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Thread: One on One: Romans 9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clete
    The comment about what Open Theists claim about what God knows is irrelevant here. The point is that you don't know who will repent and neither does any Open Theist which was precisely my point. You must go around living your life, walking out your Christian walk just as though my theology was the truth. The very life you live testifies against the veracity of your theology. If anyone lived in a manner logically consistent with Calvinism... well I don't know, I can't even finish that sentence because it would be impossible to live a life consistent with Calvinism, it just can't be done.
    The fact that I don't know the future doesn't make me a de facto Open Theist, and it doesn't disprove anything in Calvinism. Calvinism neither assumes nor requires human omniscience. From the fact that we both have limited knowledge, it does not follow that we have the same theology. From the fact that I don't know what God will do, it does not follow that God doesn't know what He will do, or that I believe any such a thing about Him.

    Again: "I don't know the future" and "I believe that the future is foreordained by the Only Wise God and I trust Him" are compatible beliefs, and the former is assumed in the latter.

    How am I supposed to respond to this? You've taken a verse that explicitly says that Titus exercised his own free will and you've turned it into a proof text for Calvinism.
    Prior cause of Titus' will: "Thanks be to God who put the same diligence for you into the heart of Titus." This is not to deny that people think and act. But free will is assumed because this prior cause cannot be observed--it's an argument from ignorance. But Scripture clearly teaches that God is sovereign over the minds of men.
    What God cannot justly do is to FORCE you against your will to sin then punish you for that sin or conversely, He cannot FORCE you against your will to love Him because that is a contradiction in terms. Love cannot be forced it must be chosen.
    We don't love God or disobey God against our will. In God's world, everyone does what he wants, based on the condition of his heart. And the kind of heart you have is determined by God.

    Deut. 29:4
    "Yet to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear."

    Jer. 24:7
    "'And I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart."

    The kind of desires that rule a person's heart, and the specific actions that come about, are foreordained by God, with the full agreement of the person in the moment of desiring and acting.
    Umm, yeah okay. Try using a translation instead of the ridiculous Amplified paraphrase. And quoting more than one verse will tend to get you the context...

    Isaiah 26:12LORD, You will establish peace for us,
    For You have also done all our works in us.
    13O LORD our God, masters besides You
    Have had dominion over us;
    But by You only we make mention of Your name.
    14They are dead, they will not live;
    They are deceased, they will not rise.
    Therefore You have punished and destroyed them,
    And made all their memory to perish.
    15You have increased the nation, O LORD,
    You have increased the nation;
    You are glorified;
    You have expanded all the borders of the land.
    I didn't say that this doesn't refer to a nation, if that's what you're implying. Your translation says that God did their works. This is the sovereignty of God over and through human activity.
    Are you married?
    If not, has anyone ever been in love you with you?
    Did you do anything at all to cause that to happen?
    Did you force it to happen?
    Could you have forced it to happen if you had wanted too?
    This isn't about what people can do; we're talking about what God can do in His relationship with a person.

    John 6.44
    No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. (Same verb in James 2.6: Don't the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts?)

    The conversion of a heart that is a slave to sin, and the desire to love God, is a gift, like giving sight to the blind.

    2 Cor 4.6
    For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

    Acts 2.14
    A woman named Lydia , from the city of Thyatira , a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.

    But since you brought up romance, it's worth pointing out that God is sovereign over that as well:

    Judges 14:3-4
    But Samson told his father, "Get her for me, because I want her." Now his father and mother did not know this was from the LORD, who was seeking an occasion against the Philistines.
    So now you've stated plainly that grace and luck are synonymous.
    Unbelievable! You comment refutes itself, no one with any sense at all would buy this.
    I was pointing something out in your post, the part I put in bold and referred to as "the part in bold". Grace isn't earned or deserved, or it wouldn't be grace.
    Your quote from Calvin does not refute my statement. Total Depravity is the theological belief that man cannot do anything good because we are spiritually dead as a hammer. Calvin making the statement that we could be even worse than we are does not refute or contradict such a belief. Calvinism does in fact teach that we cannot do anything good whatsoever and Calvinist generally use this particular point to base the entire system upon. You are undermining the very system which you are here to defend.
    I've said nothing that undermines total depravity or unconditional election or any connection between them.
    Great! So Calvin argues for freewill as well!
    There is nothing in that quote about people exercising their wills independently; every single phrase is about God's sovereignty in hardening.
    Clete asked...
    Adolf Hitler ordained murders without performing them, is he therefore innocent of murder?


    So is ordaining murder one of the sins that Hitler will be held responsible for?
    Hitler gave orders to kill people as if their right to life was his to grant or deny. He sinned by pretending to be God. But God IS God. And it is not possible to call God a murderer. Every creature belongs to God, and every birth and every death has a perfectly ordained reason from God. God's ultimate purpose in ordaining a murder, and the murderer's purpose in carrying it out, are two very different things.

    Isa. 13:16-17; Jer. 51:11
    Their children will be smashed [to death] before their eyes;
    their houses will be looted,
    and their wives raped.

    Look! I am stirring up the Medes against them [Babylon],
    who cannot be bought off with silver
    and who have no desire for gold.

    Sharpen the arrows!
    Fill the quivers!
    The LORD has put it into the mind
    of the kings of the Medes
    because His plan is aimed at Babylon
    to destroy her,
    for it is the LORD's vengeance,
    vengeance for His temple.
    And this is contradictory and unbiblical.
    James 1:13
    Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
    Ezek. 14:9
    And if the prophet is enticed to utter a prophecy, I the LORD have enticed that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and destroy him from among my people Israel.

    1 Sam. 19:9-10
    But an evil spirit from the LORD came upon Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the harp, Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him as Saul drove the spear into the wall.

    2 Sam 24:1, 10
    The LORD's anger burned against Israel again, and it stirred up David against them to say: "Go, count [the people of] Israel and Judah."
    David's conscience troubled him after he had taken a census of the troops. He said to the LORD, "I have sinned greatly in what I've done. Now, LORD, because I've been very foolish, please take away your servant's guilt."

    God stirred up David through Satan. But David doesn't charge God or blame it on the Devil. David was convicted in his own conscience because he knew right from wrong and because he knew that he had done what he wanted to do. That's all that's required for moral responsibility in the Bible (Rom. 1:18-23; Luke 12:47-48). Human responsibility does not require human autonomy. Nor is it taken away by the sovereignty of God. That is why we blame ourselves for our sinful desires and actions.
    Romans 3:8 And why not say, "Let us do evil that good may come"?--as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just.
    Paul said that those who slander him in this way where justly condemned and you dare to make the same accusation against God Himself.
    Paul was falsely accused of teaching people that they could obtain mercy and grace by deliberately sinning. This has nothing to do with God's sovereignty over evil.
    So you're saying that God can be unjust and it's perfectly okay because He's the biggest, baddest bully on the block and no one can do anything about it anyway so we'd better just get used to it.
    Such blasphemy makes me want to puke!
    Makes? You don't have free will?

    And I never said that God is unjust.
    The context here would indicate that "weaker vessel" is refering to the wife. Again, this is not in dispute and does nothing to prove your case.


    Context, context, context.
    You are proving nothing except that context determines the meaning of the terms used.


    Misses the point, see above.


    All miss the point, see above.
    I made it clear that I was posting the verses to show that "vessel" is used of individuals, and to show how "vessels of honor" and "vessels of dishonor" would have sounded to Paul's hearers.
    What insane version of the Bible are you quoting from? There is no doubt that whichever it is a Calvinist translated it, and did so poorly.
    You attached this statement to a verse from Jer. 22 which is word-for-word identical to the verse you posted. I took the "vessel" passages from either the NKJV or the NASB at BibleGateway. I was doing searches with these versions at different times on different computers.
    As I've said before, Paul did not begin the chapter discussing the nation of Israel and then change the subject to individual election and then change the subject back again to the nation of Israel. It wouldn't make any sense if he had. There is just nothing there in the text that indicates anything but that Paul was talking about what God had decided to do with Israel; it's just not in there.
    Romans 9:

    It's about salvation: Paul could wish that he was cut off from Christ in place of his unbelieving countrymen, and he says, "Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God concerning them is for their salvation!" (Rom. 10:1)

    It's about individuals: At the beginning of the chapter, Paul is grieving over those Israelites who reject the Messiah; he's not grieving over Jews who believe in Jesus, whom he still regards as Jews (Colossians 4:11). So the topic is not Israel as a whole; the topic is the salvation of a small number of people within Israel. The topic in Jer. 18 is different: a call to national repentance, the re-formation of one vessel. Rom. 9 is about the seperate creation of distinct vessels of honor and dishonor, mercy and wrath. Jer. 18 is about the entire nation; Rom. 9 makes distinctions between saved people and unsaved people within the nation. Therefore, Jer. 18 is not the key to Rom. 9.

    Romans 9 is not about "God's absolute right to change His mind concerning His blessing of a nation that had done evil in His sight" as you asserted earlier. The text says the opposite thing: "But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel." Salvation was always and only intended for the elect, so there is no appearance of God changing his mind here.

    It's about unconditional election: "For though they had not been born yet or done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to election might stand, not from works but from the One who calls."

    And the reason for all this: "And what if God, desiring to display His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience objects of wrath ready for destruction? And [what if] He did this to make known the riches of His glory on objects of mercy that He prepared beforehand for glory--on us whom He also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?" In the age to come, the redeemed will fully appreciate God's mercy when He shows them the objects of His wrath.

    Clete, we're at the 2-week limit set by Knight (unless he wants to extend it) so we should finish this up.
    Last edited by Mr. Coffee; June 23rd, 2005 at 12:56 AM.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Coffee
    Clete, we're at the 2-week limit set by Knight (unless he wants to extend it) so we should finish this up.
    Agreed.

    I'll post a closing post in a day or so (if not tonight) and then you can have the final word.

    "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

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    Alright, well it looks like I’m smooth out of time and I still don’t really know what to say in this closing post. I’m satisfied that I have sufficiently substantiated my case as well as answered any objections that Mr. Coffee has brought up. In fact, we have, it seems to me, in these last couple of posts, already begun to go in circles where my responses are met with simple restatements of the original point. And so, I think that I will be satisfied to allow the debate to stand on its own, as it is, with just one final additional point which I think needs to be fleshed out.

    It is unfortunate, although not unexpected, that Mr. Coffee refused to answer my admittedly leading question about why God made the vessel for dishonor in Jeremiah 18. Had he done so I think the debate would have gone in an entirely different and perhaps more productive direction but we shall never know.
    I have heard this question posed by Bob Enyart to other Calvinists in other debates at least a half dozen times and he never got an answer either and I must say that while such an attitude may be somewhat vain on my part, I do very much enjoy the fact that Bob and I now share this experience in common. The answer to the question is so blatantly given by the text that such stringent refusals to answer it is by itself an excellent refutation of their interpretation of the text.
    I will however, do those who have been kind enough to read this debate a favor which I have only recently been afforded. Since Bob never got an answer to the question, I had never gotten to hear how the argument unfolded and so the impact of the point being made was never exactly clear to me, which was very frustrating. I’m sure most of you have already figured it out for yourselves but for those of you who are slow like me, I don’t want for you guys to be left hanging on the same hook that I was so I will now answer the question and explain how it impacts the debate.

    Jeremiah 18:1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying: 2"Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause you to hear My words." 3Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. 4And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.

    Why did God made the vessel for dishonor?

    Or asked another way…

    Why did God not complete the first vessel, the vessel for honor?

    The answer for both questions is found in the first part of verse 4…

    4And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter;

    In a recent conversation with Knight where we were going over this exact question he gave the following response when I gave this answer to the question. I post it here in its entirety because it’s just flat out brilliant and I can’t think of a better way to explain it…

    Quote Originally Posted by Knight
    Right!

    God has the right to use a marred vessel for whatever may serve His purpose best for advancing the cause of righteousness.

    Calvinists don't want to answer the question because it demonstrates that God didn't create a vessel for the sole purpose of destroying it yet instead God takes an already marred vessel and uses it for His purposes.

    Romans 9:20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? 22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

    Calvinists use this verse like a club shouting "See!!! God says Himself He prepares vessels for dishonor and it's His right to do whatever He pleases since He is the potter."

    Yet when we put this in the context of the potter using an ALREADY marred vessel for dishonor their objection melts away. God simply takes the wicked and uses them for His purposes - He doesn't MAKE the wicked be wicked. God doesn't create marred vessels.
    Thanks Knight for outstanding explanation. This is so good that it even makes the whole “nation vs. individual” issue a moot point.

    So that’s it! I’ve said all I can think to say except that I want say thanks to Mr. Coffee for having proposed the idea of having a one on one debate on this topic, your responses have been substantive and honest and I’m still very impressed with your efforts in keeping this discussion from getting personal. That could not have been easy.
    I also want to thank Knight for having provided the forum and for setting up the thread. I think the format is just excellent.
    And one final thank you for all of you who have been so kind as to have read through this debate and for all the encouragement I have received from so many of you. I will look forward to the next time I get an opportunity to participate in another of these one on one debates, the experience has been a good one.

    God bless you all.

    Resting in Him,
    Clete

    "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clete
    It is unfortunate, although not unexpected, that Mr. Coffee refused to answer my admittedly leading question about why God made the vessel for dishonor in Jeremiah 18. Had he done so I think the debate would have gone in an entirely different and perhaps more productive direction but we shall never know.
    To be honest, when you asked, "Why did He make the second vessel?", I didn't know where to go with that--there's one vessel in Jer. 18, which got remade, and there's more than two vessels in Romans 9 (seperate entities that you can put side by side--plural vessels of wrath in the presence of plural vessels of mercy, vs. the morphing of one vessel in Jer. 18). I told you in the next post that I didn't get you, but you kept on saying that you were going to keep on asking.
    The answer to the question is so blatantly given by the text that such stringent refusals to answer it is by itself an excellent refutation of their interpretation of the text.
    "Have you ever danced with the Devil in the pale moon-light?"
    "What are you talking about?"
    "I win! YAY!"

    Jeremiah 18

    1 [This is] the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD:
    2 "Go down at once to the potter's house; there I will reveal My words to you."
    3 So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, working away at the wheel.
    4 But the jar that he was making from the clay became flawed in the potter's hand, so he made it into another jar, as it seemed right for him to do.

    5 The word of the LORD came to me:
    6 "House of Israel, can I not treat you as this potter [treats his clay]?"—[this is] the LORD's declaration. "Just like clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, house of Israel.
    7 At one moment I might announce concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will uproot, tear down, and destroy [it].
    8 However, if that nation I have made an announcement about, turns from its evil, I will not bring the disaster on it I had planned.
    9 At [another] time I announce that I will build and plant a nation or a kingdom.
    10 However, if it does what is evil in My sight by not listening to My voice, I will not bring the good I had said I would do to it.
    11 So now, say to the men of Judah and to the residents of Jerusalem: This is what the LORD says: I am about to bring harm to you and make plans against you. Turn now, each from your evil way, and correct your ways and your deeds.

    12 But they will say: It's hopeless. We will continue to follow our plans, and each of us will continue to act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart."
    Quote Originally Posted by Knight
    God has the right to use a marred vessel for whatever may serve His purpose best for advancing the cause of righteousness.

    Calvinists don't want to answer the question because it demonstrates that God didn't create a vessel for the sole purpose of destroying it yet instead God takes an already marred vessel and uses it for His purposes.

    Romans 9:20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? 22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

    Calvinists use this verse like a club shouting "See!!! God says Himself He prepares vessels for dishonor and it's His right to do whatever He pleases since He is the potter."

    Yet when we put this in the context of the potter using an ALREADY marred vessel for dishonor their objection melts away. God simply takes the wicked and uses them for His purposes - He doesn't MAKE the wicked be wicked. God doesn't create marred vessels.
    We are all marred vessels because we have all sinned. Whether a person remains in their sin, or becomes a qualitatively new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), depends on the Potter--whatever seems right for him to do.

    But then Israel chimes in:

    Jer. 18:12. "But they will say: It's hopeless. We will continue to follow our plans, and each of us will continue to act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart." According to Open Theism:

    --It's not foreknowledge, it's just a solid guess based on God's present knowledge of a strong tendency in Israel. But this is enough for God; they have their own wicked plans, and this is God's cue to make them a vessel of dishonor. So the clay is self-determining; it gives the Potter permission to form it this way or that. Is that the way it works? Here's what God thinks of the plans of individuals and nations:

    Prov. 16:9
    A man's heart plans his way,
    but the LORD determines his steps.

    Prov. 19:31
    Many plans are in a man's heart,
    but the LORD's decree will prevail.

    Ps. 33:10-11
    The LORD frustrates the counsel of the nations;
    He thwarts the plans of the peoples.

    The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
    the plans of His heart from generation to generation.

    The Potter had His mind made up before we did anything good or bad (Rom. 9:11) and He doesn't need permission:

    Romans 9:20-21
    But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

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