"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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  • « Universal Redemption Must be Denied by Jonathan Edwards | Main | You are a Chosen Race ... »

    "You Always Resist the Holy Spirit"


    I have often heard Acts 7:51 as a so-called proof text against the biblical doctrine irresistible grace. It reads, "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit..." But this is a profound failure of exegesis that has quite conveniently overlooked the whole first part of the verse. This is because it is the nature of those who are "uncircumcised in heart and ears" to resist the promptings of the Holy Spirit. They have no ears to hear or heart to understand. Circumcision of heart and ears, which can alone be done by the Spirit of God, is the act we speak of that disarms their resistance. Circumcision of heart is another way in the Bible to describe the Spirit's work of regeneration, and obviously no man can regenerate or resurrect himself.

    J.W. Hendryx

    Posted by John on November 30, 2012 12:43 PM


    I generally agree. But what do you do with Deut. 10:16 where the subject of circumcising is the people of Israel?

    Jim, This is where we must distinguish imperatives and indicatives and read the whole context of Deuteronomy. In some places like where you pointed out God commands newness of heart [Deuteronomy 10:16]. But elsewhere he testifies that it is given by him [Deut 30: 6; Ezek. 11:19; 36:26]. But what God promises we ourselves do not do through choice or nature; but he himself does through grace.

    God commands us to do many things, none of which we can do apart from his grace. Imperatives do not imply moral ability. He commands us to Love him with all our heart and our neighbor as ourself. Does it follow from "'Love the Lord your God with all thy heart' (Deut 6.5) that therefore you can love with all your heart? What do arguments of this kind prove, but the flesh does not need the grace of God, but can do all things by its own power....But it does not follow from this that man is converted by his own power, nor do the words say so; they simply say: "if you will turn", "circumcise your hearts" telling man what he ought to do not what is is able to do. Paul himself says that the purpose of the divine legislation is not to show our ability but our inability. He said, "by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin." (rom 3:20)

    In the same book you are quoting from it declares "And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, (J)so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live." (Deut 30:6)

    One place I rest my head where we see implicitly our Savior doing to our hearts what we discover we are not able to do, circumcise our own heart by our own hand (ability) is there at John 17:26!

    The command to circumcise our hearts isn't much different than the command God offered Cain to master sin (Gen 4:6). These loving commands are God calls to us and are two fold in nature. They're God's loving call to all men to take the right and holy course. But we strive with God, never accepting His word as true, and serves to illustrate to us our deliberate rebellious nature. These commands also serve believers on how we must rely upon His strength to overcome our rebelliousness. We must circumcise our hearts by relying upon Him to do it. The Law is good and given for our instruction to show that we need God's divine help through Christ.

    ""no man can regenerate or resurrect himself""

    I see many parallels with this type of fallacious reasoning with atheism.

    Atheism boxes itself in with naturalism and leads them to fit absurdities into that box such as colliding particles give the illusion of freewill.

    This dead body premise is just as ludicrous as the premise of naturalism. It causes you to have to twist the overwhelming majority of scripture into your tiny box.

    This statement about not being able to resurrect yourself, or some from of it, is mentioned in just about every justification for Calvinism. That alone should allow you to see how weak your arguments are.

    So people resist the Holy Spirit because the cant resurrect themselves? You dont, at all, see the resemblance to atheistic arguments on the internet every day by just completely hammering the obvious interpretation with your "dead body" analogy?

    The atheist have their "naturalism" flash card that allows them to deny whats plain.
    You should just make "dead body" flash cards and hold them up every time scripture clearly contradicts you.
    Dont misunderstand though--Im not equating the 2 or saying Calvinist aren't christians but you both use the same tactics of using circular reasoning and faulty premises because your arguments cannot stand any other way.

    I dont see how you'll ever be able to reason correctly on the subject until you drop the dead body premise--which seems almost how a child would read Pauls analogy


    Tell me something. According to Scripture, can an unregenerate person, that is, the person without the Holy Spirit, believe in the gospel? Can an unbeliever turn to Jesus Christ apart from any help of the Holy Spirit? (1 Cor 2:14, John 6:63-65, 37). If not, what are you arguing about?

    This is not the unaided human reasoning of the atheist, no. We are talking about the word of God. That the unspiritual person is unable to understand spiritual truth unless the Spirit opens his eyes and heart (Ezek 36:26, Acts 16:14). Honestly, all I saw from your response was human philosophy without one Scripture to give authority to your argument. Who is appealing to atheistic arguments now? From all appearances it would be you (unless you can prove me wrong), because it would seem you believe, in this case, your human reasoning trumps the Scripture. If I am wrong here, then please take the time to enlighten me and demonstrate it by answering the above question whether a person can come to faith in Jesus apart from the Holy Spirit? And please use Scripture as your authority in your answer.

    The person who is without the Spirit may be alive to the world, but he is dead to Spiritual things. Apart from a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, natural man loves darkness and hates the light (John 3:19,20). According to your reasoning above, it would follow that a person can believe in Christ apart from the Spirit, which is a theology which has no connection with biblical Christianity or any form of historic Christianity at all. Such a view was condemned in the early church ... a heresy called Pelagianism... that a person can come to faith in Christ in his own native abilities, apart from any work of the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit is necessary, then why would that be the case if natural man is not dead to spiritual truth?

    In light of these things in Scripture your argument simply cannot stand. How is it that you were willing to go out on such a limb, with such conviction, to promote these ignorant ideas to have them so easily demonstrated to be false. With respect, I would encourage you, in cases like these, to communicate with much more humility about your own reasoning, especially if you are not going to appeal to Scripture as your final authority.

    "Even when we were dead in sins, [God] hath quickened us together with Christ." - Eph 2:5

    John H.

    Jesus is received by faith. Some men resist the Holy Spirits promptings and do not repent and receive Jesus. The parable of the seed and the sower explains why some men persevere until the end and others fall away.

    Hello I believe you said in your calvinistic teaching in your question to your opponet that can a person recieve or believe by faith without the help of the holy spirit. I don't think anyone would deny a person can cone to God withoutcthe spirits help.. but calvinistic teaching says man does not act in cooperation with the spirit but the spirit makes u a believer and then u can have faith ...but precisely non Calvinist would say man comes to faith with God's help.. so yes a man can and will resist and point a believer can resist the spirit not vex the spirit... Do not grieve the spirit...these are believers if man can't resist God's spirit a christion wouldn't be able to resist God but its clear they do. Then there are those who resist God's spirit so much that there conscience becomes seared as with a hot iron. I believe this can happen to both believer and unbeliever. not only is irristible grace wrong but also total depravity is because if a man cannot recueve anything from God there consciousness to a seared mind just the progressiveness of this would suggest they were totally depraved which Romans 1 reveals it says you knew that there was a God and what he required but then it says God gave em over to a depraved mind they aren't born that way..may the Lord show us

    When Christ called the original twelve disciples, could they not resist the Holy Spirit. Was Judas Iscariot predestined to come with the twelve because he was already condemned. (John 3:18). A young ruler, dead in trespasses and sin, came to Christ to ask about eternal life. Was he drawn by the Father or did he come of his own free will? (Luke 18:18). Salvation was offered to him with two conditions, sell your possessions and distribute them to the poor. Did he reject the free gift because it was based on two conditions or because he was predestined to condemnation. The Elect Pharisees, based on their Jewish heritage, were justified by their own self-righteousness. The Publican, a dead sinner, sought God's mercy, and "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the (Pharisee.)" (Luke 18:11-14). Based on
    my limited knowledge of Calvinism, and without being unduly offensive, it would appear to me that the tenets of Calvinism are more akin to the traditions of the Pharisees; seemingly dismissive of God's unlimited mercy, by which the Publican was justified. "This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. It is of the lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness."(Lam. 3:21-23). Let us put our hope and trust in the Lord, and not in the doctrines of man. AMEN!

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