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 →

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 →

Does Calvinism Believe Man is Free, Determined, or Both?

I have a strong desire to enable people to more readily recognize the unmitigated determinism within every aspect of Calvinism.[1] This serves to make dialogue regarding the merits and liabilities of Calvinism clearer as well as enabling everyone a better opportunity to be aware of what they are actually embracing when they don the title Calvinist. In view of that, I frequently speak about the nature of compatibilism, which is Calvinism’s chosen perspective regarding man’s freedom as contrasted with libertarianism, Extensivism’s belief about man’s freedom.[2] If the entailments of these perspectives are misunderstood, the conversation is unproductive. Continue reading →

Is Murder a Choice of Man or a Choice of God?

The following is a question from a respondent to one of my articles. It was asked and responded to in a public forum.

Hello

You said, “Let me make sure I understand what you’re saying. My mother was brutally murdered when I was 8 years old. Are you saying my God wasn’t strong enough to save her or that He cares more about something (namely the free will of man) other than making life perfect and free from sin?”

The following is my response. Continue reading →

Compatibilism and Libertarianism: A Summary

Much of the confusion in discussions between Extensivists (here used in place of non-Calvinists) and Calvinists is due to not understanding the different perspectives regarding man’s moral freedom. Calvinists believe man is free according to compatible moral freedom; in contrast, Extensivists believe man is free according to libertarian moral freedom. A clear understanding of these two ideas is essential to properly evaluating the claims of each perspective. The following is provided as a summary. A more detailed explanation can be found by searching Compatible and Libertarian Freedom. Continue reading →

God’s Knowledge of the Future Requires Neither Passivity Nor Determinism

Calvinism believes that God knows what will happen in the future, including everything each person will do because he has microscopically determined that humans perform such actions through decrees and compatible freedom. In very stark contrast, Extensivism believes that God knows everything including everything each person will do as well, but for different reasons. Extensivists recognize that Scripture presents the picture that God chose to create man in his image.[1] This includes the ability to choose otherwise within the range of options God has established, libertarian freedom, which is ubiquitously evident in Scriptures reflective of choosing between accessible options. Given that God chose to so endow man, God has eternally known every choice that every individual will make; further, while libertarian freedom is a force, it is a force created by God, and therefore, entirely under his sovereign rule. Continue reading →