Introducing the New Calvinist Bible (NCB)

The following post is a satire, written from the perspective of an overzealous Calvinist.

Although Calvinism enjoys much support within evangelical Christianity, there are unfortunately still those who have doubts about certain aspects of it. Calvinism is traditionally summarized with the acronym TULIP – Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace and Perseverance of the Saints. While the doctrine of total depravity is endorsed by most evangelical Christians, the main point of contention is with the three central doctrines of Calvinism – the U, the L and the I. The P is less fundamental to the debate –  outside of Calvinism some accept and others deny the P, and so this doctrine will not be discussed further at present.

It is felt that, although the U, the L and the I of Calvinism are inherently biblical, many Christians somehow seem to miss these when they read their bibles. What is needed is a new bible translation that emphasizes these doctrines more clearly, so that all of God’s elect people can come to know the wonders of Calvinism for themselves. The New Calvinist Bible (NCB) seeks to give the most emphatically biblical presentation of Calvinism that has ever been seen, by amplifying the translation so that the majesty of Calvinism shines all the more brightly through the text. This has been applied both to key verses that opponents of Calvinism use to try to refute it, as well as to key verses most often used by Calvinists to show that Calvinism is true – both have been made to give greater light to this most foundational truth.

A series of posts will follow that give previews of some of the most important revisions in the NCB. After a summary of verses that particularly address each of the U, the L and the I of TULIP, further posts will contain samples from other key passages of the Bible, including Romans and John.

For now, I hope the following two extracts will whet your appetite for what is to follow. What better place to start than these two wonderful proclamations of the gospel and God’s love, now proclaiming Calvinism louder and clearer than ever:

John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world elect, that he gave his only Son, that whoever was arbitrarily chosen by God to believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world non-elect – they had been condemned already, but in order that the world elect might would definitely be saved through their prior election, as evidenced by their irresistibly caused faith in him. Whoever believes in him was arbitrarily chosen for salvation is not condemned, but whoever does not believe was arbitrarily chosen for eternal damnation is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God been condemned to this since before the world began.

1 John 4:14-16 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world elect. Whoever God irresistibly causes to confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us the elect. God is love provided that you happen to have been individually elected, otherwise God is punishment, and whoever God irresistibly causes to abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

Feel free to post any comments below, or tweet your suggested verses using #newcalvinistbible

Click for the next post in the series: Unconditional Election

Further posts in the series:

Limited Atonement

Irresistible Grace

Romans 8-11

John

Acts

Ezekiel

2 Corinthians 5

Matthew 11

Unless otherwise indicated, all pre-Calvinization scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. This content was produced without any involvement or endorsement of these entities.

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41 thoughts on “Introducing the New Calvinist Bible (NCB)

  1. Pingback: Unconditional Election | The Predestination Station

  2. Pingback: New Calvinist Bible – Limited Atonement | The Predestination Station

  3. Pingback: New Calvinist Bible – Irresistible Grace | The Predestination Station

  4. Pingback: New Calvinist Bible – Romans 8-11 | The Predestination Station

  5. Pingback: New Calvinist Bible – John | The Predestination Station

  6. Pingback: New Calvinist Bible – Acts | The Predestination Station

  7. One of the saddest things in Christian life is seeing people who haven’t taken the time to understand a particular Biblical theme ignorantly knocking that theme. As Mark Twain is reported to have said, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so”.
    Just to highlight a couple of things above that “you know for sure that just ain’t so”:
    o- “whoever was arbitrarily chosen by God to believes in him”
    No one was arbitrarily chosen by God, the choosing is specific. In Isaiah 43 God says:
    Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth —
    everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.
    Note God doesn’t say “bring anyone” but specifically “bring my sons … and daughters”. He says “bring everyone who is called by my name” i.e don’t bring those NOT called by his name and of these he says “I created (them) for my glory”.
    A little later in the chapter God says:
    “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.
    see, God chose them for a specific purpose. At the start of the next chapter God goes on saying
    But now listen, Jacob, my servant, Israel, whom I have chosen. This is what the Lord says — he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.
    God’s choices are specific and for a purpose.
    ———
    o- “the … non-elect – they had been condemned already”
    All have sinned (see Romans), all are condemned. What God has chosen to do is save some. I was condemned; you were condemned. But God (before the foundation of the world) loved us and decided to save us. Your post says “whoever … was arbitrarily chosen for eternal damnation” but our damnation is the result of our sin not an arbitrary choice.
    ———
    There is no need for “a new bible translation that emphasizes these doctrines more clearly” as they are perfectly clear to anyone with eyes to see.
    Our current sermon topic is on the tension between grace and truth (see http://feeds2.feedburner.com/LighthouseChurchPodcast – the first in the series being Who is the Church for ? dated Sun, 04 May 2014 10:00:00 +1000) and there is also a tension between God’s will and man’s will. The though patterns in the above (and related) posts elevate man’s choice at the expense of God’s (note: hiper-Calvinists elevate God’s choice at the expense of man’s)
    ———
    So in summary:
    God is nothing like this post tries to portray him to be. By the same token man is not like this post implies he is. God is holy; man is sinful. God loves the world; the world rejects God. God demonstrates his holiness and love by choosing to save some of those who choose to sin and reject him; man, aside from God’s salvation, demonstrated his nature in that he continues in his sin and rejection of God.
    Making the news today is the concept of the “Right to be forgotten” (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-27388289) i.e in Google “links to “irrelevant” and outdated data should be erased on request”. Hopefully one day (soon) this outdated data will be erased.

    • Hi Adrian, thanks for taking the time to comment. Here is my reply:

      In your first point, you refer to the phrase from the NCB, “whoever was arbitrarily chosen by God to believe in him”, and argue that “No one was arbitrarily chosen by God, the choosing is specific”. However, “specific” is not the opposite of “arbitrary”. A choice can possibly be both arbitrary and specific (e.g. I could arbitrarily choose 5 specific chocolates from a box of 10), so to argue that the choice is specific does not prove that it is not arbitrary. I would ask you the question: when God chose these specific people to be saved in a non-arbitrary way, as you claim, on what basis was his decision made? Was it based on something to do with the person or was it made on a different basis?

      Regarding your second point, I would agree that all have sinned and all would be condemned without God’s grace in saving us. I also agree with you that “our damnation is the result of our sin not an arbitrary choice”. You state that “God (before the foundation of the world) loved us and decided to save us”. Given that there are people who do not get saved, can we conclude from this that before the foundation of the world God hated them and decided not to save them? If God does love all the world, why did he not save them all, and how did he choose which to save and which not to save?

      You then state that “there is no need for ‘a new bible translation that emphasizes these doctrines more clearly’ as they are perfectly clear to anyone with eyes to see”. I don’t see these doctrines in the Bible. Does that mean God has prevented me from having eyes to see them? Why would he do that to one of his elect? Or does that prove that I’m not elect?

      You finish with, “God loves the world; the world rejects God. God demonstrates his holiness and love by choosing to save some of those who choose to sin and reject him; man, aside from God’s salvation, demonstrated his nature in that he continues in his sin and rejection of God.” If God loves the world, why does he only save some of the world?

      I’d love to hear further from you on this, or on any of the other posts in the series.

      In Christ,

      Kingswood

      • You raise an interesting point when you say “I don’t see these doctrines in the Bible” as I as only asking myself recently why people can’t see it. On a forum I used to visit one brother who has been a Christian for perhaps 50 years and who had been a Pastor during that time would repeatedly say something like “There’s nothing about predestination in the Bible”. Yet it’s everywhere.
        I’m thinking it may be something to do with how the brain works. The brain forms tracks that allows it to learn a task and so we can then repeat it without having to consciously think about it. A simple example is typing. Initially one has to look for every letter on the keyboard, but if you’re taught properly you get to the stage where your fingers go to the right keys automatically and you just type away without thinking about it.
        So possibly a person who’s been taught all their life that an individual has to choose to believe (which we do by the way) but has never been taught that as sinners we by nature reject God and without God’s grace to us on an individual basis we wouldn’t be able to choose to believe then our brain just skips over the bits in the Bible on God’s choices. Maybe?
        As for not seeing things have a look at 1 Cor 1:18-31. In that passage the Apostle Paul points out how the “wisdom” of man is foolishness to God and that it is the wisdom of God that man cannot find him through earthly wisdom (v21). Paul then goes on “Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom” (ain’t that right? Don’t we as Greek thinking people want an explanation of everything) Paul continues “but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness” (in the wisdom of the world you’ve go to be a fool to believe the Gospel. It doesn’t make any sense). but Paul goes on “but to those who are called” (i.e not to everyone) “both Jews and Greeks” (but from everyone) “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God”. If that’s you you’re called, even if you can’t see the other bits.
        Anyway got to run. More later.

      • You wrote, “A choice can possibly be both arbitrary and specific (e.g. I could arbitrarily choose 5 specific chocolates from a box of 10).”

        The example you chose supports the point that you cannot be both arbitrary and specific. If you choose 5 chocolates out of 10 arbitrarily, then it doesn’t matter which ones you choose. You could close your eyes and pick randomly, or you could pick some sort of scheme (like every other chocolate) to help you find a way to actually get 5 of the 10. But in neither case are you picking 5 specific chocolates. Any 5 of the 10 would do just fine, and all you need is some sort of mechanism to get your hand to lift 5 of the 10.

        I’ve never understood why people think Calvinism (properly understood) leads to arbitrariness. My best guess is that it comes from analogies such as this. In the box of chocolate analogy, the only consideration is the choice of chocolates. But in Calvinism, the consideration is God’s eternal plan for his creation. God established this plan from eternity past so that the flow of history from beginning to end is fully under his control. He creates people according to his own will. He’s in charge of their personality, wills, choices, etc.

        So when God chooses some and not others, he’s doing so according to his eternal plan. This is not arbitrary at all. It’s just outside of the ability of human beings to control or modify. That may be a hard pill to swallow for people, but it is not arbitrary.

        And oddly, to me the Arminian “fix” for this problem doesn’t seem to be any sort of improvement. For instance, if God’s choices are the result of his knowledge of our future choices, then ultimately we’re back in the same boat. If God knew in eternity past that I would choose him, and therefore he elected me, then it still his been known from eternity past that I would choose Christ. If that is so, is it possible for me do anything else but choose him? If so, then God’s knowledge isn’t really knowledge. If not, then my choice isn’t really free. I know this is not the only way Arminians try to reconcile the problem of election and free will, but I’ve never read an attempt that actually provides a fix.

    • Thanks for the correction Scott.

      “But in Calvinism, the consideration is God’s eternal plan for his creation. God established this plan from eternity past so that the flow of history from beginning to end is fully under his control. He creates people according to his own will. He’s in charge of their personality, wills, choices, etc.”

      It’s interesting Scott, in church (well my Pentecostal one anyway) it’s often said that God has a plan and purpose for our lives with Jeremiah 29:11 probably being a prime justification for saying it. And that is good if we are in Christ. But when you point out that God always had a plan for Pharaoh to harden him so that he would not let Israel go so that God could kill his firstborn (Ex 4:21-23) so that Israel could tell his sons how God “made a mockery of the Egyptians” (Ex 10:1-2) well they don’t like it even though it’s plainly written in front of their eyes.

      God had a plan for the Apostle Paul. Paul actually got to see it before it happened. If he was like a lot of Christians today he would have denied that what he saw came from God I think.

    • I realize Im late to the party but Adrian has posted the typical calvinist reply.

      I don’t know what is in these people’s psychological makeup that allows them to override the entire Bible in favor of essentially One single short paragraph. A paragraph that is without question purposely ambivalent. Nothing in these people’s brains warns them that maybe its not such a good idea to build an entire cult out of a few passages that no one agrees on , when we have so much(virtually everything else) to agree on.

      So its not a cult–but its the cult mentality of turning what is plain completely backward–contrarian–. Its the playground of argumentative types, one-UPers, gotchas, “That is INCORRECTers”, Their whole shtick is just sooo utterly boring and hopelessly lame. I wish they just get the memo that no one is buying what they’re selling unless they’re talking to a clone of themselves–ready and willing to jump on the calvin argument train and their joyish message that Christ died to save Some…ha

      • I so feel the Christian l-o-v-e James.

        If I am wrong James, show me. Just claiming I am helps no one as you say, and I learn, nothing new.

        Those of us who adhere to reformed theology don’t actually “override the entire Bible in favor of essentially One (sic) single short paragraph” but instead try to make sense of the *whole* Bible.

        You sarcastically say “their joyish (sic) message that Christ died to save Some (sic)” but when all are sinners, all are lost and all are going to hell isn’t the saving of some joyous? Aren’t you over the moon that Christ took your punishment and now you’re not going to spend eternity in hell where you fully deserve to be? I am.

        There are reportedly 1-3000 people named in the Bible James depending where you look. With how many of them do we see a process of someone asking them if they want to be saved and then them having to make a response? And how many responses are positive / negative?

  8. Hi Adrian,

    I fully agree with you that “an individual has to choose to believe (which we do by the way) but… as sinners we by nature reject God and without God’s grace to us on an individual basis we wouldn’t be able to choose to believe”. That’s what I’ve always been taught and still believe, so I don’t think that’s an issue.

    It would be great if you would be willing to try to answer the questions I asked in my earlier reply.

    Kingswood

    • can we conclude from this that before the foundation of the world God hated them and decided not to save them?
      No. This is one of those questions that come up that don’t make sense to Calvinists. Not loving someone doesn’t mean you hate them. I love my wife but not the girl sitting next to me who is someone else’s wife. Do I hate her then? Of course not. I loved my wife and choose to marry her and the other I left free to marry whomever she wished.

  9. when God chose these specific people to be saved in a non-arbitrary way, as you claim, on what basis was his decision made? Was it based on something to do with the person or was it made on a different basis?
    Let me start with what I was going to write at the end:
    We are chosen for God’s purpose, according to His will, for His glory. and that is not arbitrary.
    Will that keep everyone happy. No. But God created the universe, God decided to create man, what God created us for and what He does with His creation is up to Him. Have we any comeback on that? No, none. What we do have to do though is recognise that God is holy and righteous and just and as everything He does flows from those attributes accept what He does rather than bagging it.
    —————-
    First.
    arbitrary: based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system
    specific: clearly defined or identified.
    According to Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus some of the Antonyms for arbitrary include:
    consistent definite dependable logical reasonable regular reliable sensible steady and unchanging
    As God has a reason for choosing some other others, it not being a “random choice or personal whim” what word shall we choose? Dunno, but let’s look at why God chose some and not others. Maybe Eph 1 explains it good enough?
    Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God [why is Paul an Apostle? Because it’s God’s will],
    To the saints [hagios – most holy thing, a saint – so Paul and by inference the Holy Spirit is addressing the saints, i.e. Christians] who are at Ephesus …
    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who … chose us [the saints at Ephesus] in Him [when] before the foundation of the world, [why] that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love [what did He do?] He predestined us [the saints at Ephesus] to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, [how?] according to the kind intention of His will, [why?] to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us [the saints at Ephesus] in the Beloved. [what do we get?] In Him we [the saints at Ephesus] have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, [on our merit? no way] according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us [the saints at Ephesus]. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us [the saints at Ephesus] the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we [the saints at Ephesus] have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,
    So there it is Kingswood, “we [the saints at Ephesus and by inference all other saints] have … been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will”.
    So the decision is made based on what God wants to do. God’s choice is based on God’s will for God’s glory.
    Does that make sense? Not necessarily. We know that “the Bible does speak of both predestination and free choice. (But) In our finite, fallen minds, we cannot comprehend how these two concepts can co-exist, yet neither can we fully comprehend the Trinity or eternity, for example. What is important is that we accept both the free will of man and the sovereignty of God because the Bible teaches both. To try to weasel out of this paradox using reason alone will fail us and lead us to the unbiblical conclusion that God forces the will of man to choose hell for himself. There is nothing about God’s character to say that He would force somebody to go to hell without their own wicked will sending them there. God created men surely knowing what they would choose, but He does not make them choose what He knows. His omniscience does not eliminate their free will.”

    “God does not choose us because of some foreseen merit on our part, but we are adopted into His family when we trust in Christ by faith. In retrospect, we can recognize that God knew that we would be saved; thus, we are of the elect. But to say that God picks some here and rejects some there simply because He can is to present a wrong view of God. God rejects only those who reject Him. Granted, He knew that they would reject Him, but they are still responsible for doing so. Unconditional election is in danger of blaming God for the eternal damnation of the non-elect.” (http://www.relevantbibleteaching.com/site/cpage.asp?cpage_id=140010258&sec_id=140001239)

    • Hi Adrian,

      Thanks for replying again. Sorry I seem to have missed it originally – hence the delay in my reply.

      In your comment on June 13 at 5:54am, you say, in an example, that you love your wife but not the girl sitting next to you. Are you implying that God loves only those individuals he has elected and does not love the others?

      In your comment on June 13 at 5:39am, you refer to Eph 1 in an attempt to explain “why God chose some and not others”. However, Eph 1 doesn’t say anything about the “others” – it only talks about God choosing people and doesn’t say anything about God not choosing people. You’ll have to try a different passage, I think.

      In Christ,

      Kingswood

  10. Pingback: New Calvinist Bible – Ezekiel | The Predestination Station

  11. Pingback: Society of Evangelical Arminians | Introducing the New Calvinist Bible (satire)

  12. (1) Re: Ephesians 1:1. Paul stated why God chose him for apostleship:

    “Even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief.” (‭1 Timothy‬ ‭1‬:‭13‬ NASB)

    (2) Calvinists have no alternative but to admit to arbitrariness, because to a Calvinism, everyone is just a lump of clay to be made to whatever. In Calvinism, with Compatibilism, Jerry Walls does a good job on a YouTube clip showing how the Calvinist’s teaching on compatibilism could have just as easily resulted in Hitler being Billy Graham and Billy Graham being Hitler, and that both would have done it “most freely.” So a Calvinist’s protest over arbitrariness is sophistry.

    (3) Adrian attempts to quote Ephesians 1, but blocks out the key portion of v.3. Recall that v.4 starts out with “just as,” making v.3 critical, rather than superfluous. V.3 is about God’s blessings being all in Christ, and v.4 is an example of such blessings in Christ, such as a Christian’s eternal election to holiness, and v.5 is a the blessing of a Christian’s eternal predestination to adoption, ect. So Ephesians chapter 1 is about blessings in Christ, and Paul gives examples of what some of those blessings consist of. This is why Calvinists are vastly over rated in their reading comprehension skills.

    • (1) If Paul was made an apostle because he “acted ignorantly in unbelief” what about the rest of us who’ve done the same? Maybe the previous bit “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service” had something to do with it too?

      (2) “everyone is just a lump of clay to be made to whatever”. Yes we are as clay and as Paul writes God does have the right to do whatever He wants with us. But remember that clay is molded, and the clay that’s used to make my wife’s fine china cups if different from the clay used to make her baking dishes. Hitler and Billy Graham are different people (because God made them that way) and He could have mounded them any way He wanted within the limits of what he gave Himself to work with. But He didn’t do it arbitrarily, God didn’t make Hitler the way he was because He hadn’t had His coffee yet, and make Billy Graham the way he is because He was feeling good that day. He made them the way they were because it was part of His plan. He could have saved Hitler and allowed Billy Graham to remain in his sin, but He didn’t because of the choice He made. Remember this from Ex 10?

      “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I performed My signs among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.” God sent the plagues on Egypt so that Israel would “know that I am the Lord” (nothing arbitrary in that). Actually go back to Ex 4:21-23 where we see

      The Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Israel is My son, My firstborn. So I said to you, ‘Let My son go that he may serve Me’; but you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son, your firstborn.”’” God always intended to bring the 10 plagues on Egypt including the killing of the first born, arbitrary? No way. Part of God’s eternal plan? You bet.

      (3) Sorry, I didn’t meant to imply that Eph 1:3 was superfluous, but look at Eph 1

      Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God (can that be clearer?)
      To the saints who are at Ephesus (now that’s clearly a specific audience)
      and what does Paul say to/about them?

      Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed US
      just as He chose US
      that WE would be holy
      He predestined US
      In Him WE have redemption
      His grace, which He freely bestowed on US
      His grace which He lavished on US
      WE who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory
      WE have obtained an inheritance
      the surpassing greatness of His power toward US who believe

      it’s all about the saints of God and what He’s done for US, those He chose “before the foundation of the world” V4, those He predestined V5 & 11 to adoption as sons.


      This is why Calvinists are vastly over rated in their reading comprehension skills.

      I feel the love 🙂

      • Adrian,

        (1) You asked a question about Ephesians 1:1, and my answer of 1Tim 1:13 was accurate. You never said that it was an erroneous Bible reference.

        (2) You’ve acknowledged that we are “just a lump of clay” in your denial that Calvinism is purely 100% arbitrary, and I wonder if you’ve compared your sentiments with Jeremiah 18:1-13, which deals specifically with God being the Potter, and the basis that God said that He uses in His molding work, which is explicitly conditional. One who has ears to hear, should simply read the text, as it is self-explanatory in being conditional. In fact, Israel raises the same argument that Calvinists make at Jeremiah 18:12. Often I will quote v.12 to Calvinists, to see if they agree, and they unwittingly end up agreeing with Israel, which God rebukes in v.13.

        (3) I didn’t say that you implied that Ephesians 1:3 was superfluous. I’m saying that you didn’t under its relevance in connection with the text, and hence you skipped right over it, and in your follow-up comment, you didn’t even reference it, which again shows that you still don’t understand the text that are you commenting on. Reread v.3 and show us that you know what it is saying. You keep mentioning “us” as if it was some big point, but Paul simply defines the “us” as believers in v.19. Calvinists assume that any mention of “believers” automatically proves that it means the Calvinistically elect. Guess what? It doesn’t. Calvinists are engaging in eisegesis and don’t realize that they are doing it, when they infer that “believers” means the Calvinistically elect. But all of this is beside the point. The point of v.3, which you clearly don’t understand, is that God has deferred all of His spiritual blessings in Christ. The subject matter is those blessings, and v.4 begins with “just as” because v.4 builds on the point of said blessings, and v.5 is another example of the blessing. Paul is illustrating all of the spiritual blessings which are exclusively in Christ. “We” and “us” don’t have those blessings, apart from being “in Christ” because “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” is “in Christ.” Calvinists suppose that they are blessed outside of being in Christ, and with an irresistible grace, so that they can *become* in Christ. Hence, if Calvinists are right, then they have isolated a spiritual blessing that is not in Christ. Anyone who is “in Christ” is a “new creature,” and therefore you were not “in Christ” while being the “old creature,” and therefore being outside of “in Christ,” you did not have access to *any* spiritual blessing, because “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” is in Christ. Anyway, that is the reading comprehension that I was referencing, when I alleged that Calvinists can’t read, or maybe they don’t have ears to hear. Either way.

      • Building on (3)

        Here is the Calvinist paraphrase:

        Ephesians 1:3-4: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed [the Calvinistically elect] with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose [the Calvinistically elect] [to be] in Him before the foundation of the world, that [the Calvinistically elect] would be holy and blameless before Him.”

        Here is the Arminian paraphrase:

        Ephesians 1:3-4: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us [who believe] with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us [who believe] in Him before the foundation of the world, that we [who believe] would be holy and blameless before Him.”

        So if “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” is in Christ, and if v.4 begins with “just as,” then v.4 must be following up on the point in v.3. So *among* the totality of “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” which are in Christ, *1* such blessing (delineated in v.4) is the believers eternal election to stand holy and blameless before God. Then in v.5, you have another example of v.3. So v.4 is an example from v.3, and v.5 is an example from v.3, and v.7 is an example from v.3, and v.9 is an example from v.3, and vv.10b-11 is an example from v.3 and v.13 is an example from v.3. So verse 3 is absolutely fundamental to the text. Verse 3 establishes the principle, and the following verse are examples of v.3. I hope that helps.

      • To be fair Richard you should say something like:

        Ephesians 1:3-4: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed [the elect] with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose [the elect] [to be] in Him before the foundation of the world, that [the elect] would be holy and blameless before Him.”

        Or

        Ephesians 1:3-4: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed [Arminians who have believed of our own accord] with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose [Arminians who would believe of our own accord] in Him before the foundation of the world, that [Arminians who would believe of our own accord] would be holy and blameless before Him.”

        But you have highlighted the difference between the two theologies, Calvinists teach that God chose us. Arminians teach that we choose God and each of us see scripture through those glasses.

        It is a big difference and I’m glad that in spite of it people on both sides get saved. I was saved in a Pentecostal tent meeting, but the circumstances of my salvation didn’t make sense till I learnt Calvinistic theology. Go figure.

        But as Scott says:
        … if God’s choices are the result of his knowledge of our future choices, then ultimately we’re back in the same boat. If God knew in eternity past that I would choose him, and therefore he elected me, then it still his been known from eternity past that I would choose Christ. If that is so, is it possible for me do anything else but choose him? If so, then God’s knowledge isn’t really knowledge. If not, then my choice isn’t really free. I know this is not the only way Arminians try to reconcile the problem of election and free will, but I’ve never read an attempt that actually provides a fix.

        I’ve asked the question before and Arminians seem to get into all types of flusters over it and I put it this way, “If God knows that you’re going to eat Pizza for dinner next Friday night can you eat something else instead?”

  13. Regarding the understanding of “world” as “the elect,” I suspect you know that many (likely most) Calvinists do not not understand it this way. I confess I have heard a few say this, but those who do would not take “world” to men “non-elect” later in the passage, nor is there any reason to do so.

    It may be helpful to be reminded that the word “world” here is simply “cosmos.” God loved the world–his creation. He loved the world so he sent his Son to save it. Is any Calvinist uncomfortable with the fact that God loves the world he created? Would any Calvinist deny that God will save the world? All Calvinists I know believe that we will end up with a New Heavens and New Earth. And does any Calvinist have any issue with the Scriptures saying that whoever believes will be saved? I don’t think so.

    Perhaps the assumption behind this post is that “world” must mean “every individual on earth.” Of course, if that’s the case, then every individual on earth will be saved, according to 3:17. What am I missing here?

    • Hi Scott, thank you for your reply. So, would you understand the meaning of “world” in John 3:16 to be just the created Earth etc., or would you understand this term to include created people as well? If so, would you understand this as including all people, or only the elect? It seems to me that the rest of the verse makes it clear that people are particularly in view, as God’s love for the world expresses itself in that he gave his Son for the purpose that whoever believes in him would have eternal life. The meaning of “world” could include the created Earth etc., but I think we can rule out it referring only to this and not people as well. The question is then whether the people included within the definition of the term “world” are all people, or only the elect.

      For Calvinism, the question is whether what God does to the non-elect can be considered as loving. In Calvinism, God did not give his Son to die for all people, but only for the specific individuals he had already chosen. So if “world” in John 3:16 includes all people, there is then a mismatch with the rest of the verse, which in Calvinism only relates to the elect (as only the elect can and will believe). Some Calvinists attempt to resolve this by narrowing the meaning of the word “world” to include only the elect, so that the verse is consistent.

      You say that if “world” means every individual on Earth, then every individual on Earth will be saved. However, it does not say this. It says that whoever believes will be saved. The interpretation is more consistent if all of the world (i.e. all people) is given an opportunity to believe, rather than a small fraction of all people being irresistibly caused to believe, with the remainder not having any opportunity to do so.

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  20. Calvinism is a crippled man-made philosophy, a cult. The sooner calvinists realize this, the better. One of the saddest things to see is when two people meet and they are excited because they are both calvinists; yes, not one word about being a Christian, or saved, or God, or JESUS. No, just excitement about the heretic and cult leader calvin. So sad.

    • One reason why they might get excited Darlene is that they meet someone who recognises that God is pro-active in the universe that He created HOW He wanted it; WHEN He wanted it; WHERE He wanted it; and WHY He wanted it as opposed to the view that His interaction is limited to being re-active.

      If it wasn’t for this “heretic and cult leader” (as you call him) you’d be Roman Catholic, worshipping Mary and buying indulgences in the hope of getting out of Purgatory quicker but on death finding you had a one-way ticket to hell.

      • Well the alleged non elect always had a predetermined one way ticket to hell from the one who is said to be love. Who could as you say save them at no disadvantage to himself but prefers not to but rather prefers their eternal torment for his own glory

      • People go to hell Michael because they are sinners and they deserve to. Do you have a problem with that?

        God is good and therefore must punish evil. Do you have a problem with that?

        The punishment of evil is good. Do you have a problem with that?

        No example is perfect but one more:
        Yesterday I was at my Mum’s and she has an apricot tree; by default apricots fall off the tree and decay some providing nutrient for the seed should it germinate (though fortunately most don’t). If the seed doesn’t germinate the seed eventually decays too.

        However given apricots are food I choose to pick a few and eat them. Was I unfair to the apricots that fell off the tree the day before or to the ones I left behind? Of course not!

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