God’s Essential Omniscience Does Not Require Calvinism’s Determinism

In both Calvinism and Extensivism, God knows all that could happen, and all that will happen.[1] The difference is in how he knows. According to Calvinism, his knowledge of what could and will happen is based upon his micro-determination.[2] Another way of saying God knows what could happen is God knows what he could determine to happen. Similarly, another way of saying God knows what will happen is God knows, out of the possibilities of what he could determine to happen, what he will determine to happen. This determinism is not merely God determining to create the universe because we all believe that if God did not determine to create, creation would not exist. Continue reading →

Did God Create Some People for Wrath? Well No! Romans 9:19–23

Romans 9:22–23 is often cited to demonstrate God’s sovereign choice in creating some people for eternal destruction so that he might demonstrate his wrath while making other people to be recipients of his eternal mercy. This understanding highlights God’s eternal, unconditional election. This way, God could put his wrath and mercy on display, which otherwise he would not be able to do. Those who hold this view do believe that God did desire sin and evil, and he created people that ultimately he damned to hell either by predeterminately creating them for such or actively or passively passing them by. Continue reading →

Did God Hardening Pharaoh Damn Him? Well No! Romans 9:17–18

As mentioned in my previous article on Jacob and Esau (Rom 9:10–13), Calvinists use Romans chapters 9­–11 as the undeniable evidence of Calvinistic soteriology, defending both unconditional election and reprobation. Regarding chapter 9, B.B. Warfield says, “It is safe to say that language cannot be chosen better adapted to teach Predestination at its height.”[1] As I demonstrated, while the passage regarding Jacob and Esau does show God’s sovereignty, it has nothing to do with salvific election and reprobation, Calvinism’s doctrine of unconditional election. The same is true with regard to Pharaoh. Continue reading →

Does God Hate Esau? Well No! Romans 9:6-16

Calvinists use Romans chapters 9–11 as the undeniable evidence of Calvinistic soteriology, defending both unconditional election and reprobation. A.W. Pink says, “Romans 9 contains the fullest setting forth of the doctrine of Repro­bation.”[1] John Piper says that Jacob and Esau “were appointed for their respected destinies before they were born.”[2] In response, to give the context of the verses, Romans chapters 9–11 are about Israel, where Jews are considered nationally, both alone (Romans 9:1–5, 10:1–3, 11:1–10) and contrasted with the Gentiles (Romans 11:11–12). Everett F. Harrison notes that “election which is treated on an individual basis in 8:28–30, 33 is now viewed from the national perspective of Israel.”[3]

Calvinists often refer to two particular events as evidence of God’s sovereign unconditional election and reprobation. These two are Jacob and Esau (Romans 9:10–13), and Pharaoh (Romans 9:17–18). They also quote Romans 9:22–23 to demonstrate unconditional election and reprobation as well. I agree that these passages illustrate God’s sovereignty over creation, a truth with which I wholeheartedly agree; however, they do not demonstrate that God unconditionally elects some to eternal bliss and others to eternal fire, reprobation, nor do they demonstrate the particular way that Calvinists define sovereignty. In this article, I look at Jacob and Esau (Rom (9:10–13). I will look at the other two passages in a following article on Pharaoh.[4] Continue reading →

Faith Precedes Regeneration and Revelation Precedes Faith

Salvation begins with God revealing himself to man. Man cannot find God unless he reveals himself to man. God’s love for his creation is why there is a way for people to be saved from their just desert (John 3:16). Christ came into the world to save mankind, which means he had to pay for man’s sins (John 1:29). He also had to initiate the salvation opportunity on a personal level since man on his own will never pursue God (Rom 3:11). He did this by enlightening every person (John 1:9–13) and by drawing and calling individuals to salvation (John 6:44; 12:32) so that a person can by grace, trust in the person and work of Christ, which is the will and work of God (John 6:29).

It is after God reveals himself and enables mankind to believe that he gives man the command and opportunity to believe, which man does not have to do (Matt 11:20–24). If man does respond in faith to the revelation of God, God will respond by creating a new person (2 Cor 5:17). The work of regeneration is totally a work of God, as was the first creation. The order of salvation is revelation, faith, and regeneration. Continue reading →

Calvinism Is of God and Extensivism (non-Calvinism) Is of Man: Really?

Although I do not accept Calvinism as reflective of God or his plan of salvation as depicted in Scripture, I do maintain the following. Whether God chose to save man according to the teachings of Calvinism or Extensivism, salvation is all by grace. I further believe he could have chosen either way; since, in either scenario, he would have sovereignly and freely chosen the plan including all of its components, each would be totally by grace; however, most Calvinists are not so kind regarding the possibility of Extensivism. Continue reading →

Calvinism Diminishes God

Calvinism’s endeavor to exalt God by emphasizing compatibilism, unconditional election, and monergism actually diminishes God.[1] One simply cannot diminish the work of the Creator without diminishing its Creator, which Calvinism does by strapping man with compatibilism, whereby man was created to inevitably sin and be totally passive prior to regeneration. Continue reading →

Can Human Acts like Prayers and Childrearing Really Affect Someone’s Salvation?

Both Calvinists and Extensivists (non-Calvinists) speak as though things such as prayers, trials, miracles, preaching, testimonies, child rearing, education, and other influences play a vital part in salvation; these, along with a host of other influences may be categorized as events. It seems as though we all really mean these kinds of events play a similar role in God’s salvation plan. However, such is not the case. The only similarity is that Calvinists and Extensivists use the same words, but the way Calvinists use these words are essentially dissimilar to the way they are normally used and used by Extensivists. Calvinists themselves tend to obscure the real differences. Continue reading →

Calvinists Say Blame and Honor Determined Man

The determinism of Calvinism is best understood as micro-determinism because it is not limited to the area of salvation (including reprobation). Well-known moderate Calvinist Millard Erickson, in contrasting Calvinism and Arminianism, says of Calvinism, “Calvinists believe that God’s plan is logically prior and that human decisions and actions are a consequence. With respect to the particular matter of the acceptance or rejection of salvation, God in his plan has chosen that some shall believe and thus receive the offer of eternal life. He foreknows what will happen because he has decided what is to happen. This is true with respect to all other human decisions and actions as well. God is not dependent on what humans decide. It is not the case, then, that God determines that, at times, what humans will do will happen, nor does he choose to eternal life those who he foresees will believe. Rather, God’s decision has rendered it certain that every individual will act in a particular way.[1] (italics added) Continue reading →