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

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Bob Enyart

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Surprise for the Calvinists after the 10th round!

Surprise for the Calvinists after the 10th round!

To the Calvinists in the Grandstands,

I have a surprise to reveal to you right after the final tenth round post!

I'll do so in this Critique Thread, just in case your interested.

It'll be fun. You should love it! And, sorry to be secretive about it, but I have to be. Otherwise, it would ruin it!



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I'm always behind in critiquing these, for some reason. Alright, so let's not waste any more time. Let's to it, then!

First off, a whopping killer of a quote from Luther! The big one, wow, intense. Great beginning.

Bob keeps hitting Sam on his major blunders, like continuing to deny that Christ emptied Himself of anything other than "His blood." (I'm still flabbergasted where he got that from!), his repeated use of extra-biblical authority for doctrine (which alone should convict Lamerson to automatic failure in this debate), and Sam's multiple hypocrisy in his false accusations against Bob, which have now reached such a level that Sam is simply fabricating things out of thin air. And yet, while reminding readers of these thing, he only uses a few words here and there, careful wording and editing, nicely done, he doesn't just ramble on about it extensively, because Bob knows here that his time is running out, and he wants to get to the Open View case!

And that he does. But not before summing up everything up to this point, how he has refuted each of Sam's arguments, and nailed the settled view on not just a coincidental alignment with pagan philosophers but the openly proud declarations of settled view theologians talking about how they specifically imported that pagan philosophy into Christianity to solve doctrinal "problems" in God's word.

Finally, Bob gets back to presenting the case he began in round 6! (And about time! As I said before, I believe Bob procrastinated too much in presenting much of the case for the Open View, and thus painted himself into a corner to some extent, here near the end.) And even better, despite Sam refusing to take Bob's deal of the hermeneutic principles for the three proof texts, Bob brings the three texts out anyway, once again proving to be the bigger man, here.

The three texts fit neatly into the plan Bob already put forth in his fresh and new perspective on presenting the Open View. While I've had criticisms on how he's presented certain details (I personally hate the choice of the inaccurate term "non-prophecies," favoring perhaps "hindsight prophecies"), I nevertheless believe someone really needs to send this whole debate to Sanders and Boyd, to let them in on the great new thing!

Disproving "General Immutability."

Safeguarding "Special Immutability."

Showcasing the importance of God really and truly responding to free will agents at the time of their choices.

But most importantly, throughout all of that, contrasting the greater and lesser attributes of God, by repeatedly pinging on the importance of the greater attributes of being Living, Personal, Relational, Good and Loving and showing how they are vastly superior and more important than the quantitative attributes of power, knowledge, etc.

Just as he did in round 6, Bob then enters into the "big picture" mode that he's so good at, as he ties things together in a bigger level than most people are used to. People are so good at looking at all these specific issues in a vacuum, viewing them as seperate things, when really they're all tied together. And Bob demonstrates that when you look at this narrative on the grander scale, the plot of the Bible, you see more than ever God's relational and responsive nature revealed!

I was wondering all along whether Bob would go to the 70th week issue. Half of me said no, the other half said go for it! Well, here we are. Sam subtly dared Bob to challenge the preterist view, and Bob took a running start and hit it hard. By using his (should be) trademark technique of presentin the big-picture plot concerning the change of plan from Israel to the Body, he really painted a great picture of the ultimate biblical example of Jeremiah 18's message. I have long held that the 70th week issue is the single greatest chunk of biblical evidence for the Open View in the Bible, thus the recently coined term "Open Dispensationalism." And showing some guts, Bob tackled it with precious little room left in the debate. We can certainly expect Sam to attack it and try to present the wacky preterist case at the last minute, desperately trying to prove to us all that the tribulation actually did happen in the first century (which I know will leave a lot of settled readers scratching (or shaking) their heads in disbelief at the man they've so far treated as one who can do no wrong.

To determine this, I uncap a new yellow marker and begin looking for passages to highlight which emphasize God as being living, personal, relational, good and loving. And after about three hours… I give up!

Because my hi-liter is out of ink.
I laughed out loud. LOL

Bob again attacks Lamerson's refusal to accept that Christ emptied Himself of the Omnis, and quite effectively. Personally, I can't fathom how anyone can deny the Kenotic view. I mean, if Jesus retained the Omnis, then the temptation in the wilderness is meaningless! Tempting Jesus with things that He already can do, or things that He already has at His fingertips? What, Jesus can't conjure up His own bread? And angels will catch Him if He jumps? What, He can't fly through the air with the greatest of ease, like Superman? Why would Jesus need angels to catch Him if He was omnipotent? Seriously!

Finally, the questions. And Sam conceded that he is the one who uses extra-biblical authority! Woot! Who would have seen that coming? (Not even God ;) )

SLQ29-Can you give me one instance of a false statement by Jesus?

BEA-SLQ29 No. Above I responded to your other challenge: “Show me a false prediction made by Jesus.” God had promised all along (Jer. 18:1-10) that He would not fulfill the promise to give Israel their Kingdom if in fact they rejected the King. Thus, by the Settled View, it was another failed prophecy when Christ did not quickly returning to establish Israel’s Kingdom; but by Openness, God’s goodness takes precedence over His knowledge, which changes continually, and thus contingency itself flows from our Living God as a glory, not as a problem text.
Great answer to a terribly and unfairly worded question! C'mon, Sam, you know that question was a man full of straw! Puh-lease.

Great answer, tho, Bob nailed it.

As for Bob's questions to Sam, I didn't like how Bob managed this part of the round, nearly as much. I think Bob asked too many questions overall, this close to the end. They need to be focusing on a narrower range of things, at this point. Second, I think Bob asked questions about old issues that need to be layed to rest at this point.

The reformulation of immutability is an old issue, we know Sam is categorically opposed to honestly answering this question directly. Waste of time and space.

The rooster died long ago, and has since been running around flapping wildly, in defiance of his own death. (Okay, that's a bit over the top, but it's an old issue, let's move on, we all know what both sides have to say about this! Which, for Sam, is precious little!) Unfortunately, Bob spends a lot of word count on this question, unfortunately getting stuck in debate mode within the question. He could have saved a lot of word count here.

BEQ43 is definitely a good question at this point, going to whether a prophecy that comes true is any evidence that the prophet knew the future. The obvious answer is no, that a person could have just gotten it right! But, of course, Sam couldn't even answer this directly. Rather, he directly and explicitly contradicted himself within his own answer.

When God intervenes in history, can that historical event be a figure of speech? Decent question, I approve.

And the "Can God change for relationship" question, beating a dead horse.

I really believe Bob should have thrown out most of these, and instead brought in questions about his case for the Open View! The majority of these questions were focused still on refutin Sam. That time is over! Bob doesn't have the luxury here of continuing to refute Sam, not in any significant amount of space! Now is the time to go on the attack, present the Open view directly! I think this is Bob's biggest mistake this round. But, Bob still wins the round, hands down. He got almost everything right, and Sam got almost everything way wrong, and worst of all, fabricated utterly false accusations about Bob, from thin air. Unbelievable.

Well, that's it. I'm hitting the hay. The team meets at 5 a.m. for our weekly Bible study, so I'm out of time. I no longer have the luxury of attacking Bob's strategies and debating points. It is time to attack that pillow! So, without further ado...


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Post 8 (Sam):

I am not persuaded that this debate rises or falls on the predictions about Peter. This is one specific, proximal example of relatively predictable foreknowledge that could be orchestrated by God's omnicompetence. The alternate view (open) precludes the possibility of extrapolating this to a general teaching of exhaustive foreknowledge of all future free will contingencies (mundane and moral). It would not prove remote knowledge before the existence of beings to make free choices (i.e. trillions of years ago God would not know I would type this response unless He causally makes me do it or the future somehow exists already in another dimension to be a possible object of knowledge=absurd).

It is not necessary to know or predestine which soldier out of thousands would actually pierce Christ's side (Sam states God knew the exact details, not just general fulfillment). Whether soldier A or B was involved does not change God's ability to bring His plans and predictions to pass. Saying they did what they wanted to (not because they had the ability to do otherwise) is incoherent and undermines responsibility and justice issues.

Sam could elaborate on his historical, grammatical method of hermeneutics. I think Bob would not reject it since it should not contradict Noah or Jonah. Most conservative Christians affirm the historical, grammatical, contextual, literal, cultural, theological approach to Bible interpretation. This contrasts with a subjective, allegorical approach to Scripture. I think both Sam and Bob share this hermeneutic. Sam could consider buying into NOAH and JONAH (not a typical way to , but not at the expense of the traditional hermeneutic (which Bob should also support).

Micah 5:2 could be seen as the motif where God settles some vs all of the future. Bob might want to agree with Sam on this particular verse. God has the ability to bring this Messianic prophecy to pass specifically. Alternatively, it could be an application by way of illustration after the fact.

I Peter 1:2 ; Rom. 8:29 is resolved by understanding election as corporate vs individual. This is another study that non-Calvinists have defended from Scripture (vs TULIP).

Mt. 25:34 is not a typical closed view proof text. God formulated a possible plan of redemption before creation. It was not implemented until after the Fall (now necessary) and did not become actual until centuries later (since vs before creation). This foreknowable example is another example of the motif that God settles some of the future as contingent history unfolds. It cannot be extrapolated to exhaustive foreknowledge of ALL future free will contingencies involving other free moral agent's moral and mundane choices.

Sam states that God cannot cease to have foreknowledge. This is begging the question/circular reasoning (assuming what trying to prove). The other motif in Scripture can be taken literally (vs metaphorically) to show that some of the future is open/uncertain/unknowable (except as possible/probable vs certain).

Exhaustive foreknowledge of future free will contingencies is a logical absurdity or contradiction. Though hard to appreciate initially, it becomes self-evident when we jettison the traditional filters that have not allowed critical thinking and sound exegesis of all the relevant passages.


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Well it would appear that Dr. Lamerson actually showed up to do battle in the next to last round. Better late then never I suppose but this would have been a much more exciting debate had he given as much substantive thought to the rest of the debate.

Dr. Lamerson's opening paragraph is a crack up, as if Bob hasn't been keeping track of the word count himself. In fact, if I remember correctly it would seem that some 800+ words had to be used in one of Bob's posts doing nothing but quoting from the rules of the debate.

Further, the word limit rules read as follows...

The debate will last for ten rounds. The recommended maximum word limit for the average post is 6,000 words, but any or all posts could be much briefer.​

That sounds to me like it could easily be interpreted to mean that we have a ten round debate, two posts per round for a total of 20 posts with an average word length of 6000 words per post. That's a total word limit for the entire debate of 120,000 words, which we are nowhere remotely close to reaching because Dr. Lamerson has basically chosen to barely participate since round three. In fact, according to my count there have been approximately 87,719 words used thus far in the debate. That means that unless all three of the remaining posts exceed 10,760 each, the word limit for this debate will not have been exceeded.

Of course it will be up to the moderator to decide whether such a reading of the rules is a valid one or not but my point is that it is laughable that Dr. Lamerson wants to hold the rules over Bob's head after Bob was required to expend nearly a thousand words explaining the rules to him.

Resting in Him,
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BEQ44: Please answer BEQ32: Considering not verbal revelation, but actual divine historical intervention, Sam, can you indicate if this statement is true: When God intervenes in history, the actual intervention itself cannot be a figure of speech!

SLA-BEQ44: Again the question is flawed. When God intervenes how do we speak about it? The strength of the arm of the Lord for example would lead one to believe that God had an arm. A better question is “does God actually intervene in history?” To that I would say of course he does.

Sam says Enyarts question is messed up....and proceeds once again to answer a question Enyart never asked. Then he says he has a better question and proceeds to answer that one.

Bob, I would just tell Sam why you are asking the question at this point..(wait, I'm pretty sure he knows..) He is not going to answer your question.., but at least he answered his own..

And Sam, this is not a better question: "Does God actually intervene in history?"
Your own answer to it shows us this, "Of course he does"..It would be a silly question for him to ask you, as you already indicate.. Which is why Bob didn't ask it..
Perhaps for someone who thinks nothing in the Bible is might be a decent question..

Still ..I think you did a good job showing the "Stone idol" example that OV appeals to can swing both ways..


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Bob has been almost thorough to a fault, spending many thousands of words repeatedly explaining why it is necessary that the good, loving and righteous God be mutable. He has shown that God delegated power and authority. Thus those who commit wickedness are truly guilty for their sins. Bob defends his position using scripture. Sam defends his position using scripture too. What is missing from Sam is any argument as to why a good, loving, and righteous God must be immutable. In other words, Sam will not explain why a good, loving, and righteous God necessarily makes some people just to send them to hell, or some men specifically to rape little girls, etc.? Sam, your silence is deafening.

According to Sam, Burtrand Russell based his atheism on the belief “that the Great God of the universe was mistaken on many things.” Sorry Sam, Burtrand Russell did not reject God because he only knew the Open interpretation of scripture. On the contrary, countless (I would venture in the millions) human souls are in hell today because of Calvinism. I tried witnessing to my former sociology professor, a Catholic priest gone humanist. He brought up his disdain for the teaching of Augustine, equating those teachings to Christianity and the Bible. Tragically, I was not familiar enough with the pagan beliefs of Augustine to adequately challenge him on those points. Today my former professor is in hell having rejected Christ, in part, because of Augustine’s lies.

Sam – “Second, if Jesus is mistaken then the Scripture is not without error.” That’s not true, Sam. If Scripture were to document that Jesus predicted that something would happen that didn’t happen, and then presented that thing as happening anyway, then Scripture would be in error. The Bible is a historical document. When it accurately portrays history it is not in error, as you confusingly believe.

Sam argues that Jesus’ prediction of “[His] coming, and of the end of the age” (Matt 24:3) was fulfilled with the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70. That is a common, but not most common, view. Even many Calvinists choke on that one. Matthew 24:21 states:

“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.

Sam references the writings of the historian Josepheus “to realize that this was clearly the most difficult tribulation that the Jewish people had ever known.” Read the verse again, Sam. It says “nor ever shall be.” I believe that there are many living Holocaust survivors who would take issue with your certainty that it cannot get any worse than during the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70.

The Bible also states in Matthew 24:30-31:

Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Sam, please point to the writings of Josepheus that establish for us that this occurred. After all, as you say, “one cannot find out about history without reading a historian.”

Sam makes the accusation that “Bob would rather have Jesus being wrong than those who thought that ‘soon’ meant in a few years.” Sam, Sam, Sam! Haven’t you been listening? Bob has repeatedly pointed out Jeremiah 18:9-10:

And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.

Both Sam and Bob agree that Jesus was “cut off” at Calvary as predicted in the Daniel 9:26. The two men disagree as to whether the second part of that prophesy was fulfilled. Bob appeals to Jeremiah 18 to show why it did not occur. Sam appeals to Josepheus and disregards passages like Matthew 24:30-31 to insist that it did occur.

Sam reasserts his opinion of “the Philippians 2 passage as referring to Isaiah 53:12.” In Round Five he wrote, “The question of what Christ emptied himself of is clear when on realizes that Paul, in Phillippians is echoing a passage from Isaiah 53:12 where it is said that the Christ will be ‘poured out’ for us. Christ did empty himself of his blood for our redemption, but not of any of the attributes of God.” So let me get this straight, the following passage is not to be understood as Jesus giving up many of his divine attributes, but that he bled:

Philippians 2: 5–7: Jesus Christ, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal to God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross.”

That position is really weak.

Sam – “Bob attempts to disprove my argument from the Greek text that Jesus based his deity on his ability to predict the future. Bob commits what is called the ‘bandwagon fallacy.’ He lines up a large number of bible versions and tells us that most of them (all but one I believe) do not translate the passage in the way I have argued it should be translated.” I disagree with the accuracy of this statement. The reason Bob brought up that thirteen of fourteen Bible translations disagree with Sam is because of Sam’s “in this area I am certain” argument. Bob wanted to point out that Sam being certain is not necessarily a strong reason to accept his interpretation.

Sam – “To argue that we should ignore two thousand years of church history and the brilliant men that God has given the church is foolish, and I am sure that this is not what Bob means.” Sam, I am glad beyond words that the reformers were willing to ignore fifteen hundred years of accumulated church history and the “brilliant men” that were supposedly preserving the truth in scripture.

Of Matthew 25:34, Sam writes, “The passage could be translated either as kingdom or inheritance (since the kingdom is inherited). Bob attempts to make the argument look foolish by saying that God has not promised us ‘condos.’ Of course not, but this kingdom was prepared for these people before the foundation of the world. That part of the argument stands.”

But Sam, Jesus said in John 14:1-2:

In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Yes, there is the “kingdom prepared for you from the foundations of the world” (Matt 25:34), but Christ is busy preparing the many mansions for those who surrender their lives to him. Look at what Jesus wrote earlier in Matthew 25: 31-34:

He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

These verses so obviously describe the end to a work in progress, not a done deal.

Sam – “Since I have not used Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, to construct any of my arguments, I don’t feel the need to spend time repeating again that I am not dependent upon them.” But many of the “brilliant men” that Sam so readily relies upon do use Plato, Aristotle, and Augustine. Then Sam exposes his true commitment to the classics by writing, “I will say that I do not believe that anyone could read Plato’s republic beside the book of Hebrews and not see that the writer of Hebrews was impacted by Plato’s work . . . All truth is God’s truth, no matter who it come from.”

Sam – “The crucial importance that God himself places on his unique ability to know and to declare the future (which according to v. 25 includes the freely chosen actions of Cyrus) cannot be over-stressed. God declares this to be the criterion by which his claim to absolute and unique Deity is to be evaluated. So it is no small thing to deny his exhaustive foreknowledge.” Sam, we have already covered ad nauseam how paltry humans can so often “know” and “declare” the future. The ability to “know” and “declare” the future is not unique to God, though he can do it much better than we can. What is unique to the god of Calvinism is the inability to change, have a novel thought, learn something new, or be affected by love.

Sam’s position is summarized as follows: “Yahweh glorifies himself as the only true God by means of his foreknowledge. He and he alone can know and declare the future. And as a God who displays such a knowledge warrants the exclusive Worship of his people.” Sam, why are you unable to write about, or discuss, God’s love and sacrifice? They are so much more important and significant that an unnecessary knowledge of the future.


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Other than the same three points Dr. Lamerson brought up in the first post, has he added anything? Once answered, instead of just saying he disagreed with the answers, he pretends they were never answered (then complains about the number of words used - hoping to have his cake and eat it too). No wonder he wants Mr. Enyart only to stick to three points.

Dr. Lamerson says this is not a debate ... I agree, this is a slaughter. The first round was very promising. I wish Dr. Lamerson had been more prepared. The outcome is appearing obvious. Is Bob Enayrt willing to do a round # 11 to answer a few questions from the grandstands? I think that would be a good way to end and would cover new ground and better evidence for the Settle View. Just an idea...
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Okay then, finally getting to Lamerson's post, let's have a look-see.

Nice to see Sam finally stopped phoning in the debate and put forth some actual effort. (Misdirected as much of it is.) And I think Sam has also figured out Bob's significant mistake regarding his mismanagement of word count, and is now taking distinct advantage of it, somewhat unfairly but pretty effectively in certain ways. Even still, some real problems here, and I'll look at both what he did right and what he did wrong.

Sam starts off on the wrong foot, as he has so many times already. What, now he's going to be the Word-count Police? Is that not the job of the moderator, and ultimately the audience? Sam makes the mistake that both he and Bob have made throughout the debate -- trying to play the role of jury rather than lawyer. Sam, you make the case and they decide. You don't need to play policeman, judge and jury as well. This is kind of beneath you, a bit silly for you to point out Bob's word count situation. We all know about it; it's no secret!

Sam then whines about Bob's posturing. Yes, we know Bob acts really confident, even exhuberent about his position in the race. But harping on it is pointless. Bob's attitude has absolutely zilch to do with whether his case is true or false.

Sam then makes a much more important mistake -- for the umpteenth time he misrepresents what the debate itself is about. From the start, he's deceived himself and misled others into thinking that if he proves just one case of God having definite foreknowledge of a future free will choice, he wins. Has he not read the title of this debate?


Does God know your ENTIRE future! So, even IF everything Sam has said about Peter and Judas is correct, and even if you throw in Cyrus and each of the other specific examples he's mentioned as well, he has still proven nothing more than that God knows definitely... less than 1% of the future! Whoopy doo! The key word here is "entire!" I have said from the beginning that Sam is way off on this approach, setting himself up for a fall from the start. (Or did God set Sam up for a fall, from the start? Sam believes He does something like that to most people in the world, after all.)

So, frankly, if anyone is worried about Bob's word-count issue... I gotta tell ya, Sam is in the same situation. He's fought the wrong battle this whole debate, and while he has lots of word-count left (having given such a half-hearted contribution up to this point, and flat-out ignoring many of Bob's questions for round after round), he doesn't have much time left to start making his case for God knowing all of the future! After all, Sam has one round left, the 10th! And that's awfully late to start making your case! But who knows, maybe he'll surprise us.

The Isaiah chapters are another issue, and we'll get to that in a moment.

But for what it's worth, if you can put blinders on and ignore all of the above... Sam did a halfway decent post, this time.

Sam tries to make the understandable assertion that the OV believes in a God that makes "mistakes." But Sam is equivocating here, and he knows it. He's not some man on the street; he knows the arguments both sides use here, and it's just plain equivocation. He knows that we do not believe God makes mistakes. Rather, man makes mistakes and God responds to them at the time it happens. If I drive to work, and there's an accident blocking the road, I will regret that I took that route, and I will take a detour... but neither of those responses are because I did anything wrong. Someone else did something wrong, and consequently, I regretted the route I took. Such is with God. While He may be "mistaken" about a prophecy He made (I'd not word it that way), it is not by any lack of wisdom or righteousness on His part, but strictly the responsibility of the human players involved. Nevertheless, it's not an unreasonable argument to make, and understandable. If I were on his side, I'd make the same argument, and it may help persuade some.

On Jesus divesting Himself of the Omnis, I think Sam is grasping at straws here, but at least he finally makes the tiniest effort (an effort that was due a couple rounds back). He makes a passing comment that "There are many Scriptures that show that Jesus had divine abilities," but he doesn't really back it up except to mention a couple incidents which he makes no effort at all to exegete. Despite having tons of word-count left, Sam doesn't bother to use it. As usual. And then he claims Bob hasn't backed this up exegetically, at all? Pot and kettle, sir! And Bob has addressed this repeatedly. It is Sam who has refused (even now round 9!) to back up his wacky claim that what Christ emptied Himself of.. was His blood.

I think Sam at least gives the appearance of a strong argument regarding the Greek issues over which he has wrestled with Bob. I think that Bob has used context rather than linguistic knowledge to prove Sam wrong on this, but whether that effectively gets across to the average reader is something else entirely, and this is probably one of the few areas where Sam comes across as stronger. He appears to be a superior authority, and readers will tend to lean toward that. However, a big problem with this, that Sam didn't address (again). Even if Sam is right on this Greek issue, it is trumped by the repeated argument from Bob that God cares more about people than prophecy! I'm sorry, but that trumps the Greek, big time, and Sam continues to pretend this argument of Bob's doesn't even exist! Plus, Sam hasn't responded to the fact Bob pointed out that the textbook they both referenced interprets this word ("had to") in both ways!

Under his "Sixth" point, and for the second round in a row, Sam actually finally concedes he has used extra-biblical authorities to as evidence for his case! Amazing! After all his denials, he confesses! Then he proudly adds that "I have not used any of the Greek philosophers to prove my case." That's right, instead you referred to the opinions of scholars who "cannot be questioned." Which is just as bad, if not worse.

And then... Sam makes the most shocking statement of the entire debate.

I will say that I do not believe that anyone could read Plato’s republic beside the book of Hebrews and not see that the writer of Hebrews was impacted by Plato’s work.
Augustine admitted to importing Platonic philosophy into Christian doctrine to solve the "problems" he saw in scripture, and said that when he looked at the Platonists, everywhere therein he saw God and His word. All of which Sam has denied ever took place.

Lamerson has now claimed that the author of Hebrews himself imported Platonic influence into the very word of God! And this after making such a big deal about how the Platonists weren't around when the Psalms were written?

Absolutely incredible! I did a double-take!

Sam then goes into the well-known Isaiah chapters. And like all Calvinists, completely misses the boat, by thinking for some reason that these passages are about omniscience, when they are in fact about God's omnipotence. Unlike those pagan idols, not only does God claim what His purpose for the future is, but He then brings it about! That's about God's power, His ability and His wisdom in exercising His ability! Bob already pointed out early on in the debate that Bruce Ware himself (who Lamerson clearly loves) admits that not one of these Isaiah passages actually says God knows the future exhaustively!! It's about omnipotence, God's ability to bring about what He said He would do! He said He would do something, and He can! Unlike the stone idols of the pagans. They can make claims all day, but they can't then do what they claimed. It's about what God can do. Not what God knows. Duh, God knows what He intends to do, big news flash.

But, Sam nevertheless makes a very good run at these passages, making as good a case as one can expect, for someone who's missing the whole point of it. And he may indeed persuade some readers regarding this issue. So, I think Sam did come on strong here. I may completely disagree with his take on those passages, but for what it's worth, for his side he did a decent job, I thought. Especially when he brings Cyrus into it, which is one of the toughest specific passages for the OV to answer. (Though not impossible, by a long shot, as Bob has shown long ago in this debate.) I was also impressed by Sam's use of Bob's own terminology in trying to show "both a quantitative and a qualitative argument for God’s exhaustive foreknowledge." Nicely done, Sam, one of your best moments in the debate.

Sam once again sums up his argument regarding Peter. How many times does the doctor have to sum this up for us? We get it! We know what Sam thinks about this issue. Repeating it ad nauseum isn't going to help. Beating a dead horse, here. He does appear to make some good points (albeit ones Bob has repeatedly refuted), but then makes another error by once again pointing out for all of us that the Son didn't know the His own "Second Coming!" Sam, are you trying to defeat yourself? You're supposed to be arguing that God knows everything about the future! Everything means everything! Did you somehow take the title of the debate figuratively, that perhaps it meant "most things" or "a lot of things?" Unfortunately, while "all" doesn't always mean literally "all," in this case the "everything" really does mean "everything." Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. This alone wins the debate for Bob, right here. One sentence from Sam, conceding that the Son doesn't know something about the future. And Sam has said this specific thing more than once. And yet, incredibly, Sam appears to be completely oblivious to the meaning of it! It doesn't say the man Jesus didn't know. It doesn't say the Christ didn't know. The passage says the Son didn't know. The Son is God, specifically. The Son is not the "human half" of Jesus. The Son is the God half!

He then moves on to Judas, where he makes an amazing statement.
While one could argue that Judas had already made up his mind, and that knowledge of Judas’s present state was open to God, this will not answer the question of how Jesus would have known the ultimate outcome (i.e., death) of the betrayal, nor the question of what might have occurred had Judas changed his mind.
Has Sam already forgotten Bob's post in 2b??? Bob went to great lengths to discuss "What might have occurred had Judas changed his mind," and when Bob did so, Sam criticized Bob for doing it! And now Sam laments that it hasn't been addressed? Is he kidding?

He does get back once again to what I think is his strongest argument (of the very few decent one's he's offered), and that is the Greek issue regarding Judas in Acts 1. As someone who doens't read biblical Greek, I think Sam's argument here comes across as the stronger argument. In the end, it's outweighed by Bob's many superior arguments in every other area, but on this question alone, I find Sam to appear to be more persuasive, more convincing. And I'm sure it will come across that way to readers who are on the fence. And there's not much Bob can do about it, as Sam's grasp of biblical Greek is obviously far superior to Bob's. That doesn't make Sam right or win him the debate, but I think this is the one single, specific issue where Sam wins the battle (even while losing the war terribly).

Sam concludes (not counting the questions) with what sounds like a nice argument that sums everything up, but it just doesn't hold up. He once again claims that the OV solution is worse than the problem it purports to solve. Trouble is that Bob has already demonstrated repeatedly that the SV sacrifices God's righteousness to protect His sovereignty, which as has been well demonstrated, is a lesser attribute of God that is specifically reliant upon creation itself, and not an eternal attribute of God.

Now for the questions.

His answers to BEQ36 and 37 completely miss the point, doesn't answer Bob's questions directly, regarding pagan Greek influence. But then, what's new? Still, beating a dead horse.

On BEQ38 and 39, he also doesn't answer the questions (regarding reformulation of immutability, but then this is yet another dead horse anyway, and I wish Bob hadn't asked it yet again.

Regarding BEQ40, Sam is the one who earlier claimed that Reymond doesn't hold to utter immutability, but now when asked to back that up, he skitters back and refuses to back up what he said. Disappointing, but the question was another poor one from Bob in the first place.

On BEQ41, he tries to explain away his apparent self-contradictions regarding free will by explaining he's a compatibalist. No kidding. Problem here is that Sam's definition of "free will" is an equivocation, such that it means the person was powerless to do anything else but that. They were a slave to their will, and God decided what their will would be, thus in the end they "freely" did their will, and couldn't have done otherwise.

Than which nothing could be more absurd.

Actually, his response to BEQ42 is half reasonable. "The problem is that the question assumes that God could pinch the rooster without having foreknown it. I do not agree with that assumption." That does make sense. Problem is that it still leaves wide open the argument that God foreknew it because it was something He would definitely do, not the free will action of a free agent human! This scores no points for Sam.

For BEQ43, Sam just plain cops out. Oh, FDR was just guessing, but God really knows the future. Ipse dixit, doctor. Claiming it doesn't make it so. That's not an answer. He asked you if it proves someone's definite foreknowledge if they make a prophecy and it comes true. You know the answer; we all do. The answer is no. Just say it.

His answer to BEQ44 is just plain disengenuous, like many of his other answers throughout the debate. He answers a question Bob didn't ask! Bob didn't ask about descriptions of God's "arm!" He asked about the historical event! And the event is not a figure of speech, doctor! Is it? Stop answering questions Bob didn't ask. Why are you so afraid of this question?

BEQ45: Sam, I am curious, when you re-claimed Isaiah 40-48 as indicating exhaustive foreknowledge in 6A and 7A, why would you do so without addressing my extensive rebuttal of that argument in 3B?

SLA-BEQ45: I believe that you will find my answer above more than enough. As to why I waited, I was trying to get clash on specific passages of Scripture. I choose the New Testament passages. Bob choose not to reveal his passages to me until the debate was nearly over and in a post that is way, way overlong.
Halfway decent answer, Bob has also waited a round or two to respond to an argument Sam made, so that's fair enough. And Sam makes an entirely legitimate gripe concerning Bob's delayal on his proof texts. But as for the length of Bob's post, frankly Sam has all the word-count in the world to respond to Bob. He has no excuse there. He has tons of room, thanks to Sam's numerous, halfhearted little posts before this point.

BEQ46 -- Hallelujah, Sam finally answered a question directly! God can change in respect to relationships with people! That's the death knell for utter immutability, certainly.

Of course, then he makes the silly comment that "I have stated many times in the debate that God is able to have a true relationship." So? That statement is lackng the word "change," which is entirely the point! Can God change? Yes, He can. One of many self-destructive concessions Sam has made throughout this debate, defeating himself over and over and over again.

I'd like to point out that I'm appreciative and thankful that Sam didn't add any new questions for Bob. He did add a whole slew of them last round, but this round he did not, and that's a good thing on his part. He should be responding to Bob's case now, not vice versa.

Which brings me to my last point. To coin a phrase, Dr. Lamerson... "WHERE'S THE CLASH?"

Where do you actually respond to Bob's positive case for the Open View anywhere in this round? You don't! You ignored Bob's hermeneutic, you utterly ignored his proof texts!!! UNBELIEVABLE. You scream for them, and beg for them, and you renege on Bob's deal by continuing (even to this day) to provide your hermeneutical principles, and Bob still gives you his proof texts anyway, and you just flat out ignore them? This is inconceivable. You had some decent material in this post. All of which is for naught! A total waste of time, because Bob put his case forth for the second time, and you didn't even try to respond to it! You're still stuck on defending your own arguments, all of which is old news at this point! We've covered that ground, and now here you are covering it all over again, and giving a free pass to Bob's case.

According to you, that means Bob's case stands!

But the bottom line in all of this is that Sam has utterly failed to prove that God knows the entire future. Even if Sam is right about his three proof texts, he doesn't come even remotely close to proving God knows our entire future. And Sam even openly admits yet again that the Son (not Jesus, not "the Christ" but specifically the "Son!") did not know the timing of His Second Coming! And that is huge! Not only does this prove that the Son didn't have omniscience at that specific time, but it proves that He never did! Because if the Son had known the timing of His second coming before the incarnation itself, then He would have had only to just remember it at this point! But no, He can't even remember back when He might have known. He never knew, all the way back into eternity past! The only way the Son could not know in the "ignorant Son passages" is if He never knew.

Sam now has one single, solitary round to start making his case that God knows our entire future. I can't even fathom how he plans to start doing that.

I'm done.


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Sam Views Scripture Thru Pagan Greek Lens

Sam Views Scripture Thru Pagan Greek Lens

Bob argued at outset that Augustine accepted God on his own terms--thru Arostile. When God was grieved, it was symbolic. God was not grieved. When God repented, he really did not repent. What did Sam do? When Jesus said that He would return soon, Sam replies that He really did not mean soon. When Jesus said that "some of you will not die until I return", Jesus did not really mean what He said. Sam, by his own words, confirms Bob's main argument. Interpreting Scripture thru Arostile renders all symbolic and meaningless. Ref. Please stop the debate. Bob's killin em.


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So Bob notes in his post:
• Jesus repeatedly promised to return soon (giving the apostles the hope they displayed in Acts of His imminent return).
• “There are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
• “I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”
and your response is:
as to Jesus promise to return soon, do I really need to point out that “soon” is a relative term? In the OT the prophets often thought of the next prophetic event as coming “soon” because that was the next thing that they saw (like standing on one mountain top and looking to another mountain top, it looks close). At the very least Peter’s words to us about a day being like a thousand years should put this argument to bed for good.
This, sir, is a classic red herring. Here, Bob references three different quotes coming from the mouth of Jesus in which He gives explicit time references as to His return. Instead of directly rebutting Bob's interpretation of these quotes, you instead begin to analyze the meaning of a word not in question nor in reference here (soon)!

Sam, these quotes by our Lord are so damaging to your position, I understand why you chose to dodge. But at least be a man of integrity and admit that these verses pose a daunting challenge to your Settled View. If you honestly feel that is doesn't, please give us a response in Round 10 that adequately explains why Jesus, supposedly being omniscient at the time he said these things, chose to say something that he knew would not come to pass as he described.



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Sam has my vote so far for the simple fact I can understand his argument. He does a better job at keeping the reading level down to where a simple publicly schooled person like myself can understand.

Jerry Shugart

Well-known member
Bob Enyart said:
God explicitly declares that some of His promises are conditional, including that He would establish Israel’s kingdom if they obeyed their king, not otherwise! Thus Jesus did not return to establish that Kingdom.
I agree with Bob on this.But if the Lord’s promise in regard to establishing the kingdom was”conditional” on Israel obeying thir King,then there would be no reason for the Lord to change His mind in regard to giving that kingdom to Israel when they did not accept their King.

So we can see that Bob clearly contradicts himself when he says that God would repent of His promise to give Israel the kingdom if they rejected the King:
God declared in Jeremiah 18 that even if He thoughtto give Israel their kingdom, and even if He said He would give Israel their kingdom, if they rejected the King, then He would repent. Then He would NOT give them that which He thought He would, nor that which He said He would! God does not make idle threats.
Since the promise was conditional then the Lord's mind was set from the beginning.If the Jews would accept their King then He would give them the kingdom.If they did not accept their King then they would not receive the kingdom.

There is no room here for the Lord changing His mind in regard to whether or not He would give the kingdom to Israel.

Bob Enyart does not seem to understand this simple principle.He insists that the Lord changed His mind when Israel did not accept their King despite the fact that the promise was conditional to begin with.

In His grace,--Jerry
”Dispensationalism Made Easy”
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Dear Enyartites:

No wonder Bob's ego is so large, his Scriptural exegesis so poor, his theology so man-centered and philosophical, and his methods so deceptive. His followers have no objectivity because they are so desperate for their Socinian heresey to be declared orthodox that they can't see the flaws of his reasoning. The most glaring fault is that Bob does NOT believe his followers can read and understand for themselves. If this isn't true then why does he spends most of his time telling them what Sam said (actually misrepresenting what Sam said).

Bob's "exegesis" of Psalm 139:16 was a very painfully classical example of EISEGESIS: "Eisegesis is the approach to Bible interpretation where the interpreter tries to 'force' the Bible to mean something that fits their existing belief or understanding of a particular issue or doctrine. People who interpret the Bible this way are usually not willing to let the Bible speak for itself and let the chips fall where they may. They set off with the up-front goal of trying to prove a point they already believe in, and everything they read and interpret is filtered through that paradigm. Stated another way, they engage in what the Bible refers to as 'private interpretation' ".

Mike, please don't interpret Bob's gregarious nature and vociferous propensity to be equivalent to Scriptural truth, it's not!



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Hi everyone,

Bob Enyart: But the Living God said, if these idols were gods, they should:

Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; Yes, do good or do evil, that we may be dismayed and see it together. Indeed you are nothing… -Isaiah 41:23-24.
But doesn't this include the people who worship them, too?

Isaiah 41:26 Who told of this from the beginning, so we could know, or beforehand, so we could say, 'He was right'? No one told of this, no one foretold it, no one heard any words from you.

Surely he is not asking questions of rocks!

Isaiah 41:22-23 Bring in your idols to tell us what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods.

And this is clearly telling the people to tell the future, so that we may know that the people are gods! This cannot be idols being told to bring in their idols.

And doesn't Scripture teach that behind idols are demons?

Psalm 106:37 They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons...

So this challenge must include those demons, as well, all powers apart from God, and God is distinctive, in his ability to tell the future, he is not simply better at his predictions of the future, he is utterly unlike all other beings, because he knows it, and proves this, in his predictions.

Isaiah 41:26 Who told of this from the beginning, so we could know, or beforehand, so we could say, 'He was right'? ...

And this echos "tells the end from the beginning," these are not unknown predictions, this references what we have before us, "so that we could know."


Jerry Shugart

Well-known member
Sam asked Bob the following question in regard to Peter’s three denials:

“How did Jesus know that these events would take place within the next few hours?”

Notice the question is in regard to when these things would happen—“within the next few hours”.

But Bob completely evades this question by asserting that the question is about when the Lord Jesus knew that Peter would deny Him.He wrote:
Notice, you did not write, “from before creation?” This screams out for a response to my challenge:
Sam’s evidence is NOT for exhaustive knowledge from eternity past, which is what he’s supposed to defend in this debate, but he’s arguing evidence from a couple hours… earlier, and hoping to finesse that into a victory by an undeclared major extrapolation, and I’ve been waiting all this time for him to declare and justify that assumption. -Bob, 8B
You haven’t even admitted, let alone justified, this extreme extrapolation; and I’m hoping in round ten you’ll concede this point.
Of course there are reasons why Bob does not want to answer Sam’s question.Over and over Bob says that the Lord is able to make prophecies because He has the ability to make them come to pass.That is his main argument against the idea that the Lord has a knowledge of the future.He wrote:
So as with the kinds of biblical examples offered by the Settled view, God prophesying something that He can do or bring about by influence cannot be proof of exhaustive foreknowledge, just as FDR’s committed effort toward the Allied victory does not prove him omniscient of the future.
Even when Bob is speaking about Peter's denials he repeatedly uses this argument,saying:
So God knows the hearts of men (as all sides agree), and He has influence and power to intervene (as all sides agree), and God would especially intervene to fulfill prophecy (as all sides agree)!
Even if all men were utterly impotent to influence others, God is not. The typical person who hung around Caiaphas’ household would be inclined of his own accord to question Peter...
If the Magi could find the Babe in a manager, then whether Peter went to Bethany on the far side of Olivet, or back into the city, God would be able to produce accusers.
So the whole thrust of Bob's argument in regard to prophecies,including Peter's three denials,is the idea that God would intervene to fulfill prophecy.

But since Bob knows that if the Lord intervened to fulfill the Lord Jesus' prediction about the three denials then He would in fact be "tempting" Peter to sin.So he changes God's motive in intervening from to "fulfilling prophecy" to "simple questions of whether Peter knew the Lord.":
Asking Peter to admit He is a follower of Christ is not evil; it is not a temptation to sin; it is an honorable test, which he failed.

Those questions were an opportunity for Peter to grow in his faith.
First of all,according to Bob,the Lord knew that Peter would deny him,and Bob gave these reasons:
But how could Jesus know that Peter would not die for the cause? Well let’s see. Is that a difficult judgment to make?… Jesus wouldn’t need omniscience, just rudimentary discernment

Jesus knew Peter was too weak to give his life, and yet impetuous...
So according to Bob God would know that Peter would deny the Lord if he was placed in circumstances where Peter thought that a truthful answer would put him in jeopardy.

So God would also know that if He produced accusers then Peter would sin by denying that he was a disciple of Jesus Christ,and therefore He would also know that He was tempting Peter to sin.

So no matter what "motives" that Bob places on God for arranging the accusations,the fact is that God would know that by arranging the accusations that He would be tempting Peter to sin.

But if Bob cannot use the idea that God was influencing events in order to be reasonably sure that the prediction about Peter's denial would come true then he cannot possibly explain how the Lord Jesus would be reasonably sure that Peter would deny Him three times.

So Bob wants it both ways.First he uses the idea that the Lord Jesus could make the prediction because He knew that God would make it come to pass.But then he turns around and says that God's actions in producing people to accuse Peter had nothing at all to do with causing the prediction to come true.
His primary point is that Peter could have done otherwise and that if he had done so, that God would have prefered that outcome over the fulfullment of His prophect.
Yes,his position is so weak that in order to cling to that position he must argue that the prophecies of God can fail.

To summarize,Bob makes it plain that he thinks that the Lord was arranging things in order to fulfill the prediction in regard to Peter's three denials:
So God knows the hearts of men (as all sides agree), and He has influence and power to intervene (as all sides agree), and God would especially intervene to fulfill prophecy (as all sides agree)!
But then he says that when God intervened it did not have anything at all to do with fulfilling the prediction but instead was just "an opportunity for Peter to grow in his faith".

Bob's seems to think that he can tie the idea that God knows our entire future to Calvinisnm or to the influence of pagan thought that he then wins the debate.But he lhas lost the debate because he cannot deal with the Scriptures that do demonstrate that the Lord knows the future.

In His grace,--Jerry
”Dispensationalism Made Easy”


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Sams last post is really cute like reading an email, but don't forget that he is simply refusing to answer Bob's questions again. Sam used a pathetic ploy to appeal to our own humanity instead of attempting to answer questions. This was supposed to be a debate, but Sam said no I like my ideas better even if you prove them false.


New member


I had hoped Dr. Lamerson would finally answer Bob's questions in his last post. All we get is a feel good letter? I respect Dr. Lamerson as a brother in Christ, and I have read all the posts, but are we soul searching here or debating?


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Well-known member
Hall of Fame
Sam has a good heart and mind. At most, he proves what the Open View maintains: God knows some of the future. Just because He revealed things in advance about the naming of Cyrus, Peter, and Judas does not prove that He exhaustively foreknows all future free will contingecies or that there is a meticulous blueprint of sovereignty. God knows some of the future as settled (based on ABILITY, not foreknowledge), while some of the future is unsettled/open/uncertain. Dr. Gregory Boyd develops these two motifs in a way that this debate has not. It is a cosmic leap to use a few proof texts to extrapolate to certain foreknowledge of all future moral and mundane choices.

Classic books on Open Theism by prominent authors as well as recent books critical of Open Theism should be read in addition to this limited debate. Sam's case was not persuasive with alternate explanations on texts being at least plausible, if not preferred. Bob has not done a slam dunk and has used uncommon texts for his 3 verses. While good, we need to look at more Scripture to build the case in addition to philosophical and logical arguments that would show why exhaustive foreknowledge of future free will contingencies is a logical and biblical contradiction.


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Best Arguments

It's been a great debate. I always like to look at the best arguments of the debate and consider them against my own views.

Dr. Lamerson’s argument that Jesus based his deity on his claims to know Judas would betray him was his best argument. For myself I am not persuaded by that argument. I'm not as convinced as Dr. Lamerson that it would have been some tragedy if Judas had repented. I think Jesus it would have come out that Judas had planned to betray Jesus to his disciples and they still would have been amazed. I don't think they would have held ... "Well Judas planned to, but he didn't so you can't be God". That would be like King Hezekiah telling Samuel, 'You must be a false prophet because I didn't die when you said I would.'"

Clearly Bob's best rebuttal of Dr. Lamerson's best position was to use Dr. Lamerson's own words against him.

Mr. Enyart said:
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

Bob's point being that any prophecy could be said to be a warning, giving men a chance to repent.

Never-the-less, I stated in my very review that Dr. Lamerson was opening with the utter best argument the Settled view has.

Mr. Enyart’s best argument seemed to be the importance the Open attributes (attributes that would affect God’s knowledge of the future) verses the lesser importance of the Settled attributes according to the Bible. His arguments were based on the incarnation and how Jesus gave up presence, knowledge, and power to become a man, but never gave up the more important aspects of love, goodness, righteousness, personal, and relational. This is an argument I’ve never heard for the Open view and I’m till trying to drink it in (so to speak).

Dr. Lamerson’s best rebuttal was to imply that all God’s attributes were co-equal and God couldn’t divest Himself of any of his attributes. I’m not sure he ever tried to prove this or show that it was the case, which was a disappointment. Perhaps he was as taken off-guard as even I was by this tactic. Never-the-less in a ten round debate I thought he would provide some evidence for his position, versus the evidence that was given by Mr. Enyart. Instead we were asked to take it on our faith in Dr. Lamerson.

Unlike Dr. Lamerson, Mr. Enyart seemed to have no end to the evidence he brought to the debate. He sounded like he could have gone on for another ten rounds providing new arguemets each round. Dr. Lamerson seemed stuck on his three, even after answers were given.
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Jerry Shugart

Well-known member
In the last round Bob Enyart says:
Jeremiah 18:1-10, that God would make us “again into another vessel” “repenting of” that which “I thought to” do, and from that which “I said I would” do, acknowledging that He will change the plans He has begun to implement and had intended to complete, in impartial response to us.
Bob cannot understand that Jeremiah 18:1-10 is written in figurative language.He said:
God declared in Jeremiah 18 that even if He thought to give Israel their kingdom, and even if He saidHe would give Israel their kingdom, if they rejected the King, then He would repent. Then He would NOT give them that which He thought He would, nor that which He said He would! God does not make idle threats.[emphasis mine]

As we can see,Bob says that the Lord would change His mind and not give the kingdom to Israel if they rejected the King.But at another place He said that the establishment of the kingdom was "conditional":
God explicitly declares that some of His promises are conditional, including that He would establish Israel’s kingdom if they obeyed their king, not otherwise! Thus Jesus did not return to establish that Kingdom.
So the mind of the Lord was already made up.If Israel accepted her King then the Lord would send back the Lord Jesus and establish the kingdom.If not,then the nation would not receive the kingdom at that time.

There would be no need for the Lord to change His mind since the establishment of the kingdom was "conditional" on Israel accepting her King.

For some reason Bob Enyart just cannot distinguish between "figuative" language and that which is to be taken literally.As I said,since the giving of the kingdom was “conditional” upon Israel accepting her King then once they rejected the King then there was no need for God to change His mind about whether or not He would give the kingdom to Israel.The mind of the Lord was already set.If they rejected their King then they would not receive the kingdom.

In His grace,--Jerry
”Dispensationalism Made Easy”
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