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    August 20th, 2012 @ 12:37 pm by Kevin

    In case you haven’t seen it yet, over the weekend I posted an outtake from an interview I did with Reformed blogger Justin Taylor, in which he argues that Calvinist theology does not make God a moral monster. Today, Justin posted a few follow-up comments on his blog. So I thought I should share some thoughts here as well. First, a quick summary of the video:

    Justin begins by affirming that God is all-loving and all-powerful, and that he can save everyone (from hell). But God loves his Bride, the elect, in a special way. Therefore, he won’t save everyone, and this in no way violates his loving nature. The only reason we may have a problem with this, is that we begin with a human definition of love (such as “God loves everyone equally”) and then hold God hostage to that definition.

    Justin wants to reverse this, arguing that humans don’t define love; God does. And if God is love, everything he does is loving–including loving some people and not others or killing the firstborn sons of Egypt, as recorded in the book of Exodus. Furthermore, as part of the Trinity, Jesus actively participated in such events. Therefore, if we are going to accept Scripture as authoritative, we have to accept that slaughtering babies is perfectly compatible with love of enemy–at least when God/Jesus does it.

    I push back against this, saying that on a human level, if a father could save all of his children from some sort of calamity but he only saves some, we call him a criminal. (And I never thought to mention what we call a father who slaughters his firstborn…) So if God exhibits this same sort of behavior, how can God possibly evade such charges?

    In the video, Justin responds by arguing that such analogies may appeal on an emotional level, but they are really just a slick way of ducking the authority of Scripture. Unlike his opponents–who not only import their own definitions of love into the Bible but who also (apparently) read it selectively–Justin’s view takes into account all of the details of Scripture. Killing babies and loving enemies is not a contradiction; it is merely a paradox, and Justin is willing to live within that tension.

    In the follow-up comments on his blog, Justin added that he also rejects the premise of my Father-children analogy, suggesting that a better analogy is the relationship between Righteous Judge and unrepentant criminal.

    in the Christian worldview we are rebelling against the Judge and receive a free offer of mercy which we reject.

    He goes on to define the underlying issue he sees at play not only in this debate but also throughout what he calls “progressive revisionism”:

    namely the desire to create God in our own image, to create a functional canon within a canon, to reason from the ground-up rather than the top-down, and to require that God’s authoritative revelation first meet with our approval.

    And now, a few comments in response:

    First, accusing people like Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Greg Boyd and other progressive/emergent types of creating God in their own image is at best a gross distortion. As I noted in the video, these folks are merely striving to reconcile violent images of God in the Old Testament, for example, with Christ’s clear teachings about how we are to love not only our neighbor but also our enemy. They’re not recreating God in their image; they’re seeking to reconcile violent images of God in the Old Testament with the loving, non-violent image of Christ. Furthermore, they are not importing their definition of love into Scripture or demanding that it meet their approval. Rather, they are merely seeking to make the Bible internally coherent. You might say they’re trying to do exactly the same thing as Justin; they’re just going about it in a different way. Therefore, to accuse them of ducking the authority of Scripture is simply false.

    Second, Justin also accuses his opponents of failing to take into account all of the details of Scripture, of creating a “canon within a canon.” This is another false charge, but not in the way you might think. First of all, you would be hard-pressed to prove that any of these people are ignorant of or purposefully ignoring sections of Scripture they find objectionable. All of the folks I spoke to are well-versed in the Calvinist arguments–and some even were Calvinists at one point–but eventually found the arguments wanting.

    Furthermore, everyone has a canon within a canon–including Justin. Everyone has what Richard Beck calls a regulating text–a Scripture passage or a theological concept that becomes the lens through which they view the rest of Scripture. Over time, this text or concept often becomes a non-negotiable, the foundation on which we (wittingly or not) build the rest of our theology. Justin attempts to frame this as a debate between those who have regulating texts (his opponents) and those who don’t (people like him). But that can’t possibly be true. Otherwise he wouldn’t be in the Reformed camp, which prioritizes a certain group of texts in the same way Arminians prioritize another group of texts. Justin even quotes one of his regulating texts, “‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Romans 9:14). What he doesn’t happen to mention is that Paul quotes this verse (Exodus 33:19) in the midst of a broader discussion about the wideness of God’s mercy. In other words, Paul is arguing against the very sort of exclusive theology Justin promotes. Ironically, Paul’s argument culminates in what has become a regulating text for many Universalists: “For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all” (Romans 11:32). This leaves one to wonder who is actually ignoring the details of Scripture…

    To take the concept of a “canon within a canon” a step further, I would add that for Justin’s opponents, this isn’t simply a matter of playing off one set of texts against another. For them, the ultimate canon within the canon isn’t a text at all. It’s a person–Jesus. In John 14:9, Jesus says, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” I think even Justin will agree that the Bible portrays Jesus as the perfect revelation of God. Therefore, he becomes the “Rosetta Stone” that allows us to decode the rest of Scripture. So if we see horrific acts attributed to God in the Old Testament, rather than say, “Well, I can’t see how dashing infants’ heads upon rocks is consistent with enemy love, but if the Bible says it, I believe it,” we should test such assertions against the character and teachings of Christ. Are they consistent? If not, rather than shrug and say, “Well, I guess God’s ways are higher than our ways, his thoughts higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9)” (which is also, BTW, stated in the mist of an argument for inclusion rather than exclusion), we should stop and consider that perhaps some of the actions attributed to God in the Bible may themselves be the sort of human projection that Justin detests so much. Of course, this opens up a much broader discussion on competing theories of inspiration. I think Justin and I have a pretty significant disagreement on this level, but that’s an argument for another day. (I do have a few things to say about that subject here.)

    Third, Justin and I also have a fundamental disagreement over the most appropriate metaphor to describe our relationship with God. I would argue that the dominant metaphor Christ gave us is Father-child. Justin has staked his claim on Judge-criminal. (We can both offer our own body of proof texts in response, but why bother.) If God is a Father at all for Justin, he isn’t a father to everyone; merely to the elect. So to go back to my analogy about a father saving some but not all of his children, Justin would either say that the Father wants to save all of his children, but some of them refuse his help, and so they perish, or that not all of the perishing people are his children (even though he created them), therefore, he has no moral obligation to save them. Had Justin brought either of these options up in the interview, I would have countered by saying one of the following 1) even if one of my four children were in danger and three out of four of them refused my help, I would still save all four of them, thinking that the other three were simply out of their minds and that they would come to recognize the error of their ways once the crisis was over. 2) Alternatively, I would have argued that just as parents are morally obligated to love and nurture their children, so God is morally obligated to do the same for everyone he creates. Otherwise he is asking us to do something he is unwilling to do himself.

    Finally, I take it from Justin’s comments that he has little or no regard for experience as a means of revelation. He downplays so-called “horizontal reasoning” in favor of top-down approach. As I’ve described in a previous post, our theology is the product of four main sources: Scripture, reason, tradition and experience. Depending where you live on the theological spectrum, you will tend to prioritize one or more of these sources over the others, but taken together, they function as a form of checks and balances. Going back to experience as a means revelation, if humans truly are created in the image of God, then our direct experience of something like parent-child relationships has a lot to tell us about our relationship with God. Granted, we “see through a glass darkly” (1 Cor. 13:12), but rather than discourage us from projecting that experience onto God, we should instead take it as an encouragement to believe that God’s love for his children far overwhelms our own puny feelings. In fact, Jesus encourages us to do just that:

    Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

    So if your interpretation of the Bible leads you to conclude that God is a moral monster who slaughters babies, refuses to practice what he preaches and feels no moral obligation to some (many) of the people he has created, instead of doubting your experience–as Justin would have you do–I would apply reason, tradition and experience to help you understand how your interpretation of Scripture could have gone so wrong.



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  1. It’s hard to discuss God and leave out his chief attribute of Holiness (Isa. 6). If God were not holy then we wouldn’t have to worry about Hell, of course we also wouldn’t have to worry about there being a God either.

    • Cole – What about the Biblical texts that associate God’s holiness with his mercy. For instance in 2 Chronicles.

      When the choir of Israel sang the praises of God, they magnified his holiness.

      2 Chronicles 20: 21

      He appointed singers unto the Lord, and that they should praise the beauty of holiness.

      And here is what they sang.

      2 Chronicles 20: 21

      Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures for the ages.

      So here we see that God’s holiness is connected to his mercy.


      There are other texts that relate to this understanding of God’s Holiness.

      Isaiah 57: 15-16

      For thus says the high and lofty One Who inhabits eternity, Whose name is Holy….. “I will not contend forever, neither will I be always wrath…..”

      Hosea 11: 9

      I will not execute the fierceness of my anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, an not man; the Holy one in the midst of you.

      Of course Jesus also showed the connection between the Holiness of God and his mercy in his earthly life. The one “who is Holy” and “separate from sinners” was here on Earth as a “friend of sinner” (c.f. Hebrews 7: 26; Matthew 11:9

      In His book “A Passion for Justice” Johnston McMaster touches on the afor mentioned Hosea text.

      Yet in the history of Israel’s experience and understanding Hosea produced the groundbreaking vision of God the deeply compassionate One. Ultimately the prophet pushed beyond the destructive culture of violence to a God who was God and not human, i.e. violent, to a God of solidarity and compassion who suffered alongside and whose deep compassion would never let go or give up. Hosea highlighted the power of transforming compassion (Hosea 11: 1-9).

      Jesus was in this Jewish prophetic tradition. He too pushed beyond the boundaries of truth in his own community. The faith community has often had the same problem. It more often mirrors the popular value system, the comfortable, self-serving ethics of the domination systems. the Matthean Beatitudes turn the domination system values upside down. Jesus points to God’s upside-down kingdom. The fifth Beatitude pronounces the blessedness of the merciful: ‘for they will receive mercy’ (Matthew 5: 7). In the Sermon on the Mount in which the Beatitudes are placed, Jesus also visions God as merciful to all, without favouritism or exception. God’s love, mercy and compassion are for the good and bad alike, chosen people and hated imperialists, no distinctions. Luke repeats this God vision in his Sermon on the Plain, using a word even closer to relational compassion. For both Matthew and Luke the ethical imperative is to imitate the compassion of God….

      (A passion for Justice – Social Ethics in the Celtic Tradition – by Johnston McMaster – Page 127)


      As well from this book

      The awesome holiness of God in Isaiah’s experience has a flip side in Hosea’s experience of the intimacy of God and God’s essential compassion. this prophet can articulate God as “The Holy One in your midst’ (Hosea 11: 9). the God who is radically other is also the God of compassion, intimately present and close. It was this vision of God that was to shape Israel’s life as holy, an imitation of God in the life of the world……

      ….. Holiness for israel was the imitation of God in the everyday life of the world. Jesus as a Jew, was firmly in that tradition and the heart of his ethic was the imitation of God. It is important to recognize the Jewishness of Jesus since this core identity has been airbrushed from most of Christian history……

      …. Her is the heart of the conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees. They both took the traditions of Israel seriously but interpreted holiness differently. Jesus and the Pharisees had competing social visions and conflictual social ethical values. For the Pharisees, the core value of their social vision was holiness and purity. The core value of Jesus’ social vision, as Marcus Borg has argued, was compassion. Twice in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus or the Jesus community towards the end of the first century, counters holiness as purity with compassion. The Pharisees are critical of Jesus’ table fellowship with ‘sinners’ or the unclean and later of Jesus followers for breaking the sabbath laws by plucking grains of wheat for food on the holy day. One each occasion Hosea 6:6 is invoked from Israel’s prophetic tradition. ‘I desire mercy/compassion and not sacrifice’ (Matthew 9:13 and 12:7)….. the use of Hosea draws attention to the repeated emphasis of the Hebrew scriptures that God is essentially compassionate and that faithful human living is also compassionate…..

      …..The essence of Jesus’ vision is expressed in Luke 6 27 – 36 and Matthew 5: 38 – 48. In both texts the Holiness Cod of Leviticus 19 is echoed and modified, and described by Borg as the ‘Compassion Cod’. “You shall be holy because I am holy’ (Leviticus 19:2) becomes ‘Be merciful (or compassionate) as your Father is merciful’ (Luke 6: 36). Matthew has’Be perfect’ behind which is an Aramaic word meaning ‘all-inclusive’ or ‘all- embracing’ as God is all-inclusive or all-embracing. The gospel writers are being intentional and deliberate in their modification of Leviticus 19: 2.

      (A Passion For Justice – Social Ethics in the Celtic Tradition – by Johnston McMaster – Page 88 – 89)

    • Hi Donsands. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to untwist your Calvinism influenced understanding of Christianity but I’ll try. The Bible says that Jesus came to set the captives free, and if your a student of Calvinism then your surely a captive.

      Did you know that the Eastern Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox (Church in Egypt), Syrian Orthodox (Church in Asia), Ethiopian Orthodox, and Celtic churches all rejected the Augustinian understanding of “original sin” as a heresy, and still do. That is over 300 million Christians living today. The only group that bought into this doctrine was the Roman Catholic church and some of the Protestant Christianity that came out of it. Even Roman Catholicism rejects much of Calvins thought. That is the vast majority of Christendom.

      First a good book to read can be found here.

      http://www.amazon.com/Reconsidering-Tulip-Alexander-Renault/dp/0557949890/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345503611&sr=1-1

      The following is taken from the book “Reconsidering Tulip” by Alexander J. Renault.

      The crux of the matter is this: if Christ did not have a human nature, then He cannot save us. If Christ was fully human, but not fully God, then He cannot bring us up to God. If He is fully God but not fully human, then He cannot come completely down to us and bridge the gap between us and God. The first several ecumenical councils of the Church all dealt wit this issue.

      It is generally agreed among the Reformed that Christ was fully God and fully human. Unfortunately, the implications of this are not always understood by the Reformed. For if Christ is fully human, then He must have a human soul, a human will, a human mind – in short a human nature. He was without sin. This tells us that sin is not an integral part of human nature, and that one is still human apart from sin. Otherwise, wither 1) Christ was just as sinful as we are, or else 2) Christ wasn’t fully human and can’t really save us. Heb 2: 11, 17….. This Hebrews passage is especially significant regarding Christ’s human nature. It says that “in all things” He had to be made human. And yet He was without sin. This would suggest that “sin nature” is in fact foreign to true human nature. (page 12)


      In this book he also says the following.

      Mark 6: 5 – 6 – Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief.

      It’s quite curious to note that Christ “marveled” because of their unbelief. It actually surprised and amazed him. This is different than what one would expect if the doctrine of Total Depravity were true. If it were true that fallen man is completely unable to believe without God giving him a unique grace to believe, then Christ would not have been at all surprised or amazed at their unbelief. In fact, He would have expected (even foreordained) them not to believe until He Himself had decided that they should believe. But Christ’s amazement seems to indicate that they should have and could have acted differently. One might argue that Christ was expressing this emotion from His human side, not His divine side, but even as a human, He was perfect and would have perfectly known all about the doctrine of Total Depravity, and thus would have no reason to be surprised. (page 10)

      -Therefore Humans like Jesus come into the world in the Image and Likeness of a good God, but unlike Jesus we all have sinned . Jesus however was tempted just as us but did not sin. How could he have been tempted “just as us” unless he was just like us, with the same nature as us? If Jesus’ nature was different than ours, he wouldn’t have been able to be tempted just as us, simply because his humanity during the temptation would be different. Which brings us back to the above statements…… How could he have the same nature as us if our nature is evil?

      Simply put. Jesus was fully human and fully God. If humanity was born with sin nature then Jesus would have had to be born with said sin nature in order to be fully human. If Jesus was born with a sin nature and was also fully God, then God would have to have a sin nature, being a disposition towards sin.

      So in this understanding if one was to say that humanity is born with a sin nature then I wonder if they are possibly coming near to blaspheming God.

      As well, if Jesus was tempted just as, us that obviously means that we are tempted. The very nature of temptation means that the person has to choose to reject the temptation. How could a person make that choice unless they had at least some good in them and a free will? If there was no good in us wouldn’t we fail the temptation every time?

      Another thing to consider is that if Christ was fully human then it would seem obvious that the human being is originally designed to be fully Christlike. Let me be clear. I fully realize that there are negative and corrupting influences upon the child before birth from within the womb. I’m talking here about the human being’s design, and purpose.



      My position is actually closer to what Christians believed before Augustine changed Christianity. Look here to what a well respected founding father said about human nature.

      In the book entitled “On the Human condition – page 73” the Christian father, St. Basil the Great, says:

      “Read the account of the material worlds creation and you will find there, “all things are good, and very good (Gen 1: 21.) Accordingly evil was not created together with good. But neither was the intelligible creation having come to be from the fashioner, mixed with wickedness when brought into being. For if bodily things did not have evil co-created in themselves, how could the intelligble things, bearing such purity and holiness, have a common subsistence with evil?………
      ……And likewise God created the Soul but not sin. Rather, the soul is made evil through a perversion of what is according to nature. But what is the good set before the soul? It was attentiveness to God and union with him through love. Once the soul has fallen away from this, it is made evil by various and manifold weaknesses. But for what reason is it entirely capable of receiving evil? Because of the impulse of free choice, especially befitting a rational creature. For having been freed from all necessity, and receiving self determined life from the creator, because it came into being according to the image of God, it understands the Good and knows his joy and possesses authority and power, abiding in the contemplation of the beautiful and the enjoyment of spiritual things, guarding carefully in itself the life according to nature. Yet it also has the authority to turn away from the beautiful at any time. And this happened to it when it received a satiety of blessed delights and was as it were weighed down by a kind of sleepiness and sank down from things above, being mixed with the flesh through the disgraceful enjoyment of pleasures………… But why did we not have sinlessness in our structure one may ask, so that the will to sin would not exist in us? Because indeed it is not when your household slaves are in bonds that you consider them well disposed, but when you see them willingly fulfill your wishes. Accordingly, God does not love what is constrained but what is accomplished out of virtue. And virtue comes into being out of free choice and not out of constraint………

      Take this quote from another early Christian.

      “Now he who is bad having become sinful by nature because of evil becomes depraved. He has what he has chosen. And being sinful he sins also in his actions. Likewise the good man does right.

      “Sin then is voluntary on my part”.

      Clement of Alexandria (195 A.D.) Taken from the book “A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs”.

      I’ll respond to some more of your comments in my next post

      • @Christopher — I can quote numerous church fathers that support original sin and you can quote some that didn’t. That is obvious. Yet, they aren’t our authority. The Scriptures alone are authoritative and wholly true. Why, in your responses to me, do you quote little or no Scripture?

        You use of Mark 6 is wholly misunderstood. The Spirit, using Mark, intended this phrase for our benefit. This unbelief was owing to a wretched ignorance, this emphasized their blindness of mind and hardness of heart. Jesus wasn’t surprised for he knew what was in men (John 2:24).

        Your statement, “But Christ’s amazement seems to indicate that they should have and could have acted differently.” is going so far beyond what this verse teaches. You are taking a text that ultimately has little to nothing to do with depravity (rather it is a historical narrative) and trying to confute an obvious doctrine of Scripture. That makes no sense. Why not exegete Romans 3:10-19? or Ephesians 2:1-3? or John 6?

        Grace and peace.

        • Lee said:

          :I can quote numerous church fathers that support original sin and you can quote some that didn’t. That is obvious. Yet, they aren’t our authority. The Scriptures alone are authoritative and wholly true. Why, in your responses to me, do you quote little or no Scripture?

          Yes… the fathers believed in the fall and even used the term original sin from time to time, but they didn’t believe in the Calvinistic understanding of these things, in fact they spoke against it. Ask yourself this…. why do the Eastern Orthodox, who very much study the founding fathers reject the doctrine of original sin? Read the fathers at length (not just quotes) and find out what they REALLY thought, it is very different from Calvinism. Night and day. I’d start with reading Ireneaus’ “Against the heretics”.


          I didn’t quote scriptures because I was responding to your comments that were quoting founding fathers, with little scripture. I can dig into a plethora of scripture that argues against original sin. Read the Psalms and parts of the Old Testament… especially the prophets and their relationship with God. These works are not written by people who are depraved, separate from God and under God’s continual “wrath”.

          I actually don’t need to quote a lot of scripture to speak against the foolishness of Calvinism. What I said above about Jesus’ and his being fully human is enough….. if one has eyes to see. I’ve planted a seed…. it’s the choice of your heart what ground it is that I’ve planted it in.


          Read the above again….. that bit about Mark 6 wasn’t from me, but rather from a book written by someone who had come out of the cultish thinking of Calvinism.

          Lee. I advise you to seek after God and learn to know and hear his Spirit. Listen for him in the created world around you, and learn about his character and love…. seperate from man made doctrines that twist the scriptures. It will be worth it.


          Matthew 11:28….but you too can understand the father if you will let me reveal him to you.

    • Also the Bible says that God IS love. If God didn’t always act according to what the Bible says about love then we wouldn’t have to worry about there being a God. You know like to love and bless ones enemies…. to never give up in trying.
      etc. These Biblical descriptions of love are not consistent with eternal torments.

      • @Christopher — Of course they are. If I love babies, then I will hate abortion (and rightly so). There is righteousness in anger. Justice does shine in God just as much as love or mercy or kindness. Why must you negate attributes of God in order to promote His love? He is love and so much more!

        • Calvinism doesn’t teach doctrines that make God “love and so much more”…. rather it teaches doctrines that negate his love.


          Matthew 11:28….but you too can understand the father if you will let me reveal him to you.

          • @Christopher — You have obviously not read Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion.

            You are only showing your lack of understanding of the doctrines of grace in making such substantial claims like “calvinism… teaches doctrines that negate his love” while failing to provide any biblical arguments that point that substantiate your claims.

          • Lee. Calvin’s writings are not the Bible. The doctrines of Tulip are like dominoes, only one of these needs to be disputed to cause them all to fall. They all can be disputed.


            Look at the video again. Look at the things you have been saying about a God that is completely in control of humanity and thus causes them to sin, and then eternally tortures people for sinning, while only choosing to save a select few from his “eternal wrath”. If this does not negate love ….. then what does.

          • Lee. Do you realize the full implications of what Calvinism teaches?

            It basically teaches that God causes horrific things to happen, like say a 4 year old girl to be sexually abused, for his glory, to live a painfilled troubled life and then chooses not to save this little girl, but instead to get his glory from eternally torturing her….. when she had no choice in her life direction or ability to choose God. The God of Calvinism offers no hope.


            Calvinism teaches that God causes third world countries to be in such a way that little children starve to death, for his glory, and then chooses not to save these little children but instead eternally torture them….. for his glory.

            Is that love?

            Calvinists can dream up all sorts of pseudo intellectual mumbo jumbo and use big words to try and get around the fact that this is what Calvinism implies. But at the core of it all this is what Calvinism teaches….. and everybody outside of this system knows it.

            You put to high a regard on Calvin and his writings…. this is cultish. Calvin is not Jesus, his writings are not the Bible. The Bible says that one shall know them by their fruit…. Calvin had a part to play in having a fellow Christian murdered, a horrible death. This is bad fruit. A heart that would do such a thing and not even be apparently remorsefull about it does not have a good understanding of Christianity.

            Why would a Calvinist even want to have children. According to your very own theology you would have know way of knowing whether or not God would choose to save your very own offspring….. or to torture them eternally … for his glory. If God is committed to Christians, then wouldn’t he have to be committed to Christian’s offspring….. which God had a part in creating. Of course in Calvinsim one can never be sure if God IS committed to them, because they are never fully sure if they are one of the “elect”

            These people I am talking about are not statistics. They are human beings like you. Do you not have enough empathy for your fellow human beings to see that the idea of God choosing to eternally torture them for his glory (it could have been you) is VERY troubling and problematic. Think of yourself being eternally tortured… for EVER and EVER…. would that give glory to God.


            I don’t believe that God is this sick…. because the Bible in its original languages doesn’t teach it and because this is not how the early Christians who lived closest to the time of Christ and spoke in the Koine Greek language that the Bible is written in, understood the scriptures. Calvin’s understanding of the faith was very different than those who read, and thought in the original languages that the Bible was written in.

            These teaching of Calvinism make God out to be an insane madman. This is not love.

    • Cole, the passage from I Peter which says, “be holy as I am holy” comes from Leviticus 19 where we are given a delineation of the law culminating with and summed up by: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Therefore holiness is expressed by love. Love is why God is holy for it sets Him apart from His fallen creation. As was stated near the end of these comments, no one loves His enemies the way God does, laying down their life for their redemption. This is why God is holy. It is His holy law that judges us and this same holiness that loves us, His neighbor as Himself, and saves us. That is why “He is both just and the Justifier.” (Rom 3:26) You need not pit God’s holiness against His love. God is one and not two. His holiness is all loving and His love is the expression of all holiness.

      And by the way there is plenty to “worry about” with this holy God. Scripture says, “The Lord will judge HIS PEOPLE. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” ( grossly misquoted by Edwards as applying to unbelievers falling into the hands of an “angry God” instead of to HIS PEOPLE into the hands of the LIVING GOD). There are also many other passages that speak of an accountability and judgment for our actions: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” 2 Cor 5:10 The context reveals this warning is clearly given to believers.

      But these passages are to evoke a reverent fear of our holy Father who has already reconciled us to Himself through Christ (II Cor 5). Instead they have been interpreted and applied as threatening “eternal conscious torment” thus producing a slavish and very “unholy” fear.

    • Cole,

      Why is holiness God’s “chief attribute”? I know of nowhere in scripture that claims this.

      In fact, I don’t see how holiness can be God’s “chief attribute”. “Holy” means “Set apart”. Before creation God cannot have been “Holy” because there was nothing to be “set apart” from. Therefore, not only can it not be God’s “chief attribute”, arguably it’s not a natural attribute of God at all. “Holiness” only arises when God creates “other” from which to be separate.

      • @StephenW
        Why is holiness God’s “chief attribute”? I know of nowhere in scripture that claims this.

        It’s the only attribute emphasised by three-time repetition (which is the literary device used to impart emphasis). God is Holy Holy Holy.

    • to Cole — interesting thought — but how did you arrive at Holiness being one of God’s “Chief” attributes ? Even though God is Holy I still do not agree that I would have to worry about Hell… and if Holiness were not one of God’s “Chief” attributes I cannot fathom the logic that God would not be God. However, IF your hermeneutical method leads You to conclude this .. then I might be able to comprehend how you arrived at this perspective — which is not mine — all the best !

  2. Thankful for Justin Taylor and his comments on this topic.

  3. ” I would argue that the dominant metaphor Christ gave us is Father-child.”

    What do you do with Jesus saying to the Jews, who say God is their father, “Your father is the devil”?

    And there is the teaching of Paul in Eph. 2 where he teaches us about the children of wrath. However, he also teaches us, “But God….” I am for sure a wretch, and yet God loved me and set me free. Wow. Amazing, outstanding, undeserved love. What a Savior! What a Fether!

    I pray this film will be used by our Lord to open many hearts to His truth of the Gospel, the good news, and also the bad news.

    • The New Testament witnesses to the idea that the organizing principle of God’s Nature is Love, and that the evidence of this is Jesus Christ Himself.

      Which, of course, provides an entirely new lens through which to see the Old Testament, which in turn gives us a completely new way of understanding what God was trying to do there, which reveals to us what the church is all about, what we are all about…

      In other words, our understanding of how God’s Nature works is the heart of how we look at our mission in the world.

    • Donsands had said:

      “And there is the teaching of Paul in Eph. 2 where he teaches us about the children of wrath. :

      Your under the influence of Augustines heretical doctrine of original sin… which Calvin actually made darker. Romans 1: talks about God’s “wrath” and explains it as God allowing people to follow their own paths into deeper and deeper depravity. That was Paul’s understanding of “wrath”.


      With this in mind Paul’s letter to the Ephesians says this.
      Ephesians 2:3…. “and were in our nature children of wrath even as the rest”.

      When taking Pauls understanding of wrath into account this text is simply saying that as “children of wrath” God simply allowed them to go their own ways into depravity which corrupted their nature.

      One can see him Paul later aligning with my interpretation in Ephesians 4: 2 22……as regards to your former behaviour, the old humanity which is corrupted in accord with it’s seductive desires…..”


      Thus our humanity gets corrupted when we are allowed to go our own ways into depravity which we are seduced be misplaced desires.

  4. Mr. Taylor’s short interview was littered with “I think” (at least 6-times by my count). It’s increasingly clear to me that the New Calvinism movement is all about intellect … and very little about revelation. The New Calvinist mind filters Scripture through a reformed grid of teachings and traditions of men which defend their theology, producing a misrepresentation of the very essence of God’s character … love. It’s sad to see so many intelligent young folks become indoctrinated to this thinking … education does not produce one ounce of revelation. Your premise that one’s theology springs from Scripture, reason, tradition and experience is right on. However, “experience” is not factored into New Calvinism, for there is a mistrust of personal Christian experience … in the absence of that, “I think” can lead one down a sad track.

    • Amen.
      I’d also add to what Kevin said the understanding that truths are written into creation (Romans 1) and that the creation throws forth speach. Related to this various mystical experiences Christians have. While not trying to negate the Bible… the bible itself points to other ways that God communicates with us. We need to take all of these forms of communication as pillars that together can lead us to truth.

    • I think it depends on what your’re thinking on Max.

      Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. 2 Tim 2:7

      • Exactly John. “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Col 3:2). Calvinism is a very earthly thing – the product of the teachings and traditions of men. Revealed truth is the product of setting your mind on things above.

    • the very essence of God’s character … love.

      Well, according to revelation, indeed, the book of Revelation in particular, (and I’m glad you hold revelation in such high regard – sola scriptura!) the only attribute of God emphasised to the third degree is his Holiness. It doesn’t say God is love, love love, but rather, God is Holy Holy Holy. He is love, but he is also holy holy holy.

  5. Its apparent many people want to create God in their own image. By not honoring scripture people will fall into the trap of creating their own god. Scripture is God’s word to us about who He is. In His mercy and grace He gave it to us to show us the truth. Hell is real, the devil is real. Jesus preached Hell and yet Jesus is love. In Luke 16, Jesus teaches the parable about Lazarus and the rich man who went to hell. In Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, Jesus mentions hell several times and talks about what is evil.
    And to respond to Kevin’s comments about all people being children of God. Scripture asserts that not all creatures are children of God. Refer to 1 John 3, Philippians 2:15, and the great Romans 8. In fact 1 John 3 refers to people being either children of God or children of the devil. God is love and God is also just. There is no injustice with God.
    As for me personally, by God’s grace He saved me while I was yet a sinner (just a year ago). I once used to make up god in my own mind just like many others. I too will be praying and knowing that God will use this movie to His glory. He always does.

    • Hi Christina.

      You had said:


      ” Jesus preached Hell and yet Jesus is love.”.


      Um… No the word “hell” never left Jesus’ lips. The word Hell came from the Teutonic (now German) pagan God Hele, and this word eventually made its way into the scriptures. The words Jesus used that were translated as hell were “Gehenna”, “Tartarus”, and “hades”. None of which refer to the understanding of hell of which you speak. Modern translations are beginning to properly translate these words more and more.

      You had said:

      ” Jesus teaches the parable about Lazarus and the rich man who went to hell. ”

      Actually in that parable the rich man went to “hades”. In Revelation it says that people are taken out of hades and then hades is destroyed. So therefore people are not in hades eternally, hades doesn’t last eternally, and it is impossible for that parable to teach on eternal hell. It’s pretty simple.

      • Undermine the concept of an eternal hell of punishment and you undermine the concept of a heaven for believers to be with God for eternity.

        Matthew 25: 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. ”

        • Andy. The word translated as eternal here is the word aionos. Better translations render this word as age-during, or age-abidding. This is how the early Greek Christians clearly understood this word in their writings. Augustine didn’t know how to speak Greek so he used philosophy to try and understand this word instead of learning the early Greek speaking Christian’s understanding of the word.

          You are using similar philosophy.

          Here Jesus teaches that the goats will go into age-abidding correction and the sheep into age-abidding life. We see this in Revelation…. the goats are in the lake of fire for the ages of the ages. The sheep are in the City of God for these same ages of the ages. The goats repent and walk into the City of God through the gates that are always open. When all have repented then the ages are done, Christ has subjected ALL of God’s enemies to God in loving subjection, he then gives up his reign and God becomes All in All and then all live in eternal bliss with God.

    • Oopps. I had posted my response in the wrong place. I’ll repost it here… hopefully this is right.

      Hi Donsands. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to untwist your Calvinism influenced understanding of Christianity but I’ll try. The Bible says that Jesus came to set the captives free, and if your a student of Calvinism then your surely a captive.

      Did you know that the Eastern Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox (Church in Egypt), Syrian Orthodox (Church in Asia), Ethiopian Orthodox, and Celtic churches all rejected the Augustinian understanding of “original sin” as a heresy, and still do. That is over 300 million Christians living today. The only group that bought into this doctrine was the Roman Catholic church and some of the Protestant Christianity that came out of it. Even Roman Catholicism rejects much of Calvins thought. That is the vast majority of Christendom.

      First a good book to read can be found here.

      http://www.amazon.com/Reconsidering-Tulip-Alexander-Renault/dp/0557949890/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345503611&sr=1-1

      The following is taken from the book “Reconsidering Tulip” by Alexander J. Renault.

      The crux of the matter is this: if Christ did not have a human nature, then He cannot save us. If Christ was fully human, but not fully God, then He cannot bring us up to God. If He is fully God but not fully human, then He cannot come completely down to us and bridge the gap between us and God. The first several ecumenical councils of the Church all dealt wit this issue.
      It is generally agreed among the Reformed that Christ was fully God and fully human. Unfortunately, the implications of this are not always understood by the Reformed. For if Christ is fully human, then He must have a human soul, a human will, a human mind – in short a human nature. He was without sin. This tells us that sin is not an integral part of human nature, and that one is still human apart from sin. Otherwise, wither 1) Christ was just as sinful as we are, or else 2) Christ wasn’t fully human and can’t really save us. Heb 2: 11, 17….. This Hebrews passage is especially significant regarding Christ’s human nature. It says that “in all things” He had to be made human. And yet He was without sin. This would suggest that “sin nature” is in fact foreign to true human nature. (page 12)

      In this book he also says the following.

      Mark 6: 5 – 6 – Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief.
      It’s quite curious to note that Christ “marveled” because of their unbelief. It actually surprised and amazed him. This is different than what one would expect if the doctrine of Total Depravity were true. If it were true that fallen man is completely unable to believe without God giving him a unique grace to believe, then Christ would not have been at all surprised or amazed at their unbelief. In fact, He would have expected (even foreordained) them not to believe until He Himself had decided that they should believe. But Christ’s amazement seems to indicate that they should have and could have acted differently. One might argue that Christ was expressing this emotion from His human side, not His divine side, but even as a human, He was perfect and would have perfectly known all about the doctrine of Total Depravity, and thus would have no reason to be surprised. (page 10)

      -Therefore Humans like Jesus come into the world in the Image and Likeness of a good God, but unlike Jesus we all have sinned . Jesus however was tempted just as us but did not sin. How could he have been tempted “just as us” unless he was just like us, with the same nature as us? If Jesus’ nature was different than ours, he wouldn’t have been able to be tempted just as us, simply because his humanity during the temptation would be different. Which brings us back to the above statements…… How could he have the same nature as us if our nature is evil?

      Simply put. Jesus was fully human and fully God. If humanity was born with sin nature then Jesus would have had to be born with said sin nature in order to be fully human. If Jesus was born with a sin nature and was also fully God, then God would have to have a sin nature, being a disposition towards sin.

      So in this understanding if one was to say that humanity is born with a sin nature then I wonder if they are possibly coming near to blaspheming God.

      As well, if Jesus was tempted just as, us that obviously means that we are tempted. The very nature of temptation means that the person has to choose to reject the temptation. How could a person make that choice unless they had at least some good in them and a free will? If there was no good in us wouldn’t we fail the temptation every time?

      Another thing to consider is that if Christ was fully human then it would seem obvious that the human being is originally designed to be fully Christlike. Let me be clear. I fully realize that there are negative and corrupting influences upon the child before birth from within the womb. I’m talking here about the human being’s design, and purpose.



      My position is actually closer to what Christians believed before Augustine changed Christianity. Look here to what a well respected founding father said about human nature.

      In the book entitled “On the Human condition – page 73″ the Christian father, St. Basil the Great, says:

      “Read the account of the material worlds creation and you will find there, “all things are good, and very good (Gen 1: 21.) Accordingly evil was not created together with good. But neither was the intelligible creation having come to be from the fashioner, mixed with wickedness when brought into being. For if bodily things did not have evil co-created in themselves, how could the intelligble things, bearing such purity and holiness, have a common subsistence with evil?………
      ……And likewise God created the Soul but not sin. Rather, the soul is made evil through a perversion of what is according to nature. But what is the good set before the soul? It was attentiveness to God and union with him through love. Once the soul has fallen away from this, it is made evil by various and manifold weaknesses. But for what reason is it entirely capable of receiving evil? Because of the impulse of free choice, especially befitting a rational creature. For having been freed from all necessity, and receiving self determined life from the creator, because it came into being according to the image of God, it understands the Good and knows his joy and possesses authority and power, abiding in the contemplation of the beautiful and the enjoyment of spiritual things, guarding carefully in itself the life according to nature. Yet it also has the authority to turn away from the beautiful at any time. And this happened to it when it received a satiety of blessed delights and was as it were weighed down by a kind of sleepiness and sank down from things above, being mixed with the flesh through the disgraceful enjoyment of pleasures………… But why did we not have sinlessness in our structure one may ask, so that the will to sin would not exist in us? Because indeed it is not when your household slaves are in bonds that you consider them well disposed, but when you see them willingly fulfill your wishes. Accordingly, God does not love what is constrained but what is accomplished out of virtue. And virtue comes into being out of free choice and not out of constraint………

      Take this quote from another early Christian.

      “Now he who is bad having become sinful by nature because of evil becomes depraved. He has what he has chosen. And being sinful he sins also in his actions. Likewise the good man does right.
      “Sin then is voluntary on my part”.
      Clement of Alexandria (195 A.D.) Taken from the book “A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs”.

      I’ll respond to some more of your comments in my next post

  6. Wow Christopher, Augustine and Calvin were heretics. Thanks.

    How about if we simply look at the Word of God:

    ” And you were DEAD in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience (the devil)—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were DEAD in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—”

    Seems simple to me. I was dead in my sins, and I was a child of wrath, and the devil was my father. “But God…” What mercy!

    I don’t really understand where you’re coming from Christopher. But if you think Calvin was a heretic, then you must think a whole lot of yourself, and that’s scary my friend.

    • Donsands. I’m having a hard time posting on the right line…. see my comments above.

    • Actually to avoid confusion I’ll repost it here. Kevin … if your reading this would it be possible for you to erase the other same posts. Thanks.

      Hi Donsands. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to untwist your Calvinism influenced understanding of Christianity but I’ll try. The Bible says that Jesus came to set the captives free, and if your a student of Calvinism then your surely a captive.

      Did you know that the Eastern Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox (Church in Egypt), Syrian Orthodox (Church in Asia), Ethiopian Orthodox, and Celtic churches all rejected the Augustinian understanding of “original sin” as a heresy, and still do. That is over 300 million Christians living today. The only group that bought into this doctrine was the Roman Catholic church and some of the Protestant Christianity that came out of it. Even Roman Catholicism rejects much of Calvins thought. That is the vast majority of Christendom.

      First a good book to read can be found here.

      http://www.amazon.com/Reconsidering-Tulip-Alexander-Renault/dp/0557949890/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345503611&sr=1-1

      The following is taken from the book “Reconsidering Tulip” by Alexander J. Renault.

      The crux of the matter is this: if Christ did not have a human nature, then He cannot save us. If Christ was fully human, but not fully God, then He cannot bring us up to God. If He is fully God but not fully human, then He cannot come completely down to us and bridge the gap between us and God. The first several ecumenical councils of the Church all dealt wit this issue.
      It is generally agreed among the Reformed that Christ was fully God and fully human. Unfortunately, the implications of this are not always understood by the Reformed. For if Christ is fully human, then He must have a human soul, a human will, a human mind – in short a human nature. He was without sin. This tells us that sin is not an integral part of human nature, and that one is still human apart from sin. Otherwise, wither 1) Christ was just as sinful as we are, or else 2) Christ wasn’t fully human and can’t really save us. Heb 2: 11, 17….. This Hebrews passage is especially significant regarding Christ’s human nature. It says that “in all things” He had to be made human. And yet He was without sin. This would suggest that “sin nature” is in fact foreign to true human nature. (page 12)

      In this book he also says the following.

      Mark 6: 5 – 6 – Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief.
      It’s quite curious to note that Christ “marveled” because of their unbelief. It actually surprised and amazed him. This is different than what one would expect if the doctrine of Total Depravity were true. If it were true that fallen man is completely unable to believe without God giving him a unique grace to believe, then Christ would not have been at all surprised or amazed at their unbelief. In fact, He would have expected (even foreordained) them not to believe until He Himself had decided that they should believe. But Christ’s amazement seems to indicate that they should have and could have acted differently. One might argue that Christ was expressing this emotion from His human side, not His divine side, but even as a human, He was perfect and would have perfectly known all about the doctrine of Total Depravity, and thus would have no reason to be surprised. (page 10)

      -Therefore Humans like Jesus come into the world in the Image and Likeness of a good God, but unlike Jesus we all have sinned . Jesus however was tempted just as us but did not sin. How could he have been tempted “just as us” unless he was just like us, with the same nature as us? If Jesus’ nature was different than ours, he wouldn’t have been able to be tempted just as us, simply because his humanity during the temptation would be different. Which brings us back to the above statements…… How could he have the same nature as us if our nature is evil?

      Simply put. Jesus was fully human and fully God. If humanity was born with sin nature then Jesus would have had to be born with said sin nature in order to be fully human. If Jesus was born with a sin nature and was also fully God, then God would have to have a sin nature, being a disposition towards sin.

      So in this understanding if one was to say that humanity is born with a sin nature then I wonder if they are possibly coming near to blaspheming God.

      As well, if Jesus was tempted just as, us that obviously means that we are tempted. The very nature of temptation means that the person has to choose to reject the temptation. How could a person make that choice unless they had at least some good in them and a free will? If there was no good in us wouldn’t we fail the temptation every time?

      Another thing to consider is that if Christ was fully human then it would seem obvious that the human being is originally designed to be fully Christlike. Let me be clear. I fully realize that there are negative and corrupting influences upon the child before birth from within the womb. I’m talking here about the human being’s design, and purpose.



      My position is actually closer to what Christians believed before Augustine changed Christianity. Look here to what a well respected founding father said about human nature.

      In the book entitled “On the Human condition – page 73″ the Christian father, St. Basil the Great, says:

      “Read the account of the material worlds creation and you will find there, “all things are good, and very good (Gen 1: 21.) Accordingly evil was not created together with good. But neither was the intelligible creation having come to be from the fashioner, mixed with wickedness when brought into being. For if bodily things did not have evil co-created in themselves, how could the intelligble things, bearing such purity and holiness, have a common subsistence with evil?………
      ……And likewise God created the Soul but not sin. Rather, the soul is made evil through a perversion of what is according to nature. But what is the good set before the soul? It was attentiveness to God and union with him through love. Once the soul has fallen away from this, it is made evil by various and manifold weaknesses. But for what reason is it entirely capable of receiving evil? Because of the impulse of free choice, especially befitting a rational creature. For having been freed from all necessity, and receiving self determined life from the creator, because it came into being according to the image of God, it understands the Good and knows his joy and possesses authority and power, abiding in the contemplation of the beautiful and the enjoyment of spiritual things, guarding carefully in itself the life according to nature. Yet it also has the authority to turn away from the beautiful at any time. And this happened to it when it received a satiety of blessed delights and was as it were weighed down by a kind of sleepiness and sank down from things above, being mixed with the flesh through the disgraceful enjoyment of pleasures………… But why did we not have sinlessness in our structure one may ask, so that the will to sin would not exist in us? Because indeed it is not when your household slaves are in bonds that you consider them well disposed, but when you see them willingly fulfill your wishes. Accordingly, God does not love what is constrained but what is accomplished out of virtue. And virtue comes into being out of free choice and not out of constraint………

      Take this quote from another early Christian.

      “Now he who is bad having become sinful by nature because of evil becomes depraved. He has what he has chosen. And being sinful he sins also in his actions. Likewise the good man does right.
      “Sin then is voluntary on my part”.
      Clement of Alexandria (195 A.D.) Taken from the book “A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs”.

      I’ll respond to some more of your comments in my next post

    • Donsands and Lee – I am including both of you together in my response about Augustine, Calvin and “original sin” in order to save time.



      Lee had said:

      How can you say original sin was the result of Augustine twisting “some greek words”? Long before Augustine there was Iranaeus who wrote in support of the fall of mankind and original sin (Against Heresies, Book 5 –http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.vii.xx.html ). Long before Iranaeus was the New Testament text where the Apostolic teaching makes this reality plainly clear. Long before the New Testament text we have the Old Testament which only further cements this doctrine as truth.

      The doctrine of Original Sin was based on a poor translation of the Greek into the Latin Vulgate by Augustine’s colleague, Jerome. That passage is Romans 5:12, which says “Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned”. The Latin Vulgate renders this passage differently as “because of Adam in whom all have sinned” – the Latin, “in quo omnes peccaverunt”, is a poor translation of the Greek, ‘eph’ O pantes emarton’ which actually says because all men have sinned.

      Notice that this says that DEATH came into the world through sin. That is how the early Christians understood the fall. Mankind inherited death because of sin. Augustine changed Western Christianity into his understanding of “original sin” to be that because of the fall mankind became inheritently evil, with a depraved nature. this is not how the early Christians understood the fall. They believed that sin entered into the world because of the fall and was an influence on us…. they didn’t believe that it was an inherent aspect of humanity.

      The Jewish tradition has also rejected this understanding, and they have lived with the story of the fall of Adam and Eve much longer than the Christian churches.

      Rabbi Dr. J.H. Hertz, in his commentary on the Pentateuch and Haftorahs, on the topic of the “fall of man” writes: [i]“Strange and somber doctrines have been built on this chapter of the Garden of Eden, such as the Christian doctrine of Original Sin. . . . Judaism rejects these doctrines. Man was mortal from the first, and death did not enter the world through the transgression of Eve. . . . There is no loss in the God-likeness of man, nor of man’s ability to do right in the eyes of God; and no such loss has been transmitted to his latest descendants”.[/i]




      Now to look at some of Lee’s quotes from early Christians in this light.

      Iranaeus: ” And thus, as the human race fell into bondage to death by means of a virgin, so is it rescued by a virgin; virginal disobedience having been balanced in the opposite scale by virginal obedience.”

      Notice he says that the human race fell into the bondage of DEATH…. nothing more.


      The Apostle Paul: ” And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” (Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV)

      Notice here Paul says that we were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you walked…. in other words sin causes death. Read Romans 1 where Paul talks about “wrath” and teaches that it is God allowing us to go deeper into our depravity. In other words here Paul is teaching that Gods wrath allows mankind to go into our depravity (thus we are children of “wrath”) through which our natures are then corrupted.


      The following quotes are from the Ant-Nicene Fathers of the Christian faith. They are taken from the book “A dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs”

      In and around 180 A.D. Irenaeus wrote:

      “Therefore the prophets used to exhort men to what was good, to act justly and to work righteousness…. because it is in our power to do so”.

      “This expression…. sets forth the ancient law of human liberty. For God made man free from the beginning, possessing his own power, even as he does his own soul, to obey the commandments of God voluntarily, and not by compulsion of God. For there is no coercion with God”.

      “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds”… And “Why call me Lord, Lord, and do not do the things that I say?”…….all such passages demonstrate the independent will of man”.

      In 210 Tertullian wrote.

      “The corruption of our nature is another nature having a god and father of it’s own – namely the author of corruption. Still, there is a portion of good in the soul of that original divine, and genuine good, which is it’s proper nature For that which is derived from God is obscured rather than extinguished. It can indeed be obscured because it is not God. However it cannot be extinguished because it comes from God….. Thus some men are very bad, and some are very good. And even in the best person, there is something bad… Just as no soul is without sin, so neither is any soul without seeds of good”.

      “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds”… And “Why call me Lord, Lord, and do not do the things that I say?”…….all such passages demonstrate the independent will of man.

      In 195 AD Clement of Alexandria wrote

      “The Lord clearly shows sins and transgressions to be in our own power, by prescribing modes of cure corresponding to the maladies”.


      In 303 lacantius said.

      Nobody can be born vicious. Instead if we make a bad use of the affections, they become vices. If we use them well, they become virtues. The Son clothed himself with flesh so that the desires of the flesh being subdued, he might teach us that to sin was not the result of necessity, but of man’s purpose and will.


      In 210 Tertullian wrote.

      “Is not the doctrine of the Gnostics (before becoming a Christian Augustine was a pagan Gnostic Manichaean, many believe that his doctrine of original sin was directly influenced by this) from the beginning and everywhere an invective against the flesh? According to them it is unclean against its first formation of the dregs of the ground. According to them (the Gnostics), it is worthless, weak, covered with guilt, laden with misery, full of trouble”.

      In and around 225 Origen wrote:

      “Certain men who hold different opinions (i.e. heretics) misuse these passages. They essentially destroy free will by introducing ruined natures incapable of salvation (choosing salvation).

      “This is also clearly defined in the teaching of the church (the church at large not just Origen), that every rational soul is possessed of free will and volition and that it has a struggle to maintain against the devil.”

      “There is no rational creature that is not capable of both good and evil”



      After the influence of Augustine’s understanding of the original sin the general view amongst much Christianity is that during the fall God was more or less full of wrath against Adam and Eve for their infraction, and gave them the boots out of Eden. Yet here are a few quotes relating to how at least some of the fathers, did view God’s judgement in the fall.


      [i]Irenaeus (130 to about 200 A.D. from his book Against the Heretics

      Wherefore also He drove Adam out of Paradise, and removed him far from the tree of life, not because He envied him the tree of life, as some dare to assert, but because He pitied him and desired that he should not continue always a sinner, and that the sin which surrounded him should not be immortal, and the evil interminable and irremediable (Irenaeus – Against the Heretics Book 3, chapter. 23, 6

      Gregory of Nazianzen (330 – 390 A.D) wrote.

      Adam receives death as a gain, and (thereby) the cutting off of sin; that evil should not be immortal: and so the vengeance turns out a kindness, for thus I of opinion it is that God punishes.: – (Nazianzen. Orat. xlii)

      [i]In 180 AD Theophilus wrote:

      Because of his disobedience, man extracted as from a fountain, labour, pain and grief. At last, he fell prey to death. God showed great kindness to man in this, for He did not allow him to remain in sin forever. Instead, by a kind of banishment, as it were, He cast man out of Paradise. God did this so that man could expiate his sin through punishment, within and appointed time. Having been disciplined, man could afterwards be restored …. (Theophilus to Autoclycus, Book 2, chap. 26)
      [/i]

      Here we see an understanding of the fall and God’s judgment, written from some major and highly respected Bishops and theologians, that is very different from what Augustine taught and much of the church believes (in the West at least).

      Here is a excerpt from the above mentioned book “A dictionary of early Christian beliefs”.

      “In the following lengthy discussion of free will, Origen counters the arguments being made by certain Gnostics, who said that humans have a ruined nature because of being created by the inferior DemiUrge. These Gnostics taught that, as a result of these ruined natures, salvation was purely a matter of grace and election by the father of Jesus.”


      This early pagan Gnostic belief is the exact same as the Augustinian/Calvin view of original sin and human nature.

      These are just a small snippet of the many early Christian quotes that I have read, yet
      from the above quotes I believe it can be seen that many of the things that the early Christians said were in direct opposition to the Augustinian view of original sin, and Calvinism which followed. There are even quotes from the early Christians that state some of the differing beliefs of their time, that are remarkably close to Augustine’s and Calvin’s views, as heresy.

      This is very important. Either the early Christians were heretics or Augustine and Calvin were. Some of their views are directly opposed to each other…. there is no way around it.

      So that would mean that if Augustine and Calvin were not heretics then many of the founders of the faith were. Some of who are responsible for the great creeds.

      But here’s the important thing. The early Christians had a much higher view of human nature and potential as well as a much much higher view of God’s gracious, merciful love for his creation, and his dealings with mankind. This was naturally reflected by a much greater love for each other and for those outside of the Christian community, as our understanding of God shapes how we view ourselves and our world, and therefore how we interact with others.

      Here is a link to the book that I have taken most of the quotes from.

      http://www.amazon.com/Dictionary-Early-Christian-Beliefs/dp/1565633571/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280877091&sr=8-4


      And here is a short online review of the book.

      There may be some who will not like what the Father’s teach, but that is to be expected. A vast majority of Evangelical churches in America do not conform either in principle or in practice to what these godly men taught. I think that staunch Calvinist’s will be the most disturbed by their writings because the Early Church Fathers were unequivocally more supportive of the view that mankind can and must respond to God. Furthermore, they did not teach unconditional election, perseverance of the saints, limited atonement, or irresistable grace. In fact, it was the Gnostics who held views similar to those expressed above. The response by most will be that these men just fell into error and didn’t understand the gospel, but then the question must be asked, why do individuals who lived 1,500 years after the Apostles understand it better than the Fathers did?

    • I’m sorry but Calvinism is wrong in just about every way…. and millions of Christians know it.


      Seek after God, not your Calvinistic doctrines….. learn about his LOVE.

  7. “In Revelation it says that people are taken out of hades and then hades is destroyed”-Christopher

    “…and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”-John, Revelation 20:10

    “The infamous trio (Satan, the beast, and the false prophet) will be tormented day and night forever and ever. First, notice that the expression day and night also occurs in the throne room scene hwere the four living creatures sing praises to God day and night without ceasing (4:8). By contrast those who are cast into the lake of fire are tormented day and night forever and ever ( see also 14:11). Next, all they whose names are not recorded in the Book of Life suffer a similar fate and will be eternally with satan and the two beasts (v. 15). Third, Scripture nowhere teaches that their torment will eventually come to an end. On the contrary, Jesus said, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil” (matt.. 25:41).

    This is the second death.

    BTW, Christina good reference with: “In Luke 16, Jesus teaches the parable about Lazarus and the rich man who went to hell. ”
    Thanks.

    This is very, very scary truth that we need to know. We may not be able to understand it completely, but we can surely realize just how horrible and chilling this Judgment of our Holy Lord is.
    And so, when we see the truth of what we deserve, then the Gospel becomes beyond all expression of possible joy and love! I can’t even say what I feel to be honest.

    May our Lord bless and keep you Christina. Amen.

    • Donsands, thank you for your kind words.

      Kevin, the trailer shows musicians who appear evil. But the truth is that evil can emanate from people who appear as saints, yet God, who is rich in mercy, sent His own perfect Son to suffer and die for His enemies, sinners like me. The glorious nature of God is His rich mercy and grace for people who’ve sinned so much so that we deserve the cross not Jesus. Man wouldn’t create such a God who would give eternal life to whom were once His enemies, but Jesus suffered for a reason and if we could earn eternal life by our works, then Jesus’ sufferings were unnecessary.

      And Jesus didn’t preach “hell” in His native language, my bad. I’m not perfect. But when Jonathan Edwards preached “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, God used the speech to lead many townspeople in Enfield to Christ. (see Great Awakening)

      • Christina. Christians who believe in ultimate reconciliation don’t reject anything that you are saying about what Jesus did on the cross.

        Even if God did use Jonathon Edwards…. that doesn’t mean that all of his understanding of God and theology was correct.

  8. I attended Bethlehem when Justin Taylor was one of Piper’s workmen. Are they still this insane? Wake up and look around – how can anyone suggest that loving all persons including your enemies is a human centered version of love. Awake, sleeper, and see that no human being is capable of such love!

    • “Awake, sleeper, and see that no human being is capable of such love!”

      John Piper and Justin would agree. Or are you being factious?

      Only Christ loves with a full and error-free love. His love is in us, those who love Him, because He first loved us.

      here’s a song that speaks to that frustration of yours: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEAdhs9tKv4

      “I’ve had enough of bein’ trodden on
      My passive days are gonna be long gone
      If you slap one cheek, well, I ain’t gonna turn the other

      Life is for the living
      Takers never giving”

      Jesus really is alive, and He still says: “Come unto Me, all you who have heavy hearts, and are weary of your burdens. My burden is light, and my yoke is easy, and you shall find rest for your soul, and peace for your heart in Me, and with Me.”

  9. Kevin, This is awesome, and very generous in your conversation with Justin. We need to put Jesus back at the center of our interpretation of the Bible. The Bible points to Jesus and itself claims that Jesus is the Word of God, through which Scripture should be interpreted. The Road to Emmaus is crucial here. Jesus has to explain Scripture to his own followers. Why would he need to explain? Because it needs explanation! It doesn’t explain itself. We need the risen Christ, who forgives and offers peace to those who betrayed and abandoned him. The explanation of God that Jesus reveals in his life, death, and resurrection is that’s what God is like!

  10. Christopher,
    Jesus was fully God (Colossians 2:9) and fully human (Hebrews 2:17) but not born of Adam’s seed, but by the Holy Spirit born by a virgin, hence the promise of God in Genesis 3:15. The doctrine of original sin is passed down through Adam. Romans 5 (Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned-)
    Christopher, you obviously know much more about Christianity than I do. I’m sure God’s sovereign electing grace is upon you too for you bear much fruit for Christ. Any discussion about God and Christ can only serve to the glory of God. May grace and peace be with you all.

    • Hi Christina. Yes I’ve heard this teaching before, it used to be taught at the evangelical church I went to for over a decade.


      The thing is. If inherited original sin is an integral aspect of humanity and Jesus bypassed this, then Jesus simply couldn’t have been fully human…. not having something that is integral to humanity.



      There is nothing in the scriptures that say we inherit sin to the contrary there are passages that say we do not. For instance:

      In Genesis 8:21 after the flood God says “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth”. Notice it says man is evil not from birth, but from his youth. Man is not born with sin in him, but becomes sinful from living in a sinful world.

      Ezekiel 18:4: “The life of every person belongs to me, the life of the parent as well as that of the child. The person who sins is the one who will die”.


      And Deuteronomy 24:16 says “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin”.

      These passages seems to speak directly against inherited or original sin.



      And here’s the kicker.

      Ezekiel 18:20 speaks more directly to the point: “The soul that 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”.

      If we don’t suffer for the iniquity of the father then how can we suffer inherited sin from father Adam.

    • Also Christina. Note what you had written from Romans.

      Romans 5 (Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned-)

      Look at it carefully. Sin entered into the world…causing DEATH. Death spread to humanity because all sinned.

      There is no mention here of an inherited sin nature or depravity from the fall. Sin has entered into the world causing death… and people are being influenced towards sinning.

  11. Adam is the head of the human race. Made in the image of God, Adam passed on to his offspring both physical qualities and moral attributes. But Adam did not receive the gift of immortality, because God wanted to test him in a probationary period (gen. 2:17). Adam failed and through him sin entered the world and with sin came death. Angels drove Adam from the garden of Eden to prevent him from eating the fruit of the tree of life and living forever Gen. 3:22-24). However, that which was lacking in Adam is now perfected in Christ. By conquering death, the second Adam achieved immortality. …. Both Adam and Christ are representative heads: Adam is the head of the human race, and Christ is the head of His redeemed people. Believers receive their physical body through Adam and their spiritual bodies through their resurrected Lord and Savior…..
    All of us are of this Earth and belong to it. Adam is the pattern and his offspring are copies. We do not have to ask about the color of the father of the human race, for that question is irrelevant. …we are of the Earth. …..Throughout the histroy of the human race, all Adam’s descendants have borne and continue to bear his image.

    Paul says: “this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither shall Corruption inherit incorruption.”

    Paul is saying that the mortal body in its existing state cannot enter God’s presence. ….That which is sinful and corrupt cannot enter the presence of God and obtain that which is incorrupt. When that which is corrupt has been changed to a state of incorruption, we can speak of laying claim to the inheritance God offers to us. ….flesh and blood and corrupt are identical in meaning. -Simon J. Kistemaker 1 Cor. 15

    There’s a lot here, but it is clear that Adam was a sinner, and his descendants are all sinners as well. Except Jesus the one human who was wholly good and pure.

    • Donsands.


      Sure humans are all sinners…. the Bible says so. That doesn’t mean that we are born with inherent sin from Adam, and thus continually under God’s angry wrath as the doctrine of Original sin teaches. This is pagan gnostic thought.

      None of what you have said argues for the doctrine of original sin and what beliefs come out of it.


      Sure we need Christ’s forgiveness to attain to the blessed afterlife.

      This idea that sinner can’t be in the presence of a Holy God is nonsense. Do you not think that Jesus was fully God? Do you not think that Jesus was Holy?
      Jesus was God as man and sinners were constantly in his presence.

      God is in all things and all things are in God. In the Biblical Psalms David said that there was nowhere he could go to escape God’s presence. God is in the very air we breathe. Holy Spirit and God are written into the very fabric of creation.

      • “None of what you have said argues for the doctrine of original sin and what beliefs come out of it.”

        Sure it does.

        We are dead in our sins. The devil is our father, and we are under God’s holy wrath. Unless God has mercy on us: “So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.”-Paul

        May our Lord open your eyes to His simple truth. Amen.

        • Donsands.

          You have been brainwashed with a twisted understanding of what “death” means in the Bible, of what “wrath” means and a warped understanding of God’s sovereignity. I’d advise you to pray to God and ask Holy Spirit to guide you into truth.

          Matthew 11:28….but you too can understand the father if you will let me reveal him to you.

  12. Great stuff Kevin Miller!

  13. So… if everyone is already a child of God by merit of being created (reference please), why does scripture tell us (see John 1, 1 John 3, Romans 8, that we need to be adopted in Christ Jesus in order to be called children of God? Justin is right to dismiss the child-father analogy, as it’s a false comparison.

  14. God did not kill the firstborn in Egypt. The devil held the power of death (Hebrews 2:14). Killing is the devil’s nature (John 10:10).

    There is serious confusion about the true nature of God in the Old Testament. Consider “The Forgotten Key To Understanding The Old Testament,” by Richard K. Murray, at
    http://www.thegoodnessofgod.com/forgottenkeytooldtestament.html

  15. Kevin, I think you hit the nail on the head with “so God is morally obligated to do the same for everyone he creates.” This is a basic tenet that all of us know innately… that the creator is responsible for the creation. You are responsible for what you own/create. You make a fire, you are responsible if it burns down your neighbor’s house. You own a car, you are responsible if it is involved in an accident. This logic, of course, trickles down from the top (how’s that for “top-down”?) The same logic/conscience tells us to have compassion on our children, at least to the extent it isn’t polluted by negative influences.

    This starts with “In the beginning, God created…” – that’s it. God is ultimately responsible for all He created. The rest is just details.

    It really is that simple.

  16. “You have been brainwashed with a twisted understanding of what “death” means in the Bible,”

    No I have not. I am certain of Christ in me the hope of glory, and I have no fear in death, nor the second death.

    You need to read Revelation 20-21, where John the Apostle shows us clearly what death is, especially the second death.

    I shall stand on the Holy Word of truth, which is God’s Word and heart for me, and He saved me, and broght me to Himself through the Daeth of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ the holy Lamb of God, who died, and rose from the dead.
    And His death makes it so spiritually dead souls and spirits can be quickened and live for all eternity with Jesus, my Savior and King.

    I pray you would see the simplicty of these truths. Amen.

    • Donsands. I’M A CHRISTIAN. I’ve accepted Christ into my heart, and had a believers baptism. What would make you think to write this. Do you believe that people who don’t buy into Calvisnism’s twisted understanding of the Bible are not Christians.

      Death in the Bible does not refer to the understanding of “spiritual death” that Calvinism holds. That is a twisted view of what Paul was saying. In Romans Paul talks about the “law of sin and death”…. in other words sin causes “death” which leads to a person craving “life”…. the person goes to bad things in order to try to find this “life” but they are often false, and lead to more death. This walk into darkness causes our natures to become more and more corrupt, and thus we seek after the darkness and not the light. Thus we have a vicious cycle…… When the person accepts Christ into their heart and walk with Christ Holy Spirit then proceeds to impart LIFE to the person through various means, which helps with the problem of the “law of sin and death” and helps the person to walk right with God according to the narrow path or “the Way”. The early Christians called themselves “the Way” because this is how they understood the faith.

      Thus justified means that” we are right with God according to THE WAY”…. but in Romans Paul also warns that one might be right with God according to “the way”, but God’s wrath will still allow Christians to go their own ways into depravity (fall from the narrow path of “the Way” into the wide path of self destruction).

      This understanding of “wrath” is mentioned in Romans 1 ….. look it up for yourself. Christian going their own ways into depravity (not following “the Way”) lead to death (linked to the above mentioned law of sin and death) and self destruction. But as I have mentioned Christ offers life that helps Christians to get back on “the Way”.

      If Christians are saved from “wrath” and “judgment” according to the Calvinistic understanding…. then explain to me why in Romans Paul being a Christian still considered himself to be under this wrath and judgment (Romans 3: 5-9)
      This along with Paul’s understanding mentioned in Romans 1 utterly kills Calvinisms understanding of wrath.


      Calvinism also has a problem aligning Paul’s understanding of justification with the understanding put forth in James.
      Yet there is no problem when this is read through the right lense. Paul is saying that one is right with God according to “the Way” through faith but God’s “wrath” will allow people to fall off of “the Way” with the above mentioned consequences.


      Likewise James is saying that yes a person is justified by faith (right with God according to “the Way”), but of what benefit is it if a person does not live according to “the Way”…. because if a person doesn’t live according to “the Way” they can still go down the wide path that will cause damage to their souls. But Christ is their to help our souls and save them from this destruction. Therefore we are saved from “wrath” (God allowing us to go off of “the Way” into self destruction) through Christ.

      Thus in the early Christian understanding of “the Way” (they were called “the Way” in Acts before the Christ movement became known as “Christians”, a person became a Christian and thus was justified (right with God according to “the Way”) by faith…. and then with God’s help they were to live according to “the Way” and escape the problem of “death” which is caused by sin…. which leads down a bad vicious cycle.

      People who are right with God attain to age-abidding life…. people who are not right with God are “pruned” for the ages of the ages (Yes Augustine changed the churches understanding of aionos to mean “eternal”, when the early Greek speaking Christians understood it to mean “ages” (or a limted period of time). When it is all said and done those who aren’t Christians walk into the City of God through the gates that are always open… have their names written into the book of life. And all humanity lives in blessed eternity with Christ.

      Thus in this view…. what Jesus said, what James said, what Paul said, and the last few chapters in Revelation all line up together in perfect consistency.

      As a matter of fact the New Testament fits together in perfect unity like pieces of a puzzle.


      Calvinism (influenced by Augustine) is looking at the scriptures through a twisted lense in various ways and thus when these things don’t line up according to it’s view it has to try and dream up a bunch of man made “theology” in order to try to make the inconsistencies fit.

      It is constantly trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, instead of seeing that it is coming from core understandings that are wrong. Calvinism will never make sense because it is based on heretical foundations.


      Calvinism is based on the doctrines of demons, and the philosophies of men. It if following myths. It is based on lies instead of the foundations of Christ which the Bible tells us to base our lives on.

      I write this not just for your sake (because I realize that your probably too brainwashed to consider what I’m saying) but also for the sake of others out there reading this who are searching for truth, and maybe for a light that can help them find their way out of the darkness of Calvinism.

      I have given you seeds. It is all that I can do. It’s up to your heart what you do with these seeds. I pray that the ground of your heart will be good ground that will at least reflect on what I’ve said about the early Christian understanding of the faith, before it became corrupted.

    • Donsands.


      As well see my response to Lee over at the “Does Calvinsim make God into a moral monster” thread. It will hopefully help to give you an understanding of scripture that doesn’t make God into a monster.


      peace

  17. You’re in grave error my friend.

    I hope you do love Christ. But it seems with such disdain of good Christians like Calvin and Augustine, you don’t love the brethren as Our Lord calls us to.

    I shall forward your teachings to my pastors, and let them see, and compare your thoughts with the Holy Word of God.

    • My beliefs are consistent with the early church.

      Augustine and Calvin are not Jesus. It is fully within my rights to disagree with them. You are putting them on too much of a pedestal. This is cultish.


      Eastern Othodox, Celtic, Coptic, Syrian, and Ethiopian Christians, as well as many Anabaptists, and Anglicans, amongst other Christians reject Augustine’s doctrine of “original sin”.

      That’s over 300 million Christians that are living right now…. not to mention throughout the last 2,000 years. If I’m in grave error then I am standing with MILLIONS of Christians.

      Many of Calvins doctrines and thought were novel at the time. Christianity did not believe some of his teaching for around 1500 years before he came on the scene. The understandings of Calvinism would have been completely foreign to the founding fathers.



      What I have given you is completely consitent with the Bible and with early Ante-Nicene Christian thought. I have had discussions with various Bishops, and Priests about the matter and have been studying this for years.

    • Donsands. If you are going to talk to your pastors tell them to look up these literal translations of matthew 25:46…. coming from Bibles that are largely considered to be some of the best tranlations out there.

      Concordant Literal New Testament
      “…. and these shall be coming away into chastening enonian (aionos), yet the just into life eonian (aionos)”

      Rothermans Emphasized Bible
      “And these shall go into age-abidding (aionos) correction (kolasis), but the righteous into age-abidding (aionos) life.

      the Source Bible
      These people will go off into rehabilitation (kolasis) for a set period of time, but the people who are right with God will go into eternal life.

      And heres the kicker.

      the Jonathan Mitchell New Testament.
      “And so , these folks will be going off into an eonian (aionos) pruning (kolasis)(a lopping-off which lasts for an undetermined length of time; an age-lasting correction and rehabilitation; a pruning which bring betterment and which has its source and character in the Age; a cutting off during the ages) and yet the fair and just folks who are in right relationship with people and are IN ACCORD WITH THE WAY pointed out go off into eionian( aionos) life (life which has its source and character in the Age; life pertaining to the Age; or the life of and for the ages”

      The better more literal translations of the Bible don’t have the concept of eternal wrath in them. It was not in the early Greek languages which is why many if not most of the early Greek Christians believed in Apostastacasis …. or the ultimate reconciliation of all.


      They clearly understood aionos to mean an age…. it is in their writings. The proofs in the pudding.

      They also clearly understood kolasis as meaning pruning or correction for ones benefit…. again it is in their writings.


      The following is taken from the notes in the Source Bible.
      The word kolasis “correction” rehabilitation was originally a gardening term, used for pruning trees. The Greek writers used kolasis , to refer to rehabilitation, to the correction of wrongdoes so that they would not do wrong again. Gernerally timoria refers to retributive punishment and kolasis, to remedia discipline.
      Clement of Alexandria (Stromateis 4:25;7.16) defines Kolasis as discipline. Aulus Gellius (the Attic nights 7.14) states that , kolasis, is given so that a person may be corrected, while timoria is given so that dignity and authority may be vindicated. Aristotle (rhetoric 1.10) states that , kolasis, is for the sake of the one who experiences it, while , timoria, is for the sake of the one who inflicts it. Plato uses, kolasis, in the sense that one punishes a wrongdoer so that the wrongdoer will not commit wrong again.

      Jesus used the word Kolasis …. not timoria.

      Also if Jesus ment that the punishment was eternal he would have used the word aiodos…. and not aionos…. which means an age.


      The early Greek speaking Christians clearly understood aionos to mean “ages”. Augustine used philosophy to understand this word and thus changed its meaning.
      This is not a hate for Augustine to tell the simple truth.

    • These Bibles are just a few examples. There are many Bibles that do not teach the pagan doctrine of eternal tormenting wrath.


      Have a look at this video about these bibles..

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIo6nqJVPSE




      May the truth set you free.

    • According to neo-Calvinism my love for Christ would be entirely of his choosing.
      😉
      I do love Christ, and I have followed on a journey into understanding “the ancient paths” of Christianity…. before it became corrupted.

    • As well. Some links to a few books that might help to show that my understanding of “the Way” is not inconsistent with early Christianity.
      Notice how “Way” is used in the text.


      I’ve never heard of any mention of “the Way” in Calvinsim…. although that doesn’t mean that it is never in Calvinistic thinking I suppose.

      http://www.amazon.com/Orthodox-Way-Kallistos-Ware/dp/0913836583/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345591071&sr=1-1

      http://www.amazon.com/Way-Pilgrim-Journey—Annotated-Explained-Illuminations/dp/1893361314/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345591018&sr=1-1

      http://www.amazon.com/Rebirth-Eastern-Christian-Spiritual-Direction/dp/1885652348/ref=la_B001K7Z4W6_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345591113&sr=1-1

      http://www.amazon.com/The-Way-Christ-Spiritual-Orthodoxy/dp/1885652593/ref=la_B001K837VU_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1345591134&sr=1-2

      http://www.amazon.com/The-Ways-Of-Way-Restoring/dp/1599797631/ref=la_B001JX2H0S_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345591154&sr=1-1

      http://www.amazon.com/Celtic-Way-Evangelism-Tenth-Anniversary/dp/1426711379/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345591192&sr=1-1

      http://www.amazon.com/Celtic-Way-Titles-Ian-Bradley/dp/0232524955/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345591200&sr=1-10

      http://www.amazon.com/Celtic-Way-Prayer-Religious-Imagination/dp/0385493746/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345591214&sr=1-2

      http://www.amazon.com/Seeking-God-Way-St-Benedict/dp/0814613888/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345591236&sr=1-1&keywords=the+way+of+st.+benedict

    • As well Donsands.

      Could you please ask your pastors to explain to you how it is that the Muratorian fragments, being the earliest known Christian canon includes the “Apocalypse of Peter”… a writing that clearly declares that all mankind will eventually get saved in God’s mercy and dwell eternally with them?


      here’s a link

      http://www.economicexpert.com/a/Muratorian:fragment.htm

      Now I’m not arguing that the Apocalypse of Peter is canon…. but I am arguing that the early Christians included in their canon, which shows that they had no problems with the doctrine of apostastacasis and did not find the understanding of the ultimate reconciliation of all set forth in the Apocalypse of Peter to be inconsistent with the rest of scripture.

    • Also Donsands.

      Could you please ask your pastor to do a words study of the Greek word BAZANIZO.

      Could you please ask him to compare this word in the early Greek Christian understanding to Augustine’s use of it in “the City of God”

      For instance.

      City of God – book 19 – chapter 28

      But, on the other hand, they who do not belong to this city of God shall inherit eternal misery, which is also called the second death, because the soul shall then be separated from God its life, and therefore cannot be said to live, and the body shall be subjected to eternal pains……..But in the world to come the pain continues that it may TORMENT

      Book 13 – chapter 15

      we are subject to the death of the body, not by the law of nature, by which God ordained no death for man, but by His righteous infliction on account of sin; for God, taking VENGEANCE on sin, said to the man, in whom we all then were, “Dust you are, and unto dust shall you return.”


      Now. Compare Augustine’s use of the words “vengeance” and “torments” with the earlier Greek and Biblical understanding, related to these words.


      Clement of Alexandria (taken from “Her Gates Will Never be Shut” – page 121)

      Clement’s importance, to my mind, is that he clarifies the NT language for “punishment”. Clement insists that God’s “correction” (paideia – Heb 12:9) and “chastisement” (kolasis – Matt 25:46) is as a loving father, only an always meant for the healing and salvation of the whole world. He denies that God ever inflicts “punishment” (timoria – Heb 10:29 – vengeance) in the vengeful sense, a word Jesus never used.


      As well, Strongs online concordance says this about the greek word “basanizo”, which is often translated into the word “tormented”.

      Cognate: 931 básanos – originally, a black, silicon-based stone used as “a touchstone” to test the purity of precious metals (like silver and gold). See 928 (basaníz?).

      [In the papyri, basanos also means, “touchstone,” “test” (so P Oxy I. 58.25, ad 288).

      931 (basanois) was “originally (from oriental origin) a touchstone; a ‘Lydian stone’ used for testing gold because pure gold rubbed on it left a peculiar mark. Then it was used for examination by torture.

      Thus the Bible properly translated from it’s original Koine Greek language says the following (taken from the Jonathan Mitchell New Testament)

      Matthew 25: 46

      “And so, these folks will be going off into an eonian (AIONOS) pruning (KOLASIS) (a lopping-off which last for an undetermined length of time; and age-lasting correction and rehabilitation; a pruning which brings betterment and which has its source and character in the Age; a cutting off during the ages), yet the fair and just folks who are in right relationship with people and are in accord with the Way pointed out [go off] into eonian life (life which has its source and character in the Age; life pertaining to the Age; or the life of and for the ages).


      Revelation 20: 10

      And so the devil, the one continuously deceiving them is cast into the lake of the Fire and Diety…… and they will be examined and test by the touchstone (BASANIZO) day and night, on into the ages (aionos) of the ages (aionos)




      This video gives a good explanation

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAa2B9sPL_A&list=UUdGX7WFWUBZ_jN0LCr08z1A&index=5&feature=plcp

      Augustine misunderstood these three very important Greek words as he didn’t know how to speak the Koine Greek language.

    • I believe that it is false to call Augustine and Calvin “good” Christians. Calvin played a part in having an innocent man murdered, and Augustine was partially responsible for opening up the doors to the church violently attacking, persecuting, and slaughtering “heretics’ in his argument for using violent force against the Donatists.

      Just telling it like is. Lets not overlook these things.

  18. “I do love Christ, and I have followed on a journey into understanding “the ancient paths” of Christianity…. before it became corrupted.”

    How do you know you are the true teacher of God’s truth?

    And how do you know you love the Christ Jesus who is now waiting to Judge the sheep and goats?

    Paul says there are many Jesus’ being preached and taught.

    I simply trust in the Holy Bible and it’s simple truth. And God gave this Word as a testimony of His wrath and love.

    I still see you are in great wandering paths, far from the truth of Scripture and yes the Church’s teachings.

    “I labored at the task especially for our own Frenchmen, for I saw that many were hungering and thirsting after Christ and yet that only a very few had any real knowledge of him.”-John Calvin

    I shall go to my pastors who are studied in the Word, and love Jesus, and worship the Father in Spirit and truth. They are Reformed from the REC church, and yet dedicated to Sola Scriptura.

    • How do you know that Calvin was the true teacher of God’s truth. He was at least partially responsible for a mans murder…… you shall know them by their fruit. He had a vastly different understanding then the thousands, if not millions of Ante-Nicene Christians.

      By the way…. a person is saved through faith…. not by have their doctrines right. You need not be scared to look into the truths of what I am saying.


      Why would it be that I wouldn’t know if I love Jesus…. unless you think that I’m not one of your elect. Is agreeing with Calvinism a stipulation towards being one of the elect?

      Like I’ve said Calvin isn’t the church and there are MILLIONS of Christians that disagree with Calvinsim.

      My understanding is closer to the 300 million Orthodox Christians who didn’t buy into the doctrine of original sin and the Calvinistic understanding of “wrath”. Plus many Anglicans and Protestant Christians.

      There are many, many Christians who are starting to understand the words “aionos”, “kolasis” and “bazizano” according to how the early Greek speaking Christians understood these words.

      I challenge you … prove the early Christian understanding of these words wrong.

      If Jesus wanted to teach the Calvinistic use of the idea of God tormenting people for his glory…. he probably would have used the word “timoria”… which he did not. He used the world Kolasis… which means correction.

      You act as though you are offended by the idea that God isn’t going to eternally torture people for his glory. This is disturbig.

      • Hi Christopher
        As a “recovering Calvinist” I have really enjoyed your posts here. Maybe you can help me out here. I am still hung up on the original sin thing.
        If it is true that we are not sinful by nature and only become sinners when we freely choose to sin, then why are there no examples of people that have chosen not to sin? you would think at least a few would have chosen to stay sinless, but sin seems to be a universal condition. thoughts?

        • Hi Michael. Glad you enjoyed the posts…. I truly am trying to shine a light even if my language may seem abrupt at times.

          Some of the early Christians, people of the Jewish faith and to my understanding Eastern Orthodox Christians believed/believe that some people have gone without sin.


          I don’t believe personally this. I believe that there are various influences on us even from within the womb. We live in a world full of sin and are often learning from and following the thinking and actions of others, starting at a young age. Thus we are all sinners and Paul can say in Romans that there is no one who is not a sinner not one.

          We certainly all need Christ’s free gift of salvation, and there certainly is a correction for those who reject this.

          But lets not forget that in Romans Paul says that God locked ALL (my better Bibles translate this as all mankind) in sin so that he may be merciful to ALL (All mankind).

          Now, don’t get me wrong… I don’t think a Holy God likes sin, or that God wants us to sin… or even wanted us to fall. But I do think that he knew all of these things would happen (the Fall didn’t fool God). Sin is the path to mercy….. God has locked all up in sin that he may be merciful to ALL. I and many others believe that its part of a greater, wiser, foreknown plan.

          I do believe that God’s holiness is his set apartness, his Holy perfect love etc. etc. But there are CLEARLY scriptural references that also connect God’s holiness with his mercy. There are none that mention “Holy Wrath”…. at least that I know of.



          To sum up. Here’s a good tranlation of Ephesians 2: 3 (from the Source Bible) which is often used as a Calvinistic/Augustinian prooftext for original sin and wrath.

          Ephesisans 2:3
          “We used to be like this. We lived out our lives in the natural realm being dictated to by its wants and wishes. We did what the natural realm and our thoughts told us to do. We were just as much in danger of God’s anger as the others. In fact we were corpses DUE TO OUR MISTAKES.”

          This text does not teach that we are under God’s wrath due to original sin. Our sins (harmatia – falling short of the mark) cause death… which leads to the vicious cycle that I had mentioned above. Our sins come from following our thoughts which are influenced by the world (thus the bible warns us about the wordly system). This causes us to go into darkness and cause our nature to be corrupted.


          Is this not what we clearly see in the world around us… in human experience?

          As well. As I’ve mentioned before and shown in Romans 1 Pauls understanding of God’s anger (or wrath) is him allowing us to go our own ways into depravity while he is waiting for us to return to his everlasting arms after we learn our own mistakes.


          This is all completely consistent with the parable of the prodigal son. What Paul says in Romans, in Ephesians, now completely lines up with Christ’s prodigal son parable as well as with what is plainly evident in the world.

          This shows God as being a loving, wise and caring diety…. not some insane torture meister who knew that mankind would fall, then gave us a sin nature as a result, thus making it so that people are inclined towards sin, then actually causes people to sin (as he’s completely sovereign over humanity) and then tortures them because of their sin for his glory. Then randomly tries to save a few (while not saving some of the most innocent and helpless) and calls himself just.

          If you have more questions or thoughts don’t hesitate to post.

          • Thanks for your reply! I think we are in agreement on the wrath stuff. one thing that puzzled me was you said God locked us up in sin. What does that mean? it almost seems to mean God caused sin. is that even possible? Is it possible that sin comes from our past before we became humans, mabye we were only concerned with survival, etc, so we were naturally selfish just like any animal, until Christ came and showed us God’s way?

          • Hi Michael. The early Christian Origen had an interesting answer to the idea of God hardening Pharoahs heart. He more or less said that God’s blessings of the Jews were observed but Pharoah, who didn’t like this. causing him to harden his heart. Thus God was indirectly responsible for Pharoah’s heart to be hardened, so that the Bible then says that God hardened Pharoah’s heart…. but God’s wasn’t controlling Pharoah’s heart. Pharoah hardened his own heart as a response to something God did.


            Thus we have Paul mentioning this in Romans in connection with the hardness of the Jewish people hearts. The gift of the gospel to the gentiles had the resulting factor of them hardening their hearts. Of course there were other reasons as well.

            So when the Bible says that God locks up all people in sin I don’t believe it means that God is causing people to sin, but rather that in God’s foreknowing he has known that people would sin through various responses to the world around them. The mechanics of this are of course VERY complex, especially when one considers that every person comes from different births, families, etc, and is on a different journey.

            So no I don’t believe that God causes sin.

            There might be genetic influences on us, or even influences from our parents such as alchoholism. But I believe that sin is connected with a choice (thus harmatia- to fall short of the mark).

            I personally believe that mankind isn’t selfish as much as we have a natural concern for ourselves such as to keep care of our souls and our bodies which is a very good thing….. that becomes corrupted into selfishness. I write this hesitantly because I cannot completely argue this from scripture like some of the other stuff I have mentioned, other than to say that Jesus was fully human like we are and he was far from selfish. As was shown by the cross. Jesus was fully God and God is selfgiving love.

            The Bible says to imitate Jesus. Part of what Jesus came to do was to show us our true potential as humans, being that he was fully human, fully God and thus fully alive.

            Ireneaus said “the Glory of God is the heart that is fully alive”.

            Thus Christ came to rekindle the light that is inside us that can never be snuffed out, and to help us to live according to “the Way” whereby our lights are shining bright again. Christ said… I am “the Way” the truth and the life. When we live according to “the Way” we live like Christ walking into truth, and life.

            We become fully alive.

          • By the way Michael. I’m not sure if it is of any significance to you…. but the bit I wrote about Christ being” fully God thus FULLY ALIVE” came from a prompt by Holy Spirit.

          • On a related note…. the Bible warns not to harden over our hearts. I think it is plainly clear that one must harden over their heart in order to live with any sort of joy in this world, while holding onto the belief that God is going to eternally torture their loved ones.

            I’d also ask Calvinists… if they think that God is fully committed to Christians, then how is it that God wouldn’t be committed to Christian’s loved ones that Christians are committed to.

  19. Christopher, thanks again for your reply.
    I am still hung up on this. Lets say a father had a young son who loved to go play across the street. It was a high speed motorway, and he would surely be killed if he tried to cross it alone, so he was strictly forbidden. But the father knew that it wasn’t enough, so he built a fence with a locking gate so the kid could play safely outdoors and not run into the road. One day the father asked his son to wash the dishes, but the kid didn’t want to, and even disrespected him by talking back, The father was so angry, he thought, he will now learn the consequences of sin, so in his wrath he went outside and opened the gate, then told his kid to go outside in the yard and play, but stay away from that gate! Well, the father new is sons heart, that he would go through it onto the road as soon as it was possible, and sure enough, out he went onto the road and was killed by a speeding truck. Upon questioning, the father told police that the kid was commanded many times and knew better, so it was completely his fault.
    Is this how we are locked up in sin, or did I misunderstand?

    • Hey Michael, There are tremendous pastors and teachers in the Lord’s Body. I hope you have a good church, where you can go to your pastors who love you and know you.

      Here’s a portion of the Holy Truth, the Word of God, that I would encoureg you to read and ponder, and ask those whom are called to pastor God’s sheep. This portion is to make you think, and me as well:

      ” And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left; and the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ And the LORD said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’ Now therefore behold, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the LORD has declared disaster for you.”–1 Kings 22:13-23

      • Donsands. Are you saying that Augustine and Calvin had lying spirits because they taught things that are vastly different from what the founding fathers taught and what the Bible in its original languages teaches? If so then I guess maybe I’m helping you out of Calvinism. Which kind of suprises me, that you could be de-programmed so quick.

        By the way. If God is sovereignly controlling our every move then why would these people need to be warned? What would be the point? If we have no free will then God sovereignly chooses who would follow lying spirits and who wouldn’t. Of course that would mean that God chose for certain people to follow lying spirits…. and chose for these people to reject God….. then decided to eternally torture them for things which God caused in the first place.


        This all of course being for God’s “glory”.


        But wait. There are deep Bible studies of scripture that show that God’s glory comes from SAVING people, not from torturing them.

        A good book on this that might help you can be found at this link.

        http://www.amazon.com/Gods-Glory-Salvation-through-Judgment/dp/1581349769/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345668734&sr=1-1

        • Oh…. and if you think this book is “heretical”. Then I’d ask…. what about the fact that John Piper has given it a great review?


          “I was riveted. Never do I sit down and read sixty pages of ANY book that I get in the mail. But I could not stop—could not stop reading and could not stop rejoicing over God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment. It is the kind of overview of redemptive history Edwards wanted to write. It’s what I hoped would be written.”
          —John Piper, Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Twin Cities, Minnesota



          Of course Mr. Piper hasn’t put together the pieces yet, that God getting his glory from saving people is inconsistent with the idea of God getting his glory from eternally torturing them, when he COULD save them.



          But then again….. this might be hopeful. Even Mr. Piper might find his way out of Calvinism.

    • Hi Michael

      Sorry for my long reply. Hopefully you can tell that I am sincere and not the false prophet of lying spirits. Some of these Augustinian/Calvinistic doctrines cannot stand against correctly translated Bibles, and a serious study of the early Ante-Nicene Christian thought. More and more people are coming to see it. Peoples eyes are being opened.

      You had said.

      The father was so angry, he thought, he will now learn the consequences of sin, so in his wrath he went outside and opened the gate, then told his kid to go outside in the yard and play,

      In this analogy I don’t believe the father would open the gate. The father would always be working to guide the child to what is right but the father would also ALLOW the child to reject him and walk into danger. People go into drugs and destroy their lives, but that certainly doesn’t mean that God causes it (as neo-calvinism would have to admit). Yet when they do come out of their darkness and return to God, he has mercy on them and they learn their lessons. Also hopefully others learn from observing this and decide not to go down those dark paths.

      But notice that the person who had gone into drugs returns into a mercy that he had never had before…. this is GRACE. Amazing GRACE.

      In the story of the prodigal son, upon the sons return the father dresses him in splendid robes…. . Likewise heaven will be better than Eden.

      Paul touches on these subjects a bit in Romans.

      Romans 3: 5-8

      But if OUR lack of being right with God serves to show God’s justice more clearly, what will we say? Will we say that God is unjust to unleash his wrath on US, speaking in human terms. Certainly not! If that were the case, how would God judge the world? And if God’s truth brings him greater honour because of my falsehood, then why am I ALSO STILL JUDGED AS A SINNER. –
      So a couple of things. Again… to re-itterate for those reading. Notice here that Paul includes himself (US) as having God’s “wrath” unleashed on him (US), and includes himself as still being judged as a sinner by this “wrath”. Again if Christians are saved from this “wrath” as Calvinism teaches…. then why is Paul, being a Christian, still under this “wrath”. It’s simple … because Calvinisms understanding of wrath isn’t Biblical… Paul he had already explain that this “wrath” was God allowing us to go our own ways into our depravity.
      But yet this doesn’t mean that God isn’t still workiing though his Spirit to try and draw us back to “the Way”.
      Paul then argues that this all isn’t unjust of God. Therefore it is not unjust of God to allow us to go our own ways into depravity because we learn our lessons, others observe our mistakes….. and then upon this peoples consciences are stirred and we attempt to set things right (this of course also with Holy Spirits help and guidance). Thus when this happens we have been corrected by our sins and things have been set right, with God’s help. This is how God works with humanity to set right the world…. according to Pauls understanding.

      So then with this understanding one might say…. well shouldn’t we then sin… if God can turn our evil to good, and even eventually use it to bless us so that we were better off than we were before, through his amazing Grace.

      But Paul addresses this In Romans 3:7- 8
      … And if God’s truth brings his greater honour because of my falsehood, then why am I also still judged as a sinner? Why not say, “Let’s do bad things so that good things will come out of it,” as some are slanderously reporting about us, and as some insist that we say.

      So here Paul addresses the idea that some were saying that Christians were teaching that we should do bad things that good may come out of it. Why were they saying this….. because Paul was saying the very thing that I am saying. That God’s wrath allows people to go astray, when they return to him he blesses them in his grace and mercy, and that he uses this to judge and set right the world.
      But Paul says that he is certainly not saying that Christians are therefore teaching that people should do bad things that good may come out of it.


      But also notice that he says that God’s truth brings great glory because of his falsehood. Early on in that text he says “God must be true and every person a liar”….Earlier on In Romans he teaches that wrath allows people to go astray when they reject the “truth” written into creation.
      So when we put it all together Paul is saying that God is true…. when we (Paul) reject God’s truths in our lie we (Paul) are under judgment (God’s wrath allowing us to go astray) but in this when we return to Christ (who Paul says earlier in Romans is longsuffering waiting for us to return) God blesses us in his mercy and grace to his Glory.
      But yet Paul says that in this Christians of his time were certainly not teaching that Christians should then be going astray for God’s eventual glory.

      See my essay on the other post which touches on this concept further.




      So no getting back to you analogy. The father foreknew what the son would do…. but was also actively working to stop the son from doing this. But even when this tragedy happened good could come out of the tragedy, even if it’s only that people learn not to drive to fast in residential areas.

      Which gets to different understanding of God’s sovereignity from Calvinism. It is obviously not God’s sovereign will for people to sin. When we sin we are going against God’s perfect plan for our lives and his desire for us. We are going against his will. But God has foreknown all things…. even when we go against his will God has foreknown that we would do this….. therefore we can not go against God’s foreknowing. Thus God has foreknow that we will do sins and evil…. but God has not CAUSED us to do it. In Gods foreknowing he new that ALL would sin and from this he have mercy on ALL. As Paul is saying in Romans this return brings God glory. Thus God gets his glory from our salvation (as the book I had mentioned touches on), whence his holiness is connected to his mercy….. all of this connected with his amazing grace that superabounds where our sin abounds.

      This probably isn’t a very coherant explanation…. But does it make sense?

      • Christopher,
        I think some of it makes sense, you are explaining how God makes things work out for good, and he doesn’t cause evil, I think we agree for the most part.
        The part of my Analogy with the father opening the gate is what allows the child to walk into danger. if there is no open gate, there is no danger, its locked and he cant climb over. This was the father’s wrath, your definition “God allowing us to go our own ways into our depravity.”

        So basically, he is allowing evil , sin and death, because he gets more glory from saving people, than if he created people who didn’t ever need saving?

        What is glory? and why would God seek it?

        I hope his plan works and every one is saved, can all the glory in existence be worth it if even one of his children is lost?

        • Hi Michael. A few responses.

          You had said:
          So basically, he is allowing evil , sin and death, because he gets more glory from saving people, than if he created people who didn’t ever need saving?

          I was using “glory” more as trying to speak in an way that would connect with Calvinistic understanding. No I don’t believe it’s really about God’s glory as much as its about us understanding his love mercy and grace. We would never truly understand God’s mercy and grace if we had never fallen into sin….. and thus would never have a true way to fully comprehend God’s goodness and incredible love for us.

          You had said.
          What is glory? and why would God seek it?

          I don’t know actually. See that’s one of the questions I have with this emphasis of all being about and for God’s glory…… The Bible continually portrays Jesus (God) as being self sacrificing, humble, and self giving love. Hence Christ was glorified on the cross.
          Glory is often connected to worship….Possibly (and this is just speculation) God’s Glory is connected to his oveflowing of love to us, in communion with us when we worship him for his mercy and grace towards us.


          I dunno……Just a thought.

          You had said:
          I hope his plan works and every one is saved, can all the glory in existence be worth it if even one of his children is lost?

          The Bible says that Jesus is “the saviour of ALL mankind especially (greek – Malista – meaning with special regards to) those that believe these things be teaching and preaching”(1Timothy 4:10) . Notice that the ALL here is SEPARATE from the “those that believe”…. therefore it’s not just the Christians. Jesus is the saviour of ALL mankind.

          By the way …. notice what 1 Timothy says about the people who don’t teach and preach the things that it has previously told to teach and preach, in 1 Timothy 6:3….”These things teach and entreat if anyone is teaching differently…..”

          You can look up the rest of what he says. 😉


          Also Jesus said that when he will be lifted up on a pole he will “drag all mankind to himself”.

          John says that Jesus is the “saviour of the world” and that God has commissioned Jesus to save the world….. and no John’s understanding of the world is not just the elect. In John 1 he clearly sets forth the view that he understands “the world” as being …. um…. the world. Everybody.

          I don’t believe that Jesus is going to be a failure.


          Notice also in Acts 3: where it says that God had made a covenant with father Abraham to bring his seed (being everybody) away from their wickedness. This an unbreakable blood covenant we are talking about here.

          There are plenty of books that dig deeper into this stuff if you are interested.

          • I wouldn’t think that all of the glory in existence is worth it if one child is lost. Here’s another thing to think about…… John1 says that the light of Christ is in all people that come into the world and that this can never be snuffed out.

            Thus we have a small piece of God inside all of us….. hence Jesus can say “if you did this for the least of them you did this for me”. If this piece of God is an integral part of our makeup and therefore existence….. wouldn’t a piece of God also have to be in hell with those who are being tortured….. in order for them to still exist?

          • Thanks for your reply, and I appreciate your honesty too. I know a lot of my questions will never be fully answered, but maybe God likes us to think about them.

            I like that the scriptures teach all will be saved. When i was a calvinist I was taught that all meant “all that god chose”, but I know better now.

          • Yes. Calvinists have to make this understanding of all up in order to fit it in with their belief in hell, and arminians have to negate the full strength of the word All in order for it to fit in with their view of hell.

            I’m neither. Both Calvinism and Arminianism are bound by Augustine’s and others mistakes on some of these things, they’re just dealing with these things differently. I don’t view it through the same lense as either of them anymore (although I used to be arminian). I guess now I’d kind of just say that I’m closer to Ante-Nicene and very early Jewish Christian thought, before paganism made it’s way into the Roman church and influenced so much of Christianity.

            Don’t these truths make God out to be a more loving, wiser, more awesome diety? Don’t they fill our hearts with love, where we want to know, and follow him, and tell others about how great God is?

            I think we should ponder our questions and seek after truth. “The truth shall set you free”. I believe that we can follow Christ into greater truths…. but it doesn’t hurt to start from the right foundations :-)

  20. “Are you saying that Augustine and Calvin had lying spirits because they taught things that are vastly different”?

    Nope.

    No sarcasm either.

    I simply set before Michael, and anyone else, the truth of God to ponder. It’s a serious, very serious truth in the Word, not to mention scary.

    It’s a deep truth as well. I would hope others would ask the Lord about this truth, and also go to their pastors and elders.
    I believe God has elders and pastors that He has called.

    And I don’t know about John Calvin and murder, but I know David had a man killed, and yet he wrote many Psalms. Especially Psalm 51.

    • Donsands why didn’t you respond to what I had written here.

      Of course Mr. Piper hasn’t put together the pieces yet, that God getting his glory from saving people is inconsistent with the idea of God getting his glory from eternally torturing them, when he COULD save them.

      Please ponder this over. Can you not see how incredibly inconsistent…. to the Bible …. your beliefs are.

      Calvinism teaches that God will eternally torture people with his “Holy” wrath, for his glory.

      Yet the Bible teaches that God’s glory is in saving people, and connects his holiness with his mery.

      Again. Please explain to me. If Christians are saved from God’s Holy wrath and judgement…. then how is it that Paul considers himself to be under this in Romans. Unless of course Calvinism has it’s understanding of “wrath” wrong.

    • Donsands. Why on earth would you not be interested in learning about a theology that teaches that God isn’t going to torture your loved ones, especially when this theology is consistent with what the great many early Christians believed and is consistent with what the Bible in its original languages teaches?

      Come on…. think about. Whose theology is coming from lying spirits here?

  21. Sola Fide,
    Sola Scriptura,
    Solus Christus,
    Sola Gratia,
    Soli Deo Gloria

    • Exactly…. Couldn’t agree more 😉

      • Oh…. and yet. By the way. Those “sola” sayings are not found in scripture…. and never left Christ’s lips. Putting too much of an emphasis on them is not necessarily “sola scriptura”, or Christ alone. 😉

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