Vox, if you find yourself at this page somehow, please don’t read it until we’re ready. [Obviously you can read it now]

To the Calvinists/reformed – please comment, vote and make suggestions in the comments below.

I’m trying to keep track of votes in the comments and notated the questions accordingly. So (+2) means there have been 2 endorsements/votes besides the author.

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Here are the Most Likely Kept Questions

AA. Vox: Is this paragraph something you could write and agree with? If not please make it something you agree with, while editing, changing and deleting as few words as possible.

The God I worship is probably not aware of much of what is happening on earth today. You should not tell a child that God has a plan for her, because not only does He not know which husband will be right for her in twenty years, He doesn’t even know that she will be alive tomorrow. And it’s quite possible that if she does die, he will not be aware of it. If on the other hand she lives through an accident in which the car is totaled, thanking God for protecting her may be giving him credit for something he didn’t do. It is quite possible that my God knows less about your daughter than you do. To find out what is happening somewhere on earth, my God has to do research (or, if you like, “go and see”) to find out about it. My God most likely doesn’t have enough knowledge about me and my soul to know what I will do in a given circumstance.

(I wouldn’t mind edit suggestions for this paragraph)

BB. Matthew 10:29-31

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

If God indeed didn’t know of Israel’s suffering in Egypt for 400 years, and if He indeed didn’t know how many righteous men were in Sodom, then what do these verses mean? If they are a metaphor or poetry, then a metaphor or poetry signifying what? Please write a paraphrase of the passage such that it helps the reader understand how it doesn’t actually say that God watches the earth to the detail of each hair of one of his own or one sparrow, since such detail would conflict with God not even knowing of the existence of the person in Sodom.

CC. John 6:37, 44 and 45

All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out.
(…) No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.

If there are those that get saved without God’s prior action (Pelagianism), or those that refuse the action (Arminianism), then where do they fit between the “no one” of the first verse and “every one” of the second? Please describe a possible chain of events for such a person so that it doesn’t conflict with any of the verses.

DD. Lamentations 3:31-33

For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love;  for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.

Vox, does the Lord cause grief?  If so, does he act against his will?

EE. “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND ; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” (Luke 10:27)

Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:25, 26)

How do you reconcile the Second Great Command with Jesus’ statement about hating one’s father and mother, etc.?

A) Jesus contradicts Himself
B) Hate != hate
C) One verse is hyperbole
D) Other

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Questions under consideration:

(+1) 1. (wrf3) In the challenge post, wrf3 mentioned) the Lamentation 3 quote – I (Jamsco) would second this, as I’ve been wanting to ask him about it since before wrf3 mentioned it.

I would ask it this way:

For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love;  for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men. (Lamentations 3:31-33 ESV)

Vox, does the Lord cause grief?  If so, does he act against his will?

But wrf3, how would you ask it?

1.B Therefore, I would like to ask the broad question “What is the purpose and meaning of Romans 9?” That is, among other things, I want him to tell us: Why did Paul write Romans 9? It’s clear that he wrote it to answer a specific objection that he anticipated from his readers. What was it? What are God’s “sovereign purposes in election”? What is “not of human will or effort”? And so on. I basically want to see a verse by verse exegesis, with not only an explanation of what each passage means, but the logical connection between them.

1.C “Does God pre-ordain the fate of some people? If so, does that include ordination to salvation? If so, can those who are not ordained to salvation be saved and, if so, how? If there is no ordination to salvation, how is one saved and how does your answer compare with Ephesians 2:8-9?

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2. Jamsco – A more basic question I’d like to act is – A. Vox, can you give a biblical reason why you reject the concept of the two wills of God (i.e. that there is a perfect will of God and a permissive will of God.)

(+1) B. Can you give us a biblical reason why you reject the concept of God as Author?

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3. MInTheGap ( who says “I’m not a strict Calvanist”)

A. If God is a being that is not always paying attention (ie. Gen 18), does that suggest that God has limited bandwidth (He can keep track of certain number of things), does that pose a problem with his omnipotence?

(+1) B. What is the significance of God sending lying spirits to kings in order to deceive them? If God uses the Devil to tempt Job, lying spirits to kings to deceive them into planning action, and a delusion so that some will believe a lie (acknowledging that Satan is the father of lies), then why is there contention with rape and other moral wrongs that happen by His design?

C. If text in the Psalms is only local to the individual writing it, why were these songs sung by the Israelites? I’m thinking explicitly of Psalms talking about being everywhere David is (on the top of the mountain or the depths), being known in his mother’s womb, or being chosen (as mentioned in this thread). How do we know when a Psalm that was sung and personalized by many should have a limited scope and when it should have an universal scope.

D. Can you produce an instance in the Bible where God did not work in the life of an individual before a calling, before salvation, etc.?

E. In Matthew 7, Jesus states that some that come to Him at the end will say that they cast out demons in His name, preached and prophesied in His name, etc., and yet Jesus’ response will be “depart from me, I never knew you.” If it true that salvation is a cause of free will, what is this passage teaching?

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4. TurretinFan: 2/9/12 3:17 PM:
Proposed five Calvinist questions.

.1) Who does God want to save?
.2) Does God fail to save some of those whom he wants to save?
.3) If the answer to (2) is “yes,” is that failure do to God being unable to save them?
.4) If the answer to (3) is “no,” is it because God has conflicting desires (i.e. a desire to save them, but a conflicting desire to do something else?)?
.5) If the answer to (4) is “yes,” would this conflict of desires make sense in an analogous situation in which you wanted to rescue a loved one from a burning building? (e.g. if you say that the conflicting desire is that God wants to be voluntarily loved, would it make sense to leave someone you love in a burning building on that ground?)

-TurretinFan

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(+2) 5. jaiotu             2/10/12 9:50 AM
I would ask the following questions, to be answered from scripture and not philosophy (we can all philosophy about God, but true answers come from letting God speak on his own behalf.)

Questions: Why did God allow me to be raped when I was nine? Did he not care? If he did care, was he powerless to stop it? If he had the power to stop it and cared, why didn’t he? If God did not have a purpose behind my suffering then how could he, as an all powerful, all knowing and all loving being have allowed my suffering to occur when any stranger, if they would have been witness to the event, would have put an immediate stop to it?

Sorry, but the non-Calvinist has even more of a burden in proving that his god is not evil than the Calvinist does. At least with Calvinism I can trust in a God who had a purpose in my suffering and therefore allowed it to occur for a greater good that I could not fathom when the event occurred. The non-Calvinist god, however, allowed me to suffer for no purpose. He would therefore be as complicit in the crime as one who voyeuristicly watched as it took place and did nothing to stop it.

There. Five questions. Can you answer them from Scripture? The Calvinist can. The non-Calvinist must resort to philosophy.

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6. JK             2/10/12 2:51 AM
As for questions for this challenge…. I would like to ask:

(+2) A. Why does uncalvinism automatically absolve God from responsibility of Child rape (or other vileness), considering that it is God’s Game and God’s Rules (yes even free will) and the fact that under this belief system he can still intervene at will with Shock and Awe force at any moment along the time line?

B. Are we supposed to take all scripture from Genesis to Revelation by simple definition of the words contained without interpretation and prayer and guidance from the Holy Spirit?

(+1) C. If God has not chosen us from the foundation of the world to be his children, but rather is relying upon the intelligence level and spiritual awarness of the individual to recognize that there is a God and that we need to repent and submit, how is it fair if he reveals himself explicity and sometimes physically to some sinners and not others? Even the most sinful person would convert at a moments notice if just one Angel manifested let alone Christ himself. So at each persons judgement day would he rightfully be able to claim ‘no fair I would have too if only you (God) had done that for me’?

D. Ultimately does salvation not come down to firstly the wisdom of the uncalvinist, his subsequent adherence to that wisdom and his lifetime resilience? And if so does he rightyly give thanks both Jesus and himself for his salvation?

E. How does an uncalvinist sleep at night knowing that he could witnessed to just one more, or prayed intervention for just one more soul that day since it is not God’s responsibility but ours to witness and harvest for the Lord?

I am sure that there are better questions out there, but they are the ones I am curious about.

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7. ThirdMonkey              2/9/12 10:12 PM
A. If God is removed from actually doing evil, does bringing it about through the willing, yet limited, choices of man impugn His holiness?
“You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” – Joseph

(+2) B. Was man’s highest act of evil, the crucifixion of His Son Jesus Christ, ordained by God, to include the individual actions connected with it?
“For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, TO DO WHATEVER YOUR HAND AND YOUR PLAN HAD PREDESTINED TO TAKE PLACE” Acts 4:27

(+1) C. Yet in this evil, unjust crime, more vile than child rape, we see the full demonstration of God’s grace, which is the greatest good for us. Is God evil for despising His own Son?

D. Does God fulfill His righteous will through the bad wills of evil men, or in spite of it?

E. Who can resist His will?

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8. Meatwad              2/9/12 8:10 PM
Getting back to the topic at hand…

The Calvinist triumvirate can use this or not, just throwing it out there.

Acts 13:48 (KJV) reads, ” And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”

Based on this verse it seems that salvation was pre-established for a select group of Gentiles that Paul and Barnabas were preaching to that day.
My question is Do you have an interpretation of this passage that doesn’t involve God predestining a group of people that day for salvation? There are follow up questions depending on the answer to that one, but it could be standalone.

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9. JartStar

Your point is well made and I do believe that questions or not it would be interesting for Vox to: clearly define his version of Open Theism, make a case for it from scripture, and to describe his hermeneutic.

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(+1)  10. Rhology             2/9/12 5:44 PM
I’d like to see Vox address John 6:44-45 with fairly detailed exegesis.

44“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45“It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.

Specifically, how it is that someone could be drawn by the Father, hear and learn from the Father, and not come to Jesus, since it says that EVERYONE who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Jesus?
Which would mean that those who don’t come to Jesus are those that didn’t hear and learn from the Father? Which means that He didn’t try to draw them?
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11. jmarinara             2/9/12 3:12 PM
since Vox is throwing this out here, I’ll not check in on the other thread any more. . .

A. Vox must deal with Ephesians chapters 1:3-11 and 2:1-10. In chapter 1, he will have to explain how his open theism and non-calvinism measures up to the clear will of God in choosing whom He will save, and the completeness of the salvation in Christ alone, as opposed to any choice that we might make. In chapter 2 he must explain how we who were dead made ourselves alive. Chapter 2 hammers the point home that salvation is entirely the will and initiative of God. How can you be an open-theist and/or non-calvinist in light of it’s clarity?

B. He must deal with Romans 9. Vox must not be allowed to sum it up as a simple “what if” statement, because it clearly is not. The entirety of Romans 9 is God citing history (Abraham and Moses) to show us Hie redemptive plan, and using the analogy of the clay and the potter to drive home the point. It could not possibly be more clear that just as God choose Abraham despite him not deserving it, and choose Moses over Pharoah for no merit in and of themselves (also Esau and Isaac, for that matter), so God chooses some to be destroyed and some to be honored. His tendency with me yesterday was to pass it off as a what if statement. He cannot do that because it dismisses the text without considering it. We must make him deal with this text on it’s face.

C. Also, although I think a man centered argument does us no good compared to the truth of God’s word, I do think Vox must be made to compare the god that he believes in to the God of the Bible and see if Vox is really making for himself an idol, or if he is honoring God. What I mean is this, at the end of Vox’s hermeneutic, we have a god who wills and purposes to save all of mankind and yet can’t get the job done. This god is therefore not omnipotent nor sovereign. Is this the same god who declared the complete opposite about himself in Ps 115:3, Ps 135:6, Isa 14:27, Isa 46:10, Job 42:1-2, Dan 4:35, and on and on.

In Vox’s world, he creates a god that can be thwarted by men. This is not the God of the Scripture and Vox must be made to see that.

12. More from JK

a. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.
-Acts 16:14-15 (KJV)
Did not the Lord open Lydia’s heart to salvation? Vox you have no doubt tried to persuade at least one person to come to your point of view and have accepted your argument of their own free will. Then think of God as being the master persuader holdng the only key to the door of our hearts that even we cannot open (There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
-Romans 3:11 (KJV)). He provides the perfect argument to win each chosen individual’s heart, opens the door, and then of our own free will we choose to invite him in just as Lydia did. This is how predestination and free will can coexist harmoniously in salvation.

B. Why do non-Calvinists pray for the salvation of an unsaved person?

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I’ll add more if people put them in the comments below, but let’s not get carried away.

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