So I read over Mr. Ragel’s view of Calvinism and have posted some coments on it.
I have asked some friends of mine on both sides of the issue to write their thoughts and maybe add some things to it. When I receive it I will post on here.
Jamey ragel’s position is in black, my comment is in red, and scripture is in blue.
Before we expose Calvinism’s view on Unconditional Election as an attack against God’s very character and nature, let us address the predestination and free will issues first. In the beginning, God decided to create mankind for both fellowship and a relationship. Even before He created Adam and Eve, He knew they would fall. Though He would give them the choice to eat or not to eat the fruit of the tree, He knew they would disobey Him. Why? It’s simple: because God knows all things!
God also knew that because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, they would pass down their sin-nature to all future generations. As a result, this would prevent everyone from having a close relationship with Him. Though some would choose to have a relationship and some would opt against it, it really wouldn’t matter. Because of sin, it would be impossible for anyone to have a relationship with God
So, what did God do before He created man? The answer: He decided to send them a Savior, His own Son. This is why Revelation 13:8 indicates that the Lamb was “…slain from the foundation of the world.”
Now God’s plan for mankind’s salvation was in motion. Those who would choose to fear Him, love Him, and covet a relationship with Him would have a way. The way would be the cross. Just like Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Why does God call His people the elect, as 1Peter 1:2 states, “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father…?” The answer: foreknowledge. It’s that simple! God knows beforehand, through His foreknowledge, everyone who will choose to fear Him. And His elect, individuals who choose to fear Him, would be shown the way. And it all begins with having the fear of the LORD.
How do we know that fearing the LORD is a God-given choice? Regarding the unsaved, Proverbs 1:29 says, “For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD.”
This verse (in context) has nothing to do with salvation. It deals with listening to the wisdom of the king. Here is the contextual verses (vs 20-33)
20 Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; 21 at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: 22 “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? 23 If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you. 24 Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, 25 because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you, 27 when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. 28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me. 29 Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, 30 would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, 31 therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices. 32 For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; 33 but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”
As shown, the Bible teaches that the path to salvation is as follows. It begins with God, who gives everyone a choice.
He has yet to show this in scripture that we have a choice in salvation. All the choices he has given is after regeneration.
He reaches out to every single man, woman and child. Proverbs 1:29 teaches that the fear of the LORD is a choice. And, Psalm 25:12-14 reveals that, based on man’s choice to fear God, He shows them His covenant. And, what is His covenant? The answer: His covenant is His Son! And Acts 13:26 confirms as follows, “Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.”
1Peter 1:2 reveals that we are, “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” This is because God knows beforehand His elect since He knows all those who will fear Him. Why? Because He’s God, and God knows all things!
Finally, Romans 8:29-31 summarizes:
“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
This mentality is very self-centered, because it rests everything on US!!! God seems to do nothing in the plan of salvation. He just sits back and puts life on auto-pilot.
Genesis 3:22 described them as follows:
“And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil, etc.”
Genesis 3:22 reveals that, after Adam and Eve sinned, they knew both good and evil. And Deuteronomy 30:19 indicates that mankind still had the ability to choose either life or death. This proves one thing: even though mankind is considered spiritually depraved, this doesn’t necessarily mean that we are totally incapable of making the correct choice with respect to our own personal salvation.
So Adam and Eve CHOOSE to sin when they picked the apple. Yet they did not know the difference till AFTER they sinned. That doesn’t seem very consistent.
Keeping this in mind, let’s take a look at Calvinism’s misconception of mankind’s total depravity:
According to them, mankind’s spiritual downfall prevents everyone and anyone from making the proper choice regarding salvation. They believe that it is impossible for us to come to God on our own. However, this position seems to be in clear contradiction to the Scriptures. Once again, Deuteronomy 30:19 provides the evidence because, if man was totally incapable of making the correct decision to choose life, why would God say to choose? It doesn’t make any sense, does it?
In summary, it all begins with God. He has instilled a conscience in every single one of us. Based on our consciences, we make the choice. Since God has foreknowledge, He just happens to know the decisions we will make before we make them. It’s that simple!
So for parents out there, if your kid was given a choice between veggies and cake, which one would, they choose? If your kid is like every other normal kid they would choose cake every time. Why? Because that is their nature to choose what their flesh wants.
What Calvinism says is just like Lazarus we are dead in our sins. When we are dead we can’t choose to take the bandages off, or to lift off the table, or to walk out of the tomb.
But, when Christ rolls the stone from our hearts, when Christ speaks life into our bones, when Christ takes the cloth from our eyes, then we have no choice but to walk out of the tomb.
Unconditional Election and Irresistible Grace
If you think Calvinism’s position on Total Depravity is scripturally baseless, take a look at what it teaches about Unconditional Election. According to Calvinism, God has unconditionally or arbitrarily elected those to be saved before the foundation of the world solely on the basis of the counsel of His will, not taking anyone’s accountability into consideration. As a result, no matter what anyone does, some are pre-destined to salvation, and the rest are pre-destined to damnation. This view is not only without merit, but also quite ludicrous. But there’s more! This is where their position on Irresistible Grace kicks in. Regarding Irresistible Grace, they believe that God spiritually draws to Him only those who He has unconditionally pre-selected for salvation before the foundation of the world. According to Calvinism, as far as God is concerned, the rest can burn in hell…and God doesn’t care!
Wow! Amazing how Mr. Ragel EXPECTS God to save everyone. I mean what kind of God offers a choice anyway? Why not just let Christ’s death save everyone. Seems that for God to choose those whom he saves, this somehow makes him unloving, but it actually shows how much God is love. See God could have just sent every soul to hell and would be rightly justified. But, because of his love for his son he has chosen to redeem a remnant for his son (a bride), that will in turn be given back to God.
Let us further explain why Calvinism’s positions on Irresistible Grace and Unconditional Election are so silly. Back in the days of the Old Testament, God likened His relationship with the children of Israel as a marriage. For example, in Jeremiah 3:14, God pleads with the house of Israel to return to Him. This is what it says:
“Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion.”
In Jeremiah 31:32, God refers to Himself as Israel’s husband and, when the house of Israel turned to other gods, God described their act as adultery, giving her a bill of divorce. For the sake of illustration, this is how Jeremiah 3:8 reads:
“And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.”
Keeping this in mind, according to the New Testament, Jesus’ relationship with His church is no different. In Matthew 22:2, Jesus said: “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son.” And, in Matthew 22:8, Jesus continues as follows: “Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.”
For final emphasis, Revelation 19:7-9 states that all the saints of God will take part in the marriage supper of the Lamb.
So, both Old and New Testaments clearly liken God’s relationship with His people as a marriage. In the Old Testament, God is likened to a husband, while in the New Testament, Jesus is likened to a bridegroom. In the Old Testament, Israel is referred to as God’s wife, while in the New Testament, the church is referred to as Christ’s bride.
Remembering this, let us think about a relationship within a marriage. Isn’t it about two parties choosing to be together? For example, I’m married, and I have a wonderful wife. We both chose to be married. Before we took our vows, I didn’t force my wife to be with me, and she didn’t force me to be with her. Our marriage was by mutual consent. It was a free will decision for the both of us.
Yet, I bet if you asked for their engagement story, he asked his wife to marry him. In fact I do not think that Mr. Ragel put an ad in the newspaper saying “All that would like to be married to me call 555-5555”.
No, in fact he picked this girl out of all the women in the world and then asked her specifically “Will you marry me?”
If you look through scripture you see Fathers choosing brides for their sons. Rarely, was marriage based on love.
So God chose who would be the bride of Christ, and said “Will you marry me?”
To prove this point, Acts 10:34 tells us that God is “no respecter of persons,” and Acts 10:35 continues, “But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”
This scripture (in context) says
34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
This passage is saying that salvation is available to every NATION, not every person. Jewish converts did not think gentiles could be saved. This is Peter’s rebuttal to that notion.
Let’s take a look at Calvinism’s view on Irresistible Grace: They believe that God regenerates and spiritually draws to His Son only those who He arbitrarily chose, or unconditionally elected before the foundation of the world. With all due respect, this concept likens God to a spiritual caveman who sees a pretty girl, hits her over the head with a rock, and drags her off to a cave, giving her no choice at all. That’s nonsense! I didn’t have to do that to my wife, and God doesn’t have to do that to His!
According to the Bible, Calvinism’s claim that a person’s spiritual regeneration takes place before faith in Christ is incorrect; and, Titus 3:4-6 provides the evidence. It reads as follows:
“But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.”
This passage is for those already redeemed. This proves nothing of someone choosing Christ. I see nothing of someone choosing.
The definition of Irresistible is
1. Impossible to resist
2. Having an overpowering appeal
So what it seems to say is that when our eyes are opened by God we have no choice but to walk out.
Say I am in prison. I cannot get out. All I can do is sit and wait. The only hope I have is a pardon from the judge.
Now, a pardon does not mean that the person is innocent. It means that the judge decided to exempt the penalty.
So I am in my cell and I have been pardon (so far I have done nothing) the officer comes in and opens my cell. Now, it is impossible for me to resist running out of that cell.
Did I choose to walk out? To an extent I did choose, but when given the option there really was not much of a choice.
Regarding salvation, these are the Scriptures! But unfortunately for those who embrace Calvinism, they rely on a completely different view, their own make-believe version, which is an insult to God’s nature and character. My goodness, regarding Irresistible Grace and Unconditional Election, Calvinism’s position sounds almost convoluted!
The same could be said of the Arminian position which Mr. Ragel adheres to. There is no scripture supporting FREE will.
Let’s review Calvinism’s equally confused position on Limited Atonement, the L in the T.U.L.I.P. First, according to the Bible, the definition of Limited Atonement is as follows: God sent His Son into the world so that salvation can be provided to all those who choose to believe. John 3:16 states:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
1John 3:23 adds: “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.”
In retrospect, Calvinism’s position on Limited Atonement is quite convoluted. It teaches that Christ died only for those that God unconditionally or arbitrarily elected before the foundation of the world. Sad, isn’t it?
Pretty much all I am going to do is ask did Christ die for all sins?
Even the sin of unbelief?
In conclusion, God loves each and every one of us in spite of our sins. There might be some who find this hard to believe, but it’s true! Does everyone know that before God made Himself known to Moses, Exodus 2:11-12 reveals that Moses murdered a man? And how about King David, who God described as a man after His own heart? David actually slept with another man’s wife and, when Bathsheba became pregnant as a result of their affair, David intentionally sent her husband Uriah to the front lines in battle, and Uriah was killed. And after that, David married Bathsheba.
Both Moses and David were sinners. Yet, God knew their hearts. He knew that deep down in their hearts, they feared Him.
How many of us would love to be like Moses, or King David? But our sins convict us, and we feel unworthy and sorry for ourselves. If anyone feels unworthy and conviction in their sin, that’s a good thing because they fear God. They are expressing both humility and hatred for their sins. They are just the kind of people that God is looking for.
A lot of you might be thinking that this is too good to be true, how can this be? You may say, “Do you mean to tell me that all I have to do is choose to accept Jesus as my Savior and my sins are forgiven and I have everlasting life?” According to the Bible, the answer is ‘absolutely yes.’ So, it boils down to this: Eternal life, or eternal damnation? Eternal life, or eternal damnation? For the intelligent person, that really isn’t much of a choice, is it?
Wow! That is simple! Just like telling the truth vs lying is simple. Or stealing vs not stealing is easy. Just like right vs wrong is always easy, yet we still sin. Why? Cause it is in our nature.
The point Ragel seems to miss is that Reformed thinking views man as dead in our sins and unable to make that “easy” choice. Only when God opens our eyes to our sins (us breaking God’s holy law) will we then see the choice.
Tell that to the Calvinists…they don’t believe that men are capable of making the right salvational choices. This is because they deny what the Bible teaches, that God has given mankind free will.
Again no scriptural basis of us having FREE will.
This is why Calvinism’s positions on Unconditional Election, Irresistible Grace, Total Depravity and Limited Atonement absolutely insult the very nature and character of our Beloved Creator. He continually reaches out to every single man, woman and child in hope that they make the decision to fear Him and covet a relationship with Him.
To me this means that God failed at something. He is unable to persuade us to follow him? What kind of God is that? I do not see this in scripture. Calvinism says that God is 100% accurate in whom he saves. Jamey Ragle says God is about 45%.
Always remember that the choice is up to you!
With a statement like this why even comment? It is the motto of a synergist.