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Thread: Calvinism vs Scriptural Libertarian Free Will (LFW)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MennoSota View Post
    Let's just say...Augustinian faith vs Pelagian heresy. It's really the same debate that Augustine won, which lead to Pelagius being rightfully declared a heretic.
    Greg is merely rehashing and desperately wishing that Pelagius was correct.
    https://www.monergism.com/augustine-and-pelagius
    They both got it wrong: Pelagius by insisting a man could influence his election by his choice and Augustine by insisting we had any free will at all in the face of our lives being predetermined by GOD and both by insisting we inherit Adam's sin which makes GOD the creator of our sin if not Adam's since HE was under no compulsion to create the rest of us in Adam at all.
    I Champion GODís holiness:
    - GOD did not need evil so did not create evil for any reason.
    - All evil is creature-created.

    I Champion Our Free will:
    - All spirits created in HIS image had an equal ability and opportunity to choose either heaven or hell by their free will.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai_42 View Post
    So when Paul makes the statement that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, how does he make that statement? How can he make that claim for the (at least) 2000 years of people that (then) had yet to be born?
    It would make sense if he knew that only sinners are born on earth as men rather than thinking being born on earth as men causes our sinfulness.
    I Champion GODís holiness:
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    I Champion Our Free will:
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    Over 500 post club ttruscott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panda View Post
    "2. God is the first cause of all evil & sin.
    3. God alone is responsible for all sin.
    4. If God sends anyone to an endless hell for sins he alone is responsible for, he is unjust and a monstrous sadist."

    These sounds like excuses for doing wrong not to get in trouble. It's like saying, "I hit him because my brother did. It's in my genes so not my fault."

    It's like uhh no it's a lame excuse is what it is.
    If we accept the doctrine that we inherit Adam's sinfulness then it is not a lame excuse but a correct understanding of the situation proving that the doctrine of inherited sin is blasphemy and some other reason for our being born / conceived as sinful should be sought from the Spirit.
    I Champion GODís holiness:
    - GOD did not need evil so did not create evil for any reason.
    - All evil is creature-created.

    I Champion Our Free will:
    - All spirits created in HIS image had an equal ability and opportunity to choose either heaven or hell by their free will.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ttruscott View Post
    They both got it wrong: Pelagius by insisting a man could influence his election by his choice and Augustine by insisting we had any free will at all in the face of our lives being predetermined by GOD and both by insisting we inherit Adam's sin which makes GOD the creator of our sin if not Adam's since HE was under no compulsion to create the rest of us in Adam at all.
    No. You stated your incomprehensible and incompatible theory in another thread, showing you have no clue. All you did was nullify your claim.

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    I posted:

    Just because humans are conceived or born imperfect, or with a sinful nature, or some such thing that guarantees they will eventually sin if they don't die first, it does not follow they do not have libertarian free will.

    You replied:

    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai_42 View Post
    Actually, if I understand the term (LFW) correctly, that's exactly what it means. Libertarian free will means a man is free to act against his nature and God's predetermination.
    There are different definitions of LFW. I didn't offer one. One view of LFW is it is a separate entity, ability or nature within man from his fallen nature, or , perhaps, even his will that is in bondage to sin. Man is made in God's image & likeness with a conscience. A second view of LFW is that it occurs when God enlightens & graces a human to make a choice either (a) to follow the light given or (b) to resist the light he has been given. Those are not just pretend options. The man can choose either (a) or (b). God doesn't know which LFW choice he will make, so it is not predetermined. In this view while man's nature & will is to some degree in bondage to sin & fallen, it is not completely so. And when enlightened & graced by God may make LFW choices.

    Mt.23:37b how often did I WILL to gather thy children together, as a hen doth gather her own chickens under the wings, and ye did not WILL.

    In Mt.23:37 we are told of men who resisted the will of the Lord. His will was not irresistible.

    If grace was always irresistible, why do we read:

    Acts 7:51 You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, also do you.

    Even Christians can resist His grace:

    Ephesians 4:30
    And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai_42 View Post
    LFW is essentially a crapshoot to see how this black box (free will) is going to decide at any given time. There are no rules or guidelines as to how a man will choose. It could be anything at any time.

    LFW is not a "crapshoot", roll of the dice or a matter of pure luck. It is the Sovereign God given ability for a human to determine which of multiple options to choose. Though, perhaps, many of those (i.e. Calvinists) who wish to call LFW a "crapshoot" do so because they don't wish to take responsibility for their own choices. Calvinism reduces men to puppets whose sins are not their own fault, but God's fault. In essence it puts all the blame on God for human sins. And gives them an excuse for their own sins: "the devil made me do it". Yet Scripture says men are "without excuse".

    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai_42 View Post
    Taking this line of thought to a logical extent - if God created everything, then everything is ultimately on God, right? At the "rubber meets road" perspective (i.e. from our point of view) your first sentence is the question that is answered by the gospel. Man is a puppet of sorts - a slave to sin. Ultimately, I think, the whole concept of LFW tends to the anarchical because every man ultimately serves something and/or someone. The question is not if he is free to (dis)obey, but who (or what) is it that he is obeying? LFW essentially replaces that "Master" with "(nothing)".
    Quote Originally Posted by ???
    Why would an omnipotently loving God choose free will to be the determining factor of a man's salvation when mankind is so lost?
    Otherwise you're like a computer operated robot God is making to love or hate Himself. So it's not really you doing the loving, it's God controlling His human puppet like a TV remote control to love Himself.

    Would you prefer to (1) program a robot wife to say "I love you" to yourself, or (2) have a real wife say "I love you" from her own libertarian free will?

    "If I found out that my wife’s love for me has all these years been determined by some biochip in her brain by a will or wills other than her, by forces or persons other than her, my opinion and experience of HER (as friend, lover, partner, etc.) would drastically change. I would no longer be able to perceive her love for me as HER love for me."

    "...What makes me feel right about her loving me is knowing that it’s HER who is loving me. Libertarian choice is just a necessary by-product of this that comes in further down the line."

    "... If God determined your daughter’s ‘love’ for you, then in my view you can’t say “My daughter loves me and if God…” since in my view it’s GOD loving you by means of your daughter who is just merely the instrumentation of God’s actions. That’s functionally equivalent to pantheism in my view."

    "...To clarify, what I mean by charade in my previous post is God's call of sinners to repentance, His plea for them to turn from sin by the declaration that He doesn't delight in the death
    of the wicked, His command for them to humble themselves, His "regret" that He had made man before the flood, etc. The calvinist understanding of God could be characterized by a man in
    his room holding a sock puppet on each hand, talking to them and voicing like a ventriloquist their responses, one puppet being the bad guy and the other the "good" guy. Then, after a
    long ridiculous show with pretentious loud drama, he rips the bad sock off and throws it in his fireplace, while the "good" puppet cheers him on."

    "...God is a God of infinite and unconditional love... And determinism is also not on the menu because ‘love requires freedom’...Libertarian freedom is power to the contrary.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregoryN View Post
    Is it possible to summarize that article in a sentence or two?
    I fear explanations explanatory of things explained.

    The distortion of double predestination looks like this: There is a symmetry that exists between election and reprobation. God WORKS in the same way and same manner with respect to the elect and to the reprobate. That is to say, from all eternity God decreed some to election and by divine initiative works faith in their hearts and brings them actively to salvation. By the same token, from all eternity God decrees some to sin and damnation (destinare ad peccatum) and actively intervenes to work sin in their lives, bringing them to damnation by divine initiative.

    This distortion...clearly makes God the author of sin who punishes a person for doing what God monergistically and irresistibly coerces man to do. Such a view is indeed a monstrous assault on the integrity of God. This is not the Reformed view of predestination, but a gross and inexcusable caricature of the doctrine. Such a view may be identified with what is often loosely described as hyper-Calvinism and involves a radical form of supralapsarianism. Such a view of predestination has been virtually universally and monolithically rejected by Reformed thinkers.

    In the Reformed view God from all eternity decrees some to election and positively intervenes in their lives to work regeneration and faith by a monergistic work of grace. To the non-elect God withholds this monergistic work of grace, passing them by and leaving them to themselves. He does not monergistically work sin or unbelief in their lives. Even in the case of the "hardening" of the sinners' already recalcitrant hearts, God does not, as Luther stated, "work evil in us (for hardening is working evil) by creating fresh evil in us.
    ...
    ...
    Thus, the mode of operation in the lives of the elect is not parallel with that operation in the lives of the reprobate. God works regeneration monergistically but never sin. Sin falls within the category of providential concurrence.

    Another significant difference between the activity of God with respect to the elect and the reprobate concerns God's justice. The decree and fulfillment of election provide mercy for the elect while the efficacy of reprobation provides justice for the reprobate. God shows mercy sovereignly and unconditionally to some, and gives justice to those passed over in election. That is to say, God grants the mercy of election to some and justice to others. No one is the victim of injustice. To fail to receive mercy is not to be treated unjustly. God is under no obligation to grant mercy to all — in fact He is under no obligation to grant mercy to any. He says, "I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy" (Rom. 9). The divine prerogative to grant mercy voluntarily cannot be faulted. If God is required by some cosmic law apart from Himself to be merciful to all men, then we would have to conclude that justice demands mercy. If that is so, then mercy is no longer voluntary, but required. If mercy is required, it is no longer mercy, but justice. What God does not do is sin by visiting injustice upon the reprobate. Only by considering election and reprobation as being asymmetrical in terms of a positive-negative schema can God be exonerated from injustice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
    I fear explanations explanatory of things explained.

    The distortion of double predestination looks like this: There is a symmetry that exists between election and reprobation. God WORKS in the same way and same manner with respect to the elect and to the reprobate. That is to say, from all eternity God decreed some to election and by divine initiative works faith in their hearts and brings them actively to salvation. By the same token, from all eternity God decrees some to sin and damnation (destinare ad peccatum) and actively intervenes to work sin in their lives, bringing them to damnation by divine initiative.

    This distortion...clearly makes God the author of sin who punishes a person for doing what God monergistically and irresistibly coerces man to do. Such a view is indeed a monstrous assault on the integrity of God. This is not the Reformed view of predestination, but a gross and inexcusable caricature of the doctrine. Such a view may be identified with what is often loosely described as hyper-Calvinism and involves a radical form of supralapsarianism. Such a view of predestination has been virtually universally and monolithically rejected by Reformed thinkers.

    In the Reformed view God from all eternity decrees some to election and positively intervenes in their lives to work regeneration and faith by a monergistic work of grace. To the non-elect God withholds this monergistic work of grace, passing them by and leaving them to themselves. He does not monergistically work sin or unbelief in their lives. Even in the case of the "hardening" of the sinners' already recalcitrant hearts, God does not, as Luther stated, "work evil in us (for hardening is working evil) by creating fresh evil in us.
    ...
    ...
    Thus, the mode of operation in the lives of the elect is not parallel with that operation in the lives of the reprobate. God works regeneration monergistically but never sin. Sin falls within the category of providential concurrence.

    Another significant difference between the activity of God with respect to the elect and the reprobate concerns God's justice. The decree and fulfillment of election provide mercy for the elect while the efficacy of reprobation provides justice for the reprobate. God shows mercy sovereignly and unconditionally to some, and gives justice to those passed over in election. That is to say, God grants the mercy of election to some and justice to others. No one is the victim of injustice. To fail to receive mercy is not to be treated unjustly. God is under no obligation to grant mercy to all — in fact He is under no obligation to grant mercy to any. He says, "I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy" (Rom. 9). The divine prerogative to grant mercy voluntarily cannot be faulted. If God is required by some cosmic law apart from Himself to be merciful to all men, then we would have to conclude that justice demands mercy. If that is so, then mercy is no longer voluntary, but required. If mercy is required, it is no longer mercy, but justice. What God does not do is sin by visiting injustice upon the reprobate. Only by considering election and reprobation as being asymmetrical in terms of a positive-negative schema can God be exonerated from injustice.

    AMR

    The fact that you have written that long rambling article with only one scripture reference tells me that your doctrine is not of God, but of man, mainly John Calvin.

    God has shown mercy to the whole world by sending his Son into the world to atone for the sins of the world, 1 John 2:2. You are in denial of this wonderful Bible truth. If Jesus had not atoned for the sins of the whole world Jesus would still be in Joseph's new tomb and we would all still be in our sins, but thanks be unto God our sins have been dealt with, Hebrews 1:3.

    Because of the doing and the dying of Jesus the unjust can be made just, Romans 4:5. Because of the doing and the dying of Jesus we have been reconciled unto God, 2 Corinthians 5:18, 19.

    "God so loved everyone that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" John 3:16.

    Your doctrine that God only loves some and not all is a disgusting lie. God so loves the crown of his creation so much that he refuses to force himself on us by forcing us to believe on him. Salvation is a gift from God that can be accepted or refused, but never imposed.

  8. #23
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    https://www.monergism.com/augustine-and-pelagius
    "It is Augustine who gave us the Reformation." So wrote B. B. Warfield in his assessment of the influence of Augustine on church history. It is not only that Luther was an Augustinian monk, or that Calvin quoted Augustine more than any other theologian that provoked Warfield's remark. Rather, it was that the Reformation witnessed the ultimate triumph of Augustine's doctrine of grace over the legacy of the Pelagian view of man.

    Humanism, in all its subtle forms, recapitulates the unvarnished Pelagianism against which Augustine struggled. Though Pelagius was condemned as a heretic by Rome, and its modified form, Semi-Pelagianism was likewise condemned by the Council of Orange in 529, the basic assumptions of this view persisted throughout church history to reappear in Medieval Catholicism, Renaissance Humanism, Socinianism, Arminianism, and modern Liberalism. The seminal thought of Pelagius survives today not as a trace or tangential influence but is pervasive in the modern church. Indeed, the modern church is held captive by it.

    What was the core issue between Augustine and Pelagius? The heart of the debate centered on the doctrine of original sin, particularly with respect to the question of the extent to which the will of fallen man is "free." Adolph Harnack said:

    There has never, perhaps, been another crisis of equal importance in church history in which the opponents have expressed the principles at issue so clearly and abstractly. The Arian dispute before the Nicene Council can alone be compared with it. (History of Agmer V/IV/3)



    The controversy began when the British monk, Pelagius, opposed at Rome Augustine's famous prayer: "Grant what Thou commandest, and command what Thou dost desire." Pelagius recoiled in horror at the idea that a divine gift (grace) is necessary to perform what God commands. For Pelagius and his followers responsibility always implies ability. If man has the moral responsibility to obey the law of God, he must also have the moral ability to do it.

    Harnack summarizes Pelagian thought:

    Nature, free-will, virtue and law, these strictly defined and made independent of the notion of God - were the catch-words of Pelagianism: self-acquired virtue is the supreme good which is followed by reward. Religion and morality lie in the sphere of the free spirit; they are at any moment by man's own effort.

    The difference between Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism is more a difference of degree than of kind. To be sure, on the surface there seems like there is a huge difference between the two, particularly with respect to original sin and to the sinner's dependence upon grace. Pelagius categorically denied the doctrine of original sin, arguing that Adam's sin affected Adam alone and that infants at birth are in the same state as Adam was before the Fall. Pelagius also argued that though grace may facilitate the achieving of righteousness, it is not necessary to that end. Also, he insisted that the constituent nature of humanity is not convertible; it is indestructively good.

    Over against Pelagius, Semi-Pelagianism does have a doctrine of original sin whereby mankind is considered fallen. Consequently grace not only facilitates virtue, it is necessary for virtue to ensue. Man's nature can be changed and has been changed by the Fall.

    However, in Semi-Pelagianism there remains a moral ability within man that is unaffected by the Fall. We call this an "island of righteousness" by which the fallen sinner still has the inherent ability to incline or move himself to cooperate with God's grace. Grace is necessary but not necessarily effective. Its effect always depends upon the sinner's cooperation with it by virtue of the exercise of the will.

    It is not by accident that Martin Luther considered The Bondage of the Will to be his most important book. He saw in Erasmus a man who, despite his protests to the contrary, was a Pelagian in Catholic clothing. Luther saw that lurking beneath the controversy of merit and grace, and faith and works was the issue of to what degree the human will is enslaved by sin and to what degree we are dependent upon grace for our liberation. Luther argued from the Bible that the flesh profits nothing and that this "nothing" is not a little "something."

    Augustine's view of the Fall was opposed to both Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism. He said that mankind is a massa peccati, a "mess of sin," incapable of raising itself from spiritual death. For Augustine man can no more move or incline himself to God than an empty glass can fill itself. For Augustine the initial work of divine grace by which the soul is liberated from the bondage of sin is sovereign and operative. To be sure we cooperate with this grace, but only after the initial divine work of liberation.

  9. #24
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    Augustine did not deny that fallen man still has a will and that the will is capable of making choices. He argued that fallen man still has a free will (liberium arbitrium) but has lost his moral liberty (libertas). The state of original sin leaves us in the wretched condition of being unable to refrain from sinning. We still are able to choose what we desire, but our desires remain chained by our evil impulses. He argued that the freedom that remains in the will always leads to sin. Thus in the flesh we are free only to sin, a hollow freedom indeed. It is freedom without liberty, a real moral bondage. True liberty can only come from without, from the work of God on the soul. Therefore we are not only partly dependent upon grace for our conversion but totally dependent upon grace.

    Modern Evangelicalism sprung from the Reformation whose roots were planted by Augustine. But today the Reformational and Augustinian view of grace is all but eclipsed in Evangelicalism. Where Luther triumphed in the sixteenth century, subsequent generations gave the nod to Erasmus.

    Modern evangelicals repudiate unvarnished Pelagianism and frequently Semi-Pelagianism as well. It is insisted that grace is necessary for salvation and that man is fallen. The will is acknowledged to be severely weakened even to the point of being "99 percent" dependent upon grace for its liberation. But that one percent of unaffected moral ability or spiritual power which becomes the decisive difference between salvation and perdition is the link that preserves the chain to Pelagius. We have not broken free from the Pelagian captivity of the church.

    That one percent is the "little something" Luther sought to demolish because it removes the sola from sola gratia and ultimately the sola from sola fide. The irony may be that though modern Evangelicalism loudly and repeatedly denounces Humanism as the mortal enemy of Christianity, it entertains a Humanistic view of man and of the will at its deepest core.

    We need an Augustine or a Luther to speak to us anew lest the light of God's grace be not only over-shadowed but be obliterated in our time.

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    "Hell, for example, is terrifying either way. But if Calvinism is false, people who go to hell deserve it for freely rejecting the free gift of God that was offered to justify them from their free choices to sin rather than humble themselves and repent (as opposed to Calvinist "free will" where you are like a robot designed with a program that has the variables of being able to slap with your right hand or your left, and then being charged guilty because either way you slap). If Calvinism is true, then the Bible is a charade from beginning to end, with God literally pleading for sinners to repent because He does not desire their death (Ezekiel 33:11), to humble themselves, His "regret" for man's sinfulness before the flood, His looking into men's hearts (1 Samuel 16:7), etc. To compound the problem, not only is life an elaborate charade, but hell is a place where people who were created to sin with no possibility of repentance will consciously endure torment for no authentic decision of their own (again, like the aforementioned robot)."

    "If Calvinism is true, then Ezekiel 33:11 presents a man who embraces a child by the arms, faces him away from himself and says, "Turn back! Turn back and live, for why will you die?", while the child tries with all his might to turn, complaining that he can't because his father holds back and is too strong. The man acknowledges that the child is weaker and unable with any might to turn, but continues to scream "Turn and live!" while he holds him firmly away until he eventually punishes the child for not overpowering him. The calvinist may try to dispute this, saying the child is instead one who doesn't try to turn at all, like the wicked who do not seek God in Psalms 14. The problem is in the world of Calvinism, analogously this man created the child to not turn, and so divinely holds him away while pretentiously pleading his repentant response."

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregoryN View Post
    "Hell, for example, is terrifying either way. But if Calvinism is false, people who go to hell deserve it for freely rejecting the free gift of God that was offered to justify them from their free choices to sin rather than humble themselves and repent (as opposed to Calvinist "free will" where you are like a robot designed with a program that has the variables of being able to slap with your right hand or your left, and then being charged guilty because either way you slap). If Calvinism is true, then the Bible is a charade from beginning to end, with God literally pleading for sinners to repent because He does not desire their death (Ezekiel 33:11), to humble themselves, His "regret" for man's sinfulness before the flood, His looking into men's hearts (1 Samuel 16:7), etc. To compound the problem, not only is life an elaborate charade, but hell is a place where people who were created to sin with no possibility of repentance will consciously endure torment for no authentic decision of their own (again, like the aforementioned robot)."

    "If Calvinism is true, then Ezekiel 33:11 presents a man who embraces a child by the arms, faces him away from himself and says, "Turn back! Turn back and live, for why will you die?", while the child tries with all his might to turn, complaining that he can't because his father holds back and is too strong. The man acknowledges that the child is weaker and unable with any might to turn, but continues to scream "Turn and live!" while he holds him firmly away until he eventually punishes the child for not overpowering him. The calvinist may try to dispute this, saying the child is instead one who doesn't try to turn at all, like the wicked who do not seek God in Psalms 14. The problem is in the world of Calvinism, analogously this man created the child to not turn, and so divinely holds him away while pretentiously pleading his repentant response."
    You should really switch the word "Calvinism" with "the Bible" so you can see your falsehood.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MennoSota View Post
    You should really switch the word "Calvinism" with "the Bible" so you can see your falsehood.
    Let's do that to see how ridiculous your comment is & get a great big LOL at the same time:

    "But if ["the Bible"] is false, people who go to hell deserve it..."

    "If ["the Bible"] is true, then the Bible is a charade from beginning to end,..."

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregoryN View Post
    Let's do that to see how ridiculous your comment is & get a great big LOL at the same time:

    "But if ["the Bible"] is false, people who go to hell deserve it..."

    "If ["the Bible"] is true, then the Bible is a charade from beginning to end,..."
    I can see your falsehood oozing when you do this. Notice how ridiculous it looks...just like your claims are ridiculous. Thanks for sharing with us, Greg. You prove my point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MennoSota View Post
    I can see your falsehood oozing when you do this. Notice how ridiculous it looks...just like your claims are ridiculous. Thanks for sharing with us, Greg. You prove my point.
    1 Cor.4:[ **3** ](https://biblehub.com/1_corinthians/4-3.htm)But to me, it is the smallest matter that I be examined by you or by a human court. In fact, neither do I examine myself. [ **4** ](https://biblehub.com/1_corinthians/4-4.htm)For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I have not been justified by this; but the *One* judging me is *the* Lord.

    5 Therefore do not judge anything before the time, until the Lord shall have come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the motives of the hearts; and then the praise will come to each from God.

    Mt.7:1Do not judge, lest you should be judged. 2For with that verdict you pronounce, you will be judged; and with that measure you measure, it will be measured to you.

    3And why do you look at the splinter in your brotherís eye, but not notice the beam in your own eye? 4Or how shall you say to your brother, ĎPermit that I might cast out the splinter from your eye,í and behold, the beam is in your eye? 5Hypocrite! First cast out the beam from your eye, and then you will see clearly to cast out the splinter from the eye of your brother.

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    He who sins is responsible for his own sin.
    Only if sinners have libertarian freewill (LFW). Any Christian theology (e.g. Calvinism) that rejects LFW leads to these conclusions:

    1. We are all puppets in God's puppet show.
    2. God is the first cause of all evil & sin.
    3. God alone is responsible for all sin.
    4. If God sends anyone to an endless hell for sins he alone is responsible for, he is unjust and a monstrous sadist.

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