Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankful for Triablogue

Whew! I was starting to think Triablogue had become the All Waterboarding All The Time channel.

But this article here is a killer: I'd be interested to see what our recent Arminian defenders think of it. Once you're done reading that one and its stellar meta, read the article just previous to it as well, in which our Arminian acquaintence, J. C. Thibodaux hits the big-time by getting himself systematically undone. Here's your "Arminian Challenge" for you, JCT. You asked for it, you got it: now go over there and show the Triablogue team your mad skills!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope you will all glory in God's great goodness, eat too much, drink a little, get rid of the in-laws fairly early, and exult in the Dallas Cowboys achieving their best record in franchise history today. I know I will.

20 comments:

Luke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luke said...

But this article here is a killer:

“Killer”? It was so bad that I nearly sprayed coffee all over my computer. And I wasn’t even drinking any coffee! (I’ll make some later and do it.)

Like you, I’m also thankful. I'm thankful that the rebuttal to Peter Pike’s article came from Peter Pike. At 1:33 AM he posted the following in response to someone who said that his argument doesn’t make sense. According to Peter, the comments he made don’t make sense ony…

...if you accept Calvinist concepts (such as Total Depravity). If one denies the fundamental evil of man, then there is no reason to think God couldn’t come up with any vast number of ways to get people to love him….

Again, that is because you are coming from a standpoint that deals with the depravity of man, which Armininism denies.


As explained in every thorough description of classical Arminianism (e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arminianism ), total depravity is a core belief of Arminianism. If not for the prevenient grace of God, no one would believe. And of all those resisting that grace of God, none believe, regardless of the circumstances.

Romans 11 demonstrates these ideas well. Paul says the following:

11Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!
13I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?


Israel has been rejected due to its rejection of the gospel. Paul makes much of his ministry to show that the riches God promised to his people are being given to the believing Gentiles.

In Arminian theology this situation is totally expected. Those who have thus far resisted the grace of God may be willing to reconsider when presented with the idea that their riches are lost to the Gentiles. Arousing Jews to envy, according to the Arminian system, does nothing soteriological in and of itself; it only offers another opportunity for those who have thus far rejected Christ to be influenced by the grace of God while they reconsider their stance, due to jealousy. Therefore, Paul really can arouse some to jealousy, thereby saving some of them.

But what can Paul’s words mean within the Calvinist system? What affect does jealousy have upon the unregenerate? Those who are not saved, according to this system, are immune to all attempts at persuasion. It’s a case of all or nothing. The only thing a Calvinist can do to make sense of the words is say that jealousy will circumstantially precede regeneration. And that’s nothing close to what Paul says or means.

Note that according to the Arminian system its possible that there are people that won’t believe under any circumstances. I’m thankful that I’ve had this opportunity explain the Arminian position.

gordan said...

Luke, I'm thankful you commented here, but still wish you'd make the argument at Triablogue. I think the author there has addressed the substance of this objection. You've written here about a tangent of his article, and not the main thrust of it. That main thrust being, why doesn't God do all He can to save every individual by finding ways to appeal to their libertarian free will in spite of their initial rejection of His grace?

You ought to think about addressing that there, along with noting that they've defined what they mean by the use of the term Arminian, and it's a much more loose label there than you've taken it to be in this meta.

Luke said...

Gordon, those who know me know that there are two blogs that I consider too hateful and immature to post on. That blog is second on my list of the major sites that are on that list, due to the consistent behavior of some of the contributors. Still, I have been thinking about breaking my rule and posting on a different article. I'll think about it.

It's also not my goal to swamp this site.

...why doesn't God do all He can to save every individual by finding ways to appeal to their libertarian free will in spite of their initial rejection of His grace?

God does do everything to save sinners. This "everything" is defined by the limits he has put upon himself. These limits, I would argue, appear to be relational limits. As Peter said to the crowd gather in Solomon's Colonnade, God sent Jesus "...first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways" (Acts 3:26). Did Jesus fail to do what God sent him to do? Certainly not, when understood within relational parameters. Understood within monergistic parameters, it appears he did not do what he was sent to do.

God bless,
Luke

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Triablogue is undone. It might help their case if they could actually get my theology right. Thanks for the defense Luke.

gordan said...

Luke, the point of the post at T-blog was precisely that, in terms of relationship, there is more that could certainly/easily be done by an infinite God to woo and influence the libertarian free will of fallen man.

JC, It'll be hard for them to get your theology right, since all anyone has to go on in that matter is what you've written.

Luke said...

Gordan:Luke, the point of the post at T-blog was precisely that, in terms of relationship, there is more that could certainly/easily be done by an infinite God to woo and influence the libertarian free will of fallen man.

What don't you understand about my use of "limit"?

Romans 2 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? 5But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.

God has given the opportunity, the ability, and one day the opportunity will be over. Now, if God saves via the means I have described in my recent posts, and there is a limit to his patience, then all relationships take place within those limits. "Relational," as I used the term is defined by God and his patience.

It is the Arminian perspective that God's patience isn't unlimited, so how does making an argument that God's patience could be otherwise count against the position?

As Peter said to the crowd gathered in Solomon's Colonnade, God sent Jesus "...first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways" (Acts 3:26). Did Jesus fail to do what God sent him to do? Certainly not, when understood within relational parameters. Understood within monergistic parameters, it appears he did not do what he was sent to do.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

JC, It'll be hard for them to get your theology right, since all anyone has to go on in that matter is what you've written.

Which is ironic, since much of Mr. Belvedere's arguments revolved around the idea of me believing that God couldn't condemn people unless he gave them grace first, which I wrote absolutely nothing about. If my theology is indeed that hard for most Calvinists to pin down, perhaps they should actually stick to criticizing what was written rather than make such laughably unresearched and sophomoric attempts at putting words into my mouth.

Joshua A. Hitchcock said...

Why do you people desire to comment here anyway? We are not opposed to your commenting, but do you expect to change our minds? Or do you expect that your comments will change others minds? You will only do good to show you position is biblical, contextual, and exegetical. This has not been done.

Luke said...

Josh, it's being done all the time. I can't help it if no one can reply to what I've said. And are you serious when you ask why people respond to your comments when you invite it???:

Here's your "Arminian Challenge" for you, JCT.

Those are your words, not mine.

Joshua A. Hitchcock said...

actually Luke...he challenged us first, along time ago. And actually that wasnt my post. And actually the challenge was to go comment over at triablogue...if you would only read the VERY NEXT sentence..please read everything that is written not just a few sentences.

My word, I think I am going to hurl at the inability to read a simple paragraph!

gordan said...

Luke played the martyr with this beauty:

"I can't help it if no one can reply to what I've said."

Look at the good Calvinist you've become: since no one's "chosen" to reply, you assume an inability.

Actually, I might reply if

A) Your point elicited a response in me other than, "So?"

or

B) Your point was the sort of thing that actually advanced the dialogue in one direction or another.

or

C) Your point showed a basic understanding of Calvinism and thereby brought to it a legitimate critique. I realize you're trying to show the internal inconsistency of Calvinism, but that's the thing about arguing through internal critique: you have to have a really good handle on the view you're critiquing. If, at any point on the way, as you're trying to think like a Calvinist, you actually don't, then the whole thing crumbles like really good pie crust. MMMM, pie crust.

Rhett said...

or

D) If I had some sort of weird fetish for feeding trolls.

Luke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luke said...

Goradan:Look at the good Calvinist you've become: since no one's "chosen" to reply, you assume an inability.
Actually, I might reply if
A) Your point elicited a response in me other than, "So?"
or
B) Your point was the sort of thing that actually advanced the dialogue in one direction or another.


Just sounds like a bunch of excuses.

Here's what I said:

What don't you understand about my use of "limit"?

Romans 2:4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? 5But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.

God has given the opportunity, the ability, and one day the opportunity will be over. Now, if God saves via the means I have described in my recent posts, and there is a limit to his patience, then all relationships take place within those limits. "Relational," as I used the term is defined by God and his patience.

It is the Arminian perspective that God's patience isn't unlimited, so how does making an argument that God's patience could be otherwise count against the position?

As Peter said to the crowd gathered in Solomon's Colonnade, God sent Jesus "...first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways" (Acts 3:26). Did Jesus fail to do what God sent him to do? Certainly not, when understood within relational parameters. Understood within monergistic parameters, it appears he did not do what he was sent to do.

gordan said...

Luke,

The revelation that you only post while on the phone actually explains a lot.

Another reason why I haven't chosen to answer you: You prove that you don't read carefully. You ask above when you said, "So?" That's merely proof you didn't care enough to read what was addressed to you.

Same with your stuff about the "limits" on God's kindness. If you'd read what I've said, you'd see I do fully understand the concept and was trying to get you to interact with the post referenced at the beginning.

Then you cut-and-paste your brilliant argument re:Peter's speech in Acts 3, as if Calvinism must fall in the face of hyperbolic language used in a gospel presentation. This is the sort of thing I meant with my point C) above. (And A, for that matter.)

Luke said...

Gordan,

I'm not on the phone this time, and I got plenty of sleep, fyi.

Another reason why I haven't chosen to answer you: You prove that you don't read carefully. You ask above when you said, "So?" That's merely proof you didn't care enough to read what was addressed to you.

No, "So?" is not proof of anything. That is, it's not proof of anything other than the fact that you want to play silly games and that you have little or no shame.

Same with your stuff about the "limits" on God's kindness. If you'd read what I've said, you'd see I do fully understand the concept and was trying to get you to interact with the post referenced at the beginning.

You did nothing but repeat the opening premise without interacting with what I said. You asked a question, I responded, and you couldn't reply.

Let me address the issue again, God acts within the limits of his patience. No one I know of claims God has unlimited patience. No classical theist, A or C, thinks otherwise. So why would I even want to defend the position? I reject it.

What don't you understand about my use of "limit"?

Romans 2:4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? 5But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.

God has given the opportunity, the ability, and one day the opportunity will be over. Now, if God saves via the means I have described in my recent posts, and there is a limit to his patience, then all relationships take place within those limits. "Relational," as I used the term is defined by God and his patience.

It is the Arminian perspective that God's patience isn't unlimited, so how does making an argument that God's patience could be otherwise count against the position?

Then you cut-and-paste your brilliant argument re:Peter's speech in Acts 3, as if Calvinism must fall in the face of hyperbolic language used in a gospel presentation. This is the sort of thing I meant with my point C) above. (And A, for that matter.)

Are you one the phone right now? Your point "C" makes a distracting obfuscation by attempting to portray me as pointing out "internal inconsistencies" within Calvinism, when that was never the topic. Rather, the topic was the Arminian perspective, which I was defending. And which, in turn, disproves the monergistic perspective.

In addition to that, your appeal to "hyperbolic language" is untenable. Firstly, "you" in verse 24 is emphatic, and "to you first" in 26 also receives emphasis. There is no hyperbolic meaning there. The point being that they as Abraham's descendants are most certainly in view. Secondly, Peter makes the message more specific by individualizing it and applying it to "each of you" being turned from "your evil ways." "Each of you" is referring to the individual members of the "you" being described earlier. In each case, everyone one is included, without exception, right down to the very last individual.

Really, Gordan, you need to grasp this.

gordan said...

Luke says, "Are you one the phone right now? [sic] Your point "C" makes a distracting obfuscation by attempting to portray me as pointing out "internal inconsistencies" within Calvinism, when that was never the topic. Rather, the topic was the Arminian perspective, which I was defending. And which, in turn, disproves the monergistic perspective."

Gordan says: Luke, it becomes an internal critique when you claim to know what the Calvinist answer has to be, or cannot be. You're free to point out what you think the passage is teaching and how you see that controverting Calvinism, but not free to assume you know how all Calvinists would answer. (This particular point of yours is not the one that I had in mind when I wrote about internal critiques, though. This one falls more under "A".)

By the way, is that an admission ("Are you the one on the phone") that some of your previous comment attempts have been...hmmm....less than completely coherent, maybe, since you're now imputing your past, admitted methodology to me in order to throw a jab? LOL. Boy, that last comment of mine must've been off the chain confusion-wise, then.

So, with reference to Peter's use of "each one of you" is it your contention, then, that the linguistics of the original language rule out the possibility of hyperbole? I mean, you're saying it would break some rule of Greek grammar for Peter to use hyperbolic language at that point? Am I reading you right here? If so, would you mind pointing us all in the direction of the Greek resource which spells out this anti-hyperbole rule.

But even if there is such a rule (which there isn't) and even if we grant that your interpretation of Peter's words are correct, you still haven't gone as far as you must in order to prove the point you're hoping to prove. See, in order to actually push that one home you've got to know that some of those who heard Peter died without repenting. We do know from the text that many of that group believed almost immediately, but the fate of all the rest is not given to us. They didn't believe on that day, apparently, but if you're going to use the whole episode as an anti-Calvinist billy-club, then you really need to make sure it teaches what you think it does: and there is frankly no way to tell about the fate of those who went away on that day having not yet repented. For all we know, they may well have come to Christ, each one of them individually.

So, even if your new prohibition on hyperbole is allowed to stand, you still can't prove what you need to here.

Luke said...

Gordan: Luke, it becomes an internal critique when you claim to know what the Calvinist answer has to be, or cannot be. You're free to point out what you think the passage is teaching and how you see that controverting Calvinism, but not free to assume you know how all Calvinists would answer. (This particular point of yours is not the one that I had in mind when I wrote about internal critiques, though. This one falls more under "A".)

Gordan, my comments were a defense of Arminianism against your critique of it. Of course it contains a few words about Calvinism at the very end. The issue, however, is your deafening silence regarding the issue which YOU brought up and I was defending. Of course, you said I didn’t address what you said, so I pointed out to you that I did, and I repeated what I said. Interesting that to date you still haven’t touched what I said, other than the last few sentences (as a distraction!). Glaring omissions, ad hominem remarks won’t do.

Gordan: See, in order to actually push that one home you've got to know that some of those who heard Peter died without repenting. We do know from the text that many of that group believed almost immediately, but the fate of all the rest is not given to us. They didn't believe on that day, apparently, but if you're going to use the whole episode as an anti-Calvinist billy-club, then you really need to make sure it teaches what you think it does: and there is frankly no way to tell about the fate of those who went away on that day having not yet repented. For all we know, they may well have come to Christ, each one of them individually.

Gordan, he’s addressing “all the people” (v. 11) as “men of Israel” (v. 12). He’s speaking to them because they are part of the people of Israel, to whom Christ was sent to turn from their wicked ways – each one of them. Are you seriously suggesting that every one of the priests and the Sadducees (4:1) in Solomon's Colonnade was eventually saved, and that the references Peter quotes involving God’s instructions to Moses from the OT apply specifically and exclusively to that particular gathering of people? That’s a real odd argument considering that he addresses the people of Israel, makes them collectively guilty of Christ’s death, and says they are “ heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers” (3:25). The “heirs of the prophets and covenant” are the “you” being addressed right down to the very last one in verse 26. In other words, it applies to each and every person there because they are the Israelites who were instructed by Moses to listen to the prophet when he came – “each one of you.”

So, even if your new prohibition on hyperbole is allowed to stand, you still can't prove what you need to here.

Sure I can. I just did.

gordan said...

Luke, I realize that you think my lack of earlier response to you is some sort of token in your favor, revealing the strength of your superior argument, or whatever. But I asked in the original post, and then again a few times at the beginning of this thread, for you to specifically address the point in the Triablogue article, which you still haven't done. (Remember, that was back when actually reading what you were responding to was proving to be a challenge too much for you.) Therefore, I have seen your argument to date as merely avoiding the issue and have not wanted to give you any credibility, by acting like you really did answer the question, which, again, you still have not.

----------------

Now, as to your rapidly collapsing argument re: Acts 3.

1. You can't have it both ways. Either Peter is addressing specifically and individually the crowd he's talking to, or his words have some more expansive reference to the whole of Israel. Now, if, by speaking to this smaller group, he is in fact talking about the whole nation, then that's hyperbolic language--speaking to a small group as if they were the whole nation.

The first sign of a bad argument is that it immediately changes once challenged.

2. Grasping at straws, then you throw out Acts 4:1, as if to imply that the Sadducees were part of the crowd that heard Peter. There's a reason you didn't quote the verse, though, isn't there?

Because it says right there that the Sadducees and their gang "came upon them", that is, the people to whom Peter was speaking. They were obviously attracted by the size of the crowd and wondered what was going on.

So, no I don't have to suggest that this later crew all got saved. They're not part of the crowd who heard Peter's sermon. They got there at the end and broke it up.

3. There's nothing unusual about quoting verses that are applicable to the whole nation in order to make a particular point with a smaller group, and applying those verses to them. Peter does the same thing later by addressing Christians with quoted labels from the OT that were originally given to the nation of Israel (1 Peter 2:9.)

So, to be consistent with what you are now suggesting, when Peter uses those OT labels for Israel in 1 Peter, then the letter must really be written to the whole, unbelieving nation, and everything it says must apply directly to them, including all the divine approbations that go with being saved.

4. Lastly, you claim to have proven your point.

Fine, I am perfectly content to let the reader of this thread evaluate that claim.

If you are right, he or she will come away thinking that I have simply avoided you. If you are wrong, you will be manifestly so. I am happy with that.

You've had your say on this one, over and over, as a matter of fact. So, we're done on this one. You're welcome to keep commenting on other threads if you feel the need.