Calvinism’s Compatibilism and the Problem of Choice in Scripture and Life

When people reject Calvinism and its micro-determinism through compatibilism and decretal theology, some Calvinists retort that we are exalting the free will of man over God’s sovereignty. Of course, that is a straw man. We are exalting God’s Word, thereby exalting God because God’s Word depicts man and woman as having libertarian free will when properly defined. (See my article “Can Man Endowed with Libertarian Free Will Live Righteously Forever in Heaven?”). I contend that no one can read Scripture without being constantly exposed to a myriad of commands with concomitant consequences; choices given by God, conditional promises made by God, and a host of simple statements that only make sense if people can actually choose to obey or disobey, act or refrain, trust or distrust. Such events permeate the Scripture from Genesis 2:16 through Revelation 22:18. First, let me define compatibilism and libertarianism. Continue reading →

Celebrate Thanksgiving with Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, quite contrary to political correctness and revisionist historians, began as an act of faith and worship by the Pilgrims.

The first Thanksgiving was held in the autumn of 1621 in Plymouth, and it was a celebration of God’s bountiful blessing, which the Pilgrims shared with the Indians.

The Pilgrims’ lives had been characterized by religious persecution and loss of almost all worldly possessions. Many had died during the grueling voyage to the new land, and those that survived faced many more hardships that are so dramatically more treacherous than the difficulties faced by Americans today that we cannot quite grasp the gravity of it except romantically.

Yet, with bountiful food and the freedom to worship God, they gave thanks many times each day, but on this day in a most festive and worshipful way.

Let us not forget: Thanksgiving is an act of worship by God’s people. It is our thankfulness to Him for what He has done and does. Thus, from the vantage point of heaven, complaining must be a most sacrilegious act of self-absorption.

This Thanksgiving, celebrate it as an act of faith and worship, fulfilling the will of God. “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Some Thoughts On Thinking Christianly About COVID (1 Pet 2:5, 9; Rom 14)

On Sunday, 11/14/21, I preached a message with the above title to help people in our church respond biblically to three areas related to Christians dealing with COVID. I pray these will prove helpful to you as we live for Christ today.

I. How Christians can formulate a Religious exemption claim from the COVID mandate.
II. How Christians should relate to others regarding various opinions regarding COVID
III. How Christians need to handle statistics for the sake of truth-telling

You may access the audio and video here.

Calvinism and the Problem of Damnation and Hell

Calvinism’s exclusive doctrines position it in an untenable place when it comes to people spending eternity in hell. They offer various responses to allay the indefensible entailments of Calvinism that consign people to hell (the reprobate non-elect class). Here are a few: first, some say they deserve to be there. While that is true, it does not tell us why they are there since the people in heaven equally deserve to be in hell. Second, some say it is so God can show his full glory in both love and wrath. But damning people to hell is unnecessary for God to show his wrath or holiness since no one needed to suffer God’s wrath to demonstrate his holiness because Christ suffering his wrath for our sin is the quintessential display of God’s wrath.[1] Continue reading →

Calvinists and Compatibilists Fail Again to Make Compatibilism Believable: The Hypothetical Otherwise Choice

Some compatibilists seek to temper compatibilism’s determinism by denying the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP) by various means, such as the proposed hypothetical otherwise choice known more technically as the hypothetical analytic.[1] Calvinists are prone to seek refuge in the hypothetical otherwise from the harsh unbiblical determinism entailed in compatibilism but it fails as all other attempts to harmonize compatibilism with Scripture do. Continue reading →

Compatibilists Fail to Make Compatibilism Believable: The Frankfurt Counterexamples

In considering this article, remember that Compatibilism is the perspective of Calvinism regarding moral freedom and libertarianism is the perspective of Extensivism (non-Calvinism). Many compatibilists argue that what is known as the Frankfurt counterexamples demonstrate the falsehood of the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP) associated with libertarian freedom—that a person, in at least some scenarios, could have chosen differently.[1] Thus, if successful, the Frankfurt counterexamples would minimize the objections libertarians have to compatibilism by demonstrating how true free, otherwise, choice can exist within compatibilism’s determinism.[2] Continue reading →

Critical Race Theory, Social Justice, BLM and Marxism: The Connection

Here is the path to better understand the Marxist nature of these ideologies. Neo-Marxist Herbert Marcuse and Antonio Gramsci laid the foundation of what is known as cultural Marxism. Mike Gonzalez has written a book, The Plot to Change America: How Identity Politics is Dividing the Land of the Free. He is also a policy expert at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C. He explains that Marcuse taught critical race theorist Angela Davis at Brandeis University.[1] Significant as well, Angela Davis was the Communist Party’s candidate for Vice President in 1980 and 1984.[2] Continue reading →

Calvinist Paul Helm Fails to Acquit God of Causing Evil

Closely related to Calvinism’s problem with the fall is its problem with the presence of evil (See my articles The Word “Permit” Is As Micro-Determined AS Everything Else; D.A. Carson Fails to Absolve God of Causing Evil, and Calvinism Fails to Absolve God from Causing the Fall ). The reality of evil is very problematic within Calvinism’s compatible determinism, as is the whole issue of sovereignty (as defined by Calvinism) and human freedom and responsibility.[1] Calvinists employ various terms when speaking of these mysteries, which I believe are contradictions within their theological system. J.I. Packer employs antinomy and mystery,[2] G.T. Shedd and others invoke the common phrase, it is a mystery.[3] Similarly used phrases are I have no answer for it, it’s hidden, and two parallel lines that meet in eternity. Extensivism’s (non-Calvinism’s) libertarian freedom does not require gauzily cloaked contradictions.[4] The contradictory problems of Calvinism are quite pronounced when they seek to explain God’s sovereignty (as they define it) and evil. Continue reading →

Calvinist D.A. Carson Fails to Acquit God of Causing Evil

D.A. Carson says of his position regarding moral freedom, In the realm of philosophical theology, this position is sometimes called compatibilism. It simply means that God’s unconditioned sovereignty and the responsibility of human beings are mutually compatible.[1] Commenting on Carson’s practice of improperly defining compatibilism (as he has done here), philosopher Paul Gould says, Notice, what Carson means by compatibilism’s is just that freedom is compatible with divine sovereignty (not determinism). In other words, he is restating the fact that Scripture upholds both divine sovereignty and human responsibility (and freedom). But, importantly, his compatibilism’s isn’t compatibilism.[2] That is to say, Carson defines compatibilism improperly–inaccurately. Continue reading →