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  • Originally posted by Clete View Post
    (All of you who already know what the next line is can say it with me!)

    SAYING IT DOESN'T MAKE IT SO!
    ...that is, unless your nom de guerre is Clete.
    Embedded links in my posts or in my sig below are included for a reason. Tolle Lege.



    Do you confess?
    Founder, Reformed Theology Institute
    AMR's Randomata Blog
    Learn Reformed Doctrine
    I fear explanations explanatory of things explained.
    Christian, catholic, Calvinist, confessional, Presbyterian (PCA).
    Lex orandi, lex credenda: everyone is a Calvinist on their knees.
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    • Originally posted by Clete View Post
      I admitted to no such thing and you know it. On the contrary, I said that the discussion was probably very much worth the read.


      The needs of my family will forever trump the needs of any and everyone one else. My first duty is to my own family, not to you, this website, anyone on this website or anyone else on the planet.


      This is the first time I have ever seen you resort to supposed loyalties to family or advocate primary allegiance to the welfare of family, over and above, your spewing of false doctrine on TOL . . .

      But then, acknowledging little offspring comes in handy as an emotional defense, when a liar is backed into an intellectual corner, eh?

      Guess what, you sorry soul . . .other people have families and loved-ones to whom they offer dutiful, and spiritual first allegiance, and, like myself, WILL fight to the death, to protect their little offspring, from the false teachings and likes of you.



      Nang
      "The immutable God never learned anything and never changed his mind. He knew everything from eternity."

      " The difference between faith and saving faith are the propositions believed."
      Gordon H. Clark

      "If a man be lost, God must not have the blame for it; but if a man be saved, God must have the glory of it."
      Charles Spurgeon

      Comment


      • Clete, what if you found out one of your kids or even your wife was gay? Would you still beloyal to them?

        Comment


        • Quote - Ask Mr. Religion
          Hundreds of years of scrutiny by scholars and theologians have failed to undermine the tenets of my and many others' beliefs.
          Originally posted by Clete View Post
          That simply isn't true AMR. There were thousands of people who didn't believe it then and there remain thousands who don't believe it now. I then could make the same argument you are making and say that hundreds (even thousands) of years of the Calvinist error has failed to undermine the tenets of thousands upon thousands of believers who have stayed loyal to the true tenets of Christianity as taught not by the traditions of men but by the Scripture and that alone.
          Trying to separate Calvinism from the Reformed movement is not warranted. I am a reformed theologian who happens to believe the Calvinistic doctrines defined in the Westminster Confession. Your numbers are off by an order of magnitude. Millions have believed the traditional reformed perspectives. Thousands may claim to be open theists, not millions.


          Quote – Ask Mr. Religion
          You can dismiss that by hand-waving, vainly hoping to claim some measure of equal footing with these centuries of scriptural analysis, but the fact stands.
          Originally posted by Clete View Post
          The fact stands that a great number of people have bought into a false paradigm, yes. I never denied that. Which are there more of, AMR; Calvinist or non-Christians? Which has existed longer and with larger numbers? Why couldn't the unbeliever make the exact same argument you are making for the truth of their worldview? The answer is they could and they have.
          Our discussion has nothing to do with non-believers. I assume we both believe, so let’s stay on point. Hundreds of years and millions of believers should serve as a warning to proceed with caution and carefully when attempting to cast off a system of beliefs. To simply state, in effect, “well they could all be wrong” is to ignore the realities of the situation.


          Quotes – Ask Mr. Religion
          If open theists claim to have discovered the new truths of God's special revelation then why are we not witnessing a global awakening to these new truths?

          Surely God would not hold these revelations back and the spread of open theism would be exploding across the land.

          Moreover, seminaries would be populated with ever-increasing open theist theologians to train up new pastors, missionaries, etc.

          Journals and books would be appearing with frequent positive open theism discourse.
          Originally posted by Clete View Post
          Because they are not new and no one but you and other Calvinists have ever called them new.
          How do you justify this statement? Is it only Calvinists you see disagreeing with open theism? I don’t think you have surveyed the theological space sufficiently. My point is that if open theism is some new revelation, previously hidden for hundreds of years, now being unfolded then we should be witnessing a revival of global proportions. We are not. What we see are pockets of believers here and there, no centralization or no attempts to define the tenets of the open theist faith.

          Originally posted by Clete View Post
          I wonder how many times this same argument was made against Luther and Calvin in their day?
          True enough. But observe the spread of the reformed doctrines globally as evidence of the truth of the doctrines.


          Originally posted by Clete View Post
          I have no doubt that this (the spread of open theism) will eventually be the case, although it may not be. What we know for sure is that for now, your error is shared with the religious establishment.
          Originally posted by Clete View Post

          Books on the subject of open theism keep popping up all the time and I would expect that journals published from within the religious establishment to be almost universally negative for the first several decades. It will take a generation, if not two, before Open Theism could even possibly grow to the point of becoming anything close to being within the religious mainstream. Until that happens one should expect that in such journals that a challenging worldview would be routinely misrepresented and negatively reacted too.
          Yet we have Richard Rice, publishing probably the earliest treatment of open theism in 1979, and in nearly thirty years open theism remains on the fringes of Protestant theism. Nine years after Luther refused to recant at the Diet of Worms, nearly all of Germany became Lutherans. Two years after Calvin’s Institutes were published Calvinism expanded into France and spread through parts of Germany, the Netherlands, and Eastern Europe. It also predominated in the theology of the Anglican Church in England after 1558, only two short years following the appearance of the Institutes. So how is it you know “for sure” this entire establishment is in error?

          Originally posted by Clete View Post
          I really don't understand your allegiance to such documents. The only thing I can think of is that it is perhaps a vestige of your career as a seminary professor.
          For one thing, these theological journals and publications are where we can examine and test our own understandings against those of others, some of whom have spent years going deep into the scriptures. Theology and practice are separable only verbally and are inseparable for salvation. There are two basic questions in life: “who is Jesus?” and “who is God?” We all know how easy it is to create pictures and images in our minds, which turn out not to have any basis in reality. This is especially easy when dealing with something transcendent (like God) or seemingly paradoxical (like Jesus): there has to be some outside foundation against which we can check our interior life, so that we do not create some sort of idols or false ideas...and then go worshipping them.


          Looked at from another direction, if our view of the God is wrong, no amount of good works can erase the idolatry we have erected in our heart. So, both go together: faith (theology) and praxis (life). One guides, corrects, and balances the other. What if our faith is in something we have imagined? What if we have created an intellectual idol? Theology is the guarantor, the check point and touchstone, that our faith is legitimate.

          Quote – Ask Mr. Religion
          The greater open theist minds would be coming together, formulating doctrinal statements and articles of faith.
          Originally posted by Clete View Post
          I personally don't see the need, except perhaps to rob you and Nang of an opportunity to nag us about it seeing as you two are the only one's (to my knowledge) who have ever brought it up and Nang only nags about it because you did. The fact is that Open Theism is not all that different from any other sort of Christian theism. We simply believe that the future is not exhaustively settled. Any Christian who excepts that single premise can rightly consider themselves an Open Theist whether they understand the implications of that premise or not. In regards to a full discloser and examination of the implications of the future not being exhaustively settled, there are many places one may go to read about them and to fully understand the issue, not the least of which is this very website. The point being that Open Theism is not a complete reformulation of the Christian faith as Calvinism and other forms of Reformed theology were in their early days and so formal documents on the order of the WCF are unnecessary.
          I don’t think you appreciate the degree of change open theism imposes on traditional Protestant doctrine. Just to claim that anyone who assumes the future is unsettled misses the significance of the baggage that must accompany such an assumption. The doctrine of God requires special attention because it forms the framework within which all other doctrines are developed. As I discussed above, not only is the doctrine of God foundational to theology, or the way a person believes, it is also foundational to the practical aspects of Christian life, the way one acts.


          Open theism’s re-definitions of the God of theism are:
          1. God is vulnerable, open to the failure of at least some of His intentions
          2. God is not immutable as traditionally understood, i.e., He changes His mind in ways that are more relational
          3. God is sometimes mistaken in His beliefs about what will happen
          4. God is not omnipotent as traditionally understood; His efforts are sometimes defeated
          5. The attributes of God must be redefined with Love at the center

          From the above, I must disagree that open theism is not a “complete reformulation” of Christian faith. These re-definitions run counter to creeds that are over a thousand years old. Your implied argument that open theism is merely some nuances of the doctrine of God and therefore one should not expect widespread and serious discussions to be happening outlining these doctrines is unsupportable.
          Originally posted by Clete View Post
          I do have to admit that it would be an intriguing project. A point for point refutation of the WCF would take forever but the document could prove very helpful in lending the movement additional credibility within the minds of academics. The question remains, however, whether credibility with such is really desirable in the first place. Becoming entrenched in the religious establishment has as many cons and it has pros, not the least of which we are seeing right here. If not for the religious establishment you wouldn't be here presenting one fallacious 'appeal to authority' argument after another. I really recommend that you examine yourself and discover whether you truly hold yourself to the standard of sola scriptura because your comments here would seem to belie any such claim.
          I appeal to centuries of study of the scriptures, scrutiny by the faithful, and the results of these beliefs in the world around us. Would false teachings yield so much good? No one can deny the good coming out of the body of Christ.


          Again, my point is that this history cannot be dismissed as you are want to do. This history tells us that we have to be cautious and tread carefully. You would just toss it all claiming that it is corrupted by pagan influences, Greek philosophy, etc. That is a telling action. It tells me you don’t appreciate the Aristotelian influence on the limited divine foreknowledge open theism claims. It tells me that you don’t respect the thinking of others, especially the great reformers, because they disagree with you. Lastly, it tells me that you don’t understand the history of the faith we claim. That the Church Fathers used the language of their culture to discuss as well as is possible what is beyond words (a transcendent being), doesn't make their discussion wrong, nor does it make them lovers of Greek philosophy by any means.
          Embedded links in my posts or in my sig below are included for a reason. Tolle Lege.



          Do you confess?
          Founder, Reformed Theology Institute
          AMR's Randomata Blog
          Learn Reformed Doctrine
          I fear explanations explanatory of things explained.
          Christian, catholic, Calvinist, confessional, Presbyterian (PCA).
          Lex orandi, lex credenda: everyone is a Calvinist on their knees.
          The best TOL Social Group: here.
          If your username appears in blue and you have over 500 posts:
          Why?


          Comment


          • Originally posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
            My point is that if open theism is some new revelation, previously hidden for hundreds of years, now being unfolded then we should be witnessing a revival of global proportions. We are not.
            This is the most dangerous of modern Christian reconstructionist delusions. The God of Isaias, who cries "Behold me! Behold me!" to nations that do not call upon his name, does not disappear for centuries and hide from the world. How many Christians do we have here that do not belong to any denomination because they feel they have some peculiar insight every other kind of Christian in the world lacks? How many who belong to a new, small, and isolated church that nevertheless purports itself to be getting right all the things other churches all over the world have always done wrong?

            A city seated on a mountaintop cannot be hidden, nor does one light a candle and put it under a bushel. Surely God least of all.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by baloney View Post
              Evoken, I believe in the classic attributes of God that he knew the future entirely, but I just agreed that coningent things reach their goals through contingency or proximation to God's goals as Aquinas stated.

              Godrulz, your arguments come dangerously close to deism.
              God can and does intervene in creation. He is transcendent and immanent. He is not limited by creation and is distinct from it.

              In Deism, God winds things up and then lets it unwind as He passively has His hands tied. I reject Deism as unbiblical.
              Know God and make Him known! (YWAM)

              They said: "Where is the God of Elijah?"
              I say: "Where are the Elijahs of God?" (Ravenhill "Why Revival Tarries")

              Rev. 1:17, 18; Jer. 9:23, 24

              "No Compromise!" (Keith Green)

              The Pledge: He died for me; I'll live for Him.

              Comment


              • Mr. Religion must not have kids. If he did, especially teens, he would see that free will is self-evident. As a parent, I have a touch of God's heart, when our children are not perfect in every way in the choices they make.
                Know God and make Him known! (YWAM)

                They said: "Where is the God of Elijah?"
                I say: "Where are the Elijahs of God?" (Ravenhill "Why Revival Tarries")

                Rev. 1:17, 18; Jer. 9:23, 24

                "No Compromise!" (Keith Green)

                The Pledge: He died for me; I'll live for Him.

                Comment


                • Completely beside the point. I have kids, but I agree with AMR here. Our only real freewill choice is between two masters, and without God, there is no choice. How OV often defines Free-will is a delusion in my observation here. T-shirt color makes no difference, "Why" I'm choosing that color does. If I wear my shirt because I am serving this or that master is the bottom line.
                  My New Years Resolution: 1 Peter 3:15
                  Omniscient without man's qualification. John 1:3 "Nothing"
                  Colossians 1:17 "Nothing" John 15:5 "Nothing"
                  Mighty, ALL mighty (omnipotent). Revelation 1:8
                  No possible limitation Isaiah 40:25 Joshua 24:15
                  Infinite (Omnipresent) Psalm 145:3 Hebrews 4:13

                  ? Yep

                  Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think... Amen. -Ephesians 3:20 & 21

                  ... when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. Titus 3:10 Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:11

                  Separation of church and State is not atheism "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
                    You have grabbed a verse and tried to make a point. What exactly is your point?
                    My point is that knowledge without relationship is nothing. Which is also God point in the verse I sited.

                    Comment


                    • Quote:
                      Originally Posted by Ask Mr. Religion
                      Actually, Calvinism rests upon all the communicable and incommunicable attributes of God, not elevating one above the other.
                      Originally posted by Clete View Post
                      Calvinism is nothing but reformed Augustinian theology and Augustinian theology is based entirely on the Greek (i.e. Platonist) concept of deity.
                      That the Church Fathers used the language of their culture to discuss as well as is possible what is beyond words (a transcendent being), doesn't make their discussion wrong, nor does it make them lovers of Greek philosophy by any means. Moreover, I have already pointed out to you elsewhere that open theism’s doctrine of open futures is based upon Aristotle. So you end up with open theists like Boyd, writing in God of the Possible, pp. 103-106, that he finds it helpful when counseling someone who has experienced a great tragedy to say that God was as surprised as everyone else at what happened. Boyd thinks this makes God kinder and gentler and more trustworthy. I seriously beg to differ. Now you may simply reject Boyd’s thinking as unrepresentative of open theism. In fact, you have done as much when I have cited other statements from open theists, such as Pinnock. But you don’t get to possess the open theist forest without owning the trees, no matter how vehemently you protest to the contrary.


                      Quote – Ask Mr. Religion
                      I suspect, Clete, that you might misunderstand immutability and all the associated implications on the attributes of God.
                      I understand the doctrine completely and I also understand how the TULIP doctines (for example) follow logically from it.
                      I don’t think you do. I have been discussing the topic at length in this thread. For the record, God’s perfections and attributes are unchangeable. They do not increase, or decrease in number, quality or power. God does act and feel emotions, and He acts and feels differently in response to different situations.


                      Quote – Ask Mr. Religion
                      A God that is immutable is unchangeable. Yet if God can change, then it means God aquires something He did not have prior to this change.
                      This is not what change means. There are many things which change all the time without acquiring anything they didn't already have but I'm not even going to press that point at this time. As far as I'm concerned you just cut your own theological head off.
                      Let’s stay focused, we are not talking about things, but a spiritual being, God. Open theism holds that there are things that God does not know until free agents act. God then knows something new. He has acquired new information. He therefore has changed.


                      Did God always have a physical body with hands and feet and eye balls and nose hairs?
                      Did God always have scares from having been killed on a Roman cross?
                      Has God always had a new and ever lasting glorified body which retains those scares?
                      Has God always been a man (i.e. a human)?
                      Had God always had the experience of being dead?
                      Is God still experiencing death right now?
                      Is there anything in the entire gospel story that is not all about God acquiring all sorts of things that He had never had before?
                      God never has nor will have experienced/possessed any of these things. This is gibberish, exhibits a complete lack of understanding of the Trinitarian nature of the Godhead, and comes dangerously close to Arianism. The human nature and body of Christ suffered and endured all of these things. The divine nature did not. It is generally admitted that the word “person” is but an imperfect expression of the idea of the one God, three persons conceptualization. In common parlance it denotes a separate rational and moral individual, possessed of self-consciousness, and conscious of his identity amid all changes. Experience teaches that where you have a person, you also have a distinct individual essence. Every person is a distinct and separate individual, in whom human nature is individualized.

                      In God there are no three individuals alongside of, and separate from, one another, but only personal self-distinctions within the Divine essence, which is not only generically, but also numerically, one. Christ possessed two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God, the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ.

                      Quote – Ask Mr. Religion
                      This would mean God would be better, more complete, from this new acquisition. Therefore, God was not previously perfect for He must have lacked some perfection since He changed. Is the God of open theism is not an already perfect God, or is the God of 2007 much more perfect than the God of 6,000 B.C.?
                      This is also fallacious reasoning. A change is not necessarily for the better or for the worse. Many changes can be made which are qualitatively neutral and if it is in the nature of a thing to change (i.e. any animate thing such as a clock or a relational person) then immutability would be considered a flaw.
                      Let’s stay focused, we are not talking about things, but a spiritual being, God. A rock is a rock, even when you split it in half. God is a not a rock. So, again, what it your rebuttal? Please describe the qualitatively neutral “changes” that can occur with God, especially with respect to His limited foreknowledge.


                      Quote – Ask Mr. Religion
                      A God that is immutable must always exist, for whatever is not immutable can potentially cease to exist. Is the God of open theism subject to non-existence?
                      How does it follow necessarily that something which is mutable can potentially cease to exist? Show me the syllogism - if you can.

                      1. If anything exists in the universe it is contingent.
                      2. Anything that is contingent is potentially or actually mutable.
                      3. For there to be anything contingent in the universe, there must be one thing that is not contingent, something that is necessary throughout all change and self-established. In this case "necessary" does not apply to a proposition but to a thing, and it means infinite, eternal, everlasting, self-caused, self existent.
                      5. God exists.
                      6. Therefore God is not contingent, nor mutable, for if He were, then there is another non-contingent, immutable being.

                      Quote – Ask Mr. Religion
                      A God that is immutable is unified in simplicity, for an absolutely simple being cannot be more than one. To be more than one means that a being is composed of parts, but an absolutely simple being has no composition of parts. Absolutely simple beings cannot be divided. An immutable God is an absolutely simple being, indivisible, and cannot be more than one being. Therefore there is only one God.
                      Do you not believe that in God, unity and plurality are both equally ultimate concepts?
                      If not, how do you solve the problem of the one and the many?
                      If so, how does what you said above not conflict with that presupposition?
                      You are confusing the essential nature of God with some misunderstandings of the Godhead. In God there are no three individuals alongside of, and separate from, one another, but only personal self-distinctions within the Divine essence, which is not only generically, but also numerically, one.

                      1. There is in the Divine Being but one indivisible essence (ousia, essentia).
                      2. In this one Divine Being there are three Persons or individual subsistences, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
                      3. The whole undivided essence of God belongs equally to each of the three persons.
                      4. The subsistence and operation of the three persons in the divine Being is marked by a certain definite order.
                      5. There are certain personal attributes by which the three persons are distinguished.
                      6. The Church confesses the Trinity to be a mystery beyond the comprehension of man.

                      Quote – Ask Mr. Religion
                      Yet a God that can change is not composed of absolute simplicity. A God that changes is comprised of what changes and what do not change. In fact, if every part of a non-simple being changes then an entirely new being exists. Can the God of open theism to be relied upon since this God is always changing, even possibly becoming an entirely different God?
                      God's character does not change. That is to say that those things which make God who He is (His qualitative attributes), do not change.

                      I have affirmed that immutability means God’s character and all His attributes do not change. You seem to want to limit immutability to God’s character alone, yet they (character and attributes) are inseparable.
                      Embedded links in my posts or in my sig below are included for a reason. Tolle Lege.



                      Do you confess?
                      Founder, Reformed Theology Institute
                      AMR's Randomata Blog
                      Learn Reformed Doctrine
                      I fear explanations explanatory of things explained.
                      Christian, catholic, Calvinist, confessional, Presbyterian (PCA).
                      Lex orandi, lex credenda: everyone is a Calvinist on their knees.
                      The best TOL Social Group: here.
                      If your username appears in blue and you have over 500 posts:
                      Why?


                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by godrulz View Post
                        Mr. Religion must not have kids. If he did, especially teens, he would see that free will is self-evident. As a parent, I have a touch of God's heart, when our children are not perfect in every way in the choices they make.
                        My son is graduating from college in December. Gheez. Read more here.
                        Free-will, that is, always choosing to do what your greatest inclinations are, is patently obvious.
                        Embedded links in my posts or in my sig below are included for a reason. Tolle Lege.



                        Do you confess?
                        Founder, Reformed Theology Institute
                        AMR's Randomata Blog
                        Learn Reformed Doctrine
                        I fear explanations explanatory of things explained.
                        Christian, catholic, Calvinist, confessional, Presbyterian (PCA).
                        Lex orandi, lex credenda: everyone is a Calvinist on their knees.
                        The best TOL Social Group: here.
                        If your username appears in blue and you have over 500 posts:
                        Why?


                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by baloney View Post
                          Clete, what if you found out one of your kids or even your wife was gay? Would you still beloyal to them?
                          This is completely off topic, but...

                          No. It would be in their best interests for me to completely disown them, which is precisely what I would do.
                          sigpic
                          "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

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
                            Let's see, of the 259 posts I have made, please cite innumerable numbers that I have copied and pasted. I believe I have referenced the ones that I have so pasted. I also believe you will find the numbers to be less than, say, 5% of my posts. Moreover, you will find them to be credible scholars, and not your favorite quotation whipping person, Enyart.

                            Please. Give me the numbers or admit you are producing red herrings to save face.
                            Come on AMR! You're the copy/paste king!

                            I have no real problem with copy/paste jobs when they are done from time to time. I've done it and will do so again but that wasn't the point I was making. I'd be surprised if I've read even 20% of your posts, most of which have not been addressed to me or have even been posted on thread I am participating in as far as I know and so the only "red herrings" (which is not the correct fallacy, by the way, but we'll go with it) around here are being produced by you. The copy/paste jobs I am referring to are the one's you've produced in response to my posts not everyone else's. I never said that the majority of your posts were copy paste jobs. I said that such is a primary part of your tactic when dealing with me. You even linked to someone else's two paragraph long post one time rather than simply restating the same or similar material in your own words. And in another instance your rebuttal was to challenge me to refute point for point the entire collected works of John Calvin. The point was that you are lazy when it comes to addressing my posts. You clearly don't want to do it and find every available excuse not to do so and when the excuses run out you find every available short cut and easy way out. Then when I get fed up you cry foul as though I'm the one being recalcitrant.

                            I am excited however to see that you responded to those two posts. I will respond as soon as time allows. That is, if Nang doesn't mind if I earn a living in order to provide for my family and do a few chores around the house first.

                            Resting in Him,
                            Clete
                            sigpic
                            "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

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
                              My son is graduating from college in December. Gheez. Read more here.
                              Free-will, that is, always choosing to do what your greatest inclinations are, is patently obvious.
                              Choosing?

                              Choosing between what?
                              sigpic
                              "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

                              Comment


                              • Ask mr r:
                                Even more evidence that you have a problem reading words carefully. Please let me know where anything I have written suggests that God is impersonal, does not feel emotions, or respond differently to different situations. In fact, if you will take the time to r-e-a-d my posts you will find I explicitly state the opposite. You do nothing but pop up here and there, like a whack-a-mole, with some one-liners and nothing more. When you feel like going deep, make some cogent arguments that we all might benefit from your wisdom.
                                Please, by all means, do so. This should be interesting.

                                Philetus: I hate Calvinism.
                                Clete: No, I hate Calvinism.
                                Philetus: Wait a minute, I really hate Calvinism.
                                Clete: You can't hate Calvinism more than I do, you are a fool and a liar.
                                Philetus: You don't know how God sees me. You must be a Calvinist. I hate Calvinism.
                                Clete: No, I hate Calvinism...
                                Now that's more like it. That's the spirit. You aren't the unmoved mover your smugness indicates. You (and Calvinism) are just an intellectually dead mole that needs whacking. Your appeal to centuries of scholarship is shallow and you are not addressing the charges that Open Theism presents to your tradition. You are just continuing in the same waywardness of the many you continue to hold up as correct because of their numbers. You have no answer. No one is listening to you any longer because you quit listening centuries ago. Your theology is as dead as the god you continue to prop up with twisted definitions of simple words like grace, faith, hope and love. Neither God nor the people God has made are as lifeless and void of personhood as your theology makes them out to be.

                                I'm looking forward to your response to the brilliant post of Evo's which you seem to have overlooked.

                                Especially this part:
                                Evo: The Scripture says "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world" (1 John 2:2) and "...because we hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of the faithful." (1 Timothy 4:10). So, it is clear that Chris' atonement was indeed universal and that Christ died for all men, and not just for the elect or the faithful.

                                However, the atonement can be said to be universal in two ways, first, as it relates to the Father, that is, as a sacrifice that was enough to atone for the sins of the whole of mankind without exception, wether past, present or future. And this can be called Objective Redemption. Second, in the subjective application of the fruits of the atonement to individual men. The atonement is said to be universal in the first sense, but not in the second sense. That is, with his sacrifice Jesus Christ intended to make salvation possible for all men, but not actual for all men. We know this is the case since it is clear that Jesus Christ knew that not all would avail themselves of the fruits of redemption and that some would end up in Hell (Matthew 22:13, Luke 3:17).
                                And unlike Clete, I love cut and paste.
                                God of the Philosophers

                                In the ancient world in which Christian doctrine was formed, there was a struggle over the nature of divine perfection. The Greek philosophers who carried intellectual weight held that divine perfection would have to understand God as never changing. For both Plato and Aristotle, God must be totally unyielding in every respect. Obviously they thought of God as an absolute being, not as a person with whom one could interact. Aristotle even spoke of God as an "unmoved mover" which could move things without being moved or feeling anything itself. Aristotle's notion of God could move others by being an object of thought and could function as a final cause of worldly events, without changing in any respect itself. The only real activity that this God could engage in was the immobile "activity" of self-contemplation. God could only think about himself because, if he thought about the world, for example, he would be affected by it and be changed. And so, Aristotle thought that God must be independent of everything and dependent on nothing. God must be superior, meaning that he must be free of relationships that might involve response and interaction. To be perfect, God must be pure actuality, possessing no potentiality. God must be incapable of being affected by any other being because that would involve a kind of changing. Thus God cannot even know the world as a changing reality because that would change God in the knowing of it. The Greek philosophers held to what we could call the dogma of God's absolute unchangeableness.

                                It is not hard to grasp then why it was so difficult for early Christians to do theology in dialogue with this way of thinking about God. Christianity had come into the world with a very different model of the divine perfection. How could one possibly combine the picture of God as a passionate person (the biblical tradition) with God as a metaphysical iceberg (Greek philosophy)?

                                Tertullian warned against having anything to do with a synthesis of this kind, but some of the most respected theologians went ahead anyway. Especially in the work of St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas you can see the pagan/Christian synthesis being concocted. They took the pagan legacy of utter unchangeability in God and merged it with the biblical teaching. It resulted in a definite onesideness in favor of God's distance over God's nearness and introduced distortions into the definitions of many of the attributes of God. There was lots of emphasis placed on God's transcendence, but much less on God's involvement with us. It left us with the lifeless picture of an immutable and unchangeable, timeless and completely actualized God and saddled us with numerous self-contradictions.

                                It meant, for example, that God had to know a changing world in an unchangeable way, that God had to act in history in a timeless way, and that God had to deal with the past, present, and future simultaneously rather than successively. None of these ideas and none of these problems originated in the Bible-all of them were generated by the biblical/Greek synthesis. They were not extracted from the biblical text. They were read into it.

                                Clark H. Pinnock © 2000 Worship Leader Magazine

                                "Proof? You want PROOF! You can't handle the proof!"

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