JeffS, Commenter at Wartburg Watch: A response to his very kind comment; why I’m not admitting I was wrong, and why I am still commenting on Wartburg, and what is the disturbing new trend

Last night on Wartburg Watch I received a very nice comment from self-admitted Calvinist, JeffS.  JeffS and I have gone a few rounds over there, and our dialogue is part of the reason for the new and improved  “moderated Argo” over there.  Apparently, I have a problem with “tone”.  And while I do not want to concede that my tone is “wrong”–for I maintain complete adherence to my last post on the matter–I did want to acknowledge that sometimes, in the interest of love, we make attempts to differentiate between the ideas we hate and the people–the human beings–we love.  And that might mean that you swallow your pride and you work with the system.  If the system has corners you do not agree to…well, you either modify your ways so that you can continue existing in it as best your can; or you jump off.  If you don’t own the system (like I don’t own Wartburg Watch), then you don’t make the rules.  It is as simple as that.

At any rate, my reply is still sitting in the corner with a dunce cap on, so it hasn’t appeared yet.  I’m sure it will in time, but just in case I never find my way out of blog jail I wanted to post it here so that JeffS doesn’t think I’m ignoring him.  I am not, and I appreciate his heart and his words.  I want him to know this as soon as possible.

JeffS said:

@ Argo:
I hope we are cool. I am glad you are still posting. And I know an earlier comment I made may have come off as judging your motives, which was not my intent. I reacted a little strongly to reading your statement that you didn’t care about TWW. I hope you can forgive any insult I might have given there.

I do believe you have good motives, even if we are completely opposed in what we think is good and right in terms of theology and philosophy. I do think you and I agree on what is good and right in action, though, and that is something (even the most important thing, in my view).

Argo said:

JeffS,

Totally cool. Thank you so much for your time and the dialogue.

And…yeah. I’m not really proud of that comment.

I’m walking a weird line here. It’s a bit surreal. A good learning experience. I mean…I’m not quite acknowledging that I was “wrong” in my “tone” per se; but I DO NOT ever want to get in a place where HUMAN BEINGS are sensing some kind of…hmmm, attack or assault or something. And I think that that means, though I might have my opinions as to the “wrongness” or “rightness” of my communication style, as A Mom put it, sometimes you just have to…well, deny yourself and keep trying.

I hope that doesn’t sound arrogant. I just mean I don’t ever want…uh…hmmm…technical “correctness”, or MY assumptions as to whether or not I did anything “wrong” to be the plumb line for loving others. Or empathizing with them. I want the affirmation of THEIR human worth to be the plumb line for empathy. In other words, the plumb line for love should be love.

But again, that doesn’t mean I will ever let up on the doctrine, LOL. (And I suspect you won’t either!! :-) ) Because I really feel that the plumb line for love in many doctrines is the doctrine. And what is wrong with that to me is self-evident. But that’s just me.

But the fact that someONE disagrees with me will not affect my love for THEM.

And that is where this whole communication thing takes us…what is the best way to communicate love for PEOPLE, while trying to communicate my disdain for their doctrinal assumptions which I strongly believe ultimately drives the abuse we see in so many churches, and which I have witness firsthand in SGM (and to communicate that this does not mean I assume that THEY are an abuser by default or something creepy like that…because that’s a TERRIBLE thing to suggest…and I think people think I’m suggesting this, and I can see why).

I understand that sometimes, I am not successful in making that distinction. And I feel terrible about that, because that? Is not my message.

And A Mom is right: it is at THAT place where you must make a conscious effort to defer to their needs. And that means, yep…toning it down so that you don’t subvert your own message by risking hurting someone on some emotional level.

It’s a tough line, but we’ll get there I think. :-)

I hope that makes sense.

Still, the Double Standard, and the Disturbing New Trend:

Now, like I said, I’m still working out the whole “communication” thing.  I am NOT…repeat NOT conceding Dee’s point, that you can separate delivery and message.  I’m not conceding that I was wrong to point out the double standard, because I think it is clear by even a cursory reading of the comments thread.  My ideas are called “silly”, I am “haranguing”, I am “forcing”, I am “equating trinitarians with suicide bombers”, I am “becoming unhinged”, I am accused of “telling others what to think”; accused of calling people “stupid”, and that my statements are “somewhat nonsensical”.  Still…no peep from the moderators.  Oh…sorry, there was some action taken.  The action was to dump all MY comments immediately into moderation.

Which is fine, as I said.  If I want to comment, I have to be a big boy about not making the rules.  And I have to work on my tone.  I’m okay with that because HUMAN BEINGS are worth the work.

But…

And here is a huge BUT here.  Recently (like, yesterday), Dee posted THIS very telling comment.  To say the least, it will certainly make it much harder, if not downright impossible (for not only reasons of logic but for reasons of conscience) for me to continue commenting there.  Dee wrote this:

“Last night I did not approve two comments which accused Calvinist theology of causing the sexual abuse we have been reading about.”

And then, she explains her follow up to those comments, which resulted in her ultimately deciding to “give up”:

“When I asked one of those people if they believed that Arminian theology can also causes abuse, I was told that classic Arminianism is Calvinism so that theology leads to child sexual abuse as well. I gave up.”

Now, this, to me, is nothing more than acknowledging that it cannot–not at all–be the IDEAS which drive abuse, because if two or more ideas lead to abuse, somehow the ideas cancel each other out and we are left with what…behavior?  Just bad people not doing the bad ideas “nicely”?  That good people, like Wade Burleson, doing the bad ideas right somehow proves that the ideas are not bad.  That two or more bad ideas means that bad ideas cannot exist, because if that were true then there would only be one bad idea and the rest would be good?  As if pointing to one bad doctrine as providing the mandate for abuse can be disproved by pointing to another bad doctrine?  That two wrongs make a right?

That’s like saying:

“The Nazis had some bad ideas”

“But what about Marxism…didn’t that lead to millions of deaths under Stalin?”

“Yes…because they share the same presuppositions about the state owning man.”

“What?  How can this be?  How can two different governments share the same destructive assumptions?  That’s impossible.  I can’t argue with you.  I give up.”

Honestly, I must say I’m struggling to understand just what Dee is saying here.

But what I do understand is that when you decide that criticism of ideas is off the table, it is a short walk to the end of the plank, or the firing squad, or the burning stake, or the gas chamber. 

This is nothing more than conceding the Primacy of Consciousness premise.  The belief that at their root, ideas are only “good”; and that destructive human behavior is NEVER and can NEVER BE the result of the ideas they filter all of their reality through.  The “logic” goes:  ALL ideas are good, ergo, if abuse occurs in the name of them, it is merely because humanity does not possess the capacity to employ them effectively, because humans are unable by default to ever do GOOD.  They are too “depraved” (or selfish, or evil, or lost, or stupid, or capitalist, or racist, or unenlightened, or bad at math…whatever the primary consciousness happens to be).  And this of course is a tacit acceptance of the “authority” of the “gnostics”.  Those special people divinely gifted to rule over the rest of us slobs. 

And this is why I submit that regardless of what they say, that people who will NOT confront ideas are really still utterly committed to the belief that man, fundamentally, IS the problem.  And thus the implicit notion is that it is therefore okay for “special” people to compel (force) them into right actions and thinking. 

If Calvinism cannot be called out for the destructive and abusive conclusions it INEXORABLY leads to (and I will debate anyone, anywhere, anytime on this), then what is being said is HUMAN BEINGS are the problem.  The VICTIM has no real recourse and the perpetrator can never be held accountable and the “authority” cannot be culpable for pushing the doctrinal assumptions which drove the abuse in the first place because the doctrine cannot be blamed, because the paradigm is: doctrine wholly GOOD, and human beings wholly EVIL.  And a wholly evil human can NEVER be expected to actually employ or behave in accordance with that which is completely beyond him. 

So, the VICTIM was merely the unfortunate target of a poor, depraved sinner, being taught his ideas by another poor depraved sinner.  And who then can really blame the poor sinner? For but for the grace of God go all of us, right?  So, let’s just get better gnostic in there who do a better job of getting these idiots to DO the doctrine right.

And maybe we do.  Maybe we get lucky and get a Wade Burleson in there. And maybe things are fine for a while because he isn’t “on fire” for the “truth” like SGM is.  He, because he may have some sense of human decency and love, refuses to take the doctrinal assumptions to their logical conclusions.

But sooner or later, Wade retires.  And maybe the next guy is okay. And the next.  But then…we get a guy who thinks, wait a minute.  I’M in charge here, and MY responsibility isn’t for the depraved masses, it is to GOD.  And God SAYS x, y, z…and “sound doctrine” is everything.  And “who are YOU o man, to argue with God, and His divinely called Authority in the Stead?  Who are YOU to judge your COVERING?!! And to the rapped three year old I say, FIRST take the log out of your OWN eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your rapist’s eye!!”

And all this from a little telling comment:

“I have removed two comments that blame Calvinism for abuse.”

Oh yes. For who are we to argue with God’s “infallible Word”.  Who are we to argue with ideas whose corpulence we are too busying crawling in the dirt like worms to grasp?

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80 thoughts on “JeffS, Commenter at Wartburg Watch: A response to his very kind comment; why I’m not admitting I was wrong, and why I am still commenting on Wartburg, and what is the disturbing new trend

  1. “thinking about it. Still not sure where”

    We are also thinking about it in a few years. Perhaps half a year though. My Hub is still a British citizen who goes back and forth so our options are more open as far as countries.

  2. Remove self-loathing and contemplating the “depths of Satan, as they speak” (Revelation 2:24, I mean total depravity), and cease saying “I know I’m saved because I’ve never done one truly good work,” and flee from being young, restless, and reformed, for it is vanity.”

    James, Reading Revelation 2 you referenced in light of Calvinism and what they teach about contemplating evil in you all the time— gave me huge creeps. Great reference! Thank you for pointing it out. I have long maintained that Satan loves Calvinism because there is no victory in it at all for humans. Only death.

  3. I will share with you a quote from Pelagius’ commentary on Romans which has been translated into English finally in the 90s and is available on Amazon.com but a bit overpriced.

    Romans 4:5 “But to one who does not work but who believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness. When an ungodly person converts, God justifies him by faith alone, not for the good works he did not have. Otherwise he should have been punished for works of ungodliness. At the same time one should note that he did not declare the sinner justified by faith, but rather the ungodly, that is, one who has just come to believe.”

    First, I will note, that to my knowledge Pelagius is the FIRST person to use the phrase “faith alone” in describing this verse! It wasn’t Augustine!

    Second, I mentioned this problem of translation in Romans 4:5 in my 2nd blog post although I didn’t mention I first noticed it by reading Pelagius. Romans 4:5 and the term ungodly

    The word “ungodly” (asebia in Greek, impietatis in Latin) means the religious novice, or one unconcerned with dogma and ritual not the immoral sinner. Pelagius is using this distinction in terms to point out that justification by faith alone means that God justifies the new convert by faith alone, but not that the veteran Christian can keep on living in sin and just appeal to “faith alone.”

    There is a note by the translator, Theodore de Bruyn, that the same distinction is made by Origen and Rufinus.

  4. ” Pelagius is using this distinction in terms to point out that justification by faith alone means that God justifies the new convert by faith alone, but not that the veteran Christian can keep on living in sin and just appeal to “faith alone.””

    Sheesh! I totally agree with that.

    Now most folks will say (because I hear this all the time on blogs) that we all keep on sinning even after saved. This constant refrain ia big pet peeve of mine because I think they are using a false dichotomy concerning sin:

    sinless perfection vs any sin at all.

    What are your thoughts on defining sin in this context?

  5. Lydia, We get a lot of SBTS grads in my neck of the woods. As a matter fact, one of them lead a family member down this track. They even contemplated going to SBTS for a while. No more.

    It is all about image, finesse, likability. This grad himself became dissolutioned when he found out he wasn’t “charismatic” enough at a local SB mega pastor “tryout”. But he hasn’t connected the dots.

  6. Mom, I live at ground zero so I cannot swing a dead cat without hitting a YRR. They have wrecked havoc in many SBC (and non SBC) churches here.

    But I am seeing a tiny glimmer. The SGM Mahaney/Mohler/Dever thing is sort of bothering some of the more mature movement guys. They are uncomfortable and don’t want it mentioned. Now they are sort of saying things like, well, I am not keeping up with that stuff anymore…..

    But I do wonder if they will still fork out the money for T4G next year?

    Very few of them connect the dots. It is all cult of personality.

  7. The churches are eat up with an all or nothing mentality. Either you are perfectly 100% sinless or you are totally depraved. Really? God bragged on Job to Satan about how righteous he was, how there was nobody else on earth like him, a man that eschews evil and so on, and yet Job wasn’t perfectly sinless as he admits. So what’s the big idea? The problem on this subject comes from one clear source, namely Romans 3 taking a bunch of Psalms about atheists out of context. “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works. There is none righteous, no not one!” Now if I quote that whole passage from the Psalm, its clear that “there is none righteous, no not one, ” means there is no righteous atheist. But if I take it out of context along with a bunch of other verses of similar stamp, and throw it together as a string of quotations in Romans 3, it looks like literally righteousness is an impossibility. This is what we are up against. Because Paul takes the phrase out of context, modern Protestants are emboldened to reject the Old Testament context.

    The same thing applies to that passage in Isaiah “All our righteousness is as filthy rags” — taken out of context it sounds like God actually hates righteousness (yet amazingly in the same chapter, he says “I the righteous Lord love righteousness”), but hasn’t anyone in Protestantism ever read Isaiah? That generation was seeking righteousness purely and solely and only and exclusively by ceremonial works, and Isaiah has to remind them that sacrifices and new moons and so on don’t count if you’re a murderer and an adulterer and so on, “Cleanse your hands you sinners; purify your hearts you double minded. Cease doing evil; learn to do good.” Keeping the comment “All our righteousness is as filthy rags” in that context, its clear that it means “All our righteousness, that of our generation, Isaiah’s generation, is as filthy rags, because its all based soled on ceremony!” But Paul doesn’t often quote these kinds of things in context, and the modern Protestant is emboldened thereby to reject the Old Testament context — that’s the problem — its essentially Marcionism.

    They don’t read the Old Testament; they read Paul. Then when they finally read those passages in the Old Testament and context shows them these passages don’t mean what they’ve always thought, they accuse the Old Testament of error for not giving the verses to them as contextless fortune-cookies like Paul did.

  8. Lydia,

    Have you checked out microsoft onenote? It’s like evernote. You can copy/paste or take a screenclip “picture” of a webpage. I love it.

    You mentioned you use word. I used to use excel (finance background) to organize, lists, etc. (sort and all). But now I use onenote to keep track of stuff, recipes, etc. It automatically adds the weblink to the bottom of the page you screenclip.

  9. London’s one of my favorite walking cities. The cig smoke is a bit much, though. Ask him to bring back a box of Island Bakery Organics shortbread biscuits! They’re yummy.

  10. What’s your take on P Diddy’s (my nickname for Paul at Paulspassingthoughts) post on July 22 called Righteousness, Faith, Life, Law? He contends faith and obedience are the same, like they are like two sides of a coin.

  11. Genesis 15:6 “And he (Abraham) believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”

    Genesis 26:4-5 “And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven…Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”

    Does Abraham “believed in the Lord” means he believed God existed? Certainly not, since he knew God existed by hearing God’s voice with his own ears. Comparing Genesis 15 to Genesis 26 Abraham believing in the Lord apparently means when the Lord told him to do something he did it.

    Hebrews 11 clearly understands it that way: “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.”

    Numbers 20:12 “And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not,” — what an odd way to describe Moses’ disobedience in striking the rock when he was told to speak to it.

    There is a certain sameness to true faith and obedience. What did Habakkuk actually mean when he said “the just shall live by faith”?

    Habakkuk 2:4-5 “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:”

    Does that sound like the good old faith-alonist “the just shall live by faith” we’ve all been raised on from the citation in Galatians 3? Not at all. Habakkuk is not saying the Law is bad because “the law is not of faith” but “the just shall live by faith.”

    Habakkuk is saying because the wicked don’t have faith, they transgress the Law. But the just man will live by his faith — that is, he will live out his faith by obeying.

  12. “Can you give me an example in the Bible when a covenant: / man with man / man with God / can’t be broken by man? I know God keeps his promises, but I’m talking about man’s choice. “

    I won’t cite any specific verses but its all over Isaiah and the prophets generally. The way the Mosaic Covenant works is the Jews as a corporate entity cannot break it to the extent that the covenant is gone and God says “Haha! You don’t have the covenant anymore! The covenant is over!” Individual Jews fall out of the covenant by violating it, but a remnant that is faithful always remains in the covenant. God ensures this because he promised in the Penteteuch that the covenant would be eternal. As in the days of Elijah when Elijah thought it was all over, “Lord, I’m the only one left” but God revealed that there was a remnant of seven thousand. How it generally works is those who are losing the covenant get carried off into captivity to such an extent that they forget their Jewish heritage by intermarriage. In this way the lost 10 tribes lost the covenant, during the Assyrian captivity, while the other 2 tribes were reserved as the remnant. So the point is, yes individuals can lose the covenant by breaking it, but the whole covenant is not invalidated for the rest of the group as a result.

  13. Yes, and the law wasn’t given as another way for God to show us how bad we are (since we don’t obey perfectly) but as a map, keys to abundant life now.

    jj, What’s your take on the word trinity? Or have you already commented on that?

  14. So all covenants (individual to individual) and (individual to God) can be broken by the individual. Is that your understanding?

    Lydia, John, Argo, anyone else agree/disagree?

  15. “jj, What’s your take on the word trinity? Or have you already commented on that?”

    I’ve commented on how the Calvinist version of the Trinity pits the Son against the Father destroying the “unity.”

    But the fact is my history with the Trinitiy is rather complex. In the church I was raised in the term wasn’t used until I was probably 15. They insisted on “calling Bible thinks by Bible names” so they used the term “Godhead” from the KJV. But they meant the Trinity conceptually. Most of them anyway. However, since they were into using biblical language they would have no problem with using phrases in the epistles that sound Socinian and that would virtually be outlawed in a Reformed church, like saying “Grace and peace to you from God the Father, and his son Jesus Christ” as in the opening of Paul’s epistles. That’s heresy, right, to the Reformed, since it should say “Grace and peace to you from God the Father and God the Son.”

    Being raised with biblical language and terminology I don’t think I came to believe in the deity of Christ until my teens — not that my memory is the greatest, but I don’t think I believed that when I was baptized at 12 — nor in the Trinity proper until my late teens. I got into the whole Eternal Sonship thing for a bit, and the belief that belief in the Trinity is essential to salvation. But ultimately I came out of that specifically because I noticed that people who believe in the Trinity and the Deity of Christ tend to diminish the importance of morality. Christ was a god gliding over the surface of the earth — you can’t follow his example! You’re just a man! The Socinian types who held that Jesus was just a man took morality much more seriously: you can follow Jesus’ example because he was a man like you. So ultimately I gave up on the Trinity and the deity of Christ both. Those doctrines seem very much to rob Christianity of all moral force. If Jesus was only righteous because he cheated by being God, what did he accomplish? His accomplishment is nothing because it was robotic. How do you square that with Hebrews saying “We have not a high priest who cannot be touched with our infirmities, for he was tempted in all points like we are, yet without sin”? How could he be tempted if he was God and forced to live sinlessly in a robotic manner by his divine nature? It doesn’t make any sense. I suppose I could “adore the mystery” but I’d rather adore God than mysteries.

  16. Great comment, James. I hear those trotted out all the time. And if you dare pursue righteousness then you are REALLY a horrible sinner…..because you can’t. This stuff is down right sicko. There is a reason this stuff dies out or goes liberal after a while. No one can apply their beliefs to real life!

    Another problem I have is that they take the Psalms which is man talking to God in poetry and apply it as literal from God instead of man talking to God.

    . They do ignore those pesky ones, of course, about dashing God’s enemy’s babies heads against rocks. :o)

  17. “They do ignore those pesky ones, of course, about dashing God’s enemy’s babies heads against rocks. :o)”

    Only because its illegal.

  18. ‘But ultimately I came out of that specifically because I noticed that people who believe in the Trinity and the Deity of Christ tend to diminish the importance of morality. ”

    Oh boy! I can hear screams of heretic from the silent readers. But you do have a point about those believing in the Deity of Christ diminishing the importance of morality (in all senses…how we treat one another, etc) it is rampant. Either cheap grace or Jesus already obeyed for us so no big deal about sin.

    Do you attribute any Divine characteristics to Jesus Christ?

  19. “They do ignore those pesky ones, of course, about dashing God’s enemy’s babies heads against rocks. 😮 )”

    Only because its illegal.”

    LOL!!! How true. I often thank God for those Founding Deists. (wink) Can you imagine if the Puritan gig actually worked?

  20. The same council that condemned Pelagius also condemned anyone who doesn’t believe baptism is essential to salvation or who opposes infant. (Pelagius was really ultimately condemned for being a credo-baptist.) The same council that condemned Arius condemned things Protestants believe I’m sure — all the councils do. Cries of heresy based on council are very hypocritical because the people upholding the council were themselves also condemned by the councils.

    I think in earliest Christianity he was viewed more like as a man that was made into a kind of super-angel after the passion as a result of his obedience. “God hath highly exalted him, given him a name above every other name” — he “sits at the right hand of God,” and so on.

    Hebrews 5:8 “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect,” — you mean he wasn’t perfect to begin with? — “he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” — obey him? How’d that get in there? I thought we got eternal salvation by believing he is the Second Person of the Trinity. Now I’m really confused. You mean the councils lied to me?

  21. Regarding the term “super-angel” I am aware that Hebrews beings with an argument that he is not an angel, Hebrews 1:13 “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” But what is the point in Hebrews, that he is not an angel now or that he didn’t start off as one? “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” (Heb 2:9) I think the point of the whole “to which of the angels…” rhetoric in chapter 1 is to hammer home the point that Jesus did not start off as a heavenly being but was a man, made a little lower than the angels originally, and then exalted. You can cite John 1 against this but the fact is that the passages that describe Jesus as starting off as a man and being exalted to somewhat more than human outnumber it.

  22. jj said, “If Jesus was only righteous because he cheated by being God, what did he accomplish? His accomplishment is nothing because it was robotic.”

    That’s a question I have trouble answering. I’ve thought it as robotic at times, as well.

    The Calvinists answer, I think, is Jesus needed to keep the law or obey for us. And his perfection transfers over, so we don’t have to follow the law. There is no common sense in that.

  23. “The Calvinists answer, I think, is Jesus needed to keep the law or obey for us. And his perfection transfers over, so we don’t have to follow the law. There is no common sense in that”

    Nor in inherited guilt

  24. I think the important thing to remember is not so much that He was sinless because of what He did, but who He was. He was born morally innocent because He was not a function of an external moral dualism like the rest of man, but His morality was His physical self.

    So, the only thing He can do to “sin” is to cease to affirm the innate worth of individual human beings. By denying their worth, He denies His own.

    He cannot do this because, as infinite God, there is no frame of reference to even begin to do this. It is an impossible contradiction.
    For it is impossible to deny Self BY Self.

    So, really…what I’m saying isn’t that Jesus gets a pass on sin because He cannot help but obey. The point is that because Jesus’s morality was Himself (like it is for all people who accept the sacrifice), His life wasn’t about obeying, but about letting people know who He was.

  25. Children are not born sinful. Babies have no knowledge of sin. And I believe in “age of accountability”. That is the purpose of the bar/bat mitzvah in Jewish tradition.

  26. “He was born morally innocent because He was not a function of an external moral dualism like the rest of man, but His morality was His physical self.”

    In a certain sense everyone’s morality is their physical self. Its like God has put his morality in us as a sort of time release capsule, like in our DNA or something, that fully releases in our teens. This is what the classical Deist taught, and where do you suppose they got the idea from? Romans 1:20+ “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse…” and Romans 2:14 “for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness…”

    But some people deny this morality that God put inside them, like Romans 1:28 says “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting….”

    Romans 1-2 is essentially the basis of the natural law theory of Deism. The theory that modern Protestants can’t make good use of because either (1) they’re Calvinists who reject the idea of God placing an innate morality in everyone, or (2) they’re trying to build the thing up in the air without reference to the religious tradition from which it originated, and the atheists are like “Haha.”

  27. Mom, saw your comment on onenote. I have evernote thinking I could copy web page and drop it in but not working or cannot figure it out. Sigh.

  28. Argo, My comment to Lydia about evernote with 2 links was in moderation. Now I don’t see it at all….

  29. Free will is a stake to the heart of Calvinism, IMO. If once saved always saved is true, then man’s covenants with God would be irrevocable on man’s end. Well, maybe that’s an extrapolation.

    Anyway, thank you James, Lydia, Argo, John for defending free will and holding the only true God in such high esteem. The Calvinist’s God is mean and cruel, the opposite of love, IMO.

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