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.