Thursday, July 30, 2009

Something the Antitheist Can't Deal With

In attacking the cosmological argument, most antitheists, even supposed learned ones such as Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins, resort to the infinite regression problem. That is if God created the universe then who created God? This is simply a stupid question. The definition of God precludes the ability for Him to have a beginning. God is uncreated and eternal. That means it is logically incoherent to say He has a beginning. An uncreated being cannot have a creator by definition. The only thing left for antitheists to do in this case is to ignore the premises or simply deny them.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Commas and the Caste System

I think it's funny in light of all the scriptures that command Christians to deal with each other in a civil and loving way that the good ol' Triabloguers (click here) have such an issue with that. They, after all, are super-mega-uber-duper Christians. They know big words and read lots of philosophical tomes on how choice isn't really choice. Yet when challenged, instead of being able to engage in civil discourse, they let you know how utterly stupid you are. They make sure you know the utter contempt they have for your ridiculous non-Triablogue views.

I think I understand now! It has come to me in a shaft of light!! Why can the Triabloguers ignore Ephesians 4:1-6? It is because they were predestined not to have to by God. See, Christianity is actually a caste system. Only the super elite bloggers with fake internet pictures are able to bypass the command to love one another and speak kindly to one another. But this can only happen on the internet (because we all know none of them treat anyone in the real world like that). Yes, through the veil of anonymity the internet creates it is the boys at Triablogue who God, through Calvin, has made the bulldogs of correct doctrine. Let all who challenge them feel their unbridled wrath! A human wrath that actually does produce the righteousness of God!!!

I recommend we all visit Triablogue at least once a day and bow before our computer screens. Who's with me?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I know I've been posting a lot of videos lately, but they're too good not to share.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Roger Olson's Problem with John Calvin and Calvinism

Well known Arminian theologian Roger Olson was asked by an evangelical publication to write what his biggest problem with John Calvin and Calvinism is in a 600 word essay. He did so, but the essay was rejected by the publication. However, Dr. Olson has made the essay available to the Society of Evangelical Arminians (click here to view).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Wonderful World of Government Sponsored Health Care (Video)

Great video by Steven Crowder. An on hand account of the Canadian health care system that liberals love to point at as our "guiding light." I think this "guiding light" is the fires of health care hell.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy Birthday John Calvin

Today is John Calvin's 500th birthday. Even though I disagree with certain aspects of his theology, he was a very able exegete and a very intelligent man. His writings are valuable for all Christians. As Jacobus Arminius, who is known for his disagreements with aspects of Calvin's theology, said:

I exhort my pupils to peruse Calvin's Commentaries, which I extol in loftier terms than Helmich himself; for I affirm that he excels beyond comparison in the interpretation of Scripture, and that his commentaries ought to be more highly valued than all that is handed down to us by the library of the fathers . . . but with discrimination, like the writings of all men.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

In Defense of Resistible Grace Part 2: Wading Through a Sea of Logical Fallacies

I was hoping we would be able to skip the straw men in our discussion, but it wasn't predetermined by God to happen that way, apparently (that's a little Arminian humor).

Right off the bat, Peter (click here) begins with a Red Herring. He tries to discredit my argument by claiming I have missed the point. Peter asked:

What kind of person would reject the grace of God? What kind of person resists the Holy Spirit?"

to which I responded:

Good question. Why do some repent and others not?

I then proceeded to answer the question. Peter claims this isn't the question he was looking for an answer for. However, as I made clear, if the individual did not resist the grace of God, they would convert, which entails repentance. I'm sure Peter can follow the logic from there. I simply said the same thing he did in a different way.

Peter then comes up with a wonderful little story about a million dollars and a bottle of vodka. He asserts that if a man is offered a bottle of vodka or a million dollars on the condition he can never have another alcoholic beverage again in his life, if the man takes the vodka, it proves he is an alcoholic. This is a conclusion based on many assumptions, but is not a logically necessary conclusion. Simply because the man chooses the vodka over the money does not necessarily mean he is an alcoholic. The man could be stupid. The man could also be in desperate need of liquid, say if he had been wandering through the desert for several hours. Granted, the alcohol would dehydrate him, but a fat lotta good a million bucks is going to do in that situation. The man may be rich already. The point is that Peter's conclusion is not certain, and just like his Calvinism it is based on a priori assumptions.

He then presents another story that follows the same logic about a porn subscription or the million dollars. He concludes that only a porn addict would refuse the money. I assert that that is not a logical necessity.

He then tries to present the same logic in the salvation process. He wonders why a person presented with the grace of God would resist it. The first problem here is the situation does not contain two elements, as the first two did, but only the grace of God. Second, he makes many more assumptions and concludes that, "only the most depraved sinner would rather resist that grace than submit to it." Again, another logical faulty conclusion. There have been brutal serial killers, some of the most depraved men alive, who have accepted the free gift of God. There have been simple, yet unregenerate business men who have died and gone to hell. The level of the human view of man's depravity is not what is at issue.

Peter then asserts that, "He even goes so far as to say that Christians remain depraved," something I never actually said (which makes this a straw-man). Do I think men are suddenly made perfect and have no sinful nature at all when they are regenerated after placing their faith in Christ? No, and I doubt Peter does either, unless he secretly ascribes to Wesleyan Christian Perfection. Is there something you're not telling us, Peter? Paul himself struggled with his sinful nature after his salvation (Romans 7:13-25). Thank God for the forgiveness of those sins and the process of being made holy, in the image and likeness of Christ through the Holy Spirit. When we are saved by Christ, we are set free from the bondage of sin and become slaves of Christ (1 Corinthians 7:22) but we are not completely sinless, which is why Christ acts as our advocate with the Father if we do sin (1 John 2:1). We are, in this state, obviously no longer Totally Depraved.

Peter then follows his faulty assumptions to the conclusion that, if we assume God gives the same grace to all men, we must say some men are more depraved than others. Again, this isn't necessarily true, and does not follow logically without many presuppositions. He then asks:

[I]f we are all depraved to begin with, why couldn't God bring us all to the point where we would not make those depraved decisions—especially since He obviously does do just that for those who do believe...Why can't God do the same for the sinner who is so depraved that he would actively resist God?

First I want to make clear that I think God supplies sufficient grace to any who hear His gospel to believe in Him. Whosoever will may come! Second I want to point out the assumption Peter has that is causing him to beg the question (another fallacy). He assumes there must be something that necessitates a choice that is not necessitated. This is begging the question. Actually, J.C. Thibodaux dealt with this fallacy in this post (click here). I will quote him in part:

This line of questioning is not only logically absurd, but also requires assuming that all of our decisions must be necessitated, when that is in fact the proposition he is trying to prove. This fallacy is more formally known as ‘begging the question,’ a form of circular reasoning.

Calvinistic apologists often employ such fallacies in attempts to prove that libertarian free will is nonsensical, but looking to God as an example of how the will functions, we can see that a being with a free will can make choices without them being necessitated by something outside of its own will. For example, there was no principle in God that impelled Him to save anyone, but He chose to anyway. If God is truly free, then it’s absurd to argue that that there are conceptual problems with the very idea of free will, and hence no tenable logical basis to argue that it couldn’t exist in human beings.

So now that we've "chewed on that" we'll move on. Again, Peter claims I don't think God's grace changes people and again I'll say that isn't true. God's grace is the only thing that changes people. He goes through some common Calvinist proof-texts which he claims prove that regeneration preceeds faith. I think you must eisegete quite a bit to reach that conclusion.

I will present one verse that clearly states the opposite. Colossians 2:13 says, "When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions." A clear exegesis of this statement shows that the cause of God's regeneration (making the sinner "alive") is based on the sinner's justification (having forgiven us all our transgressions). A Christian doctrine that I'm sure Peter agrees with is that a person is justified by faith (Romans 5:1) and faith alone (Romans 4:4-5). Therefore, a sinner is "made alive" when he or she is justified by faith, and therefore, faith precedes regeneration (thanks to William Birch for pointing this out to me).

I also like the comment by left by Dan on Peter's post, which refutes Peter's use of Titus 3:5-7. Titus 3:5-7 says:

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Dan then pointed out:

We are saved by the washing of regeneration. That, in my opinion, occurs when we receive Christ as articulated in JN. 1:12 "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name..."

Notice, it is those who receive Christ who are given the right to become Children of God, and that is through belief in Him.

I also want to address his point on 1 Peter 1:3-5. He has bolded "he has caused us to be born again" and "who by God’s power are being guarded through faith." As if the Arminian doesn't believe we are born again by the power of God? Come on, Peter, you know better than that. But look at what it is based on (hint, he bolded it). FAITH!!! Even God's guarding of us in the passage is contingent on faith. So Peter presents a passage that clearly refutes his own point.

Peter then rightly says I am not a Roman Catholic, but then goes on to give a false account of what Roman Catholics believe. I can't believe I have to correct this, but he says, "Since Brennan is not a Roman Catholic, I can be confident that he would agree that we do not have to cease practicing sin before we can be saved, nor that we must do righteous acts before we can be saved, for that would be to say our salvation is by works.

Roman Catholics don't believe we must "cease practicing sin" to be saved. And they also think that any good work they do is totally ascribed to the grace of God. Apparently he missed the ECT Statement on Faith (click here).

Somehow Peter thinks 1 John 5:1 favors his position. That's just another case of eisegesis.

And that's all folks.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

In Defense of Resistible Grace to Retain the Goodness of God (response to Peter Pike)

To Calvinists, God's grace is irresistible. This follows naturally in their entire scheme of salvation by logical necessity. It is a point that must stand, or the system falls. If God has not made His grace that moves the heart of man, convicts them of their sins, and enables them to come to Him irresistible, then the Arminian is correct in that man has the ability to choose to resist that grace when it is presented to them. The question is what does the Bible say, and what does what we know about the character of God say?

We know God must draw any to Him who come to Him (John 6:44). This is due to the depravity of man (Romans 3:10-11, Ephesians 2:1-3). But we also know the Bible asserts that God has a desire for all men to be saved (John 3:16, 1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9) and that to this end, Christ also died for all men (2 Corinthians 5:14-15, 1 Timothy 4:10, 1 John 2:2) and draws all men to Himself (John 12:32). Based on this Biblical testimony, we know that the grace of God which leads to salvation (Titus 2:11) must be resistible because we know that many men, perhaps most men, will not enter the kingdom of God (John 3:18-21, Matthew 25:41-46, 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, 2 Peter 2:4,9 Revelation 20:10).

Since all of this is a part of the Bible, one must ignore or redefine clear Biblical teachings in order to teach that grace is irresitible. Titus 2:11 is the clearest affirmation in scripture supporting the Arminian's concept of the grace that goes before salvation which enables man to believe. In his post (click here), Peter Pike says, "because man is depraved, then it is only the grace of God that can change the sinner to a believer, and when that happens man is truly changed and thus he responds automatically in faith." All Arminians would agree with the first part of that statement. Only God's grace can change men. Only God's grace can enable men to believe. The second part of the statement he will have trouble finding Biblical support for. Since I have already established that God's grace leading to salvation appears to all, then in Calvinism every single person should come to belief in Christ. But this is an essential belief in the Calvinistic system, so a philosophical a priori must be formed in order to maintain consistency. 1) God actually doesn't want everyone to be saved and 2) God does not show His prevenient grace to everyone. How this becomes an appealing view of God and upholds the assertion that God is love (1 John 4:8, 16) is beyond me.

In his second paragraph, Peter presents us with a flawed view of Arminian theology. He asserts, "an Arminian who believes in depravity is left with the following system: Because man is depraved, then it is only the grace of God that can enabled a sinner to potentially believe in God. This is slightly off. The reason we call the grace of God resistible is because it must be actively resisted to not be effectual. When presented with prevenient grace, the individual will be converted unless that grace is resisted. It is up to the libertarian will of man whether or not to accept the free grace of God through the God ordained means of faith, or whether they resist the grace of God in disbelief.

Why give man the ability to resist His grace? I like how Jerry Walls and Joseph Dongell put it in their book Why I am Not a Calvinist: "The same freedom that makes it possible to enter a genuinely trusting and obedient relationship with God also makes it possible for us to go our own way and disobey him. God allows the latter in order to enable the former" (emphasis mine). If this is not the case, then God just seems to be playing a giant game of chess against Himself. He is simply controlling a bunch of puppets and knows which ones he intends to trash at the end of the day.

The next thing Peter addresses in his post is what irresistible grace is. He describes, without using the word, the Calvinist view that regeneration must precede faith. I would simply point to Paul's epsitles which make it patently clear that we are saved by grace through faith. If a Calvinist could ever point to a place in scripture that teaches regeneration must precede faith I would be very thankful, because it's never happened.

I was interested to read in a commentary of the Gospel of John by John Calvin himself that faith comes prior to regeneration. He says, "For so long as we are governed by our sense and by our natural disposition, we are in bondage to sin; but when the Lord regenerates us by his Spirit, he likewise makes us free, so that, loosed from the snares of Satan, we willingly obey righteousness. But regeneration proceeds from faith, and hence it is evident that freedom proceeds from the Gospel." That's interesting.

Later, Peter again presents a skewed view of what the grace of God does to humanity. He says, "In the Arminian view (those who believe in depravity, at least), God in essence sets man’s will to 'neutral'" (emphasis mine). I can hardly see the work of the Holy Spirit which calls the sinner to repent of his sins, draws the sinner to accept Christ, enables the sinner to accept Christ, and convicts the sinner of his or her sins and their need for Christ as simply setting man's will to "neutral." Peter is simply presenting a misrepresentation of Arminian theology.

Peter then presents us with a quandary. "But ask a simple question here. What kind of person would reject the grace of God? What kind of person resists the Holy Spirit? Good question. Why do some repent and others not? There are probably many factors, including lack of prayer,lack of discipleship, and many other personal issues. The bottom line is no man has an excuse for not repenting. Even though the Calvinist would chastise someone who claimed, "I can't repent because I'm not elect," according to a faulty reading of Romans 9:19-20 (why would the unelect ask "why does He still find fault," anyway? Why would they care?), it is a valid point. Those men have an excuse. They can't repent. Granted they don't deserve the chance to repent but that doesn't remove the fact that they never have the ability to repent. So an excuse does exist.

Just because we may not know the individual reasons some choose not to place their faith in Christ doesn't mean that the Calvinist assertion, that they haven't been elected, is correct. The Biblical account agrees with Arminians.

Finally, Peter presents us with 11 points. I will respond individually to each point

1. Those who resist grace are depraved. - True
2. There are those who resist grace. - True
3. Therefore, there are those who are depraved. - True

4. Those who do not resist grace are not depraved. - False, for all men are depraved
5. There are those who do not resist grace. - True
6. Therefore, there are those who are not depraved. - False, for all men are depraved

7. Grace changes people from depraved to non-depraved. - Grace provides us with forgiveness by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to our account. When we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, He begins a process of sanctification in our hearts to make us like Christ.
8. Grace can be resisted. - True
9. Grace is given to all. - True
10. But those who resist grace are depraved (1) - True
11. Therefore, if grace is resisted, then at least one of (7), (8), or (9) must be false. - I addressed why premise 4, 6, and 8 are faulty, making this conclusion faulty.

I hope Peter finds this post irenic, as I have tried to be. If he decides to respond I hope he can refrain from the normal, sinful Triablogue behavior of calling names, insulting intelligence, and using abbreviated bad words.

The (more than likely) end of my time at Triablogue

Since I am going to be banned, by decree of one Peter Pike (I really thought it would have been the Manta...oh well), from Triablogue because they hate it when we Arminians get to 'em, I want to show the end of our debate and what brought it about. Peter wrote a retarded post (click here) about how dumb Arminians are for actually believeing God could possibly love everybody! *gasp* What are we thinking (John 3:16, 1 John 2:2, etc.)!?!?!?! Anyway, I challenged him that his conclusion did not follow logically.

His argument:

Premise 1: God could cause people to believe in Him by appearing to them.

Premise 2: God doesn't appear to them

Conclusion: God doesn't want all to believe.

Now, any amateur philosopher (like myself) can see that this argument does not follow logically. Simply because God does not give them a vision or something does not mean He doesn't want them to come to repentance. I also pointed out that God has appeared and some did believe and others did not, and that Paul the apostle seemed to think God has given all ample evidence for His existence (Romans 1:18-21); so obviously an appearance does not guarentee belief. He agreed with this and said it proved Calvinism, which he then changed specifically to Total Depravity. I said I affirm Total Depravity, as do all Classical Arminians.

So Peter used the good 'ol Triablogue Flowchart (click here) to construct a sinful argument full of insults to my intelligence and whatnot. I replied by telling him he couldn't handle a simple logical argument.

So Peter got MAAAAAAD!!!

His final statement:

So LISTEN UP, because you're on a short leash with me.

Of the two of us, I am the only one who consistently spoke of Total Depravity on this point. YOU tried to change the subject to unconditional election and pretended that that was what I was speaking of, when I plainly was not (I even wrote in caps that I was dealing with Depravity). So consider this your last warning. You either take time to read what you're interacting with or you go somewhere else, because if you keep this up your comments are getting deleted from my blog posts.

I'll give you a chance to rephrase any of what you just wrote, because you read so poorly that it's not worth my time to waste reading it. In fact, the only reason I'm not deleting it now is so that all can see how stupid you are and that I did not invent your idiotic quotation.

My final response:

Or, Peter, you can put it in your pipe and smoke it. Somebody's a little upset that they had the tables turned. If you want to ban me, go ahead. I honestly don't care, and you obviously can't take someone who can debate your socks off (nor can any of you here). You all exhibit an unchristian attitude of haughtiness and pride. You attack and make fun of believers in Christ, all the while alienating yourselves.

But that's what happens when you show a fool his own foolishness. They get mad and threaten. That's fine, no skin off my back.

Oh, and I do affirm Total Depravity, as do all classical Arminians. Read up, bub. My point was to show you why your conclusion did not follow logically.

Delete if you must.
Anyway, it was fun while it was civil (for like two seconds). Goodbye Triablogue, I will miss you. But it'll be a good miss.

Something to make you all feel really great!!!

Nothing can go wrong now that this guy is a United States SENATOR!!!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th!

Happy Independence Day!
God bless America!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thanks Triablogue!!

I want to thank the guys for any increased blog traffic I may receive. In honor of them, here's something awesome.