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Featured Calvinism and Relativism

Discussion in 'Denomination Specific Theology' started by Gavino, May 27, 2017.

  1. Gavino

    Gavino Newbie

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    Hi Hammster,


    Thank you for clarifying that; sorry for the miscommunication. No hard feelings. In the future I'll highlight or embolden something if I would really like that particular question or topic to be addressed.


    After reading your post, I’m afraid I would have to disagree. The reason you are now no longer condemned for your unbelief is because you have been forgiven of all your sins because of Jesus Christ. Before you were saved, you were most certainly under condemnation for your unbelief (John 3:36). You said, “it’s not any individual sin that condemns us”. On the contrary, I believe the Bible indicates that it is every individual sin that condemns us. To say that because sin is singular in Romans 6:23, we will not be condemned for the individual sins we commit, seems to be a doubtful leap in logic.


    To begin with, the Bible often uses “sin” and “sins” interchangeably. One example would be Jeroboam:

    • 1 Kings 13:34 – “This was the sin (singular) of the house of Jeroboam that led to its downfall and to its destruction from the face of the earth.”
    • 1 Kings 14:16 – “And he will give Israel up because of the sins (plural) Jeroboam has committed and has caused Israel to commit.”
    • 1 Kings 15:34 – “He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the ways of Jeroboam and committing the same sin (singular) Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit.”
    • 1 Kings 16:2 – “I lifted you up from the dust and appointed you ruler over my people Israel, but you followed the ways of Jeroboam and caused my people Israel to sin (singular) and to arouse my anger by their sins (plural).”
    • 1 Kings 16:26 – “He followed completely the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat, committing the same sin (singular) Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit, so that they aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, by their worthless idols.”
    • 1 Kings 22:52 – “He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, because he followed the ways of his father and mother and of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin (singular).”
    • 2 Kings 3:3 – “Nevertheless he clung to the sins (plural) of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he did not turn away from them.”
    • 2 Kings 10:29 – “However, he did not turn away from the sins (plural) of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit—the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan.”

    Other examples:

    • Genesis 18:20 – “Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin (singular) so grievous…” This is certainly referring to the actions that Sodom and Gomorrah were committing.
    • Exodus 10:16-17 – “Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned (referring to the action) against the Lord your God and against you. Now forgive my sin (singular, but again referring to the action) once more and pray to the Lord your God to take this deadly plague away from me.”
    • In many passages the word is translated differently in different translations, such as Number 5:7; some passages translate the word in this passage as “sin”, another “sins”. Another example would be Leviticus 26:41, where the word is translated “sin”, “sins” or “iniquity”.


    Not only are these words often used interchangeably throughout the Bible, but Romans 3:23 says that the reason that all have fallen short of the glory of God is because of our sinful actions: “all have sinned”. Furthermore, Col. 3:5-6 says, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry (these are all actions and individual sins). Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.” God’s wrath is coming because of the individual sins we commit. The Bible says that we are individually responsible for these sins. Ezekiel 18:20 says, “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” In light of that, the Bible also says that we will be judged for what we have done:

    • 2 Cor. 5:10 – “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”
    • John 5:29 – “And come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.”
    • Revelation 20:11-15 – “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
    • Ezekiel 24:14 – “I am the Lord. I have spoken; it shall come to pass; I will do it. I will not go back; I will not spare; I will not relent; according to your ways and your deeds you will be judged, declares the Lord God.”


    God will judge us according to what we have done, and ultimately as to whether or not we accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (Mark 16:16).


    In the end---and I say this with the greatest respect---the assertion that God does not condemn us for our individual sins does not appear to add up to the rest of the Bible. If we are not condemned for our individual sins, then there is no condemnation for our individual sins. If there is no condemnation for our individual sins and we are only condemned for our sin (singular), then we have no need to be forgiven of our individual sins. Why would you need to be forgiven of something for which you are not condemned? But if that is the case, then why did Jesus die for our sins (plural, 1 Cor. 15:3, 1 John 2:2), tell us that we need to repent of our sins (plural, Rev. 16:11, 9:21, Mark 6:12, Is. 59:20), and be forgiven of our sins (plural, Matt. 26:28, Lk. 1:77, 24:47, Acts 2:38, Col. 1:14)?

    Another post to come
     
  2. Gavino

    Gavino Newbie

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    While I feel that the Bible indicates that we are condemned for our individual sins, even if that were not the case, we are still faced with the same dilemma. Let me use an example. Let’s say you’re the king in a city. Everyone in the city is a citizen under your protection, but everyone born in the thieves’ camp outside the city is automatically branded as a thief and is therefore scheduled to be executed. This particular man was born in the thieves’ camp, so he is now being held in a 20-foot-deep prison pit awaiting execution. You, as the king and judge of this man, stand outside the pit and hold up a certificate. “Here!” you say, “someone took the penalty for you, and now you can become a citizen of the city and a free man if you take this certificate! I offer this to you. Take it!” But the man cannot take the certificate; he can’t reach it. You continue holding out the certificate, saying, “Take it! If you take it I will save you, if you don’t take it then the execution will proceed.” Regardless of whether or not the man WANTS the certificate, the fact remains that he cannot reach it because you have commanded him to do the impossible. In the end, when he dies, it will be because he failed to obey an impossible command. He may have gone into the pit because of the circumstances of his birth, but the moment you give him a command on which hinges either his salvation or demise, his fate in the end is now inextricably linked to your command. You commanded him to do the impossible, and when he did not obey---because he couldn’t---he was executed. In this situation, just as before, our God given-conscience would tell us that you have acted unjustly.


    So again, the question remains: is it morally right to call someone to come to you, even when they can’t, and then punish them when they don’t? Morals are absolute, not relative. This action is either morally right or it’s morally wrong, just or unjust. If it is morally right and just, then please explain to me why humans universally would tell you that their conscience (which was given to them by God, and testifies to His standard) defines this action as morally wrong and unjust. If it’s morally wrong and unjust---and therefore contrary to God’s nature and in violation of His standard of justice---then please explain to me why God would do this, and how he could do it since it is contrary to who He is.

    Thank you for your time! Have a great Memorial Day!

    In the love of Christ,

    Gavino
     
  3. Hammster

    Hammster Buckeye Newshawk Award Winner Staff Member Site Advisor Supporter

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    I'm sorry, but your posts are too long to respond to. You don't wish a dialogue, but a debate. I'm not a "eat the elephant in one bite" kind of guy. You seem to be, which is fine. You might better find the answers you want in Ask a Calvinist or Debate a Calvinist.

    Blessings.
     
  4. Gavino

    Gavino Newbie

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    Sounds good. Thanks for your time man, appreciated the discussion and your thought-provoking input!

    In the love of Christ,

    Gavino
     
  5. jimmyjimmy

    jimmyjimmy Pardoned Rebel Supporter

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    Gavino,

    Firstly, thanks for being a reasonable, ration inquirer. Most who argue against Calvinism are both ignorant and arrogant - a bad combination.

    Now, God condemns sinners, rightly, for their sin, not their refusal to repent.

    Also, Just as all men, even though they are incapable of obeying it, are culpable for breaking God's meal law, His command for all men to repent is no different. He doesn't drop the standard for adultery because fallen men lust after women.

    Fallen man is inclined toward sin. In fact, he is a slave to it. That fact does not however remove his guilt when he does, nor the law which condemns his actions.

    As creatures, we are obligated to our Creator. Romans 1:21 explains clearly just what our obligations are and how we have failed to keep them.

    For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:21 ESV)

    This is the basis for God's righteous expectation of us.

    I haven't read all of the replies. Hopefully you've received some good ones. Calvinists tend to be very bright, and biblical, so I'm certain you have.
     
  6. jimmyjimmy

    jimmyjimmy Pardoned Rebel Supporter

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    Gavino,

    Hammster is a good guy, and very sharp. He was also correct in saying that your posts are too long to respond to. In a forum like this, dealing with a subject like this, it's impossible to respond to a 500 word post, especially when it covers various topics/questions.

    I'll subscribe, and hope to continue this if/when you wish to continue. Hopefully you can get the answers you wish, even if you disagree with them.

    Peace,


    JJ
     
  7. JoeP222w

    JoeP222w Well-Known Member

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    This is a faulty premise.

    God does command all men to repent.

    It is not that the unregenerate "can't" repent, it is they never will or want to. There will be no one in Hell who will be able to claim, "I wanted to repent, but I couldn't, because God would not let me."
     
  8. Gavino

    Gavino Newbie

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    Hi JJ,


    Thank you for taking the time to reply to my post. I appreciate your input! Unfortunately nobody has actually answered the question I have put in six of my posts in this thread: is it morally right to call someone to come to you, even when they can’t, and then punish them when they don’t?


    Sorry for the length of my posts: I prefer to address previous posts and establish, explain and back up my position from scripture in one post rather than in several back and forth exchanges. Part of the reason for the length of my posts is because no one has answered my question as of yet and several people have attempted to change the subject, so it takes a while to respond to any incorrect aspects of their reply and then direct the conversation back to the original question. As I did in one of my last posts to Hammster, I will embolden the questions I should really like to have answered.


    After reading your post, there are a few things I want to address before coming back to my question. You say that men are not condemned for their “refusal to repent”. When men “refuse to repent” they are disobeying God’s command. Disobeying God’s command is sin. So yes, God does condemn us for our sin, including the sin of refusing to repent (unbelief). Jesus said, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). On judgment day people will go to hell for the sins they have committed, the primary sin being the rejection of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (unbelief). According to Calvinism, God calls men to believe, which they cannot do, and then condemns them for not believing (unbelief). Again, we come back to my original question: is it morally right to call someone to come to you, even when they can’t, and then punish them when they don’t?


    I would absolutely agree with you that man is inclined towards sin, but to say that he is incapable of obeying any command from God doesn’t solve the issue with Calvinism---if anything, it makes it worse. Our God-given conscience---which testifies to God’s standard---tells us that it is unjust to command someone to do the impossible and then condemn them when they fail to obey. So again, we come back to the question that no one has answered: is it morally right to call someone to come to you (or to obey you in general), even when they can’t, and then punish them when they don’t? Morals are absolute, not relative. This action is either morally right or it’s morally wrong, just or unjust. If it is morally right and just, then please explain to me why humans universally would tell you that their conscience (which was given to them by God, and testifies to His standard) defines this action as morally wrong and unjust. If it’s morally wrong and unjust---and therefore contrary to God’s nature and in violation of His standard of justice---then please explain to me why God would do this, and how he could do it since it is contrary to who He is.


    Thank you again for your time, I look forward to discussing this with you further! Again, I apologize for the length of the post, but I feel it is necessary in order to fully explain my position and address your points. Reply whenever you wish, I’m in no hurry.


    In the love of Christ,


    Gavino
     
  9. Gavino

    Gavino Newbie

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    Ultimately, as far as I can see, Calvinism cannot survive without a blend of absolutism and relativism. It must start with absolutism to establish the facts that we sin and that God has to punish our sin, and then switch to the relativistic argument that morals are relative and that God has one standard of justice and mankind has another. But you can’t have your cake and eat it too; absolutism and relativism are exclusive, they cannot both be true. Relativism is undeniably false, so we are left with absolutism. But if you stick with absolutism and it’s argument that there is only one standard of right and wrong (God’s nature), you are faced with the dilemma that our God-given conscience---which testifies to God’s standard---tells us that the actions that Calvinism ascribes to God are unjust. If an action is unjust according to God’s standard, will He do it? Absolutely not, because He is just and He cannot go against His own nature because He is unchanging. As such, at this point in time I cannot accept Calvinism because it requires a logical impossibility (the coexistence of absolutism and relativism) in order to function and goes against the Bible’s teaching of God’s justice and unchanging nature.

    In the love of Christ,

    Gavino
     
  10. Gavino

    Gavino Newbie

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    Hi joeP222w,


    Thanks for taking the time to respond to my post. Sorry for the length of this post; I have emboldened the sections I would really like to have answered if you choose to reply. Unfortunately, I’m afraid other Calvinists would disagree with your assertion; all of the Calvinists with whom I have spoken and all of the Calvinist works I have read appear to emphatically affirm that man cannot come to God. This is because of the doctrine of regeneration before faith. Please see below a few examples I pulled from the web:



    “…men are dead in trespasses and sins and totally unable to respond to Christ until He raises them from the dead through regeneration…” – swrb.com


    “…a sinner absolutely cannot (notice it is not "will" not) come to Christ until God first does something in that sinner's nature.” – monergism.com (emphasis NOT mine)


    “Reformed theology teaches that regeneration precedes faith through the doctrine of Total Depravity. Before regeneration a sinner is dead and until the sinner is regenerated and given a new nature, the sinner cannot believe.” – Wikipedia


    “The Calvinist asks the question, "In light of the scriptures that declare man's true nature as being utterly lost and incapable, how is it possible for anyone to choose or desire God?" The answer is, "He cannot.” – carm.org


    “By total inability Calvin meant that a lost sinner cannot come to Jesus Christ and trust Him as Savior…” – Jesus-is-savior.com


    “If we are dead in our sins, as the Bible clearly teaches, then before we can respond to the gospel message and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ we must first be made alive.” – gotquestions.org


    “You CANNOT "choose" anything because you are DEAD. Dead men/women CANNOT make a choice. They CANNOT revive themselves. They CANNOT regenerate themselves….you CANNOT choose…” – reformationtheology.com (emphasis NOT mine)



    The doctrine of regeneration before faith is a great discussion topic and I would love to delve into that with you at some point, but at the moment that doctrine is moot point if Calvinism cannot survive without relativism. I would ask you the same question I have asked of other people in this thread, is it morally right to call someone to come to you, even when they can’t, and then punish them when they don’t? Morals are absolute, not relative. This action is either morally right or it’s morally wrong, just or unjust. If it is morally right and just, then please explain to me why humans universally would tell you that their conscience (which was given to them by God, and testifies to His standard) defines this action as morally wrong and unjust. If it’s morally wrong and unjust---and therefore contrary to God’s nature and in violation of His standard of justice---then please explain to me why God would do this, and how he could do it since it is contrary to who He is.


    Thank you for your time and input, I look forward to discussing this with you further.


    In the love of Christ,


    Gavino
     
  11. jimmyjimmy

    jimmyjimmy Pardoned Rebel Supporter

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    My bad. I thought that you wanted help.
     
  12. RC1970

    RC1970 post tenebras lux

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    I understand, generally, what you are saying about Calvinism seeming to suggest that God is "unjust". That is a common complaint of the doctrine of reprobation and is partly what the Apostle Paul is dealing with in Romans 9. I can tell you that most of the other systems of doctrine (which are opposed to Calvinism) have to do some pretty serious gymnastics with Romans 9 in order to get around what it is clearly teaching. Others tend to want to impose a type of justice upon God which simply does not exist. He is truly sovereign over His entire creation.
     
  13. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    I think you've done a good job highlighting some of the basic problems with Calvinism. Here is another way to understand the problem with Calvinism:
    • "Ought" implies "can."
    This means that if it is said that someone ought to do something, it logically follows that they can do it. If God says that we ought to abstain from adultery, it must follow that we can abstain from adultery. To tell someone that they ought to do the impossible is unjust.

    It is perfectly common to find Calvinists explicitly denying this principle. They do not think that "ought" implies "can." Since the Calvinistic God demands the impossible, he is clearly unjust.

    As an aside, I don't find your posts too long at all. They are an acceptable length, especially for the concepts you are conveying. The true problem seems to be that the Calvinists are unable to answer your points.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
  14. Hammster

    Hammster Buckeye Newshawk Award Winner Staff Member Site Advisor Supporter

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    Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48, NASB)

    How is that working out for you? :)
     
  15. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    Just fine, thanks. I strive to grow each day and trust that someday, with God's help, I will be perfect.

    How's the God who demands the impossible working out for you? As the thread makes clear, you don't have much of an answer at all, do you?
     
  16. Hammster

    Hammster Buckeye Newshawk Award Winner Staff Member Site Advisor Supporter

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    Being perfect is impossible. Yet God demands it. He could not demand less.
     
  17. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    God does not demand the impossible. Being perfect is not impossible.

    But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:27)​
     
  18. Hammster

    Hammster Buckeye Newshawk Award Winner Staff Member Site Advisor Supporter

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    The command is for here and now. He never said to become perfect. He said to be perfect.
     
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  19. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    God wants us to be perfect, and therefore I conclude that he will perfect us. You command something if you want it, whether now or in the future. Why do you believe that God won't perfect us? Do you think he is incapable? Uninterested?
    1. God will make us perfect.
    2. God condemns people for failing to do the impossible.
    According to your reasoning, 1 and 2 are mutually exclusive, and you choose to believe 2 and reject 1. I don't think you've made a very good choice, but then again, I don't think Calvinism is true.
     
  20. jimmyjimmy

    jimmyjimmy Pardoned Rebel Supporter

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    Have you violated God's commandments?
     
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