Friday, October 26, 2007


Author: tartanarmy (10:38 pm)

All good things must come to an end, and the time has come for me to shuffle on to new pastures and leave

May you all be blessed in your studies of God's Word and maybe our paths may yet cross again this side of eternity!

Thanks for the opportunity to show my wares but for now I must decrease and I shall miss you all.

Thanks guys.

In Christ

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sweden cracks down on religious influences in schools.

Sweden cracks down on religious influences in schools.
Author: tartanarmy (10:40 pm)

Sweden Oh Sweden! Click Here

He said religion could still be studied at school as a separate subject but other classes could in no way be influenced by religious convictions.

For example, the origin of human life would have to be explained from a scientific point of view and not a religious one, he said.

See this too!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What does God want?

What does God want?
Author: tartanarmy (10:34 pm)

As someone who has being doing battle for a few years on the subject of this post, it was a real pleasure to discover the following article from one Mr Steve Hays from Triablogue.

Please have a read, as it is again something I wish I had written. I have made mention several times of just about every issue raised in this article, but it was really good to see that someone decided to offer a fuller response to Murray and Stonehouse/ and the agenda set by those at Banner of Truth.

And the title of the article is just so appropriate.


What does God want?

Many years ago there was a debate in Presbyterian circles over the offer of the gospel. Both sides agreed on the existence of a general offer; the bone of contention lay in the question of divine intent. The question was whether God has unfulfilled yearnings. Does God long for things that he never chose to bring to pass?

In good Presbyterian fashion, this controversy made its way all the way up to the General Convention—with a majority report and a minority report. The majority report was written, for the most part, by John Murray, with some editorial input from Ned Stonehouse. The majority report answered the question in the affirmative, while the minority reported answered in the negative.

This debate may strike some readers as one of those provincial, intramural, logic-chopping exercises to which Presbyterians are notoriously prone, having little relevance to the generality of Evangelicals. Calvinists are always going to extremes, are they not?

However, the rise of open theism has conferred a renewed relevance on this old debate, for there is striking parallel between the hermeneutics of open theism and the methods of the majority report.

Indeed, if you give the issue a second thought, there is no question more important or pertinent in life than the question of what God wants for the world. Hence, it is worth our while if we reopen the case.

But before we jump straight into the thick of things, let us refresh our recollection of how one theological tradition answers this question in general:
"If this is God's universe, if he made it and made it for himself, he is responsible for everything that takes place in it. He must be supposed to have made it just as he wished it to be--or are we to say that he could not make the universe he wished to make, and had to put up with the best he could do?

And he must be supposed to have made it precisely as he wished it to be, not only statically but dynamically--considered, that is, in all its potentialities and in all its developments down to the end. That is to say, he must be supposed to have made it precisely to suit himself, as extended not only in space but in time. If anything occurs in it as projected through time--just as truly as if anything is found it in as extended in space--which is not just as he intended it to be--why, then we must admit that he could not make such a universe as he would like to have, and had to put up with the best he could get. And, then, he is not God. A being who cannot make a universe to his own liking is not God. A being who can agree to make a universe which is not to his liking, most certainly is not God," Selected Shorter Writings of Benjamin B. Warfield (P&R 1980), 1:104-05

This is certainly a very bracing and unflinching, not to say, provocative answer to the question in general. And it stands in stark contrast to so much popular preaching we see and hear and read in our own day.

But Murray gave a rather different answer—an answer in relation to the offer of the gospel.

In order to get at the nub of the issue, we need to define our terms. The offer of the gospel is presented with different adjectives, viz., the "free" offer of the gospel, the "universal" offer of the gospel, the "well-meant" offer of the gospel—but these are not necessarily interchangeable.

To say the offer is "universal" can mean different things. It is not universal in actual extent. For everyone doesn't have an opportunity to hear the Gospel.

Rather, it is universal in a conditional sense, i.e., whoever repents of his sins and believes in Christ will be saved.

It is also "universal" or more properly general in the sense of being more extensive than election. Although not everyone hears the offer, more hear it than are numbered among the elect.

For some, though, the universal offer is only a sincere offer if backed up by a "well-meant" offer. Again, this can mean different things. It could mean that, being conditional, it is a bona fide offer if anyone who meets the terms of the offer receives the promised blessing. And as far as I'm considered, that's both a necessary and sufficient definition.

However, others go a step further and insist that it cannot be well-meant unless it is redeemed by a universal desire on God's part for the salvation of the reprobate—a desire which is disappointed, or at least is never consummated (which comes to much the same thing).

This, in turn, implies a couple of things:

i) It implies that there is in God something strongly analogous to human emotion. Here again some distinctions and definitions are in order.

We often use emotive and conative terms interchangeably, viz., want, will, desire, resolve, &c.

This is, in part, because human feelings are mixed up with human decisions, and also because there is a potential and often actual discrepancy between human intent and execution. I may want or will something that, try as I might, I cannot achieve.

But in dealing with God we need to be very careful about our casually mapping this loose usage back on to the divine subject.

In principle, it would be possible to will something without having any feelings about it. Even in human affairs we often make snap decisions without any emotional engagement to speak of.

ii) It implies that there is, in God, a divided will. God has mixed emotions, conflicted feelings. This doesn't render him indecisive, but it does, once again, present a strong analogy with human psychology.

Now the parallel between open theism and the free offer only occurs if you construe the free offer along the lines of the majority report, reproduced in the Collected Writings of John Murray (Banner of Truth 1982), 4:113-132.

Having set the stage and defined the terms, I'll now run through his prooftexts, and evaluate his case accordingly:

1. Mt 5:44-48; Acts 14:17.

The weakness with this appeal is that these verses do not address the question of whether God desires the salvation of the reprobate. Rather, they are prooftexts for common grace, not special grace. So it's hard to see their precise bearing on the question as Murray himself has chosen to pose it.

It also leaves out of account the question of the purpose of common grace. Although the reprobate are genuine beneficiaries of common grace, is common grace bestowed on the reprobate for their personal benefit, or for the sake of the elect?

One of the arguments, if not the primary argument, for common grace, is that the elect cannot survive in a world without common grace, for unless the reprobate were restrained from the full progression of sin, they would destroy the elect. That is why God destroyed the antediluvians and the Sodomites and the Canaanites.

On that understanding, common grace doesn't tell us anything about God's attitude towards the reprobate, but rather, his attitude towards the elect. Blessing the reprobate is instrumental in saving the elect.

It is possible that Murray's appeal is directed against those who denied common grace altogether, but he is overextending the principle of common grace beyond its natural boundaries.

2. Deut 5:29; 32:29; Ps 81:13ff.; Isa 48:18.

Here Murray does two things: he ascribes emotions to God, and what is more, he ascribes unrequited emotions to God.

In fairness, this attribution lies of the face of the verses cited. They don't demand that we delve below the surface meaning of the words. They say what they say, and that's that.

But Murray leaves out of account the larger issues of hyperbole, literary genre, and idiomatic usage. Let's take a parallel passage. In Isa 54:4-8, the prophet depicts God as jilted lover--jealous, resentful, forlorn, and forgiving. It's a lovely picture, but how literally are we supposed to take the ascription of sexual passion, sexual frustration and the like? Unless we are going to adopt Mormon hermeneutics, we have to treat this as anthropomorphic.

And that's the way an ancient Israelite would have read it. Isaiah is telling us that God's relation to Israel is analogous to the relation of a loving husband to a wayward wife. And to enforce that point, he draws a vivid picture, pressing, without inhibition, all the customary moods that go along with it.

The analogy is genuine, but it only holds at the relevant level of abstraction. The imaginative details are there for window dressing—nothing more. They're there for the sake of reader 's empathy, not of God's.

3. Mt 23:37; Lk 13:34.

This appeal suffers from several flaws:

i) Contrary to what Murray says, it is certainly legitimate to make some allowance for the human dimension of our Savior's psychology. There are many things true of God Incarnate that are untrue of God qua God. For example, I hardly think it orthodox to suppose that our Redeemer's divided state of mind in the garden of Gethsemane owes nothing at all to his humanity, albeit sinless and impeccable, and is directly predicable of God qua God without further ado.

ii) Mt 23:37 has reference to the preceptive rather than decretive will of God. It alludes to the irreparable breach of covenant (24:1; cf. Jer 4:23), which is a necessary prelude to the inauguration of the New Covenant in Christ.

iii) Even at a divine level, God wills certain things with a view to the ends that they subserve. He doesn't will the means irrespective of the ends. He doesn't necessarily approve of the means in abstraction from the ends.

So you can find many passages in Scripture which express divine disapproval, and where the disapproval is quite genuine. But this doesn't imply a tension in the divine will, for it should never be taken in isolation to his approval of the ultimate end in view. God can be both approving and disapproving, for these moral attitudes take different objects, and not the same object. This is how we ought to relate his preceptive will to his decretive will--not as antithetical, but as means-to-ends.

To draw a related distinction, the motives of God in relation to the sinner are not at all the same as the sinner's motives in relation to God. God wills whatever the sinner does, and God approves of his own will, but it doesn't follow that God approves of whatever the sinner wills, for the sinner's motives, standards, and aims are quite different from God's. God has plans, and man has plans, but man's plans are not the same as God's plans, and man often fulfills the plan of God unwittingly.

4. Ezk 18:23,32; 33:11.

Murray says that these verses do not present the least limitation or qualification. Well, all I can say is that what is obvious to Murray is not obvious to me.

Quite the contrary, his verses present a very evident line of demarcation, for they are addressed to backslidden Israel. Israel does not stand for humanity in general. In fact, what makes Israel apostate is when she merges with her heathen neighbors. She is called to be distinct—a people set apart. To lift these verses out of their covenant context, as though anything said of the covenant community is applicable to those outside the covenant community, is a remarkably careless equation for a Reformed theologian to make.

No, the wording doesn't single out Israel, but we must read the words with the intended audience in view. A love letter to me may not specify me as the recipient in the body of the letter, but it doesn't follow that the sentiments therein expressed are indefinitely extendible to those to whom the letter was not addressed. Others may read it, but it wasn't meant for their eyes.

Insofar as these verses have a broader application, that would be to the Church, as the antitype of Israel, and not to the unbelieving world at large.

5. Isa 45:22.

Murray's use of this verse is scarcely self-explanatory. I simply take this to be a prophecy of the New Covenant and expansion of the Gospel by taking the Gentiles within its broad sweep. There is nothing expressive or implicit in this passage of a multiform will of God. God wills the evangelization of the Gentiles, considered as a class or people-group hitherto excluded, for the most part, from his saving revelation. The precise numerical scope of this prophecy will be delimited by God's providence in the course of church history.

7. 2 Pet 3:9.

Here I can do no better than to quote from the standard commentary on 2 Peter, whose interpretation is all the more telling as coming from an exegete who is by no means a card-carrying Calvinist:

"God's patience with his own people, delaying the final judgment to give them the opportunity of repentance, provides at least a partial answer to the problem of eschatological delay...The author remains close to his Jewish source, for in Jewish thought it was usually for the sake of the repentance of his own people that God delayed judgment. Here it is for the sake of the repentance of 2 Peter's Christian readers. No doubt repentance from those sins into which some of them had been enticed by the false teachers (2:14,18; 3:17) is especially in mind," R. Bauckham, Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 50, Jude, 2 Peter (Word, 1983), 312-13.

Let us now take a second look at Warfield's statement. For his answer is also subject to a couple of natural objections with reference to the problem of evil and the law of God.

Isn't there some very weighty sense in which God does not like everything that happens in the world? Doesn't he disapprove of sin?

And, on a related point, when God tells people to do things, when he calls on them to do good and refrain from evil, does he or does he not want them to do what he says? And if, as is often the case, they disobey, does that not imply that he harbors unfulfilled desires?

There is a common answer to both objections. As I said before, everything that happens in the past and the present happens exactly as God desires it to happen, and not otherwise; however, many past and present events happen with a view to the future, so that his desire is correspondent with the past and the present, yet not necessarily in isolation to those events as past or present, but as also correspondent with a view to their future contribution.

So there's an ambiguity in asking if God is satisfied with the present state of affairs. Does God desire things to be just the way they are right now? Yes, and no. Yes, in relation to the teleology of the decree, but not necessarily so in abstraction from their part/whole and means/ends relation.

If we wanted to speculate, we might conjecture that, all other things being equal, God likes a sinless world better than a sinful world; yet he decrees a sinful world because a world that is both fallen and redeemed is a greater good than an unfallen world alone. All other things are not equal.

It is not as if God is issuing laws just to see them broken. The law has different aims and objects. For example, Reformed and Lutheran theologians talk about the threefold use of the law: (i) as a rule of life for believers, to promote their sanctification; (ii) as a rule of life for unbelievers, to conserve an element of common decency and common sense; (iii) as a means of awakening in the unconverted a sense of sin, leading them to Christ.

To take a concrete case, in Exod 7:2-3 we see a formal discrepancy between God's preceptive (v2) and decretive (v3) wills. But v2 does not reflect a frustrated desire on God's part. At a functional level, decree and precept are perfectly congruent. The precept is subordinate to the decree because the precept is instrumental to the decretive outcome in v5.

Did Pharaoh sin when he disobeyed God? Yes. Did God ardently desire that Pharaoh obey him? No. God wanted Pharaoh to disobey him as a means to the end in view in v5. By thwarting the word of God, Pharaoh fulfilled the will of God.

This follows on a broader pattern. God issues some injunctions to harden rather than soften the audience (e.g., Isa 6; Ezk 2; Jn 12). And he hardens them for an ulterior purpose, as a means to an end. To take an example of Calvin's, "Moses, when he relates that King Sihon did not give passage to the people because God had hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, immediately adds the purpose of his plan; that, as he says, 'He might give him into our hands' (Deut 2:30). Therefore, because God willed that Sihon be destroyed, he prepared his ruin through obstinacy of heart," Institutes 2.4.4.

8. One other objection is such a view leaves no room for any sort of transition from the wrath of God to the grace of God in the course of human history. God's love of Jacob and his hatred of Esau are without any variation or shadow of turning.

But something can be true of false at different levels. In Eph 2:3, Paul doesn't say that we were once children of wrath, but are now the objects of grace. Rather, Paul says that we were "by nature" children of wrath. This looks like a shorthand expression for the fact that, in Adam, we were worthy of death and damnation. So this distinction is not temporal, but federal—in Adam or in Christ.

And that is true of the elect no less than the reprobate. God can see things from more than one standpoint. The elect, in Adam, are fitting objects of wrath. But, in Christ, they are accounted righteous.

And there is, indeed, an existential transition when the elect are regenerated and justified by faith. But that does not reflect, much less effect, a shift in the divine disposition. For the eternal decree has equal reference to our standing in Adam and our standing in Christ. The one was not for time, and the other for eternity. The distinction is not between now and then. Both are timelessly true.

Nonetheless, the reprobate are only considered in Adam, as fallen; whereas the elect are considered in Adam and Christ alike—as fallen and redeemed. And this eternal difference is differentiated in history. For their Christian identity will trump their Adamic identity.

This is a somewhat artificial and unnecessary debate to the extent that we already have infallible models of evangelistic preaching in both the Gospels and the Book of Acts. Hence, it is unnecessary to deduce the conditions of the offer from a more abstract and general set of principles. We should never presume to say either more or less than Christ and the Apostles say in their own pattern of preaching. We need not, and ought not, resort to unscriptural conditions and formulas, but content ourselves with the exemplary conditions and inspired formulas revealed in Scripture itself for our fervent and reverent emulation.

It is precisely because the efficacy of the message is beyond the preacher's control that he need not fret over either the intent or the effect. He one and only duty is to preach the whole counsel of God, with whatever passion he can naturally muster, and leave the results in the good hands of a mighty providence.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Revisionism and Unity...

Revisionism and Unity...
Author: tartanarmy (8:34 pm)

Disunity happens as soon as Synergism gains the upper hand.
Anywhere in Church history you care to venture, once man's will is emphasised and God's will is set aside, unity goes flying out the window on every occasion.

Monergism vs Synergism IS the battle for real unity in the Church.

Just out of curiosity.
Is anyone here aware of the fact that ROME after the reformation (Counter Reformation), sent people to infiltrate Protestant Churches, in order to introduce Synergism once again, knowing that if they could successfully introduce synergism, half the battle was won, in order to get the Churches open again to Romanism.

From where I am standing, that battle has been accomplished since the reformation.

Do we today know these historical facts?

Also, does anyone here know that Dispensationalism actually came from Rome and not Protestantism, again as a Roman Catholic movement that was organised, for the purpose of deflecting the very obvious Protestant consensus that the Pope and Rome was that evil made mention of in scripture?

Do we today know these historical facts?

Revisionism is not just something the secular world with an agenda happens to promote.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Peanut butter grace!

Peanut butter grace!
Author: tartanarmy (5:04 am)

Due to being banned at Steve Gregg's board, I have decided to respond here to Rick C from same board, a man who had recently made some interesting comments about JW'S, MORMONS AND CALVINISM, which struck me as incredulous, but I digress.


Our arguments are not at the core "scriptural in nature and content", but rather philosophically predisposed at the core. That is the real issue when discussing scripture with Free Will advocates.
The first thing we need to accomplish is that Scripture does not support the concept of Libertarian freedom in man.

The strange thing is, if we engage the Free Will Theist on other subjects, say the "Trinity" or the "Deity of Christ" for example, we can communicate fairly well. Why is that? Well, it is because the Free will Theist does the same reasonable thing that we Calvinist's do, and that is to simply employ basic hermeneutics, that we all use when trying to understand what the Bible teaches.

The problem kicks in when those very same hermeneutical principals are negated, when underlying assumptions have greater weight than biblical authority at it's core.

At every turn, the Free Will Advocate, will supplant normal Biblical hermeneutics, in favor of their own presuppositions regarding "Free will".
Those presuppositions are the traditions that have been hammered into them from other's doing the exact same thing. It is a sad thing to behold.

Now, presuppositions are not the problem, for we all have them, but when our presuppositions themselves cannot be functionally built upon scripture itself, then all that will happen is a whole system being imported into scripture rather than exported out of scripture.

So the real issue comes back to epistemology, before we even get near the Bible, when discussing important issues with Non Calvinists.
Calvinism, if it is anything, is a complete World-View, one which takes in at it's very core, biblical presuppositions regarding the nature of man and the nature of God.
It is not, again I stress, it is not just about 5 points or God's sovereignty or Predestination and election, as so many falsely assume.




Jess wrote:
On another note, I would appreciate feedback on how others would interpret John 10:26 and 28 that Mark mentioned above. My own thought is that he should have included verse 27, which lies between the two he mentioned:

26 "But you do not believe, because you are not my sheep."
27 "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;"
28 "And I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no
one shall snatch them out of My hand."

Only those who "hear" Christ's voice can be His sheep. Mark assumed that Christ's sheep were eternally chosen from the beginning. Verse 27 seems to suggest that we have a role in becoming His sheep, ie. responding to His voice. (also John 10:3)

I just point out the "assumption" that says "seems to suggest that we have a role in becoming His Sheep, ie responding to His voice".

First of all, Calvinist's affirm that every believer shall indeed respond and come to Christ.
What we do not say, and neither does scripture, is that "any" man has the "inherent ability" to respond and come to Christ.

The Non Calvinist assumes such an ability or "seems" to suggest it is so. But where in the text is this presupposition said?
It is not there. It is assumed. It is "read" into the text.
This is the whole problem, and I assure you that such traditions are very powerful indeed, but they need to go. They need to be corrected by the "seeming" Word of God, which does in fact speak clearly regarding such matters.

Now please note verse 26 above, ""But you do not believe, because you are not my sheep."

Jesus here is saying something remarkable, and it is pointless to ignore the implications by merely jumping to some other text as soon as our assumed presuppositions are challenged. Try and think that we are here getting at the doctrine of the Trinity or some such thing, in order to keep our eyes on the ball so to speak.

Jesus could have easily said that they do not believe because they have no faith or some such obvious thing, but He does not say that, does He?
He says, "you do not believe, because you are not my sheep".

Anyone with a modicum of honesty and reasonableness, will interpret this statement to mean at least one basic idea.
1/ Sheep believe, Non Sheep do not believe, therefore, the prerequisite for becoming a believer, is that one must first be a Sheep!

Now I know such a concept goes against the grain of popular contemporary ideas about just about everything, but let us at the very least deal with what the text is saying, before simply ignoring it. You are not allowed to ignore it, dismiss it or treat it with disrespect.

Now, before we get to verse 27, which I seemingly ignored, let us deal with verse 26. But before we do that, let us go back a wee bit to a statement made by Jesus in verse 21.

It is not enough to bring out the accusations of these Jews against Jesus as if by doing so we are saying anything meaningful, unless we carefully listen to what Jesus says to His detractors. Verse 21 says "Others said, These are not words of one who has been possessed by a demon. A demon is not able to open the eyes of blind ones."

Non Calvinists agree that all men are blind and need to have their eyes opened, right? If not, they are heretic Pelagians, and they are still around!

These Jews understood that blind men cannot un-blind themselves. May seem like a simple statement, but it is packed with profound truth from a thorough Biblical World View.

When Non Calvinist "free will" advocates suggest that men have an inherent ability to come to Jesus, they are "demon"strating an even worse understanding of God and His Word, than even these blaspheming Jews did!

These Jews continue to press Jesus as to who He is etc, and Jesus speaks to them boldly in verse 26.
Deal with this text.

Just maybe, those Calvinists are onto something. Maybe this whole matter regarding regeneration preceding faith has legitimacy!
Could it be that many Christians blindly assume profound things that are simply not in the text of the Bible?

Is it even remotely possible that verse 27 and 28 flows from verse 26, and following the thought right through, that Jesus is not only saying that being a Sheep makes one a believer, and that these Sheep, whom He Knows, being already believers, shall follow Him and He will never ever let them go?

And does He not then go on to teach that these same Sheep were in fact given to Him of the Father?

Where have we all read this same stuff before? Yeah in John 6!
Read verses 6:36-39, 45 and 65.

So the "big" question is. How does one become a Sheep?

Is the first thing "to be assumed", that all men have an inherent ability to simply exercise faith and then they will become sheep?
That of course is question begging and says nothing in light of verse 26 above.

No. Scripture clearly teaches that we are certainly Justified by faith, but we are not right now talking about Justification.
We are talking about how one comes to be Justified, and that is all about the doctrine we call "regeneration".

Non Calvinists teach that regeneration comes after faith, meaning that by believing we become regenerated.

The scriptures that address this subject are not dealt with by Non Calvinists, and even worse than that, scriptures relating to either Justification are used or other passages describing the acts of believers rather than prescribing how to become a believer are used, when such passages are irrelevant to the discussion, and this happens all the time in discussions between Calvinists and Non Calvinists. The Bible often becomes the proverbial ping pong match and truth is slain in the streets to a degree.

It makes practical dialogue pretty much useless, for we both speak past each other and no real communication results that is meaningful.

But, God uses such things as He sees fit, which is such an encouragement and a great mercy to all involved in such exchanges.
What is needed is an entire World View change, not merely a change of mind over a couple of passages of scripture, and God is in the business of Changing peoples entire World View, one that reflects the overall consistency of His Word, glorifies Him and humbles man in the dust where man belongs.
We need more men of God telling us, that in the dust, is the best place to be before God. It is a place where the dust partially obscures the streets paved with Gold and righteousness.

Below is the rest of the response offered regarding these passages in John 10, and please note that simply highlighting a text of scripture is not providing a response, but merely acts to show that some other presupposition may be and often is at work. I wish I had a dollar for every argument against reformed theology that was answered in this manor, for I would be a very rich man!

Just remember this simple qualifier. Where, in any of these scriptures, is it even remotely asserted, that men have an inherent ability to believe?

That is the question on the table, and it is "the" assumption underpinning this particular persons understanding and how he interprets scripture at this point at least.

(Don't forget what I said earlier about consistent hermeneutics and all that, where we would agree with each other in proving other doctrines etc!)

I will provide a brief response where a response is appropriate.


The people Jesus was speaking to (in this entire section) heard His voice. But did they all hearken to Him and believe?

John 10, NKJV (context)
19 Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings. 20 And many of them said, “He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?”
21 Others said, “These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?”
33 The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”
34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’? 35 If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” 39 Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand.

40 And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptizing at first, and there He stayed. 41 Then many came to Him and said, “John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this Man were true.” 42 And many believed in Him there.

The Jews of verse 21 seemed to be very close to believing and could be the same people of verses 41/42; who saw Jesus' good works, heard His words, took them to heart, (and believed in Him). The others saw and heard the very same things---but didn't believe in Him. (Refutation of the Calvinistic idea that sinners --- who are not "elect," according to the Calvinistic system -- cannot hear Christ/God. Jesus spoke to them all---this chapter plainly states they ALL HEARD HIM). But did they all heed His word? No.

See the assumptions here?

The Non Calvinist almost always is trying to disprove Calvinism rather than giving an actual exegesis of the text!
Now, besides the free will assumptions being read into the text, note the logical conclusions to such an interpretation which are not conceded ever.

At the end of the day, the one thing that makes the difference between those who believe and those who do not, is one thing and one thing alone. Our free will to choose, over against the others who do not choose right.
It is all about one person doing something that another person does not do.

It is God spreading out a kind of peanut butter grace to all, but ultimately, it is us who decide whether or not to eat the sandwich of grace!
It has zero to do with God's grace and everything to do with the will of the creature.
Hence, it is shocking theology, that ought to be buried in the depths of the sea where it belongs.


26 "But you do not believe, because you are not my sheep."
Jesus had already told them He was the Christ and performed miracles to attest to it---and they had already dis-believed, v. 25.

Nothing is said (in v. 26) about these people as to if they had been predestined or elected (in any Calvinistic sense of meaning). Jesus confronts them regarding their current status of unbelief as they heard His very words.

See the obvious bent against reformed Theology at first?

How about the simple fact that the passage clearly says that the reason they do not believe is "not" because they are "unbelievers", but because they are not "sheep"?


27 "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;"
Jesus explains what His disciples do: They hearken to Him (His voice/teaching), come to know Him, and follow Him. The sense of this verse is "If you are listening now and want to hear more" (and is essentially an invitation to become a disciple). Note, it is in the present tense.

Again, where is there some kind of invitation being given here by the Son of God?

He is telling these Jews that His Sheep hear His voice and follow Him.

He tells these Jews that His Sheep are "known" by Him and by implication they are not His Sheep.

Where is all this inviting and free will coming, even remotely contained in this whole discourse, unless it is "read" into it?

What has "present tense" got to do with the matter? Believers in any age are "Present tense" followers, and are known and are Sheep!
And if we want to talk about "sense" of words, consider the very next verse which I have not even began to scratch the surface of.


28 "And I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand."

The Lord tells of eternal life to everyone within the range of His voice and that no external human or spiritual power will be able to take His disciples from Him.

First of all, what we have here is classic eisogesis!

Where does it say "within the range of His voice?" or "No external human or spiritual power?" I just do not see it.

In fact, such a reading would create so many problems in how we read other passages, mainly because false assumptions heap ideas into how we might abuse other areas of plain scripture.

For example, if the text suggests that no external human shall separate us, then that could mean that we ourselves could separate ourselves, yes?

Well, that would fit with Non Calvinism that teaches that we can lose our salvation, when in fact, the truth is that this passage simply says that no one shall be snatched out of His hand.

Paul elsewhere tells us something related to being In Christ, when he states,
Rom 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be the First-born among many brothers.
Rom 8:30 But whom He predestinated, these He also called; and whom He called, those He also justified. And whom He justified, these He also glorified.
Rom 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Rom 8:32 Truly He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
Rom 8:33 Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God who justifies.
Rom 8:34 Who is he condemning? It is Christ who has died, but rather also who is raised, who is also at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Rom 8:36 As it is written, "For Your sake we are killed all the day long. We are counted as sheep of slaughter."
Rom 8:37 But in all these things we more than conquer through Him who loved us.
Rom 8:38 For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Rom 8:39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Passing by the predestination stuff!, consider verses 35-39.
Does one get the idea that only external human power and spiritual power is our hope of not being snatched from Christ?

No, Paul teaches that not only external human and spiritual power cannot touch us, but even things that are inherent or internal to us, such things as distress, persecution, famine, peril, nakedness etc and he is fully persuaded that neither death, nor this life (which includes everything internal to us) things present or future (both internal as consequences) shall separate us from the Love of Christ!

Paul is just saying what Jesus says above in John 10:28, but our Non Calvinist friend here wants us to believe otherwise and not only takes assurance away from us as Paul and Jesus would give us, but reads free will again into scripture.

Let's face it. If it is up to us to get into salvation by a free will act of the will of man, then it is consistent to say that we can get out of salvation by the free will act of man, right?
Away with such doctrine!

I often wonder if the consistent free will advocate will say, that in Heaven, they will also have this so called free will, and might ultimately fall out of heaven too and at any moment! Perish the awful thought.

Psa 37:24 Though he fall, he shall not be cast down; for Jehovah upholds his hand.

No, we reformed Christians hold to eternal security based upon something more sure than our fallible will, and that is the power of God, amen?

Psa 89:33 But I will not completely take My loving-kindness from him, and I will not be false in My faithfulness.

(See also, Psa 138:8,Rom 11:2, Jas 1:17, Jud 1:24, Deu 33:3, Isa 27:3, 1Pe 1:5)

Php 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ,

And that good work that was begun is "regeneration". It is a work of God alone.
Regeneration (not to be confused with conversion, please see end note!) means that one has been born again or born from above (John 3:3, 5, 7, 8). The new birth is the work of God, so that all those who are born again are “born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). Or, as 1 Pet 1:3 says, it is God who “caused us to be born again to a living hope” (1 Pet 1:3).

The means God uses to grant such new life is the gospel, for believers “have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Pet 1:23; cf. Jas 1:18). Regeneration or being born again is a supernatural birth. Just as we cannot do anything to be born physically—it just happens to us!—so too we cannot do anything to cause our spiritual rebirth.


He is preaching the Gospel of the Eternal Kingdom; that they will be secure in Him, in His hand. Nothing here about "Eternal Security" or the Perseverance of the Saints. The "they" of this verse are collective; the fold of those who believe ("my sheep"). Following the Good Shepard is in the present tense, v. 27. Of course, individual sheep can stray from the flock at a future time for various reasons. However, v. 28 does not address that particular issue. Jesus gives assurance that no OUTSIDE force, power, person, or persons can snatch His sheep from Him: Nothing more, and nothing less is said here.

No one is arguing that the verse is an exhaustive defense of reformed theology!
But providing comments that are not in the text and contradict other passages is just plain disrespectful of the text.

Individual sheep may indeed stray from the flock but is nowhere mentioned here so saying the issue is not here is irrelevant to what we are actually discussing, which is that Jesus shall not let go of anyone who has been given to Him by His Father, and that much is all I need to show from these verses, which I have done.


Re: 2 Calls
I don't think there's a distinction between responding to the call to "get saved" (Jesus as Savior) and the concurrent call to "do service" (Jesus as Lord). Not according to the Scriptures, imo. Sure, we're called to be saved from Hell and go to Heaven...but that's just part of the picture ("entry level," ff. .........(following Him in service).

An insomniac's imo'Zzzzzzzzzzzz, Goodnight! Wink
How did I do?

Well Rick, you did quite poorly. Apart from everywhere reading your free will assumptions into the text, and your adding other words and ideas into the texts, and providing irrelevant points, I would say that you have shown a grievous disrespect for God's Word, therefore you fail very badly.



Note- see above re Regeneration.

Conversion occurs when sinners turn to God in repentance and faith for salvation. Paul describes the conversion of the Thessalonians in 1 Thess 1:9, “For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” Sinners are converted when they repent of their sins and turn in faith to Jesus Christ, trusting in him for the forgiveness of their sins on the Day of Judgment.

Paul argues that unbelievers “are dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph 2:1; cf. 2:5). They are under the dominion of the world, the flesh, and the devil (Eph 2:2-3). Every one is born into the world as a son or daughter of Adam (Rom 5:12-19). Therefore, all people enter into this world as slaves of sin (Rom 6:6, 17, 20). Their wills are in bondage to evil, and hence they have no inclination or desire to do what is right or to turn to Jesus Christ. God, however, because of his amazing grace has “made us alive together with Christ” (Eph 2:5). This is Paul’s way of saying that God has regenerated his people (cf. Tit 3:5). He has breathed life into us where there was none previously, and the result of this new life is faith, for faith too is “the gift of God” (Eph 2:8).

Several texts from 1 John demonstrate that regeneration precedes faith. The texts are as follows: “If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him” (1 John 2:29). “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:9). “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7). “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whomever has been born of him” (1 John 5:1).

We can make two observations from these texts. First, in every instance the verb “born” (gennaĆ“) is in the perfect tense, denoting an action that precedes the human actions of practicing righteousness, avoiding sin, loving, or believing.

Second, no evangelical would say that before we are born again we must practice righteousness, for such a view would teach works-righteousness. Nor would we say that first we avoid sinning, and then are born of God, for such a view would suggest that human works cause us to be born of God. Nor would we say that first we show great love for God, and then he causes us to be born again. No, it is clear that practicing righteousness, avoiding sin, and loving are all the consequences or results of the new birth. But if this is the case, then we must interpret 1 John 5:1 in the same way, for the structure of the verse is the same as we find in the texts about practicing righteousness (1 John 2:29), avoiding sin (1 John 3:9), and loving God (1 John 4:7). It follows, then, that 1 John 5:1 teaches that first God grants us new life and then we believe Jesus is the Christ.

We see the same truth in Acts 16:14. First God opens Lydia’s heart and the consequence is that she pays heed to and believes in the message proclaimed by Paul. Similarly, no one can come to Jesus in faith unless God has worked in his heart to draw him to faith in Christ (John 6:44). But all those whom the Father has drawn or given to the Son will most certainly put their faith in Jesus (John 6:37).

God regenerates us and then we believe, and hence regeneration precedes our conversion. Therefore, we give all the glory to God for our conversion, for our turning to him is entirely a work of his grace. (Tom Schreiner)