Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Is God's love unconditional?

Is God's love unconditional?

June 22, 2009 at 1:24am
When Christians share the Gospel, I constantly hear them tell non-believers that "God loves them unconditionally (They usually define this as, "It doesn't matter what you do, God still loves you.") and has a wonderful plan for them!" If this statement is true, why share the Gospel? God already loves them! Plus, God already has a wonderful plan for them. Is this so? Is it possible that some of these people will not place their faith in Jesus (which is a gift of God. Phil 1.29), which is a condition for salvation (which Christ does it all completely for His people), and go to hell? Then why do Christians profess an inaccurate gospel and continue this deception? Do you hear any of the Apostles or saints preaching this?

If God loves everyone unconditionally, then everyone should go to heaven. In fact, one does NOT have to believe on The Lord Jesus to be saved because that's a condition and God loves everyone unconditionally, right!? How stupid!!!

If a wife commits adultery, should the husband just love her unconditionally by not requiring her to get rid of her lover? How stupid!? Some peeps would answer "yes" because they have been taken captive by a worldly philosophy. This concept of unconditional love is so idolatrous. UNCONDITIONAL LOVE IS NOT BIBLICAL. It makes God into man's warped image of love.

The Scripture will settle the matter. Notice the nature of these verses:

John 14:15" If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
John 14:21" He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves
Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will
disclose Myself to him."
John 14:23Jesus answered and said to him, " If anyone loves Me, he will keep My
word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our
abode with him.
John 14:24"He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word
which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me.
1 John 5:12He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God
does not have the life.
John 3:36"He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey
the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
John 5:21"For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the
Son also gives life to whom He wishes.
John 6:40"For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son
and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the
last day."

God's electing love is unconditional as in the "U" of TULIP which means Unconditional Election.

Is God's Love Unconditional?
February 20, 2009 | By: John Piper
Category: Commentary
There is such a thing as unconditional love in God, but it’s not what most people mean by it.

It’s not a saving love that he has for everybody. Else everybody would be saved, since they would not have to meet any conditions, not even faith. But Jesus said everybody is not saved (Matthew 25:46).
It’s not the love that justifies sinners since the Bible says we are justified by faith, and faith is a condition (Romans 5:1).
It’s not the love of working all things together for our good because Paul says that happens “to those who love God” (Romans 8:28).
It’s not the love of the most intimate fellowship with the Father because Jesus said, “He who loves me will be loved by my Father” (John 14:21). And James said, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8).
It’s not the love that will admit us into heaven when we die because John says, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). And faithfulness is a condition.
How then does God love unconditionally? Two ways (at least):

He loves us with electing love unconditionally. “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world . . . for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:4-5).

He does not base this election on foreseeing our faith. On the contrary, our faith is the result of being chosen and appointed to believe, as Acts 13:48 says, “As many as were appointed to eternal life believed.”

He loves us with regenerating love before we meet any condition. The new birth is not God’s response to our meeting the condition of faith. On the contrary, the new birth enables us to believe.

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been [already!] born of God,” (1John 5:1). “[We] were born, not . . . of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13).
Let us pray that thousands of people who speak of the unconditional love of God would discover the biblical meaning of what they say. If that happened many would find their feet on solid ground.

Is God's Love Unconditional?

John Piper answers that question today on the DG blog.

The best thing I've read on this is David Powlison's essay-turned-booklet, "God's Love: Better Than Unconditional."
Powlison suggests that people who use the term often have good intentions, wanting to affirm four interrelated truths:
“Conditional love” is bad—unconditional is shorthand for the opposite of manipulation, demand, judgmentalism.
God’s love is patient—unconditional is shorthand for hanging on for the long haul, rather than bailing out when the going gets rough.
True love is God’s gift—unconditional is shorthand for unearned blessings, rather than legalism
God receives you just as you are: sinful, suffering, confused—unconditional is shorthand for God’s invitation to rough, dirty, broken people
These are true—and precious. But Powlison offers several responses. (I can only summarize and paraphrase here—buy the booklet to see the arguments in full.)
First, Powlison suggests that “there are more biblical and vivid ways to capture each of the four truths just stated.” “People currently employ a somewhat vague, abstract word — unconditional — when the Bible gives us more vivid and specific words, metaphors, and stories.”
Second, it’s not true that unmerited grace is strictly unconditional. Jesus Christ opened a way for us to experience the biblical love of God by fulfilling two conditions: a life of perfect obedience to the moral will of God, and a perfect substitutionary death on our behalf. Powlison writes: “Unconditional love? No, something much better. People who now use the word unconditional often communicate an acceptance neutered of this detailed, Christ-specific truth.”
Third, God’s love is more than conditional, for it is intended to change those who receive it. “Unconditional” often connotes “you’re okay.” But there is something wrong with you. The word “unconditional” may well express the welcome of God, but it does not well express the point of his welcome.
Fourth, “unconditional love” carries a load of cultural baggage, wedded to words like “tolerance, acceptance, affirmation, benign, okay,” and a philosophy that says love should not impose values, expectations, or beliefs on another. In fact, humanist psychology even has a term for it: “unconditional positive regard” (Carl Rogers).
Here is Powlison again:
We can do better. Saying “God’s love is unconditional love” is a bit like saying “The sun’s light at high noon is a flashlight in a blackout.” Come again? A dim bulb sustains certain analogies to the sun. Unconditional love does sustain certain analogies to God’s love. But why not start with the blazing sun rather than the flashlight? When you look closely, God’s love is very different from “unconditional positive regard,” the seedbed of contemporary notions of unconditional love. God does not accept me just as I am; He loves me despite how I am; He loves me just as Jesus is; He loves me enough to devote my life to renewing me in the image of Jesus. This love is much, much, much better than unconditional! Perhaps we could call it “contraconditional” love. Contrary to the conditions for knowing God’s blessing, He has blessed me because His Son fulfilled the conditions. Contrary to my due, He loves me. And now I can begin to change, not to earn love but because of love.
. . . You need something better than unconditional love. You need the crown of thorns. You need the touch of life to the dead son of the widow of Nain. You need the promise to the repentant thief. You need to know, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” You need forgiveness. You need a Vinedresser, a Shepherd, a Father, a Savior. You need to become like the one who loves you. You need the better love of Jesus.
Read Piper's post and Powlison's booklet. Both are well worth your time!


Mike Riccardi said...
JT,Thanks so much for sharing the Powlison quotes. I had just read Piper's post about an hour ago. What wonderful resources! And how deeply do they minister to my soul!I really love the God-centeredness of God.And this sentence in particular was just beautiful.God does not accept me just as I am; He loves me despite how I am; He loves me just as Jesus is.Extra nos.Praise God.
2/20/2009 06:30:00 PM

bp said...
Oh the blessedness of knowing the unconditional love of God! How my LOVE and AWE towards Him has increased since coming to understand that He pursued me and saved me though I was running away from Him, instead of thinking that He saved me because I ran towards Him. And that He keeps me persevering, though my flesh is so weak! Oh what a God! Oh what a Savior!
2/20/2009 08:23:00 PM
Morris Brooks said...
I have always had an issue with the statement that, "God loves you as you are." If God loves you as you are He would have left you as you were...lost, dead in sin, hopeless, at enmity with Him, unreconciled, incapable of any good thing, a stranger, separated from Him, having a heart hardened by the deceitfulness of sin; but since He has loved us (those whom He would make His own) before the foundation of the world with the same love with which He loved His Son (John 17:23), He has not left us as we were but has sought us, bought us, made us alive, reconciled us, given us a new heart, freed us from sin, brought us near to Him, called us friends, made peace with us, made us righteous, placed His Spirit within us, and is conforming us to the image of His Beloved Son.This is the love of God that He did not leave us as we were, and as such we are not objects of His wrath, but are objects of His love.
2/20/2009 09:00:00 PM
A. B. Caneday said...
Precisely where the Scriptures reveal that God's love is unconditional (his electing love), popular folk theology renders God's love conditional upon human act (foreseen faith).Precisely where the Scriptures reveal that God's love is conditional (e.g., "keep yourselves in God's love" [Jude 21]), popular folk theology renders God's love unconditional (God loves you just as you are; no need to repent).A helpful and easily read resource is D. A. Carson's The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God.
2/21/2009 06:53:00 AM

UnConditional Love? http://www.acts17-11.com/cows_unlove.html

A Critical Review of a Pop Religious Truism
Scripture clearly teaches that God's love (phileo, agape, aheb, ahabah, etc.) is unfailing, undeserved, and unilateral (completely one-sided in initiation). But is God's love without condition--I.E.: UN-conditional?
On this we should consider three things: 1) Where did this idea come from? 2) Is it consistent with Scripture? and 3) Could this be a modern packaging of the age old message of false prophecy?

On 1), the words unconditional and love are not used in Scripture in either the Old or New Testaments, nor do any of the church fathers use the phrase. Readers have pointed out that it was first used in 1751 in negative reference to the Moravian heresy (hat tip: Devin R.), and more recently by Erich Fromm in the 1930s to describe the matricentric complex (vs. patricentric; hat tip: Mark Long). But these are arcane references.

The phrase unconditional love entered mainstream, pop-culture English during the 1960s LSD drug culture. What the flower-children originally meant by unconditional love had to do with "love the one you are with" in the sexual revolution sense. But the phrase did not last long even among the hippies because it is inherently contradictory: to love is to care deeply about the condition of the one loved. But "under the influence" a lot of things made sense that didn't later. After the drugs wore off, psychology flirted with the pop-phrase in the 1970's in the "transactional analysis" fad, but this was ephemeral and quickly dropped from view. Just about then a few susceptible christian teachers stepped in and took the baton, and the rest is history.

With this dubious modern pedigree we must ask the obvious question: is this an idea that comes from above, or from below? (John 8:23)

On 2), is the implicit idea that the phrase asserts consistent with Scripture? If we take the phrase in its plain-sense meaning, certainly not. If unconditional can cohabit the same phrase as love without canceling it (when not on LSD, that is), then why did Jesus bother declaring the conditions? "You must be born again." etc.

Think about it. In a typical teaching of Jesus, much of what he said were the life-giving conditions of moving out-of a position of wrath and into a loving relationship with the Father. The catch-phrase unconditional love strips these words right out of our Savior's mouth. "Hey Jesus, you can't say that! Don't you know that God's agape love is unconditional!"

John 8:31-32 (NIV) ...Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Get it? IF/THEN is a condition. So is UNLESS. And this is the kind of thing Jesus often said. Uh Oh!
On 3), we should consider the possibility that this new phrase might be a wolf in sheep's clothing. Could unconditional love be Satan's latest repackaging of the "peace, peace" message that has always been the essence of false prophecy? Of course, Satan would never be that clever, to deny the very words of God with a subtle twist of phrase? Would he?

Because of a Bible Study on our site which calls for repentance from witchcraft, we get a lot of "flames" from Wiccans and Pagans. A typical complaint is to lecture us that "God's love is unconditional", thus justifying witchcraft--or whatever--since "God loves everyone eternally no matter what they believe." By this way of thinking, "It makes no difference which 'god' you worship since God's unconditional love would never allow Him to send anyone to hell. Condemning people to hell is not exactly a loving thing to do for those so sent, is it? So, it does not matter what people think or believe or do. God's unconditional love means that we will all go to heaven."

Hearing this doctrine put forth with such piercing clarity from Pagans should give Christians pause in their enthusiasm to embrace it.

Often, when Christians say unconditional love we know they do not mean it in the exact, literal sense. So, we do not want to go overboard and say that anyone who uses the phrase is a universalist or heretic. We must look to the context and meaning for those who have not thought it through, giving them the benefit of the doubt. But, at the very least, we should be more circumspect about adoption of extra-biblical spurious terminology within the Church, and of teachers that unreflectingly jump on every bandwagon of pop phraseology that blows through.

God's love is truly amazing... God's love is unilateral: He loves the unlovable and gives His glory to them. God's love is completely undeserved. God's love is unfailing for those in whom He delights: who respond to Him and receive His Son. But, God's love is clearly not "unconditional"; for wrath and eternal damnation will come to those who reject His Messiah and His Gospel. Let us be sure to be found in the position of receiving God's love, and not His judgment. Let us heed the conditions clearly set forth by our Lord so that we can be at peace with Him. And let us shout the message of these conditions from the rooftops so that others might be saved, rather than retreat into thinly veiled license, universalism, or anything else that "sets itself up against the knowledge of God" (2Cor 10:5).

Here are a few verses to salt your appetite for researching and considering this further.

Jer. 5:12-13 (NIV) "They have lied about the Lord; they said, 'He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine.' The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them..."
Jer. 8:6-9 (NIV) "I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. No one repents of his wickedness, saying, 'What have I done?' ...My people do not know the requirements of the Lord. How can you say, 'We are wise...' Since they have rejected the word of the Lord, what kind of wisdom do they have?"

Jer. 23:16-18 (NIV) This is what the Lord Almighty says: "Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They keep saying to those who despise me, 'The Lord says: You will have peace.' And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, 'No harm will come to you.' But which of them has stood in the council of the Lord to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word?"

Jer. 23:21-22 (NIV) "I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds."

Lam 2:14 (NIV) "The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The oracles they gave you were false and misleading."

Luke 3:7b (NIV) "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?"

John 3:36 (NIV) "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."

Rom 2:5,8 (NIV) But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed... For those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

Eph 2:3 (NIV) All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.

Eph 5:6 (NIV) Let no-one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient.

1Co 2:13 (NIV) This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.

2 Tim 4:2-4 (TCN) Proclaim the Message, be ready in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, encourage, never failing to instruct with forbearance. For a time will come when people will not tolerate sound teaching. They will follow their own wishes, and, in their itching for novelty, procure themselves a crowd of teachers. They will turn a deaf ear to the Truth, and give their attention to legends instead.

Heb 13:9 (NIV) Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings.

Luke 13:3 (DVP) [Jesus:] "...If you do not repent, then you will all perish..."
LikeLike ·  · 
  • Matthew Schultz likes this.
  • Ting Wang the twelve disciples were chosen by God in the same way believers today are--by his sovereign grace. scripture says that God's children are "born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God."

    salvation is NOT of human decision. how much more clear can scripture be? haha 
  • Mike Boswell Why say "haha"? How's that responding in the love that Christ commands you to respond in? Or did God will you to mock? The context of the Scripture you quote refers to the salvation that God offers was not something born in the nature or mind of man. God is the source. Again, look at the context. This Scripture was not written to prove a TULIP theology, but instead to give glory to God for providing us the way. The Scripture you quote is still true, though a man choose to believe.
    There is not fault with Scripture. The fault lies with a very imperfect doctrine that you have chosen to believe above the authority of Scripture.
  • Timothy Oliver The word "World" has many meanings.... Here's a good series of videos on the word "World" @ www.youtube.com/lanech then scroll down & click on "CrossTV/Mark Kielar Videos" then look to page 4 to view "Does John 3:16 refute Calvinism?" parts 1, 2, & 3. Blessings. You'll find many other great videos there too.
  • Tuese Ahkiong I like our discussion. Let's keep it up with a spirit of love and respect. I'm sure we can learn a lot about our views and sharpen each other. --I'll try to respond to many of your questions and comments.
  • Stephen Macasil Dear Mike Boswell,

    You said: "Salvation and the sending of His Son is a result of the love of God for all lost mankind..."


    "Don't read Scripture through that lense [sic]. It's someone else's lense [sic]. Read as it was intended to be read, and then draw conclusions."

    Can you provide the exegetical details for your conclusion that salvation and the sending are the "result" of God's love? I'm curious to see your exegesis since I have examined that specific passage numerous times and have translated the text from the original language and have concluded otherwise.

    Again, at this point I'm interested in the technical details of your exegesis as to "how" you concluded "result."
  • Tuese Ahkiong Mike 11.37am, we all read Scripture thru our biases. Nobody is neutral or sees objectively except God. The question is: is your bias consistent with the Scripture. Why should I accept your interpretation when I think it’s contrary to Scripture? Btw, I hold Scripture above any man; Calvin, Luther, whoever.
  • Stephen Macasil Tuese, good point. The reason I value the theological contributions of men like Calvin, etc., is because they reason in subjection to the absolute authority of Scripture. Here is one example of how you can reason from Scripture and conclude certain truths such as "God doesn't love everybody." According to Hebrews 12,

    A. God provides the Fatherly training and discipline to all that He loves.

    B. Not all people are provided with Fatherly training and discipline by God.

    C. Therefore, God does not love everyone. 

    Seems pretty straight forward right? Since it begins with a true proposition from Scripture and logically deduces propositions from it, the compelling and irresistible force of logic leaves no other option.
  • Ting Wang hi mike 12:32pm, i do not think you should be so quick to impugn another's motives. i wrote "haha" because it may seem strange for me to say scripture is entirely clear in its teaching that there is not such thing as free-will, when the debate has been raging for at least 2000 years!

    but scripture is clear on the matter; what is muddled is the stubbornness and arrogance and self-worship of the human heart. may God be praised for granting a new heart to whomever he sees fit.

    regarding john 1, the context is how one becomes a "child of God." Scripture says, "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God" (john 1:12-13).

    HOW does one become a child of God? Jesus must give the right--it is NOT by human decision. Very clear.

    but you understand this passage to mean that "a man choose (sic) to believe." wow.
  • Tuese Ahkiong CORRECTION FOR MY 10:22am June 22 POST:

    Here's why I think the text is speaking of Christians &
    everyone in the world without exception.
  • Ting Wang Scripture says, "From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live" (acts 17:26). 

    so let me ask you, do you think you have "free will" regarding the places where you live?
  • Chang Yuon Did Mike respond to Tuese's 10:22am post? The those who are justified in Rom. 5:1 is the same group for whom Christ died. I think Mike is reading his own theology into Rom. 5:8. Idea of justification continues on to verse 9. We have to let context determine the meaning of words. 

    Also note Rom. 8:31: If God is for us, who can be against us? 

    Same "us" continues in Rom. 8:32: He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for US all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give US all things?

    Then this group is identified as God's elect or chosen--those justified by God (v. 33). Furthermore, this group is the same group for whom Christ is now making intercession (v. 34) and is never separated from His love (v. 39). 

    Particular redemption/Unconditional Election jumps out of the passage. "God's love is unconditional" == "God's choice is unconditional." (See Deut 7:6-8)
  • Rex Hwang Stumbled onto this blog (if that's what this is called). Very interesting. I like Pastor Ting bringing up the fact that this debate has been raging for at least 2000 years. Funny. I am curious, what do you guys think are the consequences of being "wrong" in this debate?
  • Mike Boswell To answer Steve Macasil's question. The answer is simple. "For God so loved the world that He gave His Son..." In other words, "Because God loved (that's first), He gave His Son (that's the result)." It's right in the text of the debated verse. The problem is Calvinism and all this stuff just complicates the simple and beautiful message of the gospel. You're preaching Calvinism, not the Gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ.
    It seems Calvinism is obsesessed with why people don't get saved instead of being focused on why people should be saved.
  • Mike Boswell Tuese 1:38am. I'm not saying you should accept my view at all. But, you have jumped in wholeheartedly to Calvin and those who accept his view. If it weren't for those voices, I wonder what view you'd hold to.
  • Mike Boswell Ting - this debate has not been raging for 2000 years. It's only been raging since Calvin came onto the scene. Read the early church fathers and you won't find this issue. They were too busy dealing with the gnostics, sabellians, and so forth.
  • Mike Boswell Chang 6:53pm. You're misreading Paul's intent and usage in Romans 5 of "us." He may be using the same pronoun, but just as any of us would speak, "us" by its own definition, includes not only the first person, but also an inclusive group of others. Paul could (and most likely is) be speaking of "us" in referring to believers in one case, and "us" referring to sinners in general (of which Paul is the greatest) in another. The only thing we know for sure is that Paul is including himself. Romans is written to believers, but he speaks not only about believers, but about the world and non-believers, too. He speaks about Jews, Gentiles, Christians. So, your mention of "us" holds little if any value to your point.
  • Mike Boswell Rex - I think the consequences of being "wrong" can amount any number of things. One of the worst is that it can give a very inaccurate view and understanding of God - which in essence is idolatry - believing that God is other than He is. It can result in apathy and copping out in our responsibility to share the gospel with the unbelieving world. And, being consumed with "rightness" on both sides can lead to immense pride - which is one of the greatest sins anyone can be guilty of. So, there are many consequences - many that I haven't listed. All of which carrying varying degrees of problems - even eternal ones. Great question.
  • Mike Boswell One last thing...this debate does little or nothing to unite the body of Christ. It's clear that Satan wants to divide us...which is one reason why Paul warns against being obsessed with these kinds of things (see 1 Timothy 1). We must adhere to the truth, yes! And, as Paul said, "I preach Christ and Him crucified." Let's major on the majors and not turn a minor into a major. It does nobody any real good (unless we thing division and anger and so forth are good...then we have real problems).
  • Stephen Macasil Dear Mike Boswell,

    Thank you for replying. I was hoping you would give some exegetical details. Since you used precise language I was hoping you would offer precise reasoning as well.

    I disagree with your cause/effect argument that says love was the cause of which sending was the effect. The text does not imply the necessary chronological and causal relationship between the two essential to your thesis.

    The grammatical argument is based on the adverb “houtos” and how it should be rendered when joined with the coordinating conjunction “gar.” This changes the perspective when rendered according to the modern “vernacular” – “For in this way” or “For this is how God loved the world.” 

    I am satisfied with this translation: “For this is how God loved the world, He gave his unique Son, so that the believing ones wouldn’t perish but have life everlasting!”
  • Mike Boswell To Stephen M. - Thanks for your response, though I still disagree with you. But, that's my choice...or your choice...or God's choice to have us disagree...sorry, it your doctrine just doesn't add up.
  • Mike Boswell One Scripture about God's love being unconditional:
    "The Lord is near to all who call on him (btw, not "those he calls" according to the text), and loving toward ALL he has made." - Psalm 145:17. Did God not make everything - including those who are unbelieving...whether they will eventually believe or not? This Scripture violates the thought of the "selective love" of God.
  • Stephen Macasil Mike, then you disagree with the Bible and should not receive any assurance from it. 

    My argument is based on the actual Greek text of the Scriptures. What is your argument based on?

    Apart from Scripture you have no epistemological foundation for any theology...

    I've already shown that God cannot love everyone and the Scriptures be inerrant at the same time. Do you have an answer for the argument I provided above from Heb. 12?
  • Stephen Macasil Here it is again:

    According to Hebrews 12,

    A. God provides the Fatherly training and discipline to all that He loves.

    B. Not all people are provided with Fatherly training and discipline by God.... Read More

    C. Therefore, God does not love everyone.

    Seems pretty straight forward right? Since it begins with a true proposition from Scripture and logically deduces propositions from it, the compelling and irresistible force of logic leaves no other option.
  • Stephen Macasil P.S. Mike, please re-check the Psalm you've quoted, and please provide the version you're quoting. My copy of the text does not read the way you've quoted...
  • Mike Boswell Stephen, with all due respect, you are not the final authority either on Scripture or its interpretation. Your comments about my disagreeing with the Bible and not receiving any assurance from it are quite judgmental. Your deductions from Hebrews 12 are totally incomplete and off-based - and therefore not straight-forward. In regards to the Greek text of John 3:16ff, I would offer a challenge to you, but I currently do not have my Greek materials in front of me.
    In regards to the Psalm I quoted, yes, it reads as is written - and the second half of the verse "loving toward ALL he has made" is mentioned both in verses 13 and 17. The version I most often use is the NIV.
    The problem with your doctrine is that you have to keep adding and deducing and building and so forth to each and every Scripture you read - instead of plainly letting Scripture speak. You twist other Scriptures that don't agree with your doctrine in order to make them say what you want them or believe them to say.
  • Mike Boswell Stephen, btw - I do agree with the Bible - 100%. And, I am very assured by its truth - and by the grace with which I am gratefully saved. I just don't agree with your interpretation of the Bible.
  • Stephen Macasil Here's the ESV translation:

    The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and kind in all his works.

    Here is the NASB:

    The LORD is righteous in all His ways

    And kind in all His deeds. 

    The Holman:

    The LORD is righteous in all His ways

    and gracious in all His acts.
  • Stephen Macasil Mike, what is it with my interpretation that you disagree with? Do you offer an alternative translation that is faithful to the original text? And can you show the interpretive errors that fail to compel you?
  • Mike Boswell The NIV is very faithful to the original text. So are the NLT, NASB, and RSV.
  • Mike Boswell If I were at my office right now, I would gladly pull up 10 other translations for you if you were interested - including the Hebrew.
  • Stephen Macasil You need to demonstrate from the Hebrew how unconditional love is implied...
  • Mike Boswell Why would Jesus command us to love our enemies if God's love weren't unconditional? If God doesn't love our enemies, why should we?
  • Mike Boswell You need to demonstrate from the Hebrew and Greek and from any translation that God does not love unconditionally. I'm not talking about trying to put arguments and "if/then's" together. I'm talking plain text, dude.
  • Stephen Macasil We're also commanded to pray for kings, etc. Does God pray for kings? If not, how can he command us to do what he's not willing to do?

    Besides, loving our enemies is not in dispute.
  • Stephen Macasil God hated Esau. Handled. Proves he doesn't love everyone...
  • Mike Boswell Of course loving our enemies is in dispute. God calls us to reflect who He is. And, by the way, Jesus does intercede for us. Is it possible He intercedes for kings? Sure.
  • Stephen Macasil God hates sinners (Ps. 5:5), handled. No if/then's, just the plain text!
  • Mike Boswell The Scripture about God hating Esau is figurative speech - not to be taken literally. The Bible does have figurative speech. For example, does Jesus really want us to hate our father, mother, children, etc.? Or is He using a figure of speech? Same case for Esau.
  • Mike Boswell God hates the sin. Again, figure of speech.
  • Stephen Macasil What is the figure of speech depicting?
  • Mike Boswell The Bible clearly says that God is love. That's His nature. What's true of His nature is bestowed on His creation.
  • Stephen Macasil Mike, 

    You said: "God hates the sin. Again, figure of speech."

    That's not what the text says. It says He hates the "worker" of iniquity, not just the iniquity.
  • Mike Boswell The figure of speech depicts a comparison of the love we have toward God vs. the love we have toward each other. We are to love God so much that in comparison it's as if we hated others. We are to love God so much that we seek to please God, rather than others.
  • Mike Boswell So God hates you? You're a sinner.
  • Stephen Macasil Dear Mike,

    May I remind you that a few minutes ago you said:

    "The problem with your doctrine is that you have to keep adding and deducing and building and so forth to each and every Scripture you read - instead of plainly letting Scripture speak. You twist other Scriptures that don't agree with your doctrine in order to make them say what you want them or believe them to say."

    How are you not guilty of this based on your past couple twists?
  • Mike Boswell How am I guilty of it?
  • Stephen Macasil "So God hates you? You're a sinner."

    Yes. But I stand in the righteousness of Another!
  • Mike Boswell Yes, you stand in the righteousness of another. But God doesn't hate you. That contradicts John 3:16.
  • Stephen Macasil "How am I guilty of it?"

    I'm asking you how you are not guilty of it. You charged me with not taking the prima facie reading of the text, yet you will not either. God hates Esau, according to the text.
  • Mike Boswell Either the Bible contradicts itself or figure of speech is present.
  • Mike Boswell Yes, but again, you have to figure in the fact that Scripture is not all didactic. There is history, poetry, narration, and umpteen forms of grammar used in Scripture. You have to understand which form is being used in which circumstance.
  • Stephen Macasil Why must you fight against the Bible? Does Psalm 5 not say that God hates the sinner and not just the sin (as the popular Christian cliche states)?
  • Mike Boswell Psalm 5 has poetic language used to emphasize feeling and certain points.
  • Stephen Macasil Romans 9 is a didactic passage...
  • Mike Boswell And? What about Romans 9?
  • Stephen Macasil Are, "my King and my God," and "For you are not a God who delights in wickedness," and "evil may not dwell with you," etc., not literal truths?

    How does the literary genre negate the propositional content?
  • Mike Boswell Romans 9 speaks of the entire Jewish nation - and God's chosen plan for them as a nation. That He will graft them back in because of His covenant with them, not because of their own righteousness. The context is not about individuals, but about the nation of Israel.
  • Stephen Macasil Romans 9:13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
  • Stephen Macasil Is Esau a nation or an individual?
  • Mike Boswell Romans 9:13 - Paul's point isn't hatred. He was quoting a verse with figurative language. His point was that God chose Israel.
  • Stephen Macasil So, Israel was in it's mothers womb?
  • Mike Boswell Esau began as an individual. Back in Genesis, it began with individuals. But, Romans 9 is about a nation.
  • Stephen Macasil But how is it figurative. Wasn't Paul speaking of the Esau that was in Rebekah's womb?
  • Mike Boswell Hey, good chatting with you. I have to get to a few other posts and then get to sleep. God bless your study.
  • Chang Yuon To Mike Boswell at 8:56pm June: 

    Are you implying Rom. 5:1's "we" is not the same "we" in Rom. 5:8 (and 5:9)? What evidence do you have for this view? 

    Just because it is possible for a pronoun to take on more than one meaning, doesn't prove it so . In other words, possibility does not imply actuality. You need to show me exactly how I'm misreading Paul. Don't just tell me that I misreading Paul, please show me how. 

    You said: Paul could (and most likely is) be speaking of "us" in referring to believers in one case, and "us" referring to sinners in general (of which Paul is the greatest) in another. 

    Again you make this argument based on possibility (or even probability). That is not good exegesis. Or is it?
  • Mike Boswell Look at Romans 5:6. "...Christ died for the ungodly." That and "sinners" in verse 8 describe Paul's "us." The ungodly in verse 6 does not describe "those to be saved." It describes ungodly people in general. Regarding "us." It's grammatically incorrect to assume the "us" in v.1 is the same as the "us" in verse 8.
  • Mike Boswell Okay, I really have to go to bed now. I have kids to take care of in the morning - and a job to go to. Nighty night.
  • Chang Yuon So would this be your understanding of Rom. 5:8?: But God demonstrates His own love toward sinners, in that while sinners were yet sinners, Christ died for sinner. 

  • Ting Wang Mike, you write, "Ting - this debate has not been raging for 2000 years. It's only been raging since Calvin came onto the scene. Read the early church fathers and you won't find this issue. They were too busy dealing with the gnostics, sabellians, and so forth."

    Allow me to say that you are utterly and completely wrong. The debate over free-will/predestination long predates John Calvin.

    Allow me to present just a few of the many scholars who lived before John Calvin and who taught predestination:

    Ignaidus of Antioch (around ad 35-88, probably student of the disciple John) wrote in his Epistle to the Ephesians: “Ignatius. . . predestinated ever, before time, unto the glory which is perpetual and unchangeable, united and chosen. . . by the will of the Father.” 

    Ignatius also denies free will when he writes that he is “enlightened by the will of him who has willed all things.”
  • Ting Wang Clement of Rome (ad 96), writes: “It being the will of God that all his beloved ones should be made partakers of repentance, he has established them firmly by his own Almighty purpose.”

    In the second century, in the Epistle of Barnabas, we read the f
    ollowing: “When Christ chose his own Apostles who were to preach his gospel, he chose them when they were wickeder than all wickedness itself. . . .” A scholar named Menardus in his commentary on this passage says that Barnabas was mistaken because Christ did not die for a new people but for a whole new world.

    Sound familiar? Limited atonement, anyone? Second century!

    To spare you a most obvious example, the themes of which prefigured many of the doctrines that were eventually codified in TULIP, I will refrain from expounding upon the well-known Augustine-Pelagius conflict.

    Gottshalk of Orbais (who was born somewhere around ad 808), was a Saxon theologian well known for being an advocate of double predestination:
  • Ting Wang Speaking of the reprobate Jews, Gottshalk writes, "Our Lord perceived that they were predestinated to everlasting destruction, and were not purchased with the price of his blood.”

    He was imprisoned and tortured for 21 years for believing in predestina

    A contemporary of Gottshalk's, Remigus, who was Archbishop of Lyons, writes, "“Nor is it possible for any one elect person to perish, or that any of the reprobate should be saved, because of their hardness and impenitency of heart. . . . Almighty God did, from the beginning, prior to the formation of the world, and before he had made any thing, predestinate. . . some certain persons to glory, of his own gratuitous favor. . . . Other certain persons he has predestinated to perdition. . . and of these, none can be saved."

    Once, again, a scholar teaches double predestination, and some 700 years before John Calvin.
  • Ting Wang In addition, John Wycliffe (d. 1384) writes, “In what way soever God may declare his will by his after-discoveries of it in time: still, his determination, concerning the event, took place before the world was made; ergo, the event will surely follow. The necessity, therefore, of the antecedent, holds no less irrefragably for the necessity of the consequent.”

    God determines (before the world was made) all that happens, not people. IOW, no free will.

    William Tyndale (early 1500s) says that from predestination “it springeth all together whether we shall believe or not believe, be loosed from sin or not be loosed; by which predestination our justifying and salvation are clear taken out of our hands and put into the hands of God only.”

    Patrick Hamilton's death sentence (1528) reads, “We, James, by the mercy of God, Archbishop of St. Andrews, primate of Scotland, have found Master Patrick Hamilton many ways inflamed with heresy. . . that man hath no free will.”

    no free will.
  • Ting Wang And of course, Martin Luther wrote an entire book against Erasmus entitled "The Bondage of the Will." Luther famously says, “For if we believe it can be true that God foreknows and foreordains all things, that he can neither be deceived nor hindered in his prescience and predestination, and that nothing can take place but according to his will. . . then there can be no free will in man, in angel, or in any creature.

    No free will in man, angel or creature. Quite clear indeed.

    Well that is enough for now. I have only gone back about 1900 years or so. There are of course Old Testament texts in which the free will issue is raised (this is why I say the debate has raged for more than 2000 years).

    Overall, there are plenty of more examples if you are not yet convinced of your error.
  • Mike Boswell Ting - you might be right about Gottshalk, but not about Clement of Ignatius. They may have been using some of the same terminology found in such letters as Ephesians 1, but it does not mean they were arguing for predestination as you or Calving define it to be at all. You are now putting your own words and meaning into the mouths of Clement and Ignatius.

    Regardless, your faulty doctrine holds no weight with me or with most other believers - or, most importantly, with most of Scripture. Again, a few Scriptures support your doctrine to a certrain degree. But, you can't interpret the whole of the Bible through that small of a magnifying glass.
    Take a look at the very few Scriptures I have posted on Tuese's blog "Man is NOT a ROBOT or a PUPPET...clay pot." Those are just a few.
    "CHOOSE for YOURSELVES this day whom you will serve." - Joshua 24:15.
    "Now CHOOSE life..." - Deut. 30:19
    "Since they hated knowledge and did not CHOOSE to fear the Lord..." - Proverbs 1:29
  • Mike Boswell "Anyone who CHOOSES to be a friend of the world becomes and enemy of God." - James 4:4
    These and many others very clearly and very plainly, without reading your doctrine into them, show that man has the ability and the gift to choose God or to choose other than God.
  • Ting Wang Rex Hwang, thanks for your question: What are the consequences of being wrong in this debate. I shall let Richard Woodman (who during the reign of Bloody Mary was burned at the stake with nine other martyrs at Lewes in Sussex) answer for me:

    "If we 
    have free will, then our salvation cometh of ourselves: which is a great blasphemy against God and his Word." 

    let us not blaspheme our Lord God by insisting that our wills (or anything we are or have) are somehow, illogically and impossibly, free from him. 

  • Mike Boswell Ting...not my error dude. It's yours for listening to the works and biases of those other than found in Scripture.
  • Mike Boswell Richard Woodman was wrong in his assessment. His reason is formed of unsubstantiated leaps in his own mind. Kind of like yours, Ting.
  • Mike Boswell Why is it so difficult to believe that God, in His sovereignty, gave many the ability and freedom to choose for himself? The fact that God did it leaves God as sovereign. No credit is given to man. Salvation is not of man. You only see it that way because some historical guys, not Scripture, have painted that picture for you.
    Because of your small little view, you try to put the entire world into a tiny little box in which it does not fit - a box that Scripture doesn't itself give.
    Free will is a gift of GOD, not of man. TULIP makes God out to be someone He is not. That's idolatry.
  • Ting Wang The error I was referring to is that you said that debates over predestination began with John Calvin. I have delved into Church history to show that you are completely and entirely wrong on that matter.

    Let me restate to you a question. Scripture s
    ays "From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they shoud live" (Acts 17:26).

    My question to you is: do you think you have free will with regard to choosing the places you live?
  • Mike Boswell My mistake on your error comment, Ting. In regards to your last question. Absolutely, we have free will to choose where we live (after we're born, of course).
  • Ting Wang With regard to the verses you cite in which God commands us to choose, your basic error is that you do not understand that just because God commands something, that does not mean that we can do it. For instance, God commands we keep the Ten Commandments, but nobody could do it--except for Jesus. 

    I shall let Martin Luther correct you:

    "The passages of Scripture you cite are imperative; and they prove and establish nothing about the ability of man, but only lay down what is and what not to be done."
  • Ting Wang Once again, "From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live" (Acts 17:26).

    The passage clearly states that God determined how long we will live and where we will live.

    And you think we have free-will choosing these things? wow
  • Mike Boswell You are Martin Luther are wrong on the issue. In fact, though I agree with Luther on many issues, there are others that I disgree with him about. He's no "saint" - pardon my pun.
    Just because we were incapable of keeping the 10 Commandments does not 
    automatically mean that we're incapable of doing anything God asks of us. That's a leap to the moon. There are thousands of things God asked man to do in Scripture and they were done...even moral ones.
    Unsubstantiated, false conclusions...false doctrine, dude.
  • Mike Boswell Acts 17 is speaking of God choosing where people are born and when they will be born. Again, you read too much into the Scripture.
  • Ting Wang Let me cite the passage again for good measure:

    "From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live" (Acts 17:26).
    ...See More
  • Mike Boswell It's amazing the amount of judgmental audacity you and other TULIP people have - just because you think you're right. Back to your statement about the 10 Commandments. Just because we weren't able to keep them, does not automatically mean that we have no free will, either.

    We could, obviously go on until we both die, debating the issue. However, I have other things to do. And, I CHOOSE, by my own will, to move on from this.

    If I do take it up again, it will be my CHOICE (or possibly in a willing response to God's leading), but still my choice to obey (which I love obeying God).

    Just know that neither you nor Calvin nor Luther nor others who hold these false views have all the answers like you think you do. You are in error.
  • Mike Boswell The 1st Century world was not nearly as mobile as we are today. To answer your question, no. I do not see this as saying that God will make us live where He wants when He wants throughout the course of our lives no matter what.
    Remember, the Bible de
    als not only with directive, absolutely statements, but it also declares principles and generalities, too. The Acts passage speaks more to God determining where people are born (and thus grow up and live) than in forcing us to move from one place to another. Remember, He gave us a mind. That is Scriptural. He wants us to use our mind. That's love.
  • Chang Yuon Mike, 

    Indeed we have minds, but scripture speaks of our sinful mind’s inability to submit to God and please Him. 
    ...See More
  • Chang Yuon And it was Jesus (and not just Calvin), who spoke of man’s universal inability, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44). Perhaps you will assert that “him” in the second half of the verse is not that same “him” in the first half (very similar to our “us” and “we” discussion in Romans 5 and 8). But that would be your tradition that is inserted between the hims (and the “we”s and “us”s). To John, coming to Christ is not a physical coming, but is seen as having saving faith in Christ (see John 6:64-66; cf. John 5:39-41; 6:37).

    As for your comment on Ten Commandment, you need to know that these examples of inability work as counterexamples to your theology and/or assumptions you are bringing to the text. There is no leap of reason--you misrepresent Calvinism. Mike, I hope you at least see that you too have your biases/filters when you come to Scripture.
  • Mike Boswell A couple of things. James 4:7 says, "Submit yourself, then, to God." Obviously we have the capability to submit to Him - otherwise, James 4:7 is a waste of the Holy Spirit's time to inspire James to write it. The context of the passage itself implies not only a command, but also the ability to fulfill it.

    Yes, Rom. 8:7-8 speaks of the sinful mind as being hostile toward God. What does Paul mean as sinful? All sinners? Or the reprobates who have already chosen to reject God?

    You add meaning to the text of Phil. 2:12-13. And, what God prepared is true. However, it's our choice to step into what He has prepared or not to.
  • Mike Boswell One more thing. Regarding John 6:44, the issue isn't the pronoun as you sarcastically imply. Yes, God draws people to Christ by the Holy Spirit. But, He doesn't force us to receive Him. We have the choice. And, by the way, when Christ is lifted high, all men will be drawn to Him.

    Finally, yes, of course I have my own lenses. Who doesn't? The problem is that yours are much thicker 

    We've got to put this to rest. It's good debate to sharpen each other, but at what point does it serve as counter-productive?

    Let's major on the majors and not make the minors majors. The major is Christ and Him crucified for our sins. And salvation is through Him alone.

  • Chang Yuon Mike, 

    Reason why "ability" is obvious to you is because you are coming to the text with this assumption. Context does not imply one's ability to submit (perhaps you mean in context of your own theology it is implied). Ability to submit is the assumpt
    ion I'm challenging. 

    Does Paul mean all sinners in Rom. 8:7-8? The passage shows that they are those who do not have the Spirit. 

    As for Phil. 2:12-13 and Eph. 2:10...is it your position that God can prepare someone to do good works, but this person may not do them? Or that God can be working in someone to "will and act" but it may not come to fruition? If so..."wow" doesn't cover it.
  • Chang Yuon Also Mike, I believe you missed my point about the pronouns. 

    Notice John 6:44 again: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day”

    You said: “Yes, God draws people to Christ by the Holy Spirit. But, He doesn't force us to receive Him. We have the choice.“

    Note: God draws HIM. But when this person doesn’t receive Christ by his “choice,” this same HIM is not raise up by Christ at the last day. You would have to say, “him” in John 6:44a may not be the same “him” in John 6:44b. Yet, this is your theology being read into the text. Jesus’ own explanation of man’s unbelief is the reason for him saying, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (See again, John 6:64-66). If all men are drawn and all men can then decide for themselves whether to believe, how do you explain Jesus’ commentary?
  • Chang Yuon You said: “Let's major on the majors and not make the minors majors. The major is Christ and Him crucified for our sins. And salvation is through Him alone.”

    It is a major or minor for us to debate, “Christ and Him crucified for every individual” or “
    for the elect only”? I think we may disagree on what is a major or what is a minor--itself. Even your statement, “Let's major on the majors and not make the minors majors” can be debated. Is this statement—itself-- a major or a minor? 

    Also I was not trying to sarcastic at all. Reading things into what is written…it’s becoming a theme with you. Finally, if you think we should put this to rest, please lead by example.
  • Tuese Ahkiong Mike Boswell at 8:04pm June 23
    Who gives a person ears? 
    Exoudus 4. 11 The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD ? 

    Did I quote Calvin? I am quoting Scripture but each time I do, you say it’s Calvinistic. Please interpret the Scripture passages. It appears that your man-centered-free-will dogma is what your lenses sees the Bible through. This is your canon rather than Scripture and it’s a big error. You make man’s “free will” supreme to The Holiness, Glory and Sovereignty of God. –This saddens me b/c it so exalts the creature over The Creator.
    Please explain the Scripture. Is it not God who gives you ears to hear or not hear? spiritual ears to hear or not?
  • Tuese Ahkiong Mike Boswell at 8:07pm and 8:11pm June 23
    Yah, we should have more unity, so why don’t you submit to the Scripture and believe what the Bible and I say! j/k

    “What good does it do?” It honors the Scripture above man.
    “Why preach the Gospel?” b/c God said so.
    “Why not just cop out?” b/c that would be sin; we are the means thru preaching, prayer by which God brings His people into the Kingdom.
    “Why not just rest in that, eat, drink…?” Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 2pet1.10
    “Why obey the Lord?” Hello, need I answer this question?
    “Or does God ordain disobedience…? Laziness just b/c they’re chosen?” eph 1: 11In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
  • Tuese Ahkiong “requirements of works to make sure you’re chosen?” see 2pet1.10

    Ta da, the sum total that adds it all up: Salvation is of the Lord and GOD works out all things for the good of THOSE WHO LOVE HIM, WHO HAVE BEEN CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE. Some have not been called or would you say otherwise?

    Do you not love God b/c He first loved you and chose you for his purposes?


  1. I do not see any way to harmonize Jesus message in John 5:22 and 5;45 (written AD 95 t0 100 AD with Paul's theology written 45 AD to 50 AD.The Father, Son and HS enjoy each other. They are a unity and individual--a mystery. They seek relations with (through forgiveness and grace)with all. When we have connection with them we focus on them. When our focus is on what we don't want be we end up doing it. Our journey with self-centeredness is less and less but remains a journey. Willis

  2. I do not see any way to harmonize Jesus message in John 5:22 and 5;45 (written AD 95 t0 100 AD with Paul's theology written 45 AD to 50 AD.The Father, Son and HS enjoy each other. They are a unity and individual--a mystery. They seek relations with (through forgiveness and grace)with all. When we have connection with them we focus on them. When our focus is on what we don't want be we end up doing it. Our journey with self-centeredness is less and less but remains a journey. Willis