Not ‘Sinaholics;’ Sin-Slaves

In an article I posted about a year ago (After the Fall, Is the Human Will Free or Fettered?), I presented a positive argument and explanation for my view of human volition after the fall of Genesis 3. In my research, I found Dr. Leighton Flowers to be a good example of an opposing perspective on the will of man, so I quoted him a few times in peripheral sections of my text. His quotes were used as a brief articulation of a philosophical concept called Libertarian Free Will.

Dr. Flowers has recently discovered my essay and written an extensive rebuttal of it. I will let the reader decide if my argument stands against his critique. I believe that any honest evaluation of Dr. Flowers’ article and my own essay will reveal that Dr. Flowers has failed to interact with the substance of my essay, much less successfully counter it.

Furthermore, Dr. Flowers merely gave disapproval of my view and offered no positive argument from the Scriptures for his own view. It is one thing to cite a verse here and there, and use these as pretexts for a presupposed theological critique. It is quite another to walk through a didactic passage of Scripture to demonstrate biblical harmony with your own theological system.

That said, I wanted to take just a moment to address what I believe to be Dr. Flowers’ fundamental error. I do not presume that I will change Dr. Flowers’ mind on this matter (though one can certainly hope), but I sincerely pray that this may serve as an opportunity for consideration among those who might follow his ministry.

Dr. Flowers repeatedly affirmed his belief that fallen humanity is enslaved to sin. The biblical concept of sin-slavery is well attested in the Scriptures and easily understood from a passage like Romans 6:16-22. There the Apostle Paul explains sin-slavery and gives the reader hope for belonging to a new and better Master.

However, I shall return to the passage I used in my theological essay to address Dr. Flowers’ error. I cited and explained Ephesians 2:1-3. The Apostle Paul is here addressing Christians, but he confronts them about their former (fallen, unregenerate, sin-slave) volitional status. Rather than using the metaphor of slavery, Paul here speaks of spiritual death, but both metaphors refer to the same sin-slave status (simply compare Rom. 6:16-22 and Eph. 2:1-3). He wrote,

“you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Eph. 2:1–3).

In verses 2-3, there are at least two ways in which the Apostle Paul explains the form and substance of spiritual death (v1). Paul describes spiritual death as (1) following a worldly course and a powerful prince; and (2) living in fleshly passions and carrying out fleshly desires. Let us consider each of these aspects of spiritual death and how such things should shape our understanding of the sin-enslaved human will.

Following a worldly course and a powerful prince. A “worldly course” and a “powerful prince” are both examples of language not uncommon to the Bible or the Apostle Paul. In fact, Paul uses similar language in Galatians and Colossians. To the Galatian Christians, Paul wrote of their having been “enslaved to the elementary principles of this world” (Gal. 4:3). To the saints in Colossae, he wrote of their “deliverance from the domain of darkness” (Col. 1:13). The imagery is clear: devilish dominion enslaves all those who are spiritually dead, and these walk according to the dark course or path of their evil prince. This imagery may be unenjoyable to our eyes, but it is not difficult to observe or recognize. The picture is one of fettered bondage.

The imagery is clear: devilish dominion enslaves all those who are spiritually dead, and these walk according to the dark course or path of their evil prince. This imagery may be unenjoyable to our eyes, but it is not difficult to observe or recognize. The picture is one of fettered bondage.

Living in fleshly passions and carrying out desires. These “passions” and “desires” are also frequently found in the biblical text. Paul says that Christians are to renounce “worldly passions” (Titus 2:12), and Peter says Christians are to resist conformity to the “passions” that accompany a “former ignorance” that characterizes unregenerate humanity (1 Peter 1:14). Jesus made a scathing remark against fallen humanity, summarizing all of this, when He said, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires” (John 8:44).

In each case, “passions” and “desires” refer to lustful cravings and preferences of the will. When such cravings and preferences are qualified by the term “fleshly,” it always conveys the idea of sinful passions and desires.

Therefore, according to Scripture, fallen man is not in bondage unwillingly, but he gladly wears his chains and even pursues heavier and lengthier ones.

This, in my view, is Dr. Flowers’ error. He simply does not understand or does not allow for the biblical concept of willful slavery to sin.

Dr. Flowers said, “There is nothing about being in slavery that makes one incapable of recognizing their chains and accepting God’s help to be freed when it’s offered.”

But what if the slave does not want to accept God’s help? This would necessarily make the slave incapable of freedom; not because it is not an option, but because he does not want it.

Dr. Flowers said, “Marc [has] simply conflated the concept of bondage to sin (addiction) with a moral incapacity to humble oneself and confess that enslaved condition so as to receive the help that is being offered (responsibility).”

Hasn’t Dr. Flowers omitted the reality that prideful rebellion is an expression of sin? Can the arrogant narcissist humble himself? Not without contradicting the label! An arrogant sinful rebel is by definition incapable of humbling himself, precisely because he is in bondage to the sin of pride, which will not allow him to grab hold of God’s offering of help.

Dr. Flowers said, “Slavery to sin IS NOT EQUAL to the moral inability to confess our enslavement in response to God’s loving provision and powerful Holy Spirit inspired appeals for reconciliation.”

Here again, in my view, Dr. Flowers has not understood or is flatly denying the fact that sin-slavery is a willful bondage. Confession and reconciliation are the results of godly repentance and faith, but such things are utterly repugnant to the unregenerate sin-slave.

This is why the sin-slave is in desperate need of a powerful and effective Savior! I needed God to give me more than an offering of help; I needed Him to give me spiritual life, new affections, and the desire to know and love Him. This is exactly what God does for unworthy sin-slaves, and I am grateful for amazing grace.

 

Dr. Flowers is the Director of Apologetics and Youth Evangelism for Texas Baptists and the purveyor of the website Soteriology 101. His ministry actively opposes a large swath of Southern Baptists, advocating a view of the doctrine of salvation (Traditionalism) that is hardly traditional Southern Baptist soteriology (see Tom Nettles’ explanation HERE or my own article HERE).

I am the pastor of First Baptist Church of Diana Texas. I have no official apologetic ministry, and little time to engage in this kind of exchange. I will gladly refer the interested reader to other ministries and resources for further inquiry.

18 Comments

    1. Thanks! I have been less than impressed by Dr. Flowers’ ability to actually engage the substance, but I am glad for the opportunity to make a little noise from his platform. It is much larger than my own.

  1. Marc:
    You said:
    I do not presume that I will change Dr. Flowers’ mind on this matter (though one can certainly hope), but I sincerely pray that this may serve as an opportunity for consideration among those who might follow his ministry.

    I find this funny/curious in the light that the bottom line discussion in all Calvinistic debates is the ability to “change one’s mind” or think for himself. You “hope” something. You “pray” something. All with the real expectation that you can affect circumstances (and you can!).

    But within real, deterministic, Calvinism you cannot.

    1. Actually, Steve… The curious/sad thing about Dr. Flowers’ argument and your comment is that each of you refuse to acknowledge the biblical concept of God’s sovereignty. You claim that God’s ultimate determination of all things obliterates human freedom and the genuine use of means (towards ends/goals). This is something the Bible simply does not do.

      God is in control of all things (good and bad [Lam. 3:37-38]), and people are responsible for the volitional choices they make in real time (Is. 10:1-19).

      “You will say to me then, ‘Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?’ But who are you, O man, to answer back to God?” (Rom. 9:19-20).

      Thanks for reading… I do hope you’ll consider reading more than just this one article on my blog. We may have more in common than you think, and it’s always good to think through things from a different perspective.

      May God make us both better men as we seek to love and serve Him well.

  2. Marc,

    Yesterday I was wearing my ADIDAS shoes instead of my NIKE shoes, both Shoes are good for wearing but I choose my ADIDAS shoes that day.

    My question to you is, is it possible for me to choose the NIKE shoes instead yesterday?.
    Did God sovereignly decreed from eternity past that Yesterday i would be wearing my ADIDAS shoes and that it is an Unchangeable Decree and the Decree is not based on God foreseeing me Choosing my ADIDAS shoes instead of my Nike shoes..

    Thank you. Blessings.

    1. Thanks for reading, and thanks for the note.

      First, the Bible says that God has ordained whatsoever comes to pass (Ps. 33:11; Is. 14:24; Lam. 3:37-38; Acts 2:23). So, yes, God is sovereign over everything… even which shoes you wear.

      Second, there is a massive error in your assumption that God could decree anything based on “foreseeing” the future. This notion of seeing into the future is not a biblical concept. The God of the Bible doesn’t merely see (like a premonition or mind-video) the future. He is timeless; therefore, He is already in the future as much as He is in the past and in the present moment. God’s foreknowledge is only “before” in the sense that He knows it before we know or experience it. God knows all things knowable right now, and this is no different than His knowledge from eternity. He has never not known all things.

      Third, even if God was not sovereign, and He was merely all-knowing (knowing the future before it happened), this would still make all things that happen unchangeably fixed. The fact that the future is known at all makes it unchangeable. To know only a possible future is not foreknowledge at all.

      Once again, I appreciate the readership. My hope is that God will grant you and me both the grace to love and trust His word – even if we are unable to solve all of the mysteries of its sometimes difficult applications.

      May God bless you as well.

      1. Marc,

        Thank you.
        What do you mean when you said.
        “So, yes, God is sovereign over everything… even which shoes you wear”..??

        When you said SOVEREIGN,, is that in the sense that HE DECREED IT UNCHANGEABLY from Eternity Past?

        Do you agree that there is ZERO possibility for me to wear my NIKE shoes that Day?..
        Did GOD DECREED that I will be wearing and be Choosing my ADIDAS on that specific day?..

        You wrote:
        Second, there is a massive error in your assumption that God could decree anything based on “foreseeing” the future. This notion of seeing into the future is not a biblical concept.

        Me:
        Thank you, but I was not ASSUMING,, I actually confirming if your CONSISTENT to the ACTUAL Claims of Notable Calvie Theologians, some Calvies I interact seems to Make a case that GOD’s ETERNAL Decrees from Eternity Past is Based on what HE Foresees in the FUTURE and what He ALLOWED or NOT Allowed and then He FIXED it by DECREEING what He Allowed or not ALLOWED… which is the same like saying GOD DECREES WHAT HE ALLOWED OR WHAT HE DID NOT ALLOW, and the term DECREE becomes meaningless.. So I’m glad that you are being CONSISTENT on the ACTUAL Claims of Calvie that God DECREES not based on His Foreknowledge..

        You wrote:
        Third, even if God was not sovereign, and He was merely all-knowing (knowing the future before it happened), this would still make all things that happen unchangeably fixed. The fact that the future is known at all makes it unchangeable. To know only a possible future is not foreknowledge at all.

        Me:
        When you said SOVEREIGN,, am i right to understand that what you mean is GOD DECREED EVERYTHING,, and the DECREE is Unchangeable so that EVERYTHING Happens is the Fulfillment of God’s Eternal DECREES?.

        I have follow-up questions for you, but I want to be Clear first on some of what you said, so I hope you answer my questions..

        Thank you very much. Blessings..

      2. Please forgive my delay… I haven’t the time to spend on this that I’d like. I would like to recommend some reading (if I may). There seems to be quite a lack in basic theological terms and concepts in your questions.

        You will benefit greatly from reading through a systematic theology book. I recommend Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology.” You can pick this up on Amazon, or you can borrow it from most any Baptist seminarian. It is standard reading for doctrinal studies. Grudem provides a pretty good example of Reformed Baptist theology (with the exception of Ch. 39).

        Happy reading, and happy studying. May God help us both love and serve Him better.

  3. Allow me to give an example of what happens now and again in my real pastoral ministry.

    C will be the Calvinist

    T will be the person never instructed in Calvinism (because one HAS to be instructed) or a person like me that well-instructed in Calvinism and lived it for years and has now rejected Calvin’s philosophy of determinism.

    C: John 6 says you can’t come without being drawn.

    T: That is so true that God must draw us!

    C: Only God can draw men, they can’t come on their own.

    T: So true, and like Christ said when He is lifted up “He will draw all men to himself.”

    C: If He were drawing all men, they would all come.

    T: Really? I see thousands of places in the OT where God draws His chosen Israel and they refuse to come. He says over and over (almost like He does not understand why don’t come) “Why do you refuse to turn to me when I send my prophets?!” “I expected grapes and got your sour fruit.” “Saul, I would have made your family…but you did not obey.” “Jerusalem, Jerusalem how often I would….but you would not.” We see this thousands of times in the Word.

    C: Oh yes, those thousands of time, well they are God’s hidden will that Israel not come, that people not obey.

    T: Even though He sends prophets? Even though He says many hundreds of times “I wanted you to come and you would not.”

    C: Yes, because He has His spoken will and His hidden will. Even all of their disobedience and stubbornness and idolatry and child sacrifice was his sacred decree.

    T: Even though He sent prophets to beg them not to do those things?

    C: Yes, even the killing of the prophets was His will.

    T: What about the several places in Jeremiah where He says, “and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind..” showing us that man is doing some things that He has not ordained (hidden or not) and did not even come into His mind. How else can He say that he is not behind those things in any way?

    C: Oh all those references. They dont really mean that….they are anthropomorphisms.

    T: They are what? How am I supposed to know what that means when I am reading my Bible?

    C: You know when God says He is a High Tower, or His arm is not too short. He doesnt have arms, does He? He is trying to show that He is strong.

    T: Agreed that He does not have arms, but the point is that that analogy means something. He is strong.

    C: Right.

    T: So what does He mean when He says “I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind”?

    C: Well that is just how we see it.

    T: What?

    C: We dont see it the way God sees it.

    T: Agreed, but what was he teaching Israel (and all future readers of these passages)?
    Long Arms = strong, etc. What does “did not even enter my mind that you do these things” teach us?

    C: Hummm…

    T: You seem to have constructed a definition of sovereign that …. well, how else would God say “some things happen that I did not decree”? How could He say it more clearly?

    T: So you still maintain that all things were sovereignly/ deterministically decreed by God, even when He says right here and in context with his own voice through the prophet that “it never entered my mind.”?

    C: Yes, and I will tell you how we solve this. Proverbs 16:33 “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”

    T: Woah really?

    C: Yes it is one of the main verses that Piper and others give, so…..

    T: But it is a Proverb? In what way does that establish doctrine for us…especially if your take on it contradicts the very words of God many times?

    C: Dude, all Scripture is equal.

    T: But they were casting lots into the lap exactly SO THAT God would give the answer. In what way does that then extrapolate out to mean that all actions, good and bad, evil and unspeakable are decreed by God.

    C: Okay, how about this. Proverb 21:1 In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him.

    T: Our God is certainly powerful, and can manipulate kings without even touching their free will, that is true. But is this another of those Piper verses used to extrapolate that God causes all things to happen (even though He says in many places that He does not cause some things)?

    C: Yes, because all Scripture fits together.

    T: Well yes, but why do your 2 Proverbs get to be the small little vessel that all other plain-spoken passages have to fit into?

    C: Because it has to be this way because God is sovereign and that is how we define sovereign.

    T: Does it sound in Scripture that every disobedience of man, even when He says “you did not do my will,” is really what He wants?

    C: It does not sound that way or look that way, but we know it to be true because He has two wills.”

    T: Where is that explained?

    C: It has to be true since our definition of sovereign means that all things are decreed by Him.

    T: So what do I say in my pastoral counseling sessions, when a husband tells me next to his crying wife that he has cheated on her multiple times over many years. Do I tell her….it was really God’s sovereign will?

    C: You tell her and him that it was not God’s spoken will.

    T: But what do I say when the man says, “But pastor, Piper says that everything that happens is God’s sovereign will and was divinely decreed.”?

    C: Well if it happened, it must have been that God decreed that adultery for His glory.

    1. Thanks for reading, and thanks for the note. As your illustration points out, there are often miscommunications and ignorant passions exchanged between well-meaning Christians. However, I’d like to point out the simple fact that your illustration depicts well the frequent mistake that I see in my own “real pastoral ministry.”

      Equivocating is the use inability or refusal to allow for distinct uses of the same term. In this case, you (or at least your characters in the illustration) do not seem to understand that the “will” of God is revealed in different senses in the Bible. On the one hand, God does not “will” or desire sin, evil, pain, the perishing of sinners, etc… But, on the other hand, God always brings about or accomplishes His “will” or plans or intentions (Ps. 33:8-11; Lam. 3:37-38). The Bible is not contradictory, so I believe it is best to understand that these references to God’s will are in some sense distinct from one another.

      We must either choose to maintain a superficial understanding of God’s will, or we must acknowledge that God’s will sometimes refers to preferential desire and sometimes refers to His unchangeable decrees. It seems to me that superficial understanding is an untenable position.

      May we both be more biblical than we are tribal, and may God grant us grace to love and serve Him in this highest of all earthly callings.

      1. Amen to serving in grace and love!

        May I just point out that I can make reference to many, many place in narrative where God is directly dialoging through His prophets and He says “I did not ordain or decree these things.” Some places He adds that He never had such an idea.

        I am wondering how He possibly would say it otherwise. I mean if He wanted us to know something about Himself and His sovereignty how else could He say it?

        It’s like Darth Vader giving hints and then saying “I am your father.”

        Imagine that perhaps He wanted to tell us that some things that happened are not decreed by Him. How would He have to say it for you to be convinced?

        Now, you offer these two poetic texts as proof texts. I tend to build my hermeneutic on the Gospels, epistles, and direct, non-poetic speech from God.

        The Lamentation passage has the following analogies

        I am the man who has seen affliction
        by the rod of the Lord’s wrath. (DOES HE HAVE A ROD?)

        3
        indeed, he has turned his hand against me
        again and again, all day long. (DOES HE HAVE A HAND?)

        7
        He has walled me in so I cannot escape;
        he has weighed me down with chains. (DID HE PUT CHAINS ON HIM?)

        9
        He has barred my way with blocks of stone;
        he has made my paths crooked. (DID HE PUT REAL BLOCKS THERE?)

        10
        Like a bear lying in wait,
        like a lion in hiding,
        11
        he dragged me from the path and mangled me
        and left me without help. (IS HE A BEAR? DID HE MANGLE?)
        12
        He drew his bow
        and made me the target for his arrows. (DOES HE HAVE A BOW?)

        13
        He pierced my heart
        with arrows from his quiver….
        15
        He has filled me with bitter herbs
        and given me gall to drink. (ARROWS, HERBS, GALL?)

        16
        He has broken my teeth with gravel;
        he has trampled me in the dust. (BROKEN MY TEETH)

        25
        The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
        to the one who seeks him; (SO IT LOOKS LIKE WE CAN SEEK!) (HE IS GOOD TO THOSE WHO SEEK—NOT ‘HE MAKES US TO SEEK’)
        26
        it is good to wait quietly
        for the salvation of the Lord.
        27
        It is good for a man to bear the yoke
        while he is young. (IS THAT A REAL YOKE?)

        34
        To crush underfoot
        all prisoners in the land, (DOES HE HAVE FEET?)
        37
        Who can speak and have it happen
        if the Lord has not decreed it?
        38
        Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
        that both calamities and good things come? (DOES HE HAVE A MOUTH?)
        ——-
        It is in this context, hyperbole, inference, imagery, analogy that we find vs 37,38.

        V 37 could easily be interpreted this way:

        What person can declare they will do this or that without the Lord’s permission (He makes a decree on the spot that this person’s idea will come to pass)? It does not say it was decreed from before all time. He could be “issuing a decree” to allow that thing to come to pass.

        And v 38, Of course, out of God’s mouth (does He have a mouth?) come both calamities and good things….but it seems to be eisegesis to extrapolate that this small phrase surrounded by hyperbole and imagery should establish a doctrine that removes clear statements / proclamations from God.

        God speaks clearly in several non-imagery places that He specifically did not decree some things (“which I did not command or decree”). And reinforces it (so we understand Him) that it did not even come into His thoughts. How could He say it more strongly?

        God does whatever He wants to do. That is not the same as: whatever happens is what God wants. He very clearly tells us thousands of times that people do what He does not want. I do not want to find myself taking a couple of poetic verses (that have possible alternate interpretations) and use that as a proof that God is behind every heinous, despicable deed in history.

        And yet I did that for years when I was a Calvinist. I do not now believe that the Scripture supports this.

        A few verses here and there (and mostly out of context) can be scaffold-ed together to make that look to be the case, but I believe the ‘tenor’ of the Scriptures shows that God is not the origin of sin and He is displeased, grieved, saddened by it —as He says.

      2. Ok, brother… You obviously have more time to spend on this than I do, but you are using a tired and easily refuted argument here. And you are still not allowing for a sense in which God ordains something without being morally culpable for it. I can’t explain how that can be, but I must affirm the mystery because the Bible clearly presents it (Is. 10:5-19).

        First (with all due respect), the argument that these are poetic references is just plain lazy. If the point is made with poetic language, the point remains true. Just because God does not have a literal mouth (Lam. 3:37-38) does not mean that the obvious point (God is the ultimate authority from which all things come – both good and bad) somehow means the opposite. This is what I mean by tired argument… It just doesn’t do the work of dealing with the meaning of the text. You merely dismissed the meaning as “poetic.”

        If you want a NT didactic passage, check out Acts 2:22-23. It is clear that the evilest and most heinous act of all time was the crucifixion of Jesus – evil men murdered the sinless God-man. However, the Scripture says that this was according to the “plan” or purpose or will of God. And yet, the responsibility of the crucifixion is laid upon the “lawless men” who willfully engaged in the act. God willed or decreed or planned and man is responsible or culpable for the evilest event of human history.

        As I said above, I haven’t the time to keep up this back and forth with you. I am grateful for the readership, and I do hope that God will help us both serve Him well as we seek to do so.

        God bless.

      3. Okay,
        I too have a day job (two!).

        I did not mean to be lazy, just wanted to point out that the context is very poetic (as I did in the first role play post). Usually the anthropomorphism card is played by Calvinists to downplay what God is saying. ((yet I still would like to hear what you do with the words of the Lord that say that what Israel was doing was in no way a command or decree from God.))

        I can agree to stop this discourse. I have only posted in the last few days as I by chance (!) happened on a few things while researching a sermon. I do not blog on this, post on this, or spend any time on this normally. First, my journey and one last question:

        I came to faith as a generic Bible-church kid. Off to college in So Cal in the 70’s (attending GCC before MacArthur was a Calvinist) where I was taught the ways of Calvinism (I had never seen it in my own study). Studied Greek, Hebrew, Theology and have an M.Div.

        Just as I have seen Bible churches and non-denominational churches being impacted one by one, I was slowly pulled in by the high road of “Give God the glory.”

        I even crushed the spirit of the gal I was dating by telling her that I could not pray for her father’s salvation since I was not sure it was God’s will (and who are we to ask Him to do something He has purposed against from the beginning?). I became an aggressively prideful person trying to serve a gentle, humble Christ.

        I began a one-year program of Bible reading putting aside books (vanTil, Boettner—long before the hip blog of Piper) in order to have time to do that (even my Greek and Hebrew).

        The sheer inundation of verse after verse, and story after story, and God-spoken-phrases after God-spoken phrases…led me to wonder and to look for alternative answers. That has been one of my pastimes for the last 30 years. See what God says about Himself, not read Reformed theologians.

        This is why I tell young people who say “I dont really think about it much,” that they need to read volumes of scripture and see multiple interpretations or they will not have the resources at the ready when the wave hits them.

        Many of my colleagues living peacefully their walk with Christ for 20-30-40 years have been pulled in by one simple book or web site. They did not even bother to push back. They do not see the determinist philosophy at the end (making God the author and sustainer of sin); they only see the “give God glory” teaser at the start.

        And, yes, it has caused me great pain to question my esteem for certain pastors and leaders since I thought “this must be right if so-and-so believes it.”

        I am now intrigued to see MacArthur and Sproul debating and disagreeing strongly on infant baptism.

        I am now intrigued to see MacArthur and Piper debating and disagreeing strongly on the gifts.

        I am now intrigued to see MacArthur and many debating and disagreeing strongly on eschatology, lordship, etc.

        I am now intrigued to see Keller and Mohler debating and disagreeing on theistic evolution.

        Now I see this (Calvinism) (like the doctrines above) as one of several possible positions for brothers. Unfortunately, more and more our Calvinist friends are NOT seeing anything but TULIP as an option and the cry of “heretic” and “un-sound doctrine” can be heard more and more frequently. I am concerned over the aggressiveness of the YRR movement.

        Should the day come, I will cheerfully say to them: “Burn me at the stake as a heretic (as Calvin did) but surely you must agree that my non-acceptance of TULIP was decreed from all time!”

        Final question, and no need to answer. Did God in fact command, decree, and will that my friend cheat repeatedly on his wife?

        Thanks for talking…..God bless your ministry.

      4. I am sorry for the experiences you mention here. I know that the YRR guys can be obnoxious, but in my experience it is the anti-Calvinist guy’s who are angrily hostile. Hopefully you’ve felt as though this exchange has been less feisty than the kind you’ve had with others.

        As for your final question, I think it would be best answered by someone who has a closer relationship with you. My words, however thoughtful and loving, will still be distant and less than personal. Therefore, any answer I might give would hardly be able to do justice to the deep emotional aspects of your concerns.

        Once again, may God bless us both in our ministry to others as we seek to know and love Christ well.

      5. I forgot to comment on the Psalm passage.
        8
        Let all the earth fear the Lord;
        let all the people of the world revere him. (AND YET ALL PEOPLE DO NOT REVERE HIM)
        9
        For he spoke, and it came to be;
        he commanded, and it stood firm. (OF COURSE!)

        10
        The Lord foils the plans of the nations;
        he thwarts the purposes of the peoples (OF COURSE!)
        11
        But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
        the purposes of his heart through all generations. (OF COURSE!)

        But this can hardly be taken as a proof text that every evil, ghastly sin that has taken place was the will of God. His plans (overall plans) will stand firm. What plans? to call a people…to redeem a people? Sure. What He plans will stand.

        That does not mean that he decreed, ordained, and willed my friend to cheat on His wife. That would be incorrect interpretation of this passage, making it say more than it really says.

        The Lord can do whatever He wants is not the same as whatever happens is what the Lord wants.

  4. Marc,

    I would like to make a Visual Illustration of my Point about me Choosing to wear my Adidas Shoes Instead of my Nike Shoes..

    This is the Visual illustration with regards to TIME…

    0000000000ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ1111111111

    So this is the Meaning of my Visual Illustration with regards to time, these are representations.

    1) letter “A” represents CREATION,, this is the Time Where God Created the World and Human.
    2) the 10 “ZERO’s” OR “0” number represents the time that is called BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, or we can call it ETERNITY PAST.
    3) letter “Z” represents the END TIME when the Church is Raptured and the Tribulations and the Millennial Kingdom takes place.
    4) the 10 “ONE’s” or “1” number represents the ETERNITY of the Believers with Jesus in Heaven
    5) letters A to Z represents the HISTORY of our TEMPORAL WORLD.
    6) letter J represents the time Where Jesus came on earth and became like one of us and Accomplished the Redemptive plan.

    Now, let me explain also how Human sees the timeline Zero to 1 in the Illustration versus How God sees it..

    Human Point of View on how we see Time.
    Lets say we are now on time “P”, we humans can only see and know SOME of what Happened from A to P but we don’t know what will happen from Q to Z. We know SOME of what Happened from A to P because of our Personal Memory as we Live our Lives and as we Read HISTORY Books of the Time Centuries before and of Course of what God Revealed in the Bible what Happened in the Past. We have Some IDEA of what Will Happen in time “Z” since the Bible also speaks about Prophecies of END TIMES,, but Time Q to Y, we don’t know will not See what will certainly Happen from our Human Point of view. From Human point of View,, we see ZERO to O as PAST, we See Q to 1 as FUTURE as we see P as Present…

    How God sees the TIMELINE..
    For GOD, He sees Zero to One ALL at once,, like how we see my Visual Illustration here,, He KNOWS what Happened from A to Z all at once..

    Now, these are my question bro,.

    From the Human Perspective of the TIMELINE,, WHEN did God DECREED Everything?
    Did GOD DECREED UNCHANGEABLY what will Happen from A to Z in MINUTE DETAILS?

    Thank you very much.. Blessings.

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