Introduction to illumination

The doctrine of illumination is an oft-overlooked, oft-misunderstood (if understood at all) doctrine. It mostly falls under the realm of pneumatology, which might have something to do with it being so frequently passed over. I have always had something of a feeling of importance for this doctrine as it so critically explains many questions not only regarding how we know, but why we are blessed with a right understanding of Scripture when others are not. Why are you a Calvinist and your friend an Arminian? God’s grace, yes, but by what means of God’s grace? By your intelligence? Has God ordained that the intelligent shall inherit understanding of the mysteries of his word? Surely not. Paul sys that the world through wisdom did not know God (1 Cor. 1:21). If understanding is a grace of God administered by means as other graces, then how comes it?

Well, by illumination.

1 Corinthians—more than any other book I might dare say—is abundantly clear on the topic of understanding. It provides us with a wealth of information regarding how and why God reveals and does not reveal his word to people. From 1 Cor. 1:18-2:16, Paul sets down an extended argument for the necessity of the Spirit’s work to illumine the minds of believers. The passage of 1 Cor. 1:18-29 contains a critical part of the argument in which Paul describes the human mind as incapable of grasping God’s truth. Even more, Paul says that God will destroy the wisdom of the wise and being the understanding of the prudent to nothing (1 Cor. 1:19). Now if Paul had anything good or approving to say about man’s wisdom or his ability to come to an understanding of God he could have phrased this verse a thousand other ways. But he did not. Moreover, the subsequent verses simply serve to reinforce this point, not to mention the rest of Scripture. Indeed, he quite plainly thinks very little of man’s understanding, at least insofar as God is concerned.

He continues, “Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (1 Cor. 1:20). And so, since the hardness of men’s hearts lead them to pursue worldly wisdom to fill the gaping void in their souls, God has seen fit to destory their pride and false wisdom with folly. Not true folly, mind you, but what appears to be folly to unregenerate men. The preaching of the word from its inception has been derided by men as foolishness and this has not at all changed in our day. While the vain philosophies of men have come and gone, the wisdom of the Lord has remained. Today the world exchangs scientism, psychology, liberalism, and new age spirituality for God’s word. But just as he destroyed Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, so will he destroy Sagan, Freud, and Marx. For by wisdom the world does not and cannot know God (1 Cor. 1:21). Natural theology is completely ruled out.

But does this mean that man cannot know God at all? No, it does not.
Paul tells us that Scripture is profitable and sufficient (2 Tim. 3:16), even for our understanding. But if so, why do many stumble at Scripture’s teaching? Why do the unleaned and unstable twist and distort the text to their destruction (2 Pet. 3:16)? Why did Christ speak in parables? Why did he obscure his message that his hearers might not understand? Jesus said many times that they could not hear (or believe) because they were not of his sheep (Jn. 8:43-45; 10:26; 12:39-41). Paul says man does not know the things of God; it is the Spirit who knows them (1 Cor. 2:11). Acts 1:2 tells us the apostles were taught of Christ by the Holy Spirit. They were taught by the same Comforter that Jesus promised even to us (Jn. 15:26). Paul says we have received not the spirit of the world, but of God (1 Cor. 2:12). Christ says his words are spirit and life (Jn. 6:63). And to further emphasize the point—”the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit” (1 Cor. 2:14).

But what is illumination?

Well, simply put, illumination is a particular grace of God administered by the Holy Spirit to the elect according to the will of the Father by which their minds are enabled to receive and believe the true meaning of Scripture. The work of illumination is fully dependent on Scripture‐just as Scripture is fully dependent on illumination. Were the Holy Spirit to withhold illumination from all our minds Scripture would be a dark chasm into which we could not climb out of. The dimness of our minds would yield up only clouds and fog as we peered into that holy book; but by the illuminating grace of the Holy Spirit, the clouds part, the fog lifts, and we are made to see the Son. But we are thankful that the Holy Spirit did not inspire the word of God that it should remain hidden under a bush without a light by which to read it. Rather, he provids not only the text to study, but the light by which it can be studied.
This series will focus on the effect, purpose, and practical application of the doctrine of illumination (to apologetics, primarily). I pray that God will bless and illumine your minds as well as my own as we delve into his word and discover more about what he has done for us.

Soli Deo Gloria


Remember Me?

No, the Lord has not in his providence called me home. Rather, I have simply been swamped with work, school, and life issues. Since I last posted I have 1) started a new job, 2) started a new school, and 3) begun searching for a new church-home. That’s quite a bit of change, I’d say. Well, all this has been taking up quite a bit of my time lately. I’m sorry that I didn’t at the least post something here to indicate what was going on with me, but that generally isn’t much my style. I’ve tried to hold myself to very high standards concerning what I write here, and have deigned to post things such as, “Today I got an ice cream cone from 31 Flavors and listened to the Goo Goo Dolls on my iPod.” These kinds of things are, as the Preacher says, vanity. My intention for this blog has always been the furtherance of God’s kingdom and the edification of myself and fellow believers, according to his will.

I do have something to say about my comings and goings, however. I purchased Abraham Kuyper’s The Work of the Holy Spirit today. I’m mentioning this because I plan to take up the doctrine of illumination. The doctrine of illumination is that teaching which says whatsoever we know from Scripture comes by the grace of the Holy Spirit according to the will of the Father and not by our own strength of will or intelligence. The doctrine of illumination explains why some have been graced with a right understanding of the several doctrines of the scriptures (not a perfect understanding, mind you, for we are yet imperfect) whilst others twist and distort them to their own destruction. Illumination is also a critical doctrine for the presuppositional apologist because without the doctrine of illumination you cannot bridge the gap between the presupposition of Scripture and the codification of doctrine according thereto. Illumination is the justification for the formation of doctrine based upon the interpretation of Scripture. The argument when based on illumination becomes circular, but valid. This is set in opposition to mere assertion or outright invalid argumentation, such is all the evidentialist has to work with, by the way.

Anyhow, I have a number of other books on the work of the Holy Spirit that I will be studying and reflecting upon. These include Gordon Clark’s work on the Holy Spirit, B. B. Warfield’s writings on illumination, John Owen’s Pneumatology, and others that escape me for the moment. There might yet be some period of silence between now and the first post of the series, but it will come. And I thought that at this point it would be worth posting something, anything, rather than nothing.

Soli Deo Gloria


Some thoughts on Matthew 12:39-42

But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.” (Mt. 12:39-42 NASB)

Jesus testifies in 12:39 that no sign is forthcoming to an evil and adulterous generation. No doubt, he knows the Pharisees are testing him, which testing comes from sinfully hardened hearts, not genuine interest in Christ’s gospel message. In Mt. 4:7, Jesus rebukes Satan for his temptation, the temptation being that Jesus should cast himself from the top of the temple. This temptation is very similar to the test the Pharisees have put before him. In the one, Satan tries to outwit Jesus by quoting Scripture. But our Lord does not falter, quoting Scripture to refute Satan. The Pharisees sought after a sign. Not because they wanted to see if Jesus was truly the Anointed One. More likely, they were hoping he could not produce a sign on demand, or that it could be explained away as trickery, or worse, witchcraft. Their evil intentions were discerned by Christ just as easily as Satan’s.

In many ways, Jesus demonstrates a number of lessons regarding the spreading of the gospel and the state of the hearts of those who hear it. As he says in John 3, those who come into the light work the truth, but the wicked cannot come into the light, for they find only reproof. The Pharisees, obviously, fall into this latter category. Even if Jesus had worked for them, their hearts would simply have been hardened by it. In Mk. 3:28-30, he does indeed do a good work, casting out an evil spirit. The Pharisees, rather than realizing that Jesus is Lord, say Jesus is evil! That he was casting out demons by the power of Satan. This example (and many others) demosntrate that an hardened heart does not look for reasons to become soft, it looks for reasons to remain hard. The same is still true today.

Atheists employ the same skepticism and the same temptations the Pharisees did. Michael Newdow (the atheist doctor/lawyer who wants “Under God” taken out of the Pledge), in his debate with Cliff Knechtle, said during his first argument, “If God does exist, why doesn’t he come down here right now and show himself to everybody?” (well, that’s a paraphrase, anyway). This kind of attutide is recisely what the Pharisees used to affirm their own unbelief. In fact, John testifies that God withholds regeneration so that they will not believe because their hearts have been hardened and they reject the word of God (Jn. 12:39-41). This encounter also helps to illustrate to us that those who refuse the word of God are still hardened against Jesus’ testimony. In John 8, Jesus states that this testimony is not his own, but the testimony of the Father. When one rejects the Son, he rejects the Father. Stephen confronted the Pharisees with this, saying their hardened hearts led them to reject the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51). John writes, “There are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (1 Jn. 5:7; see footnote). The rejection of the word of God amounts to a complete rejection of the testimony of God—all Persons. Jesus tell us this in Jn. 16:13, 14, saying that he testifies of the Father (Jn. 14:24), and that the Father testifies of him (Jn. 8:18), and that the Spirit testifies what he hears (Jn. 16:13), which is the witness of the Father of Christ’s perfect righteousness and his glory.

Consequently, we learn that an hardened heart is closed to the word of God. Not that any of us didn’t know that already. But it does help to discern someone’s true intentions when they say they have “questions.” Someone who has “questions” but completely rejects the testimony of the word of God isn’t interested in hearing the testimony of Jesus Christ. More than anything else, I believe one of the foremost defining characteristics (certainly not the only one, though) of a Christian is a complete and total trust in the Bible as the inerrant and infallible word of God. When I’m talking to someone who says they believe the Bible is truly the word of God, I assume I am talking to a Christian until proven otherwise (although I’m wary of cults here, too). Conversely, when I’m talking to someone who rejects Scriptural inerrancy, I assume I’m not talking to a Christian until proven otherwise. Christ said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (Jn. 14:15). But how can one keep his commandments if he doesn’t believe his word?

Soli Deo Gloria


(1) The best mss. do not contain this part of the verse. It is found in late Vulgate mss., but in no Greek mss. before the 16th century. It is possible it was an editor’s addition or clarification. It is also possible that some Vulgate editor preserved this portion of the text and the editors of the Textus Receptus, in their zeal to preserve the word of God, thought it better to add the fragment if that so happened to be the case. Anyway you slice it, you can certainly derive the same meaning of the verse from other places in Scripture. But if the fragment is indeed a distortion, the meaning of the verse is changed radically. If the fragment is genuine, vv. 7, 8 read as follows:

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

If the fragment is not genuine, vv. 7, 8 read as follows:

For there are three that bear record, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

As you can see, the meaning of the passage has been greatly affected.
Gill gives a defense of the fragment in his commentary. Barnes discusses the problems with it. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown pretty much repudiate it. Clarke says it is most likely not genuine. On this, almost all scholars are agreed today.

Apologetic Encounter

Christian: How do you know God doesn’t exist?

Atheist: Because I’ve never sensed him.

Christian: Have you ever been to Japan?

Atheist: No.

Christian: Have you ever sensed Japan?

Atheist: I’ve seen pictures of it and heard stories of it.

Christian: Well, I’ve read about God as well.

Atheist: That’s different. People live in Japan, they don’t live in God.

Christian: Actually, the Bible says we all live in God: “In him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:35). I can also show you a number of biblical passages where the prophets have seen the glory of God; where he has spoken directly to men; where the Lord of Glory came down to Earth and performed miracle after miracle; where, by his Holy Spirit, he imparted miraculous gifts on the apostles, even to raise from the dead.

Atheist: But how do you know those passages are true?

Christian: Because the Bible is inerrant.

Atheist: How do you know?

Christian: Because it is written by God.

Atheist: How do you know?

Christian: Because the Bible says so.

Atheist: You’re arguing in a circle!

Christian: How do you know Japan exists?

Atheist: I told you already, I’ve read about it, I’ve seen pictures of it, I’ve even talked to people who lived there.

Christian: How do you know you were reading about Japan, seeing Japan, and talking to Japanese people?

Atheist: What?

Christian: How do you know?

Atheist: Why would someone lie about that?

Christian: You’re evading the question. How do you know those things are true?

Atheist: There’s overwhelming evidence.

Christian: How do you know?

Atheist: Just look! Do you want me to show you Japan on a map!?!

Christian: How do you know the country, Japan, that is indicated on maps exists?

Atheist: You must be joking.

Christian: No, not really. You have no more conclusive evidence to demonstrate the existence of Japan than I do to demonstrate the truthfulness of the Bible.

Atheist: That’s not true. We can go to Japan and see it.

Christian: I see. So, Japan is a bunch of visual images as experienced by humans?

Atheist: What?

Christian: Japan is nothing more than a bunch of humanly-sensible visual images?

Atheist: No, it’s more than that.

Christian: Like?

Atheist: Well, it’s culture, nationality, values, traditions, history…

Christian: And you sense those things?

Atheist: After a fashion. It has to be experienced in one way or another.

Christian: So how much experience is necessary to know that Japan exists?

Atheist: I don’t know.

Christian: Would you say that visiting the country, Japan, is enough to say you know it exists?

Atheist: Sure.

Christian: So, if I say God has regenerated my heart and made me a new man, then that confirms that the entire Bible is true.

Atheist: Not in the least!!

Christian: Well, you suppose that simply going to Japan means Japan exists.

Atheist: That’s apples and oranges!

Christian: Really? Didn’t you just say that Japan is more than just a physical boundary? That’s it’s culture, people, values, etc.?

Atheist: Yeah.

Christian: Well, simply visiting the country and seeing the landscape certainly isn’t going to give one knowledge of those things.

Atheist: Look. Japan exists because there is overwhelming evidence that it does.

Christian: But you haven’t demonstrated that it’s evidence at all. You just assume that because you’ve seen pictures that people tell you are of Japan, and because you’ve read things that refer to Japan, and because you’ve met people that say they’re from Japan, that Japan actually exists. You haven’t said anything more than, “Many people believe Japan exists.” But many people believe God exists, too. Does that mean God exists? To say there are no empirical data to confirm this is to beg the question. The Bible is evidence that God exists, but it doesn’t fit into your neat and narrow definition of evidence. You accept the testimony of many other people that Japan exists despite never having been there. Why do you reject the testimony of so many people who believe in God? Simply because they haven’t “sensed” him? Is that even a reasonable criterion for a being that is spiritual and not physical? Your fundamental criteria for evidence and presuppositional rejection of the Bible as being adequate evidence precludes you from possibly accepting the biblical declaration that God is Lord.

It’s really no different from me saying that I believe the Bible because God has convinced me to believe it. That’s not a conclusive argument for the truthfulness of the Bible, but it is certainly an argument from which I will infer any argument concerning God. Just as you will only accept extra-biblical data as valid concerning the existence or non-existence of God, I will only accept biblical data concerning the same. Neither position can be justified. They are first principles. You suppose that empirical data are foundational. That is, you believe that whatever can be known is founded in empirical demonstration. I reject this. Instead, I argue that whatever can be known is congruent with the Bible.

Soli Deo Gloria


An Ontological Conundrum

Jon: Quick little ontological conundrum for ya: What is the basic problem with definitions?

Brian: They are not universal. People define their own terms… Am I close?

Jon: It’s even more basic. All definitions beg the question. A statement of identity is circular. It cannot be justified. If someone asks, “Does God exist?” it is actually an impossible question to answer without arguing in a circle. For that matter, any question of identity is impossible to answer. The closest you can get is, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” But no non-Christian would accept that. He would accuse you of begging the question. And he would be right.

The remarkable thing is this. We know nothing in itself. Even more, it demonstrates objectivity doesn’t exist. At all.

It’s impossible.

Even the definition of objective is subjective. But if objectivity is illusory, it would seem that we could not have knowledge of objects, for we do not know the thing in itself (that is, we do not know the object directly, but subjectively).

Brian: What do you mean by objects?

Jon: I have no idea.

Brian: Great!

Jon: That’s precisely my point. Let’s say we consider what can be called an “object of knowledge,” only applies to propositions. Perhaps “propositions” are objects. Maybe even collections of propositions would be objects (objective collections of objects?). (Would they be objects of objects?)  Can we know an object that consists of objects if we do not know all the objects of which the object is composed?  If so, we do not even know ourselves, much less anything else. It becomes clear that knowledge exists only in an infallible mind. It is then that subject that is the foundation for knowledge. God is that subject. The only justification for a proposition is whether or not God “thinks” it is true. Something cannot be considered an object of knowlege if God does not know it. Much the same is true when we come to existence. It is only by the omnipotent power of God that anything exists as a distinct ontological being.

Soli Deo Gloria


The “Genuine Offer” Dialogue – Closing

Characters in this section:

ISP: Infralapsarian Single-Predestinarian
Argues that the gospel is genuinely offered to all.

SDP: Supralapsarian Double-Predestinarian
Argues that the gospel is genuinely offered to the elect only.

Begin dialogue text…

ISP: Well, how can we possibly deliver the gospel to everyone if this is true?

SDP: Because it is commanded of us.

ISP: When preaching the gospel, we proclaim the good news. We tell sinners that Christ came, died, and rose again for sinners. We tell them that God loved the world so much that he sent his only begotten Son that whosoever should believe on Him shall not perish!

That is really good news!

We tell men that they are in need of a Savior, that they have broken God’s law, and that God is pleased to grant this day an opportunity to be saved.

We call sinners most urgently, in all sincerity, and indiscriminately.

We do not call sinners indiscriminately and proclaim salvation upon set conditions that may not apply to certain men. We state quite clearly that all men have sinned and a suitable sacrifice for all sinners has been accomplished.

We do not have to worry if one man is elect and one man is not. The message is the same—good news!

We do not need to hide behind any argument or device that would indicate we can invite all men to salvation based upon the idea that we do not know who is elect and who is not. It makes no difference! God invites all!

Should it be argued that there is a real difference between that which we are commanded to preach and God’s contrary will—i.e., He doesn’t really want all men saved—then we are preaching not the gospel of God, but a perversion of it. We would then be telling some men that God has called them when he hasn’t, that God has proclaimed good news when he hasn’t, and that there is a genuine offer of redemption when there isn’t!

Too many times, Calvinists, almost without thinking, hide behind the idea that because they do not know who the elect are, they are therefore free to preach to all.

This is totally at odds with the Scripture.

1. We are ambassadors. It is not our gospel; it is God’s.
2. It is not we who are calling these sinners to repent; it is God in us doing it.
3. Jesus preached the gospel to all men and he knew who would believe and who wouldn’t. It did not change or alter his message.

SDP: I thoroughly repudiate this unsubstantiated idea that God cannot command (preach to all men) what he does not desire (all men be saved). If this were true, then it would be impossible to even sin. If God’s commands and desires are completely congruent then there could be no sin, for he would not allow it. This argument is terribly flawed.

I’d like to address your three points directly, however, because they adequately summarize your objections.

1) God commands all men to believe, but only desires the belief of his elect. This is the gospel; therefore, we command all men to repent and believe on Jesus Christ, as this is their duty to God.

2) If you mean inwardly, yes. Does any Calvinist truly deny that? I defy someone to proclaim to me that his delivery of the gospel converted the sinner. If you mean outwardly then the point is irrelevant. We have already discussed the difference between God’s decretive and preceptive will and that the two are not congruent.

3) Precisely. And what was Jesus’s message?

And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. (John 6:39)

The Father has not given the Son all men, but:

This is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:40)

And how does one see the Son?

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3)

And where does faith come from?

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. (Eph. 2:8)

This is the gospel that Jesus preached and the one that we should preach.

ISP: You say you repudiate the idea that God cannot command what he does not desire. So we have men preaching, being sent by God to preach God’s message of love and forgiveness, while all the time God doesn’t desire it!

Your view is terribly flawed! Do you mean to say God commands sin!?

SDP: Are you not a Calvinist and yet you do not understand the difference between God’s commandments and God’s desires? Do you mean to instruct other Christians when you do not know even this basic principle of theology? Do you know so little of the Scriptures to misunderstand those that speak of God doing all that he wills?

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. (Rom. 7:7)

Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. (Rom. 5:20)

Paul tells us quite clearly that the law entered so that the sin might abound, for where sin abounded, grace abounded much more. God commanded obedience to the law, but desired that sin exist, so that his grace might be made known in Christ. God is just in commanding obedience to the law, for the law is given by God and deemed righteous in his sight. If God’s commandments were synonymous with his desires, then all men would obey the law. But this is not the case. We are all law-breakers.

ISP: God commands perfection; therefore God desires it. Yet the decree of God does not permit it!

SDP: This does not follow, my friend. Command is an entirely separate term and sense than desire is. Unless you can establish (which you cannot) that God’s commandments and desires are the same, this argument is invalid. The reason you cannot establish that the two coincide is because God commands that we obey the law, but we do not. If God desired that we obey the law, then we would, for whatever God desires happens.

ISP: Some desires are unfulfilled to give way to a desire that is fulfilled. God was pleased that David desired to build the temple. It pleased God; yet, the Lord, for higher reasons, had David’s son, Solomon, build it.

SDP: What pleased God was David’s obedient heart, not the building of the temple (Ps. 40:6-8; 51:16, 17). It is our faith that pleases God, not our works (Heb. 11:6, Acts 17:25, Prv. 21:4). We are convinced of this, being Calvinists. Nevertheless, God did desire that the temple be built and Solomon did indeed build the temple, as God desired. So, your example does not show contradictory desires in God at all. In fact, it does not even show a hierarchy of desires.

At this point, I feel the issue has been addressed sufficiently. Your arguments have been thoroughly refuted. Rather than continue rehashing what has already been said, I will leave you to reconsider your soteriology: orthodox Calvinism or heterodox hypo-Calvinism.

The “Genuine Offer” Dialogue – Cross-Examination

Characters appearing in this section:

ISP: Infralapsarian Single-Predestinarian
Argues that the gospel is genuinely offered to all.

SDP: Supralapsarian Double-Predestinarian
Argues that the gospel is genuinely offered to the elect only.

…Begin dialogue text…

SDP originally wrote:

Premise #1) If regeneration is required for faith.
Premise #2) If faith is required for salvation.
Conclusion #1) Then all who are saved are regenerated.

ISP: True, yet it is begging a question. Can men logically cry to God for faith? (I know that the reprobate morally cannot, but physically he can.)

SDP: I’m sorry, but you do not understand what “begging the question” means. To beg the question is to make a circular argument, i.e. to reuse your conclusion in your premises. That is not at all what I am doing.

Additionally, that the reprobate can “physically” cry for faith is irrelevant, for (1) it is not of faith (Mt. 7:21 and Heb. 11:6) and (2) even if he would, the Lord would not hear him (Ps. 18:41), and (3) the preaching of the gospel to the reprobate serves to harden their hearts (Jn. 12:37:41). In fact, let’s take a look at that passage.

But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him. (Jn. 12:37:41)

Look at what is written in vv. 39, 40: “Therefore they could not believe because . . . [God] hath blinded their eyes and hardened their heart.” I just don’t see how this passage can be fit into your impression of the gospel. Isaiah (Esaias) clearly testifies that the reprobate is not given the means by which to hear and believe, rather, their hearts are hardened by the gospel message. Now, if God really desires the reprobate convert, why would he “blind their eyes and harden their heart”? It hardly seems to me that God’s perceptive will is that the reprobate be saved. We certainly know that it is not in his decretive will that they be saved.

SDP originally wrote:

Premise #3) If God does all that he desires.
Premise #4) If God desires the reprobate be saved.
Conclusion #2) God will save the reprobate.

ISP: Not necessarily, for it is based upon an assumption that there are not multitudes of desires in God!

SDP: The only way this objection holds is if God can have contradictory desires, viz. that God can desire the reprobate be saved and desire that the reprobate not be saved. If you wish to make this argument, then all I can ask is how Job 23:13, Ps. 115:3; 135:6, Eph. 1:11 can all be true if God both does something he desires and does not do the same thing he desires. That is an impossibility.

God cannot have created the earth and not created the earth.

ISP: If a man is going to choose between chopping his right hand off and his wife being put to death, he will, if he loves her, have his right hand cut off. Are we to assume the man wanted his right hand cut off? Yes and no!

SDP: This does not apply to God. God is omnipotent and can do all he pleases. Your argument assumes that the man is unable to both keep his hand and save his wife. These are not limitations that God suffers under.

SDP originally wrote:

The first three premises are universally agreed to by all Calvinists.

ISP: If that were true, all Calvinists would deny the “well meant offer of the Gospel”; it is only a small minority who do.

SDP: To restate, the first three premises are:

1) Faith is required for salvation.
2) Regeneration is required for faith.
3) God does all that he desires.

So, you’re saying that only small minority of Calvinists believe these propositions? I simply must have your definition of Calvinist then, because I have never met a Calvinist that disagreed with any of these statements.

SDP originally wrote:

We see then that the conclusions follow inexorably from the premises.

ISP: I disagree. You are saying that logic determines doctrine. Revelation does that, and revelation may take years, synods, arguments, heated debates, even wars, before men agree. Consider the Trinity!

SDP: Do you not understand how integrated logic is into everything? Do you not understand that in order to even communicate requires logic? The fundamental law of contradiction assumes that A cannot be non-A at the same time and in the same sense. This literally means that true cannot also be false. If that were true, we could not know truth. If dog also meant cat, then whenever someone said “dog,” you would not know if he were referring to a dog or a cat. Do you see how fundamental logic is in everything? Without logic, we could not even understand revelation. Without logic, we could not formulate doctrine. It is not superior to revelation; it works in conjunction with it. Just as the Holy Spirit illuminates the word to us when we read it, we use logic to understand things.

You also make some very peculiar assertions concerning “revelation.” Revelation, insofar as it is applicable to us, is Scripture. Revelation does not require “years, synods, arguments, heated debates, even wars.” Revelation is inerrant and infallible because it is the word of God. Men may not concur as to what revelation means without the things you have enumerated, but that means nothing as far as revelation is concerned.

And for a final rebuttal, has it not been the case that I have been citing verse after verse after verse? The biblical data I have been appealing to are far more numerous than those you have been referring to. You have made a couple of token citations to support your claims, but the inferences you have made have been shown to be invalid. Moreover, I simply never said logic determines doctrine. I have always appealed first and foremost to Scripture. You have not even interjected an alternative interpretation of the verses provided, and for good reason, you cannot. They are so abundantly clear that they ought to be received outright. Why do you refuse to do so?

ISP: Your argument, clever as it is, is based upon presuppositions.

1. That God has only one desire.
2. That men who do not have faith cannot call upon God for it.
3. That doctrine is acceptable by the measure of logic, instead of revelation by faith.


1) The problem with arguing that God has contrary or contradictory desires has been addressed above. I will also comment that what you are proposing results in the formal fallacy of equivocation. Whenever you use a word in more than one sense, you commit a formal fallacy of ambiguity. My argument only speaks of one desire—God’s desire concerning the salvation of the reprobate. So your protest that I am not taking into account that God can have multiple desires is actually fallacious. I am not talking about any of those.

2) It has already been demonstrated that natural man cannot call upon God for faith. Additionally, and more to the point, even if the reprobates did, they would not be heard (Ps. 18:41).

3) Logic does not contradict or contravene revelation in anyway. Logic is a tool by which we are able to come to the true meaning of the Scriptures. That is why I believe what I believe. The logical consequence of what the Scripture says is that the salvation is not offered to the reprobate. Without logic, you cannot properly understand revelation, and without revelation, you cannot properly understand logic (its purpose and utility).

ISP: Are you familiar with the Rev. Samuel Rutherford’s work, The Will of God and the Gospel Offer?

SDP: I can’t say I am.

ISP: In it, Rutherford shows that there is a desire in God for all to repent and for none to perish. He further clearly shows clearly that this desire is not the same type of desire that you have assumed I have been speaking of. If it were God’s absolute desire to save all mankind then he would certainly do it! And on this point, I believe we both agree.

SDP: On that point, yes.

ISP: Yet, should it be said that because God has no absolute desire to save every man, he has no desire to save every man? No! That is simply false.

The desire that God has—that all should be saved—is a complacent desire, but nevertheless, is unfeigned—a desire of approval. He desires that men would repent and not suffer for their sin. This is pleasing to God.

As I attempted to show by my illustration of the man losing his arm to save his wife, he desired to keep his arm (considered from a desire of complacency and approval), but he also desired to lose his arm (considered from a desire of action). These are both desires, but not in the same sense.

SDP: Allow me to demonstrate the logic of your argument here:

Premise #1) God does not desire all men be saved.
Premise #2) God does desire all men be saved.
Conclusion) Therefore, God does not desire all men be saved and he desires all men be saved.

How do you expect me to respond to this? How is this not completely and totally contradictory?

You are continuing to equivocate on “desire.” You try to show that God can have different salvific desires. This is illogical. The sense is desire of salvific status—God’s desire regarding the state of the soul of the person. The sense, the end of which I am speaking, is the eternal state of the person’s soul. You cannot equivocate on this. There isn’t even a way to conceptualize how God could desire the reprobate’s soul to be eternally saved and be eternally damned. That is a flat-out contradiction. It is irreconcilable.

What is happening here is you are introducing ambiguity into your understanding of desire by assuming that God wants every man to come to him and repent on his own (complacent desire), but that he is not going to regenerate them, thus allowing them to succeed (I’ll call this effective desire).

The problem with this position is that only one of these desires leads to salvation, i.e. effective desire. Complacent desire does not lead to salvation, so it is fallacious to say that God complacently desires the reprobate be saved. His only desire to salvation is his effective desire. Moreover, it is contradictory to the Scripture that says, “He does all he desires,” to say that he has a complacent, impotent desire of some kind. If God does all he desires then that includes his complacent desires, too. You haven’t avoided the problem at all, just demonstrated increasing confusion on your part.

I think the main problem is you are confusing the theological concepts of God’s decretive will and his preceptive will. I believe you think that the different sense in which we understand God’s will necessarily infers that God’s desires follow a similar pattern. There is no scriptural support for this, however. It is written, “He hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” It is not written, “He hath done whatsoever he hath commanded.” God’s commands are included in the preceptive will of God. The term “preceptive will” means God’s will according to his precepts, which are the law and the gospel. The preceptive will of God is what the psalmist wrote about in the 119th Psalm: “Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently” (v. 4). We must also keep in mind that our human perceptions of the will of God are different from the true character of his will. We perceive—and this is extremely important because our humans perceptions are flawed, especially when it comes to God—that God has willed that we should keep his commands. But it is also written, “Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand” (Is. 14:24). We then perceive that we have a contradiction: for God “wills” that we keep his commandments, but we often do not. But the Scripture does not lie. We then come to understand that he does not necessarily will (decretive will: his eternal purpose) what he commands. No, in fact, he frequently uses evil (which he hates and commands us not to do) for his own purposes.

Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee. (1 Kn. 22:23)

What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips. (Job 2:10)

The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. (Prv. 16:4)

Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good? (Lam. 3:38)

For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. (Rom. 9:17)

We see that what God commands, what he requires of men, is not necessarily what he wills should happen. That is, what God commands is not necessarily what he has purposed to happen. God commanded Adam not to eat of the tree, but Adam did it anyway. Should we say that God did not intend for that to happen? Surely not:

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. (Rom. 5:12)

Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. (Rom. 3:19)

Paul says here that God’s purpose was that Adam should break the commandment. He perceives that many will find this objectionable.

Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? (Rom. 9:19, 20)

Having resolved the apparent problem concerning how we understand God’s will as presented in Scripture, we can then come to his desires. The Scripture says, “He hath done whatsoever he pleased.” We can thus identify God’s pleasure with his purpose. As surely as he has purposed, so shall it be done. We can thus conclude that he has done all things for his good pleasure, and this is precisely what Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians. God “predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Eph. 1:5). And it is in Christ “whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph. 1:11).

So, again, the problem with your lose arm/save wife illustration is that it is non-applicable to God, for “he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” He has purposed to save the elect and punish the reprobate. Thus it has be decreed, thus it shall be done.

ISP: You have such a limited view of desire that you quote one passage (Job) to the utter expense of all others!

You cannot even see a complacent desire in God for the reprobate—just sheer hatred!

I wonder what spirit this is?

Your view of God is more anti-Christian than the Arminian’s!

Just ask around those who are Reformed about God making men merely to damn them! And then you say you feel for these men. I fail to see why!!!

SDP: I can see my work here is done.

The “Genuine Offer” Dialogue – Arguments

Characters appearing in this section:

ISP: Infralapsarian Single-Predestinarian
Argues that the gospel is genuinely offered to all.

SDP: Supralapsarian Double-Predestinarian
Argues that the gospel is genuinely offered to the elect only.

PPD: Party Privy to the Debate
Offers a couple of thoughts at the beginning of the section.

…Begin dialogue text…

ISP: God is reluctant to judge.

SDP: I’ve never read in the Scriptures that God is reluctant to judge. In fact, that is precisely what the reprobate has been made for: judgment.

PPD: Perhaps ISP has this in mind? “Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, and the forbearance and the long-suffering, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4).

ISP: Yes, brother, that is a very relevant text. The hyper-Calvinist will say the good things—riches of His Kindness—God grants to the reprobate are not really good, they are only a means to damn men more!

God is after blood, God only made some men to smash them, no other reason is offered, and the declaration of God’s longsuffering in Romans 9 is overlooked, or denied any real meaning.

SDP: Perhaps ISP would appeal to Romans 2:4, but this would just be another excellent example of coercing an interpretation out of the text. This verse says nothing of God’s reluctance to judge. It does not even say that God wants all men to repent. It says that God’s kindness, forbearance, and long-suffering ought to lead men to repentance. God’s love and kindness toward men ought to cause (that is, morally obligates) them to repent. Remember that the infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is Scripture (WCF 1:9). Conferring with Acts 2:38 helps us to understand that Paul is talking about a moral mandate in Romans 2:4. This mandate comes from God’s commandment that all must repent and believe in Christ. But, as we have already covered, God’s commandments and desires are not always the same.

PPD: Hmm, I agree with you. Man ought to repent but nevertheless our job does not only consist of “hellfire-preaching”:

That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5:19-21)

Of course, this news is only for the elect—but we do not know which are the elect—only God knows; so, we have to preach this to everyone we meet.

I also agree that nowadays one hears too little about damnation and hell and a good presentation of the gospel must include the message of eternal damnation (no question about that), but one must be careful not to become unbalanced, either. We must keep on the middle of the road.

ISP: And just why would God press a moral obligation if he were not showing kindness? And if he were to show kindness, he would show it for a reason. You have the reason spelled out for you in the text. To lead them to repentance, not condemnation—they are already condemned!

It is just that type of concept—that God makes men to damn them—that gives Calvinists such a bad name; and rightly so—it is warped!

For the Lord will not cast off for ever: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men. To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth, To turn aside the right of a man before the face of the most High, To subvert a man in his cause, the Lord approveth not. (Lam. 3:31-36)

When some Calvinists have finished rationalizing the faith into, “God only loves the elect and he hates everyone else,” they may be happy with worshipping a God who is so uncompassionate and hard-hearted toward their fellow man to shout up praises for a gospel of love. It is not so with me.

God is love, and God is slow to anger and reluctant to afflict or grieve the children of men.

SDP: Who ever said he is not showing kindness? I’m sorry but this just does not follow. Because the moral obligation to repent comes after God’s showing forth of kindness, you assume that this is the reason that God shows kindness. Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

God shows kindness because it is in his nature to do so. God is love. Love is volitional, one that is acted upon. God makes his love known by showing forth kindness. As our Lord says in Matthew’s Gospel:

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Mt. 5:45-48)

Moreover, Paul writes:

What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory. (Rom. 9:22, 23)

And what is God’s disposition toward those he has afore prepared for destruction?

Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man. (Ps. 5:6)

The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. (Ps. 11:5)

Is it even true that the Lord hears the cries of the wicked? No, he does not:

They cried, but there was none to save them: even unto the LORD, but he answered them not. (Ps. 18:41)

Let’s look at a couple more verses that speak on who Christ’s sacrifice was intended for, thus giving us an idea of God’s purpose for the gospel.

Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. (Heb. 2:17)

What does the author of Hebrews mean for “the people”? Does he mean all people? Surely not. For then all would be reconciled to God. Matthew clarifies for us:

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Mt. 1:21, emphasis added)

We know that Christ’s people are all those the Father shall give to him (Jn. 6:37), i.e. the elect. Moreover, faith in Christ Jesus secures him as our personal High Priest before the Father.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. (Eph. 2:8)

The wicked do not have the gift of faith. It is the gift of God and it is denied to the reprobate.

Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. (Jn. 6:65b)

Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. (Jn 8:42, 43)

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Mt. 7:21)

And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (Jn. 6:40)

I do not know how much clearer it can be. The Scriptures teach that Christ’s work on the cross is intended solely for the elect. If Christ only died for the elect, then how in the world can one say that God nevertheless desires the repentance of the reprobate? The Scriptures also teach that God’s purpose for the reprobate is judgment and destruction (Prv. 16:4). He has constructed both vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy (Rom. 9:22, 23).

I am just at a complete loss as to why any one would not accept this. It certainly does nothing to protect the character of God (as if God needed our theological formulations for his character to be guarded). If anything, it involves God in a deceptive and disingenuous offer of salvation to those that are incapable of even hearing the gospel. Let us read the account of Ezekiel in the valley of bones:

Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. (Eze. 37:3b)

In v. 3, God asks and Ezekiel answers that bones cannot live. Who are the bones? The unregenerate. The dead spirit of unregenerate man is clear in Scripture.

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Gen. 2:17)

For the wages of sin is death. . . . And you . . . were dead in trespasses and sins. (Rom. 6:23a, Eph. 2:1)

What is required for them to live?

Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live. (Eze. 37:5)

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (Jn. 6:63)

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor. 2:14)

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. (Titus 3:5)

Of special note is 1 Cor. 2:14, wherein the apostle Paul even says that the natural man cannot even receive the things of the Spirit of God because they are spiritually discerned (cf. Jn. 3:3; 8:43). Without the washing of regeneration and the rebirth into the kingdom of God, the reprobate cannot even hear the spiritual call of the gospel. He is spiritually dead! The dead neither hear nor respond.

How then can God genuinely offer salvation to corpses? They are already dead! Does he desperately hope the dead man will repent even though he is naught but bones and dust? How can dry bones do anything even approaching repentance?

Do you understand my difficulty with your position? What appeal can you possibly make in light of these scriptural evidences? What argument can you bring forth that will harmonize your doctrine with the biblical doctrine of the gospel?

I would also like to go back to the passage you quoted from Lamentations. Don’t stop reading at v. 36. “Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not? Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good? Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?” (Lam. 3:37-39). Let’s not forget this verse, either: “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil” (Prv. 16:4). Or this one: “And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory” (Rev. 16:9).

It is true that “God is slow to anger,” but that doesn’t mean God is desirous that all be saved.

The problem with your position is you have neither scriptural support nor logical support for your arguments. All you have is how you feel about God. You feel that God is loving toward all men, doubtless based on those passages that talk about the infinite love of God, but you have made inferences where there is no justification for them. God does not desire the repentance of the reprobate, else he would effect it. To argue otherwise is to argue that God is duplicitous, desperately desiring the reprobate to repent, but denying them the regeneration that would enable it.

There is just simply no basis for this belief.

ISP: We have been through this before, and I have shown you that God desires you to be perfect, for God commands it. Should you say God commands what He doesn’t desire, it is you, not me who makes God act with duplicity!

Hyper-Calvinists confuse the results of God’s interactions with His intentions.

Do you need a long list of Reformed Christians throughout history that openly supported the genuine offer? All the Puritans did. Do you need me to begin quoting the Reformers to show you how far you have drifted? If so, just say the word!

By the way, thank you, PPD, for quoting that passage from Corinthians. Too often the hyper-Calvinist has been content to hide behind an idea that it is okay to preach the gospel to all because we don’t know who the reprobates are—a subtle ploy to still allow God room to make men to set them on fire!

But your text shows it is God calling the sinner to repent, the preacher is merely a useful tool (which is the essence of Calvinism)!

SDP: Ho, ho! You suppose that quoting Reformers out of context so that their words support your view will enable you to weasel your way out of providing biblical evidence and arguments for your position? I think not! I too have plenty of quotes from some of the same Reformers that you would use against me—John Calvin included! The fault lies with you in disharmonizing their teaching from the Bible. You cannot provide evidence from the Scriptures to support your view, so you appeal to out of context quotes from Reformers hoping to make your point that way.

Well, you certainly do make a point that way, but not the one you want to make. The point you make is that you cannot form a biblical argument in support of your position; therefore, you can do nothing but appeal to tradition and previous authors. I rest my case on the infallible foundation of Holy Writ. On what is yours based?

Many people misunderstand my intentions when I bring up this subject. They infer that I am somehow saying that we shouldn’t preach to all people. This could not be further from the truth. My position is that only the elect will hear and believe in the gospel. This is nothing more than biblical truth. The reason I have entered into this dialogue is that hypo-Calvinists such as ISP continue to advance an unscriptural view of God’s disposition toward the reprobate. This is not motivated out of a desire to be biblical, but out of a desire to water down the gospel and make it more palatable to those who hate the gospel in the first place. God does not desire the reprobate to repent and believe because he has denied him the regenerating work that would enable him to do so.

Now, we are not God and we have no idea who is elect. We do not even know if we are elect because to know so we would have to be privy to God’s hidden decree of election, which we are not. (Nevertheless, we can have assurance of our election, but this is different.) For this reason, we are called to spread the Gospel indiscriminately and I believe and obey this command with my whole heart. Never would I deign to deliver the good news of Jesus Christ because I suspected someone was reprobate.

This is a far cry from holding the position that God is seeking the repentance of all men, though. God is at work in the world reconciling the elect to himself, not all men. We should be honest to the teaching of the gospel, not hiding essential truths, or worse, inventing false doctrines that portray God as Janus-faced.

You show a fundamental lack of understanding regarding the doctrine of the gospel. You call yourself reformed and are yet unfamiliar with the outward call of the gospel over against the inward call of the gospel?

Observe, the outward call:

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)

As opposed to the inward call:

Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (Jn. 3:3b)

And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life. . . . (Jn. 6:40)

Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. (Jn. 8:43)

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (Jn. 10:27)

Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man . . . can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. (1 Cor. 12:3)

According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. (Titus 3:5b)

The outward call is that wherein we proclaim the work of Christ. The inward call is that spiritual breath through which God regenerates the man, endows him with the gift of faith, and calls him to repentance and trust in Christ.

ISP: We have been through this before. You are just repeating yourself. Of course I know there is a difference between the outward call and the inward call, but you have continually failed to grasp that the outward call comes from God! It is not the preacher alone that calls all men to repent and be reconciled to God; it is God himself!

Your logic is that of the Arminian. He says God cannot call all to repent if he grants it only to the elect. You say God does call all, but not really God, it is the preacher. What you have done with your philosophy is build a gap between what we preach and what God wants to say!

The same goes for the warped view that God cannot be sincere if he doesn’t regenerate the reprobate. Classic Arminian faulty logic. And yes, I oppose it. And God willing, I will continue to oppose it!

You said, “That is true, but that doesn’t mean that God is desirous that all be saved.” Here we have a case where we can be desirous to have our friends and family saved, we can do good, love them, pray for them to be saved, and yet be totally out of step with God’s desire!

I wondered years ago how I was meant to behave toward men in general, and the concept (which I am in no way new to) that God only desires the elect to be saved, and the gospel is only for the elect, (yes you can talk till the cows come home about you believe in preaching to all men , it doesn’t make any sense), that God has no desire, goodwill, love, compassion toward any unless he regenerates them is post hoc.

Are not all men commanded by God to repent? Why would God command and promise eternal life to all men if He didn’t have any desire to save them? Why would Noah be sent to preach for 100 years if God had no desire to save anyone except for Noah and his family? Your view doesn’t make sense, it is illogical and anti-scriptural.

The idea that we should weep over sinners is incongruous with worshipping a God who made them to set them alight!

I reject every attempt at making God out to be mean spirited, and I consider it as much perhaps more heresy than even the Arminians to say God only makes the reprobate to damn him.

I wonder what spirit you are of?

Meet the High Calvinist in scripture, the ones who always will quote God’s anger against reprobates, not his compassion for them!

And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” And they went on to another village. (Lk. 9:54-56)

SDP: I know we have been over this before, which is part of the reason why I am so stunned that you are continuing to maintain your position. Nevertheless, because you insist on proliferating an incorrect interpretation of the Scriptures, I must continue to refute you, lest others hear your words, and be deceived.

Your comment concerning the distinction between the inward and outward calls was a little strange to me. So, both the inward and outward calls are delivered by God? An interesting arrangement. You seem to appeal greatly to the works of the Reformers. Which of them wrote to this effect? I have never heard God speak, but I have heard a number of men urge me to heed the call of the gospel. It was not until the Holy Spirit regenerated my heart and inwardly called me to Christ that I heeded that call, however.

Moreover, if both the inward and outward calls are made by God himself, then where does man fit in here? You do violence against God’s ordination of the proclamation of the gospel. If the words are God’s, why does man need to speak at all? More importantly, you violate another foundational Reformed doctrine, namely that there is no new revelation. If it is God that is speaking through the man, then this amounts to new revelation, unless your entire gospel proclamation is nothing more than verbatim restatement of Scripture.

I could not help but laugh at your accusation that “my logic is that of the Arminian.” If anyone is being Arminian here, it is you. I had tried to avoid using language of that persuasion, but you forced my hand. Your insistence that God offers salvation to all necessitates a universal atonement because he absolutely could not offer salvation to those that he still suffers wrath against (cf. Psalm 2). Remember, Christ is the propitiation sacrifice. God’s wrath toward the elect has been appeased. His wrath is still stored up against the reprobate, though. He has foreordained him to judgment and eternal hellfire. He has not even provided him the necessary atonement to forgive his sins.

Let’s go back to this statement:

He [the Arminian] says God cannot call all to repent if he grants it only to the elect. You say God does call all, but not really God, it is the preacher. What you have done with your philosophy is build a gap between what we preach and what God wants to say!

What God wants to say is expressed through the preacher. God has not given the gospel unto the world that it should be sought out independently by men (this is Arminian error). It has been given to men to spread to other men. The preacher is God’s instrument for spreading the gospel. The man, not knowing God’s hidden decree of election, faithfully delivers the good news of Jesus Christ without regard of persons. The Lord, knowing those that are his, regenerates those he has foreordained to belief at the time of the preaching. In this way, God works through our obedience to call his sheep to him. No gap is built here, rather the unity between the work of Christ and the work of men is made complete. For we are disciples of and co-laborers with, Christ, sent forth unto all the nations.

Your arguments have been refuted. You have offered next to nothing by way of counter-argument, but what little you have has been inconsistent, incomplete, or just plain wrong. Until you are prepared to offer something substantive, an argument that isn’t founded upon eisegesis, irrationality, and subjective disposition, then please let me know. Until then, I would appeal to you to stop spreading this doctrine, for I simply cannot cease refuting you. To do so would be disobedient to the word of God.

My last proof will be a simple logical argument using truths that everybody can agree to, including ISP. If I can form valid deductive arguments from these premises, then the conclusions will be inescapable.

Premise #1) If regeneration is required for faith.
Premise #2) If faith is required for salvation.
Conclusion #1) Then all who are saved are regenerated.

Premise #3) If God does all that he desires.
Premise #4) If God desires the reprobate be saved.
Conclusion #2) God will save the reprobate.

Conclusion #1) If all who are saved are regenerated.
Conclusion #2) If God will save the reprobate.
Conclusion #3) Then God will regenerate the reprobate.

So, obviously, if God does not regenerate the reprobate, then God does not desire the salvation of the reprobate.

The first three premises are universally agreed to by all Calvinists:

1) Faith is required for salvation.
2) Regeneration is required for faith.
3) God does all that he desires.

The fourth is ISP’s premise:

4) God desires the reprobate be saved.

We thus see from the argument that ISP’s premise would result in the reprobate being saved. But the Bible says he will not be saved. As a result, ISP’s position results in a logical absurdity. We simply cannot accept this conclusion. It must be the case that God does not desire the salvation of the reprobate because if he did, he would save him.

We see then that the conclusions follow inexorably from the premises. ISP’s position is indefensible.