Thursday, March 29, 2007

Anti-Calvinist Emir Caner Question Answered

Emir Caner, in a recent sermon, asked:

If God could have saved all mankind apart from man's decision, why didn't He?

I respond:

This is a typical Anti-Calvinist question, though not a particularly thoughtful one. The answer that it is intended to provoke is:

"Because He doesn't want to save all mankind!"

To which the Anti-Calvinist will then exuberently (and mistakenly) respond:

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

And then the Anti-Calvinist will say that this proves that God does want to save all mankind.

Problems arise from this rebuttal:

1) If the rebuttal is correct, what has been shown? Is the reason provided wrong or is the assumption that God could save man apart from man's decision?

2) If the reaon provided is what is wrong, what is the real reason?

3) If the assumption that God could save man apart from man's decision is wrong, then (a) how does that imply anything other than a less-than-omnipotent God, and (b) shall we conclude that those who cannot make decisions (e.g. babies and the mentally challenged) are lost?

4) And, of course, the "not any" and "all" refer to the "us" in "us-ward" i.e. the elect.

Emir Caner also asks:
If it didn't take a response from us, why did God, in his sovereignty, in his providence, if it is independent of us, and he would place faith inside of us and change us and we couldn't say no, why didn't He do it with all mankind?
I respond:

This is essentially the same question, and has essentially the same answer expected.

And the point of Emir Caner's question becomes clear, it is his position that God can't save us without a response from us. Emir Caner's conception of God is something sub-omnipotent. The idea of God saving a free creature without the free creature's prior consent is something that Emir Caner cannot even begin to imagine. Yet it is what the Bible teaches.

Emir Caner then asks:
Does He somehow get more glory by us burning in hell?

I respond:

Try painting the word "glory" in white paint on a white canvas. Now try painting the same word in the same color paint on a black canvas. Does the black canvas or the white canvas better show the word "glory"? If someone will say that the black canvas does, will we reply then that God prefers the color black, and that to maximize the visibility of "glory" God should paint it in black letters on a black canvas? Of course not.

God is glorified in some men burning in hell, and in some men feeding on the lamb.

But what an anthropocentric question is Emir Caner's question!

Why not ask: Is God glorified in His only begotten Son dying on the Cross for sin?!

Yet, the answer is still yes! God sacrificed His son for the eternal life of some of humanity, namely "all believing ones" per John 3:16.

What else does the question reveal? Emir Caner apparently believes that men going to hell brings God less glory than them going to heaven, and that men decide which way to go. Thus, men have power of God to rob Him of His glory. That truly shows you how weak Emir Caner's view of God is.



In fairness to Emir Caner, I should address as well what he submits to the audience after those questions. Emir Caner states:

I would submit that our Lord loves us enough that he allows us to be receptive to or reject.

There are two objections to this answer.

First, God does not just "allow" men to be receptive, as though He gives them permission, God enables some men and women to be receptive to the gospel. For example, God opened Lydia's heart in Acts 16:14

Acts 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

Job too acknowledged the God could soften his heart in Job 23:16:

Job 23:16 For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me:

Some folks may object that these verses are not talking about salvation, and I would willingly conceded such a point to such contentious folks. I would allow, for the sake of the argument, that these verses are speaking of something totally different from salvation. Nevertheless, the point is that God does make people receptive and Lydia is an example, and God can (He has the ability to) soften the heart of man.

That's the first half of the objection, that God makes men receptive: that He raises men from spiritual death and open their spiritual ears, as the Psalmist writes:

Psalm 40:6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.

And if some will insist that the Psalmist is referring only to God opening the lobe of the ear with an awl (as was done to servants who loved their masters), then we will point them to the prophet Isaiah:

Isaiah 35:5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

And we will point out that this closed-earness is the natural state of man:

Isaiah 48:8 Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb.

The second half of the objection is "God loves us enough to allow us ... to reject him"? That's like saying a mother loves her child enough to allow him to plunge off the edge of a cliff, to fall into a bonfire, or the like. Allowing a child to perish is not (itself) an expression of love for that child.

God is not expressing His love toward a person in the act of passing over that person for salvation. God is expressing His special love toward a person in saving a person. God can and does also express love toward those He does not save, but it is not the same love.

It is truly absurd, when one stops to think about it, to say what Emir Caner said, but it has become so routine in anti-Calvinist churches to make such statements, that the audience listening to Caner didn't collective reply "Say WHAT? God loves them so much He lets them perish?" They should be shocked by such a doctrine, and yet many have been desensitized to the utter confusion of it.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Persecution Update

I previously noted that I had been restricted from discussing Calvinism on a suite of allegedly Christian web sites. I've now been asked by the same suite of web sites not to discuss the Love of God because it is a Calvinist doctrine.

In an interesting twist, I had posted a quotation from the email that had been provided indicating that I would not be allowed to discuss any Calvinist doctrines, but the post was vandalized by the site's administration, and I was informed in a PM that I should not let people know the contents of emails that are sent to me.

While I'm glad that folks recognize that it is a Calvinist doctrine, it's sad to see the antipathy of men against the truth.

Nevertheless, Praise be to the Lord that we are persecuted for and commanded not to speak the truth! For so persecuted they the prophets and apostles before us!

By the way, I will still post about God's Love here on this blog.

Praise be to our loving Father!


P.S. Here is a link to a cached version of the page (this will soon expire ...).

Monday, March 26, 2007

Challenge to Anti-Calvinists: Author of Sin / Author of Salvation

Challenge to Anti-Calvinists:
Author of Sin / Author of Salvation

Many Anti-Calvinists claim that Calvinistic theology makes God the author of sin. Calvinists routinely deny this charge, and explain the difference between being merely a cause of sin, and being the doer of sin.

Too often, however, the focus of the rebuttal is simply on answering the false charge that Calvinism makes God the author of sin. What we sometimes forget is that there are implications to the anti-Calvinist's charges.

They say that if sin happens because God ordained it, then God, not man, is the author of sin.

IF you, as an anti-Calvinist make that argument, then answer this:
If that's the standard by which you decide authorship of sin, how do you attribute to God authorship of Salvation, in a way that does not make God the author of sin?

Argument 1) You may say, God is the author of Salvation, because He makes Salvation possible, by giving man a free will and the opportunity to be saved.

Response 1) But God also made Sin possible, by giving man a free will and the opportunity to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Argument 2) You may say, God is the author of Salvation, because Jesus' work is the basis of salvation.

Response 2) I respond:
a) that means that you define authorship one way to attack Calvinism, and another way to define your own doctrine;
b) isn't Jesus' work only part of the basis of salvation in your theology? After all, His work was supposedly for everyone, but not everyone is saved. That means that there is something else that is also a part of salvation: man's free will. Thus, if being a part of the process entitles one to authorship, then God is not "the" but only "an" author of salvation in your theology.
c) if you say that God is the author because he does the first thing along the path to salvation, then isn't God also the author of the rejection of His Son (by that standard) since he also does the first thing along that path, in your system?

Argument 3) God is neither the author of Sin or Salvation.

Response 3) I respond:

Hebrews 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

Praise be to the Author and Finisher of our Faith!


Regulative Principle of Worship

I have agreed to do a blog-based debate of the Regulative Principle of Worship. I will update this blog with more details as the debate progresses. Timothy, this means that I will probably have a bit of delay in responding to your comments regarding the Lord's Supper. Nevertheless, certain aspects of the debate may touch on Roman Catholic issues, and I certainly plan to explain how a consistent Reformed worldview (as contrasted with a Roman Catholic worldview) ought to embrace the Regulative Principle, although my debate opponent will be a Reformed apologist who does not, to my knowledge, currently embrace the Regulative Principle.

Here's a link to the debate, for which my opening statement has been made:

Any comments, questions, and especially criticisms are welcome.

Since you bothered to come to this blog, here's a couple extra links for further reading on the subject:

And here's one slightly critical view in a four-part series. I don't plan to directly respond at this time, and I don't know whether it is this line that Centuri0n, with whom I'm debating, will be taking this poster's line:

And here's a link to a very low quality presentation of an attempted rebutal of RPW by a supporter of the Normative Principle of Worship (NPW) using the typical, ad hominem arguments and failing either positively to establish NPW, or to address the standard RPW rebuttals of the arguments presented.

I trust that Centuri0n will present something much more thoughtful, and I look forward to the debate.

May God's blessing rest on all who pass by,



My conclusion is posted here:

I will try to edit this page (or similar pages here) to provide links for further information for folks who are wondering about the topic.