Ad Hominem - "to the man"
Ad Hominem refers to a logical fallacy, or in other words, a bad argument. This short video shows 4 ways this can happen:
The Extra-Biblical Logic of Molinism
Regarding salvation "...middle knowledge claims that God's perfect, infinite knowledge must be able to know not only what sentient creatures will freely choose in all situations in their lives but what everyone would do in every possible situation that they could confront." - Craig Blomberg
Response: Where is Christ in all of this? The problem with this statement should be obvious to any serious student of Scripture: It doesn't matter what situation people are put in, they will always, always reject Christ apart from regenerating grace. Natural men need the gospel precisely because they are not free but in bondage to their corruptions...and are unable to see the beauty of Christ in the gospel... Men, therefore, do not "freely choose" but instead need to have their heart of stone made into a heart of flesh. Men do not have the natural power to change our own hearts ... and so the gospel's power is that it not only justifies a man when he comes to faith but also raises him from the death of sin (renewing our heart) in order that he might bring men to faith (John 6:63-65, 37). Salvation is by Christ alone.
The end we should all be more persuaded by arguments from actual texts of Scripture then from the apparent logic of entailments. While we should never embrace anything that has internal contradictions, yet Molinism's fatal error is that it has created an extra-biblical system which may be logical within its own system but does not even attempt to justify itself from Scripture.
The Atonement and Foreknowledge
No Christian can consistently declare that Christ exhaustively foreknew who would be saved and then teach that He was punished with the intent of saving every single person that ever lived. To declare that he died with the intent of saving those he foreknew would go to hell is a flat out contradiction. Either Christ is God and foreknows all things or He is not God and ignorant of what is to take place. you cannot have it both ways. (John 10:11, 26; 17:9, 19, 24)
Relativists and Universal Human Rights
Relativists cannot consistently make charges of unfairness or injustice or try to promote any kind of universal human rights. Under relativism, the notions of fairness and justice are simply incoherent since both ideas declare that people should receive equal treatment based on an arbitrary external standard.
An example would be relativists in the USA trying to stop so-called female circumcision in Muslim countries. You cannot consistently maintain you are a relativist and at the same time try to promote arbitrary rights for people who believe differently. Either it is objectively wrong or you are imposing your own arbitrary morality.
You cannot consistently say that man has a free will but cannot lose his salvation.
On the other hand, those who believe they can lose salvation by some action of their own, are essentially saying that they must maintain their own just standing before God...that Jesus is not sufficient to save. Not far from Roman Catholicism. Trusting in themselves (partly) to get in and trusting in themselves (partly) to stay in. Thus they believe in the NECESSITY of Jesus grace but not the SUFFICIENCY of His grace.
Visitor to Monergism.com: You are a nasty spirited site to have a topic labeled "bad theology". Who made you God?
Response: Perhaps you fail to see the irony in your email. You yourself are making a distinction yet declare that others cannot make distinctions. You have determined that we are wrong and are promoting something that is bad theology YET you declare that labeling something wrong or bad theology is mean-spirited. Are you not doing the VERY thing you claim to despise? You entire declaration, therefore, rests on an impossible contradiction. Isn't this the very definition of hypocrisy? Lesson I hope you will take from this: It is impossible to live and communicate without making distinctions.
All the Grapes Given to Me are Eaten by Me ...
Question: If all the grapes a friend gives to me are eaten by me, what percentage of the grapes that my friend gives me are eaten by me? Not a trick question, the answer should be obvious.
Likewise if all that the Father gives to [Jesus] will come to faith in him (John 6:37), what percentage of those who the Father gives the Son will come to faith in Him? Spiritual truths like this often remain unseen even though they are not hidden in the Text. If you answered 100% to the first question and not the second then I would encourage you to reevaluate your approach to Scripture and I pray the Lord would open you heart and eyes to this critical truth.
Libertarian Freedom and God
As you know, those who believe in "libertarian free will" declare the ability to choose otherwise...
Given that God is absolutely holy and without sin by His very nature, it would actually be heretical to declare that God has libertarian free will ... for it would mean that He would have the "freedom" to do otherwise ... i.e. to be unholy, if He so chose to be.
However, the Bible defines freedom relative to sin (See John 8)... so God being absolutely holy makes Him the most free. This is great evidence that libertarian free will is a philosophical construct and not based on biblical presuppositions of freedom.
All Preachers Should Get A Short Course in Logic
It is an amazingly high calling to be a teacher of God's word. It carries with it both great privilege and great responsibility. It is a holy and awesome task.
I believe it would help every teacher of the Bible to have even a short course in logic. I need it. We all need it. It definitely would stop some ridiculous stuff being taught.
In the realm of logic, I am very much a layman. However, I do know this - in logic we learn the difference between a necessary implication (because something is explicitly stated) and a statement that is a possible implication (but not necessary).
An example of a necessary implication of a statement:
Statement 1. If it snows - the school will close.
Implication - It is snowing, therefore the school is closed.
There is no wiggle room here - if the first sentence is true, then the second sentence (the implication) necessarily follows.
On the other hand, here's an example of a possible implication (that may or may not be true):
Statement 2. Timothy will work at his father's farm this summer.
Implication: Timothy will work at both his father's farm and at the grocery store.
Here if the first sentence is true, then the second sentence in the statement MAY be true, but it does not follow from the first. He may work in two different places - this is true, but that is not something that can be verified from the first sentence. It is a possible but not a necessary implication.
Here's where I go with all this. We as God's ministers should only preach and teach necessary implications as doctrine - that which is explicitly stated. Doctrine should never be built on POSSIBLE implications of a text, but NECESSARY implications - this is the essence of exegesis, drawing out from the text what is actually there. The opposite is eisegesis, reading into the text things that are never actually stated.
Just exercising this principle of logic would serve us all so well, especially over passages such as Hebrews 6:4-9:
Clarifying the Love of God for His People in Christ
Although some may not think so, we really do work hard to accurately represent those whose positions differ from us in regards to the work of Christ in our salvation. Recently I gave an illustration which highlighted the differences between the Arminian traditions' view of God's love and the traditional Augustinian view, which at least one visitor said misrepresented both sides ...
The illustration has two parents whose children run out into the street when a car is coming. The first parent calls to his child to get out of the way but stays on the curb hoping he will obey, while the other parent sees the danger and runs out to scoop up the child to make certain he/she is safe. We believe this demonstrates two radically different conceptions of love. Synergists often challenge us that we put God's holiness over His love, but this illustration attempts to highlight that this is not the case, but rather, reveals a vastly different view of God's love and the message of salvation: one type of love is intensive and the other extensive. One loves makes certain that the job is done - that the child is safe, while the other love does not make this a certainly but sees love in the giving of a choice itself ... and consequently values more highly the will of the child as the final determiner of salvation.
To clarify this illustration so you can see how it explicitly explains the two positions:
First of all, both positions believe that Christ died for sinners .... but there are clear differences in what Christ's death actually accomplishes for His children:
1) The Arminian position believes that Christ does a great deal to bring salvation to His people, but His death does not actually secure that salvation. It is not sufficient of itself to save lost people. There is still a requirement that sinners themselves must meet if Christ's death is to be effectual ... in other words, what Christ does for sinners in the Arminian scheme is really conditioned upon man fulfilling another requirement that is in addition to Christ's death ... in this case, faith.
2) The Augustinian position, in contrast, believes that Christ's death and resurrection actually secures the salvation of His people. It is completely sufficient in itself to save sinners. God does require faith of His people but Christ's death even pays for the sin of our unbelief and thus He meets all the requirements necessary for our salvation ... requirements that we were morally impotent to meet ourselves. Thus, Jesus Christ gives His children everything necessary to secure salvation. This is an unconditional love ... salvation by grace alone in Christ alone. Christ plus nothing. Salvation is, therefore, not conditioned upon our prior faith but Christ actually even secures our faith. The finished work of Christ guarantees that none of his children will be lost and will all be raised up at the last day (John 6:37-39, 44)
Thoughts on Thinking
1. Thinking is much like traveling: for just as when a man travels he moves from scene to scene, and is ever confronted with new sights, so a thinking man moves from thought to thought, and is ever confronted with new vistas and different perspectives and vantage points.
2. And just as a traveler may only find himself in new locations by moving there one step at a time, so a thinker may only find new territory by proceeding from his starting point, one connection at a time, until he finds himself someplace that he has not seen before.
3. Many people believe that they are not able to think well, and that thinking is solely the occupation of a select few. They feel themselves inadequate because they have an insufficient view of what thinking is, imagining it to be an unconnected conjuring up of abstract ideas. They are like children who think that they cannot see their friends because they are in a different place, and who believe that only their parents or some other trusted adult can enable them to visit those whom they desire to see. They do not realize that their parents can only bring them towards the desired goal one step at a time, and that they could just as well take each one of the necessary steps, if they could only see how each one is necessary to bring them to the wished-for place. In the same way, many people imagine that philosophers and other notable thinkers are able to dream up inaccessible ideas, when they really only walked there one step at a time, and with such faltering progress that each individual step could be traversed by the weakest of men.
Paul's Use of Logic (Quote)
"It is perfectly logical and reasonable to examine a position, or the progression of a position, and work out its implications. Paul himself does this to the Corinthians.
Evidently swayed by Greek philosophy, some puddingheads in Corinth denied the doctrine of bodily resurrection. Paul was appalled, and with inexorable logic worked out the implications of this view. Notice his progression, "If you are saying A, then B naturally follows, as well as C, and D, and...."
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then [A] not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then [B] our preaching is in vain and [C] your faith is in vain. 15 [D] We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, [E] not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, [F] your faith is futile and [G] you are still in your sins. 18 Then [H] those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, [I] we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Corinthians 15:12-19)
Paul works out easily nine implications of this fundamental error, all designed to show where it necessarily leads. Perhaps the errorists would have cried, "Paul, that's a straw man! We're not saying any of that!" To this, the apostle might have replied, "Not yet. But this is where your premises necessarily lead.""
- Dan Phillips
Philosophy of (The Christian) Religion
Philosophy of (The Christian) Religion compiled by Paul Manata New Subsection @Monergism.com
Introduction: This is comparable to a book on the Philosophy of Religion. There are a few differences between this "book" and other books. You will notice that there are no (well, just one or two) arguments against the positions I've listed. This is because this "book" is also meant to substitute as an apologetics "book" for the Christian faith, hence the offensive nature. Furthermore, this "book" is intended to present the Philosophy of Christianity from a Reformed perspective and also a presupposition approach to answering many of these questions (or, what I feel is in the same â€œveinâ€ as presuppositional-esk answers). I also included some dated (or, stated in a non-analytical way) statements of Omniscience and Omnipotence, the reason for this is because I feel that if one could just state the traditional reformed understandings of these doctrines one would avoid many of the so-called problems with these doctrines. I have also included "chapters" in this "book" that are not found in other Philosophy of Religion texts (e.g., Christian Theism and Abstracta). I hope this "book" serves to increase your understanding of the Reformed Faith (or, in other words, Christian Faith) as well as enables you to better defend it.
Free Will, Election & Foreknowledge
Those who affirm the libertarian "free will" of man often teach the doctrine of ELECTION as follows: God, before He created the world, foreknew, from eternity, who would yield to the Spirit, and therefore elected to salvation all those whom He foresaw would do so. In other words, God looks down the corridors of time to see who will believe and then "predestines" them based on the exercise of their autonomous free will to choose Him. In this system of belief the absolute free will of the natural man is necessary to preserve human responsibility. But this concept of foreknowledge ironically ends up destroying itself. There is no person who believes in free will that can consistently believe this theory of foreknowledge, and still go around teaching his views as to God's salvation. Why so? Consider the following:
1. No Libertarian free will theist can consistently say that God foreknew who would be saved and then also teach that God is trying to save every man. Surely if God knows who will be saved and who won't be saved, then how could anyone argue that He is trying to save more? Certainly, it is foolish to assert that God is trying to do something which He knew never could be accomplished. Some embracing the free will or foreseen faith position charge Augustinians that preaching the gospel to the non-elect is mockery since God has not elected them. If there is any validity in that objection, then it equally applies to them as well who preach to those who God knows will never be saved. To the Augustinian, God commands that the Gospel be preached to all, because, when we indiscriminately cast forth the seed of the gospel, the Spirit germinates the seed of those He came to save (1 Thess 1:4, 5 John 6:63-65). People are not saved in a void but under the preaching of the Gospel and the Spirit brings forth life through the word of truth.
2. No Libertarian who embraces the foreseen faith position can consistently say that God foreknew which sinners would be lost and then say it is not within God's will to allow these sinners to be lost. Why did He create them? Let the libertarian freewill theist consider that question. God could have just as easily refrained from creating those that He knew would "freely" choose to go to Hell. He knew where they were going before He created them. Since He went ahead and created them with full knowledge that they would be lost, it is evidently within God's providence that some sinners actually be lost, even in the libertarian scheme. He, therefore, has some purpose in it which human beings cannot fully discern. The libertarian freewill theist can complain against the truth that God chose to allow some men a final destiny of Hell all they want, but it is as much a problem for them as for anyone. As a matter of fact, it is a problem which libertarians must face. If he faces it, he will have to admit either the error of his theology or deny foreknowledge all together. But he might say that God had to create those that perish, even against His will. This would make God subject to Fate.
Another Common Objection to Augustinian Soteriology
[It seems to be a current fad among Arminian laymen and scholars to attempt to refute Calvinism by claiming that since most of the early church did not believe in irresistible Grace, limited atonement, and unconditional election (before the time of Augustine at least) then it cannot be true. An Arminian yesterday wrote me an email appealing to this very line of reasoning. He said that since we cannot prove that the historic church before Augustine held this view, our appeal can only be to the early church of the Apostles which, they say, we exegete through an Augustinian or Calvinistic grid.
Three things we might say in response to this argument:
1) The early Church was rightly more concerned and focused on matters of the Trinity and Christology. There were more basic anti-Trinitarian, Christological heresies to contend with. Among believers at the time there was a simple faith in Jesus and further matters of soteriology had not been worked out. Soteriological heresies would later force the church to deal with the issues of grace and faith head on. At the time, the Holy Spirit, no doubt, moved in individuals to understand salvation by grace alone through faith alone as well as ideas of divine election on some rudimentary levels, but this was not yet hammered out church doctrine.
Spiritual Discernment is for the Spiritual
"the things of the Spirit of God ... are spiritually discerned" ( 1Cor 2:14)
"he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures" (Luke 24"45)
I would like to challenge each one of you to take a friend from work out to lunch; someone that you know is not a Christian. This person preferably is a someone with whom you developed some degree of a good relationship with. During the course of your meal, when it seem appropriate, you can lead the conversation toward the Gospel. Tell him or her that God Himself has truly entered into human history from the time of Israel through the time of Christ, and not only has made himself known to us in the Person of Jesus Christ but has redeemed us from our sin and rebellion against the Creator. He Himself fully endured the wrath we justly deserve for sin by His death on the cross. Living the life we should have lived and dying the death we deserve. Then, vindicating the truth of what He accomplished God raised him physically from the dead on the third day. There were over 500 witness to this historic event and different witness to the same event wrote down their testimony which now makes up the Holy Scripture.
Then when you are done explaining the unfolding drama of redemption in history ask him or her whether they acknowledge the truth of these factual claims. If he responds that these events are something less than historical, just a myth or a fairy tale, I challenge you to consider the question of why he rejects something that should be as plain as day. it is true is it not. It is not that he lacks sufficent data so one thing you can be assured of is that he/she is spiritually blind in some way and cannot see the plain truth as put before them. Their eyes are closed to the gospel, but why? If you have also shown them great love and patience and presented these facts with warmth and a genuine spirit with great eloquence and done so till you are blue in the face, your effort, while it may leave a seed, does not convince and will be of no avail if the Holy Spirit does not remove his blindness and give him new spiritual eyes to see the truths you presented him/her. All your exegesis, proclamation and logical persuasion will have no effect unless the Spirit remove the veil of darkness, clearing the way for them to believe the truth of the message you put before Him (John 6:63-65). This means if the Lord is to use us to win souls to Christ we must pray that the Holy Spirit disarm their innate hostility, overcome their lack of faith (heal their faithlessness), remove the barricades erected in their heart and enlighten the truths we herald from the Scripture. The reason they reject is, not simply because the evidence you provide is not strong enough, but because their affection remains set on the darkness (John 3:20).
Foundations of Deconstructionism
"...we have played a game with words and lied to ourselves a thousandfold. Let me say forthrightly that what we have actually done is smuggle in foundational strengths of Christian thought, buried far below the surface to maintain some stability, while above the ground we see humanism's bizarre experiments growing unchecked. If we truly put into place the same principles below the ground that we flaunt above the ground, we would completely self-destruct. And though in the classroom we have tried to dignify what we have done, the songwriters and artists have called our bluff.
An utterly fascinating illustration of this duping of ourselves is the Wexner Center for the Performing Arts at Ohio State University. This building, another one of our chimerical exploits in the name of intellectual advance, was branded by Newsweek as "America's first deconstructionist building" Its white scaffolding, red brick turrets, and Colorado grass pods evokes a double take. But puzzlement only intensifies when you enter the building, for inside you encounter stairways that go nowhere, pillars that hang from the ceiling without purpose, and angled surfaces configured to create a sense of vertigo. The architect, we are duly informed, designed the building to reflect life itself--senseless and incoherent--and the "capriciousness of the rules that organize the built world." When the rationale was explained to me, I had just one question: Did he do the same with the foundation?
The laughter in response to my question unmasked the double standard our deconstructionists espouse. And that is precisely the double standard of antithesim!. It is possible to dress up and romanticize our bizarre experiments in social restructuring while disavowing truth or absolutes. But one dares not play such deadly games with the foundations of good thinking. And if one does toy at the foundational level, he or she will not only witness the collapse of all reason but at the same time will forfeit the right to criticize the starting point of any other worldview."
Excerpt from "Can Man Live Without God" by Ravi Zacharias, pg. 21, 22
There are No Four-Point Calvinists
Within the Dispensational theological camp there are quite a number of so-called four-point Calvinists. This means that while they fully embrace most Calvinistic soteriology, such as the biblical doctrine of irresistible grace, yet they believe Christ died with the same universal intent for all humanity. To put it another way, unlike traditional full-orbed Calvinists, they do not believe Christ died (redemptively) for the elect only. With the notable exception of the MacArthur Dispensationalists who are five point Calvinists, most others in that camp (such as those influenced by Dallas Seminary) reject the doctrine of limited atonement. Well... what I would like to demonstrate today is that rather than giving reasons why they are wrong, I am more inclined simply to call them inconsistent, for I believe it can be easily demonstrated that most of them already believe in limited atonement without consciously knowing that they do. Here's why:
Four point Calvinists will all agree, along with us, that irresistible grace, faith and repentance are gifts of God granted only to the elect. But four-point Calvinists somehow fail to connect the dots because they have not apprehended that these benefits as part of the redemptive work of Christ. We must consider that God does not give us generic grace apart from the work of Christ but all spiritual and redemptive blessings derive their potency from Christ and Christ alone (Eph 1:3). Therefore any belief in a "Christless" irresistible grace or gift of faith is absurd. I am led to believe that perhaps many of them have simply never thought of this. The result is that it should be plain to all that Christ died in a way (redemptively - to procure irresistable grace) for the elect that He did not for the non-elect.
If only the elect receive the gift of the Holy Spirit who irresistibly draws His own people (John 6:63, 65, 37) that they might believe the gospel .... and the same Spirit is never given in such a way to the non-elect (which four-pointers will affirm), then the only conclusion one can reach is that there is a benefit in the death of Christ which was never intended for the non-elect. By maintaining four-point calvinism one must separate the benefits from the Benefactor. In other words, the only way to consistently believe in four-point Calvinism is to erroneously conclude that irresistible grace is a grace given to people apart from Jesus Christ; something I would bet that none of them are willing to do.
The Parable of the Drowning Man
Perhaps you have run into an earnest Christian, that when opposing the biblical teaching of the "bondage of the will", "salvation by grace alone" and "election" will use the common salvation analogy which likens the unsaved to a helpless drowning man. That a loving God gives us free choice while drowning whether we will reach out and take His hand to be saved or not. That only an 'evil' God, they say, would leave or not attempt to save people who are drowning in a lake. "How could a loving God be so cruel just to leave them there drowning," they argue.
There are quite a number of things that might be said in response to this. First of all we must clarify that what distinguishes our tradition from freewillism is not that one God loves people and the other conception of God does not. No... the distinction is between an intensive and an extensive love, between an intensive love where God actually expresses His love by laying down His life to redeem His loved ones, and an extensive love that loves everyone in a generic sense but actually delivers no one in particular. Consider the parable of the drowning man again in light of these two perspectives:
(1) Your child is drowning off the edge of your boat. You are a great swimmer but the swells are high and it is risky. You call out to your child to use his willpower to swim back to the boat to save himself, yet he is entirely too weak to do so. You reach out your hand but it depends on whether your child is a good enough swimmer to get to you and has the strength in himself to reach out his arm. But you do nothing more than call for him to come and will only go as far as reaching out your hand since you wouldn't want to violate his free will to let him decide if he will swim back and reach for your help.
(2) Your child is drowning off the edge of your boat. You are a great swimmer but the swells are high and it is risky. But your love for your child outweighs all other considerations and without hesitation you leap into the water at the risk of your own life, due to the weather, and actually save your child from drowning. You drown in the process but your child is saved. In other words, you don't just wait to see if he is willing or has the strength. He doesn't. So you go in and save your child regardless of the cost to yourself.
Which of the two fathers is more loving I ask?
Free From What? by J.W. Hendryx
Hey John, how goes it? I enjoyed reading your article on "unregenerate will, self-determined but not free"
Question: I was wondering if you had anything else similar that you could recommend. I liked your illustrations and examples. I am still trying to find an article that has a good balance of depth, but is not over people's heads and covers the different types of wills, both mans and God's, in detail. Perhaps I wont be able to find everything I'm looking for in one article but I'm trying to put together something for a bible study class so I will be cutting and pasting stuff, hope that is ok?
Response: Thanks for your inquiry about the concept of free will. For clarity's sake, one important thing we must do when speaking to folks about this issue, I believe, is define the concept of "free will" up front. People come at this with different preconceptions so it is important to explain what you do and do not mean by the expression.
For example, if someone says they believe man has a free will, you may want to ask them, "free from what?" ... From sin? ... from God's eternal decree?
What the majority of people actually mean when they claim we have a free will is that they believe we are free from external coersion. This is a good place to start because it is a place that all can agree upon. But what most Reformed people actually mean when we explain that man has "no free will", is not that we are coerced by some outside force. (Coersion here meaning an outside force that would make us involuntarily choose something). No, rather, the Bible explains that the natural man, without the Spirit, is in bondage to a corruption of nature. The expression "bondage" to the natural man speaks of His lack of freedom. His nature is hostile to God and loves darkness (John 3:19, 20). In fact he is in bondage until Christ sets him free (Rom 6). We are either slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness, the Bible tells us. So coersion is not the only form of bondage, there is also bondage because our poor choices are made by necessity due to a corruption of nature. Coersion and necessity are, therefore, both equally valid ways to express that a person lacks free will. Just because we are not coerced into making desisions does not mean the will is free. One may also sin of necessity, due to the natural man's innate hostility to God, by which he will always flee from God, apart from grace.
Do Humans Have More Freedom Than God AND Does God Have a Libertarian Free Will? by J.W. Hendryx
One of the main objections of Arminians, Semi-pelagians and other synergists to divine election is based on moral rather than exegetical grounds. While debating these issues online over the years, I have heard many of them contend that the Augustinian view of God is morally repugnant since God could and would never force humans to do something against their will. And since God is holy, they reason, He could not ordain all things that come to pass, because this would make God the author of evil. Well, instead of this being an essay defending God's sovereignty and meticulous providence over all things (both good subjects in themselves but best left for another time) I wish to use their belief in God's inability to act contrary to His nature to make a point ... one that is fatal to their belief in libertarian free will.
We all know that the Arminians teach that man has a free will in the libertarian sense. What this means, simply is that they believe man has the ability to choose otherwise. That is, they affirm that human beings are free to choose between opposites ... to make choices uninfluenced any prior prejudice, inclination, or disposition. They believe the will, being neutral, can just as easily choose good or evil. On the surface this may seem reasonable but when you think about it for a moment it makes no sense because deep down we know, and the Scriptures affirm, that a person must always choose according to what he is by nature, otherwise how could the choice be rightfully said to be his own? Let us never forget that the nature of a person is not a thing he possesses. It is something he is. For example, When a person loves evil by nature, he will always make choices in line with what that nature desires most. Just as it is the nature of a dog to bark and a cat to meow so it is the nature of the unregenerate to be hostile to God and love darkness (John 3:19, 20).
The small but important point I wish to make in all this is simple, and I think it packs the most punch by asking a question. The question is, does God have a free will in the libertarian sense? i.e. Is God able to choose otherwise? (is He "free" to choose good or evil?) And if not does this mean human beings have more freedom then God does, since, to libertarians, human beings do have this freedom to choose good or evil?
Logic in the Pulpit by Pastor John Samson
Preaching to a congregation is obviously a very different scenario from teaching a class on logic in a University or Seminary setting. Yet I believe that we as ministers can teach the Scriptures using logical arguments without having to resort to using technical language which the vast majority of folk would not be able to understand.
I am sure that all of us as preachers have at times been guilty of speaking over the heads of our people. Yet one of the ways to remedy this is to simply be constantly aware of this tendency. Then we need to apply the discipline of working out how to say the exact same thing we would say to a group of intellectuals (using the same logic) to the people in the congregation, by using language and explanations which all can follow. This takes work - sometimes a great deal of work. Yet I do believe it is very much possible to bring logic into a sermon.
Logic and John 6:44
"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day." Jesus - John 6:44
I have a good friend called Brian Bosse (who lives in Green Valley, Arizona) who is quite the intellectual. In recent years, I have been used somewhat to help this man come from Arminianism to the Reformed faith, at a time when in his words, the illogical nature of Arminianism almost caused him to reject the Christian faith altogether. He saw the futility of the Arminian position long before he knew there was an alternative, and almost threw Christianity and the Bible aside (in his mind). Now Brian is fully reformed in his thinking and a very able defender of the faith.
He recently sent me an article he has worked on for some time regarding John 6:44. If Brian is right, then just this verse alone (John 6:44), properly interpreted, dismantles Arminianism.
Be warned though - this article is certainly not something that everyone would follow - but for those who enjoy the rigors of logical analysis, I encourage you to read the following pdf file here.
Posted by Pastor John Samson