Saturday, January 12, 2008

Response to a General Challenge on Calvinism

One rather aggressive non-Calvinist (even to the point of being an anti-Calvinist) recently (maybe two years ago, by now) sent a challenge (shown below). The challenge generally focuses on an exegesis of the parable of the sower. This is a classic repost. The challenge and response originally occupied twenty-one posts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21), which I plan to delete in fairly soon in favor of this single post. At the time, the fellow was using at least two screennames (keck and tern) but I suppose he may have moved on to new/other screennames.

I will be answering the challenge in due course, but I just wanted to present it in its complete form so that its errors could be displayed for all to see. I have excerpted an offensive introduction, in which (among other things) he promised not read any reply I presented.

"Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. 10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. 18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. 20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. F27 22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. 23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Let’s break it down and analyse every single sentence in detail. Do it with me! Give appropriate attention to the word of God for once in your life. Here it goes.
Who hath ears to hear, let him hear
Any person in the world has ears so Jesus’ message of salvation is to any person in the world. There are no exceptions and there are no chosen or predestined ones. Jesus declares that himself. He says “Any person in the world, Hear my message. I want to save each and every one of you” Predestination is a myth. If you have ears you might hear and be saved and this is what He says.
And the disciples came,
Observe that Jesus was not teaching his disciples. His message was directed to people who were not His disciples. His talking to people who were sinners, who can’t hear, see and understand. Disciples came later on.
and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
Jesus spoke in parables. A parable signifies a comparison, by which spiritual or heavenly things were described in language borrowed from the things of this earthly life. It was a way of teaching used very much, not only by the Jewish rabbin, but by the Arabians, and the other wise men of the east. Jesus used this way of speaking very often. By speaking in parables Jesus lowered Himself to the capacities of people. He talked to them in their own language on their own level. Here we have a question “why do you teach them in parables?” The disciples were a little surprised at the way He was teaching. Prior to this moment He obviously had not much used parables otherwise His disciples would not ask Him that question. They were truly wishing that the people might hear and understand what He is saying. They expressed to Jesus a desire to have the parable explained for the sake of the people. Notice they do not say, Why speakest thou to us?. They knew how to get the parables explained to them later on. They were much more concerned about others. Observe that Jesus was not telling a parable to disciples but to others. Notice that “others” . are those who can’t hear, understand or see. Calvinists would admit that those people were not able to comprehend Jesus message. Yet Jesus tells them a parable anyway. He tells it to those who can’t hear, understand or see. Jesus knew very well that they can not comprehend and yet He carries on delivering the message to them. Why did He do it? There is not much point really teaching them since they can’t see, hear or understand. Jesus knew that better than anyone else in the world. According to Calvinism teaching those people is absolutely pointless. If some people are predestined to be saved Jesus would know who these people are straight away. He would not teach those who are predestined to go to hell since it would be time. Why does He tell them a parable anyway? The obvious logical answer is nobody is blind or deaf permanently.. Nobody is predestined to be that way. Calvinism is fallacious
11 He answered and said unto them,
To this question Christ answers that he teaches by parables, because thereby the things of God were made more plain and easy to them who were willingly ignorant; and thus the gospel would be a savour of life to them. Observe how we should deal with those people who can’t hear, understand or see (Calvinists would refer to them as predestined ones). We should use the power of words. We should explain to them better. Any person is saved by the power of the word
Rom 1:16....gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation
At this point Calvinists would say that it is impossible for a person to be willingly ignorant as Free Will does not exist. That is incorrect. The verse below proves that willing ignorance does exist.
2Pe 3:5
For this they willingly are ignorant............
If some people are willingly ignorant then surely some people are willingly not ignorant. Otherwise it is pointless to use the word “willingness”. Free Will does exist
2 Corinthians 8:12 For if there be first a willing mind.....
If some people have willing mind then surely some people have unwilling mind. Free Will does exist.
Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven
There are mysteries in the kingdom of heaven. Some of those mysteries are Christ’s incarnation, God’s trinity, Christ divinity satisfaction, intercession, our justification, our sanctification by union with Christ, our salvation and the whole work of redemption. These mysteries were graciously given to Disciples of Christ to be acquainted with them. It was given to them, because they were Christ’s constant followers and attendants. At the time of the parable these mysteries were discovered but in part to the disciples. Here the reason why Jesus chose to speak in parable is laid down “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given”. That is, the disciples had some knowledge already, but the people had not. Disciples knew already some of these mysteries, and need not in this familiar way to be instructed; but the people knew nothing and are ignorant. They must be taught as such by plain comparisons, similitude or parables. Those people were yet incapable of receiving instruction in any other way. Remember they can’t see, hear or understand. Parables for them were easier to understand if they wanted to understand them. The disciples of Jesus were well inclined to the knowledge of gospel mysteries, and would search into the parables, and by them would be led into a more intimate acquaintance with those mysteries; but the carnal hearers were dependant on bare hearing, and would not be at pains to look further, nor to ask the meaning of the parables. To be saved a person has to be hungry, thirsty and seek God with all his heart and all his soul.
De 4:29 -
......seek ...God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.
Only such individuals would be interested to know the meaning of the parables. Those who heard a parable and were not interested in the meaning of it would get separated from true believers and be justly condemned for not seeking the truth. For those however who were interested in the meaning of parables the mysteries of heaven would be easier to understand
but to them it is not given.
There are those to whom this knowledge is not given, and a man can receive nothing unless it is given to him from above
John 3:27…A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven
or this verse
Rom 11: 36 ..For of God….are all things…
or this verse
Mt 11; 2 Father….hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes
The question then arises. Are Calvinists right? Why was this knowledge not given to THEM? Why these mysteries were given to disciples but not to THEM? Has God predestined THEM not to receive these mysteries? The answer to these questions lies in the next sentence
For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance:
This sentence above does not confirm predestination in any way. Christ’s disciples had some knowledge already. They used the knowledge they already had. They had more abundance of it at the pouring out of the Spirit, as in Acts 2 for example
Acts 2:2-4....and suddenly there came from heaven a noise....and there appeared to them tongs as of the fire distributing themselves.....and they were filled with Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongs... .
or this next verse for example shows that if you have something already you will be given more
Prov 4: 18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more….
If those people (to whom Christ was telling a parable) had some foundation by now they would be given by God more and more. The problem was that those people never had anything at all to start with. They had no foundation. For that reason nothing could be added to them. Notice that all those people have nothing at the moment. If they did God would give them more. But they had nothing. They need to have something first. Jesus Christ came to this world to give that foundation to each and every one of them. Observe there is a promise to those who have foundation and use what they have. They shall have more in abundance. Observe that where God lays the foundation, he will build upon it.
but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
Observe how God dispense his gifts; he bestows them on those who improve them. He takes them away from those who bury them. It is a rule among men, that they will rather entrust their money with those who have increased their wealth, than with those who have diminished it. What we see here is a threatening to him who has nothing, who has no desire of grace, who makes no right use of the gifts, who has not root, who has no solid principle. From him shall be taken away that which he has. His leaves shall wither, his gifts decay. God will call in his talents out of his hands and he is likely to become a bankrupt quickly. The same story is told here
Heb 6:4
For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, became companions with the Holy Spirit, tasted God's good word and the powers of the coming age, and who have fallen away,
Why is it impossible? Because God takes away even that they have
Let’s imagine for a second that Calvinism is correct and let’s briefly have a closer look at this sentence again.
"but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath"
If a person HATH NOT he will never have it because it will be taken away from him. What a vicious person God appears to be. Not only God predestines some “TO HAVE NOT” . He also takes away even what they already have. Surely Calvinistic point of view is incorrect. This sentence can not refer to predestination. A person has to be given a chance “to have” first. Only then God can blame that person for not having it or not using it appropriately and consequently justly take away from him even what he already has.
Therefore speak I to them in parables: ; .
Jesus speaks them in parables because He wants them to see. He wants them to hear. He wants them to understand. Jesus does not believe their eyes are closed permanently. Jesus does not believe their ears are closed permanently. Jesus does not believe their hearts are closed permanently. Otherwise He would not tell them anything at all. But He does talk to them. He does tell them a parable. Why is that? Because Jesus believes that their condition is not permanent. Any person in the world can be changed. Predestination is a myth. Calvinism is false.
because they seeing see not; .
They don’t have any foundation. They don’t have any knowledge to which more can be added. They see His miracles and yet don’t see who Jesus really is. To believe in Jesus you have to see Him first. It is impossible to believe in Him without seeing Jesus first.
John 6: 40 ......every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life......
The word “seeing” signifies not so much the sight of the eye as the contemplation of the mind. Seeing is the result of consideration and insight into the credibility. It is not a blind faith that Christ requires from us, that we should be willing to have our eyes put out, and then follow him. No. We should see him, and see what ground we go upon in our faith. “Seeing” is having an insight. Muslims for example don’t see. They just pray five times a week and follow Allah blindfolded
and hearing they hear not,
They hear His words and yet do not comprehend.
neither do they understand.
They do not understand. At this point of the parable Calvinists must notice a very important point. Seeing, hearing, and understanding, are all necessary parts to conversion. There is a difference between conversion and salvation. Conversion and Salvation are not the same. For conversion a person has to see, hear and understand. God deals with men as rational independent agents. He wants a person to see, hear and understand. God does not treat men as machines without wills and brains which is what some Calvinists suggest. He wants a person to see, hear and understand.
And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand;
It is quoted from Isa. 6:9, 10. That which was spoken of the sinners in Isaiah’s time was fulfilled in those in Christ’s time, and it is still fulfilling every day. There are many people today who do not see, hear and understand
and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
Notice that "seeing" does refer to having an insight or intellectual perception. These people had shut their eyes against the clear light of Christ’s plainer teaching, and therefore were now left in the dark.
For this people's heart is waxed gross,
This people’s heart is waxed gross; it is fattened, so the word is; which denotes both sensuality and senselessness. Observe there is no indication here that a heart of a sinner is damaged permanently (beyond repair) and cannot be restored by a person himself. Calvinists claim that some hearts are damaged permanently and will never be opened due to their predestination. The verse above does not support such view. All hearts are equally waxed gross and have an equal chance to be cleansed.
and their ears are dull of hearing,
The whispers of the Spirit they hear not at all. Observe that there is no indication here that hearing can not be repaired by a person himself. Calvinists claim that ears are damaged permanently for some individuals. The verse above does not support such view
and their eyes they have closed;
They shut their windows, because they loved darkness rather than light. Observe the verse above does not say “they lost their eyes” or “they have no eyes anymore”. All that it says is “currently their eyes are closed”. There is no indication here that eyes can never be open again by a person himself. Calvinists claim that eyes are damaged permanently for some individuals. The verse above does not support such view
lest at any time they should see with their eyes,
Observe the short word “lest”. What does it signify? It signifies a possibility for them to see on their own. It is possible for them to open their eyes by themselves again. It is possible for them to open their ears by themselves again and it is possible for them to open their hearts by themselves again. This is what short word “lest” means. Calvinists however claim that sinners unable to do it by themselves. The verse above does not support such view. If Calvinists were right the word “lest” would not be present.
lest at any time they should see with their eyes,
Observe they should see it with “their eyes” . Eyes of whom? Eyes of sinners (as they are not born again yet). Observe that they will not see it through some new eyes (given by God) but they will see it through their own eyes. The phrase “their eyes” implies “on their own” without divine intervention. Calvinists however suggests divine intervention at all times. Such view is not supported here
and hear with their ears,
Observe that they should hear it with “their ears” . Ears of whom? Ears of sinners (they are not born again yet). Observe that they will hear it not through some new ears (given by God) but hear it through their own ears. The phrase “their ears” implies “on their own” without divine intervention. Calvinists suggests divine intervention at all times. Such view is not supported here
and should understand with their heart,
Observe that they should understand it with their own heart. . Heart of whom? Heart of sinners (they are not born again yet). Observe that they should understand it not through some new heart (given by God) but understand it through their own heart (a brand new heart is given by Jesus much later on). The phrase “their heart” implies “on their own” without divine intervention. Calvinists suggests divine intervention at all times. Such view is not supported here. Notice that Jesus says “their eyes, their ears and understand with their hearts.” For conversion to take place you have to hear, see and have an understanding with your heart. That understanding is not just an intellectual one. It is an understanding of a heart which implies an attitude, willingness and sincere intention. “Heart” also signifies the “core” or “marrow”. To understand something with your heart is to understand it thoroughly at great depth. That is the kind of understanding Jesus requires from us
and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Observe that Jesus does not say "I convert you". He says "they should be converted themselves". Jesus does not convert them, He only heals them. He says “I heal you”. Jesus does not take part in the conversion of a person. Conversion is responsibility of a person. Observe conversion must take place firstly and healing must take place secondly. You have to be converted first then you are healed by Jesus. All those who are truly converted to God, shall certainly be healed by him. What will Jesus heal you from? He will heal you form your unquenching thirst, hunger, burden and sinfulness. " Healing” is a new birth or regeneration. Once Jesus heals you will become born again. So what Jesus saying here is this "if they be converted I shall save them:’’ . Let’s for a second read this sentence again.
and should be converted, and I should heal them.
At this point of the parable you have to be absolutely clear that Jesus not only separates conversion from salvation but also ascertain that Salvation is up to Jesus and Conversion is up to a person. These are two different processes. Calvinists however believe that it is God who converts you and it is God who saves you. There is no difference between conversion and salvation. Conversion and Salvation are inseparable. Conversion is just a tiny part of Salvation initiated by God. Such view is clearly wrong. How do you get converted? By opening your eyes ears minds and hearts. How are sinners’ eyes and ears get opened? By His word. Nothing else opens it. Gospel of Christ is the only power unto salvation
Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
How do sinners receive understanding? It comes from His word out of His mouth
Prov 2: [6] For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
How does Jesus give eternal life to sinners? By His word
John 1:4 In word was life…
Look at an example given in Isaiah 66:3. In this verse Lord for a good while called and spoke to some individuals. They did not respond to Him and so God took away even what they had. Observe that they had to respond on their own. God did not cause them to respond
Isaiah 66: 3-4 ……. I called, none did answer …… when I spake, they did not hear.…….they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations……I also will choose their delusions….…
Observe that these people had to respond on their own. God did not cause them to respond. Instead He aggravated their unresponsiveness. Calvinists believe that God causes a response. Such view is clearly wrong because if He does cause it then He would never aggravate their insensitivity. Instead He would just blame Himself or try harder to get a positive answer from them. Or let’s look at example given in Psalms. In that verse Lord gives people up into their own lusts after a number of attempts
Ps 81: [12] ……I told them…..they didn’t listen to me…So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels
Or let’s look at an example with Pharaoh given in Ex 8:15. In this verse Pharaoh, for a good while, hardened his own heart first,
Ex 8:15… Pharaoh hardened his heart…
He was in control of his own heart but chose to harden it. And afterwards God hardened it further.
Ex 9: 12 ...And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh……..
At this point Calvinist would say. Look! It is God who hardens hearts. Such a view is wrong. A person hardens his own heart first, Lord tries a number of times to get a response from him. When there is no response God hardens his heart further. Lord tries a number of times before He stops doing it.
Gen 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man….. What logically follows from these stories is that some individuals do not harden their hearts. Some Pharaohs do not harden their hearts. Otherwise there is no point in telling a story about “bad” guys who do bad things and what happens to them. Or let’s look at an example with Paul. Apostle Paul was sent to Gentiles to open their eyes.
Acts 26:[18] ...To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me
Observe that opening of eyes is first and receiving of forgiveness and eternal life is second. Conversion is first salvation is second. How did Paul open sinner’s eyes? Paul was not God. How could Paul open their eyes? The only way he could do it is by preaching the word of God. If Father draws people to Jesus by Holy Spirit (which is what Calvinists suggest) then why God sends Paul to open sinners eyes? Why God does not send Holy Spirit instead? Why God tells Paul to open their eyes? Why God not do it Himself by Holy Spirit in the following way?
Joh 3:8 -The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but you don't know where it comes from or where it's going. That's how it is with everyone who has been born from the Spirit."
Why God won’t blow His Spirit around so save people haphazardly? Why choose Paul for a mission? Because
Ro 10:17 ...faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
There are a number of cults around the world where people believe in spirituality and connection to some wonderful universal spirituality by means of meditation. By saying that people get saved by Spirit blowing where it wants Calvinists appear to be related to such cults. Christianity is far from Spirituality. People need to hear the gospel first. For that you need someone to preach that gospel to them. That’s what Paul was for. He was the one to do that mission. It is God’s grace indeed that gives the understanding and understanding does come from God but it is our duty to give our minds to understand
2 Corinthians 8:12 For if there be first a willing mind.....
But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
Calvinists suggest that these people see because God predestined them to see by blessing them with ability to see. Observe that the phrase does not imply “they see because they were blessed before the very foundation of the world”. The phrase is rather “But blessed are your eyes, for they see” which is the same as “They are blessed because they see”. Blessedness is the consequence of seeing. True blessedness is entailed upon the right understanding of the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Once you understand those mysteries you become blessed. They saw the glory of God in Christ’s person; they heard the mind of God in Christ’s doctrine; they saw much, they were eager to see more, they were prepared to receive further instruction and they had an opportunity for it by being constant attendants on Christ. Observe also that one of the reasons why they are blessed is because many people in the past wanted to see and hear the same thing but couldn’t as we read in the next sentence.
For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
The Old-Testament saints, who had some glimpses, some glimmerings of gospel light, coveted earnestly further discoveries. They had the types, shadows, and prophecies, of those things but longed to see the Substance, that glorious end of those things which they could not steadfastly look unto; that glorious inside of those things which they could not look into. They desired to see the great Salvation, the Consolation of Israel, but did not see it, because the fullness of time has not yet come.
Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
Observe that Christ’s parables are borrowed from common, ordinary things, not from any philosophical notions or speculations, or the unusual phenomena of nature but from the most obvious things, that are of every day’s observation,
As we go through the parable below could you please notice that Calvinists believe that there are only two types of people: those whom God causes to believe and those whom God does not cause to believe. For Calvinists there are no different types of grounds. All grounds are equally bad. They believe that God chooses some of those bad grounds and causes them to become good grounds. Below Jesus gives an account of four types of ground which stand for 4 types of people. Three are bad and one is good. This contradicts the doctrine of Calvinism and proves the fallacy of it.
, the parable of the sower
The Sower who scatters the seed is our Lord Jesus Christ. He does it by Himself
Mt 13:37 ....The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man
and by his ministers such as Paul who was sent to Gentiles to open their eyes
Acts 26:18...I am sending Paul to open sinner’s eyes.....
Calvinists suggests that God causes only some people to believe. Observe that here the word “Sower” is used. Who is Sower? Sower is a person who scatters seed. He does not distribute seeds by careful selection to predestined people only which is what Calvinism would imply. Sower scatters seed absolutely everywhere. That means every person has an equal opportunity and a chance of catching it. Good Sower would never waste His seed by scattering it on thorny or stony ground. Jesus is the best Sower ever. Yet He did scatter seeds everywhere. What does it mean? It means that every person has an equal chance of receiving it. It is up to a person whether to receive it or not. Salvation takes two. To fall in love it takes two. It takes God and a person. This proves fallacy of Calvinism.
Calvinists suggest that hose who are not predestined by God will never have their hearts changed. Observe in this parable a Man’s heart is compared to a soil, capable of improvement and of bearing good fruits. Any soil in the world can be improved by watering it and by the good use of fertilizers for example. Similarly any man’s heart is capable of improving and softening by praying and caring for that person. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism
According to Calvinism there is no point in praying for sinners. There is no point in praying at all. All events are predestined. All that happens around us-happen for a reason and according to God’s will. Therefore there is no point in praying. Jesus however encourages us to pray in His name about everything. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism.
Calvinists believe that salvation is up to God alone and a person can not do anything about it. Below the following principle is discovered in this parable. The reception depends upon the receiver. Who is a receiver? You and me. What does salvation depend on? It depends on God and a person. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism
When any one heareth the word of the kingdom,
The seed sown is the word of God. Here it is called the word of the kingdom. The word of the gospel is the word of kingdom. What kingdom is that? It is the kingdom of heaven. It is the word of the King Jesus, and where that is, there is power. It is a new spiritual law, by which we must be ruled and governed. This word is the seed sown. It looks like a tiny, dead, dry thing, but all the product is virtually in it. It is incorruptible seed as it is the word of the Holy God which brings forth fruit in souls,
and understandeth it not,
Here Jesus explains the following verse of the parable
some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.. Observe what kind of hearers are compared to “along the path”. Those who hear the word and understand it not. It is their own fault that they do not understand it. They take no heed to it, take no hold of it; they do not come with any design to get good. Calvinists suggest that it is God who gives understanding. But if God is the one who is solely responsible for sinner’s understanding then it is God who is guilty. God did not provide an understanding for some people. They will go to hell because God did not provide it for them. If Calvinists were right then at this point of the parable is would be absolutely pointless for Jesus to distinguish this kind of people from all the rest. Any person in the world is a sinner and can’t hear and understand. What’s the point to say that this kind of people is different from the rest? Everyone can’t understand. But Jesus does distinguish these people form the other ones. He tells us that there are 4 kinds of people. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism
then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart.
How these people come to be unprofitable hearers? The wicked one that is, the devil, cometh and catcheth away that which was sown. Such mindless, careless, trifling hearers are an easy prey to Satan. He is the great murderer of souls, and he is the great thief of sermons, and will be sure to rob any person of the word, if he takes no care to keep it. He is a sworn enemy to our profiting by the word of God. He loves heedless hearers, who are thinking of something else, when they should be thinking of God.
We all know very well that God never gives up what He started
Php 1:6
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Calvinists believe that God is in control of everything and that it is solely up to God whether a person is saved or not. So if God started His work by sowing the seed in you He will finish what He started because He always finishes what He started. If Calvinists are right so that it is God who gives us understanding then here we see a clear example of the work started by God (by giving an understanding to a person) and yet this work has not been finished by God. Satan robbed the seed and God could not accomplish what He started. God failed to protect the seed from Satan. We are not guilty. There is nothing we can do. Salvation is not up to us. God should blame Satan not us because Satan was a thief. It is not you who gave God’s seed away. It is Satan who robbed you. Why should you go to hell for that? You are not guilty. If not Satan you would still have His seed in your heart. God should send Satan to hell, not you. Observe that God holds you responsible for seed’s loss not Satan. You lost it because you have not prepared your heart for it. We have responsibility to break up the fallow ground, by preparing our heart for the word, humbling ourselves to it and engaging our own attention to it. If we cover not the seed afterwards, by meditation and prayer; if we give not a more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, we are as the “highway or pathway ground”. You as a person are responsible for your own condemnation. It’s not just Satan. It is you and Satan. Similarly you as a person are responsible for your own salvation. It’s not just God. It’s God and your sincere attitude and intention of your heart. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism. By the way, many educated atheists refuse to believe in Christianity because of Calvinism. Vast majority of Atheists believe that God is omnipotent and omnipresent who foreknew and predestined everything and everyone around us before the very foundation of the world. Because of such view these atheists see so many logical contradictions in relation to notions of “sin” and “hell” that they refuse to believe in Christianity. Calvinism contributes to the loss of souls so Calvinism is a satanic doctrine indeed.
This is he which received seed by the way side.
Observe the character of the very first sort of ground. They had pathways through their corn-fields and the seed that fell on them never entered, and so birds picked it up. Why does God sow His seed into this kind of ground where it would never enter anyway? Why did God not cause His seed to enter that ground? Isn’t God All mighty? Isn’t everything possible for God? Didn’t God know that birds will pick it up and devour anyway? Why waste His precious seed? Is God a fool? Here is a contradiction. God’s word is never wasted. It is always sown to achieve a purpose as is demonstrated in this verse
Isa 55:11 ....my word ....shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please....
Notice the word “please”. Do you know what pleases God? Death of the wicked is not what pleases him. God is LOVE. The reason why God sows in all kind of grounds is because God loves everybody and wants everyone to be saved. He gives an equal opportunity to each and every single person in the world. Otherwise it would be a waste of seeds as in Isa 55:11. Calvinism is false. Predestination is a myth. It is not just God who determines salvation. God leaves it up to a person whether to accept the word or reject it.
But he that received the seed into stony places,
Stony places or rocky ground represents the case of hearers that go further than the former, who receive some good impressions of the word, but they are not lasting,
the same is he that heareth the word,
Observe, these people hear the word. Their ears are definitely open. If Calvinism is right and it is God who opened their ears then He should finish what He started because He always finishes what He started.
Php 1:6
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Here we see their ears are open and yet they loose the seed. How is it possible? If God started His work He should accomplish it. Why does He not accomplish it here? Because it is not God who opened their ears in the first place. It is their own attitude and intention that opened it. It is responsibility of a person to open his own ears and prepare his own ground. Salvation does not depend on God alone. Salvation depends on God and you. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism.
and anon with joy receiveth it
They receive the seed with joy. Observe that the seed has definitely been received. Not only was the word of God heard but it was also received. What does it mean? It means that ears of these people were open and their hearts were open too. God started His work and therefore should definitely accomplish it. According to Calvinism these people should never die but have eternal life for ever and ever. God is working in them and what God starts He should surely accomplish. Yet they loose their seed. Why is that? How was it possible? Because it was not God who opened their ears and hearts. God has not started His divine work by means of Holy spirit in those people yet. Those individuals were not saved yet. It was their own attitudes and intentions that opened their eyes. Salvation does not depend on God alone. It depends on God and you. It takes two to be saved. It takes two to fall in love. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism.
21 Yet hath he not root in himself,
Jesus is the root
Re 22:16
I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
They have no root in themselves, no settled, fixed principles in their judgments, no firm resolution in their wills, nor any rooted habits in their affections: nothing firm that will be either the sap or their strength. There might even be a green blade, and yet there is no root of grace; hardness prevails in their heart, and what there is of soil and softness it is only in the surface; inwardly they are no more affected than a stone; they have no root, they are not by faith united to Christ who is our Root; they derive not from him, they depend not on him.
but dureth for a while:
They endure for awhile, like a violent motion, which continues as long as the impression of the force remains, but ceases when that has spent itself. They tasted the word of God as many do
“Heb 6: [5] And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come and then fallen away…..”
Observe that they do “dureth” for a while. There is a certain period of time during which they appear the same as other born again Christians. They have no root but will endure for awhile. Observe that many endure for a while, but do not endure to the end, and so come short of the happiness which is promised to those only who persevere. Calvinists believe that it is God alone who causes people to be saved. However notice that if God started the work then He should definitely accomplish it. Here we see people who started as Christians but didn’t last. How was it possible/ Because salvation is not responsibility of God alone but of God and You. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism.
for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word,
Trials which shake some, confirm others. Notice that after a fair gale of opportunity usually follows a storm of persecution, to test those who have received the word in sincerity, and those who have not, those who kept the word and those who have not
Rev 3:10… Because thou hast kept the word of my patience…
If God causes predestined people to be saved then there is no point in testing them. No point in any kind of testing. Why should God test them? The answer is to do with predestination. It is a myth. It does not exist. People are independent rational creatures created by God to be that way. God tests them to see who is sincere. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism
by and by
Observe how soon they fall away, “by and by”; as soon rotten as they were ripe. A career taken up without consideration is commonly let fall without it: “"Lightly come, lightly go.’’ .”. Notice there must be a consideration or contemplation or thinking about what you believe first. You have to think about Christianity before you accept it wholeheartedly. God treats you as a rational creature. You are not saved by a sudden, random, chaotic blow of a Holy Spirit. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism
he is offended.
When trying times come, those who have no root are soon offended; they first quarrel with their profession, and then quit it; first find fault with it, and then throw it off. Hence we read of the offence of the cross
Gal 5: 11 …..is the offence of the cross ...
As the word of Christ, so the cross of Christ, is to some a savour of life unto life, to others a savour of death unto death
He also that received seed among the thorns
Observe that these kind of people did receive the seed. That means their hearts were open already.
is he that heareth the word;
Observe that they do hear the word. That means their ears were open already
and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches,
This went further than the former. The former had no root but these people have roots. It represents the condition of those who gain the word but become overcome and overwhelmed and overborne by the things of the world. Calvinism suggests that God alone causes people to be saved. If that was true nothing would deceit those who received the seed by now. God would not allow His people (in whom He started His divine work) to be deceived. But we clearly see here that some people do get deceived even though God seems to have started His work in them. This proves fallacy of Calvinism. God did not start His work in them. Those people did not prepare their hearts for Him.
choke the word,
Prosperity destroys the word in the heart, as much as persecution does; and more dangerously (because more silently). Choking the word is the same as killing it. The word is killed. The heart full of thorns is rejected from the Kingdom of God.
Heb 6: 8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
Calvinists believe that God alone causes people to be saved. If that were true God would never allow the word that was planted in your heart to be choked. He would accomplish the work that He started. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism
and he becometh unfruitful.
He is unfruitful and will spend eternity in hell as in here
Joh 15:6
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned....My Father is a gardener.....every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away
But Calvinists believe that those people would never go to hell. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism
But he that received seed into the good ground
Good seed should always meet with good soil, and then there is no loss. Jesus does not say that this good ground has no stones in it, or no thorns in it; but what He does imply is that there were none that prevailed to hinder its fruitfulness. The hearers represented by the good ground are intelligent hearers, rational hearers, those who have an insight and perception, those who do not build their houses on sand, they hear the word and understand it; they understand not only the sense and meaning of the word, but their own concern in it; they understand it as a man of business understands his business. God wants us to be intelligent and seek the answers and prove all things
1 Th 5: [21] Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
He does not discourage us from intellectual proofs. He is willing to present them to us if we earnestly seek for them
John 20:25-28 ....Thomas said....unless I, shall see in his hands the imprint of the nails and put my hand into His the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe....and Jesus told Him.....Reach here with your finger and see my hands.... .
God in his word deals with men as men, in a rational way, and gains possession of the will and affections by opening the understanding whereas Satan, who is a thief and a robber, comes not in by that door, but climbeth up another way. Salvation depends on God and You. Calvinists believe that it only depends on God. That is false is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it;
He hears the word. His heart is a good ground. His heart is open. He understands the word. Hearing and understanding are a necessary requirement. God treats people as rational creatures. He wants us to prove all things.
which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Not all alike fruitful; some a hundred-fold, some sixty, some thirty. Among fruitful Christians, some are more fruitful than others: where there is true grace, yet there are degrees of it; some are of greater attainments in knowledge and holiness than others; all Christ’s scholars are not in the same form. We bear fruit, when we practise according to the word; when the temper of our minds, direct our lives to the gospel we have received, and we do as we are taught. If the ground be good, and the fruit right, the heart honest, the life of piece with it, those who bring forth thirty-fold shall be graciously accepted of God, and it will be a great fruit, for we are under grace, and not under the law. .
Calvinists believe that it is God who causes people to be saved and bear fruit. If that is true then all people should bear the same fruit or at least there would be absolutely no point in rewarding any of them because ultimately it is God who caused them to bear that fruit. If anything God should reward Himself. But God does rewards people as in here
Mt 16:27 -
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
If Calvinism is true then God should reward Himself for it is God who causes them to bear fruit. Observe that God does not reward Himself, He rewards his people only. Why does He reward His people? He rewards them because God acknowledges each person’s responsibilities to receive the word and to keep the word. He acknowledges differences between different hearts with different attitudes and true intentions. Bearing of fruit does not depend on God only. It depends on God and a person. A reward is given to a person to acknowledge his part in fruit bearing. Exactly the same principle is with salvation. It takes two to bear fruit. It takes two to be saved. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism."



Now, I will proceed, line-by-line, to address his challenge.

Scriptures says: Mat 13:9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
But the Anti-Calvinist says:
"Any person in the world has ears so Jesus’ message of salvation is to any
person in the world. There are no exceptions and there are no chosen or
predestined ones. Jesus declares that himself. He says “Any person in the world,
Hear my message. I want to save each and every one of you” Predestination is a
myth. If you have ears you might hear and be saved and this is what He says. "

I reply:
The distortion of the Scripture by this Anti-Calvinist starts immediately. The entire point of "who hath ears to hear, let him hear" is to declare a subset. We know this from other Scripture, as it is written:

Isaiah 64:4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Matthew 13:13-16
13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

Jesus' comment, therefore, indicates to the reader that not all are able to hear (in the sense of understanding) what Christ has to say. Yet the Anti-Calvinist foolishly claims that all can hear.

The Anti-Calvinist also asserts that Jesus declares that there are no chosen or predestined ones. This is a bald faced lie. Jesus personally declares that there are chosen ones:

Matthew 20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

And Jesus' apostle Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, states:

Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

And likewise, the evangelist Luke, by the Holy Spirit's inspiration, writes:

Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

So, not only does Jesus not declare the Anti-Calvinist's message, He and his apostles and evangelists declare the opposite. Furthermore, the Anti-Calvinist's paraphrase (“Any person in the world, Hear my message. I want to save each and every one of you”) is dead wrong. He does not say "any person" but rather "those with hearing ears" (if I may be permitted my own paraphrase). Likewise the claim that Jesus is saying "I want to save each and everyone one of you" is not only completely fabricated by the Anti-Calvinist, it is contrary to Jesus' own statement of purpose.

Matthew 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

The Anti-Calvinists concluding remark that predestination is a myth is clearly wrong, for Scripture says:

Romans 8:29-30
29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Furthermore the Anti-Calvinists' final word that "If you have ears you might hear and be saved and this is what He says" is a clever distortion. Those with ears to hear will hear:

John 10:3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

And it is - in part - by hearing that they are saved:

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Matthew 13:15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

But compare:
Job 42:5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.

So then, we can justly reject the lies of this Anti-Calvinist, and his perversion of the gospel of Christ according to the evangelist Matthew.

Scripture says: "And the disciples came,"

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
"Observe that Jesus was not teaching his disciples. His message was directed to
people who were not His disciples. His talking to people who were sinners, who
can’t hear, see and understand. Disciples came later on."
I reply:

In fact, the context indicates that precisely the opposite is the case. Jesus was teaching his disciples in front of everyone, using parables so that the others would not understand. It is ironic how well Christ's methodology works even today, and on this Anti-Calvinist.

We are all sinners, even the disciples were sinners. Jesus was talking to a mixed audience, but he intended the doctrinal message to be shared with his disciples, not with the crowd. Thus, Jesus explained:

Matthew 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

Instead, they are given deaf ears:

Romans 11:8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

The Anti-Calvinist's final comment that "Disciples came later on," is both absurd and baffling. For one thing, we are dealing with the introduction to the parable, thus the disciples coming is not "after" but "before." Furthermore, the coming describing is one of physical approach. Jesus was talking to the crowd, and then (presumably during some kind of break) the disciples came up to him and engaged in Q&A with him.

Scripture says: "and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?"

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
"Jesus spoke in parables. A parable signifies a comparison, by which spiritual
or heavenly things were described in language borrowed from the things of this
earthly life. It was a way of teaching used very much, not only by the Jewish
rabbin, but by the Arabians, and the other wise men of the east. Jesus used this
way of speaking very often. By speaking in parables Jesus lowered Himself to the
capacities of people. He talked to them in their own language on their own
level. Here we have a question “why do you teach them in parables?” The
disciples were a little surprised at the way He was teaching. Prior to this
moment He obviously had not much used parables otherwise His disciples would not
ask Him that question. They were truly wishing that the people might hear and
understand what He is saying. They expressed to Jesus a desire to have the
parable explained for the sake of the people. Notice they do not say, Why
speakest thou to us?. They knew how to get the parables explained to them later
on. They were much more concerned about others. Observe that Jesus was not
telling a parable to disciples but to others. Notice that “others” . are those
who can’t hear, understand or see. Calvinists would admit that those people were
not able to comprehend Jesus message. Yet Jesus tells them a parable anyway. He
tells it to those who can’t hear, understand or see. Jesus knew very well that
they can not comprehend and yet He carries on delivering the message to them.
Why did He do it? There is not much point really teaching them since they can’t
see, hear or understand. Jesus knew that better than anyone else in the world.
According to Calvinism teaching those people is absolutely pointless. If some
people are predestined to be saved Jesus would know who these people are
straight away. He would not teach those who are predestined to go to hell since
it would be time. Why does He tell them a parable anyway? The obvious logical
answer is nobody is blind or deaf permanently.. Nobody is predestined to be that
way. Calvinism is fallacious"
I reply:
Jesus did speak in parables, and often. Scripture tells us:

Mark 4:2 And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,

Mark 4:33 And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it.

In fact, when the disciples were not alone with Him, he spoke only in parables:

Matthew 13:34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:

Mark 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

Mark 4:34 But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.

A parable is -- loosely speaking -- an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. However, while we can learn from parables, they are more akin to riddles:

Ezekiel 17:2 Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto the house of Israel;

Note the Hebraic parallel between "riddle" and "parable." The parallel suggests that the two are close in meaning. So a parable is not only an earthly story with a heavenly meaning, but one that is - at least to some degree - enigmatic.

This is confirmed, in that "know"ing is contrasted with things being done in parables:

Mark 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

Luke 8:10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

And the effect of parables was a lack of understanding among those to whom it was not explained:

John 10:6 This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.

The Anti-Calvinist states that the Rabbis, Arabians, and wise men of the east used parables. The Bible does not tell us so. I'm not sure where the Anti-Calvinist got his facts, but it may or may not be the case. In any event, it is not germane to the discussion.

The Anti-Calvinist asserts: "By speaking in parables Jesus lowered Himself to the capacities of people. He talked to them in their own language on their own level. " It's unclear why the Anti-Calvinist holds this position. Scripture does not say that this was part of Jesus accomodating the limited understanding of men. Instead, it seems to have been used to obscure. They were used so that the others, those outside, the non-sheep, would not understand as noted above.

The Anti-Calvinist continues by pointing out that the disciples are asking why does Jesus speak in parables (something that they were apparently not familiar with). The Anti-Calvinist acknowledges that Jesus' response is that is because of the multitude - those who would not hear with understanding.

The Anti-Calvinist poses the question about what is the point of Jesus telling the parables if people would not understand? The answer is simple: that was the intended effect.
Simultaneously, the Anti-Calvinist indicates that he thinks that the disciples are asking because they want the people to understand, that they want Jesus to explain the parable to the people.

The Anti-Calvinist falsely asserts that "According to Calvinism teaching those people is absolutely pointless. " Of course that is simply not true. What it is "according to" is the Anti-Calvinist's own vile imagination. The Anti-Calvinist believes that he would consider it pointless if he realized that the Scripture teaches that some are elected to adoption as sons.

The Anti-Calvinist states "Yet Jesus tells them a parable anyway. He tells it to those who can’t hear, understand or see. Jesus knew very well that they can not comprehend and yet He carries on delivering the message to them." The "anyway" is deceptive. It is not "anyway" that Jesus tells the multitude the parable, but because there was a multitude there, and to the produce the effect that he knew it would cause: their confusion. Jesus did not come to save everyone, yet when everyone was around, Jesus kept teaching - he just taught in parables that the multitudes would not understand. Then, subsequently, he explained the meaning of the parables to his disciples. The Anti-Calvinist is correct about one thing: Jesus knew better than anyone else whom the Father had given Him, who were His:

John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world

John 17:11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

John 6:39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

John 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.

The Anti-Calvinist continues by claiming that, given Calvinism, "If some people are predestined to be saved Jesus would know who these people are straight away. He would not teach those who are predestined to go to hell since it would be time." And indeed Jesus did, as noted above. Even if they were not predestined, but simply foreseen, the result is the same. Jesus knew who would believe, and who wouldn't believe. Nevertheless, the Anti-Calvinist think that Jesus would not preach to those who are predestined to go to hell "since it would be time." While it is unclear what the Anti-Calvinist is trying to say, the point is obvious. The Anti-Calvinist seems to think that it is contradictory for Jesus to preach to people who were not predestined for heaven. But what the Anti-Calvinist overlooks is that the disciples were among the multitude. They came out from the multitude to ask Jesus why he spoke in parables. Jesus did so not just to prevent the multitude from understanding, but also to teach the disciples, for the parables provide rich meaning, once their sense is given by Jesus.

The Anti-Calvinist concludes: "Why does He tell them a parable anyway? The obvious logical answer is nobody is blind or deaf permanently.. Nobody is predestined to be that way. Calvinism is fallacious," but the Anti-Calvinist is wrong still. The obvious logical conclusion is that the answer is found in the text ("lest they should understand") not in the Anti-Calvinists eisegetical imagination. However, there are some grains of truth amidst the arsenic of deceit in the Anti-Calvinist's comment. Many are not permanently blind or deaf (spiritually), just as many were not permanently blind or deaf (physically) in Jesus day.

How did they go from deaf to hearing, from blind to sighted, from crippled to straight? Who makes the leper clean? Who raises the spiritually dead to life?
The answer is God in all the power of his Godhead!

Mark 7:37 And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

Matthew 11:5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

Thereby Christ fulfilled the word of the prophet Isaiah who wrote:

Isaiah 29:18 And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.

Scripture says: 11 He answered and said unto them,

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
"To this question Christ answers that he teaches by parables, because thereby the things of God were made more plain and easy to them who were willingly ignorant; and thus the gospel would be a savour of life to them. Observe how we should deal with those people who can’t hear, understand or see (Calvinists would refer to them as predestined ones). We should use the power of words. We should explain to them better. Any person is saved by the power of the word Rom 1:16....gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation At this point Calvinists would say that it is impossible for a person to be willingly ignorant as Free Will does not exist. That is incorrect. The verse below proves that willing ignorance does exist. 2Pe 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant............ If some people are willingly ignorant then surely some people are willingly not ignorant. Otherwise it is pointless to use the word “willingness”. Free Will does exist 2 Corinthians 8:12 For if there be first a willing mind..... If some people have willing mind then surely some people have unwilling mind. Free Will does exist."
I reply:
The Anti-Calvinist's opening statement is a bold lie.

He states: "To this question Christ answers that he teaches by parables, because thereby the things of God were made more plain and easy to them who were willingly ignorant; and thus the gospel would be a savour of life to them." Nothing could be further from the truth. Christ answers that he teaches by parables to conceal things from some and reveal them to others, as already explained above. The Anti-Calvinist colors the lie with some Scriptural verbage ("willingly ignorant" and "savour of life") but the verbage employed is not from the text, nor tied to the text.

The Anti-Calvinist continues: "Observe how we should deal with those people who can’t hear, understand or see (Calvinists would refer to them as predestined ones). We should use the power of words. We should explain to them better. Any person is saved by the power of the word." The Anti-Calvinist is again departing from text. Jesus is not teaching us to speak in parables to anyone. Furthermore, the Anti-Calvinist is subtly distorting another point, namely, that the power mentioned in the verses that the Anti-Calvinist is about to use, is the power of God, not the power of mere words.

For Scripture says, contrary to the Anti-Calvinist:
Romans 1:16....gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation

Yet, the Anti-Calvinist is concerned that Calvinists will have objected not to the misidentification of power with mere words, but of the non-hearers as "willing."

The Anti-Calvinist claims: "At this point Calvinists would say that it is impossible for a person to be willingly ignorant as Free Will does not exist. That is incorrect. The verse below proves that willing ignorance does exist." Of course, that is a base misrepresenation of Calvinism. Calvinists agree that there is such a thing as willing ignorance. Men, by nature, love darkness rather than light. In fact, the term "willing ignorance" creates a dilemma only for the Anti-Calvinist. The term "Free Will" is often twisted to mean various things, but if it simply means the ability to will and to make choices, Calvinists - like everyone - agree that men have "Free Will."

Scripture declares:
2 Peter 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant............

But the Anti-Calvinist counters: "If some people are willingly ignorant then surely some people are willingly not ignorant. Otherwise it is pointless to use the word “willingness”. Free Will does exist." The Anti-Calvinist, however, has drawn the wrong sense of the word "willingly" as it is used in Peter's general epistle. The word "willingly" in the verse in question has the sense of "gladly." There are some things people are unwillingly ignorant of, and some things that people are willingly ignorant of. The things of God fall into the former category. The Anti-Calvinist draws the false conclusion that people stop being ignorant by exercise of their wills. Of course, this is not true, and runs contrary to the verse above, which ascribes the change to the power of God.

The Anti-Calvinist again quotes Scripture:
2 Corinthians 8:12 For if there be first a willing mind.....

And the Anti-Calvinist asserts: "If some people have willing mind then surely some people have unwilling mind. Free Will does exist." For once, the Anti-Calvinist is right. Free Will -- in the sense of some people having a willing mind and some an unwilling mind -- does exist. However, that does not mean that there is any "Free Will" in the anti-calvinistic sense of "free will" that the Anti-Calvinist advocates, and which denies the total sovereignty of God.

Scripture says:
Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
"There are mysteries in the kingdom of heaven. Some of those mysteries are Christ’s incarnation, God’s trinity, Christ divinity satisfaction, intercession, our justification, our sanctification by union with Christ, our salvation and the whole work of redemption. These mysteries were graciously given to Disciples of Christ to be acquainted with them. It was given to them, because they were Christ’s constant followers and attendants. At the time of the parable these mysteries were discovered but in part to the disciples. Here the reason why Jesus chose to speak in parable is laid down “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given”. That is, the disciples had some knowledge already, but the people had not. Disciples knew already some of these mysteries, and need not in this familiar way to be instructed; but the people knew nothing and are ignorant. They must be taught as such by plain comparisons, similitude or parables. Those people were yet incapable of receiving instruction in any other way. Remember they can’t see, hear or understand. Parables for them were easier to understand if they wanted to understand them. The disciples of Jesus were well inclined to the knowledge of gospel mysteries, and would search into the parables, and by them would be led into a more intimate acquaintance with those mysteries; but the carnal hearers were dependant on bare hearing, and would not be at pains to look further, nor to ask the meaning of the parables. To be saved a person has to be hungry, thirsty and seek God with all his heart and all his soul. De 4:29 - ......seek ...God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. Only such individuals would be interested to know the meaning of the parables. Those who heard a parable and were not interested in the meaning of it would get separated from true believers and be justly condemned for not seeking the truth. For those however who were interested in the meaning of parables the mysteries of heaven would be easier to understand."
I reply:
The phrase "know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven" is a reference to understanding things pertaining to salvation. The Anti-Calvinist contradicts himself, though, as he states: "These mysteries were graciously given to Disciples of Christ to be acquainted with them. It was given to them, because they were Christ’s constant followers and attendants." Understanding of the mysteries was graciously given to the disciples. They did not earn that understanding or merit it because they were constant in following and attending to Him. For it to be gracious it cannot be deserved. Furthermore, the Anti-Calvinist replaces understanding (which the disciples had) with mere "acquaintance." This minimizes the significance of the mysteries. The mysteries were to be understood by the disciples.

The Anti-Calvinist's next comment, that "At the time of the parable these mysteries were discovered but in part to the disciples," is essentially correct. Even the disciples did not yet have a full understanding regarding salvation. However, such an understanding was their lot - it was appointed and ordained to them. In Jesus' words here it was "given to" them.

As Jesus explains in a similar context:

Matthew 19:11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.

The Apostle Paul uses a similar expression to describe the lot of Christians:

Philippians 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

The Anti-Calvinist, continues: "Here the reason why Jesus chose to speak in parable is laid down “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given”." So far, the Anti-Calvinist has stuck to Scripture and is correct.

The Anti-Calvinist, however, soon departs from the truth: "That is, the disciples had some knowledge already, but the people had not." That is not at all what the verse says. The verse does not compare the already knowledge of the disciples to the ignorance of the multitude. Instead, the verse contrasts the appointment to knowledege of the disciples as opposed to the appointed ignorance of the multitude.

The Anti-Calvinist maintains the same line with "Disciples knew already some of these mysteries, and need not in this familiar way to be instructed; but the people knew nothing and are ignorant. They must be taught as such by plain comparisons, similitude or parables. Those people were yet incapable of receiving instruction in any other way." This flowery language is suggestive of borrowing on the part of the Anti-Calvinist, as it does not fit the coarse style with which the Anti-Calvinist typically writes. However, whether borrowed or original, the Anti-Calvinist's comments are mistaken. The parables were not designed to instruct the multitude, but to instruct the disciples, while the multitude failed to understand the analogies, metaphors, and similes employed in the parables. It was not because the disciples were learned men (some, like Peter and Andrew were simple fishermen), but because God had chosen the disciples, that it was given to them to understand, while the multitude did not.

The Anti-Calvinist's barrage continues with "Remember they can’t see, hear or understand. Parables for them were easier to understand if they wanted to understand them." But, while the first sentence is true, the second is false. What a cleverly deceptive mixture of wheat and arsenic! The first sentence is true, but the second sentence is the opposite of the truth. Parables, like riddles, were harder for the multitude to understand, as has been explained in a previous segment of this response. Parables were harder to understand, which is why Jesus explained their sense to the disciples whom he had chosen. Notice too, the insidious "if" that is included in the Anti-Calvinist's eisegesis: "if they wanted to undertand them." This "if" is not from the text, nor from elsewhere in the Scripture. What helps someone to understand the meaning of the parables is not simply a desire to understand them, but Jesus' explanation. Of course, a desire would help, but it is not the missing ingredient here.

The Anti-Calvinist opines: "The disciples of Jesus were well inclined to the knowledge of gospel mysteries, and would search into the parables, and by them would be led into a more intimate acquaintance with those mysteries; but the carnal hearers were dependant on bare hearing, and would not be at pains to look further, nor to ask the meaning of the parables." But the Anti-Calvinist is mistaken, at least in part. The Anti-Christ seems to be suggesting an epistemology whereby the disciples themselves delve into the parables and learn, whereas the "carnal hearers" would not because they were dependent on bare hearing and would not ask for the meaning. The problem with the Anti-Calvinist's analysis is that it leaves out Jesus and Jesus' explanation. The disciples were interested, to be sure, but they learned because Jesus explained things to them. The Anti-Calvinist's epistemology is humanistic: some men are more inquisitive than others.

The Anti-Calvinist asserts: "To be saved a person has to be hungry, thirsty and seek God with all his heart and all his soul." Again, the Anti-Calvinist has mixed truth and falsehood. Hungering and thirsting (and seeking) are certainly things that occur prior to glorification in heaven. What the Anti-Calvinist, however, fails to observe that hunger, thirsting, and a desire to seek are all the blessing of God on unworthy sinners, and in missing that detail, he Anti-Calvinist mistakenly emphasizes man's role, as though man were in voluntary control of his hunger, thirst, or interest in seeking:

Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

Jeremiah 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Psalm 119:2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.

The Anti-Calvinist recites: "De 4:29 - ......seek ...God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul." (KJV has: Deu 4:29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.)

The Anti-Calvinst expounds: "Only such individuals would be interested to know the meaning of the parables." The Anti-Calvinist cannot be right. There are others who may be generally interested, or -- shall we say -- curious to know the meaning of the parables. However, in general, the Anti-Calvinist is right that those who do not love God, are not truly and deeply interested in knowing what God has to say: they are not interested in the Word.

The Anti-Calvinist continues: "Those who heard a parable and were not interested in the meaning of it would get separated from true believers and be justly condemned for not seeking the truth." Again, we set the humanist bent of the Anti-Calvinist. For the Anti-Calvinist, the value of the parable is to separate not according to the choice of God, but according to the choice of man. Furthermore, the Anti-Calvinist's characterization appears to make a concession to the obscurity of the meaning of the parables. The meaning is not apparant on the face, it has to be sought out. We also see the Anti-Calvinist attempting to suggest that people are condemned for not seeking the truth. Of course, what people are condemned for, broadly, is sin. Their failure to understand the truth aggravates their state - it is not the thing that initially condemns them. Furthermore, merely seeking will not avoid the condemnation:

Luke 13:24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

Romans 9:31-33
31But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. 32Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; 33As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

And indeed some will seek and not find because they cannot come to God:

John 7:34 Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come.

Furthermore, God -- in His mercy -- shines the glory of His countenance on those who were not seeking Him:

Romans 10:20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.

The bottom line is that the condemnation will be for sin, for violating any and all the laws of God, and it will be just for all have sinned.

Tha Anti-Calvinist further states: "For those however who were interested in the meaning of parables the mysteries of heaven would be easier to understand." This, again, has an incorrect humanistic emphasis, and ignores the reason why the meaning would be easier to understand: it would be easier to understand because Jesus would explain the parable to them. It is not because the interested ones had greater natural ability. Rather, the distinction is one that is made by Jesus, who explained his doctrines to those to whom He choose to explain His doctrines.

Scripture says: but to them it is not given.

But the Anti-Calvinist says:

"There are those to whom this knowledge is not given, and a man can receive
nothing unless it is given to him from above John 3:27…A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven or this verse Rom 11: 36 ..For of God….are all things… or this verse Mt 11; 2 Father….hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes The question then arises. Are Calvinists right? Why was this knowledge not given to THEM? Why these mysteries were given to disciples but not to THEM? Has God predestined THEM not to receive these mysteries? The answer to these questions lies in the next sentence."

I reply:

The Anti-Calvinist begins well. The Anti-Calvinist does recognize that there are some to whom knowledge of the mysteries of salvation are not given. Furthermore, the Anti-Calvinist recognizes that a man can receive nothing but from above. This is, as the Anti-Calvinist observes quite Calvinistic, and demands an answer to the question, why does not the Anti-Calvinist accept the truth that he has recognized.


However, Anti-Calvinist continues by asking the "Why" question. Why is it revealed to the disciples and not to others - is it God's choice or something else? The Anti-Calvinist asserts that this question is the question that is answered in the next phrase, in which


Scripture says:

For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance:


But the Anti-Calvinist claims:

"This sentence above does not confirm predestination in any way. Christ’s disciples had some knowledge already. They used the knowledge they already had. They had more abundance of it at the pouring out of the Spirit, as in Acts 2 for example Acts 2:2-4....and suddenly there came from heaven a noise....and there appeared to them tongs as of the fire distributing themselves.....and they were filled with Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongs... . or this next verse for example shows that if you have something already you will be given more Prov 4: 18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more…. If those people (to whom Christ was telling a parable) had some foundation by now they would be given by God more and more. The problem was that those people never had anything at all to start with. They had no foundation. For that reason nothing could be added to them. Notice that all those people have nothing at the moment. If they did God would give them more. But they had nothing. They need to have something first. Jesus Christ came to this world to give that foundation to each and every one of them. Observe there is a promise to those who have foundation and use what they have. They shall have more in abundance. Observe that where God lays the foundation, he will build upon it."

I reply:

Notice the negative phraseology of the opening explanation. "This sentence above does not confirm predestination in any way." Yet, this negativity is mistaken. "Whoever has" is a statement of state. There is nothing that we have that we have not received. The phraseology of the text is perfectly consistent with predestination and does help to confirm it. For it is not just that those who have "may" have an abundance, but "shall" have abundance. It confirms that the future is certain.


The Anti-Calvinist correctly notes that "Christ’s disciples had some knowledge already." However, the Anti-Calvinist fails to recognize the source of that knowledge. The source is God. God gave it to them.


The Anti-Calvinist, however, further declares: "They used the knowledge they already had." They certainly did do so. However, their use of their knowledge is not germane to this text. The verse does not say that to whoever uses his knowledge wisely or well, more will be given - or even to whomever uses his knowledge, more will be given. The verse relates to having and receiving - not using.


The Anti-Calvinist asserts "They had more abundance of it at the pouring out of the Spirit, as in Acts 2 for example Acts 2:2-4....and suddenly there came from heaven a noise....and there appeared to them tongs as of the fire distributing themselves.....and they were filled with Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongs... ." In point of fact, however, Pentecost was about extraordinary communicative gifts, not about the disciples learning more, or building on existing knowledge. It was about the gospel going abroad, by the sovereign decree of God, to other nations. As Acts 2 explains it:


Acts 2:1-6

1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.


But the Anti-Calvinist continues: "or this next verse for example shows that if you have something already you will be given more Prov 4: 18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more…." This actually just shows the path shining more and more, not the just shall shine more and more. This verse is not relevant to the discussion (at least not directly) and does not show what the Anti-Calvinist says it does.


The Anti-Calvinist, however, states: "The problem was that those people never had anything at all to start with. They had no foundation. For that reason nothing could be added to them. Notice that all those people have nothing at the moment. If they did God would give them more. But they had nothing. They need to have something first." Actually, they did not have nothing. That is a serious mistake, as one can easily see from the text:


Matthew 13:12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.


Furthermore, the Anti-Calvinist has lost track of the point that whatever someone has is what they have received from God.


However, let's see what the Anti-Calvinist says next: "Jesus Christ came to this world to give that foundation to each and every one of them. Observe there is a promise to those who have foundation and use what they have. They shall have more in abundance. Observe that where God lays the foundation, he will build upon it." This - again - is a clever mixture of truth and error. The first sentence is a bold lie. Jesus Christ did not come to this world to give a foundation for each and every person. Jesus Christ came to save. That's why he's called Jesus:


Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.


The second sentence also contains error - notice the "and use what they have." There is nothing about "using what you have" in the text. It's only by an eisegetical method that such ideas get placed into the text.


But notice the next comments, for they are quite right: "They shall have more in abundance. Observe that where God lays the foundation, he will build upon it." It is insidious that the Anti-Calvinist ends his comment with a correct statement. Those who have, shall have more in abundance, and where God lays the foundation he will build upon it.


Notice the difference between these statements and the statements before. Now it is God doing everything - laying the foundation and building on it. And that is the truth.


Scripture say:
but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
Observe how God dispense his gifts; he bestows them on those who improve them. He takes them away from those who bury them. It is a rule among men, that they will rather entrust their money with those who have increased their wealth, than with those who have diminished it. What we see here is a threatening to him who has nothing, who has no desire of grace, who makes no right use of the gifts, who has not root, who has no solid principle. From him shall be taken away that which he has. His leaves shall wither, his gifts decay. God will call in his talents out of his hands and he is likely to become a bankrupt quickly. The same story is told hereHeb 6:4For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, became companions with the Holy Spirit, tasted God's good word and the powers of the coming age, and who have fallen away,Why is it impossible? Because God takes away even that they have Let’s imagine for a second that Calvinism is correct and let’s briefly have a closer look at this sentence again."but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath"If a person HATH NOT he will never have it because it will be taken away from him. What a vicious person God appears to be. Not only God predestines some “TO HAVE NOT” . He also takes away even what they already have. Surely Calvinistic point of view is incorrect. This sentence can not refer to predestination. A person has to be given a chance “to have” first. Only then God can blame that person for not having it or not using it appropriately and consequently justly take away from him even what he already has.
I reply:
The Anti-Calvinist again seeks to impose his notions on Scripture. He claims "Observe how God dispense his gifts; he bestows them on those who improve them." Of course, that is not an exposition of this text. Nor is the next comment of the Anti-Calvinist: "He takes them away from those who bury them." That would be a good description of the austere nobleman in Luke 19 (in which some similar language can be found: Luk 19:26 For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.)

The Anti-Calvinist continues: "It is a rule among men, that they will rather entrust their money with those who have increased their wealth, than with those who have diminished it." And of course, this seems to be a reference to the austere nobleman parable, not the one we are reading through here. However, yes, of course, that is what men would rather have.

The Anti-Calvinist adduces: "What we see here is a threatening to him who has nothing, who has no desire of grace, who makes no right use of the gifts, who has not root, who has no solid principle." But the Anti-Calvinist is clearly wrong. This comment was not made to the non-understanding multitude, but to the understanding disciples. A threat is not really a threat if it is not communicated to the people being threatened. In fact, what we have hear is not a threat, but an explanation.

The Anti-Calvinist's conflation of this parable with that of the austere nobleman continues: "From him shall be taken away that which he has. His leaves shall wither, his gifts decay. God will call in his talents out of his hands and he is likely to become a bankrupt quickly." Notice how the Anti-Calvinist seems to be confusing this parable with the "talents" in Luke 19, as well as other parables, such as the parable of the fig tree in Matthew 21.

The Anti-Calvinist then asserts: "The same story is told hereHeb 6:4For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, became companions with the Holy Spirit, tasted God's good word and the powers of the coming age, and who have fallen away." Compare, however, what Hebrews actually says:

Hebrews 6:4-6
4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Notice the important item that the Anti-Calvinist has found it necessary to omit: both the "if" and the crucifixion of Christ. This is part of the deception that the Anti-Calvinist imposes. It is a subtle manipulation of the text, but an important one.

See how it is reflected in the Anti-Calvinist's next statement: "Why is it impossible? Because God takes away even that they have." But that's not correct. The reason is already in the text: Christ cannot be twice crucified. If they were saved once, they cannot fall away and be saved again a second time.

Furthermore Hebrews provides a parable there:

Hebrews 6:7-8
7For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

The Anti-Calvinist would have the gullible reader believe that the verse is saying that we are saved by our works and effort: by bringing forth the right (as opposed to wrong) kind of fruit. That is the humanistic temptation: to make the fruit the source of the salvation.

But this incorrect, as can be seen from context:

Hebrews 6:9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.

Notice that the author says "things that accompany salvation." Oh, how the Anti-Calvinist must hate that verse, and especially that word "accompanying." The Anti-Calvinist wants to make the fruits of salvation the source, or at least the cause, of salvation. But the author of Hebrews has a different idea: those things, bearing fruit and the like, are things that "accompany" salvation. The Greek word for accompany is "echo" - a word that surely does not require any explanation to the English-speaking reader.

Yet the Anti-Calvinist continues: "Let’s imagine for a second that Calvinism is correct and let’s briefly have a closer look at this sentence again.'but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath' If a person HATH NOT he will never have it because it will be taken away from him. What a vicious person God appears to be. Not only God predestines some “TO HAVE NOT”. He also takes away even what they already have." One can easily the hatred of God displayed by the Anti-Calvinist. See how quick he is to call God viscious? The Anti-Calvinist finds it abhorent that God would ordain or predestinate something for destruction from before the foundation of the earth. But referring back to the parable in Hebrews, one wonders what the Anti-Calvinist thinks of the thorns and thistles? Do they bear the fruit they bear by choice? Or were they both created thistles and ordained and predestinated for destruction? The Anti-Calvinist is correct that God does not simply ordain and predestinate the end (destruction) but also the means to the end. They are deaf and lack understanding so that they will not hear or understand: otherwise they would repent and trust in God and God would save them. God, thus, wisely ordains suitable means to obtain the ends He has sovereignly ordained. It is not a pleasant truth for the thistles, for those who deaf and blind to their eternal state, but to call God vicious for ordaining it, is surely impudent.

And look at how totally inadequate the Anti-Calvinist's attempted rebuttal of the Calvinist is:
1) "Surely Calvinistic point of view is incorrect."
2) "This sentence can not refer to predestination."
3) "A person has to be given a chance 'to have' first."
4) "Only then God can blame that person for not having it or not using it appropriately and consequently justly take away from him even what he already has."

Anyone can see that the first two are simply assertions.
The latter two are humanist philosophy imposed on Scripture. You will not see Scripture advanced for these two statements. Instead, they rely on the Anti-Calvinist's fallen intuition that man has to have "a chance" in order to make God just in doing what God wants to do. The Anti-Calvinist is appealling not to Scripture, but to man's arrogance.

In point of fact, God is free to do whatever he wants, because God is the Creator. This is a concept that the Anti-Calvinist cannot stomach. The Anti-Calvinist wants to be able to impose the Anti-Calvinist's rules of humanistic intuitive justice on God: to put God in a box, in which God cannot appoint a man to destruction, because God has to give man a chance.

Of course, Scripture supports that Calvinist position, not the contrary position. Scripture compares God with a potter, and explains that God can do whatever God wants with God's creation.

As Romans 9 puts it:
Romans 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

Scripture says:

Therefore speak I to them in parables:

But the Anti-Calvinist says:

Jesus speaks them in parables because He wants them to see. He wants them to hear. He wants them to understand. Jesus does not believe their eyes are closed permanently. Jesus does not believe their ears are closed permanently. Jesus does not believe their hearts are closed permanently. Otherwise He would not tell them anything at all. But He does talk to them. He does tell them a parable. Why is that? Because Jesus believes that their condition is not permanent. Any person in the world can be changed. Predestination is a myth. Calvinism is false.

I reply:

The Anti-Calvinist begins with an outright lie: "Jesus speaks them in parables because He wants them to see. He wants them to hear. He wants them to understand." This is exactly the opposite of the reason that Jesus speaks to them in parables, as has been shown above. He speaks to them in parables (or riddles, as noted above) so that they will not see, hear, and understand. And Jesus is a success. By means of the parables, seeing they do not see, hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

The Anti-Calvinist continues with more lies: "Jesus does not believe their eyes are closed permanently. Jesus does not believe their ears are closed permanently. Jesus does not believe their hearts are closed permanently." It could suffice to say that Scripture does not support these statements. But one must go farther and point out that Jesus did not just believe, but knew, that their eyes, ears, and minds (hearts) were closed forever. It is with them as Jesus described in another case:

Luke 16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

Or as Paul describes some:

Romans 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

The Anti-Calvinst further aggravates the error with this comment: "Otherwise He would not tell them anything at all. But He does talk to them. He does tell them a parable." No, the Anti-Calvinist is mistaken. What Jesus would do is what Jesus did with His disciples: He would explain the parable to them.

Oddly, however, the Anti-Calvinist asks: "Why is that? Because Jesus believes that their condition is not permanent. Any person in the world can be changed. Predestination is a myth. Calvinism is false." The Anti-Calvinist's question is answered below, in verse 15, which explains (as has been pointed out many times) that they are being told things in parables to fulfill the prophecy that they will see but not see, hear but not hear, nor understand though the truth is spoken in their ears and shown before their eyes. The Anti-Calvinist's assertion about what Jesus believes is simply wrong. It is unsupported by Scripture, and it is based on the false assumptions that have been rebutted above. The Anti-Calvinist comment: "Any person in the world can be changed," is a puzzling comment for the Anti-Calvinist, who believes in free will. However, perhaps the Anti-Calvinist means that anyone can change themselves. If that is so, then this Scripture answers the Anti-Calvinist's claim:

Jeremiah 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.

If, however, the Anti-Calvinist means that God can change any man, then the Anti-Calvinist is not rebutting, but affirming Calvinism. In either case, it is clear that both of the Anti-Calvinist's concluding assertions: "Predestination is a myth. Calvinism is false," are baseless falsehoods.

Again, Scripture says:

because they seeing see not;

But the Anti-Calvinist says:

They don’t have any foundation. They don’t have any knowledge to which more can be added. They see His miracles and yet don’t see who Jesus really is. To believe in Jesus you have to see Him first. It is impossible to believe in Him without seeing Jesus first.John 6: 40 ......every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life......The word “seeing” signifies not so much the sight of the eye as the contemplation of the mind. Seeing is the result of consideration and insight into the credibility. It is not a blind faith that Christ requires from us, that we should be willing to have our eyes put out, and then follow him. No. We should see him, and see what ground we go upon in our faith. “Seeing” is having an insight. Muslims for example don’t see. They just pray five times a week and follow Allah blindfolded.

I reply:

Notice the dramatic break from the previous comment on people building on their talents. And, in making this dramatic change from the people just doing badly with what they have, the Anti-Calvinist has returned to a generally correct initial statement that the people do not have a foundation. However, the Anti-Calvinist's follow-on comments miss the mark. The point is not that they needed to have a foundation in order to add knowledege. The point is that they are given knowledge (in the form of parables) and they do not understand it. The Anti-Calvinist is right in saying that the people see the miracles but they do not understand who Jesus is. The crowd followed Jesus not for the Bread of Life, but so that Jesus would fill their stomachs with earthly bread.

The Anti-Calvinist's tangent regarding seeing is mostly correct in its point. Not seeing here refers to a lack of mental perception. It is ironic that the Anti-Calvinist himself is a part of this multitude. The Anti-Calvinist can see the parable, but cannot understand its meaning, as we will sadly see in some of the following segments.

As for the Muslims, they pray to "Allah" but the one true "Allah" is not their god. As a point of technical accuracy, the devout Muslims pray five times daily, not weekly. However, they deny the Son, and therefore, they are atheists, though they imagine themselves to be theists and followers of "Allah" which is the word for God in Arabic. The Anti-Calvinist is right: they are blind.

And yet again, Scripture says:

and hearing they hear not,

But the Anti-Calvinst says:

They hear His words and yet do not comprehend.

I reply:

The Anti-Calvinist is correct.

And Scripture says:

neither do they understand.

But the Anti-Calvinist says:

They do not understand. At this point of the parable Calvinists must notice a very important point. Seeing, hearing, and understanding, are all necessary parts to conversion. There is a difference between conversion and salvation. Conversion and Salvation are not the same. For conversion a person has to see, hear and understand. God deals with men as rational independent agents. He wants a person to see, hear and understand. God does not treat men as machines without wills and brains which is what some Calvinists suggest. He wants a person to see, hear and understand.

I reply:

It is correct that they do not understand. It is also correct that seeing, hearing, and understanding are not, themselves, salvation. However, they are also not conversion. Conversion, as described in the text, is subsequent to seeing, hearing, and understanding. Furthermore, the Anti-Calvinist ignores another important fact: The deaf must have has hearing restored, the blind must be given his sight, and the stupid must be given a brain for the block of wood that is occupying the space between his ears. Without the radical surgery of regeneration, man is hopeless.

The Anti-Calvinist states: "For conversion a person has to see, hear and understand." One wonders whether the Anti-Calvinist realizes what conversion, in the text is. The Scriptural explanation is that in conversion man is convicted of his sin, repents of it, and trusts in Christ for salvation.

The Anti-Calvinist, however, does not explain, but rather states: "God deals with men as rational independent agents." The Anti-Calvinist is right that God deals with men as rational agents, but not as independent agents. In fact, we are not independent from God, but wholly dependent on Him, as the Scriptures say:

Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

The Anti-Calvinist then asserts: "He wants a person to see, hear and understand." This is certainly true of the disciples. We can see that Christ wanted them to see, hear, and understand, which is why He explained the parable to them. However, the fact that Christ did not explain the parable to everyone suggests that His desire for people to see, hear, and understand is not promiscuous and universal, but special and particular, just as Calvinism has explained.

The Anti-Calvinist even stoops to defamation: "God does not treat men as machines without wills and brains which is what some Calvinists suggest." This straw man has been used so many times it has long since lost its stuffing. Calvinists do not deny that men have wills and brains. Far from it, Calvinists are often accused by their antagonists as being overly rational (especially by the mystics). But, nevertheless, this straw man continues to be used, and it just goes to show the desparation of Anti-Calvinists that they would use a straw man that has been disavowed by Reformed writers so many times.

Scripture says:
And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand.

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
It is quoted from Isa. 6:9, 10. That which was spoken of the sinners in Isaiah’s time was fulfilled in those in Christ’s time, and it is still fulfilling every day. There are many people today who do not see, hear and understandand seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:Notice that "seeing" does refer to having an insight or intellectual perception. These people had shut their eyes against the clear light of Christ’s plainer teaching, and therefore were now left in the dark.
I reply:
It is certainly a reference to the passage mentioned by Isaiah, and it was fulfilled especially in Christ's generation. Here is the original prophecy:

Isaiah 6: 9-10
9And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. 10Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

Notice how it is a prophecy against the people. It is an imperative, not a descriptive prophecy. It is not simply "you will not hear," but "don't hear." It is not simply "you will get fat" but "make the heart of this people fat." Woe to such whom God has chosen to abandon to their evil lusts! There is no hope for such.

Yet the Anti-Calvinist asserts that: "These people had shut their eyes against the clear light of Christ’s plainer teaching, and therefore were now left in the dark." This simply is not the case. First of all, note how this contradicts the Anti-Calvinist's previous claims that the parables were the plainer teaching. Furthermore, note that the plainer teaching - the explanation of the parables - was not given unto the people. On top of that, observe how the Anti-Calvinist wishes to emphasize man's role in the process. "Theses people had shut their eyes ..." and now are being punished, it would seem. But Isaiah prophesied against the people saying "make their hearts fat" and "shut their eyes," not simply "they will shut their eyes."

That it was especially fulfilled in Christ's generation, we can see from Christ's own words here, and from Paul's comment in Acts:

Acts 28:25-28
25And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, 26Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: 27For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 28Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.

And again, Paul explains why it is that the Jews did not believe Christ:

They have fallen, so that we - the Gentiles - should be saved:

Romans 11:11-12
11I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. 12Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?

But we should not boast, as though we ourselves were anything better than they:

Romans 11:19-21
19Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. 20Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

And indeed, the explanation is that natural Israel was cut off so that spiritial Israel, the elect, should be saved:

Romans 11:25-26
25For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

But the Anti-Calvinist is right that "seeing" here refers to intellectual and spiritual perception and understanding - not simply sensory perception. The analogy is to blind man. He has eyes, and they may be wide open, but he does not see. Even so, the spiritual eyes of these men may be open, but it is as though there were a wall of fat between their heart and their eyes. It is as their eyes were non-functioning, and as their ears could not transmit the ringing words of Jesus' to their brains.

And again Scripture says:
For this people's heart is waxed gross,

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
This people’s heart is waxed gross; it is fattened, so the word is; which denotes both sensuality and senselessness. Observe there is no indication here that a heart of a sinner is damaged permanently (beyond repair) and cannot be restored by a person himself. Calvinists claim that some hearts are damaged permanently and will never be opened due to their predestination. The verse above does not support such view. All hearts are equally waxed gross and have an equal chance to be cleansed.
I reply:
The anti-Calvinist asserts that the word "fat" here denotes "sensuality and senselessness." That's not it at all. The word "fat" here refers to fat that impairs the heart. In medicine today, we recognize that fat (cholesterol, to be precise) can clog the arteries and impair the function of the heart - leading eventually to a heart attack and death. Even though the people of Christ's day would not have known about the medical details, they may have understood this same sense from seeing the effect of obseity on the physical hearts of those who were obese. In any event, whether it is simply that fat has so cushioned and isolated the heart as to make it insensible to the warnings, or whether it has impaired the heart so that the heart cannot function properly - in either case, the point is the same. Their heart is in serious trouble.

The Anti-Calvinist claims: "Observe there is no indication here that a heart of a sinner is damaged permanently (beyond repair) and cannot be restored by a person himself." Of course, it bears noting that this is the falsehood promoted by Pelagius in Augustine's day. Even if there is no indication here of the duration and extent of the damage, that information can be found elsewhere, as in these verses, in which fallen man is described as dead:

Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

And again, man's heart is described as stony, and in need of replacement:

Ezekiel 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:

Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

The Anti-Calvinist says: "Calvinists claim that some hearts are damaged permanently and will never be opened due to their predestination." In fact, that is not precisely the Reformed explanation. Calvinists say that all hearts are permanently damaged, and that it would require a miracle, like the heart transplant of Ezekiel for anyone to be saved. By God's grace He gives a new heart to some - but not to all.

The Anti-Calvinist, however, continues: "The verse above does not support such view. All hearts are equally waxed gross and have an equal chance to be cleansed." And, as noted above, the Anti-Calvinist, in the first part of the second sentence is attacking a straw man. In the latter half of the sentence, however, the Anti-Calvinist makes an obvious mistake. They do not have "an equal chance to be cleansed." That is the Anti-Calvinist's humanistic philosophy entering into the exposition again. In fact, the inequality of the chances that different people have should be obvious even from this text. Is it not clear that the disciples received the explanation of the parable, which the multitude did not? And how can the Anti-Calvinist claim that all have equal chances? The Anti-Calvinist cannot do so, consistent with the text. Note as well that on this point of all men being equally fallen, the Anti-Calvinist contradicts his own point he made earlier, that the blindness and the like are happened to those who did not use their gifts wisely - or something to that effect. Under that explanation, men who have abused their gifts do not have an equal chance ... but the Anti-Calvinist in his attack against the truth, is not consistent and cannot be.

And again Scripture says:
and their ears are dull of hearing,

But the Anti-Calvinst says:
The whispers of the Spirit they hear not at all. Observe that there is no indication here that hearing can not be repaired by a person himself. Calvinists claim that ears are damaged permanently for some individuals. The verse above does not support such view.
I reply:
The Anti-Calvinist seems to wax a bit poetical here. What they they do not hear is the message Jesus is proclaiming. Notice that the Anti-Calvinist repeats the straw man the Anti-Calvinist stuffed with straw previously, saying: "Calvinists claim that ears are damaged permanently for some individuals." On the contrary, we teach that the ears are permanently stone deaf for all men, and that it takes a miracle of God for anyone to hear. On some, God graciously bestoys such compassion and gives them ears to hear.

And yet again Scripture says:
and their eyes they have closed;

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
They shut their windows, because they loved darkness rather than light. Observe the verse above does not say “they lost their eyes” or “they have no eyes anymore”. All that it says is “currently their eyes are closed”. There is no indication here that eyes can never be open again by a person himself. Calvinists claim that eyes are damaged permanently for some individuals. The verse above does not support such view.
I reply:
They did shut their eyes, and they did love darkness more than light, as John 3:19 explains. The Anti-Calvinist draws our attention to what the verse does not say, namely that they have lost their eyes or that they don't have eyes anymore. But their eyes are, nevertheless, as useless to them as were his physical eyes to Bartimaeus in Matthew 10:46-62. They have eyes, but they do not see.

Again, the Anti-Calvinist continues the straw man that only some are so afflicted. What an untruth! All are so afflicted, and it is only by the mercy of God that some are saved. For it is the work of Christ to open the eyes of the blind, to make the deaf hear, and to raise the dead, as it is written:

Matthew 11:5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

So then, we should praise God for the curing of our spiritual senses in his miracle of regeneration, and not vainly imagine that the blind cured their own blindness, the lepers washed their own skin, the lame straightened their own legs, the deaf opened their own ears, or the dead raised themselves: and even so we should not imagine that the poor receive the gospel through their own unaided natural ability, as the herisarch Pelagius and his followers even today assert, but by the gracious power of God.

Knowing the nature of the error that this Anti-Calvinist holds, we can see why the Anti-Calvinist claims: "All that it says is “currently their eyes are closed”." although plainly "currently" is the Anti-Calvinist's own insertion. The verse no more says "currently" than it says "permanently." Nevertheless, the Anti-Calvinist has no true Scripture to support the Anti-Calvinist view, and thus words must be inserted - fabricated - in order to bolster the Anti-Calvinist's position.

Finally, note again the straw man. It is not some, but all who are permanently blinded and helpless by nature. God graciously heals some. Will anyone fault Jesus that not all the blind men of His generation were restored their sight, not all the lame were made to walk, and not all the dead were raised to life? Of course not. Such would be an absurd complaint. God is God: He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and He will harden whom He will.

Scripture says:

lest at any time they should see with their eyes,

But the Anti-Calvinist says:

Observe the short word “lest”. What does it signify? It signifies a possibility for them to see on their own. It is possible for them to open their eyes by themselves again. It is possible for them to open their ears by themselves again and it is possible for them to open their hearts by themselves again. This is what short word “lest” means. Calvinists however claim that sinners unable to do it by themselves. The verse above does not support such view. If Calvinists were right the word “lest” would not be present.

I reply:

The word "lest" is certainly a crucial word here, but it does not signify what the Anti-Calvinist falsely claims. The phrase here "lest at any time" signifies exactly the opposite of what the Anti-Calvinist supposes. The Greek word here is mepote. Literally translated, the word means "never" or "on no account." Quite the opposite of what the Anti-Calvinist imagines, the word does not signify possibility, but impossibility.

In essence, what "lest" conveys is that because of what precedes the "lest," what follows after the "lest" will not happen.

The Anti-Calvinist's argument seems to stem from a lack of sophistication in the English language. Perhaps, however, an example or two of the usage of "lest" may help to inform the reader:

James 5:9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

2 Peter 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

Or, most famously:

Psalm 91:12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Does anyone suppose that there is a chance that the angels would not have supported Christ as promised? Does anyone suppose there is a possiblity that the judge who stands before the door will judge those who do not gradge one against another? Does any suppose that there is a possiblity that those are "beware" of the things Peter mentions will be led away by falsehoods?

But more than just a negation of contrary possibility, consider that in each case, "lest" conveys purpose. The purpose of being "beware" is to avoid the danger - the purpose of not grudging is to avoid the judge - and the purpose of the angelic up-bearing is to prevent foot injury.

So also here, not only do those whose eyes are shut have no possibility of seeing, their eyes have been made closed for the purpose that they not be converted and healed. That is what lest conveys, and what the Anti-Calvinist either fails to understand or boldly prevaricates regarding.

So, then, we can see that contrary to the false accusation of the Anti-Calvinist, the "lest at any time" is exactly what one would expect if Calvinism were the truth of Scripture - and it is exactly what is found.

And again, as noted above, Scripture says:

lest at any time they should see with their eyes,

But the Anti-Calvinist says:

Observe they should see it with “their eyes” . Eyes of whom? Eyes of sinners (as they are not born again yet). Observe that they will not see it through some new eyes (given by God) but they will see it through their own eyes. The phrase “their eyes” implies “on their own” without divine intervention. Calvinists however suggests divine intervention at all times. Such view is not supported here

I reply:

Now the Anti-Calvinist has begun to go down the wrong track with the Anti-Calvinist's 180 degree misunderstanding of the word "lest," and so the Anti-Calvinist's exposition of this text is fundamentally flawed. The lest means that they will not see it with their unregenerate eyes. Indeed, their unregenerate eyes cannot see it. It is impossible for their unregenerate eyes to see, and this is why they are given blindness: so that they should not see.

Notice the attempt to introduce Pelagianism again into the text in the Anti-Calvinist's comment "The phrase “their eyes” implies “on their own” without divine intervention." Of course, because the Anti-Calvinist has misunderstood the word "lest," the rest of the micharacterization of the verse falls like a series of dominos. Their eyes cannot see on their own, they are in need of someone to open their eyes miraculously. The Anti-Calvinist is, therefore, correct in saying that Calvinists (with Scripture) say that divine intervention is necessary for salvation.

And Scripture further says:
and hear with their ears,

But the Anti-Calvinst says:

Observe that they should hear it with “their ears” . Ears of whom? Ears of sinners (they are not born again yet). Observe that they will hear it not through some new ears (given by God) but hear it through their own ears. The phrase “their ears” implies “on their own” without divine intervention. Calvinists suggests divine intervention at all times. Such view is not supported here

I reply:

This is simply a repetition of the Anti-Calvinist's remarks regarding the eyes, and has the same domino weakness that it depends from the faulty understanding of the word "lest." Their ears, without regeneration, cannot hear.

Scripture says:

and should understand with their heart,

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
Observe that they should understand it with their own heart. . Heart of whom? Heart of sinners (they are not born again yet). Observe that they should understand it not through some new heart (given by God) but understand it through their own heart (a brand new heart is given by Jesus much later on). The phrase “their heart” implies “on their own” without divine intervention. Calvinists suggests divine intervention at all times. Such view is not supported here. Notice that Jesus says “their eyes, their ears and understand with their hearts.” For conversion to take place you have to hear, see and have an understanding with your heart. That understanding is not just an intellectual one. It is an understanding of a heart which implies an attitude, willingness and sincere intention. “Heart” also signifies the “core” or “marrow”. To understand something with your heart is to understand it thoroughly at great depth. That is the kind of understanding Jesus requires from us.
I reply:
Note that the first part of this description continues to fall domino-like from the misunderstanding (mentioned in the previous segment) of the word "lest." Notice also the Pelagianism embedded in the message: "The phrase “their heart” implies “on their own” without divine intervention." That is the message of humanism - the message of those who do not wish for salvation to be of the Lord, but only by the Lord in response to man. It so loathsome to the humanist mind to imagine that salvation could be graciously bestowed by God to those whom God chooses, that the humanist mind will seek to find any way around that truth of Scripture.

Furthermore, the Anti-Calvinist states: "For conversion to take place you have to hear, see and have an understanding with your heart. That understanding is not just an intellectual one." The astute reader will recall that earlier the comment was that the seeing was intellectual, now - according to the Anti-Calvinist - what is being referenced is not intellectual.

And the Anti-Calvinist continues: "It is an understanding of a heart which implies an attitude, willingness and sincere intention. “Heart” also signifies the “core” or “marrow”. To understand something with your heart is to understand it thoroughly at great depth." But no such distinction is found in the text, or in Scripture generally. The heart is generally synonymous with the mind (as can be seen the Hebraic parallelisms in I Sam 2:35 and Matthew 22:37), and - while it may sometimes connote some aspect of the mind, it is purely eisegetical to impose a particular connotation on the heart here.

And the Anti-Calvinist further states: "That is the kind of understanding Jesus requires from us." Not only does this Anti-Calvinist teach a humanistic works-based salvation, the Anti-Calvinist seeks to make the barrier of entry great indeed! The Anti-Calvinist is not content to make the understanding be "on one's own" but makes the required understanding "thorough" and "at great depth." On the contrary, however, we can be saved without great understanding. In fact, sometimes new Christians are likened to little children. It is hard to imagine anyone thinking that little children understand anything at great depth, but that is the pseudo-gospel of the Anti-Calvinist.

And Scripture further states:
and should be converted, and I should heal them.

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
Observe that Jesus does not say "I convert you". He says "they should be converted themselves". Jesus does not convert them, He only heals them. He says “I heal you”. Jesus does not take part in the conversion of a person. Conversion is responsibility of a person. Observe conversion must take place firstly and healing must take place secondly. You have to be converted first then you are healed by Jesus. All those who are truly converted to God, shall certainly be healed by him. What will Jesus heal you from? He will heal you form your unquenching thirst, hunger, burden and sinfulness. " Healing” is a new birth or regeneration. Once Jesus heals you will become born again. So what Jesus saying here is this "if they be converted I shall save them:’’ . Let’s for a second read this sentence again.
I reply:
Notice that the Anti-Calvinist again mixes truth and falsehood. The Anti-Calvinist begins by saying, "Observe that Jesus does not say "I convert you"." This is technically true, in that those are not the precise words that Jesus uses. However, the Anti-Calvinist's next claim is blatantly false: "He says "they should be converted themselves"." That is not true. The Anti-Calvinist is the one who tries to make "be converted" reflexive.

Does Scripture tell us who converts sinners? Yes, of course it does. Let's see what it says:

Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

Psalm 51:13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

James 5:19-20
19Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 20Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

And does Scripture ever describe man as converting himself? No - it never does. That is why the Anti-Calvinist cannot find Scripture to support the Anti-Calvinist's false assertion. The Scripture does not support the falsehood of self-conversion. Rather, Scripture rebuts such error saying:

Jeremiah 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.

The Anti-Calvinist continues: "Conversion is responsibility of a person. Observe conversion must take place firstly and healing must take place secondly. You have to be converted first then you are healed by Jesus." We have already seen that conversion is not ever described as being done by a person, and so we can also reject the Anti-Calvinist's claim that "conversion is [the] responsibility of a person." At least we can reject it for what it is - a claim that man can and should convert himself. Man is responsible, for example, to repent and believe, and faith and repentence are predicates to the healing of forgiveness in the course of time. Thus, we confess our sins, and Christ does faithfully forgive us our sins. However, it is madness to suppose that we convert ourselves, especially without any Scripture to back up such a claim.

Instead, as Jesus said:

Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

That is to say, those who think that they are righteous are not those to whom my message of repentence is addressed. First, our eyes must be opened - then we must be converted - as a result of our conversion, we must repent and believe - and God will forgive our sins.

Thus, the Anti-Calvinists' claim that "All those who are truly converted to God, shall certainly be healed by him," is almost correct. The "to God" is a bit odd, for we are not converted to God, but to sinners. As Paul put it:

Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

By conversion our knowledge of our sin becomes obvious to us, as does our need for a Savior.

And the Anti-Calvinist's next comment is again, slightly off: "What will Jesus heal you from? He will heal you form your unquenching thirst, hunger, burden and sinfulness." What Jesus heals us from immediately, and in this life, is the guilt of sin. It is not until the next life that we will be freed from sinfuleness.

Furthermore the Anti-Calvinist's following comment is clearly wrong: ""Healing” is a new birth or regeneration. Once Jesus heals you will become born again." Healing is not the new birth (regeneration) but it is the forgiveness of sins. Note that even under the Anti-Calvinist's mistaken description, regeneration would not be the correct definition for healing. Regeneration is new life - it is the opening of the eyes, the opening of the ears, and the heart transplant (flesh for stony) that we discussed previously.

The Anti-Calvinist's order of salvation places the cart before the horse. It is as though the Anti-Calvinist will require poor Lazarus to first hear Christ's call "Lazarus, come forth," by Lazarus' own power, and then Christ will raise Lazarus from the dead. How absurd the Anti-Calvinist's position is in such a light. Yet that is exactly what the Anti-Calvinist suggests. The Anti-Calvinist forgets that man must be regenerated before he can see, as it is written:

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

So, we can reject wholeheartedly, the Anti-Calvinist's claim that "So what Jesus saying here is this "if they be converted I shall save them:’’" In fact, as we recognize from the fore-going analysis is that Jesus is saying, I speak to them in parables so that they will not understand, or be converted, or be saved. The Anti-Calvinist would be right if the Anti-Calvinist merely said, if they were converted, Christ would heal them. That is certainly true. But the Anti-Calvinist is too eager to mix truth with falsehood.

Nevertheless, we will, in the next segment take up the Anti-Calvinist's challenge to "for a second read this sentence again."

Scripture says:
and should be converted, and I should heal them.

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
At this point of the parable you have to be absolutely clear that Jesus not only separates conversion from salvation but also ascertain that Salvation is up to Jesus and Conversion is up to a person. These are two different processes. Calvinists however believe that it is God who converts you and it is God who saves you. There is no difference between conversion and salvation. Conversion and Salvation are inseparable. Conversion is just a tiny part of Salvation initiated by God. Such view is clearly wrong. How do you get converted? By opening your eyes ears minds and hearts. How are sinners’ eyes and ears get opened? By His word. Nothing else opens it. Gospel of Christ is the only power unto salvation Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. How do sinners receive understanding? It comes from His word out of His mouth Prov 2: [6] For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. How does Jesus give eternal life to sinners? By His word John 1:4 In word was life… Look at an example given in Isaiah 66:3. In this verse Lord for a good while called and spoke to some individuals. They did not respond to Him and so God took away even what they had. Observe that they had to respond on their own. God did not cause them to respond Isaiah 66: 3-4 ……. I called, none did answer …… when I spake, they did not hear.…….they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations……I also will choose their delusions….… Observe that these people had to respond on their own. God did not cause them to respond. Instead He aggravated their unresponsiveness. Calvinists believe that God causes a response. Such view is clearly wrong because if He does cause it then He would never aggravate their insensitivity. Instead He would just blame Himself or try harder to get a positive answer from them. Or let’s look at example given in Psalms. In that verse Lord gives people up into their own lusts after a number of attempts Ps 81: [12] ……I told them…..they didn’t listen to me…So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels Or let’s look at an example with Pharaoh given in Ex 8:15. In this verse Pharaoh, for a good while, hardened his own heart first, Ex 8:15… Pharaoh hardened his heart… He was in control of his own heart but chose to harden it. And afterwards God hardened it further. Ex 9: 12 ...And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh…….. At this point Calvinist would say. Look! It is God who hardens hearts. Such a view is wrong. A person hardens his own heart first, Lord tries a number of times to get a response from him. When there is no response God hardens his heart further. Lord tries a number of times before He stops doing it. Gen 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man….. What logically follows from these stories is that some individuals do not harden their hearts. Some Pharaohs do not harden their hearts. Otherwise there is no point in telling a story about “bad” guys who do bad things and what happens to them. Or let’s look at an example with Paul. Apostle Paul was sent to Gentiles to open their eyes. Acts 26:[18] ...To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me Observe that opening of eyes is first and receiving of forgiveness and eternal life is second. Conversion is first salvation is second. How did Paul open sinner’s eyes? Paul was not God. How could Paul open their eyes? The only way he could do it is by preaching the word of God. If Father draws people to Jesus by Holy Spirit (which is what Calvinists suggest) then why God sends Paul to open sinners eyes? Why God does not send Holy Spirit instead? Why God tells Paul to open their eyes? Why God not do it Himself by Holy Spirit in the following way? Joh 3:8 -The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but you don't know where it comes from or where it's going. That's how it is with everyone who has been born from the Spirit." Why God won’t blow His Spirit around so save people haphazardly? Why choose Paul for a mission? Because Ro 10:17 ...faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. There are a number of cults around the world where people believe in spirituality and connection to some wonderful universal spirituality by means of meditation. By saying that people get saved by Spirit blowing where it wants Calvinists appear to be related to such cults. Christianity is far from Spirituality. People need to hear the gospel first. For that you need someone to preach that gospel to them. That’s what Paul was for. He was the one to do that mission. It is God’s grace indeed that gives the understanding and understanding does come from God but it is our duty to give our minds to understand 2 Corinthians 8:12 For if there be first a willing mind.....
I reply:
The Anti-Calvinist begins this segment with a bold lie. The Anti-Calvinist states: “At this point of the parable you have to be absolutely clear that Jesus not only separates conversion from salvation but also ascertain that Salvation is up to Jesus and Conversion is up to a person.” As a preliminary point, Jesus does not mention the word “salvation” here, but rather “healing.” Healing is the forgiveness of sins, and is an important part of salvation. It is not, however, the entirety of salvation.

Furthermore, Jesus does not separate but rather joins conversion and healing “be converted and, I should heal them.”

Likewise, Jesus, while clearly ascribing healing to himself, does not say that conversion is up to man. Indeed, the KJV captures the sense well with its passive voice “be converted.” However, in any event, to be converted here means to be turned, to turn to God, that is to say: to repent. While repentance certainly is something a man does, that does not mean that it has its ultimate and first origin in man. Consider John 6:

John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

In this verse, we can see that anyone who comes to Christ will be healed, but we notice how they come to Christ as well: The Father gives them to Christ. Indeed, we know that no one can come to Christ unless the Father draws them to Him.

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

The Anti-Calvinist says: “These are two different processes.” The Anti-Calvinist is referring to conversion and healing (which the Anti-Calvinist calls salvation). The Anti-Calvinist is correct that conversion (repentance) and healing (forgiveness) are two different things.

However, the Anti-Calvinist attempts to state the Calvinist view: “Calvinists however believe that it is God who converts you and it is God who saves you. There is no difference between conversion and salvation. Conversion and Salvation are inseparable. Conversion is just a tiny part of Salvation initiated by God. Such view is clearly wrong.” The Anti-Calvinist is correct in saying that Calvinists believe that God is the one who converts you and the one who heals you. Scripture agrees. Scripture says the Good Shepherd converts His sheep:

1 Peter 2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

Without the Great Shepherd, we are like lost sheep:

Isaiah 13:14 And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land.

Indeed, it is the role of God to turn the ungodly from their wickedness:

Romans 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

Indeed, it is the power of God that turns us (the elect, Spiritual Israel) from our captivity to sin just as He turned the nation of Israel from their captivity to Babylon:

Zephaniah 2:7 And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening: for the LORD their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity.

Indeed, God is not just the sower (as will be discussed in more detail in later segments) but also the tiller – the one who prepares the soil.

Ezekiel 36:9 For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown:

Furthermore, though we certainly do turn to God, the turning has a divine origin:

Lamentations 5:21 Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old.

Jeremiah 31:18 I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God.

And, likewise, it is the turning of God that produces our salvation:

Psalm 80:3, 7, and 19
3Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
7Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
19Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

So, yes, the Reformed position is that conversion (repentance, turning) is clearly both a part of the salvation process, and an important part. Repentance is not the same thing as healing, clearly, but both healing and repentance are part of salvation. And yes, Salvation is initiated by God, as Scripture says:

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

The Anti-Calvinist begins a series of questions and answers with: “How do you get converted? By opening your eyes ears minds and hearts.” That certainly is the humanist’s answer to the question. However, consider what Scripture says of Lydia:

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.

Furthermore, God’s ability to open and turn the heart is not limited to sellers of purple like Lydia but extends even to the most powerful of men, kings:

Proverbs 21:1 The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

The Anti-Calvinist continues: “How are sinners’ eyes and ears get opened? By His word. Nothing else opens it. Gospel of Christ is the only power unto salvation Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Notice the deviousness of the Anti-Calvinist’s answer. The Anti-Calvinist twists the Word of God, subtly adding the word “only” into Romans 1:16, which states that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Furthermore, it should be clear that is God who opens the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf. They cannot do this themselves.

It is the divine power to make the blind see, the deaf hear, and to raise the dead to life.

Mark 7:37 And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

Luke 7:22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.

Matthew 11:5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

Indeed, it is only by such regeneration that the words of the book can be seen and understood:

Isaiah 29:18 And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.

Isaiah 42:18 Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see.

Would someone believe that a blind man could see of his own power, or that a deaf man could hear the call of the gospel? One might as well say that Lazarus of his own ability heard Christ’s command and responded by his own strength. What an absurdity! God both calls in the gospel and regenerates the heart so that man can see, and hear, and understand and live. Thus, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It is not mere words, but is accompanied by the action of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of those whom the Lord has chosen.

Yet, the Anti-Calvinist asks: “How do sinners receive understanding? It comes from His word out of His mouth Prov 2: [6] For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” It is ironic that the Anti-Calvinist misses the first half of the verse. Knowledge and understanding come from the word of God at the mouth of God, but what about wisdom? God gives wisdom. It is a gift of God. It is something bestowed by God.

Recall in Moses’ day, God said:

Exodus 31:6 And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee;

And again, in the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel, it is written:

1 Chronicles 22:12 Only the LORD give thee wisdom and understanding, and give thee charge concerning Israel, that thou mayest keep the law of the LORD thy God.

And again Solomon asked:

2 Chronicles 1:10 Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?

And God replied:

2 Chronicles 1:12 Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like.

And in Job, it is clearly and plainly declared:

Job 38:36 Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?

Sometimes God does this by word, sometimes in other ways. Do not forget:

Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

Daniel as well explains who makes the wise and the learned what they are:

Daniel 2:21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

And praise is, in that book, given to God for the gift of wisdom:

Daniel 2:23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king's matter.

Peter tells us that Paul’s wisdom was given him by God:

2 Peter 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

James too says that God gives wisdom:

James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

And Paul explains that it is the Spirit who provides the wisdom:

1 Corinthians 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

Ephesians 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

Finally the Anti-Calvinist asks: “How does Jesus give eternal life to sinners? By His word John 1:4 In word was life…” This is a particularly deceitful use of Scripture by the Anti-Calvinist.

John 1:4 says:

John 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

And the Word (Greek: logos) in John 1 is Christ, as can be seen from:

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Furthermore, Paul, in his epistle to the Romans clarifies the same thing:

Romans 5:17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

It is Christ’s work – his death – that gives life.

The Anti-Calvinist next tries out a series of examples, starting with this one: “Look at an example given in Isaiah 66:3. In this verse Lord for a good while called and spoke to some individuals. They did not respond to Him and so God took away even what they had. Observe that they had to respond on their own. God did not cause them to respond Isaiah 66: 3-4 ……. I called, none did answer …… when I spake, they did not hear.…….they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations……I also will choose their delusions….… Observe that these people had to respond on their own. God did not cause them to respond. Instead He aggravated their unresponsiveness.” The Anti-Calvinist, again, begins by distorting and inserting the Anti-Calvinist’s own key ideas.

The first key insertion/distortion imposed on this example by the Anti-Calvinist is the “a good while” aspect. Look at what Isaiah 66 actually says:

Isaiah 66:3-5
3He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. 4I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not. 5Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.

The verse does say that God called and no one answered, and that God spake and they did not hear. It does not say “for a good while.” Furthermore, the verse is an odd choice for the Anti-Calvinist. Notice that the verse says that God will choose their delusions. As God says he sometimes sends delusions on people:

2 Thessalonians 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

As the verse above indicates, the reason that God sends them the strong delusion is so that they will believe a lie. Now, if the Anti-Calvinist is going to want to imagine that God wants to save everyone, the Anti-Calvinist is going to have a problem with verses like these. These are people who are still alive. Nevertheless God sends these people delusions. That is something that is fully consistent with a desire not to save them, and is inconsistent with a desire to save them. In other words, the verse strongly supports the Reformed view that God’s desire to save is focused on the elect – those whom God has lovingly and graciously chosen.

Note that the Anti-Calvinist does not just insert “a good while” but also inserts “on their own,” saying “they had to respond on their own.” Of course, as we saw above, there is nothing of that idea in the text.

In fact, we know that we are not on our own. The Good Shepherd does not leave His flock on their own, but his is with them and comforts them with His rod and staff even in the valley of the shadow of death:

Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Indeed, God is with us from the very beginning, establishing us, sealing us, and giving us the Spirit:

2 Corinthians 1:21-22
21Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 22Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

Further, as noted above, it is God who begins the work in us, Salvation begins, middles, and ends with God. As it is written:

Psalm 3:8 Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.

Psalm 37:39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.

Psalm 68:20 He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death.

It is the fundamental error of Pelagian humanism to try to make some or all of salvation of man. This Pelagian deviation from the Truth of Scripture will be seen both in this segment and other segments of the Anti-Calvinist’s post. The Anti-Calvinist wants to reserve some part of salvation for man. The Anti-Calvinist is loathe to place the entirety of salvation in God’s hands. It is anathema to the Anti-Calvinist to leave Salvation in its entirety, up to God.

The way the Anti-Calvinist seeks to avoid this charge is by reducing salvation to the forgiveness of sins. With Catherine the Great, the Anti-Calvinist says that forgiveness of sins is God’s job. And both the Anti-Calvinist and Catherine are right. God does forgive sins. But that is not all that God does. God is the good Shepherd, and lays down His life for the sheep. But more than that, the Good Shepherd calls the sheep by name:

John 10:3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

The Anti-Calvinist’s comment, however, that “God did not cause them to respond,” is obviously true. If God had caused them to respond, they would have responded. They did not respond, thus God must not have caused them to respond.

The Anti-Calvinist points out that “Instead He aggravated their unresponsiveness.” This is certainly the case, but – as noted above – this is a very Calvinistic principle, and utterly inconsistent with any Anti-Calvinist’s view that God wants to save everyone, including such people as these.

The Anti-Calvinist continues with an accusation: “Calvinists believe that God causes a response. Such view is clearly wrong because if He does cause it then He would never aggravate their insensitivity. Instead He would just blame Himself or try harder to get a positive answer from them.” Of course, as noted above, Calvinists agree that God did not cause a response. However, God can produce a response, if He wants.

The Anti-Calvinist’s comment that “He would never aggravate their insensitivity” is a very curious conclusion. It does not come either from Calvinist presuppositions, from Scripture, or from logic. It seems to be the Anti-Calvinist’s own conclusion. However, if God produced the initial non-responsiveness in the men, it would be completely consistent for God to produce the aggravated unresponsiveness in them.

The Anti-Calvinist’s immediate jump to blaming God for causing things that God causes, is typical of Anti-Calvinists. However, the Anti-Calvinist’s assertion that God would “try harder to get a positive answer from them,” is bizarre. That is what the Anti-Calvinist (not the Calvinist) would think. And God’s not trying harder, but rather sending delusions upon the ungodly both refute the idea that God’s primary goal is the salvation of each and every individual. In fact, if such were the case (as most anti-Calvinists contend), then one should be surprised to God sending delusions on people, and hardening their hearts. Such an activity is consistent with God intending to save precisely the elect, and is inconsistent with God intending to save each and every person that ever lived.

The Anti-Calvinist tries another example: “Or let’s look at example given in Psalms. In that verse Lord gives people up into their own lusts after a number of attempts Ps 81: [12] ……I told them…..they didn’t listen to me…So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels.” Again, it is helpful to see what Psalm 81 actually says:

Psalm 81:8-12
8Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me; 9There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god. 10I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. 11But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. 12So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels.

The Lord did give people up to their own heart’s lust. However, the other of the Anti-Calvinist’s contention “after a number of attempts” is absolutely unsupported. There is no mention of even a second attempt, let alone “a number of attempts.” The Anti-Calvinist inserted that idea because of the Anti-Calvinist’s agenda and humanistic philosophy.

The Anti-Calvinist, however, tries another example: “Or let’s look at an example with Pharaoh given in Ex 8:15. In this verse Pharaoh, for a good while, hardened his own heart first, Ex 8:15… Pharaoh hardened his heart… He was in control of his own heart but chose to harden it. And afterwards God hardened it further. Ex 9: 12 ...And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh…….. At this point Calvinist would say. Look! It is God who hardens hearts. Such a view is wrong. A person hardens his own heart first, Lord tries a number of times to get a response from him. When there is no response God hardens his heart further.” Now the Anti-Calvinist has waxed quite brazen in his deceit. The Anti-Calvinist relies on Pharaoh hardening his heart in Exodus 8:15 coming before God hardening Pharaoh’s heart in Exodus 9:12.

What the Anti-Calvinist doesn’t want the reader to know is that there is a seventh chapter to the book of Exodus, which comes before both the eighth and the ninth chapters. There it says:

Exodus 7:13 And he hardened Pharaoh's heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.

God clearly hardened Pharaoh’s heart first, before, in chapter 8, Pharaoh hardened his own heart.

Furthermore, the Anti-Calvinist’s claim that “Lord tries a number of times to get a response from him” is clearly contradicted by this text. Exodus 7:13 is describing what God did to Pharaoh’s heart immediately, upon the first sign. There were zero times before the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart. And hardening Pharaoh’s heart was the plan all along. As God told Moses before Moses went before Pharaoh:

Exodus 7:3 And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.

Furthermore, the Lord was not trying to get an affirmative response from Pharaoh. No, the text explains what the Lord was trying to do (and what He gloriously succeeded in doing):

Exodus 7:5 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.

It was necessary for Pharaoh to be hard hearted in order for God to accomplish this objective, for God would not stretch forth His hand against Pharaoh and Pharaoh’s nation if Pharaoh did as God commanded. Thus, we can see that the plan all along was to harden Pharaoh’s heart, and that is exactly what God did. And, to be precise, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart before Pharaoh hardened his heart.

Furthermore, the Anti-Calvinist’s bold accusation, “At this point Calvinist would say. Look! It is God who hardens hearts. Such a view is wrong,” is clearly misguided. Scripture clearly does say that God hardens hearts. It says it here in Exodus 7 and 9. It also says it in chapters 10, 11, and 14. And again, Deuteronomy 2:30, God hardened the spirit of Sihon, the king of Heshbon, to deliver him into the hand of the Israelites. And again, in Joshua 11:20, God hardened the hearts of the Canaanites so that they would be utterly destroyed. And again in Isaiah 63:17 God hardened the hearts of Israel.

Jesus says the same thing about the Israelites in John 12:40

John 12:40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

And Paul is not afraid to say that God hardens whom God chooses to harden:

Romans 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

And Samuel recognizes that the hardening of the people of Israel was the same as that of Pharaoh and the Egyptians:

1 Samuel 6:6 Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when he had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed?

The Anti-Calvinist, unphased by the truth, tries a final example: “Lord tries a number of times before He stops doing it. Gen 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man…..” Again, it is good to see the entire verse:

Genesis 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

Here the Lord says that he will not always strive with man, and the Lord prophesies the destruction of humanity in the Great Flood. It does not say that the Lord tried anything a number of times before stopping doing whatever it was.

So, then when the Anti-Calvinist concludes: “What logically follows from these stories is that some individuals do not harden their hearts. Some Pharaohs do not harden their hearts. Otherwise there is no point in telling a story about “bad” guys who do bad things and what happens to them.” Actually, however, that is not at all what logically follows from the stories. What logically follows from the stories is that we are helpless without God, that we need a Savior. That we are lost sheep, even the elect for whom Christ died:

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

In fact, the point of telling the story was not to serve as a warning to be good or be hardened, but to show the power of God. As Scripture says:

Exodus 7:4-5
4But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. 5And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.

And Paul says the same thing in Romans:

Romans 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

Likewise, the idea that “some Pharaoh’s don’t harden their hearts,” is simply wishful thinking by the Anti-Calvinist. It does not come from Scripture or from deductions from Scripture.

The Anti-Calvinist tries another example, this time with the Apostle Paul: Or let’s look at an example with Paul. Apostle Paul was sent to Gentiles to open their eyes. Acts 26:[18] ...To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” Again, let’s look at what Scripture actually says:

Acts 26:15-18
15And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. 16But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; 17Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 18To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

So, it is true, as the Anti-Calvinist claims, that Paul was sent to the Gentiles to open their eyes. And not just to open their eyes, but turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God. So that they may receive forgiveness of sins, which, as we previously discussed, is equivalent to “healing” in the present text.

And notice what the Anti-Calvinist misses – it is not just some people that have closed eyes. It is not that Paul is sent to people with open eyes. Paul is sent to those with closed eyes.

The Anti-Calvinist continues: “Observe that opening of eyes is first and receiving of forgiveness and eternal life is second.” Thus far, the Anti-Calvinist is correct.

The Anti-Calvinist, however, then blunders: “Conversion is first salvation is second.” The blunder is in equating forgiveness of sins with salvation. This is what the Anti-Calvinist wants to think, but it is not what the text says. Indeed, although forgiveness of sins can sometimes be referred to as salvation, and forgiveness of sins is an important part of salvation, conversion, opening of eyes, turning from darkness to light, and so forth, are also part of salvation.

And the Anti-Calvinist does not stop there, but continues: “How did Paul open sinner’s eyes? Paul was not God. How could Paul open their eyes? The only way he could do it is by preaching the word of God.” This is a puzzling pair of questions for the Anti-Calvinist to present. The way that Paul opened eyes was, in many cases, simply by preaching the word of God. That is true. Paul was not God. That is also true. It is, however, a strange point for the Anti-Calvinist to make. After all, it is God who opens the eyes. Paul is an apostle, a messenger. He is not God himself. But why does it matter to the Anti-Calvinist? Does the Anti-Calvinist believe that God Himself can open eyes? That would be inconsistent with the Anti-Calvinist’s own position that man is the one who has to open his own sovereign eyes.

And the Anti-Calvinist boldly asks: “If Father draws people to Jesus by Holy Spirit (which is what Calvinists suggest) then why God sends Paul to open sinners eyes?” The straight answer is that Paul is a messenger of God – he was sent to preach the gospel. Does that contradict that God draws men to Himself?

Certainly not! For Scripture is clear that the Father draws those who come to Jesus, and without the Father’s drawing, no one can come to Jesus.

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Indeed, the very ability to come to Jesus comes from the Father.

John 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

And the drawing of God is not limited to the person of the Father, but extends to the Son as well:

John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

Thus, when the Calvinist says that God draws people to Himself, the Calvinist on rock solid ground, and the Anti-Calvinist should be afraid to contradict Scripture.

The Anti-Calvinist, however, shows no fear, but rather states: “Why God does not send Holy Spirit instead? Why God tells Paul to open their eyes? Why God not do it Himself by Holy Spirit in the following way? Joh 3:8 -The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but you don't know where it comes from or where it's going. That's how it is with everyone who has been born from the Spirit." Why God won’t blow His Spirit around so save people haphazardly?” The answer to the Anti-Calvinist’s initial question is that it is not an either/or proposition. Paul was an apostle, and he was, undoubtedly as full of the Holy Spirit as was Stephen to whose death, Paul (then Saul) consented in his pre-conversion days. Paul’s own conversion provides an interesting contrary example to the Anti-Calvinist’s insinuation.

Recall that Ananias was, a disciple of Christ’s who lived in Damascus, was sent to Paul. And what was the command to Anananias? It was to restore Paul’s sight and to fill Paul with the Holy Ghost:

Acts 9:15-18
15But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. 17And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 18And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Could God have done this miracle without Ananias His disciple? Of course, God is God. Did God sending Ananias either imply that the laying on of Ananias’ hands was the only power, or that it was “up to Paul” to open his eyes? Of course not. The power of opening eyes is God’s. Paul, like Ananias, was a messenger of God. Paul was full of the Holy Spirit, as Acts 9 tells us.

Now, it is curious that the Anti-Calvinist recognizes that the Holy Spirit regenerates whomsoever He will, for the Anti-Calvinist correctly (even if mockingly), cites this verse, which conveys that idea:

John 3:7-8
7Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

Man has even less control over and perception of the Holy Spirit than man does of the wind: but we can see the effects of the Holy Spirit’s work in regeneration.

But the Anti-Calvinist’s last question of that group, “Why God won’t blow His Spirit around so save people haphazardly?” surely demands a little further clarification. Of course, in Greek, the word for “Spirit” comes from the Greek word for wind or breath. But there is nothing “haphazard” about the Spirit’s work. The Spirit’s work is mysterious and may seem haphazard to some, but God has a plan, and saves those whom He chooses – He does not regenerate haphazardly, but according to His sovereign purpose.

The Anti-Calvinist, however, asks: “Why choose Paul for a mission? Because Ro 10:17 ...faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Here the Anti-Calvinist clearly misses the mark. That cannot be the answer, for God reveal Himself directly to the Gentiles just as He revealed Himself to Paul on the road to Damascus. The fact that Paul was sent to preach the gospel does not explain why Paul was chosen. It explains the purpose for which Paul was chosen, but it does not explain the reason that Paul was chosen. In short, the Anti-Calvinist has not answered the Anti-Calvinist’s own question.

Next, the Anti-Calvinist begins a bizarre attack: “There are a number of cults around the world where people believe in spirituality and connection to some wonderful universal spirituality by means of meditation.” Now, of course, everyone (or nearly everyone) knows that Calvinists do not include mystic meditation as a way to connect with a Buddhist or similar spirit. The mentioning of these false religions, therefore, is quite deceitful. It is an attempt to confuse the reader with a lie.

But what is even more shocking is the Anti-Calvinist’s next comment: “By saying that people get saved by Spirit blowing where it wants Calvinists appear to be related to such cults.” The Anti-Calvinist should tremble for fear of God, when the Anti-Calvinist makes such remarks. For it Scripture, not merely the Calvinist, which says:

John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

Yes, God breathes the life-breath of regeneration into those whom He sovereignly chooses. Scripture says it, and the Anti-Calvinist ought to believe it. Furthermore, there is a total disconnect between meditation and the Calvinist teaching that God regenerates those whom He chooses to regenerate. The Anti-Calvinist does not even try to provide any connection. The Anti-Calvinist simply attempts to smear the Calvinists.

And the Anti-Calvinist continues: “Christianity is far from Spirituality.” Of course, if – by Spirituality – the Anti-Calvinist is referring to Buddhism and similar false religions, we can agree. If, however, the Anti-Calvinist is denying that Christ and the Holy Spirit are one God (And one God with the Father), then the Anti-Calvinist is certainly not a Christian.

The Anti-Calvinist then asserts: “People need to hear the gospel first. For that you need someone to preach that gospel to them. That’s what Paul was for. He was the one to do that mission.” Of course, standing by itself, there is nothing explicitly wrong with this statement. As long as we remember that “first” is with reference to conversion (i.e. repentance and confession of sin) and forgiveness of sins (symbolized by baptism’s washing with water), then we can agree that they must hear before they can believe.

However, in order for them to hear, Paul’s message must be accompanied by the Holy Spirit’s work. Mere words are no good to the deaf, nor are mere epistles of value to the blind.

So, what the Anti-Calvinist is seeking to claim – that hearing the gospel somehow precedes or comes first with respect to the Holy Spirit’s work – is clearly mistaken.

The Anti-Calvinist concludes with an odd mixture of truth and error: “It is God’s grace indeed that gives the understanding and understanding does come from God but it is our duty to give our minds to understand 2 Corinthians 8:12 For if there be first a willing mind..... “ The first half of the Anti-Calvinist’s comment is correct. God does give understanding, and understanding does come from God. It is even technically accurate to say that it is our duty to open our minds to the understanding. However, the hidden assumption behind the Anti-Calvinist comment is that if it is our duty, God can’t be involved – God can’t start the process, and carry it through in us, in the Anti-Calvinist’s faulty view. Of course, the reader will recognize that God does not simply give understanding, but wisdom as well. He does not just teach, He regenerates. Thus, it is said that God begins the work in us.

The error in the Anti-Calvinist’s concluding statement, however, is most clear from the Anti-Calvinist’s quotation of 2 Corinthians 8:12. Let’s see what that verse is talking about in context:

2 Corinthians 8:8-15
8I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. 9For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 10And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. 11Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. 12For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. 13For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: 14But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: 15As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.

In context, we can see that Paul is talking about a willingness to engage in acts of charity, i.e. almsgiving to poor fellow-Christians. The verse is not, in any remote way, suggesting that there must be a willing mind before the Spirit can act in a person to bring that person to Christ. When the Anti-Calvinist so abuses Scripture, it can be seen that the reason is that there truly is no Scripture that supports the Anti-Calvinist’s position.

Scripture says:
But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
Calvinists suggest that these people see because God predestined them to see by blessing them with ability to see. Observe that the phrase does not imply “they see because they were blessed before the very foundation of the world”. The phrase is rather “But blessed are your eyes, for they see” which is the same as “They are blessed because they see”. Blessedness is the consequence of seeing. True blessedness is entailed upon the right understanding of the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Once you understand those mysteries you become blessed. They saw the glory of God in Christ’s person; they heard the mind of God in Christ’s doctrine; they saw much, they were eager to see more, they were prepared to receive further instruction and they had an opportunity for it by being constant attendants on Christ. Observe also that one of the reasons why they are blessed is because many people in the past wanted to see and hear the same thing but couldn’t as we read in the next sentence.
I reply:

The Anti-Calvinist’s opening comment: “Calvinists suggest that these people see because God predestined them to see by blessing them with ability to see.” Two clarifications should be made. First, Calvinists don’t just suggest that these people see because God blessed them with that ability, Calvinist’s say that. Second, Calvinists are correct, because that is what the verse is conveying.

The Anti-Calvinist, however, insists: “Observe that the phrase does not imply “they see because they were blessed before the very foundation of the world”.” No, indeed, it does not imply all that. It simply implies that the see because they were blessed. We know that God’s decision to bless or curse was made before we did good or evil (as illustrated in Jacob and Esau in Romans 9). But those are things we know from other passages – from this one we just know that the disciples saw because they were blessed with sight.

The Anti-Calvinist, on the contrary, however, claims: “The phrase is rather “But blessed are your eyes, for they see” which is the same as “They are blessed because they see”.” The Anti-Calvinist’s choice of equivalents is wrong. If the Anti-Calvinist had said that it is the same as “because they see, they are blessed,” the Anti-Calvinist would be clearly wrong. However, the Anti-Calvinist’s wording leaves open the correct sense, even if not as well as the KJV’s wording.

In other words, the Anti-Calvinist’s equivalent is right only in the sense that we might say “You are tall, because you can reach the ceiling,” or “you are strong because you can bench press double your own weight.” It is that sense of “because” that correctly conveys the sense here.

It’s much like many of Jesus’ other comments on blessedness. Consider, for example:

Luke 6:21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.

So, you can see how you could say “blessed are the now-hungry because they will be filled, and the now-weeping, because they shall laugh,” but you cannot say that “because they will be filled, they are now-hungry,” or “because they shall laugh, they are now-weeping.”

Or this example:

Matthew 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

You can easily see that you could say “blessed are the persecuted because they have salvation,” but you cannot say that “because they have salvation, they are persecuted.”

Furthermore, there is plenty of Scripture to confirm that the disciples were blessed by God. Indeed, they were blessed by God, and heaven was prepared for them from before the beginning of the world:

Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

And specifically, Peter was blessed with his knowledge of God:

Matthew 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Yet the Anti-Calvinist claims: “Blessedness is the consequence of seeing.” This is a direct falsehood. The Calvinist has mistaken the cart for the horse, and vice versa. Seeing is the consequence of blessing, just as being filled is the consequence of blessing, just as having the kingdom of heaven is the consequence of blessing, and just as laughter is the consequence of blessing. There is no room grammatically, textually, or rationally for the Anti-Calvinist’s position.

But the Anti-Calvinist continues, saying, “True blessedness is entailed upon the right understanding of the mysteries of the kingdom of God.” Here is thinly-veiled attempt to make salvation merit-based. The Anti-Calvinist apparently wants to think that the Anti-Calvinist made himself to be different from other men by being smarter: understanding the mysteries of the kingdom of God, where others did not. Shame on such an attitude!

Salvation is a gift – it is a blessing – it is grace. It is not something we earn, merit, or deserve in any way. The only reason we are any different from Saddam Hussein is that God blessed us. If God had not chosen to bless us, we would be just as sinful, and perhaps worse. Salvation is by Grace, not works.

In the same error, the Anti-Calvinist continues: “Once you understand those mysteries you become blessed.” As noted above, this is not how salvation works and it is directly contrary to the text at hand. There is no reason to believe it, and it is dishonorable for the Anti-Calvinist even to suggest such an idea.

The Anti-Calvinist states: “They saw the glory of God in Christ’s person; they heard the mind of God in Christ’s doctrine; they saw much, they were eager to see more, they were prepared to receive further instruction and they had an opportunity for it by being constant attendants on Christ.” As usual, the Anti-Calvinist has included some truths among the Anti-Calvinist’s falsehoods. The Anti-Calvinist is correct in each of these points. However, it is important to remember that God revealed Himself to them. Furthermore, remember what Jesus tells them about who initiated what:

John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

And, of course, the same goes for us as well. We don’t initially chose God, God initially chooses us, and ordains us, so that we should go forth and bear fruit and that our fruit should remain, and that the Father would answer our prayers.

The Anti-Calvinist’s last comment is most obtuse: “Observe also that one of the reasons why they are blessed is because many people in the past wanted to see and hear the same thing but couldn’t as we read in the next sentence.” The Anti-Calvinist seems to be suggesting that the disciples somehow succeeded where others failed, and that, therefore, they were blessed for doing so well. On the contrary, of course, it is just the opposite. That they were blessed can be seen from the fact that many other “deserving” (outwardly speaking) people before them did not have the chance to see what they saw.

Scripture says:
For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
The Old-Testament saints, who had some glimpses, some glimmerings of gospel light, coveted earnestly further discoveries. They had the types, shadows, and prophecies, of those things but longed to see the Substance, that glorious end of those things which they could not steadfastly look unto; that glorious inside of those things which they could not look into. They desired to see the great Salvation, the Consolation of Israel, but did not see it, because the fullness of time has not yet come.
I reply:
The Anti-Calvinist’s comments miss the point, for they leave out the most important piece of the picture: Christ.

As Jesus said of Abraham:

John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

But, even more important than the details of what the prophets and righteous men wanted to see and couldn’t, the Anti-Calvinist seems to have overlooked the fact that these referred to people are believers, prophets and righteous men. They are no less deserving than he disciples. And, indeed, the point of mentioning these men is to show just how much the disciples were blessed to see what they saw.

Thanks be to God Who hath provided the better things for us, including, in this case, the explanation to the parable. Remember, after all, that the greater context of Jesus’ comment that the disciples are blessed is their question regarding why Jesus speaks to the multitude in parables. The disciples were blessed, the multitudes were not blessed, at least not in the same way.

Scripture says:
Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
Observe that Christ’s parables are borrowed from common, ordinary things, not from any philosophical notions or speculations, or the unusual phenomena of nature but from the most obvious things, that are of every day’s observation, As we go through the parable below could you please notice that Calvinists believe that there are only two types of people: those whom God causes to believe and those whom God does not cause to believe. For Calvinists there are no different types of grounds. All grounds are equally bad. They believe that God chooses some of those bad grounds and causes them to become good grounds. Below Jesus gives an account of four types of ground which stand for 4 types of people. Three are bad and one is good. This contradicts the doctrine of Calvinism and proves the fallacy of it.
I reply:

Parables are analogies and riddles. They convey a spiritual truth using an earthly story. To the extent that the Anti-Calvinist’s comments are trying to say that, they are correct.

However, the Anti-Calvinist then continues that “Calvinists believe that there are only two types of people: those whom God causes to believe and those whom God does not cause to believe.” The world can almost always be dichotomized. Those who believe, and those who do not believe. Those who are over 5’ 9” and those who are not. And so on, and so forth.

The Anti-Calvinist’s next assertion, however, is clearly incorrect: “For Calvinists there are no different types of grounds.” It is clearly not true that, for Calvinists there are not different types of grounds. One can reduce ground into two types (good and not), but one can also divide ground into many categories.

The Anti-Calvinist asserts next: “All grounds are equally bad.” The Anti-Calvinist is stating what the Anti-Calvinist thinks that Calvinists say. However, the Anti-Calvinist is confused. All grounds are initially equally dead. Without the preparation of the Spirit, none of the ground will produce any fruit. Calvinists don’t say that everyone is equally bad – we say that all men are equally in need of the saving power of God.

The Anti-Calvinist continues to describe what the Anti-Calvinist thinks Calvinists believe, with: “They believe that God chooses some of those bad grounds and causes them to become good grounds.” This is true.

Psalm 65:10 Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof.

And again, and in more detail:

Isaiah 28:22-29
22Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth. 23Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech. 24Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he open and break the clods of his ground? 25When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rie in their place? 26For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him. 27For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod. 28Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen. 29This also cometh forth from the LORD of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.

Note how Isaiah’s parable of the sower is more complete in some ways (it includes the preparation of the soil, and the intentionality of the sower), less complete in other ways (notably, there is no immediate explanation), and different in other ways – for example, the seed here represents different people – some fitches, some cumin, and some corn.

But, of course, yes, God – the sower – is the one who makes good ground good. No one who is a farmer would expect to be able to go out and sow without first preparing the soil – making good soil from bad soil: breaking up the clods and opening the soil.

The Anti-Calvinist’s conclusion, therefore, that “Below Jesus gives an account of four types of ground which stand for 4 types of people. Three are bad and one is good. This contradicts the doctrine of Calvinism and proves the fallacy of it,” is clearly mistaken. The fallacy is imagining that the good soil is good on its own, or by its own power. Consider the two alternatives: in the Calvinist alternative it is the Sower who, before He sows, plows the field, making hard packed ground soft, turning over (and carting off) stones, and destroying the weeds. This not only fits our common experience of farmers’ behavior, but fits Isaiah’s similar parable as well. Consider, however, the Anti-Calvinist’s alternative: some soil is just “good” on its own. It has plucked out its own thorns, it has chosen not to be wayside. It has removed its own stones. Does any of this sound like ground you, the reader, have ever heard of? Of course not. It is absurd and nonsense.

Again, Scripture says:
, the parable of the sower

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
The Sower who scatters the seed is our Lord Jesus Christ. He does it by Himself Mt 13:37 ....The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man and by his ministers such as Paul who was sent to Gentiles to open their eyes Acts 26:18...I am sending Paul to open sinner’s eyes..... Calvinists suggests that God causes only some people to believe. Observe that here the word “Sower” is used. Who is Sower? Sower is a person who scatters seed. He does not distribute seeds by careful selection to predestined people only which is what Calvinism would imply. Sower scatters seed absolutely everywhere. That means every person has an equal opportunity and a chance of catching it. Good Sower would never waste His seed by scattering it on thorny or stony ground. Jesus is the best Sower ever. Yet He did scatter seeds everywhere. What does it mean? It means that every person has an equal chance of receiving it. It is up to a person whether to receive it or not. Salvation takes two. To fall in love it takes two. It takes God and a person. This proves fallacy of Calvinism. Calvinists suggest that hose who are not predestined by God will never have their hearts changed. Observe in this parable a Man’s heart is compared to a soil, capable of improvement and of bearing good fruits. Any soil in the world can be improved by watering it and by the good use of fertilizers for example. Similarly any man’s heart is capable of improving and softening by praying and caring for that person. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism According to Calvinism there is no point in praying for sinners. There is no point in praying at all. All events are predestined. All that happens around us-happen for a reason and according to God’s will. Therefore there is no point in praying. Jesus however encourages us to pray in His name about everything. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism. Calvinists believe that salvation is up to God alone and a person can not do anything about it. Below the following principle is discovered in this parable. The reception depends upon the receiver. Who is a receiver? You and me. What does salvation depend on? It depends on God and a person. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism
I reply:
The Anti-Calvinist begins with something that sounds reasonable and seems to be supported by Scripture, saying: “The Sower who scatters the seed is our Lord Jesus Christ. He does it by Himself Mt 13:37 ....The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man and by his ministers such as Paul who was sent to Gentiles to open their eyes Acts 26:18...I am sending Paul to open sinner’s eyes.....” The Sower is indeed Christ and those who preached the same gospel that Christ preached, such as Paul.

Recall that Paul said:

1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

The Anti-Calvinist continues: “Calvinists suggests that God causes only some people to believe. Observe that here the word “Sower” is used. Who is Sower? Sower is a person who scatters seed.” The Anti-Calvinist, again, is correct if somewhat too tentative. We do not just suggest, but openly declare the God causes some people to believe. The Anti-Calvinist is correct that the word used in English here is Sower, and that a sower is one who scatters seed.

But the Anti-Calvinist continues: “He does not distribute seeds by careful selection to predestined people only which is what Calvinism would imply. Sower scatters seed absolutely everywhere.” Of course, Calvinism implies no such thing. The Sower does scatter the seed broadly, but it is not true to life to say “absolutely everywhere.” More precisely, the Sower scatters wherever the Sower wants to scatter. In general, that is over the Sower’s own land. Sowers that we see generally scatter their seed generally on the ground that they have prepared for being seeded. However, scattering is imprecise. The seeds go all over the place.

Recall what the seeds are – they are not the preparation of the soil. The seed is the gospel message: the word of God. Calvinism teaches God, as farmer, prepares the soil. Calvinism does not teach that only the good soil has the gospel preached to it by Christ and His apostles, prophets, and other preachers. That would be absurd. No, Calvinism teaches that more than just the elect have the gospel preached to them.

Next, the Anti-Calvinist claims: “That means every person has an equal opportunity and a chance of catching it.” This is clearly wrong. As we are about to see, the fact that the seed is scattered broadly does not imply “equal opportunity” or “chance.” Furthermore, it should be obvious that not everyone has an “equal opportunity” or “chance” when it comes to hearing the gospel. Only a relatively small number of people received the personal ministry of Jesus Christ. And those who did receive Christ’s personal ministry had something better than those who did not.

Matthew 11:23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

Furthermore, prior to Christ there were myriads that did not have the gospel preached to them at all. To say that they had an “equal opportunity” or “chance,” is, thus, not just unscriptural, but absurd. Capernaum did not have an “equal opportunity” or “chance,” it had a better opportunity than Sodom.

The Anti-Calvinist, however, continues, saying: “Good Sower would never waste His seed by scattering it on thorny or stony ground. Jesus is the best Sower ever. Yet He did scatter seeds everywhere.” Here the Anti-Calvinist is clearly wrong. A good sower does not waste time and effort making sure that no seed falls on such ground. Instead the good sower spinkles the seed broadly over the good ground, and some falls on the other ground. However, the broad sprinkling ensures that the sower finishes the field, rather than spending days individually placing the seeds only on good ground.

It’s something akin to the situation in the parable of the tares.

Recall what the parable said:

Matthew 13:24-30
24Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

In that parable, some people, like the servants (and perhaps like the Anti-Calvinist) thought that it made sense to go into the field and pick out the young tares, so that the good wheat would not have to compete with the tares. The householder, the farmer, the sower – he had a better idea. Allow them both to remain, and separate them later. In other words, sometimes the best idea is to let things take their course initially.

A normal farmer sowing normal seed will not spend oodles of time and effort trying to make sure that each seed starts off in fertile ground. No, a normal farmer will scatter the seed to quickly and efficiently fall on the fertile ground.

Even so here, the Anti-Calvinist thinks that the Anti-Calvinist would (if the Anti-Calvinist were the sower) not waste good seed on bad ground. But seed is cheap, and time and effort may not be by comparison. The seed in this example represents the preached word. There is no wastage that goes on when Christ preaches to the disciples and the multitude together. The same goes for preachers every day. It would be virtually impossible for ordinary preachers to ensure that the preached word went only to those whose hearts were fertile ground. No, they scatter the seed broadly, and those whom God has ordained to eternal life believe, as they did in Acts 13:48.

Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

Yet, the Anti-Calvinist says: “It is up to a person whether to receive it or not. Salvation takes two. To fall in love it takes two. It takes God and a person. This proves fallacy of Calvinism.” Here, the Anti-Calvinist seems to take a most peculiar twist. Aside from the obvious point that the Anti-Calvinist has not proved (much less identified) any alleged fallacy, there are several obvious errors in the Anti-Calvinist’s comments.

First, the comments clearly do not fit within the parable. It is not “up to” the soil about whether to receive the seed or not. If the sower scatters seed there (and the birds do not take it away) then the seed will have an effect. Sowing the seed takes one: the sower.

Second, the comment regarding falling in love is clearly wrong. One person can, and often does, fall in love without the assistance of the other person. This phenomenon is called in popular culture a crush. When it is negatively received (or negatively expressed) it can also be referred to as “stalking.” Furthermore, even within a marriage, it is unfortunately frequent for the affections of one spouse to become cold while the other spouse is still in love with the first. Love can be monergistic, and often is.

Indeed, God’s love for us was monergistic. He loved us before we ever loved Him. In fact, we love God, because God first loved us.

1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

Indeed, the very humanist error of the Anti-Calvinist is rebutted by the Apostle John, who explained that true is not our love for God, but God’s love for us:

1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

The Anti-Calvinist, however, continues: “Calvinists suggest that hose who are not predestined by God will never have their hearts changed. Observe in this parable a Man’s heart is compared to a soil, capable of improvement and of bearing good fruits. Any soil in the world can be improved by watering it and by the good use of fertilizers for example. Similarly any man’s heart is capable of improving and softening by praying and caring for that person. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism.”

The Anti-Calvinist’s initial comment, “Calvinists suggest that [t]hose who are not predestined by God will never have their hearts changed,” is an accurate statement. To be more precise, we Reformed believe that unless God changes man’s heart, it will remain in its fallen state of deformity and corruption.

The Anti-Calvinist also correctly notes that, “Observe in this parable a Man’s heart is compared to a soil, capable of improvement and of bearing good fruits.” The Anti-Calvinist’s passive wording is very appropriate. Soil is capable of improvement, but not self-improvement. It is capable of bearing good fruits when it has been improved. But who does it need in order to be improved? The farmer, the sower, that is to say, God.

The Anti-Calvinist asserts, “Similarly any man’s heart is capable of improving and softening by praying and caring for that person.” This explanation, of course, does not come from the parable, but is a stretch – an extension. The parable does not address how the soil is improved. One thing is clear: within the parable, the soil can only be improved by the farmer. It cannot be improved by the soil itself or by nearby soil. Since the farmer is God, the idea of “prayer” being the mechanism is strange. To whom would God pray? To say that “caring” is the mechanism is quite vague.

Scripture provides some answer, however. God’s ministers can plant the seed, and they can water the ground, but it is God who gives increase (or not).

1 Corinthians 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

So, then it is fallacious to conclude that mankind can pull itself up from being bad ground to good ground by its own bootstraps. It take the work and the grace of God for that to happen.

The Anti-Calvinist, however, blunders on: “According to Calvinism there is no point in praying for sinners. There is no point in praying at all. All events are predestined. All that happens around us-happen for a reason and according to God’s will. Therefore there is no point in praying. Jesus however encourages us to pray in His name about everything. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism.” And, of course, as usual, the Anti-Calvinist has things on their head.

Calvinism, of course, does teach that there is a point to praying for sinners. It is Anti-Calvinism that makes such prayer pointless. Calvinists believe that God is the one who changes a person’s heart. Thus, if one wants one’s neighbor to be saved, one prays to God for that neighbor.

The Anti-Calvinist, however, if the Anti-Calvinist prays, must pray strange prayers. What can the god of the Anti-Calvinist do about a man’s salvation? Is it not “up to man” in the Anti-Calvinist’s system? If so, then what is the point of praying to such a god? To sympathize with the god? What an absurdity!

The Anti-Calvinist asserts that “There is no point in praying at all. All events are predestined.” Of course, all events are predestined. The problem is with the Anti-Calvinist’s view of the purpose of prayer. If the purpose is to place God on a string, so that we can pull the string and something happens, then the Anti-Calvinist’s objection is correct. However, prayer is an expression of humility and reliance upon God, as well as an expression of adoration, confession, and thanksgiving. We ask God for our daily bread, but God has already promised to give that to us.

So, the Anti-Calvinist’s criticism is not properly criticism of the Calvinist’s prayer but of the Anti-Calvinist’s own prayer.

Furthermore, the Anti-Calvinist correctly notes that we believe that “All that happens around us-happen for a reason and according to God’s will.” We certainly do, and we even pray that: “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” And furthermore, we know that it does, for the Apostle Paul writes:

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

The Anti-Calvinist, however, concludes: “Calvinists believe that salvation is up to God alone and a person can not do anything about it. Below the following principle is discovered in this parable. The reception depends upon the receiver. Who is a receiver? You and me. What does salvation depend on? It depends on God and a person. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism.” And again, the Anti-Calvinist’s mistaken philosophy imposes something on the passage that is not there.

The first part of the Anti-Calvinist’s assertion that “Calvinists believe that salvation is up to God alone” is certainly true, and we gladly and boldly proclaim that truth. For Scripture says:

Psalm 68:20 He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death.

And again:

Psalm 3:8 Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.

The other half of the Anti-Calvinist’s statement, namely: “a person can not do anything about it,” requires some clarification. If the Anti-Calvinist means that we believe that only God regenerates, we agree. If the Anti-Calvinist means that we believe man is passive in regeneration, we also agree, for Scripture says:

John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Thus, regeneration is by God’s will, not man’s will. Man is no more active in his re-birth than in his first birth.

If, however, the Anti-Calvinist means that man has no responsibility to be active, then we strongly disagree. As the Scriptures say:

Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

In other words, God decides who to save, how to save, and the way the Spirit of God blows, no one knows. But we must do what God has commanded us. We must, because God has told us to.

Scripture says:

When any one heareth the word of the kingdom,
But the Anti-Calvinist says:


The seed sown is the word of God. Here it is called the word of the kingdom. The word of the gospel is the word of kingdom. What kingdom is that? It is the kingdom of heaven. It is the word of the King Jesus, and where that is, there is power. It is a new spiritual law, by which we must be ruled and governed. This word is the seed sown. It looks like a tiny, dead, dry thing, but all the product is virtually in it. It is incorruptible seed as it is the word of the Holy God which brings forth fruit in souls,
I reply:The Anti-Calvinist is correct that seed sown is the word of God. And the Anti-Calvinist is correct that it is the word of the kingdom, and the kingdom referred to is the kingdom of heaven.

The term "kingdom of heaven" in Scripture is essentially a synonym for "salvation." Christ, the King, builds his kingdom out of those whom the Father has given him. And it is true that the word of God as it relates to salvation is accompanied by power. For it is written:

I Corinthians 4:18-21
18Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you. 19But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. 20For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. 21What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?

In other words we see that Paul was presenting a challenge to the vain pretenders. Their message lacked power. It's much the same with the castrated message of the Anti-Calvinist. The Anti-Calvinist's message lacks power. God, for the Anti-Calvinist, is reduced to a single-purpose genie. If one wishes for salvation, the genie grants the wish.

The word of God is not new. It is the same word that was given to Moses. It is just clearer now:

Mark 1:14-15
14Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Consider the way that John puts it:

I John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

But the Psalmist had already said:

Psalm 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

Psalm 4:5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.

Psalm 9:10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

And Solomon wrote:

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

And the prophet Isaiah wrote:

Isaiah 26:4 Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:

And the prophet Nahum wrote:

Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.

In short, we have always been told, implicitly or explicitly to trust in God. Even Adam's sin of taking the forbidden fruit can be reduced to a failure to trust God over anyone else. No, it is no new commandment, but an old one. It's just been made more clear to us.

The Anti-Calvinist's conclusion: "It looks like a tiny, dead, dry thing, but all the product is virtually in it. It is incorruptible seed as it is the word of the Holy God which brings forth fruit in souls," is puzzling. Yes, the pages of Scripture may seem like flat, lifeless text to some, and yes they have power. But what is puzzling is the "which brings forth fruit in souls" comment. How can the Anti-Calvinist agree to that? The Anti-Calvinist's position is actually that human reaction to the seed of the gospel is what produces fruit or not. Thus, it is puzzlingly inconsistent for the Anti-Calvinist to affirm the truth that God brings forth fruit in men's souls.

And Scripture continues:

and understandeth it not,

But the Anti-Calvinist says:

Here Jesus explains the following verse of the parable some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.. Observe what kind of hearers are compared to “along the path”. Those who hear the word and understand it not. It is their own fault that they do not understand it. They take no heed to it, take no hold of it; they do not come with any design to get good. Calvinists suggest that it is God who gives understanding. But if God is the one who is solely responsible for sinner’s understanding then it is God who is guilty. God did not provide an understanding for some people. They will go to hell because God did not provide it for them. If Calvinists were right then at this point of the parable is would be absolutely pointless for Jesus to distinguish this kind of people from all the rest. Any person in the world is a sinner and can’t hear and understand. What’s the point to say that this kind of people is different from the rest? Everyone can’t understand. But Jesus does distinguish these people form the other ones. He tells us that there are 4 kinds of people. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism
I reply:
The Anti-Calvinist begins saying: "Here Jesus explains the following verse of the parable some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.. Observe what kind of hearers are compared to “along the path”. Those who hear the word and understand it not." So far, the Anti-Calvinist is not off track. The particular verse Jesus is explaining is:

Matthew 13:4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:

Yes, the "way side" is a path, and the fowls are birds. However, the term "way side" conveys better the type of path we are talking about. The sower is not simply sowing on roads anywhere. But some of the seed lands on the road adjacent to the field. It is important to recognize that "way side" is simply a translation of a single Greek word that means, in essence, highway. Not like our highways of today, but the highways of Jesus time. Hard packed dirt roads that were made hard by the continual passage of men, donkeys, horse, cattle, and, of course, carts, carriages, and the occasional chariot.

Paved roads were an innovation that the Romans brought with them, but most of the highways in Jesus' time, certainly in the rural areas where farming was practiced, would have been hardpacked dirt roads.

Such a road would be like a plate, and for birds nearby, seed sprinkled on such a road would be a tasty treat.

The Anti-Calvinist's next comment: "It is their own fault that they do not understand it," misses the mark. The fault does not adhere to the lack of understanding. Lack of understanding is the absence of understanding. A child does not understand, a dog does not understand, a rock does not understand. No fault inheres in not-understanding by itself.

However, it does in a merit-based humanistic philosophy. In the Anti-Calvinist's worldview it may be that a lack of understanding is a fault. Here, however, the fault (in the sense of cause) is not ascribed to the way side, but to the fowls. They stole the seed. This aggravates the Anti-Calvinist's error.

The Anti-Calvinist is not even left with the option that the reason that they do not understand is within themselves. In this case, they do not understand because Satan steals the word away.

The Anti-Calvinist declares: "They take no heed to it, take no hold of it; they do not come with any design to get good," but how could they? They are way side. A well beaten path. How could they seize hold of the word? Their hearts are as hard as the hard-packed earth. Even the rain the waters the fields on both sides does not soften this well-trod path. Of course they do not heed or take hold of the word.

But the Anti-Calvinist accuses: "Calvinists suggest that it is God who gives understanding," and it is a valid accusation. After all, it is the truth of Scripture to say that God gives understanding. He clearly gave it to Solomon, for He spoke:

1 Kings 3:12 Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.

Job also writes:

Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.

And the Psalmist wrote, and we sing:

Psalm 119:130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

For indeed the word of God is powerful, for God who speaks the Word is powerful.

But then the Anti-Calvinist falsely accuses God Himself saying: "But if God is the one who is solely responsible for sinner’s understanding then it is God who is guilty." For shame to say such a thing!

It is only God who can give any good gift, whether it be wisdom, knowledge, understanding, or any other good gift. But it is not the having of the gift or not that produces guilt. Sin produces guilt. It is sin for which men are guilty.

Numbers 5:6 Speak unto the children of Israel, When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to do a trespass against the LORD, and that person be guilty;

The Anti-Calvinist says that that Calvinist position is that "God did not provide an understanding for some people." Indeed, Scripture says the same thing, so of course Calvinists must hold to that:

Deuteronomy 29:4 Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.

The Anti-Calvinist, however, continues: "They will go to hell because God did not provide it for them." This is simply the Anti-Calvinist hypothesizing. Perhaps they will go to hell, but it will be for their sins. The error of the Anti-Calvinist can be seen in the following example.

Suppose that a bandit beats and robs the governor of a state, rapes his wife, and kills his children. Subsequently, the bandit is apprehended, tried, and properly condemned to death. It is in the power of the governor to pardon the bandit. However, it would be absurd to say that the reason that the bandit fries in the electric chair is because of the governor. It is because of what the bandit did.

It is even so with those who are lost. Unless God graciously pardons them for their crimes against Him, they will be lost. It is not God who is guilty, but the bandits, and it is shameful to say that God is at fault, when God does not pardon someone's sins, when God does not lift a person from the miry clay, and the like.

Even so, here, it would be absurd to complain against the sower for not preparing the path to receive the seed, softening it with watering or ploughing it to break up the clods. The sower can do what he wants to in preparing His field. It is His field, after all.

The Anti-Calvinist, however, continues with: "If Calvinists were right then at this point of the parable is would be absolutely pointless for Jesus to distinguish this kind of people from all the rest." The Anti-Calvinist is too quick to assume. Jesus', the Ultimate Calvinist's, point is simply different, and more Scriptural, than the Anti-Calvinist's point.

The point can be captured in this way: there are many reactions to the word, but good ground brings forth good fruit, and bad ground does not.

The Anti-Calvinist tries to present the Calvinist position, saying: "Any person in the world is a sinner and can’t hear and understand. What’s the point to say that this kind of people is different from the rest? Everyone can’t understand." Everyone in the world is a sinner, and - by fallen nature - cannot bear fruit. It is only the gracious working of the farmer that breaks up the clods, weeds the rows, and removes the stones. When soil brings forth fruit from seed, it is the Farmer who is to be praised. But God does give people various amounts of grace. To some he gives almost no grace. These are the way side ground. They don't hear or don't understand. The devil snatches the word away from them immediately before it can sink in.

The Anti-Calvinist, however, concludes: "But Jesus does distinguish these people form the other ones. He tells us that there are 4 kinds of people. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism." Of course, as noted in previous segments, the Anti-Calvinist has not even identified, much less proved any fallacy in Calvinism. Furthermore, while the Anti-Calvinist is right in noting that Jesus distinguishes the way side hearers from others. However, the Anti-Calvinist is wrong about the four kinds of people comment.

There are six types described: three bad (way side, stony ground, and weedy ground) and three good (100-fold fruitful, 60-fold fruitful, and 30-fold fruitful) . First of all, this rebuts the Anti-Calvinist's quaternary distinction. More importantly, however, this provides balance. Just as there are different kinds of non-believers (way side, stony ground, and weedy ground) even so some believers are more fruitful than others.

It also shows clearly the fact the Anti-Calvinist is unable to clearly see the passage for what it is. We will see this again in subsequent segments.

Scripture says:

then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart.

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
How these people come to be unprofitable hearers? The wicked one that is, the devil, cometh and catcheth away that which was sown. Such mindless, careless, trifling hearers are an easy prey to Satan. He is the great murderer of souls, and he is the great thief of sermons, and will be sure to rob any person of the word, if he takes no care to keep it. He is a sworn enemy to our profiting by the word of God. He loves heedless hearers, who are thinking of something else, when they should be thinking of God. We all know very well that God never gives up what He started Php 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Calvinists believe that God is in control of everything and that it is solely up to God whether a person is saved or not. So if God started His work by sowing the seed in you He will finish what He started because He always finishes what He started. If Calvinists are right so that it is God who gives us understanding then here we see a clear example of the work started by God (by giving an understanding to a person) and yet this work has not been finished by God. Satan robbed the seed and God could not accomplish what He started. God failed to protect the seed from Satan. We are not guilty. There is nothing we can do. Salvation is not up to us. God should blame Satan not us because Satan was a thief. It is not you who gave God’s seed away. It is Satan who robbed you. Why should you go to hell for that? You are not guilty. If not Satan you would still have His seed in your heart. God should send Satan to hell, not you. Observe that God holds you responsible for seed’s loss not Satan. You lost it because you have not prepared your heart for it. We have responsibility to break up the fallow ground, by preparing our heart for the word, humbling ourselves to it and engaging our own attention to it. If we cover not the seed afterwards, by meditation and prayer; if we give not a more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, we are as the “highway or pathway ground”. You as a person are responsible for your own condemnation. It’s not just Satan. It is you and Satan. Similarly you as a person are responsible for your own salvation. It’s not just God. It’s God and your sincere attitude and intention of your heart. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism. By the way, many educated atheists refuse to believe in Christianity because of Calvinism. Vast majority of Atheists believe that God is omnipotent and omnipresent who foreknew and predestined everything and everyone around us before the very foundation of the world. Because of such view these atheists see so many logical contradictions in relation to notions of “sin” and “hell” that they refuse to believe in Christianity. Calvinism contributes to the loss of souls so Calvinism is a satanic doctrine indeed.
I reply:
The Anti-Calvinist begins with a question: “How these people come to be unprofitable hearers?” The answer to the Anti-Calvinist’s question can be answered by looking at what the way side is. It is hard packed earth, made compact by the feet of men and animals, and by the wheels of carts, carriages, and chariots. The way side is not “good ground” because it has not been plowed. It has not been prepared for being seeded. For the fowls it is a dinner a plate.

The Anti-Calvinist, however, has a very different answer. Misapplying Scripture, the Anti-Calvinist supposes that the answer is: “The wicked one that is, the devil, cometh and catcheth away that which was sown.” This, however, is not the case. The reason that the devil is able to catch away what is sown is because of the dinner-plate-like characteristic of the first kind of ground. The ground is not like a dinner plate because of the diligence of the fowls, the fowls rush to this ground because it is a like a dinner plate.

The Anti-Calvinist continues: “Such mindless, careless, trifling hearers are an easy prey to Satan.” This, of course, is true. And it is the point. The first ground is so hard-hearted that it is easy for Satan to remove that which was sown.

But the Anti-Calvinist then claims: “He is the great murderer of souls, and he is the great thief of sermons, and will be sure to rob any person of the word, if he takes no care to keep it.” Here the Anti-Calvinist has missed the mark. He has ascribed powers to Satan that Satan does not have. Specifically, the Anti-Calvinist falsely claims that Satan murders souls. However, the way side ground is already dead. The best Satan can do is to help maintain the dead state of that ground. He can snatch away the word of God, but what would happen if he did not? We will see that when come to some of the other types of bad ground. The short answer, however, is that they would still perish. Satan certainly is evil, but the people whom he afflicts are already under condemnation. They are not murdered by Satan.

The Anti-Calvinist, however, insists: “He is a sworn enemy to our profiting by the word of God.” Indeed, that is true, as is the Anti-Calvinist’s next comment: “He loves heedless hearers, who are thinking of something else, when they should be thinking of God.” Nevertheless, he attends to them because they are wayside, they are not wayside because of his attentions.

The Anti-Calvinist then makes a strange remark: “We all know very well that God never gives up what He started” and quotes:

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

This is true, but it is strange and contradictory for the Anti-Calvinist to bring it up. Remember how previously the Anti-Calvinist was claiming that God tries numerous times before hardening the hearts of those whose hearts He hardens? We saw that such was not the case. Now, it seems that the Anti-Calvinist has come to agree with us. However, the Anti-Calvinist’s remark regarding Philippians 1:6 comes from the blue, and seems to be more designed to address a Calvinist position than to provide exegesis of the text in question.

For indeed, the Anti-Calvinist continues, saying, “Calvinists believe that God is in control of everything and that it is solely up to God whether a person is saved or not.” That is true. God is in control of everything, and it is solely up to God whether a person is saved or not. Indeed, that is the definition both of omnipotence (God is in control of everything) and grace (it is solely up to God whether a person is saved or not).

But the Anti-Calvinist asserts: “So if God started His work by sowing the seed in you He will finish what He started because He always finishes what He started.” The Anti-Calvinist appears to be confused. If the work was simply sowing seed, then the work is finished once the seed is sown. What more remains? The Anti-Calvinist seems to want to impose a further condition not found in the text, namely that the sower sowed seed on the way side hoping, intending, and wanting the way side to bring forth fruit. What an absurdity! If the sower wanted the way side to bring forth fruit, don’t you think that the sower would plow it first? Don’t you think that the sower would drive away the fowls so that they would not steal the seed away? But the sower does not. The Anti-Calvinist’s insinuations are incorrect. The work done to the way side is complete. There is nothing left to be finished.

Yet the Anti-Calvinist asserts: “If Calvinists are right so that it is God who gives us understanding then here we see a clear example of the work started by God (by giving an understanding to a person) and yet this work has not been finished by God.” As noted above, the only contradiction is created by the Anti-Calvinist’s imposition of a non-existent plan. What work does the Anti-Calvinist think that God has started? Was it the work of salvation? The text does not say so. Was it the work of preaching the gospel? That work is finished.

Furthermore, in the case of this particular ground, the Anti-Calvinist’s objection is particularly absurd. Here the people do not understand. They were not given any understanding by God. Thus, the Anti-Calvinist’s objection that God has begun something in them is simply wrong.

The Anti-Calvinist says: “God failed to protect the seed from Satan.” This is certainly true. No one can deny it.

But the Anti-Calvinist’s next comment is clearly off the mark: “We are not guilty.” It is ironic that the Anti-Calvinist personalizes the way side ground. However, the way side ground is guilty of sin. As noted above, the Anti-Calvinist seems to have forgotten this. The way side ground is guilty because of sin.

The Anti-Calvinist continues saying: “There is nothing we can do. Salvation is not up to us.” The Anti-Calvinist is trying to state the Calvinist position here. And the statement, while misleading, is not far from accurate. Salvation is not up to us. How can the way side ground prevent the fowls from stealing away the seed? Of course, it cannot. The helplessness of the way side ground to better itself is obvious from the parable.

Yet the Anti-Calvinist supposes that this implies: “God should blame Satan not us because Satan was a thief. It is not you who gave God’s seed away. It is Satan who robbed you. Why should you go to hell for that? You are not guilty. If not Satan you would still have His seed in your heart. God should send Satan to hell, not you.” Again, you can see that the Anti-Calvinist has forgotten about sin. A person is in need of a Savior because the person is already guilty, already under condemnation. It’s bad of Satan to try to rob a person of the gospel, but the person already deserves hell. The Anti-Calvinist seems to have forgotten about that key fact.
In point of fact, Satan is the thief. He did steal the seed, and the way side did not give it away. Furthermore, God will send Satan to hell. But God will send the sinner to hell for the sinner’s sins. As it is written:

Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

The Anti-Calvinist, however, states: “Observe that God holds you responsible for seed’s loss not Satan.” The Anti-Calvinist is still approaching the situation from the wrong direction. Without the fruit of the seed, the ground is already lost. There is no need for additional responsibility with regard to the seed’s loss, and the ground is not held accountable for the loss of seed in the parable.

The Anti-Calvinist nevertheless asserts: “You lost it because you have not prepared your heart for it.” That way of looking at the matter certainly does not fit the parable. How would the way side ground prepare itself for the seed? It cannot. Preparation is in the hand of the farmer, the Sower.

The Anti-Calvinist further asserts: “We have responsibility to break up the fallow ground, by preparing our heart for the word, humbling ourselves to it and engaging our own attention to it.” The Anti-Calvinist is abusing Scripture with that reference, but let’s examine the Scriptures the Anti-Calvinist has in mind:

Jeremiah 4:3 For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.

Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

These passages also relate to the preparation of soil, but the analogies are rather different from the present analogy. For example, in Hosea 10, the analogy is along the lines of “you reap what you sow.”

Hosea 10:11-13
11And Ephraim is as an heifer that is taught, and loveth to tread out the corn; but I passed over upon her fair neck: I will make Ephraim to ride; Judah shall plow, and Jacob shall break his clods. 12Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. 13Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.

And in Jeremiah, the idea is one of purification:

Jeremiah 4:2-4
2And thou shalt swear, The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory. 3For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. 4Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

Consider rather this more similar parable in Isaiah:

Isaiah 28:23-26
23Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech. 24Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he open and break the clods of his ground? 25When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rie in their place? 26For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him.

The parable in Isaiah 28 is more similar because there the sower is God, and the ground is the people, unlike Jeremiah 2 and Hosea 10 in which the people themselves are both plowman and ground. The ground in the present parable, as in Isaiah 28 is not the same as the sower. The sower is the one who plows all day, who prepares the ground for sowing. Once he has prepared the soil, he scatters the seed according to his wise plan.

But the Anti-Calvinist insists: “If we cover not the seed afterwards, by meditation and prayer; if we give not a more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, we are as the ‘highway or pathway ground’” The Anti-Calvinist again is using some Scriptural language to make the Anti-Calvinist’s point have a Scriptural ring, but the Anti-Calvinist is off the mark.

The Anti-Calvinist’s language comes from Hebrews 2:

Hebrews 2:1-4
1Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. 2For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; 3How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; 4God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

However, as the author of Hebrews is saying, we need to seize hold of salvation to escape. There is only one way of salvation, Jesus Christ. If we do not seize hold of Him, we will surely perish. We will not escape.

The Anti-Calvinist is right that when anyone lets the word of salvation slip, they will not escape. Scripture says so. However, the parable we are dealing with does not address man’s responsibility. What responsibility does the soil have? It is what it is. We do have a responsibility to repent and believe. That is certainly true, but it is not in this parable.

The Anti-Calvinist then states: “You as a person are responsible for your own condemnation. It’s not just Satan. It is you and Satan.” It’s not even Satan … it’s just the sinner who is morally responsible for the sinner’s condemnation. Satan is responsible for Satan’s sin, and man is responsible for man’s sin. As it is written, the soul that sinneth shall die.

But the Anti-Calvinist makes an enormous blunder: “Similarly you as a person are responsible for your own salvation. It’s not just God. It’s God and your sincere attitude and intention of your heart. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism.” As noted before, while the Anti-Calvinist is fond of claiming to have proved fallacies, the Anti-Calvinist fails even to identify which fallacy is present, much less prove the fallacy. The Anti-Calvinist, however, has committed a fallacy of induction.

The Anti-Calvinist seems to imagine that the situation is symmetrical. The Anti-Calvinist states that condemnation is the combined fault of Satan and man, and therefore induces that salvation is the combined merit of God and man. This induction is flawed.

First, as noted above, man’s fall is man’s fault alone. Man is condemned by justice. Man sinned, therefore man deserves to die. Satan sinned and Satan also deserves to die, and will experience the second death in the lake of fire for all eternity.

Second, it is God and just God who saves. Man does not save himself. The Anti-Calvinist’s assertion that is also the merits of our own heart betrays the fact that Anti-Calvinist is promoting a merit-based salvation. Those who are saved according to the Anti-Calvinist are those who are better than others. They merit salvation by their “sincere attitude and intention of … heart.” This is contrary to grace. Grace is unmerited. We are saved by grace:

Acts 15:11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

And grace is the opposite of human merit and is based on God’s plan, not our desert:

2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

The Anti-Calvinist concludes with, essentially, a footnote claiming that Calvinism causes atheists not to be saved. Specifically the Anti-Calvinist asserts:
By the way, many educated atheists refuse to believe in Christianity because of Calvinism. Vast majority of Atheists believe that God is omnipotent and omnipresent who foreknew and predestined everything and everyone around us before the very foundation of the world. Because of such view these atheists see so many logical contradictions in relation to notions of “sin” and “hell” that they refuse to believe in Christianity. Calvinism contributes to the loss of souls so Calvinism is a satanic doctrine indeed.
I reply:

The Anti-Calvinist is wrong. Sinners refuse to believe because they are blind, deaf, and spiritually dead. Their hearts are hard, like the “way side” path. The Anti-Calvinist should know that.

Furthermore, the Anti-Calvinist’s factual assertion that “Vast majority of Atheists believe that God is omnipotent and omnipresent who foreknew and predestined everything and everyone around us before the very foundation of the world,” cannot be supported with evidence. Perhaps some atheists have that conception of what Christians believe about God. However, clearly atheists claim that God does not exist. Thus, they cannot believe what the Anti-Calvinist claims.

Some atheists certainly do claim to see logical contradictions, but in witnessing to atheists, this author can testify that no atheist has been able to present such a logical contradiction. Invariably, the contradictions that the atheists presented were between God being “all loving” (a typically anti-Calvinistic doctrine) and hell. Atheists ask how a loving God could send anyone to hell.

However, we do not turn the Anti-Calvinist’s footnote against the Anti-Calvinist and claim that it is because of the false gospel that anti-Calvinists preach that many are lost. No, we acknowledge that it is God who saves. That is why we both witness to the lost, and pray for their salvation.

Scripture Says:
This is he which received seed by the way side.

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
Observe the character of the very first sort of ground. They had pathways through their corn-fields and the seed that fell on them never entered, and so birds picked it up. Why does God sow His seed into this kind of ground where it would never enter anyway? Why did God not cause His seed to enter that ground? Isn’t God All mighty? Isn’t everything possible for God? Didn’t God know that birds will pick it up and devour anyway? Why waste His precious seed? Is God a fool? Here is a contradiction. God’s word is never wasted. It is always sown to achieve a purpose as is demonstrated in this verse Isa 55:11 ....my word ....shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please.... Notice the word “please”. Do you know what pleases God? Death of the wicked is not what pleases him. God is LOVE. The reason why God sows in all kind of grounds is because God loves everybody and wants everyone to be saved. He gives an equal opportunity to each and every single person in the world. Otherwise it would be a waste of seeds as in Isa 55:11. Calvinism is false. Predestination is a myth. It is not just God who determines salvation. God leaves it up to a person whether to accept the word or reject it.

I reply:

The Anti-Calvinist asks the reader to consider the character of the first type of ground. The first type of ground is hard packed. The Anti-Calvinist comments: “They had pathways through their corn-fields and the seed that fell on them never entered, and so birds picked it up.” In this case, the word most likely refers to the road, rather than just a footpath used by the farmer himself. Nevertheless, the point is that the seed that landed on the path was not going to get into the dirt. That’s why it was “easy pickin’s” for the birds.

Then the Anti-Calvinist asks: “Why does God sow His seed into this kind of ground where it would never enter anyway?” The question “Why does God,” can be a dangerous question. Recall what is written:

Job 9:12 Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou?

Ecclesiastes 8:4 Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?

Daniel 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

Any question about why God does what God does should be respectful. We must remember that God does whatever God wants to do.

Ecclesiastes 8:3 Be not hasty to go out of his sight: stand not in an evil thing; for he doeth whatsoever pleaseth him.

Thus, we can always answer the Anti-Calvinist’s question “Why does God …” do such-and-such, with “Because He wants to.” Nevertheless, we should be careful not to impose our own ideas where Scripture does not provide explanation.

The Anti-Calvinist’s explanation is going to come in a bit, but first the Anti-Calvinist ask some more questions: “Why did God not cause His seed to enter that ground? Isn’t God All mighty? Isn’t everything possible for God? Didn’t God know that birds will pick it up and devour anyway? Why waste His precious seed? Is God a fool?” The Anti-Calvinist’s questions are clearly intended to be rhetorical. Furthermore, they are questions for which the Anti-Calvinist really has no answer.

Instead the Anti-Calvinst asserts: “Here is a contradiction. God’s word is never wasted. It is always sown to achieve a purpose as is demonstrated in this verse Isa 55:11 ....my word ....shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please....” The Anti-Calvinist is correct that God sows with a purpose, thus God is no fool, and the sowing was not a waste. However, the Anti-Calvinist seems to forget the other questions: “Why did God not cause His seed to enter that ground? Isn’t God All mighty? Isn’t everything possible for God? Didn’t God know that birds will pick it up and devour anyway?”

The Anti-Calvinist instead seizes upon the word “please” in Isaiah 55:11, which states:

Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

By way of footnote, it bears recalling that the Word of God is being compared in this passage of Isaiah not to seed, but to precipitation:

Isaiah 55:10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

Nevertheless, let us consider what the Anti-Calvinist says next: “Notice the word “please”. Do you know what pleases God? Death of the wicked is not what pleases him. God is LOVE.” The Anti-Calvinist’s apophatic explanation is unnecessary, for the context tells us what God pleases:

Isaiah 55:11-13
11So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. 12For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

But that does not tell us what pleases God with respect to the seed sown on the way side. Instead, the Anti-Calvinist’s apophasis seems to be based on:

Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

Notice that this verse is not speaking of God’s pleasure absolutely, but relatively. God is telling the wicked, in essence, “My law is not simply “die you wicked” but “repent you wicked.”” In other words, God is explaining his commandment, which has been since the fall: repent and trust in the LORD.

The Anti-Calvinist seems to misunderstand the difference between what God pleases for Himself to do (God does whatever pleases Himself, as proved above), and what God pleases for His acts to achieve (They do achieve what He intends and purposes, as proved by Isaiah 55:11 set forth above), with, on the other hand, what God’s pleasure is for us. That is to say, the Anti-Calvinist confuses the plan of God, with the law of God.

The Anti-Calvinist also relies on the fact that God is love. This is true, for Scripture says so. It also says that God is a consuming fire. Recall also:

2 Samuel 22:27 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury.

Repeated essentially verbatim in:

Psalm 18:26 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.

But let us continue with what the Anti-Calvinist says: “The reason why God sows in all kind of grounds is because God loves everybody and wants everyone to be saved.” The Anti-Calvinist obviously did not get this from the parable. The Anti-Calvinist imposed this because of the Anti-Calvinist’s beliefs. This example of eisegesis is clearly wrong here.

Recall that we already established that God is almighty, and that He accomplishes His purposes. Accordingly, if God sows on the way side wanting the way side to be fertile, it would be. God is able to do so, for he make flowers blossom even in the desert:

Isaiah 35:1-2
1The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. 2It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God.

Indeed, that is exactly what God does in salvation:

Isaiah 35:4-10
4Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. 5Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. 7And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. 8And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. 9No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: 10And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

That is the grace of regeneration. God mercifully makes the blind to see, the lame to walk, the dead to live, the desert to blossom. It is a miracle. It is the power of God, and it is shameful to deny that power, ascribing something of salvation to man and man’s own ability.

Thus we can also reject the Anti-Calvinist second, inconsistent, explanation that: “He gives an equal opportunity to each and every single person in the world.” Which is it to be? Does God want everyone to be saved, or does God want everyone to have an “equal opportunity” to be saved.

We can reject both of the Anti-Calvinist’s clearly inconsistent positions. First, if God wanted everyone to be saved, who could stop God from getting what God wants? The answer, clearly, is no one. Thus, the sense in which God wants people to be saved cannot be an ultimate sense. It cannot be what God wants most of all. Yet, God has commanded everyone to repent and believe. Thus, in that sense, God wants everyone to be saved. In that sense, any Calvinist can agree with the Anti-Calvinist. That sense, therefore, cannot be what divides us from the Anti-Calvinist.

As for the “equal opportunity” idea, it is easily rebutted. Jesus himself points out that Sodom did not have an equal opportunity with the cities of His day:

Matthew 11:20-24
20Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: 21Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. 23And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

Thus, clearly God does not give everyone an “equal opportunity.”

Furthermore, the Anti-Calvinist falsely asserts, in support of the Anti-Calvinist’s position, “Otherwise it would be a waste of seeds as in Isa 55:11.” However, the Anti-Calvinist seems to have forgotten what Isaiah 55:11 says. It says that God’s word will “accomplish” what God pleases, and will “prosper” to the end God appointed it.

Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Unless all God were interested in were placing men on an equal footing with one another (and clearly God is not interested in that), the Anti-Calvinist must look for another purpose for the seed on the way side than to bring about salvation.

If the seed on the way side was sent to accomplish salvation, and salvation was the thing whereto God sent it, then it would accomplish salvation and prosper in that task. It clearly does not. Accordingly, we can reject the hypothesis that God sent the seed to the way side in order to save the way side. Does the passage say why the way side receives the word of God? No, it does not.

Can we speculate a reason? Of course we can. Perhaps it is to distract the birds. If the birds were not picking up seed from the way side, the birds might be going after the seed intended for the good ground. The widespread preaching of the gospel keeps Satan too busy to focus on the elect. But does the passage give that reason? No. Thus, we will refrain from supplying a reason that Scripture does not supply. It is sufficient for us to know that there is a reason, and that the seed accomplishes what God intended it to accomplish.

Accordingly, we can say that the Anti-Calvinist’s accusations, “Calvinism is false. Predestination is a myth. It is not just God who determines salvation. God leaves it up to a person whether to accept the word or reject it,” are false accusations.

Scripture says:
But he that received the seed into stony places,

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
Stony places or rocky ground represents the case of hearers that go further than the former, who receive some good impressions of the word, but they are not lasting,
I reply:
Scripture speaks for itself, below, as to who the stony-ground hearers are. In summary, they are those who have a favorable initial reaction, but have no depth – no understanding. They are fair-weather believers. The “health and wealth” gospel seduces this sort of person. Indeed, many of the multitude that followed Christ followed Christ with this kind of heart.

Scripture says:
the same is he that heareth the word,

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
Observe, these people hear the word. Their ears are definitely open. If Calvinism is right and it is God who opened their ears then He should finish what He started because He always finishes what He started. Php 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Here we see their ears are open and yet they loose the seed. How is it possible? If God started His work He should accomplish it. Why does He not accomplish it here? Because it is not God who opened their ears in the first place. It is their own attitude and intention that opened it. It is responsibility of a person to open his own ears and prepare his own ground. Salvation does not depend on God alone. Salvation depends on God and you. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism.
I reply:
The Anti-Calvinist seems to have forgotten what Scripture says of those whose ears are not opened. They hear, but they do not understand.

Isaiah 6:9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

Which, as previously discussed, is being fulfilled in Jesus ministry, even in the proclamation of this parable:

Matthew 13:14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

They have not been regenerated. Calvinism does not claim that they have been regenerated. They have stony hearts, not good hearts. If they had been given good hearts by God, God would finish the job, even as God says.

Thus, when the Anti-Calvinist says, “Why does He not accomplish it here? Because it is not God who opened their ears in the first place. It is their own attitude and intention that opened it, “ we can agree. These men are relying on their corrupt ears to hear, and thus do not understand.

Accordingly, the Anti-Calvinist’s conclusion: “It is responsibility of a person to open his own ears and prepare his own ground. Salvation does not depend on God alone. Salvation depends on God and you. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism,” is wrong. How can a deaf man give himself hearing? How can a blind man give himself sight? How can a dead man raise himself? Indeed, how can a wicked man obey God’s command, repent and believe? They cannot. Here’s how Scripture describes it:

Jeremiah 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.

Salvation does depend on God alone, and it is shameful for the Anti-Calvinist to deny that Scriptural truth.

Scripture says:
and anon with joy receiveth it

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
They receive the seed with joy. Observe that the seed has definitely been received. Not only was the word of God heard but it was also received. What does it mean? It means that ears of these people were open and their hearts were open too. God started His work and therefore should definitely accomplish it. According to Calvinism these people should never die but have eternal life for ever and ever. God is working in them and what God starts He should surely accomplish. Yet they loose their seed. Why is that? How was it possible? Because it was not God who opened their ears and hearts. God has not started His divine work by means of Holy spirit in those people yet. Those individuals were not saved yet. It was their own attitudes and intentions that opened their eyes. Salvation does not depend on God alone. It depends on God and you. It takes two to be saved. It takes two to fall in love. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism.

I reply:
The Anti-Calvinist seems to want to make “receiving” active here. It is not something active. Both the wayside and the stony ground receive the seed. The wayside is callous. It has no reaction. The stony ground receives the word with joy. There is a superficial immediate reaction.

The Anti-Calvinist, however, assumes that this means that the ears of these people were opened and their hearts as well. Scripture does not say so, though, just the Anti-Calvinist.

Thus, the Anti-Calvinist’s claims that “[according to Calvinism] God started His work and therefore should definitely accomplish it. According to Calvinism these people should never die but have eternal life for ever and ever. God is working in them and what God starts He should surely accomplish,” are clearly wrong. God has not begun the work of Salvation in their hearts. He has not given them a heart of flesh. What could be more clear but that they still have a stony heart. Contrast:

Ezekiel 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:

This transplant has not been performed on the stony ground.

The Anti-Calvinist continues: “Yet they loose their seed. Why is that? How was it possible? Because it was not God who opened their ears and hearts. God has not started His divine work by means of Holy spirit in those people yet. Those individuals were not saved yet.” The Anti-Calvinist is fully correct. Indeed, that is the problem – and that is the reason that they will be lost.

The Anti-Calvinist continues: “It was their own attitudes and intentions that opened their eyes. Salvation does not depend on God alone. It depends on God and you. It takes two to be saved. It takes two to fall in love. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism.” Of course, Scripture says nothing about the stony ground opening its own eyes – and how can a blind man restore his own sight? It’s impossible. The Anti-Calvinist’s position is absurd if taken literally. However, if one understands the Anti-Calvinist to mean that they saw and heard the gospel outwardly, but not deeply and with understanding, we can agree. They heard but did not understand.

Thus, the Anti-Calvinist’s premature claims of victory ring hollow. The few points in the Anti-Calvinist’s post with which the Calvinist does not agree are simply those things that the Anti-Calvinist inserted.

Scripture says:
21 Yet hath he not root in himself,

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
Jesus is the root Re 22:16 I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. They have no root in themselves, no settled, fixed principles in their judgments, no firm resolution in their wills, nor any rooted habits in their affections: nothing firm that will be either the sap or their strength. There might even be a green blade, and yet there is no root of grace; hardness prevails in their heart, and what there is of soil and softness it is only in the surface; inwardly they are no more affected than a stone; they have no root, they are not by faith united to Christ who is our Root; they derive not from him, they depend not on him.
I reply:

The Anti-Calvinist is mixing metaphors. Jesus is the root of the vine. He provides the vine with sustenance. That is not the analogy in this parable. The analogy in this parable is more like the following, in which the root has to do with establishment (foundation) and fruitfulness:

2 Kings 19:30 And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.

Or this:

Psalm 80:9 Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land.

Or this:

Proverbs 12:3 A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved.

Or this:

Proverbs 12:12 The wicked desireth the net of evil men: but the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit.

Or this:

Isaiah 27:6 He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.

Or this:

Isaiah 37:31 And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward:

Or this:

Jeremiah 12:2 Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins.

Or this:

Colossians 2:7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Or this:

Ephesians 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

The Anti-Calvinist, however, states: “They have no root in themselves, no settled, fixed principles in their judgments, no firm resolution in their wills, nor any rooted habits in their affections: nothing firm that will be either the sap or their strength.” The Anti-Calvinist has entirely missed the point. They have no root in the word. They are not established in it. They are not “rooted and built up in Him” they are are not “rooted and grounded in love” and God has not caused them to take root. The Anti-Calvinist, eager to make salvation humanistic, claims that the root has to do with firm resolution or settled judgment, or routine habits. These, however, are not what the person lacks. The person lacks, in himself, a foundation in the word of God. He is not prepared for what lies ahead. He only see the joys. Perhaps what he heard of the Word was only “For God so loved the world,” and not “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” He heard, “But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands,” … “and in the world to come eternal life,” but not the “with persecutions.”

The Anti-Calvinist continues: “There might even be a green blade, and yet there is no root of grace; hardness prevails in their heart, and what there is of soil and softness it is only in the surface; inwardly they are no more affected than a stone; they have no root, they are not by faith united to Christ who is our Root; they derive not from him, they depend not on him.” Here the Anti-Calvinist comes closer to the point. While the Anti-Calvinist is still mixing metaphors, the Anti-Calvinist is correct on one crucial point – they do not have Christ and they do not know Him. The softness of their heart is superficial, not real, and the bright sun shows them for who they are.

Scripture says:
but dureth for a while:

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
They endure for awhile, like a violent motion, which continues as long as the impression of the force remains, but ceases when that has spent itself. They tasted the word of God as many do “Heb 6: [5] And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come and then fallen away…..” Observe that they do “dureth” for a while. There is a certain period of time during which they appear the same as other born again Christians. They have no root but will endure for awhile. Observe that many endure for a while, but do not endure to the end, and so come short of the happiness which is promised to those only who persevere. Calvinists believe that it is God alone who causes people to be saved. However notice that if God started the work then He should definitely accomplish it. Here we see people who started as Christians but didn’t last. How was it possible/ Because salvation is not responsibility of God alone but of God and You. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism.
I reply:
The Anti-Calvinist’s language here certainly seems to be drawn from an earlier anti-Calvinist. In any event, the Greek word here for “a while” is proskarios. It’s a rarely used Greek word, but conveys the sense of “momentarily” or “temporarily.” The seed has a temporary or transient existence in the heart of the stony ground hearer. It’s not as though the seed forces itself on the heart but the force passes, rather the seed never has a deep connection, and thus does not have a lasting influence.

The Anti-Calvinist says: “There is a certain period of time during which they appear the same as other born again Christians.” One thing must be made clear. These are not Christians. The Word of God has not taken up root in their heart. Their hearts are not good ground, prepared by the Sower to bring forth fruit.

The Anti-Calvinist appeals to Hebrews 6:5, which reads, in context (oh, how much the Anti-Calvinist must hate the context of this verse):

Hebrews 6:1-9
1Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3And this will we do, if God permit. 4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. 7For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. 9But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.

Notice how the author of Hebrews begins and ends with reassurance to those to whom he writes. But look, at the same time, how the author of Hebrews relies totally on God for salvation. Verse 3 says, “this we will do, if God permit.” And again, the Author points out that it would be impossible for someone to be made a partaker of the Holy Ghost, and tasted of the good word of God (i.e. Christ in the Lord’s Supper), and the powers of the word to come (i.e. the Father), to fall away and then repent and be saved again, because that would imply that Christ could be sacrificed multiple times, which would be absurd.

Notice also that the ground is prepared to bring forth fruit to them who prepare the ground. It is not as though the ground prepares itself. We’ll get to the thorns and thistles in a minute. But try to imagine ground that kicked out thorns and thistles on its own. Can you imagine such a thing? Of course not. Such weeds take a farmer, and a determined farmer, for uprooting the cares of this world (which we will discuss in a subsequent segment) is not an easy thing.

Furthermore, notice that the author of Hebrews, to give the readers comfort tells them he is persuaded better things from them, i.e. “things that accompany salvation.” The point of the author of Hebrews comment is that fruit, not thorns and thistles, accompanies salvation. The point of the author of Hebrews is that perseverance, not falling away accompanies salvation. In short, the author of Hebrews is pointing out that the things that accompany salvation include repentance, faith, baptism, the church, resurrection, and the final judgment.

Salvation is a wondrous garment – with many parts. This ground does not salvation, and therefore does not have the things that accompany salvation. It is not good ground, prepared by the Sower.

The Anti-Calvinist concludes: “Calvinists believe that it is God alone who causes people to be saved. However notice that if God started the work then He should definitely accomplish it. Here we see people who started as Christians but didn’t last. How was it possible/ Because salvation is not responsibility of God alone but of God and You. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism.” As usually, no fallacy is identified, much less proved. Furthermore, while the Anti-Calvinist is right that we teach the Scriptural truths that God alone causes people to be saved, and that if God had started the work of salvation in these people, He would have finished it, the Anti-Calvinist wrongly concludes that God has started the work of Salvation in these people.

Indeed, it is a strange insistence on the part of the Anti-Calvinist. The Anti-Calvinist himself does not believe that God has started the work of Salvation in these people, but yet the Anti-Calvinist seems to want to force the Calvinist to mistakenly conclude that God has begun the good work of Salvation in them.

One thing is certain: there are not Christians. The anti-Calvinist wrong in asserting that these are Christians but didn’t last. As noted above with regard to Hebrews, these do not have the things that accompany salvation, such as, for example, perseverance and endurance.

Scripture says:
for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word,

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
Trials which shake some, confirm others. Notice that after a fair gale of opportunity usually follows a storm of persecution, to test those who have received the word in sincerity, and those who have not, those who kept the word and those who have not Rev 3:10… Because thou hast kept the word of my patience… If God causes predestined people to be saved then there is no point in testing them. No point in any kind of testing. Why should God test them? The answer is to do with predestination. It is a myth. It does not exist. People are independent rational creatures created by God to be that way. God tests them to see who is sincere. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism
I reply:
Tribulations, storms, and tempests reveal which trees are well rooted and which are not. The Anti-Calvinist’s comment regarding the “fair gale of opportunity” is certainly not from Scripture. One wonders from whence it comes.

The Anti-Calvinist claims that the time of persecution comes to test those who have received the word in sincerity, and those who have not. The Anti-Calvinist claims that this testing would be pointless if God predestined people to be saved. The Anti-Calvinist claims that the reason God tests is to see who is sincere.

Whether we can find the real reason for the testing or not, one thing is certain: the Anti-Calvinist’s reason makes no sense. God is omniscient. That means that He knows everything, even the sincerity of men’s hearts.

1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

So then, contrary to the Anti-Calvinist’s claims the tests, trials, and tribulations were placed under cannot be for the informational purposes of an omniscient God who looks on the heart. Instead, there can be various reasons for trials and tribulations.

Sometimes the trials and tribulations can be for the purpose of forcing us to rely on Him:

Hebrews 4:15-16
15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Sometimes the trials and tribulations can be for the purpose of encouraging evangelists:

2 Thessalonians 1:4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:

Sometimes the trials and tribulations can be for the purpose of encouraging the evangelized:

Ephesians 3:13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

Sometimes the trials and tribulations show us our reliance on the strength of God, and teach us patience and so on:

Romans 5:3-6
3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. 6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

Sometimes the trials lead to our purification, just as fire refines gold:

1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Sometimes the trials are for our own assurance that we are in Christ:

1 Peter 4:12-19
12Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 15But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. 16Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. 17For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 19Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

Indeed, as Peter explains in the passage above, the trials encourage us to commit the keeping of our souls to Him: for salvation is of God – it is not of “god plus man” as the Anti-Calvinist claims.

We could continue on, pointing out other reasons, such as, that sometimes tribulations are brought on us to shame the devil (see the book of Job), or as chastisements to instruct us:

Hebrews 12:2-11
2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 5And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

But whatever the reason, it is not for the informational purposes of an all-knowing God. Thus, we reject the Anti-Calvinist’s assertions.

Scripture says:
by and by

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
Observe how soon they fall away, “by and by”; as soon rotten as they were ripe. A career taken up without consideration is commonly let fall without it: “"Lightly come, lightly go.’’ .”. Notice there must be a consideration or contemplation or thinking about what you believe first. You have to think about Christianity before you accept it wholeheartedly. God treats you as a rational creature. You are not saved by a sudden, random, chaotic blow of a Holy Spirit. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism
I reply:
They do not have the chance to become rotten, for they do not bear fruit. “By and by” is a translation of the Greek word euthus. It’s the same word translated “anon” when the Scripture speaks of how quickly they received the word. In other words, they leave the gospel as quickly as they adopted its teachings. The Anti-Calvinist’s antiquated form of “easy come, easy go,” is, thus, about right. They did not have God’s power in preparing their hearts, and they had as much power to hold to the Word as they did that it was given to them in the first place: none at all.

The Anti-Calvinist’s insertion that: “You have to think about Christianity before you accept it wholeheartedly. God treats you as a rational creature,” is mistaken. That is not the point of the parable at all. The point of the parable is that these people had stony hearts and only a superficial interest in the word. It has nothing to do with people not spending enough time thinking before they come, but whether they were ever truly saved or not. These clearly were not.

The Anti-Calvinist concludes: “You are not saved by a sudden, random, chaotic blow of a Holy Spirit. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism.” Of course, the Spirit’s blowing where He chooses is neither random nor chaotic, and Calvinists do not claim that it is. Moreover, the principle that people are saved by the power of the Holy Spirit, and not by man’s will is taught by:

John 3:5-8
5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

Thus, we reject the Anti-Calvinist’s false claims.

Scripture says:
he is offended.

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
When trying times come, those who have no root are soon offended; they first quarrel with their profession, and then quit it; first find fault with it, and then throw it off. Hence we read of the offence of the cross Gal 5: 11 …..is the offence of the cross ... As the word of Christ, so the cross of Christ, is to some a savour of life unto life, to others a savour of death unto death
I reply:
By “he is offended,” Jesus conveys the sense of repulsion that this natural man has for the full message of the gospel. The “eternal life” part is easy, but the “with persecutions” part is not. The “believe on Jesus” part seems easy enough, but the “repent” part is more troublesome.

It takes the blessing of God not to be offended by the way of the carpenter’s son:

Matthew 11:4-6
4Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: 5The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

As you can see from the passage above, the restoration of sight to the blind, the giving the lame their legs, the cleansing of the lepers, and the raising of the dead to life point to the preaching of the gospel to poor sinners, and the blessing of them so that they do not take offense.

For indeed, as the apostle Peter writes:

1 Peter 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

Notice not only that Jesus, the Word of God, not only is the rock of offense, the one about whom these stony ground hearers are offended, but also that their disobedience and offense is what they were appointed to. It was all part of God’s plan. Thus, once again, we see that the Calvinistic, the Reformed explanation of Scripture is correct, and presents the truth of Scripture as a unified whole.

Scripture says:
He also that received seed among the thorns

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
Observe that these kind of people did receive the seed. That means their hearts were open already.
I reply:
The Anti-Calvinist’s comment is strange. On the one hand, the Anti-Calvinist denies that God opens men’s hearts. On the other hand, the Anti-Calvinist uses the passive voice here. The reason is that the Anti-Calvinist wants to impose the Anti-Calvinist’s straw man on the Calvinist explanation, as we will see in more detail below. All the soil discussed is soil that received the seed. There is some that received it on the path, some among stones, some among thorns, and some in good ground.

We will see below that they were not good ground – as will be seen by the result that the seed produced in them.

Scripture says:
is he that heareth the word;

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
Observe that they do hear the word. That means their ears were open already
I reply:
Again, the Anti-Calvinist’s comment is strange in that it uses the passive voice. The same comments above, therefore, apply here as well.

Scripture says:
and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches,

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
This went further than the former. The former had no root but these people have roots. It represents the condition of those who gain the word but become overcome and overwhelmed and overborne by the things of the world. Calvinism suggests that God alone causes people to be saved. If that was true nothing would deceit those who received the seed by now. God would not allow His people (in whom He started His divine work) to be deceived. But we clearly see here that some people do get deceived even though God seems to have started His work in them. This proves fallacy of Calvinism. God did not start His work in them. Those people did not prepare their hearts for Him.
I reply:
The Anti-Calvinist asserts that this type of ground went “further” than the stony ground. We have to disagree. While there was a reaction to the word, it was not a reaction that brought forth fruit. It was a natural reaction of the natural heart. Like those on Mars Hill who said to Paul, “We will hear thee again of this matter.” (Acts 17:32). They have any interest in the word, but they have a greater in interest in the material world – in the riches that are here. Truly Paul wrote:

I Timothy 6:9-11
9But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

And indeed, a man of God will do as Paul said, for those things are important to one who loves God. Indeed, the unregenerate man loves the things of this earth, but the regenerate, spiritual man loves the things of the Spirit:

I Corinthians 15:47-50
47The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

And again, those who are of the Spirit mind the things of the Spirit, and those who are of the flesh mind the fleshly things:

Romans 8:1-14
1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

It’s easy to read verse 5, in the passage above, alone. It’s important, however, to look at the context. There is a reason that the good ground does not get choked by the thorns and briars of earthly riches. It is because they walk after the Spirit. They walk after the Spirit because they have been made free from the law of sin and death. In verses 6-8 we see the miserable condition of the thorny ground hearers. They cannot please God, because they are enmity with God. They are more interested in worldly riches than in the things of God. And the good ground is good only by the working of God. They avoid these temptations because they are led by the Spirit – not because of any merit in themselves. Salvation is all of God.

The Anti-Calvinist correctly notes: “Calvinism suggests that God alone causes people to be saved.” However, the Anti-Calvinist continues saying, “If that was true nothing would deceit those who received the seed by now.” The Anti-Calvinist seems to be wrongly assuming that God has caused these thorny ground hearers to be saved. In fact, God has not caused them to be saved.

This is evident, because, as the Anti-Calvinist says: “God would not allow His people (in whom He started His divine work) to be deceived.”

The Anti-Calvinist’s next objection, “But we clearly see here that some people do get deceived even though God seems to have started His work in them,” is both self-contradictory (“clearly see” conflicts with “seems”) and conflicting with the Anti-Calvinist’s comment in the sentence after next, in which the Anti-Calvinist states “God did not start His work in them.” That second time the Anti-Calvinist is correct. God did not start His work in them, which is why they were deceived with riches. God did not prepare their hearts.

Thus, while the Anti-Calvinist’s final statement “Those people did not prepare their hearts for Him,” is true, the Anti-Calvinist’s claim that “This proves fallacy of Calvinism,” is clearly false.

Furthermore, recall that the Anti-Calvinist now says: “Those people did not prepare their hearts for Him.” However, recall that above the Anti-Calvinist claims, ambiguously using the passive voice, that the people had opened their own heart. If so, then the Anti-Calvinist must recognize that any opening of their heart that these men did was insufficient for salvation. Man cannot save himself – only God can save a man.

Scripture says:
choke the word,

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
Prosperity destroys the word in the heart, as much as persecution does; and more dangerously (because more silently). Choking the word is the same as killing it. The word is killed. The heart full of thorns is rejected from the Kingdom of God. Heb 6: 8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. Calvinists believe that God alone causes people to be saved. If that were true God would never allow the word that was planted in your heart to be choked. He would accomplish the work that He started. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism
I reply:
Again, the Anti-Calvinist misses the mark. Weeds choke out the word by competition. People follow their hearts – they do what they want to do. Weeds choke out the seed because that is what the thorny ground is interested in, as explained above.

The Anti-Calvinist’s comment that ground which bears thorns and briars is rejected is correct. But the Anti-Calvinist has overlooked something. The word “end” in Hebrews 6:8 is the Greek word “telos,” and has the sense of purpose.

This thorny ground, filled with weeds, does not bring forth good fruit:

Matthew 7:16-20
16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Luke 6:43-45
43For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 44For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. 45A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

And that the end of every tree that does not bring forth fruit is to be burned:

Matthew 3:10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Luke 3:9 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Matthew 7:19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Thus, the destruction of the unbeliever is foretold.

Scripture says:
and he becometh unfruitful.

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
He is unfruitful and will spend eternity in hell as in here Joh 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned....My Father is a gardener.....every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away But Calvinists believe that those people would never go to hell. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism
I reply:
When the Anti-Calvinist says that the thorny ground hearers will go to hell, the Anti-Calvinist is correct – but the Anti-Calvinist should be looking at the many verses pointed out above, rather than John 15:6. The point, however, that unfruitfulness is rewarded with hell, is the same in both those passages and John 15.

The Anti-Calvinist’s assertion that, “But Calvinists believe that those people would never go to hell. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism,” just shows that the Anti-Calvinist would rather attack a straw man. No Calvinist that this author has ever encountered suggests that the thorny ground hearers are saved, and it seems that the Anti-Calvinist simply has invented this farce because the Anti-Calvinist is unable to attack the Scriptural truths taught by Calvinists.

Scripture says:
But he that received seed into the good ground

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
Good seed should always meet with good soil, and then there is no loss. Jesus does not say that this good ground has no stones in it, or no thorns in it; but what He does imply is that there were none that prevailed to hinder its fruitfulness. The hearers represented by the good ground are intelligent hearers, rational hearers, those who have an insight and perception, those who do not build their houses on sand, they hear the word and understand it; they understand not only the sense and meaning of the word, but their own concern in it; they understand it as a man of business understands his business. God wants us to be intelligent and seek the answers and prove all things 1 Th 5: [21] Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. He does not discourage us from intellectual proofs. He is willing to present them to us if we earnestly seek for them John 20:25-28 ....Thomas said....unless I, shall see in his hands the imprint of the nails and put my hand into His the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe....and Jesus told Him.....Reach here with your finger and see my hands.... . God in his word deals with men as men, in a rational way, and gains possession of the will and affections by opening the understanding whereas Satan, who is a thief and a robber, comes not in by that door, but climbeth up another way. Salvation depends on God and You. Calvinists believe that it only depends on God. That is false
I reply:
The Anti-Calvinist’s human-centric form of salvation comes to a head with the Anti-Calvinist’s misstatement: “Good seed should always meet with good soil, and then there is no loss.” You see, the Anti-Calvinist, as with most humanists, wants to place rules and recommendations on God. The Anti-Calvinist previously acknowledged that God, as the Sower intentionally spreads seed on ground that is not good. The Anti-Calvinist should not try to place the rule on God that “Good seed should always meet with good soil, and then there is no loss,” because the Anti-Calvinist should recognize that God knows better.

The Anti-Calvinist continues, “Jesus does not say that this good ground has no stones in it, or no thorns in it; but what He does imply is that there were none that prevailed to hinder its fruitfulness.” Again, the Anti-Calvinist misses the point. The good ground is the ground which has been prepared for fruitfulness. Ground is not fruitful by default, but by the effort of the farmer:

Genesis 3:17-19
17And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

The Anti-Calvinist continues, saying, “The hearers represented by the good ground are intelligent hearers, rational hearers, those who have an insight and perception, those who do not build their houses on sand, they hear the word and understand it; they understand not only the sense and meaning of the word, but their own concern in it; they understand it as a man of business understands his business.” This lengthy sentence adds all kinds of things to the simple truth of Scripture, which is that the good ground hearers are those who hear the word and understand it. In this way they are unlike the other hearers.

The Anti-Calvinist’s reference to those who built their houses on sand misses the point of that parable as well. Let us review that parable:

Matthew 7:24-27
24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

The point of that parable is that the men who build their houses on sand are foolish for doing so. True wisdom is reliance on Christ. The foolish man who builds his house on the sand is trusting himself – the work of his own hands. The wise man builds his house on the rock of Christ – he does not trust the work of his own hands, but seeks a firm foundation. Thus, that parable as well explains that salvation is to be found in God, our Rock, not in man, the house. Great is the fall of those who place their trust for salvation in themselves.

The Anti-Calvinist’s other comment about business knowledge seems to be an oblique reference to yet another parable, or group of parables.

Luke 14:25-35
25And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 26If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. 34Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? 35It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

The point here is not that we have to be very clever people to be saved, as the Anti-Calvinist seems to want to suggest. Instead, the point of this parable group is about counting the cost – being aware that following Christ is not something easy. There is no value in trying to meet God half-way like the Anti-Calvinist suggests. Instead, we must be wholly reliant on God. That is the only way that the tower will be finished, the victory will be won, and the tasteless salt will become savory.

Scripture says: is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it;

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
He hears the word. His heart is a good ground. His heart is open. He understands the word. Hearing and understanding are a necessary requirement. God treats people as rational creatures. He wants us to prove all things.
I reply:
The Anti-Calvinist again misses the point. Hearing and understanding are necessary, but are the result of the preparation of the soil by the farmer. Good soil is not good of itself, but because of the farmer’s efforts. To say that God treats people as rational creatures, is certainly true, but it is not something that this parable explores. This parable compares men to dirt. Dirt is not rational. It is not “intelligent” or “clever” or “quick-witted.” Dirt is acted upon – it does not act. This parable is not designed to show men how they should act, but how they should thank God for His mercy.

The Anti-Calvinist’s concluding comment: “He wants us to prove all things,” is the most bizarre so far. It has no close connection with what proceeds, unless the Anti-Calvinist is suggesting that people should be brought to salvation by proof. But that rationalistic notion of salvation ignores what faith is:

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

In faith, we rely on the unseen – that which cannot necessarily be proved. How can we prove that we will enjoy eternity in heaven? We cannot, except by faith, by trust in the promises of God.

The Anti-Calvinist’s words though, may have a familiar ring, and seem to be poached from First Thessalonians:

1 Thessalonians 5:15-25
15See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. 16Rejoice evermore. 17Pray without ceasing. 18In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19Quench not the Spirit. 20Despise not prophesyings. 21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22Abstain from all appearance of evil. 23And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. 25Brethren, pray for us.

In context, Paul is telling the already believing Thessalonians to “Prove all things,” for the purpose of determining what is good (and doing that) and what is evil (and avoiding even the appearance of that). The sense of “prove” here is to test or examine. The idea is that we Christians need to exercise discernment between good and evil and, as Paul told the Romans:

Romans 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

But indeed, in the passage from Thessalonians, above, we again see Paul’s reliance on God even for the sanctification of the Thessalonians: “the very God of peace sanctify you wholly.” It is not God plus man, but God alone who has the credit for sanctifying man, and as well for preserving man (“I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”). And lest anyone will object that it is not God alone who does it, but God and man, Paul adds: “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” Salvation is all of God.

Scripture says:
which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

But the Anti-Calvinist says:
Not all alike fruitful; some a hundred-fold, some sixty, some thirty. Among fruitful Christians, some are more fruitful than others: where there is true grace, yet there are degrees of it; some are of greater attainments in knowledge and holiness than others; all Christ’s scholars are not in the same form. We bear fruit, when we practise according to the word; when the temper of our minds, direct our lives to the gospel we have received, and we do as we are taught. If the ground be good, and the fruit right, the heart honest, the life of piece with it, those who bring forth thirty-fold shall be graciously accepted of God, and it will be a great fruit, for we are under grace, and not under the law. . Calvinists believe that it is God who causes people to be saved and bear fruit. If that is true then all people should bear the same fruit or at least there would be absolutely no point in rewarding any of them because ultimately it is God who caused them to bear that fruit. If anything God should reward Himself. But God does rewards people as in here Mt 16:27 - For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. If Calvinism is true then God should reward Himself for it is God who causes them to bear fruit. Observe that God does not reward Himself, He rewards his people only. Why does He reward His people? He rewards them because God acknowledges each person’s responsibilities to receive the word and to keep the word. He acknowledges differences between different hearts with different attitudes and true intentions. Bearing of fruit does not depend on God only. It depends on God and a person. A reward is given to a person to acknowledge his part in fruit bearing. Exactly the same principle is with salvation. It takes two to bear fruit. It takes two to be saved. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism.
I reply:
The Anti-Calvinist is correct (albeit inconsistent) in noting that there are three different types of good ground described: 30-fold bearing, 60-fold bearing, and 100-fold bearing. What they have in common, however, is that they all bear fruit.

The Anti-Calvinist’s second comment: “Among fruitful Christians, some are more fruitful than others: where there is true grace, yet there are degrees of it; some are of greater attainments in knowledge and holiness than others; all Christ’s scholars are not in the same form.” Here again, the Anti-Calvinist is correct but inconsistent. Here, the Anti-Calvinist, it seems, recognizes not only that the fruitfulness is the result of God’s grace, but that God does not give the same grace equally to all.

Ephesians 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

The Anti-Calvinist also fails to recognize that this gift of grace extends even to giving the elect faith in Christ:

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Indeed, it is God, in His work, that makes one person different from another person:

1 Corinthians 4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

The Anti-Calvinist, however, continues, saying: “We bear fruit, when we practise according to the word; when the temper of our minds, direct our lives to the gospel we have received, and we do as we are taught.” The Anti-Calvinist again misses the mark. Obedience to the gospel is the fruit; it is the fruit of the Spirit’s work in the life of the believer.

Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Ephesians 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

Rom 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Galatians 5:22-23
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

They do not bring forth fruit of themselves. No, God brings forth fruit in them.
Col 1:6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:

The Anti-Calvinist next states: “If the ground be good, and the fruit right, the heart honest, the life of piece with it, those who bring forth thirty-fold shall be graciously accepted of God, and it will be a great fruit, for we are under grace, and not under the law.” The Anti-Calvinist here shows that the Anti-Calvinist does not understand grace. The Anti-Calvinist suggests that grace lies in God accepting those who bring forth fruit. The Anti-Calvinist, however, has missed the main work of grace: the bringing forth of fruit from the barren in the first place.

2 Peter 1:2-8
2Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And more explicitly:

Colossians 1:6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:

Inconsistently, the Anti-Calvinist next states: “Calvinists believe that it is God who causes people to be saved and bear fruit. If that is true then all people should bear the same fruit or at least there would be absolutely no point in rewarding any of them because ultimately it is God who caused them to bear that fruit. If anything God should reward Himself.” Just previously, the Anti-Calvinist had seemingly acknowledged that the difference among men was due to the differing grace of God. And indeed, that is the answer to the Anti-Calvinist’s false assertions. God does cause people to be saved and to bear fruit, Scripture (quoted above) clearly shows that. The Anti-Calvinist says that there would be “absolutely no point in rewarding any of them because ultimately it is God who caused them to bear that fruit.” At least in this, the Anti-Calvinist is consistent, though consistently wrong. The Anti-Calvinist does not recognize that merit and demerit are tied to act. If we do good, we should be praised, and if we do evil, we should be condemned.

Romans 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Galatians 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 9:17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

Luke 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

What each of these verses above, and many more could be provided, show is that men are rewarded according to what they do good or evil.

The Anti-Calvinist continues, saying: “Observe that God does not reward Himself, He rewards his people only. Why does He reward His people? He rewards them because God acknowledges each person’s responsibilities to receive the word and to keep the word. He acknowledges differences between different hearts with different attitudes and true intentions.” Of course, most of this relies on the Anti-Calvinist’s false assumption that men produce the differences among themselves, which has already been rebutted from Scripture. The Anti-Calvinist’s comment regarding God not rewarding Himself is most peculiar. It is obviously just an attempt to bolster the argument that the Anti-Calvinist is setting forth. But does it have any weight? No. When has God ever rewarded Himself for doing something good? Never. We could say that He is rewarded in bringing sons to glory, but then we have to acknowledge that Calvinism is simply Scripture truth, which the Anti-Calvinist will never admit.

The Anti-Calvinist’s circumlocution misses the point: men are rewarded according to their deeds:

Jeremiah 25:14 For many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of them also: and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands.

It is because God will judge mankind according to their works that we need the substitutionary death of Christ. We need God to consider Christ’s works in place of our own, for ours are never enough to merit God’s favor.

Thus, we reject the Anti-Calvinist’s contention that “Bearing of fruit does not depend on God only. It depends on God and a person. A reward is given to a person to acknowledge his part in fruit bearing. Exactly the same principle is with salvation. It takes two to bear fruit. It takes two to be saved. This proves the fallacy of Calvinism.” It takes God for fruit to spring from the barren heart of man. Man is rewarded for any good things that he does, and thus God’s blessing is complete. God blesses us with grace to obey, and rewards our obedience with other blessings.

That concludes the challenge presented by the rabid Anti-Calvinist. Let us pray that God will prepare the stony soil of that Anti-Calvinist's heart, so that the Anti-Calvinists will trust in God alone for salvation.

May our Blessed God be Praised, in Whom alone is Salvation!

-Turretinfan

3 comments:

Paul said...

Wow, this is a wealth of information here that you have posted. This is one of those posts that one has to read and re-read several times to get all the little gold nuggets that are contained in it. Thanks for putting all of this into one post.

Paul

natamllc said...

TF,

not to go into this one very much as it is long, I wanted to "pick" a piece of the meat from my teeth with a sharpened bonepick.

You wrote: [[Jesus' comment, therefore, indicates to the reader that not all are able to hear (in the sense of understanding) what Christ has to say. Yet the Anti-Calvinist foolishly claims that all can hear.]]

I might edit it so say, "...the reader that not all are [chosen] to hear..."

As I have pondered the Lord and His Word because He chose to reveal My Heavenly Father to me and My Heavenly Father gave me eyes to see Him and ears so I would listen and hear My Lord and 'Know' it is Him and not some false christ, cf Mat. 11:25..., a couple of things come to mind and unless you draw me into more I will forego the rest of this guy's apologetics and your refutation, with all due respect.

I am a California Indian. My people found themselves talking to one another in a similar fashion as the Lord. Christ, the son of Adam, was born into "His" own country while it was being occupied by a "foreign" government. We too, over time, learned to survive by speaking in "code"/"parable" language to one another so as not to compromise who and what we were and were up too. This way we retained our identity even though our occupiers were attempting to assimilate us into "their culture". It's as simple as that, it's a sovereignty issue from where I experientially sit.

A case in point. While visiting the great, great grandson of one of the "powerful" rich settlers in my area, who trace their arrival to the North Coast on a ship captained by Sir Francis Drake, this grandson was, naively, showing me around his inherited mansion. There on the wall was a picture of the "old" drug store and its proprietor, his "g.g.g.father" and some customers and a couple of indian boys standing in the front for the photo op. The photo was circa 1920's. What caught my attention was the sign in the window of the drug store. The sign read thus: "no dogs or indians allowed". To him, that was a photo of his proud heritage and g.g.g.father. To me, it was offensive and painful.

Jesus was talking to His Elect. For Him to know one of His elect, also in my judgment, goes into this, something like the story of the rich young ruler coming and saying to Jesus, "Good Teacher". One interpretation, and until I am convinced otherwise, the one I hold too, is what and why Jesus asked him after being addressed with that acknowledgement. Luk 18:18 And a ruler asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Luk 18:19 And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.

The interpretation: Jesus, as the son of Adam, lived by the same "Faith" from God as we all. Luk 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. There is no special difference in His life lived except He lived His sinlessly and by that was vindicated by the Spirit when He came and offered His Life's blood as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the Elect. He was simply pointing to the young ruler and saying something like this: "hey, do you know Me? Has My Father revealed to you Who I Am, is that why you are calling me Good? I Am God. I Am Good". And Jesus, seeing that he was blind, realized he was in that sort we are all in until God "gives" us ears to hear and eyes to see and know Jesus is God and the Only Good in town!

And the second thing is that phrase:

"...but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath."

I find an answer to that "riddle" in these Greek words, how each is used in context and what is given and what is taken away. John indeed says this:

Joh 1:4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

Now for the Greek words. I will only post the reference. If one wants to have an expansion of understanding, open each verse and understand the depth of meaning given to the word "Life" in the verse and surrounding verses. All mankind starts with "life". Not all are called to His "Life". This is a mystery. And I have not as yet heard or read an adequate understanding so until I do, I must, as always, live His Life by the same Faith once delivered to the Saints, His Way.

Those Greek words then:

Luke 1:75
ζωή
life/zōē
dzo-ay'
From G2198; life (literally or figuratively): - life (-time). Compare G5590.

2 Cor. 1:8
ζάω
life/zaō
dzah'-o
A primary verb; to live (literally or figuratively): - life (-time), (a-) live (-ly), quick.

Luke 6:9
ψυχή
life/psuchē
psoo-khay'
From G5594; breath, that is, (by implication) spirit, abstractly or concretely (the animal sentient principle only; thus distinguished on the one hand from G4151, which is the rational and immortal soul; and on the other from G2222, which is mere vitality, even of plants: these terms thus exactly correspond respectively to the Hebrew [H5315], [H7307] and [H2416]: - heart (+ -ily), life, mind, soul, + us, + you.

Luke 8:14
βίος
life/bios
bee'-os
A primary word; life, that is, (literally) the present state of existence; by implication the means of livelihood: - good, life, living.

Luke 17:13
αὑτοῦ
life/hautou
how-too'
Contraction for G1438; self (in some oblique case or reflexive relation): - her (own), (of) him (-self), his (own), of it, thee, their (own), them (-selves), they.

Luke 21:24
βιωτικός
life/biōtikos
bee-o-tee-kos'
From a derivative of G980; relating to the present existence: - of (pertaining to, things that pertain to) this life.

Acts 26:4
Βίωσις
Biōsis
life/bee'-o-sis
From G980; living (properly the act, by implication the mode): - manner of life

2 Cor. 3:6
ζωοποιέω
life/zōopoieō
dzo-op-oy-eh'-o
From the same as G2226 and G4160; to (re-) vitalize (literally or figuratively): - make alive, give life, quicken.

2 Tim. 3:10
ἀγωγή
life/agōgē
ag-o-gay'
Reduplicated from G71; a bringing up, that is, mode of living: - manner of life.

Rev. 13:15
πνεῦμα
life/pneuma
pnyoo'-mah
From G4154; a current of air, that is, breath (blast) or a breeze; by analogy or figuratively a spirit, that is, (human) the rational soul, (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, daemon, or (divine) God, Christ’s spirit, the Holy spirit: - ghost, life, spirit (-ual, -ually), mind. Compare G5590.

Turretinfan said...

Paul,

I'm glad you were edified!

-Turretinfan