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Battle Royale X Critique thread - Does God Know Your Entire Future?

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  • Remember folks this thread is for SINGLE "stand alone" critiques of the posts being made in Battle Royale X. Many of you have asked why your posts are being deleted and this is the reason.

    Therefore if you wish to create a dialog about BR X please do so on the Battle Talk

    Thanks in advance for your time and cooperation.
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    • Like novice, I enjoyed the more light-hearted, gentle approach that Rev. Enyart used in his 5th round post. At first, I was a bit disappointed that he used this post to delve into Christianity’s Greek philosophical roots. I guess I was hoping for a more “scriptural” argument. But as I read on, I began to understand why he took this approach. What really floored me was when he contrasted scripture with quotes from the philosophers themselves.
      Rev. Enyart, “All of Christianity went after pagan Plotinus, who declared, God as “that which neither has been nor will be, but simply possesses being,” whereas the true God reveals Himself as, “Him who is and who was and who is to come” (Rev. 1:4)!’
      Wow! What else can I say? Rev. Enyart did a great job of demonstrating for us how these pagan beliefs have stagnated the average Christian’s relationship with God. Just read the following passage:
      Rev. Enyart, “And unlike Sam’s typical Settled View rational in Post 2B, none of this is because God can not but because He will not do evil. But when Sam denies the very Strength of Israel, which is God’s will to do right, reducing Him to a being who simply has no choice in the matter, no wonder Sam now thinks that every filthy perversion flows as a command from the mind of God (resisting Jer. 19:5; 32:35). Rather, God provides our salvation in righteousness, which He maintains immutably only by the commitment of His will, thus, ‘This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast,’ (Heb. 6:19).

      This frees the student of God’s Word to begin again at Genesis, and read through, seeing the glory of a relational God, actually uncompromised by evil, fully engaged and greatly affected by our love and hurt by our disobedience. Now, let’s fill in some particulars.”
      Reading this compels me to get down on my knees and thank God for Who He is, not just what He is. That is relational!
      Rev. Enyart, “When I call Augustine the most influential Christian theologian, that is true even if you include the prophets and the apostles who wrote the Bible, because Christianity filters biblical truth through his platonic commitments. However, if we broaden the potential candidate list to include pagans, then indisputably Plato, the pagan Greek philosopher, is the most influential Christian theologian.”
      This really hit home. I never really thought about it this way, but Rev. Enyart makes it incredibly easy to see. It is almost frightening when you stop to think about how the minds of Christians have been coerced by such empty philosophy. Rev. Enyart justifiably quoted Colossian 2:8:
      Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
      In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed this 5th round and am anxiously awaiting round 6!
      For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
      Galatians 5:13-15


      • Round 4/5A:

        Sam suggests that God knew and planned tragedy. I think if he grasped the open view, he would be more biblical/effective in grief counseling. This is more than an ivory tower discussion.

        At times this debate is becoming personal rather than sticking to content.

        Sam wants to use the Bible and Jesus only. This is simplisitic ('red herring') if our biblical views are deductive and biased from philosophical influence. The nature of the subject (time, eternity, predestination, free will) involves both the Bible and godly philosophy. Proof texts alone will not deal with all issues. Critical thinking and logic also have a role in addition to exegesis.

        Sam is relying on two examples and 3 proof texts that deal with proximal (during the ministry of Christ) vs remote knowledge (trillions of years ago). One cannot extrapolate from 2 historical narratives a didactic conclusion about exhaustive foreknowledge.

        It is making a mountain out of a molehill to think Peter and Judas support/refute exhaustive foreknowledge. The Open view has plausible alternate understandings. It is time for a positive statement of the Open View's biblical support. We need to see the forest, not just the trees of proof texts that should not be made to say more than is reasonable to support a preconceived theology.

        God knowing some of the immediate future is not the same as Him knowing every moral and mundane contingent choice from trillions of years ago.

        At the half way point, it is time to move on from the 3 proof texts (Mt. 6 simply cannot be used to argue for exhaustive foreknowledge of all future free will contingencies).
        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.


        • Originally posted by Dr. Lamerson's 6th Round Post
          I know how difficult it must be to try to keep an open mind to the arguments when you have such respect for Rev. Enyart. I am only writing with the hope that some of you will see that the position I am espousing is Biblical. That, after all is the ultimate test.
          Personally, Dr. Lamerson would have gone much further in his endeavor had he at least attempted to rebut the overwhelming evidence that most of what is termed "Christianity" today has roots in pagan Greek philosophy.
          Help for

          "...the Reformation broke with Rome but not Greece..." - Bob Enyart


          • I hope Sam can get past the Peter and Judas topics soon. Dead horse anyone?
            Some poster named DEVO gave a list of suggestions a few posts back; maybe Sam could check them out.

            It seems that Sam is afraid to directly answer any of Bob's 'yes' or 'no' questions. I think this may be because it would cause Sam to question the very foundation of his belief system. I imagine changing one's view of God's character would be very difficult. Especially when you are a respected professor who teaches the opposite view.


            • Note that (unless I missed them and that is possible) Rev. Enyart has failed to answer SLQ13; 14 as well as being unwilling to pick out a few passages. It is my contention that the only way this debate will ever make progress is for both Rev. Enyart and myself to “do hand to hand combat” over particular texts. This, in my opinion, is where the debate should be headed.
              Dr. Lamerson continues to suggest that this is the best way to make progress in the debate. To me, this is a possible indicator that maybe he had a preconcieved idea of how he thought the debate would transpire and now that it's becoming a little rough, he's hoping to direct the debate to a place that would be more comfortable for him. (More on this in the Battle talk thread.)

              I'm disapointed that Dr. Lamerson didn't even attempt to comment on the very origins of his beliefs that Bob addressed. In not responding, he leaves the reader to draw his own conclusions as to why he doesn't even so much as mention it. Could it be that he's seeing origins of his beliefs that are so damaging that he's simply not prepared to deal with it?

              BEQ27: In the tradition of BEQ1, BEQ7, BEQ9, and BEQ17, I ask: Sam, is God able to change such that He can have true relationship:
              A: within the Trinity? and,
              B: with His creatures?

              As I have mentioned there are a variety of different meanings for the word change. He can certainly have a relationship within the Trinity and with his creatures. I have affirmed that, perhaps not as clearly as I should have.
              Dr. Lamerson, I find it very disappointing that you refuse to give a clear answer for this question. You give what might look like an answer; an "almost answer" if you will but you have skated around it. I refuse to believe that an intelligent person such as yourself doesn't realize what he's doing in avoiding this question. Here is an example of the type of Q&A that seems to be going on here:

              son: "Dad, do you think $25 will be enough for me to buy a new baseball glove?"

              dad: "There are many types of gloves out there, son. Yes, you will need money to buy a glove."

              son: "But Dad, will $25 buy me a new glove?"

              dad: "As I said before there are many types of gloves out there. You can certainly buy a glove if you have money. I have affirmed that but maybe not as clearly as I should have."

              Dr. Lamerson, please have the courage to answer this question honestly and clearly.



              • YIKES - STRIPES - PEPPERMINT GUM!!!

                Sam's 6th round post.

                Sam posted:
                ON HERMENEUTICS

                Rev. Enyart asks about my hermeneutic. Let me say that in a nutshell my hermeneutic is to find out what the author (both earthly and heavenly) intended to communicate by his writing. Note that this is what Rev. Enyart did as well when we actually engaged on a particular text (Acts 1). He went to a lexicon to determine the meaning of a word (more on that later). More specifically, however, hermeneutics is a complex subject that many books have been written about. There are questions like “Does Paul mean for us to keep slaves?” and “Is it wrong to wear gold jewelry?” Only a very carefully crafted hermeneutic can answer those questions.

                Because hermeneutical decisions do not take place in a vacuum, texts must be chosen and dealt with. The only way to tell the value of anyone's hermeneutic is to apply it to a text. This is the reason that I as Rev. Enyart to choose three passages (note passages, not just a verse or two). And so Rev. Enyart, I put the question to you again. given the above statements about Hermeneutics .
                Are you kidding me????

                Sam, did you really post the above paragraph?

                Tell me you can do better. Please?

                Sam states his hermeneutic is....
                Let me say that in a nutshell my hermeneutic is to find out what the author (both earthly and heavenly) intended to communicate by his writing.

                Sam, that isn't a hermeneutic!

                Basically Sam said nothing more than "blue things are blue". Sam, you can't explain your hermeneutic by explaining what a hermeneutic is.

                Sam uses the examples....
                “Does Paul mean for us to keep slaves?” and “Is it wrong to wear gold jewelry?”
                How on earth could Sam's hermeneutic possibly help him answer those questions?

                It couldn't!!!

                Now fo the rest of Sam's post....
                Sam, is unresponsive and completely unspecific.

                Unless Sam is as good a magician as he is a juggler Sam has now completely lost the debate.

                The good news is, it isn't Sam's fault. Sam didn't lose because he is a terrible debator or a bad guy. Sam lost because he is fighting a losing battle. The truth is not on Sam's side and therefore no matter who had accepted this the debate they would have lost. You may find it unfair that I state this but it is not unfair, I have used Sam's hermeneutic to determine what the truth is.
                Oh, wise guy eh?


                • Well, believe it or not with Dr. Lamerson's latest post (post 6) he has somehow managed to convince me that he isn't being intellectually dishonest. That is better, I suppose than the alternative but it still doesn't reflect very well on the good Dr. because it means that he truly doesn't get Pastor Enyart's rebuttal of his argument. Dr. Lamerson keeps insisting that his argument has not been addressed and in this post he did at least substantively restate his argument in hopes of moving the debate forward but the problem is he only restated an argument that Pastor Enyart has rebutted and rerebutted and rererebutted and I'm sure will now rerererebutt in post 6b. Ugh! I’m getting dizzy!

                  What really needs to happen is that Dr. Lamerson needs to own up to the fact that he was the one who brought up this hermeneutic issue in the first place and that Pastor Enyart has presented just that and then he needs to do one of two things. He either needs to show where Pastor Enyart's "NOAH" hermeneutic would be an inappropriate means to interpret Scripture or else he needs to present a specific hermeneutic that is superior and show why it is superior.


                  The Dr. continues to ask for three passages that Pastor Enyart believes best argue in favor of the open view but no one, including Pastor Enyart sees the need for that. The three that Dr. Lamerson has presented are more than sufficient themselves without any need to double the amount of Biblical evidence in favor of the open side. I cannot understand why the Dr. seems unwilling to simply take Bob's hermeneutic, apply it to the three passages that have been brought up and demonstrate to us why the hermeneutic doesn't work, if in fact it doesn't. Isn't that basically what he is proposing to do with whatever three passages Bob might present? If he can do it with Bob's passages why can't he simply do it with his own?

                  At any rate, as I said, if Bob's hermeneutic, which Dr. Lamerson asked for himself in the opening post, isn't rebutted before the tenth round ends, Bob will have won this debate and done so inside the first round. The hermeneutic issue is the only one that matters at this point in the debate. Indeed, as Dr. Lamerson said in his first post, that is what the debate has been about from the very beginning.

                  Resting in Him,
                  "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


                  • To Sam AND Bob,

                    I do believe that you may in the second half of the battle actually converge on what your root disagreements are. It looked pretty fuzzy there in the first half, but between the last post of Round 5 (Bob's) and the first post of Round 6 (Sam's) I sense that we may be done with throwing in lots of new material that at first appears to be irrelevant.

                    Stay focused, both of you!

                    Sam, I'm honestly trying hard to see the Settled View through your eyes, but

                    1) I grew up in the painful and confusing Settled View (Lutheran) and may have lost my open mind from trying for 35 years to understand something that isn't understandable, and

                    2) Occam's Razor may apply to this debate (not good news for you.

                    Bob, you're a world-class arguer; however, many observers discount you and what you have to say when you don't stick to The Book On Debating (whatever Sam says it's called). Does it matter? I don't know.

                    I'm really enjoying myself! Thank you both.
                    Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had. - Michael Crichton


                    • Way, way too much minutia. Sam would be great at arguing how many angels can fit on the head of a pin, but what I want to know is why the God of Calvin is the true God. I want this debate taken out of the laboratory and brought into the real world. Medical technology is worthless unless it is applied to real ailments. Bob provides salve for spirituals hurts. Sam can’t get past discussing formulations.


                      • It's about the right hermeneutic...

                        It seems to me that Sam sited the “goal” or benefit of utilizing a good hermeneutic, not a hermeneutic principle or strategy. I was really floored when I read Sam’s “hermeneutic”. The issue about hermeneutics is very important, as both sides have agreed.

                        Bob really demolished Sam over one example of his hermeneutical approach. Sam reasoned that the Nineveh prophesy was obviously conditional, saying,
                        It is obvious that the message Jonah preached to Nineveh and thus the prophecy of God allowed for repentance. If not there is no reason to send Jonah, and no reason to give them forty days. -Sam, 3A
                        To which Bob observes this inconsistent response, saying
                        Sam, by your own rationale, therefore all prophecies of warning allow for repentance, for they are (1) delivered, and (2) given prior to the threatened judgment. Either that, or you were just being argumentative, and reject your own logic. That all prophetic warnings allow for repentance is explicitly: affirmed by the Open View, denied by Calvinists, and tolerated by Arminian Settled Viewers (as with Judas, Mark 14:21).
                        and then Bob continues by applying Sam’s own (inconsistent) reasoning to his centerpiece for defending his view from scripture. This is Bob’s comments about Sam’s use of Peter’s prophesied denial, saying
                        But what if the prophesy failed? What does God value more: holiness or fulfilled prophecy? But was this a conditional prophecy? Sam, let me try to quote you but from memory, I think you wrote, without looking (promise):
                        It is obvious that the prophecy Jesus gave to Peter allowed for repentance. If not there is no reason for Jesus to make it, and no reason to give Simon until the rooster’s crow. –Sam, 3A, as per Bob’s recollection
                        To me, that exchange was very revealing. And to my understanding, Sam has not responded to it yet. (???)

                        I don’t need an official question to prompt me to at least try to alleviate myself from a self-contradiction. (Yikes!)
                        (Forgive me if I missed Sam attempting to resolve this “problem”.)
                        Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.


                        • Bob -

                          Perhaps Jesus came at this particular time in history for a reason. Perhaps the merging of
                          Hebrew and Greek ideas in the very Hellenistic time of Christ is providence.

                          Paul sees through a glass darkly, Plato sees shadows on the cave wall. Not
                          a coincidence. Are you prepared to do away with Paul in your assessment as well?

                          Sure, Plato had some odd ideas, but not all Plato's ideas ended up in scripture, did they?

                          My favorite quote: "Plato had a high IQ, as do many who hate God and righteousness.."

                          I'll just leave it at that...

                          Regarding Jesus' foreknowledge, Jesus stated plainly that He knew what God revealed to
                          Him. And He accepted in His limited flesh, that the aspect of God to whom He prayed,
                          God the Father, would reveal truths, and Jesus, as God the Son in the flesh, would reveal
                          those truths which humanity were ordained to receive, to humanity.

                          In other words, the things that Jesus knew and spoke, regarding Peter, Judas, and His own
                          death and resurrection, He knew because they were revealed to Him through God. This does
                          not refute God's perfect foreknowledge, it supports God's perfect foreknowledge.

                          Sorry this critique was late, will get to Sam's some time soon, I hope.

                          1 John 4:7-8 "Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love."


                          • Are we beginning to get somewhere?

                            Round 6 has to be one of Dr. Lamerson’s best posts so far. His tone, while still firm, was more controlled and intellectual than some of his earlier posts. It’s almost as though he sat back, took a deep breath and decided to take a serious and thoughtful approach to Rev. Enyart’s arguments. I found it very refreshing.

                            Dr. Lamerson, “As the debate progresses the issues should not widen but deepen. That is the debaters should choose their best arguments and attempt to extend on them. The problem here is that Rev. Enyart and I disagree over what the most important issues are.”
                            This is an insightful observation and it also demonstrates why this debate has progressed in different directions. While Dr. Lamerson prefers to deal with specific passages, Rev. Enyart has focussed on the attributes of God and Greek influence over Christianity. I’m fascinated with both approaches, so all I can hope is that they continue to address each other’s questions, even if they don’t particularly like the answers they receive. The rest of us will just have to sit back and decide for ourselves who’s answers are more complete and responsive, not to mention accurate.

                            I was a little confused about Dr. Lamerson’s take on prayer. He said, “First let me respond to the fact that Rev. Enyart has argued that this prayer only means that God knows the present.” It’s almost as if he thinks Rev. Enyart’s view of God’s knowledge is limited to each present moment as a separate “entity,” disconnected from anything else. This does not only effect Dr. Lamerson’s understanding of Rev. Enyart’s view on prayer, but also his understanding on all of God’s knowledge and His ability to affect future events. I won’t go into this any further, because I’m sure Rev. Enyart can defend his position better than I could ever hope to.

                            Dr. Lamerson then went on to say, “But this does not eliminate the importance of our praying about our future needs. These too are to be entrusted to God in prayer in obedience to Jesus command not to worry about tomorrow (Matt 6:34). All of this is to say that the needs the Father knows we have (6:32) even before we ask him (6:8) include future needs. Thus the Father's knowledge of our needs does indeed include his knowledge of future events. Rev. Enyart would agree that God does have knowledge of future events. Just not in the way that Dr. Lamerson thinks He does.

                            I liked the way Dr. Lamerson listed his newest set of questions. It will definitely help me when Rev. Enyart answers them. Peter 1-5, and Judas 1-4 will make it much easier for me to recall these questions than some of the others. I also like that he took the time to restate Rev. Enyart’s questions as he answered them.

                            Finally, Dr. Lamerson said, “Again, let me thank all of you and ask that you do your best to see the argument from my side. I know that this is as difficult as it would be for me to ask my students to examine openness from Rev. Enyart’s side.” I really liked this thoughtful comment. It shows that Dr. Lamerson is considering, from his point of view, what he is up against, rather than becoming angry with those of us who have difficulty accepting his side of the argument.

                            Thanks, Dr. Lamerson, for a great post!
                            For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
                            Galatians 5:13-15


                            • Dr Lamerson
                              But for our discussion, the question still needs to be asked. Does this foreknowledge of the Father include free human decisions? A moment's reflection will indicate that our future needs are shaped and determined by a whole host of free human decisions or potential free decisions. Take, for example, the issue of whether I will have enough food to eat at some point in the future. The answer to that is in part determined by what appear at first glance to be non-human factors like the weather (e.g. will there be a drought or not?). Yet even here, there certainly exists the possibility that freely chosen human actions might in fact influence the weather (e.g. the use of fossil fuels that contribute to global warming). And there are a myriad of other human decisions that will enter into the equation as well. Will there be a war that will interfere with the supply of food? Will I decide to get/keep a job to earn the income to buy food? Will an employer hire me? And on and on and on. Thus, if God knows in advance what all our needs will be, he must know all the free decisions (and potential free decisions) that will shape those needs. And if, as this passage clearly seems to imply, God also knows in advance what will best meet those needs, there are a whole host of other free decisions he must know. Therefore, I would argue that the kind of divine foreknowledge that Jesus is appealing to here in the Sermon on the Mount does in fact include God's foreknowledge of free human decisions.
                              Dr. Lamerson's hermeneutics are in tact and remain unchallenged by Bob. Dr. Lamerson is doing an outstanding job of staying on topic and refusing to be cough up in chasing rabbits. Bob offers no hermeneutic that refutes Dr. Lamerson.
                              Galatians 5:13 ¶For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

                              The borrower is slave to the linder. What makes this country think it is rich and free?


                              • Sam,

                                Great, clear arguments this time through. Congratulations.

                                I seriously hope that Bob will choose to recognize your concise "prayer 1, prayer 2, Peter 1,"
                                etc questions as "official questions" to answer (without the SLQ yadda yadda organization,) they
                                are great questions for this debate.

                                On the other hand, I wish you would answer in more detail against Bob's good point about
                                "Jesus' self emptying," in the context of Jesus' Divinity. It was unfortunate that Bob wasn't
                                more direct in questioning your reasoning, rather than taking the accusatory tone of "what do
                                you teach," etc.

                                I would also like to hear your comments on Bob's "Jonah points," and for that matter God's
                                repentence at the bequest of Moses as well, if Bob would ask those questions directly,
                                (which I fervently hope for.)

                                On the question of hermeneutics, let me summarize where we are at in my own words
                                for my own benefit, and any interested onlookers: Sam is arguing linguistic details in
                                support of his arguments and against Bob's arguments. Bob is arguing "Greek
                                philosophy," against Sam's arguments, and "NOAH" in support of his own arguments.

                                If this does come down to interpretational hermeneutics, in my mind the winner will be
                                decided based not on how each individual exegetical methods apply to their own
                                examples, and not on how each individual's methods discount the opposing scriptural
                                arguments, but how each hermeneutic accommodates the opposing scripture, rather
                                than discounting it. This "my scripture is better than your scripture," and "my hermeneutic
                                is better than your hermenutic" stuff is going no where. We need good descriptions from
                                Bob about how his NOAH hermeneutic specifically accommodates Sam's scriptural
                                examples, and from Sam about how is historo-linguistic hermeneutic accommodates
                                Bob's scriptures.

                                Bob won't be able to argue Sam's hermeneutic, and Sam won't be able to argue Bob's
                                hermeneutic, they need to apply each their own hermeneutics to opposing viewpoints.

                                Thanx to both Sam and Bob for all the time and effort put into this.

                                Dave Miller
                                Last edited by Ecumenicist; August 26th, 2005, 12:45 PM.
                                1 John 4:7-8 "Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love."