mitch, is that you? I've been missing you over at my blog.

God Bless,
Ben

Anonymous said...

"As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned."

I take it that the Arminians who continue to "warn" people, ad nauseum refuse to obey this verse but expect the people they warn to obey it?

Anonymous said...

Ben wrote: "I don't equate honesty with revealing one's true identity. I am equating honesty with being honest in answering my question."

I once posted on Ben's blog and he accussed me of being Manata. He would not believe me after I told him I wasn't.

My friend also was accussed by Ben. My friend had to invite Ben to meet him for breakfast to overcome Ben's incredulity.

localtheo said...

Obviously Anonymous, you enjoy being argumentative and cowardly. Hiding behind the anon tag I can only pray that God will soften your heart and spirit and bring you to a place of peace, compassion and understanding.
Alternatively you could reveal yourself and stop being the coward in the shadows, either way bless you and i will pray for you.
ps: my words were chose carefully and i hope you choose the path of strength rather than the path of weakness.

arminianperspectives said...

Ben wrote: "I don't equate honesty with revealing one's true identity. I am equating honesty with being honest in answering my question."

I once posted on Ben's blog and he accussed me of being Manata. He would not believe me after I told him I wasn't.

My friend also was accussed by Ben. My friend had to invite Ben to meet him for breakfast to overcome Ben's incredulity.


This is inaccurate and would therefore seem to suggest that the person who wrote this is not the person he is claiming to be.

Only one person came forward of all of those we suspected (not accused) of being sock-puppets. This person also vouched for his friend (another person that we suspected), but this friend never spoke for himself on the matter. Therefore, all we need to do is read what "anonymous" said above to see that he is not very familiar with the situation. In other words, it was only one person who claimed not to be a sock puppet and also invited me to his house for coffee (not breakfast). But the way "anonymous" puts it, there was one person who said he was not a sock puppet and his friend who also denied being a sock-puppet and invited me to "breakfast".

Again, this is plainly false. There was only one person who claimed not to be a sock-puppet, later invited me to his house (several hundred miles away from where I live), and vouched for his friend who never said anything.

So now we can conclude that this "anonymous" is lying about being that person I had interactions with in order to try to justify his behavior. And since he is somewhat familiar with the situation (though he describes it inaccurately), we can assume that this is most likely a T-blogger (i.e. we have very good reason to suspect, which is quite a different thing than an outright accusation).

He would not believe me after I told him I wasn't.

This is also inaccurate.

God Bless,
Ben

arminianperspectives said...

I wonder if anyone is going to bother to answer the question I posed above? Here it is again,

To those people/puppets who keep on using the the phrase "respecter of persons", could you please carefully explain what you mean by the phrase. Thank you.

As to the direct question to anon and "The Dude/Boba Fett/Bill Smith", I really didn't expect an answer, so no surprise there.

arminianperspectives said...

Anon wrote,

"As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned."

I take it that the Arminians who continue to "warn" people, ad nauseum refuse to obey this verse but expect the people they warn to obey it?


Is this an admission on your part of being warped, sinful, and self-condemned?

arminianperspectives said...

For the sake of documentation, and for those who are not familiar with what "anon" is inaccurately describing, see the discussion threads here and here.

Take note of the discussion between me (kangaroodort) and "Ben", and see how accurate anon's decription of that discussion is. Then ask yourself if "anon" could possibly be "Ben" as he/she is claiming. Then ask yourself why "anon" would stoop to such a level of dishonesty in order to justify the sock-puppets on this thread (which must include him/her as well as he/she pretends to be someone he/she is not).

Very sad.

God Bless,
Ben

J.C. Thibodaux said...

KD is correct, this anonymous is plainly being deceptive.

The only one who affirmed to us that he wasn't a sockpuppet posted under the moniker, 'Ben,' he stated on the first thread KD listed,

"I also am good friends with Tom M. and know just as surely that he is not Manata either."

The same 'Ben' posted on the second thread:

"I live in Nashville, TN and while we are not big coffee drinkers I would be happy to fix you a cup."

It was 'Ben' who both stated that he wasn't Manata AND invited KD for coffee. Contra this fact, this joker claims that he was the one who said he wasn't a sockpuppet but his friend was the one who gave an invite.

What's the matter? Having trouble keeping up with your toys?

Anonymous said...

Hi Robert,

Robert said: "Fore example he wrote: “Let's skin and gut Birch some more, since it's so fun. Then I'll hang him on my trophey wall.”

Arminian perspectives said in another thread: "takes Edwards and all such necessitarians to the proverbial woodshed. Enjoy."


I have been watching your battle with the Calvinists. I do apologize, until Arminians can treat each other the same as they treat Calvinists I cannot take your outrage seriously.

Jon said...

AP wrote: "Is this an admission on your part of being warped, sinful, and self-condemned?"

We all know that you think Calvinists violate this verse. We all know you have "warned them" more than twice. Therefore, we all know that you use the Bible to beat others over the head with but ignore it when it comes to your behavior. If you want to be taken seriously, you would stop your petty war on the Calvinist (which for some reason hardly ever deals with the substantive, but you seem to love to point out sins and flaws in others). You play the Bible card but don't live by it. This tells me that you are not really concerned that their behavior violates the Bible's imperatives but simply like to point out their sins and flaws because your argument is purely ad hominem in nature. You can now call me whatever names you want and think I am whoever you want to. What we all know you won't do is submit to the Bible but will seek to excuse your sin. You should repent since I have proven that you violate the Bible, and I did so strictly from premises you endorse.

Best,

Jon

J.C. Thibodaux said...

"Therefore, we all know that you use the Bible to beat others over the head with but ignore it when it comes to your behavior."

This kind of incoherent accusation typifies very well the pop-Calvinist apologetic; it's a shallow and indefensible polemic that finds no basis in the word of God, and instead relies upon maliciously slandering its dissenters. Guess they missed that part about false witnesses being an abomination to God (Proverbs 6:19).

arminianperspectives said...

We all know that you think Calvinists violate this verse. We all know you have "warned them" more than twice. Therefore, we...

Mind defining who "we all" are so "we all" know just exactly who you are talking about?

As far as the use of this particular verse, I never brought it up, so maybe you are confusing me with someone else. The reason I never brought it up is because I don't really think it is applicable to the conversation in this combox. But, if anon and you want to try to make this passage apply to me (in the way I have interacted with anon), then anon, at least, must assume that the passage likewise applies to him.

In other words, if the passage applies to me in that I have supposedly warned anon too many times (though I don't recall "warning" him of anything, just asking who he is and pointing out the reasons why myself and others have problems with sock-puppeting), then anon must assume the passage likewise applies to him (in that he would thereby be admitting to being the divisive, warped, sinful, and self-condemned person described in that same passage). That is why I asked him if he was making such a concession in trying to hold me (or any of us) accountable based on the passage he keeps quoting.

You can now call me whatever names you want and think I am whoever you want to.

I would prefer to call you and anon by your proper names and know who is who in this thread. That is really all I have been addressing (along with the fact that one "anon" certainly did lie about being "Ben").

What we all know you won't do is submit to the Bible but will seek to excuse your sin.

There is that appeal to the mysteries "we all" again.

I am not trying to excuse any sin. If I have sinned against anyone in this thread then I apologize. However, I do not at present see that I have sinned by anything that I have said in this thread. If I am wrong about that, then I pray that the Lord will reveal it to me so that I can repent and make peace with those I have wronged.

You should repent since I have proven that you violate the Bible, and I did so strictly from premises you endorse.

Again, I will be happy to repent of any wrong doing, but I must disagree at this point that you have proven any such thing from any so-called premises that I endorse.

God Bless,
Ben

arminianperspectives said...

Robert said: "Fore example he wrote: “Let's skin and gut Birch some more, since it's so fun. Then I'll hang him on my trophey wall.”

Arminian perspectives said in another thread: "takes Edwards and all such necessitarians to the proverbial woodshed. Enjoy."


I have been watching your battle with the Calvinists. I do apologize, until Arminians can treat each other the same as they treat Calvinists I cannot take your outrage seriously.


I would be surprised if most people who read this thread would not see a rather significant difference between what I said concerning Whedon and Edwards and what "anon" said about Billy (I could point out the differences, but I don't think it is necessary).

However, if I offended anyone by what I said concerning Whedon taking Edwards and other necessitarians to the proverbial woodshed, then I apologize. I did not mean it as a personal attack on Edwards. It was only meant to suggest that Whedon's critique of Edwards' arguments were devastating (in my opinion). I think Edwards was right about a lot of things, but was very wrong about determinism.

If someone wants specifics as to why I think what I said is quite different than what "anon" said, I would be happy to share my opinion (though it would only be my opinion, holding no more weight than the opinion of the "anon" who lodged the objection above).

God Bless,
Ben