Manuel Culwell said:
I think you know exactly what was being said Mr. Cleary in the way of “vacuum isolation”
Since I have never seen nor heard this expression used, then no, I don't know what it means. Nor do I care to speculate on it's meaning since it is unwise to assume definitions of unfamiliar terminology especially when it appears to be made up.
This is the consistent way Calvinists interpret the scriptures, they take one sometimes two passages to showcase a ceratin hard passage in isolation and then psychoanalyze words and phrases of said passages excluding many others that deal with the same doctrine, allow me to give an example of another Calvinist. Edward Dalcour writes...
Here, Manuel proceeds to make an assertion regarding the Calvinist methodology of interpreting scripture. He then cites a snippet from Eddie Dalcour to prove his point. The problem with Manuel's quoting of Dalcour is that Manuel provides no citation or link to Dalcour's full argument which makes it impossible to assess what Dalcour's methodology was. All we see is Dalcour performing a word study on a particuliar greek term. Thus, in order for Manuel to substantiate his assertion, he will need to provide specific citations that can be cross checked. Otherwise, there is no reason to accept Manuel's charicature of Calvinistic methodology. Furthermore, Manuel's complaint about "psychoanalyzing" is quite interesting. I can only assume that Manuel is complaining that Calvinists perform word studies in order to derive meaning from a given text which, by the way, is what Dalcour was doing in the quotation that Manuel provided (the reader should notice that Manuel does not bother to interact with Dalcour's argument). If this is the case, how else is exegesis to be performed? I mean, if one is to draw out the meaning of any given text, are we not to be sure that the words within that text mean what we think they mean?
There is a little more that Manuel says about Dalcour's word study but I'll hold commenting on it for the time being. I will be posting a second response to Manuel in the near future that deals more with exegetical issues surrounding certain verses that Manuel constantly refers to.
...I posted my response to you for a reason and that was to get you to deal with certain arguments so I could deal with your own arguments.
Manuel here states that the reason he posted on my blog was so that he could deal with my arguments on certain issues. The problem is that Manuel did not present specific arguments or issues. He merely posted a very generalized and broad ranging screed against Calvinism to which I responded appropriately. If Manuel wants to deal with specific points of dispute, then he needs to submit specific arguments.
Mr. Cleary I already explained that these good folks on this your blog responded to your “vacuum trap”(I did not.) It could be seen from a mile away. You only submitted two passages to isolate your “sugar stick” that being John 6:44 you set up your trap to the exclusion of other passages yes you submitted (John 12:32) But I saw what you were trying to do, all I needed was one or more passages that you not so much even eluded to that being (James 4:8, and John 6:45)
So besides "vacuum isolation", we now have something called a "vacuum trap". Again, I have never seen this phrase used before so I won't speculate on what Manuel means by it. However, he does appear to be referring to the previous post I did on John 12:32. But yet again, Manuel fails to actually deal with what was written there. Instead, he chooses to dismiss my arguments by throwing out made up terminology along with some nonsense about sugar sticks. Furthermore, if my posts on this blog are as obviously defective as Manuel asserts, then it should be an easy matter for him to refute them. But, it appears that no such refutation is forthcoming.
Yep! No problem…God predestined the salvation of an elect group (the church) to which all maybe added conditioned upon their faith in obedience to the Gospel.
Here, Manuel is responding to my mention of Ephesians 1:5. But the reader should note that nowhere in Ephesians chapter 1 does it state anything about predestination being conditioned on faith. Moreover, what Manuel is alluding to here is the concept of "class election". Yet, the mere mention of this concept is not an argument and arguments are what we are here to consider. Thus, if Manuel wants to argue for the concept of class election, then he is free to do so if and when he responds.
Mr. Cleary thinks individuals are p-r-e-d-e-s-t-I-n-e-d. Find me the passage please that says so?
Well, that would be the aforementioned Ephesians 1:5. Y'know, the verse that states "He predestined us..."?
Now, it's at about this point in Manuel's post that he attempts to answer my mention of Acts 13:48. Sadly however, Manuel's response doesn't interact with the actual wording of that text. In fact, it's not even mentioned at all! Instead, Manuel chooses to go off to the book of Romans where he makes a number of assertions. Needless to say, this leaves Acts 13:48 untouched and the Calvinistic interpretation unrefuted. On top of this, Manuel's assertions in regards to Romans are not really argued. He seems content to sprinkle those assertions with citations and leaving it at that.
the elect are not simply individuals chosen by God while other are simply rejected but the elect refers to those individuals colectively that make the Body of Christ while we are in him which took place through the preaching of the gospel, the drawing of God. We are chosen in him from the foundation of the world as the elect body, the church .
This is Manuel's response to my mention of 2Thessolonians 2:13. Let the reader again notice that Manuel does not interact with the actual wording of that text. He is again content with making an unsupported assertion in lieu of an argument. As it is, I can just as easily assert that the elect are indeed individuals chosen by God unto salvation as stated in 2Thessolonians. Consequently, the rest of mankind is passed over and left to the sin that they love since it is a fact that not all will be saved. Further, the idea that the church as a corporate entity is what is predestined to salvation instead of the individual is fallacious on the grounds that groups consist of individuals and that there is no exegetical reason that can be gleaned from any given text to support the notion of corporate election.
You completely ignored my post and simply added your snide comments and remarks while ignoring the passages I submitted.
To say that I "completely ignored" Manuel's post is beyond inaccurate; it's dishonest. Further, if Manuel wants to complain about the tone of my responses, then perhaps he should not have set that tone to begin with. That is, since I believe in answering folks on their own grounds, then Manuel should be focusing on the tone of his own posts.
Also, I am not obligated to respond to prooftexting. It is enough to point it out for what it is and leave it at that. When Manuel provides exegetical demonstrations for his submitted passages and why they contradict Calvinism, he'll then get a response.
Here in is the problem. You care to much what Calvin had to say, I am not talking to Calvin, I am talking to you,...
Here, Manuel completely dodges a previous challenge to one of his comments. If the reader will remember, Manuel stated that men were robots according to Calvin. I then challenged Manuel to direct us to where Calvin ever said such a thing. Instead of backing up his claim, Manuel chooses to employ a smoke and mirrors tactic of redirecting the reader's attention to me supposedly caring too much about what Calvin had to say. So let the reader be aware that Manuel cannot show where Calvin ever said what Manuel claims. Furthermore, I will now challenge Manuel to substantiate his assertion that I care too much about what Calvin had say. If Manuel's accusation has an ounce of merit, then it should be an easy matter for him to expose my reliance on the words of Calvin. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that Manuel will dodge this challenge as well. This is because a brief scan thru the entries on this blog would reveal that Manuel's accusation is completely baseless. Off the top of my head, I know of only one blog entry in which I even mentioned Calvin. Furthermore, I own only one of Calvin's works (and it isn't his Institutes.) These are odd facts indeed for someone who supposedly cares too much about what Calvin had to say!
...I neither care what Calvin, Arminus, Tertullian, the pope, Arius, or anyone else had to say in so called church history or otherwise unless it was the Lord Jesus Christ or the Apostles and brethren from scripture...I really don’t care what Arminius or Calvin had to say about anything, they have no hold or claim on scripture what so ever.
Well, if it's true that Manuel doesn't care about what anybody says other than what's written in God's word, then how can he possibly care about what I say? What's he doing here arguing against my beliefs if he does not in fact care about what I say or write? Further, no Calvinist or Arminian with whom I am familiar has ever made the claim that John Calvin or Jacob Arminius had some sort of "hold or claim on scripture" so I have no idea what Manuel is going on about.
Do you , or do you not believe you are made a believer beyond your will?
That depends on what Manuel means by "beyond your will". If he means that God forces men to believe against their sinful and fallen natures, then no. If he means that God changes the very nature of man by granting him spritual rebirth so that he can now choose according to his new nature, then yes.
Please be a little more forth coming with what you believe so that everyone can distinguish the two doctrines?
This is the first in a series of accusations that I'm trying to hide what I believe as a Calvinist. I'll address most of these accusations below but there are a few points I would like to make here and now:
1) I am not obligated to list and elaborate on the five points of Calvinism in each and every blog entry I write.
2) Just who is it that I'm supposedly hiding my doctrine from? For the non-Calvinist, it should be quite easy to deduce what my doctrine is from the very title of my blog. But, most of the folks who comment on this blog are, themselves, Calvinsts. Is Manuel suggesting that I'm hiding my doctrine from them?
3) If Manuel is asserting that I'm hiding my doctrine from himself, then I will again point out that Manuel's first post here was not an attempt to discern definitional standards. There were no questions asked in regards to what I believe. Rather, it was an all-out attack on my faith.
4) And just for the sake of putting this nonsense to rest, I will briefly lay out my cards for all to see. I am a five point Calvinist with Supralapsarian leanings. My Eschatological preference is Amillinialism with historic pre-mil sympathies. I reject Dispensationalism in favor of Covenant theology. And last (but certainly not least), I am a Trinitarian. Now, if anyone out there doesn't know what any of these positions are then I would be happy to direct them to the appropriate resources or I'll do my best to answer any honest and direct questions.
There is nothing stated in scripture anywhere of “compatibilistic free will.”
The fact that the word 'compatiblism' is not found in scripture is not evidence against it. If it were, then such evidence would prove too much. That is, the term 'libertarianism' is likewise not found in the bible. Thus, Manuel's argument, if true, would disprove his own position on man's will. Indeed, since 'oneness pentacostal' is not found in the bible, Manuel's entire belief system would likewise be falsified if this horribly flawed reasoning were accepted.
Not even one example, it is based on bad interpretation of scripture...
On the contrary, there are many examples of compatiblism within holy writ. For instance, Genesis 50:20 states that both God and Joseph's brothers sent Joseph into slavery. Then there is Ezra 1:1 where God causes Cyrus to issue the proclamation. And who can forget Acts 4:27,28 where God predestined the actions of all those who participated in Christ's crucifixion? Others could be cited but these should suffice. The reader should note that in each instance, both man and God willed the exact same thing but with differing purpose. Man does what he wants to do but simultaneously fulfills God's will. This is the essence of compatiblism.
...you do believe in “inherited sin.”
Actually, I believe in the doctrine of 'original sin'. I make this distinction because there is no way to know what Manuel means when he uses the term "inherited sin" since he does not elaborate on it.
...all five points rest upon each other...
...you seem to be hiding what it is you believe.
Since I affirm the doctrine of original sin along with the fact that the five points of Calvinism flow logically from one point to the next, what can I possibly hiding?
You believe mankind is born dead from Adam onward and so some are chosen to salvation while others are doomed to hell not because of being drawn of God by the gospel being preached .
Yes, I believe that man is dead in sin. This belief is based on Paul's teachings in Romans 5 and Ephesians 2. It is also based on Jesus' own teaching about spiritual rebirth in John 3. Further, if men are in fact "doomed to hell", then they are doomed because of their love for sin.
It can be seen from Mr. Cleary’s response that he is trying very hard to hide what it is he actually believes...Is it,or is it not your belief God supernaturally turns “individuals” He has predestined to salvation?
Manuel makes this statement in response to my comments on Matthew 13. Yet, nowhere does Manuel demonstrate a contradiction between my comments and the text itself. Neither does he elaborate on how Calvinism in general contradicts the aforementioned text. Manuel is simply content to continue with his accusations that I'm hiding something. And as for the "God supernatually turns individuals" comment, it depends on what he means. If Manuel is asserting that God forces men against their will to come to Christ, then no, this is not what I believe. To elaborate on what I have stated previously, I believe God grants spiritual life to whom He will. This results in an acceptance of Christ as savior whereas before, there was no spiritual life in the individual making it impossible to accept the things of God.
Only because Mr. Cleary is hiding what it is he actually believes, he is trying to make it as simplistic as possible without revealing his true colors which will be exposed soon enough.
So Manuel is going to expose me, eh? And just what is it that he's going to reveal I wonder? Is he going to reveal the carefully guarded secret that I'm a Calvinist who has a blog that defends Calvinism!? Really folks, if ever there was a time for one of those "LOLS" that Manuel uses to mock the beliefs of others, this would be it.
Why not, if in fact you believe these things, come out and just tell us what they are?
Why didn't Manuel just ask in the first place? Why did he not inquire as to what my particuliar views as a Calvinist were before attacking them?
all you have to do is just tell us
And all Manuel had to do was ask.
The elect were once sinners (Ephesians 2:3), but God regenerates themIn response to the gospel being preached(1 Peter 1:18-25), which is for all people everywhere. It is not how the Calvinist at all explains.
Yes, it is true that the elect were once sinners and that God regenerates them when they hear the gospel being preached. Also, I would agree that the gospel is indeed for all people. But where I differ with Manuel is that the gospel serves a dual purpose. That is, it brings in God's elect while simultaneously confirms and hardens the reprobate.
Not much said here by Mr. Cleary because he is not being very forth coming with what he really believes.
This was because Manuel did not elaborate on why the phrase, "the gospel is for all mankind" contradicts my beliefs. As I pointed out above, I can agree with that statement as written. Thus, Manuel's continued charges of me hiding my doctrine continue to have no merit whatsoever.
Is it because God predestinates individuals to be saved?
Yes, God predestines individuals to salvation.
That is what he really believes.
Yep, ol' Manuel is right on top of things!
God to the Calvinist is a partial unloving God dooming some to hell and some to eternal life...
If, by this Manuel means that Calvinists reject the notion of 'omnibenevolence' as defined by such men as Ergun Caner, then this is true. A Calvinist cannot accept the idea that God loves all men equally and without exception when scripture explicitly states that God does indeed hate men. The Calvinist finds support from such scriptures as Psalm 5:5, 11:5, and Romans 9:13. In each of these, it is stated that God hates either particuliar individuals or sinners in general.
...it is of men’s choices that doom them,...
As written, I can agree with this. Calvinism teaches that men choose to sin and that this is why they are damned.
salvation however is available to all men, it is not God’s will that any should perish(2nd. Peter 3:8)
Manuel is here proceeding on an assumed meaning of 2Peter 3:9 (not 3:8). And since there is no exegetical demonstration (again) of Manuel's assertions in regards to this verse, there is nothing for me to respond to.
Do you believe he is the Lord over all without exception?
Yes, I believe that Jesus is Lord over all. God does not need the consent of His creatures for the establishment of His authority. Calvinists believe in the sovereignty of God, and not the presidency of God.
Mr. Cleary also assumes there is such thing as the “compatible will” of Calvinism.
On the contrary, it has been Manuel that has done all the assuming in regards to man's will. That is, Manuel believes that his view of libertarianism is the only possible explanation of man's will. But this is patently false. Anyone who has familiarized themselves with the discussions on man's will knows that there are differing views on how a man comes to make a choice. Thus, if Manuel wishes to continue acting as if his is the only viable viewpoint, he will be engaging in gross intellectual dishonesty.
Now, he finally reveals his Calvinism , God does” will it,”...
This is how Manuel chooses to dodge the point I made about him not establishing his view of libertarianism. He just continues right along with his accusations that I'm hiding something.
That is exactly what I am pointing out, is God the Lord over all without exception?
Yes, God is Lord over all without exception. As I stated above, God's sovereignty is not hinged on man's consent.
There is no fact that all or any refers to the Calvinist idea that all kinds of men are individuals somehow dragged against their wills supernaturally when others are not, this is the real issue I feel Mr. Cleary is not being so forthcoming.
Here, Manuel lights up a straw-man that he's been setting up all throughout his post. He states that it is the Calvinist's idea that men are "dragged againsts their wills" to salvation. But, again, this is patently false. This is not a Calvinist idea at all. We do not believe nor teach it. See folks, this is what happens when someone is unable to deal honestly and accurately with what Calvinists actually believe. They set up straw-men and gross charicatures and proceed to attack them. When challenged with the facts, they resort to saying that we aren't being forthcoming with our beliefs. Needless to say, this tactic is most disingenious.
What Mr. Cleary means by:” the willing cannot be forced.” Is that God supernaturally makes you willing and others he does not. This is completely diametric to the teaching of the NT.
Is it really? Then where are Manuel's exegetical refutations to the verses that Calvinists use to support their doctrine? As I look thru Manuel's posts on my blog I cannot find a single exegetical refutation of a single verse used by Calvinists to support the doctrine of man's inability and deadness in sin.
Again, faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Where does this passage say what the Calvinist is saying? He is purposely avoiding these areas of his doctrine.
Yes, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Calvinists affirm this. Thus, a better question to ask is, how does this verse specifically contradict what Calvinists believe and teach? Or perhaps the question should be, where has any Calvinist ever stated that men are regenerated apart from the preaching of the gospel? If Manuel fails to address such questions, then it is he who is avoiding things.
...when does God remove the heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh?
At some point after the man first hears the gospel. The precise moment of regeneration is unknown.
The gospel is the supernatural power of God(Romans 1:16) to save through our own faith from the heart...
Romans 1:16 says nothing about man being saved through his own (libertarian) faith. It merely states that the gospel is "the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes...". The verse, as written, does not contradict anything in Reformed theology.
what I failed to do is break down all the intricacies and nuances of your doctrine that you are so trying to hide for the sake of being exposed for what you really believe...
In other words, Manuel is indeed failing to accurately represent the Calvinistic position on all the issues that have been brought up.
I do indeed believe the Calvinist preacher is a “false prophet” and has been led astray by a false tradition doctrine of the Reformed passed down through the years by philosophical ideas based on difficulties from the scriptures...
Yet another dodge. Manuel was asked if he specifically believes that Calvinists are not Christians. He stops just short of saying so in his response to the question. But it can be deduced from what he has stated thus far that Manuel does not believe that Calvinists are Christians. But to be sure, I will pose the question again; does Manuel believe that Calvinists are not Christians? Yes or no? If he dodges again, what then of his constant whining that I'm hiding what I believe?
It is the Calvinist that is not consistent, they will back up and say All means all when God is Lord over all but the scripture cannot mean all men but only the elect or all kinds of men, is God the Lord of only all kinds of men, Which would causes the scriptures to contradict itself?
Here, Manuel appears to be complaining that Calvinists will sometimes use the term "all" universally while sometimes they do not. This is quite true but not for the reason that Manuel would have folks believe. Calvinists do not take the meaning of one word and then assume that that same word means the exact same thing in every single instance it appears in scripture. Rather, we allow context to determine meaning. No more, no less. One fine example of this is how the Apostle John uses the term 'world' in his gospel. It is acknowledged by folks on both sides of the Calvinism debate that 'world' is used in several different ways by the Apostle. Thus, when Manuel complains about this, he is again complaining against cold hard facts.
Now, this ends my general response to Manuel. As I'm sure Manuel will point out, there are parts of his post that were not addressed. This was due in part to an upcoming exegetical response to what he has written here so far. The response will deal with several verses that Manuel refers to most often when he argues against Calvinism.