Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Does The Story of Cain Contradict Calvinism?

I recently visited Alan Kurschner's site and read some comments that a fellow named Dennis Clough had posted concerning Calvinism. I responded with a couple of points concerning his comments and he responded by directing me to a challenge he made concerning Cain that shows, according to him, that Calvinism is false. So, in order to avoid any accusations that I, or any Calvinist will not or cannot answer Mr. Clough's challenge concerning Cain, I will take the time to respond to the claims made by Mr. Clough.

Mr. Clough, in a somewhat lengthy commentary on various issues, had this to say concerning his challenge to Calvinists:

I challenge any Calvinist to say that God did not call Cain! One must deny the clear record of Scripture in order to do so.

Apparantly, Mr. Clough is saying that God called Cain to salvation thus negating the Calvinist doctrine of irresistable grace because Cain rejected God's call. Further, Mr. Clough states that to deny Cain was called salvifically would be to deny clear scriptural teaching. So we have here several assertions made by Mr. Clough that he believes refutes Calvinism. Is he right? Let's take a look.

Mr. Clough's first statements regarding Cain in his post read thusly:

Besides receiving what God freely gave, Eve’s faith was seen in her excitement at the birth of Cain indicating that she thought he would be the promised Messiah.

Mr. Clough states that Eve was excited at Cain's birth because she thought that Cain would be the promised Messiah. But where does the text say that Eve believed Cain to be the Messiah? Nowhere in the text of Genesis 4 does it state that Eve believed such a notion. In fact, Genesis 4:1 simply states that Eve credited the LORD with helping her bring forth her firstborn. So where does Mr. Clough get this idea if not here? It appears that right off the bat, Mr. Clough is reading notions into the text that aren't there. Is this a developing pattern? Let's continue and see.

Cain refused to bring blood and rebelled against God’s clear call to get right.

Here, Mr. Clough claims two things concerning Cain. The first claim is that Cain refused to offer God a blood sacrifice. The second claim is that Cain rebelled against God's salvific call. So in response to the first claim, I'll quote Genesis 4:3-5 which reads:

So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. NASB

Mr. Clough's first claim from his above quote is that Cain refused to offer God a blood sacrifice. But where in the above citation does it state that Cain refused to do anything? The text simply states that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground and that God rejected it. So it appears that Mr. Clough is still reading things into the text that aren't there. His second claim is that Cain refused God's salvific call. But is he yet again reading a notion into the text that isn't there? So far, Mr. Clough is 2 for 2. Can he keep it up?

Genesis 4:6 & 7 read thusly:

Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouchning at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it." NASB

Here, the LORD addresses Cain and tells him that if he does well his "countenance" will be lifted up. If Cain does not do well then sin will overcome him. Now, I presume that Mr. Clough's contentions are based on these two verses (he doesn't give specific citations in his post). If so, where is this supposed salvific call? Where does God explicitly state that He is calling Cain to salvation? And where is Cain's denial of this supposed offer? God's statements are simply what will happen if Cain does this or does not do that. And notice that if Cain does good then all that happens according to God's statements is that his "countenance" will be lifted up. This simply means that he'll be in a good mood with perhaps a smile to boot. Thus, it is my contention that God's statements to Cain are *descriptive* of what will happen if Cain does good and not *prescriptive* of what Cain could and should do for salvation. It is also my contention that Mr. Clough is fairly consistent in reading concepts into the text that aren't there as all of his stated assertions cannot be demonstrated from the referenced texts.

In Mr. Clough's first quote above, he stated that he challenges any Calvinist to deny that God called Cain and that to make such a denial is to defy Scripture. I submit to Mr. Clough that I have not only denied that God called Cain salvifically, but have shown this from the text of Scripture itself.

51 comments:

Dennis Clough said...

Well it seems Mr. Clough is not the only one given to somewhat lengthy comments.

Mr. Clough, (that would be me) assumes that Calvinists know that there is no "doing good" in God's sight that doesn't begin with a blood sacrifice. Of course, all blood sacrifices point to the one great sacrifice that takes away all sin and condemnation forever, once and for all.

Your view of the text has God simply concerned with making Cain feel better, a meaning that is so superficial that you would abhor it in others. However, you are desperate to ignore the truth of the text in order to defend Calvinism. Here's the text( NIV)

The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

As you can now see, the problem was the offering that Cain brought. The difference between the two offerings is the difference between faith in the blood and faith in one's own efforts.

6 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."

Here we see God reasoning with Cain, who I remind you, is at this time, dead in sins and trespasses, totally depraved. So Calvinism's teaching that all called people respond is shown to be incorrect. God's concern for Cain in his wicked refusal to "do what's right" (offer the blood sacrifice) to "be accepted" is based on His love for Cain who is going into the destruction that accompanies sin.

Sin is seen as an active force, like a wild beast, and as a God who loves sinners, God warns Cain with a view to His salvation. Sadly, we read of his murder of his own brother, capped with the simple phrase "and Cain went out from the presence of the Lord".

No one can blame God for Cain's destruction, it is clearly on his own head. Calvinism would put the blame on God for not enabling Cain to hear His voice and be saved. That is not their intent, but that is the result of their unbiblical teaching.

When I said no Calvinist can deny that God called Cain, I meant a Calvinist who would deal honestly with the text and who would see it in the light of the basic doctrines of the Word of God. Especially those texts that clearly show that "without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin".

Trying to make a text an island and not part of the main is plainly wrong. It's a pathetic attempt to put a system above the Word of the Living God.

Dennis Clough

J. Matthew Cleary said...

Dennis,

"Well it seems Mr. Clough is not the only one given to somewhat lengthy comments."

There is nothing wrong with lengthy comments per se. Lengthy commentary is best applied to specific subjects, especially in comments sections. Yours was bouncing all over the place without any real attempt to interact with the primary texts of the debate.

"Your view of the text has God simply concerned with making Cain feel better, a meaning that is so superficial that you would abhor it in others. However, you are desperate to ignore the truth of the text in order to defend Calvinism. Here's the text( NIV)"

No, my commentary on the text merely points out what the text says and does not say. I do not presume to know God's motivations for communicating with Cain since the text does not address it. And I do not believe that God was concerned with hurting Cain's feelings. God was merely communicating that if one does good in God's sight, than happiness follows. Again, no mention of any salvific calls. So much for the charges of superficiality and desperation.

"As you can now see, the problem was the offering that Cain brought. The difference between the two offerings is the difference between faith in the blood and faith in one's own efforts."

No, you assume that this is what the text means. As I said, the text of Genesis 4 is silent on just why God accepted Abel and rejected Cain. This is why Genesis 4 is not a text that will settle the issues of God's sovereignty and man's freedom.

"Here we see God reasoning with Cain, who I remind you, is at this time, dead in sins and trespasses, totally depraved."

If you mean by reasoning, that God was pleading with Cain to just excercise his supposed libertarian free-will to choose the things of God, then no. There is no reason to suppose that this text is prescriptive in nature, over and against being a descriptive statement.

"So Calvinism's teaching that all called people respond is shown to be incorrect."

Hardly. As I said above, you are assuming that God is calling Cain salvifically. I submit to you that you cannot demonstrate this from the text and you have not really tried beyond mere assertion.

"God's concern for Cain in his wicked refusal to "do what's right" (offer the blood sacrifice) to "be accepted" is based on His love for Cain who is going into the destruction that accompanies sin."

You are making this assertion by first assuming that there is no discrimination in God's love and you have not yet addressed passages that state God's hatred towards men. So you are getting way ahead of yourself in stating that God loved Cain salvifically especially since the text nowhere stated such.

"Sin is seen as an active force, like a wild beast, and as a God who loves sinners, God warns Cain with a view to His salvation."

As I have shown, you cannot show this from the text itself. You are reading into the text the notion of a salvific call to Cain.

"No one can blame God for Cain's destruction, it is clearly on his own head. Calvinism would put the blame on God for not enabling Cain to hear His voice and be saved."

And no one does blame God as Calvinists are not so arrogant as to think that mere men can sit in judgement on God.

"When I said no Calvinist can deny that God called Cain, I meant a Calvinist who would deal honestly with the text and who would see it in the light of the basic doctrines of the Word of God."

You reveal more than you know here. What you are basically saying is that one must leave this text and go elsewhere to read certain things back into Genesis 4. I submit that that is precisely what you've done here. I have indeed honestly interacted with what is *actually* stated by the text of Genesis 4 without bringing in other considerations. These "basic doctrines" that you are bringing in to the text of Genesis 4 are those you have yet to prove by use of the primary texts of the debate such as 2Peter 3:9 that you briefly mentioned on Alan's site.

"Trying to make a text an island and not part of the main is plainly wrong. It's a pathetic attempt to put a system above the Word of the Living God."

And trying to make a text teach Arminianism when it doesn't is plainly wrong. It's a pathetic attempt to put a system above the Word of the Living God (in other words, right back atcha)

Anonymous said...

JMC

You have tried to imply that my findings in Genesis regarding Cain and Abel are unique to me and therefore wrong. So I quote from two of your own regarding this matter. Spurgeon and John MacArthur. By doing so, I am not suggesting that they agree with me on my main point regarding the call of God being resisted. Rather, I am showing that what you consider conjecture on my part regarding the two offering and the instruction of Cain and Abel by Adam and Eve are at least shared by some of the greats of Calvinism. I suggest you read both sermons to see if I over exaggerate the case.


4. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
SPURGEON' S FIRST COMMENT: He spoke by faith when he lived. Faith makes him speak now that he is dead. What wonders faith can work. The first saint who entered heaven entered there, it is certain, by faith. It was faith that enabled him to present an acceptable sacrifice, and it was faith that presented him to heaven. If the first who entered heaven entered there by faith, rest assured that will be true to the last; and none will enter there but those who believe.
HIS SECOND, DIFFERENT SERMON: As the Lord said to the Jews, “With all your sacrifices you must offer salt;” so he says to us, “With all your doings you must bring faith, or else “without faith it is impossible to please God.”
This is an old law; it is as old as the first man. No sooner were Cain and Abel born into this world, and no sooner had they attained to manhood, than God gave a practical proclamation of this law, that “without faith it is impossible to please him.” Cain and Abel, one bright day, erected an altar side by side with each other. Cain fetched of the fruits of the trees and of the abundance of the soil, and placed them upon his altar; Abel brought of the firstlings of the flock, and laid it upon his altar. It was to be decided which God would accept. Cain had brought his best, but he brought it without faith; Abel brought his sacrifice, but he brought it with faith in Christ. Now, then, which shall best succeed? The offerings are equal in value; so far as they themselves are concerned that are alike good. Upon which will the heavenly fire descend? Which will the Lord God consume with the fire of his pleasure? Oh! I see Abel’s offering burning, and Cain’s countenance has fallen, for unto Abel and unto his offering the Lord had respect, but unto Cain and his offering the Lord had no respect. It shall be the same till the last man shall be gathered into heaven. There shall never be an acceptable offering which has not been seasoned with faith. Good though it may be, as apparently good in itself as that which has faith, yet, unless faith be with it, God never can, and never will, accept it, for he here declares, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”
JOHN MACARTHUR SERMON Now, the story of Cain is the story of a reprobate, a story of an impenitent man. It is the story of the undelivered, the doomed soul, the rejecter of God's gracious salvation. Even the New Testament comments on this account. In the epistle of Jude, Verse 11, we read: "Woe," or curse or damnation, "...to them! They have gone the way of Cain." And Jude is associating false teachers who are under divine judgment with Cain. In 1st John 3 and Verse 12, we read this: "Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother's were righteous."
And maybe, just maybe, she thought that this was the seed that had been promised back in Chapter 3 Verse 15, the seed of the woman who would bruise the head of that despicable serpent that had led her into sin and, therefore, her husband into sin and, therefore, the whole human race into sin and, therefore, caused them all to be expelled out of Eden. It's certainly reasonable to think that this could have been the fulfillment of that prophecy, for God had told them I am going to send through the woman a seed who will bruise that serpent's head. It wouldn't have been any kind of stretch for her to have believed that this child was going to be the one promised to defeat Satan. So everything began with such wonderful promise.
But it makes no statement with regard to the nature of what Cain brought. It doesn't say he brought the first of a given crop. It doesn't say he brought the best. It just says he "brought of the fruit of the ground." And by not saying it, it's almost as if -- the commentary is that he didn't bring necessarily the first or the best. But more significantly, he didn't bring an animal sacrifice. And I'm convinced that God had instructed them to bring an animal sacrifice. There had already been a demonstration of the need for substitutionary death to cover the sinner back in Chapter 3 Verse 21, when the Lord God had to slay an animal to make garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothe them. And you remember that was a picture of substitutionary death of an innocent victim to provide a covering for the sinner. I think with that, God instituted the substitutionary death principle. And I'm sure that God had communicated that is the kind of sacrifice that He wanted brought. So here, you have Cain giving no recognition that he is a sinner. In fact, his offering is a self-righteous one. He is bringing what he has produced out of the ground. It appears to have been an offering of self-righteous human achievement.
http://www.biblebb.com/files/MAC/90-249.htm
Dennis Clough

J. Matthew Cleary said...

Dennis,

Interesting quotes you dug up. But how do they further your arguments? Your contention is that the story of Cain somehow refutes Refomed theology. My post here shows that your arguments are based on conjecture alone and not the text as it reads. Remember, it is you that stated unequivocally that God called Cain salvifically. Are you now admitting to conjecture on this point?

Dennis Clough said...

JMC

Are you kidding? I just showed you that what you call my "conjecture" was based on the COMMON understanding of the Genesis passage shared by your own Calvinist's heros!

I already brought this up on the other blog, so suggest you read it there.

Spiritual conclusions arrived at by comparing Scriptural truth are not conjecture. Abraham concluded that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead. God did not tell him that, he decided that was the only proper conclusion. The reason Abraham came up with that proper understanding was by remembering that God had a plan for Isaac. If he was dead, the plan couldn't ever come to fruition. Thus Abraham correctly concluded that God would have to raise Isaac from the dead after Abraham sacrificed him. See Hebrews 11.

Great truths stand on more than one leg in the Scripture. Sincerely comparing all scripture on a given subject is the only honest way to approach said subjects.

The man with the wrong system will always come up with the wrong answers.

Dennis Clough

J. Matthew Cleary said...

Dennis,

"Are you kidding?"

Nope

"I just showed you that what you call my "conjecture" was based on the COMMON understanding of the Genesis passage shared by your own Calvinist's heros!"

A few things here; even if all three of you are right, on say, Eve's belief that Cain was the promised seed, it is still conjecture because this is not stated or even implied by the text of Genesis 4. Macarthur simply said it was reasonable to assume this. Further, this does not help your argument because neither of these men support your conjecture that God called Cain salvifically. It was a moot point for you to bring these two men into the picture because my post was designed to show your pattern of reading things into the text that aren't there. In other words, what you keep saying is plainly there, isn't. Also, these men aren't my heroes as I haven't even read Macarthur nor do I own any of Spurgeon's works. So your assertion in this regards is pointless and, I dare say childish.

J. Matthew Cleary said...

"The man with the wrong system will always come up with the wrong answers."

Ironic that *you* would say this.

Brett said...

Supposing that Eve did think that Cain was the promised one (which the text doesn't say...it may have been a reasonable inferance, but we don't know whether she actually did infer this) and supposing that God commanded an animal sacrifice (we don't know if He actually did, because the text doesn't say) and supposing that God did extend a call for salvation (which again is an inference), supposing all of that, what does it prove?
Total depravity doesn't deny that fallen men can think and reason and understand things from a factual standpoint. And Irresistable grace does not deny that many men to whom the gospel is preached end up rejecting it.
Even if all of the inferences are granted, it does not disprove any of the tenents of Calvinism.

J. Matthew Cleary said...

Brett,

Excellent point. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and post your thoughts.

Dennis Clough said...

JMC

You haven't done anything but deny the logical conclusions I brought forth from the Scripture. BTW, I brought your boys into the mix because you denied EVERY conclusion I came up with from the Scripture. I wanted to show you that I am not alone in drawing similar conclusions in the same manner.
I submit that such is thw way to understand the Bible. All you do is deny everything while hovering around one verse that you believe is safe. Your Bible must be small indeed if you don't use other texts to arrive at the proper understanding.

OK, in your understanding, what was God doing with Cain, if not trying to save him?

And then please explain how Adam and Eve got saved while dead and totaly depraved? Be sure and point out where the scripture talks about the inner call and follow your own silly rule of not using any other scriptures to prove your point.

Dennis Clough


Dennis Clough

J. Matthew Cleary said...

Dennis,

"You haven't done anything but deny the logical conclusions I brought forth from the Scripture."

What I have done is to show that your statement that Genesis 4 refutes Calvinism is wishful thinking at best. You cannot disprove Calvinism by mere conjecturing. There is no proof that God was offering a salvific call. The text simply does not say what you insist it says.

"BTW, I brought your boys into the mix because you denied EVERY conclusion I came up with from the Scripture."

My "boys"? You stated earlier on Alan's site that you loved Spurgeon. Now, he's a "boy"? Is this how you express love and respect for the brethren? And what about you "cultist" comment? You didn't answer my question in regards to that one. Do you or do you not see Calvinists as cultists?

"I submit that such is thw way to understand the Bible."

And I submit to you that the proper way to understand the Bible is to let each and every section of scripture speak for itself without trying to read things into the verses that aren't there.

"All you do is deny everything while hovering around one verse that you believe is safe."

It is simply dishonest to say that I'm hovering over one verse. I have answered your challenge on Genesis 4, answered your comments on Romans 9, and have engaged you on John 6:44. Undoubtedly, you are referring to this last verse because you are having problems explaining the "him" that is raised in 6:44b. Your most current response on Alan's site dances around the issue of the "him" who is drawn, is the same "him" that is raised.

"OK, in your understanding, what was God doing with Cain, if not trying to save him?"

I have already addressed this. See above.

"And then please explain how Adam and Eve got saved while dead and totaly depraved?"

And why do you assume that they did "get saved"? Where does it state in Genesis that both Adam and Eve were raised to spiritual life? Further, if they were indeed regenerated, then this would have been granted to them by God out of His own sovereign choice, as is the case with everyone. So what's your point?

Dennis Clough said...

I think your tap dance around Adam and Eve far excedes any you believe
I have done on other issues!

It is entirely possible to be a Christian and yet have a cultic attitude. Such would include a slavish adherence to certain "doctrines" without considering Scriptures that plainly refute them.

Take the instance of the Creator finding His sinning creatures and explaining the Gospel to them. Then He demonstrates a blood sacrifice and clothes them so that their sinful nakedness is no longer an offence to HIm.

And you dare to question the effectiveness of the first Gospel preacher in the lives of the first saved sinners! Your's is the picture of a cultic mind set.

And regarding Spurgeon and John MacArthur, you're right, I shouldn't have called them "boys". I apologize. And in particular they cannot be classified as "yours" since they obviously hold the same view on the salvation of Adam and Eve that I do.

I do not agree with their Calvinist's views, but they certainly demonstrate a much higher regard for Scriptiure than yourself.

Dennis Clough

Dennis Clough said...

Which of these terms are never found in the Bible?

Total Depravity Unconditional Election Limited Atonement Irresistible Grace
Perseverance of the Saints

Since none of these terms are found in the Scriptures are they not then the result of conjecture, the crime you accuse me of? Or is it the singular right of Calvinist's to study the Scriptures and to offer their questionable conclusions? Self-proclaimed guardians of the "doctrines of grace" who discourage any honest inquiry into the scriptures apart from their own conclusions, seem far removed from the Savior who invites us to "come and see and learn of me."

Such exclusionary methods hearken back to the days when the Reformers themselves practiced religious intolerance. More than one, including Calvin, would have been happy to step up to being the "Protestant Pope".

The Reformers, for all the good they did, and the so-called "church fathers" with their occasional scriptural accuracy, are to be appreciated by all Christians.

However, let us get COMPLETELY back to the Apostolic writings, the Word of God in all it's beautiful purity.

Only then will the church be able to move forward into full freedom of the Spirit of God as expressed in the Word of God.

Brett/Michelle Scollard said...

Which of these terms/ phrases are not found in scripture?

Trinity
Hypostatic union
God the Son
Libertarian free will
Previenient grace

et infinitum ad nausium. The question of whether a word is found in scripture is irrelevant. It is a simplistic hermenuetic which is a favorite of the JW's.

Anonymous said...

Please close the forum! This guy is something else!

Dennis Clough said...

Neither is Trinty found in the Bible. The point was that such terms require "conjecture", the crime I am accused of for drawing conclusions from the Scripture.

I suggest everyone try to see the point being made instead of firing off a hasty reply.

J. Matthew Cleary said...

Dennis,

"I think your tap dance around Adam and Eve far excedes any you believe I have done on other issues!"

What tap dance? I asked you specific questions in regards to Adam and Eve. Where's your answers? If you offer no answers, then who's tap dancing here?

"It is entirely possible to be a Christian and yet have a cultic attitude."

This is one of those "have your cake and eat it too" statements. That is, you want to be able to label me a cultist while at the same time keeping yourself on the "high road" by acknowledging that Calvinists are Christians. Not going to work for you though...

"And in particular they cannot be classified as "yours" since they obviously hold the same view on the salvation of Adam and Eve that I do."

They might or might not believe that Adam and Eve were "saved". If they did believe Adam and Eve were regenerated, then they would not have agreed with you on just how that came to be. However, this isn't the issue. The issue is that you are trying to refute Calvinism by mere conjecture instead of engaging the relevant texts that actually do address the specifics of the debate.

"I do not agree with their Calvinist's views, but they certainly demonstrate a much higher regard for Scriptiure than yourself."

This is nothing but a personal jab. You are stooping pretty low yourself in suggesting that I have a low view of Scripture. This is a highly offensive statement to any believer. I remind you sir, that I demonstrated just what the text did and did not say. I am letting the text speak for itself. You are the one reading things into the text for the sake of refuting a viewpoint that you don't like.

"Which of these terms are never found in the Bible?

Total Depravity Unconditional Election Limited Atonement Irresistible Grace
Perseverance of the Saints"

Okay, which of *these* terms is found in the Bible? Semi-depravity, conditional election, unlimited atonement, resistible grace, once saved alway saved? However, the point is not if all these words and phrases are found in the text. The issue is whether or not the doctrines behind the terminology is present. It is not conjecture to apply a technical term to a doctrine that is explicitly taught in Scripture. It is conjecture to draw dogmatic conclusions from unclear texts. You cannot refute Calvinism by conjecturing that God called Cain salvifically and I have shown why by using the text of Genesis 4. Your attempt at citing Calvinists who have conjectured on this section of Scripture in the past is no help because you still cannot show your "ace in the hole" from the text itself.

Dennis, you made a statement to someone else about "firing off" hasty remarks. I would counsel you in the same vein. Most of your posts today are nothing but emotionally charged rhetoric. In other words, you are getting way too emotionally vested in this discussion. You have already had to apologize for one remark; so why not just give it a rest for awhile?

Dennis Clough said...

It's hard for me to believe that someone who considers himself knowledgable enough to defend Calvinism has never read Spurgeon or MacArthur! How about Matthew Henry? He is Calvinist/Reformed and his assesment of the passage is right in line with mine as well as the other references I gave.

I would be interested to see if you can come up with any commentary other than your own that doesn't agree with me on this passage.

Here's a brief excerpt from Matthew Henry on same; 3. A gracious promise is here made of Christ, as the deliverer of fallen man from the power of Satan. Though what was said was addressed to the serpent, yet it was said in the hearing of our first parents, who, doubtless, took the hints of grace here given them, and saw a door of hope opened to them, else the following sentence upon themselves would have overwhelmed them. Here was the dawning of the gospel day. No sooner was the wound given than the remedy was provided and revealed. Here, in the head of the book, as the word is (Heb. x. 7), in the beginning of the Bible, it is written of Christ, that he should do the will of God. By faith in this promise, we have reason to think, our first parents, and the patriarchs before the flood, were justified and saved and to this promise, and the benefit of it, instantly serving God day and night, they hoped to come. Notice is here given them of three things concerning Christ:-- (1.) His incarnation, that he should be the seed of the woman, the seed of that woman; therefore his genealogy (Luke iii.) goes so high as to show him to be the son of Adam, but God does the woman the honour to call him rather her seed, because she it was whom the devil had beguiled, and on whom Adam had laid the blame; herein God magnifies his grace, in that, though the woman was first in the transgression, yet she shall be saved by child-bearing (as some read it), that is, by the promised seed who shall descend from her, 1 Tim. ii. 15. He was likewise to be the seed of a woman only, of a virgin, that he might not be tainted with the corruption of our nature; he was sent forth, made of a woman (Gal. iv. 4), that this promise might be fulfilled. It is a great encouragement to sinners that their Saviour is the seed of the woman, bone of our bone, Heb. ii. 11, 14. Man is therefore sinful and unclean, because he is born of a woman (Job xxv. 4), and therefore his days are full of trouble, Job xiv. 1. But the seed of the woman was made sin and a curse for us, so saving us from both. (2.) His sufferings and death, pointed at in Satan's bruising his heel, that is, his human nature. Satan tempted Christ in the wilderness, to draw him into sin; and some think it was Satan that terrified Christ in his agony, to drive him to despair. It was the devil that put it into the heart of Judas to betray Christ, of Peter to deny him, of the chief priests to prosecute him, of the false witnesses to accuse him, and of Pilate to condemn him, aiming in all this, by destroying the Saviour, to ruin the salvation; but, on the contrary, it was by death that Christ destroyed him that had the power of death, Heb. ii. 14. Christ's heel was bruised when his feet were pierced and nailed to the cross, and Christ's sufferings are continued in the sufferings of the saints for his name


You may be confusing my passion with mere emotion. And I must say, all I see from you is denial of the text! You act as though God was merely strolling in the garden and happened to bump into His fallen creatures. Then He casually said a few insignificant things to them and went on His way, waiting unil Abraham showed up so He could reveal His method of salvation.

This is a very shallow way to deal with the first text that promises the coming of Christ into the world for the express purpose of dying for sinners.
If your conclusions, or better, lack there of, be scholarship, I choose, passionately choose, the truth. Dennis Clough

J. Matthew Cleary said...

Dennis,

"It's hard for me to believe that someone who considers himself knowledgable enough to defend Calvinism has never read Spurgeon or MacArthur!"

MacArthur isn't the "gold standard" of determining what Calvinism is or isn't. And as for Spurgeon, I did not say that I have never read his works and sermons. I merely stated that I do not own anything written by him. So not only are you reading things into Genesis 4, you are reading things into my statements as well. Why can't you deal with things as they are written?

"I would be interested to see if you can come up with any commentary other than your own that doesn't agree with me on this passage."

I don't need commentaries. I am relying solely on the text of Scripture. Why aren't you? Are you admitting that your contentions are not explicitly laid out in Genesis 4 and are forced to rely on the commentaries of others? Further, I don't see how Matthew Henry's commentary on Genesis 3 has anything to do with your assertions in regards to Genesis 4. In fact, Henry doesn't even mention Cain and since your entire argument revolves around your contention that God called Cain salvifically, Henry's commentary, like Spurgeon's and MacArthur's, doesn't further your argument.

"You may be confusing my passion with mere emotion."

I don't believe so.

"And I must say, all I see from you is denial of the text!"

Hardly. I have dealt honestly and accurately with what the text of Genesis 4 says and does not say. Please demonstrate from the text where this is not so. Show me God's salvific call to Cain. If you cannot, is this not an admission of conjecturing on your part?

"This is a very shallow way to deal with the first text that promises the coming of Christ into the world for the express purpose of dying for sinners."

I have never denied that Genesis 3 is the first mention of the coming Christ whose purpose was to save sinners. In fact, no Calvinist with whom I am familiar denies this. What I do deny is your conjecture that God called Cain salvifically in Genesis 4. Would it not be better for you to keep your focus on the text of Genesis 4 since this is where you claim Calvinism is refuted?

Dennis Clough said...

Suddenly the problem of communicating with you about the plainest scriptures becomes clear!

Anyone who does not read commentaries and only studies the text is either completely egotistical or a fool, biblically speaking. Are you not aware that God gives not only the Scripture but Apostles, teachers, preachers, etc for the edifying of the body?

Who are you that you don't need the aids that God has given to His people? Is there any preacher or teacher anywhere who would subscribe to such folly and never read the works of others??

As a defendant who acts as his own attorney has a fool for a client, so the self taught have an equal for a student.

No wonder it has been so difficult to communicate scriptural truth to you! You must have a low opinion indeed of the Scripture if you trust only yourself for the proper interpretation! This tells me that you really know nothing about comparing "scripture with scripture" and thus complain when I do.

You think I have invented some kind of strange hermeneutic, when in fact, you are unfamiliar with this most basic of tools!!

So here is a response that even you can understand and not honestly refute.

Even the most die-hard Calvinist cannot deny that God at least spoke to Adam, Eve, and Cain. You won't admit the obvious subject of those conversations was their sin and how to be forgiven. This shows how loyalty to your system of theology blinds you to considering what the Scriptures actually say.

So be it. But the fact that the Divine record shows that God talked to Adam, Eve, and Cain completely disproves the false theory of total depravity blocking a communication between God and the totally depraved no matter the subject!

In other words, total depravity (which apparently is far worse than the Biblical term, sin) cannot stop sinners from hearing the voice of God.

If that first tenet of Calvinism be wrong, then the whole system collapses and the Biblical truth that Christ calls all sinners to Himself whether they respond or not, is seen to be the truth. Thus sinners who decline God's gracious invitation to be saved as Cain did, become responsible for their own sin. God's Name is cleared from the horrible charge that He sends sinners to Hell without ever offering to forgive them.

His character is then correctly defined as love. It is displayed in Scriptural holy grace and mercy by His pursuing and reasoning with stubborn sinners, regardless of their response. To God be the glory! Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. No tampering allowed!

Dennis Clough

J. Matthew Cleary said...

Dennis,

"Anyone who does not read commentaries and only studies the text is either completely egotistical or a fool, biblically speaking."

This is the second time you have failed to accurately represent what I have written. I have never stated that I do not read or make use of commentaries. My argument has been that you are using commentaries in an attempt at justifying your conjecturing. Why can't you deal with anything as it is written? Why must you read things into the text of Scripture as well as my own writings?

"Who are you that you don't need the aids that God has given to His people?"

Again, never said I didn't need anyone's help in understanding the text of Scripture. I have read and even own a number of theological works from a wide range of authors. But again, none of this has anything to do with the argument at hand. You are trying to justify your eisegetical handling of Genesis 4 by leaning on the commentaries of others who do not even agree with your argument to begin with.

"...so the self taught have an equal for a student."

I've never claimed I was self taught. Please deal with what I actually say.

"No wonder it has been so difficult to communicate scriptural truth to you! You must have a low opinion indeed of the Scripture if you trust only yourself for the proper interpretation!"

I would say the same to you since none of those folks you brought forward agree with your contentions that Genesis 4 refutes Calvinism. So who's leaning on one's own interpretation?

"This tells me that you really know nothing about comparing "scripture with scripture" and thus complain when I do."

Okay, what other Scriptures have you brought forward to justify your assertions in regards to Genesis 4? All I have seen from you is a reliance on the comments of others instead of the text of Scripture (where your focus should have been all this time).

"This shows how loyalty to your system of theology blinds you to considering what the Scriptures actually say."

Wow... talk about the pot calling the kettle black! I have tried repeatedly to keep you on the text of Genesis 4 and to deal with what is actually written there. But what have you done? You have left the text of Scripture and have not been back. This is perhaps the most dishonest statement that you've made thus far.

"You think I have invented some kind of strange hermeneutic, when in fact, you are unfamiliar with this most basic of tools!!"

No, I don't think you are the first to conjecture on a text of Scripture. And you certainly aren't the first to use conjecture in an attempt at refuting Calvinism.

"But the fact that the Divine record shows that God talked to Adam, Eve, and Cain completely disproves the false theory of total depravity blocking a communication between God and the totally depraved no matter the subject!"

So is this offer of a new argument an admission that you cannot prove Genesis 4 refutes Calvinism? Further, the doctrine of Total Depravity does not state that man cannot hear or comprehend the gospel. It simply states that man will always and everywhere reject God's truths. In other words, man is both in love with, and enslaved to his own sin. He will never give it up on his own without divine assistence. You either do not fully understand Calvinistic theology or you are purposefully misrepresenting it so that you can attack it from a different angle (straw-man argumentation).

"Thus sinners who decline God's gracious invitation to be saved as Cain did,..."

Mere assertion. I have already demonstrated from the text of Genesis 4 that you are in error.

"God's Name is cleared from the horrible charge that He sends sinners to Hell without ever offering to forgive them."

In order to make such a statement, you must first assume that God *owes* man something. Can you demonstrate from Scripture where God owes man anything?

Dennis clough said...

You said;

Further, the doctrine of Total Depravity does not state that man cannot hear or comprehend the gospel. It simply states that man will always and everywhere reject God's truths. In other words, man is both in love with, and enslaved to his own sin. He will never give it up on his own without divine assistence. You either do not fully understand Calvinistic theology or you are purposefully misrepresenting it so that you can attack it from a different angle (straw-man argumentation).

Dennis Responds; It is you who doesn't know the Calvinism you are trying to defend. The doctrine of Total Depravity teaches that man is DEAD, unable to respond in any way to the voice of God. WATCH IT NOW, because if you dare to say Man can repond then you are admitting that he doesn't need the so called "effectual call" within

The Calvinists have made that up non- biblical doctrine up because it was necessary to show how their dead man could suddenly hear! The preaching of the Gospel to all was seen as ineffectual and perhaps not mysterious enough in it's operation.

So one of the Calvinist's (feel free to take notes) favorite illustrations of saving faith is the raising of Lazarus because they equate physical death with spiritual death. Lazarus. of course, was not dead as he was already saved and in the bosom of Abraham until Christ called him to re-enter his physical body and come out of the grave. So he cannot serve the Calvinists as an example of a spiritually dead man.

However, Adam and Eve can demonstrate how Totally Depraved people get saved.

Their acceptance of the coats of skin given to them by God after the blood sacrifice of animals, DEMONSTRATED to any honest person that they HEARD the voice of God and understood His words. No mention or hint of an "inner effectual call" so of course, you won't deal honestly with the text.

These spiritually dead people were approached by God who instructed them in salvation. They heard and believed. No mystery. The Gospel, as preached by their Creator, was enough to save them, and may I add, to save the whole world.

The fact that Abel's sacrifice was offered in faith, involved blood, and was accepted by God means nothing to your system-blinded understanding. It clearly shows that he was instructed by his mother and father in the way to be right with God, further proof that they believed the Gospel. Hebrews 11:4 by faith a better sacrifice did Abel offer to God than Cain, through which he was testified to be righteous, God testifying of his gifts, and through it, he being dead, doth yet speak.

The fact that Cain's sacrifice was bloodless, showed lack of faith and was rejected by God is equally meaningless to you because of your bias against the text, not me.

And then of course, God pursuing and reasoning with Cain, warning him against coming destruction doesn't fit your heartless theology of Calvinism. God tells him to "do right". If you think that a sinful man can do anything right in the eyes of a Holy God that does not involve the sacrifice of blood, then I do question your salvation. Calvin never saved anyone, only Jesus Christ and His Gospel can do that.

One wonders if Calvinists would be so caviler in their treatment of the fate of the lost if they thought for a moment that they might not be the elect after all.


Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
6 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."
DENNIS: Just as Abel's sacrifice offered in faith was accepted and made Abel righteous, so would Cain's if he offered the right sacrifice in faith.

8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field." [d] And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
CAIN refused the gracious offer of salvation and sin mastered him just as God had warned him.
9 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?"
"I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?"
10 The LORD said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth."
DENNIS: Now Cain must bear his punishment and it is clearly Cain's fault, not God's. How differently and incorrectly Calvinism teaches!

Dennis Clough

Anonymous said...

I repeat...this guy is something else isn't he? It would almost be funny if it wasn't so ridiculous. sigh.....

J. Matthew Cleary said...

Dennis,

"It is you who doesn't know the Calvinism you are trying to defend. The doctrine of Total Depravity teaches that man is DEAD, unable to respond in any way to the voice of God."

And just when did you appoint yourself an expert on Calvinism? On what basis do you tell Calvinists that they do not know what their system says and does not say? What I said was completely accurate. But don't take it from me...

"Those who are dead in sin can indeed understand the facts of the gospel message, but they will always respond in the same fashion: with rebellion, rejection, or suppression." -James White, Debating Calvinism pg. 69

"He may have an intellectual knowledge of the facts and doctrines of the Bible, but he lacks all spiritual discernment of their excellence and finds no delight in them." -Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination pg.64

Both quotes echo what I stated. Now, if you still think that you know more about Calvinism than Calvinists, I'm sure you can take up your cause with James White as he is always taking calls on his webcast.

"WATCH IT NOW, because if you dare to say Man can repond then you are admitting that he doesn't need the so called "effectual call" within"

This again demonstrates that your knowledge of Reformed theology is lacking. As I demonstrated above, Calvinists teach that man does indeed respond but always in a negative way. This does not negate the need for an effectual call but confirms it. That is, without the effectual call, man stays a slave to sin.

"If you think that a sinful man can do anything right in the eyes of a Holy God that does not involve the sacrifice of blood, then I do question your salvation."

A couple of things here; no Calvinist with whom I am familiar believes that spiritually dead men can do anything to please God. To suggest this is just silly. But I think that you are already aware of this and are simply seeking a way to justify your questioning of my status as a believer. And since you have already stated that you believe Calvinists are Christians, then you do not question my status as a believer on doctrinal grounds but rather on personal grounds. But this is nothing new. I have found this to be common when a non-Calvinist has had his arguments refuted.

As for the rest of your post, why have you changed the focus of your attack? Remember, you started by attacking Irresistible grace and have now switched to Total Depravity. Are you conceding the point in regards to your original assertions? Also, you actually make an attempt to interact with the text this time but you failed to quote the one section where your salvific call to Cain is supposed to be. This is telling. You don't appear to be as confident about your assertions as to the clarity of the text in regards to your original claims. If you were, you would have been hammering away on Genesis 4:6&7 this entire time instead of running off to the commentaries of others in an attempt to justify your conjecturing.

Dennis Clough said...

Calvinism is a system that stands or falls together. It is a big target as none of it's doctrines are true. Many Calvinist's disagree on the various doctrines as to their number and intensity. Anyone truly familiar with it's teachings and teachers would know that.

Also, he would know that some Calvinists consider Mr. White a less than complete Calvinist himself. To me, he kind of seems like the Jesse Jackson of religious debate. He shows up wherever the action is, but doesn't do much about resolving the issue.

As to Calvinists being Christians, anyone who has trusted Christ is a Christian. This does not mean that every Calvinist is automatically a Christian. It does not even mean that if a Calvinist is a Christian that he automatically is a victorious one, or superior in performance to those less enlightened.

Especially suspect in this area are those who spend more time glorying in a system rather than in a Savior who died for the world.

Calvinists do not aid their position by a prickly pride that demands appologies one minute and then insults in the next. And that's no lie.

You have purposefully (seemingly) misunderstood me, misquoted, and attacked me as a liar. I truly hold no ill will because of that since I fully expected it from the beginning.

Such behavior on the part of those who have figured out God's special system of favoring them is not unique to this generation of Calvinists, by any means!

To read their historic attacks on anyone who disagrees with them is to see the stark contrast between them and their Savior who "being reviled" blessed".

I quickly add that not all Calvinists act in such a manner to their credit and as a result of the true grace of God in them that recognizes in others a love of Jesus Christ.

Whitfield and John Wesley had to separate in their ministry efforts over the issue of Calvinism but Whitfield graciously said that Wesley would be closer to the throne of Jesus in Heaven than he would.


The doctrine of grace is to be adorned by our Christian behavior.

This shows are actual assimilation of the grace we are seeking to offer sinners as well as defend against ignorance of even our own.

Dennis Clough

Brett said...

Dennis, Matt is correct regarding the doctrine of total depravity. I could easily produce 10 more quotes from prominant Calvinists, both from history and in modern times which affirm exactly what Matt argued.
Here are a couple of distinction to keep in mind when reading the writings of Calvinists.
1) There is no universally agreed upon definition of free-will. Typically Arminians affirm what is known as libertarian free-will, and Calvinists believe in what is called compatibilist free-will. Thus if you see a Calvinist deny free-will, what he is denying is the Arminian understanding of libertarian free-will. And if you see a Calvinist affirming free-will, what he is affirming is compatibilist free-will.
2)Calvinists distinguish between natural ability and moral ability. Man has all the natural facilties for making choices. But morally, man is corrupt. So the reason we believe that fallen man cannot come to God is because he does not want to come to God. And so man will remain untill God works in his heart. Thus when Calvinists affirm that man is unable to come to God, they are speaking of man's moral inability.

Keeping these distinction in mind should go a long way in making sense of what we Calvinists are teaching.

J. Matthew Cleary said...

"Calvinism is a system that stands or falls together. It is a big target as none of it's doctrines are true. Many Calvinist's disagree on the various doctrines as to their number and intensity. Anyone truly familiar with it's teachings and teachers would know that."

I'm aware that not all Calvinists agree on every point of doctrine. But as far as soteriology, they are quite uniform. But this is a rabbit trail argument. That is, you have stated more than once that Calvinists don't know much about their own system as if you somehow know better than they. You were in error on how total depravity is defined and you are now trying to gloss over this with an accusation that Calvinists are inconsistent in defining the five points. You are obliged of course to provide specific references of this. If not, you stand refuted.

"Also, he would know that some Calvinists consider Mr. White a less than complete Calvinist himself. To me, he kind of seems like the Jesse Jackson of religious debate. He shows up wherever the action is, but doesn't do much about resolving the issue."

And just what does "less than complete" mean? Can you provide the reference for a Calvinist saying this? Further, it is humorous that you would compare White to Jackson in regards to debate. Can you be more specific? Can you demonstrate this from James White's debates? How many have you seen/heard? Which ones? But more importantly, do you intend to bring this observation of yours to his attention, or are you content with sniping him from afar?

"As to Calvinists being Christians, anyone who has trusted Christ is a Christian. This does not mean that every Calvinist is automatically a Christian."

This is true. Just as it is true that because somebody is a non-Calvinist of any stripe, doesn't automatically make him a true Christian. But this really isn't your point, is it? What I see here is a "smooth over job" in regards to your assertions that I am not a Christian because I have dared take up your challenge and refute it. This is evidenced by this:

"Especially suspect in this area are those who spend more time glorying in a system rather than in a Savior who died for the world."

This is nothing but a veiled, continued attack on my status as a believer. You are intimating that I glory in Calvinism rather than Christ. And on what basis do you make this accusation? You have already stated that Calvinism does not disqualify one as a Christian by default. So what other basis is there but personal considerations?

"You have purposefully (seemingly) misunderstood me, misquoted, and attacked me as a liar. I truly hold no ill will because of that since I fully expected it from the beginning."

I have misundertood nothing. And I ask that you provide documentation as to where I misquoted you as this is yet another falsehood on your part. I have copied, pasted, and directly reponded to each of your statements I've addressed. And I have indeed charged you with outright lying. This was done in regards to the statement you made on Alan's site and you have failed to exhonerate yourself in that regard. So the charge stands.

"To read their historic attacks on anyone who disagrees with them is to see the stark contrast between them and their Savior who "being reviled" blessed"."

You have gumption to make this statement especially in light of how you are treating Brett over at Alan's site. He has done nothing but give you the benefit of the doubt on everything and how do you repay his charity? By dodging his honest request at dialogue and taking shots at him. How long before you start to question his salvation?

As for the rest of your post, again, nothing here advances your arguments regarding Cain and a supposed salvific call in Genesis 4.

Dennis Clough said...

You said; "I have misundertood nothing."

Thanks for a good laugh!

I hope you see how pretentious that is!

I'm wondering if you would want to place some kind of limits on that statement? Because you certainly have demonstrated that you cannot understand scripture apart from Calvinism.

You say God is not trying to get Cain saved; well, why is He talking to this non-elect person and what is the subject of their conversation if not salvation?

And Brett, feel free to give your views on this as well.
And please,JMATT, don't tell me you have already spoken to this issue. Calvinists are nothing if not redundant, so indulge me in this please.


You wail and carry on because your handy little system cannot stand the test of full scriptural light.

You ignore my scriptural reasons for refuting Calvinism, and complain that I'm impolite to Brett and you. I'd apologize but what good is the apology of a liar like me?

But you really are not bad in the insult field by comparison to some Calvinists. Toplady's letter to John Wesley might help you sharpen your skills. It's on the web, check it out.

And I did not say all Calvinists do not know their belief system. The problem is, their belief system is not uniformly held by all. Thus, they can correctly say, individually, "You don't REALLY understand my beliefs!"

I really don't think you are the expert you pose as in this field, however.

The opposition may be using the TULIP and the defender may either not believe all five points or not have thought out the full implications of such beliefs. Or he may hold some points intensely and some lightly.

All in all, it's a tough system to attack. But it could be worse. It's tougher to defend scripturaly than it is to attack.

Dennis Clough

Anonymous said...

For pete's sake! You seem to be the one who can't understand scripture because of calvinism! Am I to think that anytime I see God speaking to anyone in the Bible, His real purpose is to offer salvation? How about this is just a simple example of how sin is already beginning to spread? Cain and Abel offered a sacrifice. Abel's sacrifice was an atonement; Cain offered a thank offering, apparently feeling no need for atonement. He tried self justification. And he was outraged at his rejection and was angry at God but unable to strike at God he struck Abel his brother. Then he lied about it. He began a self justifier, then continued with self pity. And not a whole lot has changed up to today. In time Cain came to build one of the first cities (usually modern mans refuge instead of God) and probably died paranoid and alone. God was not even dealing with Cain in a moral sense, but in a ceremonial sense. That is to say that God was inquiring why cain had offered the wrong kind of sacrifice, not extending the hand of salvation to him if he had only done the right thing. He simply asks "why are you angry?" It desires to have him the way that sin desires to enslave all off us.

J. Matthew Cleary said...

Dennis,

"You say God is not trying to get Cain saved;..."

What I'm saying is that there is no mention of a salvific call to Cain. This is in response to your assertion that Scripture is clear on this supposed salvific call. I have pointed out what the text of Genesis 4 says and does not say by direct interaction with the text. Your method has been to use commentaries that do not support your contention of a salvific call.

"...well, why is He talking to this non-elect person and what is the subject of their conversation if not salvation?"

I have already stated that I do not know God's motivations for communicating with Cain since the text does not address it. I have pointed out that you continually assume that it is for the purpose of offering Cain salvation but you don't bother to show it. It is my contention that you know full well that the text of Genesis 4 is not in fact as clear as you originally suggested and that you are conjecturing as to God's motives and purposes. If you are not conjecturing, why then offer commentaries that are likewise conjecturing on this section of scripture? That is, why else but for justification of your conjecturing?

It is also my contention, that you realize that if you admit to conjecture, then your argument collapses because you know that you cannot refute Calvinism by this kind of argumentation.

Now, as to your post over at Alan's, you made an accusation without demonstration. I then challenged you for proof of your accusation or else you would be shown to be knowingly offering falsehoods. Your response to this contained no documentation needed to support your accusation. Thus, I say you are shown to be guilty of outright lying.

As to the rest of your post, again, nothing here but empty rhetoric. Assertion without argument will not win the day for you.

Dennis Clough said...

JMC said;

"I have already stated that I do not know God's motivations for communicating with Cain since the text does not address it."

I would think that a man who once claimed to "only study the Bible" would at least offer some kind of understanding of the text! Now that you have admitted or claimed to have enough theological books to fill a barn, may I suggest that you study them and at least find out what others say about it? You will find that they are not so reluctant as you to actually study the text.

It's SOOOOO lame to say you don't know God's motivation in this text. I submit that His "motivation" is found by actually reading the text without looking through the distorting lenses of Calvinism.

God is love in all His ways, I do believe you will overcome your reluctance to agree with me on anything long enough to admit that?

So start with that eternal motivation on His part (since you supposedly don't see it in the text) and then remember that our first parents and their off-spring were depraved sinners. Now I wonder; what would a loving Holy God say to lost sinners? Get real, will you, and deal with the text. A clue that might help you is found in Hebrews 11:4:

By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.

In seeing why God commended Abel and the results of his offering (he became righteous in God's eyes) you can see by contrast why God rejected Abel's. God's subsequent pleadings with Cain, a member of the non-elect, puts the lie to Calvinism. Both Calvinistic understanding of sinner's capabilities as well as the doctrine of Irresistible Grace are shown to be false conjectures.

Don't let pride keep you from admitting, not that I am right, but that the Scriptures are correct.

I'm not really against you, but I am against teachings that any honest person would see are in direct opposition to the Scriptural picture of a God who loves all sinners and earnestly desires them to be saved.

Paul said, "
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

To beseech means to beg! God, through His ambassadors is begging sinners to be saved! The false concept that has Him divided against Himself in electing only a few to salvation is plainly wrong.

Jesus said, "A kingdom divided against itself CANNOT stand!" Please think about it.
Dennis Clough

J. Matthew Cleary said...

Dennis,

"I would think that a man who once claimed to "only study the Bible..."

Yet again, you are mis-reading what I write. I have never stated that I only study the Bible. Please show where I stated such.

"Now that you have admitted or claimed to have enough theological books to fill a barn,..."

Are you just incapable of handling written materials without reading things into them? Where did I state that I had a library big enough to fill a barn?

"It's SOOOOO lame to say you don't know God's motivation in this text."

And it's "SOOOOO" pretentious of you to say you know God's motivations where Scripture is silent.

"God is love in all His ways,..."

Love is one of God's attributes. But love is not God's motivation in "all His ways" as you say. Unless, of course, you are willing to argue that it is an act of love for God to throw sinners into the pit of hell.

"So start with that eternal motivation on His part..."

You are essentially asking me to adopt your presupposition of God's omnibenevelence without argument. But in order for me to do so, you would need to harmonize your view of God's love with the many passages that speak of God's hatred towards men.

"A clue that might help you is found in Hebrews 11:4:"

I have no problem with Hebrews 11:4. It is you, however that has a problem here. Hebrews 11:4 states that Abel had faith and it was because of this faith that he brought his sacrifice. In this statement of yours:

"In seeing why God commended Abel and the results of his offering (he became righteous in God's eyes) you can see by contrast why God rejected Abel's."

You state that Abel became righteous as a result of his offering and not because of his faith. Now, I simply ask, is a man justified by animal sacrifice, or faith? If you say faith, then you have contradicted yourself because you clearly state above that Abel was righteous only after offering the sacrifice. If you say man is justified by animal sacrifice, then you have effectively abandoned Christianity. Further, the text of Hebrews 11 does not state whether or not Abel's faith was a gift of God or if it sprang from Abel himself. So you are basically spinning your wheels here.

"I'm not really against you,..."

Then why question my status as a believer?

"...but I am against teachings that any honest person would see are in direct opposition to the Scriptural picture of a God who loves all sinners and earnestly desires them to be saved."

So you are basically saying that all Calvinists are dishonest, right?

Anonymous said...

Again why assume that God is offering salvation to anyone and everyone He is speaking to in the Bible? Does the Lord not have other purposes in any sort of communication? The text says nothing about salvation, why assume it? Is this not just conjecture? Why can't it just be a demonstration of sin spreading in the world, being that it comes so soon after Gen. 3? I have never heard anyone say that this is God offering Cain a chance at "salvation".

Dennis Clough said...

JMS said;
You state that Abel became righteous as a result of his offering and not because of his faith. Now, I simply ask, is a man justified by animal sacrifice, or faith? If you say faith, then you have contradicted yourself because you clearly state above that Abel was righteous only after offering the sacrifice. If you say man is justified by animal sacrifice, then you have effectively abandoned Christianity. Further, the text of Hebrews 11 does not state whether or not Abel's faith was a gift of God or if it sprang from Abel himself. So you are basically spinning your wheels here.

Dennis replies; As you should know, faith in anything but the blood sacrifice for salvation is no faith. As always, I refer you back to the text; God had RESPECT for Abel's OFFFERING. That verse in Genesis combined with Hebrews shows Abel's (respected)offering was offered in FAITH. Faith and the right offering go together. You are really embarrassing yourself here in not knowing this elementary teaching. And to not understand that animal sacrifices picture the vicarious death of Jesus Christ is a blunder of the worst degree!
And of course, as I have contended all along, Abel's instruction came from Adam and Eve who received it from God Himself.

Cain received the same instruction from his parents as Abel did, yet declined God's invitation to salvation. Whereupon, God, not yet knowing Calvinism, pursued Cain to try and get him saved.

And you are denying the intent and import of these truths because seemingly you are better schooled in Calvinism than Christianity.

JMC quoting me:
"I'm not really against you,..."

Dennis replies; Anyone who calls you or anyone else to integrity in dealing with the scriptures is doing them a favor ...

JMC asks;
Then why question my status as a believer?

Dennis replies;
What do you care what I think of you since according to you I may have "abandonded Christianity"?

JMC quoting me"...but I am against teachings that any honest person would see are in direct opposition to the Scriptural picture of a God who loves all sinners and earnestly desires them to be saved."

JMC said;
So you are basically saying that all Calvinists are dishonest, right?

Dennis replies; Some are dishonest in the way they disregard the text in favor of their Calvinistic bias. They elevate a system above the Word of God while trying to convince everyone that the system IS the Word of God. Other Calvinists are simply mistaken and get flustered and frustrated when confronted with the actual Scripture.

I don't know which you are in this assessment of mine. However, if you are HONEST, you will admit that what I said about offering the right sacrifice in faith is the proper way to be declared righteous.

I am only looking at this time for you to concede this one point. I will be interested to see your reply.

Dennis Clough

Dennis Clough said...

TO JMC;

Be careful what you ask for! You asked for quotes from you that would "prove" that I have quoted you correctly.

Here are a few in chronological order. Do you see any contradictions between them?

JMC said:

#1 Also, these men aren't my heroes as I haven't even read Macarthur nor do I own any of Spurgeon's works.


#2. MacArthur isn't the "gold standard" of determining what Calvinism is or isn't.

Dennis asks; How do you know if you've never read him?


#2 continued: And as for Spurgeon, I did not say that I have never read his works and sermons. I merely stated that I do not own anything written by him. So not only are you reading things into Genesis 4, you are reading things into my statements as well. Why can't you deal with things as they are written?

Dennis replies; I'll try to from now on if you'll be consistent. In one post you distance yourself from Spurgeon and then in the next you embrace him! Silly me to think you meant what your first post indicated! :)

#3. I don't need commentaries. I am relying solely on the text of Scripture

Dennis replies; Remember this famous/infamous statement? When I chastised you for such an approach to Scripture you back pedaled into this next quote.

#4. This is the second time you have failed to accurately represent what I have written. I have never stated that I do not read or make use of commentaries.

Dennis replies; oh, really? Further back pedaling continued below.

#5. Again, I never said I didn't need anyone's help in understanding the text of Scripture. I have read and even own a number of theological works from a wide range of authors.

Dennis replies; Perhaps you should never say never?

#6. I've never claimed I was self taught. Please deal with what I actually say.

Dennis replies: Compare #3 with #6
for further instruction in how difficult it is to comply with your last request.

J. Matthew Cleary said...

Dennis,

"As you should know, faith in anything but the blood sacrifice for salvation is no faith."

Are you actually saying that faith in animal sacrifice is what saves?

"I refer you back to the text; God had RESPECT for Abel's OFFFERING."

The text actually stated that God had regard for Abel *and* his offering. But the question is, why? Did God regard Abel because he offered his sacrifice in faith or because of the fact that it was an animal sacrifice? If you say faith alone, then your point is moot because the question then reverts to where does faith come from, God or man? If you say animal sacrifice, you indeed abandon Christianity. If you say both, then you are forced to argue that each and every jew had the same faith as Abel and should have been saved just because of the fact they participated in animal sacrifice. In other words, you should see national Israel as saved. But this isn't the case and you know it. Just because someone offered God an animal sacrifice in the old testament did not guarantee their salvation.

The entire chapter of Hebrews 11 is focused on the faith of those mentioned and not animal sacrifice. In fact Hebrews 11:2 states that they were all approved of by God because of their faith. So this means that Abel and his sacrifice were approved because of Abel's faith. Thus, you should be focusing on the question of just where Abel's faith came from.

"Faith and the right offering go together. You are really embarrassing yourself here in not knowing this elementary teaching."

But what is the "right offering"? I have just shown that Hebrews 11 teaches that men are accepted because of their faith. You are making it sound like they must exhibit faith by offering animal sacrifice. But this is flatly contradicted by Hebrews 11. In fact, verses 5 & 6 explicitly state that Enoch was taken up because of his faith and it is impossible to please God without faith. Thus, if Abel did not have faith, he could have offered fifty animal sacrifices and still would not have pleased God. So, for you to miss the point of Hebrews 11 and to misunderstand how faith relates to animal sacrifice is in actuality, an embarrasing blunder for *you*.

"Dennis replies;
What do you care what I think of you since according to you I may have "abandonded Christianity"?"

First, why refer to yourself in the third person? Second, you are dodging. You know as well as I do that you are questioning my status as a believer for personal and not doctrinal reasons.

"Dennis replies; Some are dishonest in the way they disregard the text in favor of their Calvinistic bias. They elevate a system above the Word of God while trying to convince everyone that the system IS the Word of God."

Since Calvinists believe that Calvinism is just a technical term for the gospel itself, then you are indeed charging Calvinists with dishonesty. The problem for you is that you have yet to show that Calvinism isn't the correct view of the Scriptures and until you do, your opinions in this regard are meaningless.

"I am only looking at this time for you to concede this one point. I will be interested to see your reply."

Seeing as how you have not proven a single one of your asserions in this entire exchange, I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.

J. Matthew Cleary said...

Dennis,

"Dennis asks; How do you know if you've never read him?"

Are you seriously arguing that MacArthur is in fact the Gold standard for determining what is or isn't Calvinism? Further, do you mind explaining just why I must read MacArthur in order to believe this?

"Dennis replies: Compare #3 with #6
for further instruction in how difficult it is to comply with your last request."

What you've done here is to take my comments and rip them out of their contexts. For example, quote #3 is a reply to you on your reliance on commentaries for the determination of what Scripture says and does not say rather than the text itself. Quote #6 is where I stated that I am not self taught in the sense that I do not interpret Scripture in an historical vacuum. So just where is the contradiction?

And as for the rest, you know you cannot demonstrate contradiction from anything I've written so you are trying to save face by saying that I'm "back pedaling". Most disingenious of you.

Dennis Clough said...

You purposely misunderstand. As I stated before, all blood sacrifices pointed to the great sacrifice of Christ's precious blood, the only blood that can take away sin.

Abel's sacrifice had blood that pointed to the coming sacrifice of Christ as revealed by God to Adam and Eve.

Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin.

Cain offered a sacrifice in faith that his bloodless offering was good enough.

But faith in the wrong offering is no faith.

You are so biased by your Calvinistic perceptions that you cannot even agree with me on the most basic teaching of the Word of God; that faith in the blood of Christ alone saves!

And now your comment moderation scheme will kick in and probably not allow me to point out that you contradicted yourself re MacArthur and then tried to divert attention from that fact. In one post you say "I have never read MacArthur." In the next you reject his Calvinism! I simply ask how you can judge a man you've never read?

But then he would probably fare no better than me when it comes to your unwilling comprehension.

JMC Quote:
If you say faith alone, then your point is moot because the question then reverts to where does faith come from, God or man?

Dennis replies; It comes from God's instruction to man regarding his need of a Savior and His provision of one in Christ. The Gospel, as preached by God to Adam and Eve, saves all who believe once and for all.

As Paul said, the Gospel IS the POWER of God unto salvation.
This same Gospel was rejected by Cain over the pleadings of God and he was lost forever.

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.


Even your favorite "calling" verse when read in context is shown to be nothing mysterious as Calvinists would make it to be, but simply the instruction of God to fallen sinners on how to get right with God; come to Christ!

Dennis Clough

J. Matthew Cleary said...

Dennis,

"You purposely misunderstand. As I stated before, all blood sacrifices pointed to the great sacrifice of Christ's precious blood, the only blood that can take away sin."

And you purposely sidestepped every point I've raised thus far. It is not a point of contention that animal sacrifice pointed to Christ's atonement. The issue is how faith related to animal sacrifice.

"Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin."

Okay, since "remission" means to release, pardon, and forgive, then are you saying animal sacrifices did indeed remit sin?

"Cain offered a sacrifice in faith that his bloodless offering was good enough."

So you're saying Cain had faith? Where do the texts of Genesis 4 or Hebrews 11 say this? Or are you yet again reading things into the text of Scripture?

"But faith in the wrong offering is no faith."

Then answer the question: is it faith that pleases God as Hebrews 11 states, or animal sacrifice?

"You are so biased by your Calvinistic perceptions that you cannot even agree with me on the most basic teaching of the Word of God;..."

Empty rhetoric.

"...that faith in the blood of Christ alone saves!"

This has never been the point and you know it. Unless you can provide a quote by me where I have denied faith in Christ's atonement, you are yet again guilty of lying.

"And now your comment moderation scheme will kick in and probably not allow me to point out that you contradicted yourself re MacArthur and then tried to divert attention from that fact."

I activated the moderate comments feature to see how it worked. I wanted to know if it would be useful against folks such as yourself. At some point, you're gonna go too far in your rhetoric and dishonesty or, I will outright tire of you. If and when that comes about is up to you.

"In one post you say "I have never read MacArthur." In the next you reject his Calvinism!..."

Notice how you give a direct quote from me and then contrast that to something I never stated. Your desperation is showing Dennis. By that I mean, you know you cannot provide an explicit statement by me where I outright reject MacArthur's Calvinism. So, you add your own words and hope that nobody catches it. It's stuff like this that caused me to activate the comment moderation feature. You're gonna engage in this nonsense one too many times.

"But then he would probably fare no better than me when it comes to your unwilling comprehension."

Empty rhetoric.

"Dennis replies; It comes from God's instruction to man regarding his need of a Savior and His provision of one in Christ. The Gospel, as preached by God to Adam and Eve, saves all who believe once and for all."

So you are in fact saying that faith comes from man? Then how do you deal with the passages that state faith is a gift of God?

"This same Gospel was rejected by Cain over the pleadings of God and he was lost forever."

I have asked repeatedly for you to show where this supposed salvific call is. The vast majority of your posts here have been an attempt to justify conjecturing. So, do you admit to conjecture here? If not, then show God's salvific call from the text of Genesis 4. If so, you are admitting that you're entire argument rests on conjecture and your orginal statements about the denying the clarity of Scripture are shown to be erroneous.

"Even your favorite "calling" verse when read in context is shown to be nothing mysterious as Calvinists would make it to be, but simply the instruction of God to fallen sinners on how to get right with God; come to Christ!"

Mind explaining just what you are going on about here and how that has anything to do with Genesis 4?

Dennis Clough said...

Well, the big boy has cut me off from his self-described "humble" blog!
He is not honest enough to tell people that he shut me off and that it was not my decision to drop out.
His "LOVE" of discussing theolgy, especially Calvinism, has run out when meeting someone who knows his beloved "system" and the Scriptures as well.
So back to the other Blog! Dennis Clough

J. Matthew Cleary said...

Dennis,

"Well, the big boy has cut me off from his self-described "humble" blog!"

Obviously, I haven't. Yet. But with a few more completely irrelevant posts like this one, you will indeed be "cut off".

"He is not honest enough to tell people that he shut me off and that it was not my decision to drop out."

When and where did I "shut you off"? You are still here aren't you? And if you are "shut off", it will be by your own inability to post without your customary, emotionally charged rhetoric that is designed to do nothing but jab at Calvinists since you are unable to refute them. And if anyone is wondering if I'm being too harsh in my description of his tone of writing, I need only reproduce this from his latest post:

"His "LOVE" of discussing theolgy, especially Calvinism, has run out when meeting someone who knows his beloved "system" and the Scriptures as well."

Anonymous said...

Dennis, everyone who has read this does not see it the way you describe, you have to know this. It is all plainly here for anyone to read. The same old tired straw man arguments. I guess if you keep just saying the same things over and over you've "won" the argument huh?

Dennis Clough said...

You aren't half as tired of my comments as I am of the conclusions of Calvinism which will not stand the light of Scripture. And it's actually funny to be accused of repeation from the Calvinist camp! They who crank out endless books "explaining" Calvinism over and over again to the fully indoctrinated lest they forget exactly how many hairs there were on Calvin's head. The rank and file are so inundated with the flood of cookie cutter books they have little time to read the Word itself it would seem.

And then if there are not the proper "oohs" and "ahhs" from the choir at each presentation of the faded and frayed "tulip" , there will be recriminations! It will be suggested that one is not intellectual, perhaps the unpardonable sin to a Calvinist!

After all, didn't Jesus carefully seek out educated fishermen and indoctrinate them in the theological maze of Calvinism? Peter, James and John were trained theologians, having graduated from the Seminary of Full Nets with a degree in sheep feeding! Not sure if this qualified them to be serious Calvinists however, especially since they were too busy writing Scripture that refutes those nefarious doctrines to actually study Calvinism. Too bad, they could have really done something for God if they were better equipped!

Dennis Clough

J. Matthew Cleary said...

Dennis,

I decided to respond to you with a new post on my homepage since this thread is six months old. And after six months, I must say that I am disappointed that you couldn't come up with anything better to post. It almost seems that you are just trying to get the last word in even after all this time. I hope this isn't the case and will again state that if you cannot post here without this sort of rhetoric, you will be banned from posting here at Conversations as you have been elsewhere.

outdoorsman086 said...

JMC,

"I do not presume to know God's motivations for communicating with Cain since the text does not address it."

Then you cannot presume to know that God was not calling Cain to salvation.

"And I do not believe that God was concerned with hurting Cain's feelings. God was merely communicating that if one does good in God's sight, than happiness follows. Again, no mention of any salvific calls."

So, basically what you're saying is God will make people happy during their lifetime, yet when that is up they will have eternal sorrow, and this because God did not chose them. You completely fail to see that God is more concerned with the eternal than He is with the temporal, yet it is what you decide in this temporal life that concludes your eternity, either heaven or hell. It is illogical, based on God's character revealed through scripture, that He was only concerned about Cain's temporal happiness.

outdoorsman086 said...

Let's say those passages are talking about God simply calling Cain to do what is right (not a salvific call), if it is so easy for someone to deny and reject that call to do what is right, for the sake of happiness, how much easier then would it be to deny and reject the call of salvation? If God can so easily make a person believe and be saved, why did He have such a hard time opening Cain's eyes to see that he should do what is right? Do you get my point? Does God merely encourage people for the sake of encouragement, only for them to reject His offer? To say yes is to call God a tease and a flirt.

Anonymous said...

We have cause to be distressed indeed when brothers in Christ can resort to anger and insults in an investigation that should be seeking the glory of God through the understanding of His Word, as if any given point in our theology were simply a philosophic argument to be won-- for as soon as we do not speak in love as brothers in Christ called to peace, what substance do our arguments have? Lest anyone dismiss me as some sort of universalist, let me assure you I am most certainly not. In fact, I am a "Calvinist" (misleading though that term is-- I may agree with Calvin in these matters, but my allegiance is to God and His Word), and not because of indoctrination: I was raised Christian but found myself squarely in what I later learned was the Arminian camp, until one day the Lord opened my eyes to see the very blindness I was blind to--and still would be, were it not for the regenerating grace of God: that much He made abundantly clear to me. I not only realized but saw first-hand in my own life what it means to be "dead in trespasses" (Eph. 2:5) You can talk to a dead man; you can read the Bible to him; but apart from a miracle, he's not going to respond. I realized that was ME: I was such an enemy of God, I was not only hardened against His call as a slave to sin, but I was as deaf to it as a dead man. I saw then that, if I live-- that is, if I am choosing to follow Christ rather than shun him as my enemy (even while paying Him lip-service)-- it is only because, in a miracle of creation, I have been GIVEN life by the God who speaks into nothingness and suddenly there is light-- it happens-- no questions asked. Because of this, I believe it was only an irresistible call of grace that could save this dead sinner.

So how does this relate to Cain? My understanding of how God saves sinners does not derive from the story of Cain (though it certainly "fits") but from the unified testimony of Scripture. The "problem" of Cain is in fact not specific to Cain at all: basically, how is it that a Sovereign God permits sinners to perish, even sinners who have read the Bible or heard the Gospel preached (that is, have heard the call of God to have saving faith in Christ)? Well, for one thing, I know that I am utterly incapable of "generating" or simply intrinsically having such faith on my own-- it must be a gift of God-- and so I know that if left to my depraved "free will" I would run from rather than to God (which Scripture confirms)-- therefore I must conclude that I choose God only because He has created in me a new heart that chooses Him. If Cain did not choose God unto salvation, it MUST be because he was left in sin. This is hard-- we may rightly point out that God did not MAKE Cain reject him, of course-- but still the question remains, "If God is sovereign in salvation, why didn't he regenerate Cain's nature so as to bring him to repentance and salvation?" We might as well ask, "Why doesn't God save all people, if he is loving?" But this is not peculiar to "Calvinism": why would a loving God create people he knew in advance would reject him and earn condemnation to Hell? I don't know, nor can I pretend to. But I do know that if I ever cease to be troubled by the lostness of my fellow man, I have disobeyed the great commandment of our Lord to love my neighbor as myself. And I also know that it is not my place to talk back to Almighty God, and I must be content to know that in all things God works for his own glory, in order that his wrath, power, patience, glory, and mercy might be made known (Rom. 9:22-23)

outdoorsman086 said...

If God simply predestined or chose certain people to be saved, then why does Ephesians 2:8 read "...through faith"? Faith would not be necessary to receive God's salvation, because it would just be given to us by His grace. Not that those who God chose wouldn't have faith, obviously God would give that to them, but faith then would not be the means of salvation and scripture does not speak of God making us believe. To say that Arminiasts aren't Christians is just as wrong as someone saying Calvinists aren't Christians. Both believe that faith is necessary, they just believe differently on how one comes to have faith. I am not an Arminiast, nor a Calvinist. Titles are so misleading, because it fits you into this specific group and system of belief that you may not necessarily believe everything about. I think many Christians tend to have a misunderstanding of what grace means. Yes, grace means that it is outside of any works we do and merely by the lovingkindness of God. Take Titus 3:7 for example, "so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." Now, some would say that this means God just graciously chose certain people to be justified. This verse, however does not imply that at all. Now this passage talks about how we are not saved by works, which is true. Both Arminiasts and Calvinists agree on this. So what does it mean when it says we are justified by His grace? Well, what is the central purpose of the Bible? To point us to the Savior, Jesus Christ. God's grace is in the person of the Messiah. By His grace, obviously not because of anything we have done, He descended from His heavenly throne to become flesh, to live among us, and point us to Himself. He did not do this because we are good or worthy, because we aren't. We are not saved by our works, but by the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. He is our propitiation. It's because of Him that we are able to approach the Father. God is obviously still sovereign in this. Saying that God did not choose certain people to be saved does not make Him any less sovereign. God is not obligated to save us. He graciously made that decision to save us. And we are called to respond in faith. Faith is not a work. If anything, it's the complete absence of work. It's completely trusting in the Lord for salvation, because we ourselves cannot obtain it. I want to take time now to simply greet every brother and sister in Christ who has contributed to this thread. While there are obviously different view points expressed, we can all agree on Christ crucified. The most important thing is that we express love to one another and preach, as Paul put it, Christ crucified.

a helmet said...

"Salvific call", "common call", "saving grace", "common grace", "inward/outward call" .... those are terms not found anywhere in the bible. If God grants grace to someone, then it is saving grace. There is no half-hearted grace.

Anonymous said...

Mabye, you should ask why Abel's offering was accepted?

myth buster said...

It is written, "God is love." Behold the simplicity of God: He is Love, without qualification or division against Himself. Therefore, I dare say that whoever denies the omnibenevolence of God is a blasphemer. Why then, you may ask, are not all men saved, and why does He speak of hostility toward men? What God hates is not men, but men's sins, which are antithetical to Him. In the Cross of Christ, there is sufficient grace purchased to save all men, for it is written, "He is the Savior of all men, especially those who believe." Even so, many harden themselves to God's call, and some even return to wickedness after having been converted. Them that refuse to be saved shall not be saved, not because God has not provided all the grace needed for them to be saved, but because they squandered it and determined to go to their deaths at war with God.