Oh how the calvinists twist and pervert the Bible!
I happened to read a post on www.bereanbiblechurch.org and immediately noticed that they are far from being like the Bereans of Acts 17:11 who were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
These modern “Bereans” are giving those noble Bereans of Paul’s day a bad name! I will be quoting excerpts from https://www.bereanbiblechurch.org/transcripts/acts/salvation_by_choice.htm unless otherwise noted.
Using Acts 16:13-14, they proceed to “prove” that God gives faith to enable sinners to believe the gospel. However, this is a blatant example of the twisted verbal gymnastics that so many calvinists go through in order to “prove” their lies, especially the lie that free will in salvation does not exist. It’s impossible for them to prove the lack of free will, so they are forced to use confused “interpretations” in order to demonstrate their lies to be truth. And this example here is no exception to that rule!
“Acts 16:13-14 (NKJV) “And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. 14 Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.”
This is the only place in the New Testament that uses the phrase “opened heart,” and the Bible gives the whole credit for this “opening” to God’s power and not to man’s will.”
Well, you say, what’s wrong with that? Nothing so far. It is certainly true that God (and not man’s will) must take the credit for this opening of Lydia’s heart. (“opened” should be seen as causing her to understand what is being said. This is what the original Greek word means.)
“Obviously, “the things spoken” by Paul were the gospel facts concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. …. God also brought the message of His provision to Lydia. He sent a preacher to tell her about this great plan of salvation. God went to a lot of trouble to provide such a gospel-He gave His only begotten Son up to death. He went to great ends to provide such a preacher as Paul.”
Yes, this is still exactly what the Bible has to be teaching. Paul had clearly been preaching the gospel to Lydia (and the other women as well – Acts 16:13). So far the truth is still clearly taught. But see where we get to next in this document. (It doesn’t take long before calvinists are forced to add lies to the equation or admit that they are wrong.) The opening of Lydia’s heart now means she is made to believe!
“God must open Lydia’s heart (or give her faith) so she will be able to believe.”
Yes, God must certainly be given all credit for the opening of Lydia’s heart, but nowhere does the verse even imply that God gave her faith so that she would be able to believe. Absolutely nowhere! This is the beginning of the addition of extra non-truth information in order to ultimately present their blatant lie. They have equated the opening of Lydia’s heart with being able to believe. The Greek word translated “opened” means “to cause to understand a thing”. But they have now turned “understanding” into “believing”, a meaning not permitted by the original Greek word. This is a false (and apparently deliberate) effort to prove a lie to be the truth. It is impossible to translate opening her heart as believing in what Paul said. To attempt to state such is ridiculous!
Clearly I can understand something without committing myself to believing in it. I can have understanding yet disagree. Understanding (without extra qualification) can never imply agreement, and therefore understanding does not automatically assume belief in that which is understood. I may understand the other person’s point of view yet remain unable to agree and believe in it.
Let’s look more carefully at Acts 16:14 – 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.
“opened” should be seen as causing her to understand what is being said, and the word translated “attended unto” means to turn her mind to or to get her attention. The gospel is preached, God uses the preaching of the gospel to give her understanding of His salvation, and consequently she heeds or pays attention to that preaching of the gospel. God uses Paul’s preaching of the gospel to get her attention to what’s being said and to understand what it means. This is the power of the gospel unto salvation as per Romans 1:6 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
bereanbiblechurch.org also add “Notice that the Bible explicitly gives God alone the credit for Lydia’s heart being opened. It is impossible not see that in this text, unless you simply refuse to accept what God clearly says.” They now revert to the actual truth to make it look more convincing. After having already stated the lie that God also caused her to believe, they now challenge the reader to accept the truth, yet leave out the believing. This mixing of lies with truth is often done by calvinists when they have little truth to play with: present the truth but add the lie to the truth to somehow give some credibility to the lie. But, it only takes the addition of just one lie to turn the whole truth into a lie! (For example, take the truth of the election of God, and add the lie that it is unconditional. But the election is actually conditional upon God’s foreknowledge – 1 Peter 1:2.)
Then the document now quotes the lie (that man has no free will here) as the concluding truth. If you disagree with their statements here, you are consciously corrupting the Word of God. In fact, this whole document appears to be an ineffectual effort to try to demonstrate the lack of free will of man for salvation. The following accusation is based on their clam that God caused Lydia to believe, but that claim can only be valid if she had no free will to choose for herself, yet they claim that this verse somehow demonstrates the lack of free will. Think carefully: this is circular logic, using the non-existence of free will to prove the lack of free will!
“Look at the words carefully: ….whose heart the LORD OPENED… If you try to deny that the one single reason that Lydia understood and believed the gospel was because God deliberately opened her heart and enabled her to believe, you are fighting God’s Word. If you try to get man’s “free will” as the one determining factor into this text, you are consciously corrupting the Word of God.”
While it is clear that God opened Lydia’s heart to understand the gospel, where does that even imply that God deliberately enabled her to believe? Yes, the gospel is certainly the means by which God got Lydia’s attention. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16) and God’s power is working through Paul’s faithful preaching of His gospel. When the gospel is preached faithfully according to God’s word, things will happen, for that preaching is God’s power unto salvation for all who believe in it (Romans 1:16). That power breaks open the blindness that satan places upon man’s thinking (2 Corinthians 4:3-4), and it is that power that caused Lydia to understand and pay attention to what Paul was preaching.
It is because of this power of the gospel unto salvation, that satan blinds the minds of the world so that the light of that gospel will be hid from those who need to hear it.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 – 3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Just think on this: why does satan blind the minds of man from hearing the gospel if God’s elect are made to believe in it? Why would satan waste his time and energy if God just overruled satan in all His elect? Satan could then effectively blind the eyes of only those who could never be saved anyway! If there is no free will unto salvation, why does satan oppose the gospel so much?
But satan’s deceptions cannot prevent the access of the gospel into the minds of man. Satan cannot prevent the gospel from getting the attention of all to whom it is preached. Not all will believe the gospel, but it will certainly get their attention, whether they believe or not. Man is surely incapable of responding favourably to God unless God should intervene, to seek and to save that which is lost. And the gospel is exactly that: God’s intervention that opens the hearts (the understanding) of people and gets their attention focused upon their need for God’s salvation. Romans 10:17 – So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Paul’s preaching of the gospel to Lydia certainly got her attention, and God also gave her understanding of that gospel, but it was still up to Lydia to respond to it. God uses the gospel to override satan’s blinding, to get our attention, and He gives understanding with it. But God never forces man’s hand at any time to have to believe. It is possible for God to make the gospel so powerful that it is difficult to reject even (note Paul on the way to Damascus), but He will never force a person to accept it against his will (Paul still had to respond favourably).
MacArthur tries to teach the lie that Paul was forced to become a Christian.
He’s a good one to look at for this kind of call because when the call of God came on the life of the apostle Paul, it was a sovereign, divine, gracious, and irresistible summons. He was slammed in to the dirt on the road to Damascus with nothing to do but respond. He is called as an apostle. …..
Paul understood that he was just grabbed by the neck by God and awakened to the glory of Christ and saved and made an apostle.
(The doctrine of God’s effectual call)
Yet where does the Bible actually say this? This is fanciful thinking at best, blatant lies at worst. Just another example of emotive twaddle!
So all who read this, just study the relevant passages from the Bible and decide for yourselves just what God is actually saying in His word. If the Bible doesn’t actually say it, then how can it be truth? See for yourselves that these self-proclaimed Bereans of today have used a lot more than just poetic license to twist biblical meaning so much. Read what the Bible says without all the extra added lies. Just read the clear truth that the Bible presents; let the Bible define the truth for itself, and therefore everything that is not truth (as per the Bible) has to be a lie.
And those who declare themselves to be Bereans should be more respectful of the legacy left by those Bereans of Paul’s day who searched the scriptures daily to determine the truth for themselves.
Acts 17:11 – These (Bereans) were were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
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