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Thread: One on One: BR X - A Calvinist's Response (Ask Mr. Religion vs. Enyart)

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    Gold level Subscriber Bob Enyart's Avatar
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    Bob Enyart replies to Ask Mr. Religion...

    Dear Ask Mr. Religion,

    I looked forward to your answers to my 50 BR X questions. I planned to determine how far I would go in reading and replying to you based upon two things: your biblical presentation of your answers, and your responsiveness to my BR X questions.

    I’ve been a bit busy, depending upon one’s perspective of my ministry, either tilting at windmills, or fighting the spiritual battle: against atheism, child killing, euthanasia, and evolution, working hard to support Colorado Right To Life, Alan Keyes, American Right To Life, Colorado For Equal Rights and their personhood amendment, and to oppose pro-choice wolves in sheep’s clothing like Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson. So, you’ve had some competition for my attention.

    On AMR’s Biblical Presentation

    I was eager to reply to your biblical presentation, but in your answer to my first question, out of 1,671 words, only seven were from a single Scriptural passage, Isaiah 40:25. So, you quoted one verse. My first post was about three and a half times longer than your answer to my first question. However:

    22 times BR-X Post 1B referenced Bible verses and passages.
    47 times Post 1B excerpted or quoted verses in full.

    Much of my intervening text in 1B is a discussion of these scores of Bible passages, while your single scriptural reference is made in passing without hardly even another allusion to any passage.

    A cultist can quote the Bible. Many references do not prove a doctrine. But in the Open Theism debate here at TOL, the question is, which position, the Settled View or the Open View, is the biblical view, and which is based on appeal to extra-biblical authority. You would have served yourself well to build a foundation for your answers, not on an avalanche of extra-biblical authorities, but on God’s Word.

    Your instinctive and almost subconscious appeal to extra biblical authorities includes:
    * “rigorously defined creeds”
    * “councils”
    * “oversight bodies”
    * “orthodoxy”
    * “classical theologians”
    * Open Theism “denounced as heretical”
    * “The Reformed view”
    * “a newly published study bible”
    * “1500 years of theological study”
    * “proper Reformed doctrines”

    Here’s how you started to answer BEQ1:

    Quote Originally Posted by AMR
    To begin with your very first question, on the contrary, I think unsettled theism needs to change its tactics.
    And then you criticized Open Theism for its “re-definitions,” apparently unaware that the “definitions” you appeal to as authoritative, and view as sacrosanct and not open to “re-definition,” are themselves the work of men (Plato, Plotinus, Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, etc.). Such theological definitions are themselves extra-biblical authorities. They appear outside of God’s Word. And you quote them even without reference.

    Your rebuttal begins with the complaint that terms like “omniscience” and “sovereignty” would be “re-defined.” Yet you do not even inform the reader that “omniscience,” is a Latin philosophical term that does not even appear in Scripture! I use the New King James Version, and in it, the word “sovereign” does not appear at all, and the word “sovereignty” appears only once (1 Sam. 14:47), not of God, but referring to king Saul.

    In BR-X Post 1B, I let the reader know that the term “‘omniscience” is “non-biblical.” Yet you present its definition as the foundation of your rebuttal. Of course the Bible does mention “all knowledge” and the ability to “know all things.” The two books in the New King James that mention “all knowledge,” use that phrase to refer to believers, not to God (Rom. 15:14; 1 Cor. 1:5), and the one author who uses the phrase “know all things” also applies that phrase to believers (1 John 2:20). Paul and John clearly use that term as a figure of speech. The test to determine when a passage is rightly understood as a figure or when it is literal is based upon valid use of hermeneutics, and comparing Scripture to Scripture. In my BR X opening post I introduced this fundamental issue immediately after introducing the topic of the debate. You never got to it, but instead, someone who read your answer to BR-X-BEQ1 would think the proper way to interpret Scripture is to abide by non-biblical ecclesiastical authority and follow the traditions and definitions of men. Do I have to highlight all the references you made to extra-biblical authority which you used as the foundation for your posts? Or will you just concede that you should have done a better job building your argument upon Scripture? I ask this rhetorically; of course you are welcome to reply for the grandstands, but my schedule ―and my disappointment― limit me to this one post.

    AMR, you claim you have to coax the definitions of Open Theism terms as used in Battle Royale X “out of their hiding places,” yet you would let the reader assume that these terms are biblically central to theology. But as presented in Post 1B, “sovereignty” is not even a central attribute of God, for it positions God in respect to the creation. The fundamental attributes of God are NOT dependent upon creation, and unlike creation, have existed throughout all eternity past, completely apart from and independent from any created thing whatsoever. By misapplying sovereignty as a fundamental divine attribute, you define God in such a way that He could not even exist apart from man. You would allow the reader to assume that “theological definitions” are somehow unassailable. Why? Are they breathed by the Holy Spirit? And finally, your argument is circular, because open theists oppose the very theologians who construed these definitions. You cannot biblically refute the Open View by arguing, “Orthodox terms show it false.”

    You write, AMR, as though you are dredging up from the darkness the most horrendous of accusations, that Open Theists: “cast words… into a dimly lit room” words like...”utter immutability” and “true relationship.” Yikes. And not only that, there is “more to come!” I was almost afraid to continue reading to see what other words I had used.

    AMR, your answer was not biblical. You did not give a Scriptural presentation. If you have such in you, you should have begun with your best foot forward. For you squandered an opportunity this One-on-One presented.

    AMR, you made only a single passing reference to Scripture, and referred to yourself as a “scholar,” thus anyone could characterize your entire answer to BEQ1 as “trust me” and “trust us.”

    It is hardly worth mentioning that we both can quote from opposing leading authors, and disagree with them. But in BEQ1 and Post 1B I quoted one of the Settled View’s leading anti-openness authors, agreeing with his point on the most fundamental matter, immutability. AMR, this should not be lost on you. You quote an opponent, and say, “He’s wrong;” and I quote an opponent, and say, “He’s right;” and you ignore it when answering BEQ1. I searched your 1,671 word answer for “Ware” and found “I was unaware,” but no reference to Bruce Ware’s extraordinary admission. And recall from BR-X, my practice is to quote from the extra-biblical sources with whom I disagree to refute their positions, and to quote from Scripture to defend Open Theism.

    In my offer to you, I asked if you could “read the debate” and then answer the questions. Did you read the debate, or just the questions? Your answer to BEQ1 gives not a clue as to whether you read round one. Whether you did or not, you completely ignored all the scriptural material I quoted to undermine the Greek and Latin philosophical OMNIs and IMs, which biblical material formed the foundation of my question. Did it occur to you that you would have done a service to the readers, and provided me with a real value, if you would have addressed the biblical passages?

    That unresponsiveness reminds me of this excerpt from BR X Post 7B:

    I have exposed that the OMNIs and IMs are “propped up with [‘a handful of’] weak proof texts.” I asked you to demonstrate [and substantiate, now from] Scripture [your] appeal to extra-biblical authority when you claimed that “Dr. Reymond cites no less than 24 passages of Scripture” for immutability, indicating that God is “unchangeable in his being.” Having debated Settled Viewers for 20 years, I knew this would expose your unmerited trust in extra-biblical authority. So, here’s one of the immutability proof texts lurking within your outside authority, which you listed by reference only:

    And his sons would go and feast in their houses, each on his appointed day, and would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly. -Job 1:4-5

    So, that’s an immutability proof text huh? And Settled Viewers don’t prop with a handful of weak proof texts their Latin and Greek philosophical OMNIs and IMs? That was the 23rd passage cited. Others are worse (like Jonah 3:3-5, 10)! Thank you Sam and Dr. Reymond for strengthening my claim that the Settled View survives only on texts twisted to support Augustinian/Greek tradition.

    Ask Mr. Religion, you have demonstrated so perfectly, as though I called you out on cue, the ongoing observation that Calvinists are so dependent upon extra-biblical human authority to make their case, that even in a forum like this One-on-One on TOL, where you are 100% certain to be called out for appealing to human authority rather than to God’s Word, you seem incapable of the restraint needed to allow yourself to build a biblical foundation upon which to make your case. Well, you’ve been called out.

    AMR’s Responsiveness

    My offer to you:

    And then, if you would, post all 50 questions (full text of each), with your answers (please be direct, I directly answered all of Lamerson's questions), in a single post, and I'll make a commitment to reply.

    AMR, your reputation precedes you [1 Tim. 5:24]. This seemingly petty request of mine, that you answer “in a single post,” was in hopes that you would be responsive. The very discipline of replying in a single post should have kept you focused on being responsive. You ignored my offer and instead streamed a tome, judging from the first 1,700 words, that is neither biblically-based nor responsive.

    Conclusion

    AMR, you fancy referring to the Open View as “unsettled theism.” Alternate sides of issues commonly attempt to belittle their opposition in how they name them. In BR X, even though I was debating a credentialed Calvinist, a wanted to equally address Arminian readers, but satisfied with no convenient term that combined the opposition of two, I introduced the “Settled View,” which is not a pejorative, and quickly communicates to the uninitiated the essence of the disagreement. Of course, no one should assume that I recommend some kind of neutrality commitment. I repeat what I wrote to Lamerson:

    Here is an example of what you call free will: God unalterably and irresistibly ordained that a certain man will murder an Idaho mother, kidnap her children, torment and kill the son, molest and then rape the little girl, orchestrating this to the number of penetrations, and the man has no ability to desire otherwise, or to do otherwise, or to resist this causal predestination in anyway whatsoever, and you call that free will. [Dr. Lamerson] As you wrote in Post 1A:

    “‘In fairness I will state that I believe free will indicates that an agent will always be free to do what he or she chooses.” -A Calvinist [i.e., Lamerson]

    Fairness?

    I hold in contempt such commitment to Greek philosophy (immutability as the fundamental attribute, Neoplatonism, Augustinianism) that drives Christians to describe God as the author of filth, wickedness, perversion, infidelity, cruelty and idolatry. For, “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. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (James 1:13-14). However, I attempt to restrain myself in the framing of such a theological debate so that Christians can more readily join in and weigh the scriptural substance.

    AMR, I do appreciate the concession you willingly made, that, “The Scriptures are full of examples of God… reacting to His creatures.” Thank you for that. It may save some TOL Open Theists a dozen posts in the future.

    Regarding this post, if Calvinism is correct, then before the foundation of the world (and as I write this, I ask God for the wisdom to do so maintaining the utmost respect for Him), if Calvinism is correct, then every word of this post pre-existed, as decreed, without me have the least ability even to desire, let alone, to do, otherwise, for even my yearnings were foreordained; for every word here was then authored, verbatim, before the foundation of the world. And some day we can learn why such an exposé of a faithful Calvinist’s post would have been predestined. But if Open Theism is right, then AMR, you did it to yourself.

    One plight of the Calvinist demonstrated by Ask Mr. Religion is that, commitment to pagan Greek philosophy enables them to blatantly contradict themselves; to then feel good about it; and to finally deny that they have even contradicted themselves. AMR, you contradicted yourself when you concluded:

    Quote Originally Posted by AMR
    “The Scriptures tell us that God is indeed immutable, but that He nevertheless… is affected by… His creatures.”
    As with contradictions, this one also is blatantly false. God is mutable. Our worship can touch His heart; the entire thrust of Scripture teaches that our prayer can move His hand. The Son changes the Father; the Father’s love changes the Holy Spirit. The godly and the ungodly both affect Him; and affecting Him is change. In what way is the LORD immutable? As Hebrews indicates, it is God’s commitment to righteousness that we can depend upon, forever, for He is Faithful. The Bible does not call on us to trust God because He cannot forsake us, but because He "will not forsake His people!"

    AMR, you then told the reader that he has “no biblical justifications for changing” the following extra-biblical “statement:”

    Quote Originally Posted by AMR
    God is always the same in His eternal being. … God’s nature and character are constant.”
    God the Son is now fully human, and fully divine. That is His nature. Now. He was not flesh, nor human, through eternity past. So AMR, while you tell readers that they cannot change extra-biblical definitions, Open Theists will use the vast sweeping truths of Scripture, in this case, the Incarnation, which is the central tenet of all of Christianity, that God the Son became flesh, which single truth demolishes your orthodox definition.

    For God the Son was Spirit through eternity past, and became flesh. John the Apostle wrote that it is anti-Christ to deny that God the Son came in the flesh, and also, he wrote that the Son yearned to share again the glory He had with the Father, the glory that the two of them had shared “before the world was.” Then, the eternally gracious Father at one extraordinary moment poured out wrath on His Son. The Father is not pouring out wrath on His Son perpetually, but did so once, and will never do so again. The eternally blessed Son then became sin, and a curse, for us, suffered and died, once for all, never to be crucified again. And through the Holy Spirit, the Son was “justified” (1 Timothy 3:16), raised from the dead, and reconciled with the Father. No deference to philosophical OMNIs and IMs justifies minimizing these primary biblical truths. AMR, these extraordinary experiences comprise almost the greatest conceivable changes, God becoming a Man, and the Father pouring out wrath upon and then turning His back upon, and forsaking His own blessed Son, and the Son overcoming death and being resurrected. Man-made definitions notwithstanding, the mutable, Living God went through these Changes, for us. And that is Christianity.

    -Pastor Bob Enyart
    Denver Bible Church
    The Bob Enyart Live talk show airs at KGOV.com weekdays at 5 pm E.T. Also, same time, same station, check out Theology Thursday (.com) and on Fridays, Real Science Radio (.com) a.k.a. rsr.org. All shows are available 24/7 and you can call us at at 1-800-8Enyart.

  2. #62
    ☞☞☞☞Presbyterian (PCA) ☜☜☜☜☞☞☞☞ A Calvinist! ☜☜☜☜☜ Ask Mr. Religion's Avatar
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    Mr. Enyart,

    Thank you for your latest post. I will respond to it.

    In the meantime I would appreciate it if you would honor the terms of our discussion by answering the single question I wanted answered and to which you agreed to answer.

    Please review my post here to catch yourself up on the topic.


    AMR
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    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
    Mr. Enyart,

    Thank you for your latest post. I will respond to it.

    In the meantime I would appreciate it if you would honor the terms of our discussion by answering the single question I wanted answered and to which you agreed to answer.

    Please review my post here to catch yourself up on the topic.


    AMR
    Sorry to barge in on this One on One AMR but you can give one final response if you like (in one post) and then I am closing this thread. And for all you "link-lovers" Bob already responded to AMR's one question here, he explained why here and he went into more depth here.
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    ☞☞☞☞Presbyterian (PCA) ☜☜☜☜☞☞☞☞ A Calvinist! ☜☜☜☜☜ Ask Mr. Religion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight View Post
    Sorry to barge in on this One on One AMR but you can give one final response if you like (in one post) and then I am closing this thread. And for all you "link-lovers" Bob already responded to AMR's one question here, he explained why here and he went into more depth here.
    Then go ahead and close the thread as this is my final response. Bob's latest was nothing more than a cobbling together of his usual self-righteous commentary that had nothing to do with the question I wanted answered.

    AMR
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  5. #65
    ...then I woke up. Knight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
    Then go ahead and close the thread as this is my final response. Bob's latest was nothing more than a cobbling together of his usual self-righteous commentary that had nothing to do with the question I wanted answered.

    AMR
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