Does the calvinist God have a dual personality?
It seems as if the calvinists serve a God who has a dual personality in many ways, one who may not be the God that the Bible portrays.
Depending upon the context, or which calvinist is pushing their teachings, their God may have:-
(a) two seemingly conflicting wills, one will that desires things, and the other that actually gets things done.
(b) two types of foreknowledge, one that is foreordained, and the other simply resting upon God’s perfect knowledge of the future.
(c) two types of loving, a full love for the elect and a lack of love for the non-elect.
(d) one single new spiritual nature in the elect, yet many acknowledge that the elect still behave as if they have two natures (old sin nature and new spiritual nature).
(e) two calls of God especially for salvation, a general call and a specific (also referred to as a particular or effectual) call, or an external call and an internal call.
(a) The two wills of God according to the calvinist
God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9), and wills that all men be saved (1 Timothy 2:4 – Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.) yet calvinist MacArthur states that God did not intend that everyone be saved.
God did not intend to save everyone. He is God. He could have intended to save everyone. He could have saved everyone. He would have if that had been His intention.
If we assume MacArthur’s teaching of the absence of free will choice for salvation, then all whom God determines should be saved will be saved, and thus all whom God does not determine to be saved will be lost (condemned to hell). This teaching has to assume that God effectively decrees the condemnation of most of the world to hell in spite of His desire (His will, in fact) that all should be saved. Can a God, who foreordains all mankind to either heaven or hell, desire that all be saved, that none perish, and then not obey His desire? Why does the calvinist God desire that all be saved, yet not intend that all should be saved? This teaching has to assume that God actually has two wills, one subservient to the other, or even that God Himself is subservient to another will in the universe. Of course, if we accept the Biblical truth that man has free will as taught throughout the Bible, then whether or not a person is saved is dependent upon that free will choice. God has sovereignly chosen not to overrule the free will of man in salvation.
Of course, MacArthur, as a calvinist, has to teach that man has no free will choice in his salvation. (MacArthur does, though, permit lost man to be able to choose to sin, but not the right to choose to serve God. But within the framework of our sinfulness we could pick our poison. https://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/GTY106/answering-the-key-questions-about-the-doctrine-of-election) And according to calvinist doctrines, when God determines to save a person, that person won’t know anything about it until he is actually regenerated (their preferred term for being born again), after which they may then believe in Christ. Thus, no-one can do anything about his salvation; God just makes it happen! MacArthur says the following about the conversion of Paul (as Saul) in the Bible.
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. (https://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/90-296)
I don’t see any of this slamming into the dirt, nor being grabbed by the neck in the Bible, though. Methinks MacArthur has a very vivid imagination! However, imagination is a very poor basis for Biblical doctrine, though.
Note that if God foreordains some to eternal life (the elect), then it is necessary to likewise assume that He by saving only the elect has then condemned the rest to a lost eternity. This is termed double predestination. Even Calvin accepted that electing some to eternal life meant preordaining the rest to damnation.
By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death.
(Institutes of the Christian Religion (John Calvin) Book III Section 21 Part 5)
(Calvinists who state uncategorically that God did not predestine the lost to hell, logically have to also admit that their God doesn’t have as much control over the lost as he does the saved!)
MacArthur teaches that there are actually three wills of God: (i) His will of purpose or decree; (ii) His will of desire; (iii) His will of command. (from Knowing and Doing God’s Will, Code 80-220) Other calvinists such as Piper maintain that God has two wills, one seemingly what He wants or desires to happen while the other covers what actually does happen! Yet other calvinists (including Calvin himself) maintain that God has only one will; that when He desires that all should be saved, the “all” means only the Christians! There seems to be a wide range of doctrinal variation between calvinists!
But, the question may be asked: if God is so sovereign so as to have foreordained all the elect to eternal life, then how can His will of command differ from His will of desire? This has to assume that God in some way disagrees with what He desires such that He doesn’t command all that He desires! That is, He doesn’t intend doing that which He desires! If the calvinist God is so sovereign that He doesn’t permit free will, then how can He not have everything He desires?
A very clear example may be seen in the Bible, in Isaiah 5:3-4 where God likens Israel to His vineyard and Judah as His “pleasant plant” (Vs 7).
Isaiah 5:3-4 – 3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. 4 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
God Himself is stating clearly that he has not done anything that could have jeopardised His crop. So why did the crop fail? The calvinist has to teach that the free will of Israel is not an issue since Israel lacked the free will to choose good or evil here. Therefore all choices have to have been made by God. So, either God is lying (a totally unacceptable option) or else He desired that Israel should be fruitful, while, at the same time, willing that Israel should fail to be fruitful!
Anyone who would teach that all this was decreed by a sovereign God has to also believe that God actually meant this to happen (unacceptable conclusion) or that God couldn’t prevent it from happening (likewise an unacceptable conclusion). If you do indeed still think that God ordained this without any free will input from Israel, then you have to accept the unacceptable: that God desired (willed, even foreordained) that His elect nation of Israel should fail! (And some calvinists do in fact teach this clearly!) (The logically correct answer is that God permitted Israel to choose to rebel!)
Piper says that there are two wills in God, a will of decree and another will that probably expresses God’s will or desire for what He wants. Like MacArthur’s God, though, Piper’s God commands things which are clearly opposed to what He desires.
Affirming the will of God to save all, while also affirming the unconditional election of some, implies that there are at least “two wills” in God, or two ways of willing. It implies that God decrees one state of affairs while also willing and teaching that a different state of affairs should come to pass.
That would be like Jesus teaching the disciples something He willed should happen, yet knowing that it was quite different in actual practice! So, how much of Jesus’ teaching has to be interpreted as God’s desire, but won’t really happen though? And, isn’t it somewhat devious to teach one thing, while all the time knowing that the reality is something else quite different? This cannot be the God of the Bible!
And Piper even feels the need to have to explain that this does not make his God schizophrenic in some way!
My aim here is to show from Scripture that the simultaneous existence of God’s will for “all persons to be saved” (1 Tim. 2:4) and his will to elect unconditionally those who will actually be saved is not a sign of divine schizophrenia or exegetical confusion. …..
(Are There Two Wills in God? John Piper)
But Piper has also said that
God does not foreknow the free decisions of people to believe in him because there aren’t any such free decisions to know.
(“What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism” Revised 1998 John Piper)
So, if God is the only one making decisions on the eternal future of all mankind, then how can God refuse to act in accordance with His will that all persons should be saved? The only logical answer has to involve the use of free will decisions by man who is then held fully accountable for each and every decision made. (Note that this means both good and bad things done by mankind.)
2 Corinthians 5:10 – For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad.
Another comment online shares similar concerns.
So, for Piper and Chandler (Matt Chandler); God gives with one hand, and has already taken it away with the other hand. In this scenario, we have a God in eternity acting and willing one way; and then we have an ‘ordained’ way that God has chosen to work in time. So we essentially have a God who is in competition with the other; i.e. the God of eternity versus the way God has chosen to work in time.
Calvin was also faced with an agonising decision as to whether or not God had to have had two wills concerning the creation of evil. In the end, he decided that God cannot have two wills, so therefore when God wills that man should do evil, God Himself is not guilty of the evil, yet the man who is made to do evil is accounted guilty for the evil. That is, God wills in a right way what man wills in a wrong way!
Page 179 – But the objection is not yet resolved, that if all things are done by the will of God, and men contrive nothing except by His will and ordination, then God is the author of all evils.
Page 184 – Must we then impute the guilt of sin to God, or invent a double will for Him so that He falls out with Himself? I have shown that He wills the same as the criminal and the wicked, but in a different way.
(Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God – John Calvin)
Once again, the major problem for the calvinist is that without the Biblical doctrine of free will, God has to be held accountable for the things for which man without free will cannot be held accountable! Thus, the calvinist, by refusing free will for man, has to invent a second will for God that does what His first will doesn’t want! In this way the calvinist has to accept two conflicting wills in God or else alter (or reinterpret) Bible passages so that they may support such false doctrines.
(b) The two types of foreknowledge according to the calvinist
To begin with, “foreknowledge” in the Bible is the Greek word prognosis which was used as a medical term by Hippocrates about 400 BC. The first use of prognosis in the New Testament appears to have been by Luke who was a physician and would have known very well the writings of Hippocrates as a major part of his medical studies. Its use relied upon it being a knowledge of future events (in particular, medically). This is also the usage that best supports all Biblical interpretation. It is also the main if not only use of the word “prognosis” today. However, calvinists don’t like foreknowledge to be seen as that perfect knowledge of God of future events because this would assume the free will of man, and that would go against their non-scriptural interpretation of the unconditional election of some of mankind to salvation.
Calvinists therefore like to describe God’s perfect knowledge of the future as something awkward, like “peering through time”; peering into the future”; “looking/peering through the corridors of time”; etc. In this way they attempt to make it look like a somewhat difficult or onerous task that puts God’s ability to find things out to the test, perhaps hoping that His binoculars are powerful enough to see those teensy weensy things in the distance! However, people who think in this way appear to be lacking an understanding of just who God is. He is the eternal God, the great I AM, the One not bound by time in any way.
From 2 Corinthians 4:18 we learn that everything we see is temporal (that is, bound by time) and that we cannot “see” eternal things (those things that never change, ever). This means that God is outside time itself and ever existent at all points in time simultaneously, in the same way as He is ever present at all places simultaneously. To be any less than this would make God less than omniscient (all-knowing). God is always present at all times everywhere! To know the future, He doesn’t have to “peer through the corridors of time”, like looking through a telescope, hoping that it has sufficient magnification to see enough detail to understand what’s happening. God was already at all points in time in the future from before the foundation of the world. Time to God is like a great panorama stretched out before Him; He can see everything from beginning to end at all times. None of this “peering through the corridors of time” for Him!
So, let’s get to the two types of the foreknowledge of God that have to be taught by those calvinists who think (contrary to Scripture) that man has some free will but “not unto salvation”.
Calvin stated that it was vain to debate about God’s foreknowledge (he calls it “prescience” which means “foreknowledge”; they are synonyms) because if all things take place by God’s sovereign appointment, then God foresees (or foreknows) all things merely because He has already decreed that they are to happen!
If God merely foresaw human events, and did not also arrange and dispose of them at his pleasure, there might be room for agitating the question, how far his foreknowledge amounts to necessity; but since he foresees the things which are to happen, simply because he has decreed that they are so to happen, it is vain to debate about prescience, while it is clear that all events take place by his sovereign appointment.
(Institutes of the Christian Religion (John Calvin) Book III Section 23 Part 6)
Calvin taught that God had foreordained every single event by His decree before the start of time, such that nothing could happen unless it were written into His script from the beginning. Even every single murder was foreordained by God from the beginning, according to Calvin.
Let us suppose, for example, that a merchant, after entering a forest in company with trust-worthy individuals, imprudently strays from his companions and wanders bewildered till he falls into a den of robbers and is murdered. His death was not only foreseen by the eye of God, but had been fixed by his decree.
(Institutes of the Christian Religion (John Calvin) Book I Section 16 Part 9)
Many calvinists such as James White claim that all things have to be decreed by God or else they would have no purpose.
George Bryson: Well, let me answer that with a question. Let me ask you this question – and this will put in perspective to show the difference. When a child is raped, is God responsible and did He decree that rape? White: If he didn’t, then that rape is an element of meaningless evil that has no purpose.
(A decree is a command given by the highest authority and has to seen as being synonymous with foreordaining or predetermining actions.)
Other calvinists such as Loraine Boettner claim that God cannot use foreknowledge to determine free will decisions unless God has already foreordained them. That is, it is impossible for God to know the free will decisions of man until such time as these free will decisions are made. Note that he bases his conclusion upon “common sense”, apparently not Scripture!
Common sense tells us that no event can be foreknown unless by some means, either physical or mental, it has been predetermined. …..
A view which holds that the free acts of men are uncertain, sacrifices the sovereignty of God in order to preserve the freedom of men. Furthermore, if the acts of free agents are in themselves uncertain, God must then wait until the event has had its issue before making His plans. In trying to convert a soul, then He would be conceived of as working in the same manner that Napoleon is said to have gone into battle-with three or four plans in mind, so that if the first failed, he could fall back upon the second, and if that failed, then the third, and so on, —a view which is altogether inconsistent with a true view of His nature. He would then be ignorant of much of the future and would daily be gaining vast stores of knowledge. His government of the world also, in that case, would be very uncertain and changeable, dependent as it would be on the unforeseen conduct of men.
To deny God the perfections of foreknowledge and immutability is to represent Him as a disappointed and unhappy being who is often checkmated and defeated by His creatures.
(Ch. 6 “The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination” Loraine Boettner)
Piper apparently has another different yet similar viewpoint.
God does not foreknow the free decisions of people to believe in him because there aren’t any such free decisions to know.
(“What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism” Revised 1998 John Piper)
MacArthur, however, along with some other calvinists, teaches that we have a free will, but only to choose that which is evil, that is, pick our poison.
But within the framework of our sinfulness we could pick our poison. When you talk about free will, we’re talking about the freedom that the sinner has to choose his iniquity. That’s what his freedom is, that’s the sum and substance of his freedom. The one thing he’s not free to do is to choose salvation, or to choose righteousness, or to choose holiness, or to choose God, or to choose Christ unaided and on his own. ….. All that the Bible says about the fallen man is that this man has no capacity to make the righteous choice. ….. you can pick your sin. But the one thing you can’t do is extricate yourself from that condition of sin and death.
MacArthur is saying that we do have free will to make our own choices, but not when it comes to choosing salvation. But, where does it define these two options as doctrinal truths in the Bible? Or even suggest that there are two types of free will? Or that free will covers some choices but not others? But, for the sake of this discussion, we’ll consider that MacArthur’s God gives mankind free will for some actions but not for others including “unto salvation”.
MacArthur teaches that Judas wasn’t predestinated or foreordained to go to hell; Judas chose of his own free will to go to hell.
Judas went there (hell) because Judas chose to betray Christ, chose to reject the truth, chose to pay a sad, sad price.
(https://www.gty.org/resources/print/questions/QA183 Code: QA183)
Therefore, if God didn’t foreordain Judas’ betrayal of Jesus (that is, it was by the free will of Judas), yet prophesied concerning it in Zechariah, then God must have known about the decision that Judas would make beforehand in order to prophesy concerning it. God, therefore, could only have known about this action through His perfect knowledge of the future (that is, foreknowledge).
Zechariah 11:12-13 – 12 And I said unto them, If ye think good, give [me] my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty [pieces] of silver. 13 And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty [pieces] of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord.
So here we must have an example of foreknowledge that cannot have been foreordained, or else Judas could not have made a free will choice to betray Jesus! (Logic allows only one or the other, not both!) The free will of Judas to pick his own poison here required a non-foreordained (non-predetermined) foreknowledge to know about it beforehand!
But MacArthur also teaches that foreknowledge has to be interpreted as being dependent upon God’s predetermination, that is, foreknowledge is predetermined or foreordained by God!
(cf. Acts 2:23—an inviolable rule of Greek grammar, called the Granville Sharp rule, equates [pre]determination and “foreknowledge”; see notes on 1 Pet. 1:1–2, and cf. with Rom. 1:20—the term must be interpreted the same in both verses).
(MacArthur Study Bible, notes on Romans 8:29)
Note his statement that this term must be interpreted the same in each case!)
Despite this, MacArthur has to teach that God’s foreknowledge of the free will choice of Judas to betray Jesus could not have been predetermined or foreordained, or else Judas would not have had a free will choice to betray Jesus in this case!
Houston, we have a problem here!!
Either foreknowledge is foreordained by God or else it isn’t. Yet MacArthur is apparently having a bet each way here, taking the most appropriate meaning to suit his purposes in each case! MacArthur is doing some “fence-sitting”, one foot on each side of the foreknowledge/free will fence! Therefore, we are forced to accept the only possible conclusion here: that, according to MacArthur, God has two types of foreknowledge, one involving God’s predetermination, and the other entirely based upon God’s perfect knowledge of the future.
Thus, if Judas’ betrayal of Jesus were by his own free will choice, then MacArthur’s definition of foreknowledge has to be based upon God’s perfect knowledge of the future and not upon His foreordained (or predetermined) purposes. However, on the other hand, if MacArthur’s definition of foreknowledge rests upon the predetermined counsel of God, then Judas’ betrayal of Christ had to be likewise foreordained by God’s predetermined purposes (and not by Judas’ free will). Of course, one more option exists: that God actually has two types of foreknowledge, one that predetermines the future, and the other that perfectly knows the future free will decisions of mankind!
But this last option is absurd! If God does have two types of foreknowledge, then under what circumstances does the Bible teach that each must be used? (For unless it is consistently taught in the Bible, it is not a doctrinal truth but an opinion of man!) How do we know that Judas had a free will choice to betray Jesus, yet didn’t have the same free will option to accept Him! Of course, MacArthur teaches that Jesus didn’t die for any of the sins of Judas, so Judas didn’t have any option other than to go to hell anyway!
“Jesus didn’t pay for the sins of Judas because when Judas died, he went to his own place to pay for his own sins.”
The Sacrifice that Satisfied, 1 John 2:2, Code: 62-10 (https://www.gty.org/resources/print/sermons/62-10)
MacArthur would probably say that Judas wasn’t one of the elect in the first place and therefore had no choice anyway but to choose to go to hell. If Judas were only given the free will to pick his own poison, then he wouldn’t have been able to choose the salvation offered by Christ anyway! Does the calvinist God have a dualistic use of foreknowledge, perhaps based upon his dualistic conflicting wills? Does the conflict between his will of desire and his will of command cause the calvinist God to vacillate between his two types of foreknowledge?
And one more huge problem for calvinists who teach that God’s foreknowledge is the establishment of a love relationship between God and his people: such foreknowledge may only be used for the elect which are perhaps 1% of the world’s population. That means that God’s foreknowledge can have absolutely no application to that 99% of non-elect, lost mankind! Either God ordains every decision made by the lost, or else he doesn’t know what they will choose until they choose it!
Either God has two types of foreknowledge, or MacArthur has seemingly got it wrong (again!).
(c) two types of love, one for the elect and the other for the non-elect
Now here’s an interesting one for the calvinists to try to explain! One of their favourite passages in support of unconditional election is found in Romans 9.
Romans 9:11-13 – 11 (For [the children] being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
Calvinists will delight to tell you that this unconditional election (choosing) of the nation of Israel as God’s elect nation proves the unconditional election of all individuals who will inherit eternal life. However, note that only one nation may be chosen; and, once one nation is selected, all other nations have to be rejected from being God’s chosen people. If the same conditions applied to individual election, only one individual might be chosen to the exclusion of all other individuals. (So who’s that lucky elect person who’ll be the only one living in heaven?) Also, note that the word used for “hated” is actually a comparative term; it merely means “loved less”. God loved one nation, Israel, more than the other nation under question, Edom, and so chose the one He loved more. However, the calvinists love to emphasise the “hate” rather than the “loved less”.
But let’s move on from there. If this passage is indicative of individual election as the calvinists claim, then it also means that God chooses the elect because he loves them, and that He rejects the non-elect because He hates them! Therefore, calvinists, in order to be consistent, must declare of the non-elect that they were not chosen for salvation by God because, purely and simply, he hated them! In a sense, this refutes the calvinist claim that the election was unconditional, for one condition apparently clearly exists: that God only chose for salvation the ones he loved!
Calvinists teach that God’s saving love was only for his chosen elect, and that Jesus demonstrated this by dying on the cross for only those that believe. MacArthur clearly teaches that God’s saving love for the world in John 3:16 has to be interpreted as meaning only for those who would believe. (Note where MacArthur finishes this paragraph!)
……. all it means in John 3 is He loved humanity, He loved mankind. He loved people from all tribes and tongues and nations. He loved and in a very general sense, the sense of common grace and the offer of the gospel and compassion He shows love to the world. But His saving love for the world is limited to those in the world, the realm of humanity who believe. “God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes.”
(The Doctrine of Actual Atonement, Part 2 Code: 90-278)
So, when Pink taught that God didn’t love everybody, he was only being true to the calvinist doctrine that God only loved Jacob and hated Esau, these each being types of the elect and non-elect, according to calvinists.
God does not love everybody: if He did, he would love the Devil. ….. Nor is there anything to attract God’s love in any of the fallen sons of Adam ……. the exercise of God’s love towards the fallen sons of men is according to His own good pleasure.
(Page 337 The Wisdom of Pink, Volume 1)
Of course, some calvinists claim that God did, in fact, love all people, that He, by the common grace shown to all men, gives them life, breath and food, the basics of life for the time when they live on this earth. However, that’s like feeding a last meal to the condemned man before he is executed. That’s not love at all, but a poor excuse by the calvinists to demonstrate that their God who hates the ones he is sending to hell actually loves them even just a little teensy bit! The God of the calvinist loves some and hates most; and yet they are all his creation. It’s almost as if they serve a God who has two minds: one for his people, the elect, and the other for the non-elect because they aren’t his people!
The dualistic-natured calvinist God can only love those whom he has chosen for salvation; he created all mankind, yet hates most of them for some unknown reason such that he has refused to save them, simply because he hates them! In fact, the lost (non-elect) were created seemingly for the purpose of being hated by God because that was his will for them, even when he desired that all should be saved! This just does not make sense at all!
(d) no old nature in the elect, yet they can still sin because of vestiges of the old sin nature
MacArthur, like most calvinists, teaches that the elect (chosen of God) have had their old sin nature disposed of, and that they only have the new spiritual nature once they have been regenerated (born again).
Biblical terminology, then, does not say that a Christian has two different natures. He has but one nature, the new nature in Christ. The old self dies and the new self lives; they do not coexist. It is not a remaining old nature but the remaining garment of sinful flesh that causes Christians to sin. The Christian is a single new person, a totally new creation, not a spiritual schizophrenic. It is the filthy coat of remaining humanness in which the new creation dwells that continues to hinder and contaminate his living.
(Page 164 MacArthur Commentary on Ephesians, Ch 13 “Off with the Old, On with the New”)
But he also says that we have vestiges of the old sin nature remaining, even though it is seemingly dead.
Nor is Paul describing a dualistic, schizophrenic Christian. The old man … is dead. ….. It is true of every genuine believer that our old self is dead. ….. If the old self isn’t dead, conversion hasn’t occurred. …..
As we shall note in chapter 8, Christians sin because of the vestiges of sinful flesh, not because they have the same old active sinful nature. Certainly we sin, but when we sin it is contrary to our nature, not because we have two dispositions – one sinful and one not.
(The Vanishing Conscience, John MacArthur)
So, according to the calvinist, if we are born again (regenerated) and therefore theoretically can’t sin, it really means we shouldn’t sin, yet even then we do sin! So, even though we no longer have the old sin nature that causes us to sin, we still have vestiges of that same flesh nature such that we continue to sin contrary to our nature now. It seems as if MacArthur is waffling away, not knowing exactly what he can say to convince us that we no longer have a sin nature while all along admitting that we still have something that resembles that old sin nature, but really isn’t. After all, Christians shouldn’t be sinning because they have only a new spiritual nature, yet they do sin, so either they aren’t really Christians, or else the old sin nature is still hanging in there somewhere. So how is MacArthur to explain this seemingly conflicting situation? Well, he says, Christians don’t have a sin nature, yet some of it is still there. Come on, MacArthur, either they do or they don’t have an old sin nature, not some that isn’t really there, yet even though it isn’t there, it can make us sin because it is still there?!
What is MacArthur going on about? This doesn’t make sense. Why doesn’t he note what Paul said in Romans 7.
Romans 7:14-25 – 14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that [it is] good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
It certainly looks like Paul recognised the battle that existed in his body between the old and new natures. I really wonder how Paul could have had such a struggle when the old nature no longer existed; it’s clear that those vestiges certainly fight hard, especially when they represent something that no longer exists!
However, it looks more like the God of the calvinists doesn’t have the same clear understanding of the conflict that Paul was facing, which makes me wonder if, in fact, the God of the calvinists is actually the God of the Bible. Or perhaps the Bible wasn’t written by the calvinist God?
With all of the conflicts looked at in this document, the calvinist God does appear to have a dualistic personality such that he has different rules and laws for different groups of people, and that he even has conflict within his own will(s).
(e) The two calls of God general (external) call and the specific (internal) call
Because of the calvinist dilemma in refusing any free will choice of mankind, especially in salvation, they have to define two types of call of God to mankind.
(i) the general or external call to all mankind
(ii) the specific or internal call to only the elect (sometimes called the particular or effectual call)
(i) The general or external call to all mankind
Calvinists define the gospel as the external call of the Holy Spirit to all mankind which can and will be resisted by all. That is, all may hear the gospel, and all (according to the calvinist) are genuinely invited to partake of the salvation offered in Jesus Christ. (They don’t, however, explain how all may partake when Jesus only died for the sins of the elect!)
However, no-one can respond to this gospel unless they are born again first. They also teach that not one of the non-elect will ever be able to respond to the external call of the gospel because God has not regenerated them (and will not, ever). The elect may respond to the gospel but only after they are born again (regenerated). It sounds confusing because that what it is: confusing!
Calvinists also teach that Christ only died for the sins of the elect, such that even if the non-elect (those not chosen for salvation) were to desire salvation, they couldn’t obtain it because their sins were never paid for on the cross. That is, Jesus only died to pay for the sins of the elect of God; calvinists call this unscriptural doctrine “limited” or “particular” atonement. Salvation and thus forgiveness was never there for the non-elect in the first place. It must make it a bit hard for calvinists to preach the gospel when most of the listeners probably have no option to be saved anyway!
Nor can the elect (those unconditionally chosen by God for salvation) respond to the external call of the gospel until after they are regenerated (born again) because they are allegedly unable to believe in Christ until after they have been born again. Thus, even though Christ died on the cross for these elect of God, they still cannot respond to the gospel call until after they have been born again (regenerated) of the Spirit of God.
This gospel call is defined as the general call because it goes to all mankind, yet cannot do anything for mankind unless they also hear the specific internal call which calvinists say is only heard by the elect or chosen of God. It can be also called the particular or effectual call of God.
(ii) the specific or internal call to only the elect (sometimes called the particular or effectual call)
Calvinists teach that only the regenerated (born again) elect of God may hear this call of the Holy Spirit; they define this as the internal irresistible call of the Holy Spirit which cannot be resisted and therefore is more of a summons to be saved, rather than an offer of salvation in Christ. In fact, calvinists teach that you are incapable of believing in Christ until after you are born again (regenerated). This is taught as the specific or internal call of God which is only given to the elect or chosen of God.
So, whenever calvinists come across the term “call” in the Bible, they have to decide whether it will be general or specific, based upon whether they think it might be to the elect or the non-elect! Note the following
Matthew 22:14 – For many are called but few are chosen.
Because calvinists like to think that the elect of God are specifically called for salvation, they also define this call in Matthew 22:14 as a general call that is then resisted by man. But, if all mankind is asked to respond to the gospel through a calling to all mankind, then it comes down to free will again where some may accept the call but many will resist and then reject the call.
It is far simpler, and more Biblical into the bargain, to think of God’s calling to mankind for salvation through Christ actually being to all people, and the fact that few are chosen is that only some of those called actually come and therefore they are the few chosen by God to become His elect. Of course, this uses foreknowledge, that perfect knowledge of God of the future, but the calvinists don’t like that one either because it upsets their false doctrines too much.
Pure truth never conflicts with other truth; this is a basic law defining the absolute truth of God. If there is a conflict of any sort in the Bible, then there is a lie somewhere. Pure doctrinal truth never has conflict. If you were to do a survey on what calvinists believe, you would find a plethora of opinions and beliefs that far too often contradict each other. If, as the calvinists claim, their doctrines are closer to the truth than any other fundamentalist belief, then you would expect to find greater agreement among its supporters, not, as is apparent today, a greater level of discord among their ranks. Truly the calvinists are being conformed to the image of their God!
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