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Featured How Do Calvinists Explain These Verses in the Story of Jonah?

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by Jason0047, Sep 1, 2017.

  1. Jason0047

    Jason0047 Agent for Christ

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    God threatened the city of Nineveh with judgment.

    1 "And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,
    2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.
    3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey.
    4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown." (Jonah 3:1-4).​

    God changed His mind and He did not bring wrath upon the Ninevites when He had seen that they turned from their evil and wicked ways.

    "And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not." (Jonah 3:10).​

    While many verses refute Calvinism, these 5 verses above in Jonah 3 is the achilles heel to Calvinism. This is a major story in the Bible! Yet, Calvinists do not seem to realize what this story really says here. I am wondering: How do Calvinists explain these verses in the "Story of Jonah"?


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  2. Jason0047

    Jason0047 Agent for Christ

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    If God enables or regenerates man so as to grant him the ability to repent (2 Timothy 2:25), then how could God threaten the city of Nineveh with Judgment and Wrath, and then change His mind on that Judgment as soon as they repented and turned from their evil and wicked ways? Was God's threat on the city of Nineveh just a useless scare tactic? What purpose did God need Jonah to preach to the city of Nineveh at all if God could just convict everyone of their sin and get them to repent? Does it not seem contradictory of God to threaten a city with Judgment if He was just going to later regenerate them so as to grant them repentance later?


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    Last edited: Sep 1, 2017
  3. Jason0047

    Jason0047 Agent for Christ

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    Note: I do not believe 2 Timothy 2:25 is talking about an enabling of man so as to grant repentance to a person as if it was some kind of miracle. I believe 2 Timothy 2:25 is talking about granting the opportunity for repentance by hearing the gospel by preaching.

    In Matthew 12:41, Jesus said the Ninevites will rise up in Judgment against this evil generation because they repented at the preaching of Jonah. They did not repent at the enabling of God granting them a miracle for repentance. They repented at the preaching of Jonah. That is what Jesus says; And that is what we also see in Jonah 3.

    "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14).


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  4. SeventyOne

    SeventyOne Not my faulty.

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    The problem with that argument is that God is not changing His mind, rather He's keeping a promise.

    Jeremiah 18:7-8 If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it.
     
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  5. JIMINZ

    JIMINZ Well-Known Member

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    Not being a Calvinist, I don't know what it is your attempting to prove about their Achilles heel, but the story of Jonah was not about the City of Nineveh.

    The story of Jonah was only about Jonah.

    It's all summed up in these verses.

    Jonah 4:10,11
    10) Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:
    11) And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than six score thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

    Jonah 3:10
    And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

    Don't complicate things.
    As a side note.
    Are you aware, Jonah was the only Prophet which God sent to a Gentile Nation (People)?
     
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  6. Jason0047

    Jason0047 Agent for Christ

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    But this promise does not fit Calvinism. God decrees who is saved and not saved. If God declared that the Ninevites were His elect who are saved, then there should have never been any kind of Judgment against them. So this promise works for the Synergist and not for the Calvinist. The Calvinist believes God saves a select few people. It sure sounds like the Ninevties were saved because God turned away His wrath. God's elect should have never been in any kind of danger from God's wrath or judgment because they are His chosen few that He hand picked to have grace. The Elect are chosen since the foundation of the world. So no harm should have technically came upon these Ninevites if Calvinism is true.


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  7. Jason0047

    Jason0047 Agent for Christ

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    Well, lessons or spiritual truths can be made from just one verse in the Bible. You should know this just by going to church or by watching video sermons online.

    Anyways, in Matthew 12:41, Jesus pointed us to Jonah 3. Jesus's lesson was one of repentance; And it was not the Calvinistic version of it. There was no enabling going on for a person to repent happening in Jonah 3. We see Jonah preach Judgment coming upon the city of Nineveh and then the king of the Ninevites telling his people to:

    (a) Cry out to God (repent).
    (b) Turn from their evil and wicked ways (fruits of repentance).

    When God had seen the Ninevites turn from their wicked sinful ways, the Lord then did not bring Judgment upon them like He said He was going to do. In the false world of Calvinism: If God decrees some to be saved and others to not be saved, then God would not change His mind on executing wrath or judgment upon the wicked. If they are damned according to Calvinism, there is nothing to do to stop His judgment or wrath that is to come. If they were His elect (who are saved), then they should have never been in any danger of Judgment. God is not into pretending to scare us.


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  8. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

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    The prophecy was given because of the present conditions in the city. But when the people repented and got right with God, the prophecy could not take effect because the conditions on the fulfillment of it had changed. Jonah was angry about this because he wanted to see Nineveh destroyed.

    But the prophecy was never cancelled. It was suspended while the Ninevites were right with God. Later on. the city slipped back into its evil ways with another generation, and the prophecy of destruction was then fulfilled.

    This is a principle in prophecy. A positive prophecy may be given to a person about good things that will happen in their future, but if the person becomes disobedient to God, the prophecy can fail because it is based on a particular condition which was not met. Eli the priest was told by prophecy that his generation would be priests for ever, but his sons became evil, and he did not correct them, so God came back and said that the original prophecy was cancelled and that He anointed Samuel instead. Saul was promised the kingdom to himself and his heirs, but Saul failed to obey God and so Samuel anointed David instead. So the prophetic word to Saul failed. Nathan told David that he could build the temple, but before he went far, God told Nathan to tell David that he couldn't do it after all, and that his son would build it instead.

    Of course, this would prove a difficulty for someone who believes that God knows every detail of the future. But I believe that is a philosophic concept, not a Biblical one. The future doesn't exist yet. It is dependent on the decisions we make. Therefore a prophecy can be given on the foreseeable future, based on current trends of behaviour and direction, but if those trends change, then the future is different to what is expected, and so the prophecy changes or is suspended until the conditions on which it is based came back into focus.

    I don't intend to debate the issue about the future. I have already done that on another thread, so anyone who wants to dispute my belief can go to that thread and do the debating there.
     
  9. Jason0047

    Jason0047 Agent for Christ

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    Either way, the story of Jonah does not make sense in the world of Calvinism if you say they are the chosen damned or if they are the chosen elect who are saved.

    For if the Ninevites were the saved elect than the way Calvinists describe God it makes it appear like He must have a memory problem because He was about to destroy His own elect. Either that or He was simply lying in the fact that there was no real Judgment coming. He was just using a false scare tactic (Which would be dishonest).

    If the Ninevites were the damned (God's supposedly chosen wicked), then how were they able to repent? Why did He spare them if they were wicked and evil and they repented?

    Either way the story of Jonah makes no sense in the world of Calvinism.


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    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
  10. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

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    I don't believe in that extreme of Calvinism, and I suspect, after reading Calvin's Institutes of Religion, that he didn't either.

    I believe in a God who is quite entitled to change His mind about a city of people if the change of conditions warrant it. Election and Rebrobation are mysteries which we are not given the full story about how it works. All we can do is to guess and to trust God that He knows what He is doing.
     
  11. Jason0047

    Jason0047 Agent for Christ

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    While I appreciate the commentary, that is not the answer I was looking for. I was asking Calvinists as to how they can explain Jonah in light of their beliefs like: God choosing some to be saved (when He has the power to save them all but doesn't) and how God can choose others to be damned; How do they explain the story of Jonah in light of God enabling man so as to be able to repent?

    Are we to assume God granted the Ninevites the special miracle or spark so as to be able to repent after He threatened them with Judgment? Why even threaten them with Judgment to begin with? Why send them Jonah to preach judgment to them? Why didn't God just grant them repentance? There would be no need to threaten them with Judgment. In fact, if they were Elect, to threaten them would be wrong because they are the eternally saved (with no wrath or judgment upon them). If they are the chosen damned, then they would have never repented.

    So the story of Jonah refutes Calvinism.


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  12. SeventyOne

    SeventyOne Not my faulty.

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    Speaking eternally, we don't have any idea how many of them were saved, if any. All your argument pertains to God not yet destroying a nation. About a hundred years later, He did destroy that nation for their sin anyway.

    I think you have a category fail here. The sparing of a nation doesn't equate with individual salvation. On that basis, I'd say your entire argument is off the mark and not worth consideration.

    Besides, all a Calvinist would have to say is God used His promise in Jeremiah to bring about the repentance of those in Nineveh who were already destined for salvation. You really wouldn't have any argument against that other than disagreement with His method in doing so.
     
  13. Jason0047

    Jason0047 Agent for Christ

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    Not sure what Calvinism lite version is.
    Do you believe that only the Elect are chosen to salvation (with man's free will choice not playing any part in the salvation process)? What purpose is the Judgment for if God is the One who ultimately decides the fate of people's salvation or damnation? Would that not make the Judgment out to be like a joke or a farce? Meaning, that would be like creating a robot where it's program was only to kill, and then later putting that robot on trial because it killed. Makes no sense. A person is judged because the individual did something wrong as a part of their own responsibiltiy. God does not force people to be good people and God does not force people to be evil people.


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  14. Jason0047

    Jason0047 Agent for Christ

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    Actually, that is not true. Scripture says it was all of them from the greatest to the least.

    "So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them." (Jonah 3:5).

    Nations are made up of individuals. The argument is sound because if they were God's elect then no Judgment should have ever threatened them. If they were damned, then they would have never repented. If God enables a person to repent, then there would have been no need to have Jonah preach a coming Judgment that did not happen. God could have just forced saved them if Calvinism was true.

    That was later. That means it was a different generation and not the same one. But even if some of them were still alive from the first generation, that actually makes the case for Calvinism worse because that would mean that somebody could be saved and then later not be saved.

    Not true. Jesus points us to Jonah 3 in Matthew 12:41. Jesus says that the Ninevites will rise up in Judgment against this generation because they repented at the preaching of Jonah.

    "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death." (2 Corinthians 7:10).

    Again, this does not work because if the Ninevites were God's elect, then no real Judgment or Wrath would have come upon them because they are chosen for salvation since the foundation of the world.


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  15. Jason0047

    Jason0047 Agent for Christ

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    The problem is that it is a lie to preach Judgment or Wrath if God never truly intended to bring Wrath or Judgment upon the Ninevites if they were His chosen and saved Elect.


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  16. JIMINZ

    JIMINZ Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I see what your saying, BUT, the repentance they showed, only saved them Physically at that time, Nineveh was eventually destroyed some 40 years later.

    What Calvinists believe about Predestination is about a Spiritual Salvation not a Physical one, the two cannot be paralleled in these verses.

    I really don't see any Achilles heel here, I think you dislike of Calvinists is shading your understanding and judgement on this matter.
     
  17. ClementofA

    ClementofA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Compare 1 Cor.5:4-5.

    Jn.3:16 is preached to the elect.

    Jn.6:29 says belief in Christ is the work of God. Not man.
     
  18. Jason0047

    Jason0047 Agent for Christ

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    We are not talking about some form of chastening here. The Ninevites were being threatened with the Judgment in them being overthrown (Jonah 3:4). They also were not believers in God like the man in Corinthians, either. This was a pagan Gentile nation that first needed to accept the Lord.

    They believed that God's judgment meant that they were going to perish.

    The king of the Ninevites said,
    "Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?." (Jonah 3:9).

    God says to Jonah (after He spares the city):
    11 "...Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:
    11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?." (Genesis 4:11).

    So this is final judgment. They were going to persih like the gourd without repentance. So these were not God's chosen saved Elect for all time no matter what. The Judgment had to be real in order for it to have any real effect. The Judgment was that they were going to persih (i.e. die).

    No. It says for God so loved the WORLD. The world is the whole of humanity. Scripture says Jesus taste death for every man.

    Jesus is not gloating at them and saying, "Ha, ha." You can't come to me because you are not regenerated. Verse 45 is not in reference to the lost (Which would be the context of verse 29).

    "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." (John 6:45).

    They asked what they needed to do, and Jesus said for them to believe. He did not say, it was not up to them.



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  19. Jason0047

    Jason0047 Agent for Christ

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    If Calvinism was true, the following scenario would have taken place in the story of Jonah.

    Jonah comes to the city of Nineveh, and says to them, "I am here to tell you what God is going to do in you already. You are going to believe and repent and turn from your wicked ways."

    There would be no mention of the Judgment. Just how they were going to believe.

    God brings salvation to the Ninevites and opens their hearts.
    Then the Ninevites repented and turned from their evil and wicked ways.

    But that is not how things played out.
    It was the reverse.

    The Ninevites were under danger of Judgment whereby they were actually going to perish like the gourd. This real threat to their lives led to their repentance and forsaking of their evil ways.
    When God seen they had turned away from their sinful ways, that is when God decided to no longer to bring Judgment that would overthrow the city and make them to perish.

    Jesus says in Matthew 12:41 that the Ninevites will stand in judgment against this generation because they repented at the preaching of Jonah. They had true repentance because they cried out to God (repentance) and they forsaken their evil ways (the natural fruits that always follow true repentance). So this was Judgment and not some kind of chastening. Jesus was giving us an example of repentance, as well. This was not an example of Calvinistic repentance being shown to us.

    If such were the case, then we would see the whole city overnight change mysteriously by God involving their wicked ways. They would just drop in the middle of their sinful acts and fall to their knees and ask God for forgiveness. But this is not what we see. We do not see Ninevites about to do something sinful and then stop midway in doing something sinful and call unto God. That is what we need to see if Calvinism's version of repentance is actually true. For the testimony of Jonah 3 stands strongly against the Calvnistic version of repentance. It is all about what the Ninevites did and not what God did in regards to whether or not they were saved. Yes, salvation cannot be had without God. Nobody is denying that. Syngerism does not deny God in the process of salvation. God of course sets forth the way of salvation for man and God seeks to convict man's heart if He is open to being convicted. It depends on how hard their heart is in regards to their own sin and if they truly want the Lord and His good ways in their life.


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  20. SeventyOne

    SeventyOne Not my faulty.

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    That doesn't say any of them were saved. There's no way to know.

    This is just conjecture to fit your narrative. Like I said, your only argument is that you disagree with His method. That's all this is.

    Again, you are confusing the sparing of a nation with individual salvation. They aren't the same thing.

    Proves nothing. He says similar things about Sodom where there was no sparing of judgment.

    Again, conjecture. No proof, just opinion. Who are you to decide what means God uses is acceptable or not? You are not His judge.
     
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