Sunday, July 5, 2009

Scripture and the Common Man

Paul seems to missunderstand my view on scripture. He states: Crucial to Dan’s argument is the claim that “common man” are all, each and every, libertarians. If Dan claims that some “common men” are not indeterminist, but determinist, then he defeats one of his premises, or makes the Bible speak in contradictions. To spell this point out, recall that Dan says, “The Bible is written by and to the common man, it means what they mean, since they mean certain words libertarianly, then the Bible so means those words.” Yet if we allow some (even one?) of the “common men” to whom the Bible was written to be determinists, then it must mean what they mean by the words that are the topic of our discussion. However, since there are indeterminist “common men”, then the Bible must also mean what they mean by the words we are discussing! Therefore, Dan must assume that each and every “common man” is a libertarian, which I find highly implausible. (link) It was not said what was said I said.


The bible message, especially the essentials of the faith, is understandable by common men using their normal means of understanding terms. It's normal for words to have more than one meaning and to use context to define terms. Granted, the bible contains many mysteries but the mode of communicating the mysteries is plain so we can know what we are supposed to know. For example, we know the incarnation is true, but we don't know how it's true. Also, the bible contains things that are "hard to understand" (2 Peter 3:16), but they are still understandable for common people, using normal means - including comparing scripture with scripture. I had thought Paul and I had common ground on this view; but perhaps I am mistaken.


On the issue of the clarity of scriptures, I am with Hodge and other mainline Protestants.
Here's what Charles Hodge had to say on the topic:

The Bible is a plain book. It is intelligible by the people. And they have the right, and are bound to read and interpret it for themselves; so that their faith may rest on the testimony of the Scriptures, and not on that of the Church. Such is the doctrine of Protestants on this subject. It is not denied that the Scriptures contain many things hard to be understood; that they require diligent study; that all men need the guidance of the Holy Spirit in order to right knowledge and true faith. But it is maintained that in all things necessary to salvation they are sufficiently plain to be understood even by the unlearned....

The Scriptures are everywhere addressed to the people, and not to the officers of the Church either exclusively, or specially. The prophets were sent to the people, and constantly said, “Hear, O Israel,” “Hearken, O ye people.” Thus, also, the discourses of Christ were addressed to the people, and the people heard him gladly. All the Epistles of the New Testament are addressed to the congregation, to the “called of Jesus Christ;” “to the beloved of God;” to those “called to be saints;” “to the sanctified in Christ Jesus;” “to all who call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord;” “to the saints which are in (Ephesus), and to the faithful in Jesus Christ;” or “to the saints and faithful brethren which are in (Colosse);” and so in every instance. It is the people who are addressed. To them are directed these profound discussions of Christian doctrine, and these comprehensive expositions of Christian duty. They are
everywhere assumed to be competent to understand what is written, and are
everywhere required to believe and obey what thus came from the inspired messengers of Christ.

The Scriptures are not only addressed to the people, but the people were called upon to study them, and to teach them unto their children. It was one of the most frequently recurring injunctions to parents under the old dispensation, to teach the Law unto their children, that they again might teach it unto theirs. The “holy oracles” were committed to the people, to be taught by the people; and taught immediately out of the Scriptures, that the truth might be retained in its purity. (link)

Opposing this leaves Paul two unattractive options: 1) give Fisher the fisherman's ring or 2) play the role of the sceptic and deny the scripture speaks plainly on this specific issue. Paul takes a step down the second path by citing Goetz.


“I can’t speak for Charles, but I would not base my belief in libertarianism on passages in the Bible. And I wouldn’t argue against your Calvinism from biblical texts. I believe that the Bible doesn’t teach anything about the issue of free will. It wasn’t written for that purpose, just as it wasn’t written for the purpose of teaching us whether or not we have souls. In short, I believe the Bible is not a philosophical text written to teach philosophy. It doesn’t fail to teach Calvinism because it teaches libertarianism. It simply doesn’t teach anything about the matter of free will.”


The bible doesn't teach us we have souls? The bible shouldn't be used to argue against (and presumably for) Calvinism? Determinism and Calvinism are inseparable. Take irresistible grace: grace is the effectual cause of conversion, such that you cannot do otherwise than convert. That's determinism and necessity. If we can't turn to the bible to answer questions like this, just where does Goetz want us to turn? Him? Is he really tell us to develop our philosophy apart from scripture and then read it into scripture? His whole idea of the role of philosophy is radically different than mine. For me, philosophies' primary role is to help reconcile apparent discrepancies in scripture.


That sound you hear is coming from Geneva, as Calvin is trying to get out of his grave and pimp smack Paul for even quoting something like this. Hopefully Paul disagrees with Goetz and would not attack scripture itself to avoid the force of the argument. I don't know how sola scriptura could be defended without sharing my view here.

Paul asks: what if the “common man” is wrong; does that make the scripture wrong as well? Then God would either not use the term choose or deny the term or explain what He means by it. Take for example the word ‘Baal’. What Baal's followers meant by Baal and what God meant by Baal was different; and God made that sufficiently plain.


Paul asks: what is the referent of “common man?” It appears to function as a static assortment of people. … I dare say that how a “common man” in a stoic society defined terms would not be the same as how a “common man” in an Epicurean society defined terms.

For my purpose, 'common man' is in terms of a whole assembly. The bible was frequently addressed to all of Israel, all of the church.... and that for over a thousand years. Of course, at one point in time, the groups are static, but over time changing is the norm, so common men are changers.

Incidentally, not all stoics were fatalists; Cicero being a notable example. (link) But let’s say stoics did have a different definition of choose. Probably a stoic dictionary would be different, based on the different usage. This does seem problematic, but the early church understood choice in a way that undermined stoic fatalism. So while such a problem could have occurred, it did not.


Let's look at how Justin Martyr refutes fatalism:


And the holy Spirit of prophecy taught us this, telling us by Moses that God spoke thus to the man first created: “Behold, before thy face are good and evil: choose the good.” And again, by the other prophet Isaiah, that the following utterance was made as if from God the Father and Lord of all: “Wash you, make you clean; put away evils from your souls; learn to do well; judge the orphan, and plead for the widow: and come and let us reason together, saith the Lord: And if your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as wool; and if they be red like as crimson, I will make them white as snow. And if ye be willing and obey Me, ye shall eat the good of the land; but if ye do not obey Me, the sword shall devour you: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”And that expression, “The sword shall devour you,” does not mean that the disobedient shall be slain by the sword, but the sword of God is fire, of which they who choose to do wickedly become the fuel. Wherefore He says, “The sword shall devour you: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” And if He had spoken concerning a sword that cuts and at once despatches, He would not have said, shall devour. And so, too, Plato, when he says, “The blame is his who chooses, and God is blameless,” took this from the prophet Moses and uttered it. For Moses is more ancient than all the Greek writers. And whatever both philosophers and poets have said concerning the immortality of the soul, or punishments after death, or contemplation of things heavenly, or doctrines of the like kind, they have received such suggestions from the prophets as have enabled them to understand and interpret these things. And hence there seem to be seeds of truth among all men; but they are charged with not accurately understanding [the truth] when they assert contradictories. So that what we say about future events being foretold, we do not say it as if they came about by a fatal necessity; but God foreknowing all that shall be done by all men, and it being His decree that the future actions of men shall all be recompensed according to their several value, He foretells by the Spirit of prophecy that He will bestow meet rewards according to the merit of the actions done, always urging the human race to effort and recollection, showing that He cares and provides for men. (link)


Justin turns to scripture first and then to philosophers instructed of scripture. He considers scripture sufficient to put down fatalism. More to the point, his understanding of 'choose' is sufficient to put down fatalism. But Paul's definition of choose reconciles just fine with fatalism. Given the differences in methodologies here, it's no wonder the conclusions are radically different.

72 comments:

bossmanham said...

Billy put together a list of a bunch of early church fathers who affirmed the freedom of the will and quoted them doing so.

It is found here.

bossmanham said...

I also love how Paul is declaring himself the winner of your debates. What's truly funny is he actually believes that since he is declaring himself the winner, he actually is the winner. I am actually laughing out loud right now.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

I never pay attention to Paul's constant, superficial declarations of victory. At one point when I debated him, it came to the point where apparently, he was trying to convince me that he'd won because he'd managed to take my words out of context and smear me so well. (?) Constant behavior of that sort just shows low confidence in the quality one's own arguments, and a poor grasp of logical principles.

While we're on the subject, I love his little sniper avatar; it's so ironic. Snipers of course value a.) subtlety, and b.) accuracy above all else. Our tireless rebutter with his over-use of Google images and pseudo-logic, on the other hand, is about as subtle as a Michael Moore film, and accurate as a Scud-C with a flailing pachyderm for a payload (which gives a whole new meaning to the term 'elephant hurling').

bossmanham said...

JC,

HAHAHA!!!!

he was trying to convince me that he'd won because he'd managed to take my words out of context and smear me so well

That is funny. Hee hee.

Mitch said...

This is an instance where the original argument was flawed from the outset and should be withdrawn.

Now I understand that if you admit that the argument has been defeated you think it weakens your position, but all that has been shown is that THIS argument has been defeated. I am sure that Arminianism and Arminians have other arguments that are more sound, at least I would hope so:)

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Assert harder Mitch! The sheer weight of unbacked assertion will surely wear him down eventually!

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Nice citation of Justin btw. I think that hits the closest to the heart of the matter, since the implications drawn from scripture by the earliest Christians, to whom the scriptures were delivered directly (and in their common language no less), constitutes very strong evidence for a libertarian 'common' consensus.

You've got to love Paul's pseudo-logic:

Crucial to Dan’s argument is the claim that “common man” are all, each and every, libertarians.

Proving yet again that sinking men will clutch at strawmen. It's funny when you've driven the point home so well that their only recourse is to make up positions for you so they can argue against those.

Onesimus said...

Quote: "Paul seems to missunderstand my view on scripture"

From my brief introduction to that site I would say that your view was intentionally misrepresented and NOT misunderstood.

The "quality" and "maturity" of the content there shows there is no interest at all in the truth.

They are involved in an unnatural relationship with their theology and the TRUE God has been left out of the equation all together.

When theology is deified then anything will be done to protect that theology - including manipulation of scripture, completely ignoring scripture, and parodying those who stand up for the clear and simple truth of scripture.

I would suggest you don't give those people the satisfaction of being promoted on your blog.

And maybe I should take my own advice and stop wasting my time on people who willingly blind themselves to the truth.

Robert said...

Hello JC,

“Assert harder Mitch! The sheer weight of unbacked assertion will surely wear him down eventually!”

JC isn’t this “Mitch” guy the same guy who argued about the nature of the atonement a while back and had his arguments repeatedly refuted and yet he kept presenting his arguments over and over and over again? The same guy who was shown over and over that we make a distinction between the provision of the atonement which is for all and the application of the atonement which is only for those who believe, and yet he kept ignoring our comments over and over and over again, and just kept presenting his argument over and over and over again. His posts became like an irritating broken record that skips in the same place over and over again. And yet NOW he **demands** that Dan do the very thing he refused to do and admit defeat? This is laughable and hypocritical.

Perhaps when “Mitch” admits that his arguments regarding the atonement were defeated then we’ll ask Dan to admit defeat as well. What do you think JC, does that sound fair to you? I mean isn’t what is good for the goose good for the gander as well? :-)

Robert

Robert said...

Hello Onesimus,

“From my brief introduction to that site I would say that your view was intentionally misrepresented and NOT misunderstood.”

That is a common debate tactic of theirs: construct a false representation of someone’s position, then associate that false representation with the person, then attack that false representation and claim that you disproved their view (i.e., in logic this is the fallacy of creating and then destroying a “straw man” of your own making).

“The "quality" and "maturity" of the content there shows there is no interest at all in the truth.”

You are absolutely correct, their actions do not demonstrate or manifest Christian maturity at all. Their actions constantly appear to be the “works of the flesh” not the “fruit of the Spirit.”

“They are involved in an unnatural relationship with their theology and the TRUE God has been left out of the equation all together.”

They conceive of God wrongly, and they worship a god of their own imaginations, a necessatarian god who predetermines everything, who takes pleasure in damning most of the human race before they are ever born and then eternally punishes these predetermined unbelievers/”reprobates” for being and doing exactly what He wanted them to do and ensured that they would do.

“When theology is deified then anything will be done to protect that theology - including manipulation of scripture, completely ignoring scripture, and parodying those who stand up for the clear and simple truth of scripture.”

I would add to your correct description here that they end up engaging in the same practices as non-Christian cults (i.e., the “us” versus “them” mentality, the belief they are infallibly correct and everyone else is infallibly wrong; the mangling of scripture so that it fits their preconceived theological system, constant proof texting in an effort to defend, maintain, and promote their false system; appeal to the traditions of their group rather than the teaching of scripture thereby making the Word of God void through their man made traditions/”interpretations”; reinterpretation of texts that contradict their system so that the scripture is forced to fit the system rather than vice versa, etc. etc. etc.).

“I would suggest you don't give those people the satisfaction of being promoted on your blog.”

Good suggestion.

“And maybe I should take my own advice and stop wasting my time on people who willingly blind themselves to the truth.”

Jesus spoke about this. He said first go into a town and present the truth to them. Then when they make it clear that they reject the truth which has been presented to them, shake the dust off your feet leave them to God’s judgement and move onto the next town. While this was said specifically in reference to evangelism and sharing the gospel, these principles may apply to situations where you will only waste time discussing things with people who don’t want the truth, instead, they are more interested in defending and maintaining and promoting a false theological system/the traditions of men. Jesus also said of people like this not to cast your pearls before them because they will simply get angry and turn on you. Again, they have heard the truth, rejected the truth, and when presented the truth again will only get angry at those who do present the truth to them.

No one is so blind as one who intentionally does not want to see.

Robert

J.C. Thibodaux said...

When theology is deified then anything will be done to protect that theology....

Reminds me of a quote I heard not long ago. A Calvinist friend of mine sent me a link to a really good sermon by Mark Driscoll, in which he states:

If you idolize, you also demonize. Example: if you idolize Reformed theology you demonize Arminian theology. I demonize whoever disagrees with me....

Mitch said...

I was not trying to assert so please forgive me if that is how it came across. The simple fact though is that it was shown that the argument was weak and it was shown how dictionaries do and/or could agree with the other view.

As for my arguments being refuted when it comes to the atonement… hmmmm.

If I recall correctly I was the only one to show from Scripture that my view was correct. In fact, to my knowledge you never backed-up your claim with Scripture. If you felt that I was just repeating the same argument then it is probably because I used the only thing that I know to prove error and that is Scripture. I tend not to rely too heavily on my own reasoning or others for that matter. So while I made a scriptural case you did not and you did not defeat the scriptural case I did make.

What is interesting though is how you malign the guys over at T-blog for not exhibiting Christian maturity and you act the way you do? It has been pointed out many times to you by many different individuals that your style is bombastic, rude, arrogant… and so on. It is hard to interact with you, I also get the impression that you do not want to learn and understand where one is coming from because you think you already know.

So with all due respect I will refrain to interact with you. The style and approach that you take is just not that conducive to learning and growing.

I have the upmost respect for Ben and J.C. even though we disagree on most things. So I have no problem with people that disagree with me and at times learn new things and challenge my beliefs in the process.

OMT, it has been asserted that I “demand” that Dan admit defeat, I have looked back at what I wrote and do not see where I demanded this. So as of now I will take this as just a wild assertion that is unsubstantiated by fact.

Grace & Peace

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Don't worry about making assertions Mitch, they're no more than affirmative statements, I just had no idea what you were even making reference to specifically.

"The simple fact though is that it was shown that the argument was weak and it was shown how dictionaries do and/or could agree with the other view."

That assessment doesn't really interact with Dan's argument here, which addresses the point concerning alternate dictionary definitions. That's to say nothing of the fact that points cannot be made effectively in a discussion by employing outright logical fallacies, such as the flagrant strawmen Mr. Manata uses.

Mitch said...

J.C.

My quick observation is that it can be shown that a good number of “common men” can be shown to hold to compatibilism. It also seems that a fair number of definitions from varied dictionaries define “choice” and “choose” in compatibilistic way. So the idea that “common man” and the dictionary prove LFW or even address it seems strained at best. It seems that the initial argument tried to prove more than it could by using definitions from some dictionaries and reading in LFW.

So it is my observation that the argument put forth has been defeated. As I stated earlier though, just because this particular argument was defeated does not mean that Arminianism is defeated by this loss. I am sure that there are other arguments that are better and require more thought and interaction:)

Anonymous said...

Paul is still waiting and would love any other arminian to defend Dan's argument against my latest instead of complaining about how I do this or that, just deal with the argument.

Here's for "Bob" aka "Robbie" aka "Robert:

***********I********** GAVE *********SEVERAL******* DICTIONARY DEFINITIONS WHERE *******POSSIBLE******** WAS NOT AN *********ESSENTIAL********* ELEMENT OF THE WORD "CHOOSE". *****DAN***** SAID IT WAS AND HE HAS SAID REPEATEDLY THAT THIS IS *************CRUCIAL********* TO HIS ARGUMENT.

Any takers?

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Mitch,

So the idea that “common man” and the dictionary prove LFW or even address it seems strained at best.

That's possible, I don't favor arguing from modern dictionaries myself, which is why I think that showing the meanings associated with the terms by early Christian writers in this post made for a better approach to this line of reasoning (see my comment above).

Mitch said...

J.C.

Perhaps you are right that a better approach would be to show what early Christian writers said about the subject, but it does not change the fact that that was not the way it was presented. That is why I said that THIS particular argument, the one originally presented, has failed and has been defeated. Of course a new argument could be made about early writers, but that is another argument.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Mitch,

The concepts are closely intertwined, note Dan's statement,

For my purpose, 'common man' is in terms of a whole assembly. The bible was frequently addressed to all of Israel, all of the church....

Mitch said...

J.C.

Thank you for pointing that out, but as I stated earlier a good number of “common man” have and do hold to compatibilism. So even if we use that arbitrary definition of “common man” it still is a defeated argument.

I could just as easily state that a good number of “common men”, as defined by Dan, have in the past and in the present held to compatibilism. I could then use definitions from multiple dictionaries that show that “choice” and “choose” conform to compatibilism and then claim that this proves that LFW does not exist.

Now if I know a little about you it is that you would not let me get away with that flimsy argument. Yet that is exactly what the original argument was just plug in LFW.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Yet that is exactly what the original argument was just plug in LFW.

As I was saying about the fallacy of burning strawmen....

Mitch said...

J.C.

I will admit I have no idea what you are talking about when you bring up strawmen.

Perhaps the argument went over my head, but this is my observation.

I can show from the “common man” use of “choice” and/or “choose” that the dictionary defines those terms in compatibilistic ways. Also, since the Bible was written by and for the “common man” it shows that LFW does not exist.

The only way we could get LFW is if we change the “common man” definition as found in dictionaries into some technical mumbo jumbo that the “common man” would not understand. Hence by the use of several dictionaries and by appealing to “common man” LFW has been refuted.

In my estimation that is the original argument in a nutshell. Now if you think that is me creating a strawman then so be it.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

What you argued was,

"I could just as easily state that a good number of “common men”, as defined by Dan, have in the past and in the present held to compatibilism. I could then use definitions from multiple dictionaries that show that “choice” and “choose” conform to compatibilism and then claim that this proves that LFW does not exist."

Aside from the duboius 'coulds' in that statement, no mention of the scriptures or the context in which they were written was made. Dan's argument involved to whom the scriptures were addressed, not the idea that the common perception or the dictionary itself refutes compatibilism. Strawman.

Additionally, something allowing for a possibly compatibilistic interpretation does not mean that it excludes LFW; that's a false dichotomy.

Mitch said...

J.C.

I will have to disagree with you on this, seeing as Dan did not provide his definition of “common man” originally. The argument was that the definition for “choose” proved LFW. Only when pressed for the meaning of “common man” was a “definition” provided.

The argument went that since the dictionary defined the term “choose” in a LFW way it shows that this is the common mans view when it comes to man’s will. When it was shown that there are dictionaries that do not define “choose” in a way that would lead to LFW the argument was defeated.

Now you may think that the “idea that the common perception or the dictionary itself refutes compatibilism” to be a Strawman, but that is the way the original argument was framed. It seems that your last comment alone defeats Dan’s argument when you wrote

“…something allowing for a possibly compatibilistic interpretation does not mean that it excludes LFW: that’s a false dichotomy.”

Just change “compatibilistic” to “LFW” and “LFW” to “compatibilism” and the argument is defeated again.

And just for kicks, look at Dan’s argument and just substitute compatibilism for LFW and you will see that the argument just was not good from the beginning.

Robert said...

Mitch wrote: (part 1)

"The simple fact though is that it was shown that the argument was weak and it was shown how dictionaries do and/or could agree with the other view."

Not convinced your assessment is correct. Especially in light of many intentional misrepresentations of Dan’s position (i.e., a trainload of straw men was delivered).

"As for my arguments being refuted when it comes to the atonement… hmmmm."

They were and yet you continued to hold the same mistaken position and kept pushing it and repeating it. Assuming that this is also true of Dan (for the sake of argument), then you should do the same thing you want Dan to do: admit defeat, admit your argument was weak, admit your argument was refuted. Yet **YOU** won't do it, and yet you expect that Dan ought to do it: that is hypocrisy on your part.

"If I recall correctly I was the only one to show from Scripture that my view was correct. In fact, to my knowledge you never backed-up your claim with Scripture. If you felt that I was just repeating the same argument then it is probably because I used the only thing that I know to prove error and that is Scripture. I tend not to rely too heavily on my own reasoning or others for that matter. So while I made a scriptural case you did not and you did not defeat the scriptural case I did make."

Multiple people made the same points which you ignored and they used scripture, and you did not deal with the arguments or scripture. That is both evasive and dishonest on your part.

And the arguments you repeated are **neither from scripture** nor from "my own reasoning", you simply parroted Owen's arguments. You did not make a scriptural case, you simply presented Owen who conflates and does not properly separate the provision of the atonement and its application. Conflating the two, failing to properly distinguish between the two, is not scriptural, it is Owenesque however. This was pointed out to you repeatedly and you just ignored it and just kept plugging away with your presentation of Owen's arguments, pretending that his reasoning and his errors are scriptural truth.

By the way, as you are posting here on Dan’s blog here. Dan took some time to go over and refute Owen’s arguments one by one (including the ones you appeal to) so why don’t’ you check out Dan’s writings against Owen/your arguments here on Dan’s blog.

Robert

Robert said...

Mitch wrote (part 2)

"What is interesting though is how you malign the guys over at T-blog for not exhibiting Christian maturity and you act the way you do? It has been pointed out many times to you by many different individuals that your style is bombastic, rude, arrogant… and so on."

Those who have pointed this out were themselves Triablogers and Triablogers posing as sock puppets. And of course Triablogue "groupies" such as yourself. When criticized we need to consider the source. Coming from you and them, I don’t take your criticism very seriously.

And regarding the Triablogers you ought to check out some of their current threads, they are again showing their true colors quite clearly.

"It is hard to interact with you, I also get the impression that you do not want to learn and understand where one is coming from because you think you already know."

Actually in the whole scheme of things I know very little of what there is to know. Every time I step into a good book store or library or speak with a real genius, I am reminded of how little that I know compared to what is out there to know. I do know this however, your necessitarian calvinistic system is false and man-made. I also know that the Triablogers are some of the worst professing Christians that I have ever seen when it comes to character and actions.

"So with all due respect I will refrain to interact with you."

I hope that is a promise. Dealing with Triablogers is a waste of time and dealing with their **fans** and **groupies** is just as unfruitful.

"I have the upmost respect for Ben and J.C. even though we disagree on most things. So I have no problem with people that disagree with me and at times learn new things and challenge my beliefs in the process."

That is nice to hear, except for the part that you "learn new things". Your postings just repeat the same hackneyed things over and over, suggesting that no learning is taking place. You just keep repeating your calvinistic “mantras” over and over. Your points are just repeating what other calvinists have said (especially Owen).

"OMT, it has been asserted that I “demand” that Dan admit defeat, I have looked back at what I wrote and do not see where I demanded this. So as of now I will take this as just a wild assertion that is unsubstantiated by fact."

You keep pushing Dan to "admit defeat" as if it is really, really important to you. As if a lot depends upon it. Do you really think that anybody here views your words to Dan as coming from a disinterested bystander who simply wants the truth to be told!

Robert

J.C. Thibodaux said...

I did read his arguments, thank-you. If you'll note in the first paragraph the tie-in to scriptural interpretation:

Determinism includes the idea that preceding causal forces render all our actions necessary such that they cannot be otherwise. So a “predetermined choice” implies an “impossible possibility” and an “inalternate alternative”. Since the bible states that we have wills and choose, determinism isn’t consistent with the bible.


Just change “compatibilistic” to “LFW” and “LFW” to “compatibilism” and the argument is defeated again.

That doesn't follow. The various dictionary sources he did cite would exclude compatibilism by the inclusion of the concept of differing possibilities etc.

Mitch said...

Dan,

Please know that I am not “pushing you” to admit anything. In my observation your argument has been defeated and I have given some reasons why I think that. Also, to anyone who may be interested I’m not Arminian… LOL

For those who need more detail, I do not believe in LFW as commonly defined by internet Arminian’s and I do subscribe to all 5 points as I believe them to be Scriptural. Lest anyone think that I’m trying to pose as an un-interested observer. The one thing I do try to strive for is for the Truth to be told.

OMT, I am not familiar with your commenting guidelines but I would hope that you not allow people to malign someone’s character or call them names or belittle their views.

J.C.

The main thrust, as I understand it, was in the charge that one side did not hold to the “common-sense” meaning of “choose”. To back that claim up some definitions were provided that favored a LFW view of the word. When other definitions were provided that did not favor LFW and instead conformed nicely to compatibilism the argument failed.

In the first post Dan said

“In response, first off quoting philosophers is helpful, but the dictionary is better at establishing the laymen, common sensical understanding of terms.”

So the minute that it was shown that the dictionary supports a compatibilistic view of “choose” the argument fell. Now this does not mean that compatibilism was proven, but neither was LFW proven.

To put it as plain as my simple mind can – since the bible states that we have wills and that “choose” is compatible with compatibilism, then compatibilism is consistent with the bible.

As always thank you for the interaction and the gracious tone.

Robert said...

Hello JC,

“That doesn't follow. The various dictionary sources he did cite would exclude compatibilism by the inclusion of the concept of differing possibilities etc.”

That is one of the points of Dan’s argument that was ignored: the dictionary reflects common usage of the term choices or choosing. If I tell most people that: “you have a choice”, or “the choice is yours”, or “you make the decision” etc. etc. they understand this to mean that they in fact HAD A CHOICE. And you only HAVE A CHOICE if you could choose this or choose that, with both options or alternatives (or “differing possibilities”) being accessible and available to you. Compatibilism on the other hand, if the person assumes that all events are predetermined as the calvinist necessitarian does, precludes us ever HAVING A CHOICE. The common person understands having free will to mean ****having choice****. If we do not have a choice then we do have free will, or at least that is the common understanding which is reflected in the dictionary meanings. Now the necessitarian can argue that the common person’s understanding is mistaken, does not correspond with reality. But if they argue that the common person does not understand having free will to be having choices, they are mistaken.
Recently I saw someone quote Spurgeon about everybody being born as “Arminianis” and then later becoming calvinists/necessatarians. It is true that we start as believers in free will, believing that we sometimes have choices. It is only after being converted to calvinism, after being deprogrammed away from the truth (that we sometimes have choices) and being reprogrammed to accept calvinism/necessitarian beliefs/compatibilism, do we give up our notion that we sometimes have choices.

Robert

Robert said...

Mitch wrote:

“So the minute that it was shown that the dictionary supports a compatibilistic view of “choose” the argument fell. Now this does not mean that compatibilism was proven, but neither was LFW proven.”

The dictionary reflects common usage of terms. As I said earlier, in common usage, when someone speaks of “choosing” or “making a choice” or “having free will”, they are presupposing that they HAVE A CHOICE. If a parent says to a child: “which story do you want for me to read to you tonight” (both the parent and the child understand this common phrase to mean that the child has a choice of what story they will hear, that they can choose this story or that story (but not both simultaneously). And it is precisely this kind of phrase which people also use when they speak of “having free will.” People understand “having free will” and “having a choice” to be synonymous phrases (with people believing that when a person has such a choice they can choose this or choose that with the choice being up to them).

“To put it as plain as my simple mind can – since the bible states that we have wills and that “choose” is compatible with compatibilism, then compatibilism is consistent with the bible.”

The bible not only presents passages where people have “wills” and “choose”, the bible also presents passages where the people have a choice as to what option they will select. Merely having a “will” or going through the motions of making a choice is not enough to have a choice/have free will. If I create a machine that as a will and makes selections and all of its selections are predecided by me and the machine can only “choose” with its “will” what I preprogrammed it to “choose” it neither has free will nor does it have a choice. The necessitarian wants us to believe that we are no different from this machine with God predetermining our every action, including our thoughts, desires, choices and actions. That is not free will and that is not having a choice and that is not what most people mean by having freedom.

Unless your view is also consistent with the fact that the bible presents situations where people HAVE CHOICES, your view is inadequate and insufficient to include and account for these bible passages. Your view is not sufficienty taking into account the available evidence. You can hoodwink certain people with this inadequate view (i.e., compatibilism) of choosing and free will, and you can be in denial of the reality that we sometimes have choices, but you cannot live out this philosophy and your view is negated by the passages where people do in fact HAVE CHOICES.

Robert

Anonymous said...

I keep reading claim that I argued against a straw man but no one has demonstrated it.

Dan has repeatedly made one ad hoc move after another to save his argument.

Again, if anyone here thinks they have defeaters for my argument sagainst Dan, or can show that I atacked a straw man at the relevant points (and Dan's constant refusal to define any of his terms or formalize his argument invites straw men), then let's have it.

For my purpose, 'common man' is in terms of a whole assembly. The bible was frequently addressed to all of Israel, all of the church.....

besides being a poor definition of "common man" (actually, think about it, its rather stupid, forced, and contrived, and it took me asking 10 times!), this provides empirical confirmation of compatibilist common men since Dan alos said "church for all time" (which was removed so JC could straw man Dan). I posted on this comment from Dan and have seen no interaction with it here.

Finally, there's no getting around the claim that CRUCIAL to Dan's argument, as HE says, is that the dictionary definition of "chose" includes "actual possibilities" as ESSENTIAL to the definition. That's why Dan cited about 8 and then said, "I could keep going, but you get the point."

Well, I didn't, and I questioned it. I cited numerous well-respected dictionaries that disagree with Dan. This removes a KEY premise in Dan's argument.

Again, I'd love a response instead of what you guys usually do: make fun of me, assert that I commit some fallacy or other, and then ignore all the relevant and substantive points.

Again, how you guys proceed says a lot about you. Why should anyone trust anything you guys say when you all circle the wagons and defend an OBVIOUSLY defeated argument. The faster you guys and Dan admit the bad argument, the better. This is sooooo embarrassing for Arminian epologists.

bossmanham said...

Anonymous Paul the Manta says:

This is sooooo embarrassing for Arminian epologists.

It might be, if anyone of note actually read your silly silliness.

Mitch said...

Just a quick note, but it seems if one wants to be treated with respect and Christian love then one should begin by exhibiting those qualities themselves???

Regardless of what the other party does or does not do.

To quote a respected Arminian-

"Constant behavior of that sort just shows low confidence in the quality one's own arguments, and a poor grasp of logical principles."

For the complete context of the quote just read comment 3 on this thread.

Anonymous said...

I also love how Paul is declaring himself the winner of your debates. What's truly funny is he actually believes that since he is declaring himself the winner, he actually is the winner. I am actually laughing out loud right now.


Well you should try asking a Calvinist if determinism necessarily means that we are all celestial robots.

They say: "No. That's not what we mean!" And leave it at that as if that's sufficient to prove!

Robert said...

“Well you should try asking a Calvinist if determinism necessarily means that we are all celestial robots.”

The reason non-Calvinists sometimes use the analogy of robots or puppets or machines (or other analogies that describe complete and direct control) to talk about exhaustive determinism is because we are trying to use an analogy for what it would be like if all events were in fact predetermined and WE NEVER EVER HAD CHOICES. In a world where everything was predetermined and necessitated in this way, we would ***never have choices***, we would ***only and always*** do what had been predecided that we would do. So in trying to conceive or think about such a completely predetermined world we bring in these different analogies to conceive of it.

What is common to them all is that the entity that is doing an action has no choice, must do the action, cannot do otherwise, is completely and directly controlled by an external person. All of these analogies then picture what a fully necessatarian world would be like. The necessatarian of course does not want to admit this and so tries to say these analogies do not fit. But in fact they do fit and they fit very well, which is why non-Calvinists keep bringing them up.

I have also sometimes observed, and it has been quite humorous, that the **same** necessitarian that claims we are NOT like robots or puppets, will SIMULTANEOUSLY argue that God directly and completely controls us and they will appeal to Romans 9 were Paul uses the analogy of God being the Potter and us being the clay. This is humorous because they ignore the point Paul is making in that passage and use the verses in Romans 9 to argue that we are completely and directly controlled by God so we only do what He has predetermined for us to do. But if are like clay in this sense (i.e., completely and directly controlled by an external person) then we are also like puppets and robots as well (because they are completely and directly controlled by an external person). So you cannot (or better **should not** if you do not want to contradict yourself) argue that calvinism does not entail that we are like robots or puppets (which are completely and directly controlled by an external person), while arguing that we are like clay that is completely and directly controlled by the Potter.

Robert

Godismyjudge said...

Hi All,

Thanks for commenting. Sorry I have been offline for a bit.

God be with you,
Dan

Godismyjudge said...

Thanks for the helpful link Brennon!

God be with you,
Dan

Godismyjudge said...

Hi Mitch,

Seems like I need to hurry up... I would like to finish responding to Paul's first 'response' before getting to his latest argument.

I will say briefly that the main issue I see with your comments is that they advocate compatiblism and Paul was advocating semi-compatibilism. I will try to explain more, when I get to it, but just check out how different Paul and Steve's initial responses to my argument were.

God be with you,
Dan

Godismyjudge said...

All,

The rules for commenting here are very simple:

Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32

I will try to keep them in mind and ask that you do the same.

God be with you,
Dan

Godismyjudge said...

Dear Paul,

D.V., I will address your argument shortly.

God be with you,
Dan

J.C. Thibodaux said...

"So the minute that it was shown that the dictionary supports a compatibilistic view of “choose” the argument fell."

The dictionaries Dan cited did exclude compatibilism; dictionaries that don't necessarily exclude compatibilistic interpretations don't constitute support for it to the exclusion of LFW, which is why the Just change “compatibilistic” to “LFW” and “LFW” to “compatibilism” line of reasoning is a non sequitur.

Mitch said...

J.C.

Of course the dictionaries that Dan cited excluded everything but LFW, which is the problem with the argument. He would have one believe that all dictionaries agree with his definition of the word, hence why he asked if he needed to go on. Yet when dictionaries were found that did not define the word in a way that leads only to LFW the argument fell.

So we can use dictionaries and our common sense to see that the definition of “chose” does not exclude everything but LFW. The only way the argument would work is if we accept only the dictionary definitions that Dan provided and treat them as if they were the only authoritative source.

Again in my observation the premise was that common man defines “chose” in a common sense way and the best place to go would be dictionaries. Then you cherry pick some dictionary definitions that support the view of LFW and voila!

That is why I said that you could just reverse the argument-

Since the common man defines “chose” in a common sense way and the best place to go for defining “chose” is the dictionary let me cite some definitions that show that the word “chose” is defined along “compatibilistic” lines and voila!

As I stated earlier the argument tries to prove too much with too little.

*Disclaimer*: these are just my personal views and I do not wish to impose them on anyone else, nor do I demand that anyone see it the way I see it. This is just my common sense view of the situation.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

That is why I said that you could just reverse the argument-

Since the common man defines “chose” in a common sense way and the best place to go for defining “chose” is the dictionary let me cite some definitions that show that the word “chose” is defined along “compatibilistic” lines and voila!


Exactly which dictionaries define 'choice' or 'choose' in a way that supports compatibilism to the exclusion of LFW?

Mitch said...

J.C.

I did not write to the exclusion.

That is why I stated the only way the argument works if we only take Dan’s definitions and define LFW the same way. Dan was trying to infer that all common sense definitions of the words lead only to LFW, yet many dictionaries define the terms that fit right in-line with compatibilism.

That is why in my view the argument failed. It tried to prove too much with too little.

Mitch said...

OMT, not to come across as a fan or cheerleader for Paul Manata but he does have a point when he stated that for Dan’s argument to work then the dictionary has to define “choose” with “possible alternative” as this is key to Dan’s argument. So when dictionary definitions are found that lack that key trait the argument collapses

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Dan was trying to infer that all common sense definitions of the words lead only to LFW...

I don't recall him using sweeping terms like 'all dictionaries everywhere necessarily define it strictly this way,' but a general consensus of their definitions apparently does support the libertarian view.


I did not write to the exclusion.

And this is why I stated, contrary to your statement otherwise, the argument can't be reversed.

Mitch said...

I did write that he would want one to infer that they all agreed, surely you see that? Yet even that premise was defeated.

As for the argument not being able to be reversed; to my common sense mind that is a further blow to Dan's position, in that the argument he was making was rather sweeping and all inclusive.

So the argument fails when we use his definition of “common man”, “common sense” and his chosen method of defining key terms by use of dictionaries.

steve said...

Robert said...

“Those who have pointed this out were themselves Triablogers and Triablogers posing as sock puppets.”

From his use of the plural, Robert is accusing two or more T’bloggers of posing as sock puppets.

It’s now incumbent on Robert to identify which T’bloggers were posing as sock puppets, and present his evidence to substantiate this allegation.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Mitch,

I did write that he would want one to infer that they all agreed, surely you see that?

Given that references to common perception generally aren't sweeping 'no exceptions' claims, that doesn't seem to be a reasonable inference.


As for the argument not being able to be reversed; to my common sense mind that is a further blow to Dan's position, in that the argument he was making was rather sweeping and all inclusive.

That doesn't follow: The argument isn't irreversible because of some universal claim that all dictionaries necessarily exclude compatibilism; it can't be reversed because no standard dictionaries cited thus far exclude LFW, as opposed to several that apparently do exclude compatibilism.


Steve,

It’s now incumbent on Robert to identify which T’bloggers were posing as sock puppets...

Why don't you abide by your own standards of evidence and present proof that Robert's assertion is wrong?

Steve: "As far as that goes, we have no evidence that Ben and J.C. haven’t been sockpuppeting." ;)

steve said...

Robert said...

“I also know that the Triablogers are some of the worst professing Christians that I have ever seen when it comes to character and actions.”

That’s a very ironic accusation considering the fact that Robert is a gossipmonger. Scripture explicitly and repeatedly condemns gossipers, yet that doesn’t prevent Robert going from one blog to another, spreading malicious, second-hand rumors.

steve said...

J.C. Thibodaux said...

"Why don't you abide by your own standards of evidence and present proof that Robert's assertion is wrong?"

No, those are not my rules of evidence. I was answering you on your own terms.

The onus is not on me to disprove an allegation for which no evidence is offered. Robert has leveled a very serious allegation. The onus now lies squarely on his shoulders to substantiate his allegation.

It will be a test of his integrity, as well as Dan's, to see what happens.

Mitch said...

J.C.

In order for Dan’s point to work- the “common perception” that “choose” requires “possible alternatives” -would have to be proven. His chosen instrument was dictionaries, it seems that with such a general inference that Dan would have to prove that a majority of dictionaries define “choose” in that way.

The argument was that “common man” defines “choose” in a “common sense” way that rules out all but libertarianism. All one had to do was show that “common man” define “choose” in a way that does not necessitate libertarianism.

Now if all that was meant by the argument was that if we hold to a particular view of libertarianism and we read some definitions that could be interpreted to support such libertarianism than so be it, but that seems like an odd argument to make.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

"The onus is not on me to disprove an allegation for which no evidence is offered."

One can only wonder then why you cite lack of evidence when inferring that we shouldn't be taken at our word that we've never employed sockpuppets.

Steve: "So why should anyone take *their* word for it? That’s like asking a hacker if he makes a living as a hacker. You think he’s going to admit it?"

steve said...

J.C. Thibodaux said...

"One can only wonder then why you cite lack of evidence when inferring that we shouldn't be taken at our word that we've never employed sockpuppets."

i) Because I was answering you on your own terms. If you accuse me of being a sock puppet without offering any probative evidence to back up your allegation, then, by parity of argument, I can accuse you of being a sock puppet without offering any probative evidence to back up my allegation.

ii) Moreover, my own rules of evidence have no direct bearing on Robert's ethical responsibilities. Even if, ex hypothesi, I were inconsistent in the application of my own rules of evidence, that hardly entitles Robert to commit the same offense.

Robert leveled an accusation. It's now up to Robert to substantiate his accusation.

Robert said...

So Steve Hays wants to talk about integrity and accusations?

I have a history with Hays and it is not a good one. I posted over at his blog Triablogue and was repeatedly verbally attacked and ridiculed by the folks of Triablogue. I responded to these insults by calling for them to interact with others whether they are believers or nonbelievers in line with what the bible says. This was argued with and ignored by the Triablogers. Hays himself accused me of being a **false teacher** and also claimed that **I was hell bound**. I asked him who the pastor(s) were whom he is in submission to in his local church to which he responded that he was not under their authority. I asked about this because I have nothing to fear of a church discipline situation and I would have gone through it with Hays and his local church leadership. But if you are not in submission to the local church leadership and you are a loose cannon as Steve Hays is, then you have no accountability for the things you say and do over on your blog. And that is precisely the problem, Hays is a loose cannon with no accountability. So he is free to attack and ridicule and falsely accuse anyone as He continually does, with no accountability seemingly. I say “seemingly” because God will hold him accountable for all his verbal attacks on others as well as his attempted rationalizations and justifications of his actions. Perhaps he is already being disciplined by the Lord when you examine his actual life circumstances. Numerous people have challenged Hays and the other Triablogers in regards to their manner of posting and interacting with others. Whether it is believers or unbelievers it does not matter, they attack, ridicule, engage in inappropriate sarcasm and humor with them all. They have been challenged on numerous occasions to repent of their sinful verbal behavior. There is never any change, never any sign of repentance. They just continue to engage in their sinful practices. If a person will not listen to and obey the bible and is not in submission to local church leadership then they have no accountability and you really cannot say much to them or have any positive influence upon them. In this situation it is wise to not further interact with such a person.

And I stand fully behind my comment regarding the Triablogers: ““I also know that the Triablogers are some of the worst professing Christians that I have ever seen when it comes to character and actions” because the statement is true.

I have been teaching the bible for many years, never had my doctrinal beliefs questioned by any professing Christians except for the Triablogers and their fans. Hays made his false accusations against me publicly and no other Triabloger challenged him on this, so I can only assume they hold the same view. When a completely loose cannon, who continually sins on his blog wants to attack me and challenge me on integrity, his criticisms can be completely ignored. Hays continues to be a bad example of someone who professes allegiance to Christ but does not live the life.

Robert

steve said...

[Robert] “I have a history with Hays and it is not a good one.”

That’s mutual.

“I posted over at his blog Triablogue and was repeatedly verbally attacked and ridiculed by the folks of Triablogue.”

Let’s see…you compare Calvinists to cult members and devil worshipers. Then you presume to play the victim.

“I responded to these insults by calling for them to interact with others whether they are believers or nonbelievers in line with what the bible says.”

i) We exegeted your prooftexts about what the Bible says. You had no counterargument.

ii) And speaking of what the Bible says, it also condemns gossiping about others, yet you freely violated that Biblical prohibition.

“Hays himself accused me of being a **false teacher**”

Since you’ve said the same or worse about Calvinists, who are you to complain?

“And also claimed that **I was hell bound**.”

Provide a verbatim quote where I said you, Robert, are hellbound.

“I asked him who the pastor(s) were whom he is in submission to in his local church to which he responded that he was not under their authority. I asked about this because I have nothing to fear of a church discipline situation and I would have gone through it with Hays and his local church leadership.”

Really? Feel free to give us the contact info of your church. The names of your elders. As well as your own name.

Since you say you believe in a church-structured accountability system, what’s your name, the name of your church, the name of your pastor, and elders, plus email addresses.

“But if you are not in submission to the local church leadership and you are a loose cannon as Steve Hays is, then you have no accountability for the things you say and do over on your blog.”

This accusation is coming from a man who conceals his true identity. Yet he goes around from one blog to another posting defamatory comments about his theological opponents.

Who is holding you accountable for what you say here or elsewhere, Robert? Give us a list of names and contact numbers.

“So he is free to attack and ridicule and falsely accuse anyone as He continually does, with no accountability seemingly.”

You mean the way you are free to attack and ridicule and falsely accuse any Calvinist you please with complete impunity?

“I say ‘seemingly’ because God will hold him accountable for all his verbal attacks on others as well as his attempted rationalizations and justifications of his actions.”

That applies to you in spades, Robert.

“Perhaps he is already being disciplined by the Lord when you examine his actual life circumstances. Numerous people have challenged Hays and the other Triablogers in regards to their manner of posting and interacting with others.”

That cuts both ways, Robert. Numerous people have challenged you and your demeanor as well. You’re hardly a model of civility yourself. I already quoted some choice statements of yours. I could easily quote others.

steve said...

“[Robert] They have been challenged on numerous occasions to repent of their sinful verbal behavior. There is never any change, never any sign of repentance. They just continue to engage in their sinful practices.”

You could be describing yourself, Robert.

“And I stand fully behind my comment regarding the Triablogers: ‘I also know that the Triablogers are some of the worst professing Christians that I have ever seen when it comes to character and actions’ because the statement is true.”

This is just another example of the way you hide behind empty, self-serving accusations.

Start by documenting your allegation that two or more of the T’bloggers are sockpuppets. Name who they are, and present your evidence.

I also notice that you failed to back up your accusation that I verbally abused Dan in my response to his “Rabbit trail” post. We’re still waiting for you to quote the incriminating evidence.

“I have been teaching the bible for many years, never had my doctrinal beliefs questioned by any professing Christians except for the Triablogers and their fans.”

Robert questions the doctrinal beliefs of Calvinists en masse.

“Hays continues to be a bad example of someone who professes allegiance to Christ but does not live the life.”

This is an example of Robert’s kinder and gentler approach to dealing with people who disagree with him.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

"Moreover, my own rules of evidence have no direct bearing on Robert's ethical responsibilities."

Please note that I wasn't addressing that issue. Robert can speak for himself.


"If you accuse me of being a sock puppet without offering any probative evidence to back up your allegation, then, by parity of argument, I can accuse you of being a sock puppet without offering any probative evidence to back up my allegation."

You could try actually reading what I wrote next time, I never accused you of sockpuppeting. I did present substantial evidence for suspicion, but I did not accuse anyone, I merely asked if my suspicions were true. As I plainly wrote:

"We haven't accused Paul of posing as anyone else in particular. We did suggest a few possibilities based upon a string of coincidences in wording, spelling, and writing style great enough to raise our suspicions, and have simply asked for a straight and honest answer to confirm or deny them."

You are saying nothing on 'my terms,' you're committing the rather obvious logical fallacy of appeal to ignorance (using lack of evidence as evidence), and asserting that I leveled accusations that I never did.


"...by parity of argument, I can accuse you of being a sock puppet..."

Did no one ever teach you that two wrongs don't make a right? If someone were to bear false witness against you by accusing you falsely, are you saying that you, as a Christian, have some right to baselessly accuse in return? If so, not only is that a very unchristian way to act, it's also the fallacy of Tu Quoque.

steve said...

J.C. Thibodaux said...

“You could try actually reading what I wrote next time, I never accused you of sockpuppeting.”

And you could try actually reading what I wrote the next time. I never accused you of accusing me. Rather, I used a conditional formula: “If you accuse me of being a sock puppet without offering any probative evidence to back up your allegation, then, by parity of argument, I can accuse you of being a sock puppet without offering any probative evidence to back up my allegation.”

Moving along:

“You are saying nothing on 'my terms,' you're committing the rather obvious logical fallacy of appeal to ignorance (using lack of evidence as evidence), and asserting that I leveled accusations that I never did.”

You defended Robert’s misconduct. I’m responding to the way you’ve defended his misconduct.

And if your going to bring up the obvious logical fallacy of appeal to ignorance, then I assume you’ll apply that yardstick to Robert given his failure thus far to provide evidence for his allegation. Or is Robert allowed to use lack of evidence as evidence?

“Did no one ever teach you that two wrongs don't make a right?”

Answering an opponent on his own grounds is not a wrong. However, by speaking of “two wrongs,” does this mean you admit that Robert was guilty of the initial wrong?

“It’s also the fallacy of Tu Quoque.”

Answering an opponent on his own grounds is not a fallacy.

Godismyjudge said...

OK all, I would love to see us time out on the personal stuff and stick to the issues (free will, determinism...).

God be with you,
Dan

Anonymous said...

JC,

"I don't recall him using sweeping terms like 'all dictionaries everywhere necessarily define it strictly this way,' but a general consensus of their definitions apparently does support the libertarian view".

Yes he did. He said "the" dictionary (which he was trying to imply "all"), then cited 9 or 10, and then said, "I could keep going, but you get the point," thus implying that this is what we would find in *all* of them, if he kept going.

Anyway, I matched the same number of dictionaries, and I drew from books rather than internet dictionaries, and so even your "general consensus" out for Dan doesn't work---though that won't do it for Dan. If he wants to play the "general consensus" card, then he needs some *new* arguments, of which of course I will pounce on.

As it stands, my counter-argument stands unrefuted. BTW, at least I pay Dan the complement of representing his argument correctly rather than ad hocing it like you are, trying to "save" the theory.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

I'll be sure to take the implications our anonymous troll draws as seriously as I take Mr. Manata's logic. ;)

"Look! Some dictionaries don't utterly preclude compatibilism! I win!!"

Robert said...

(response to Hays part 1):

I have neither the time nor interest to engage Steve Hays point by point. And doing so would have no effect upon him as he is committed to his sinful practices and is unrepentant concerning them. I do however want to clarify four issues since I post in different places and I want all to be aware of exactly where I stand on these issues so I do not have to keep explaining where I stand on these particular issues.

First, there is my view about calvinists, Hays claims that I compare them to“devil worshippers” and “cultists”:

“Let’s see…you compare Calvinists to cult members and devil worshipers. Then you presume to play the victim.”

First I have not compared calvinists to “devil worshippers”. I make no claim that calvinists intentionally worship Satan. I happen to know some real ex-Satanists, not the Hollywood type that openly talk about their “faith”. But the real ones that are secretive and worship Satan in order to obtain real supernatural power. Calvinists do **not** engage in this type of worship, nor are they secretive about their beliefs, and I have never claimed they do so.

The second thing is that I do not claim calvinists to be members of a non-Christian cult which denies essential Christian doctrines. As far as I know, calvinists affirm essentials such as the deity of Christ and the trinity. This is not what I am claiming. Hays cited me where I said that their ***practices*** are like those that cult members practice:

“I would add to your correct description here that they end up engaging in the same practices as non-Christian cults (i.e., the ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality, the belief they are infallibly correct and everyone else is infallibly wrong; the mangling of scripture so that it fits their preconceived theological system, constant proof texting in an effort to defend, maintain, and promote their false system; appeal to the traditions of their group rather than the teaching of scripture thereby making the Word of God void through their man made traditions/”interpretations”; reinterpretation of texts that contradict their system so that the scripture is forced to fit the system rather than vice versa, etc. etc. etc.).

The key words to exegete my own words here were: they end up ENGAGING IN THE SAME PRACTICES as non-Christian cults”. And then I gave some examples. I have a lot of experience dealing with non-Christian cultists. And sadly, calvinists do engage in these exact same practices and exhibit the same mentality. The parallels are both uncanny and also indicative that calvinism leads to unnecessary division and confusion in the church. Unfortunately it always has and always will, ever since Augustine and then the reformers brought this “Trojan horse” into the church.

Robert

Robert said...

(response to Hays part 2):

Second, is their response to my presenting scripture about how we ought to interact with believers and unbelievers:

Hays quotes me as saying and then responds:

“I responded to these insults by calling for them to interact with others whether they are believers or nonbelievers in line with what the bible says.” (me)
i) We exegeted your prooftexts about what the Bible says. You had no counterargument.(Hays)
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When someone repeatedly engages in sinful verbal behavior and you present scriptures such as Eph. 4:1-3, 17-32; Eph. 5:1-2; Col. 3:12-14; and 2 Tim. 2:24-26, Col. 4:5-6, etc. Passages that speak of interacting with kindness, gentleness, love, etc. both with other Christians and also unbelievers, you expect a response such as: “yes we all ought to, as best we can, obey and live out those verses in our interactions with others.” You expect agreement and then a desire to live out what the Bible says. If instead these professing Christians then **argue** with these verses, reinterpret them and present counter arguments to these scriptures. Arguments such as: “well Jesus was harsh to the Pharisees in Matt. 23:1-36 and Paul in Galatians 5:12 told the Judaizers to cut themselves off, then since Jesus and Paul were sometimes harsh and insulting, therefore we can do the same to you. I mean we are supposed to follow their example aren’t we?” There is ***no counter argument*** to this kind of mangling of scripture, ignoring scripture and trying to rationalize and justify sinful speech behavior. If people are going to such lengths to avoid obedience to scripture, and to mangle scripture in that way in order to justify their sin, you cannot reason with them nor will any “counter argument” be persuasive.

Robert

Robert said...

(response to Hays part 3):

Third there is Hays’ accusation that I am a false teacher and so going to hell.

Consider the following exchange:
“Hays himself accused me of being a **false teacher**” (me)

Since you’ve said the same or worse about Calvinists, who are you to complain? (Hays)

“And also claimed that **I was hell bound**.”(me)

Provide a verbatim quote where I said you, Robert, are hellbound. (Hays)
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Steve Hays accused me of being a false teacher. Hays knows the bible well enough to know that in the New Testament those who are false teachers are both nonbelievers and hell bound. And this brings up a big difference between me and Hays. I make a distinction between a Christian who may be teaching and presenting beliefs that are false, and a ***FALSE TEACHER*** in the New Testament sense. A false teacher in the New Testament is someone who is not saved, denies essentials of the Christian faith (such as denying the deity of Christ or the trinity) and is going to end up in hell. A Christian teacher on the other hand who affirms essential doctrines such as the deity of Christ and the trinity, etc. may at the same time teach and present beliefs that are false.

John Piper as far as I can tell is a genuine believer who holds to the essentials and yet he teaches calvinistic beliefs that I would argue are false. I would never say Piper is a “false teacher” in the New Testament sense, though I would have no hesitation saying he teaches false beliefs (namely his calvinism). Hays when he accused me of being a false teacher also cited the New Testament passages referring to false teachers (passages which show them to be non-believers and hell bound).

And again he knows the bible well enough to know that if you say someone is a false teacher **in the New Testament sense**, they are not saved and going to hell.
Now if Hays wants to retract this accusation and say that he only meant that I was teaching and presenting beliefs that he believes are false (namely non-Calvinism), that would be helpful. But make no mistake he knew exactly what he was doing when he made the accusation and none of the Triablogers challenged him on it or corrected him on it or offered any clarification that they did not mean false teacher in the New Testament sense.

What this also means is that while I can respect a calvinist bible teacher and grant that you can learn from them (John MacArthur is a perfect example, I believe He is an excellent bible teacher) and yet at the same time they are teaching some things that are false (in the case of MacArthur, again his calvinistic teachings).

Robert

Robert said...

(response to Hays part 4):

Fourth I have **repeatedly** explained that I do not post my full name nor post personal information about myself when posting publicly to protect myself and my family. Hays tries to make this into some sort of dishonesty or lack of Christian character.


“This accusation is coming from a man who conceals his true identity.”

Hays challenges me to reveal my full name and other personal information in a public blog such as this. I have said repeatedly and again been ignored, that I work with a large prison ministry (now over 6,000 inmates over several states of the United States). Inmates are very ingenious at using personal information against people in order to trap them or con them or manipulate them. For these reasons those who work in corrections (and that includes me) are told and reminded repeatedly not to get too close to inmates or give out **any** personal information (as this information can be used against you in ways that may threaten you and your family). I use my real name, but do not give my last name and I try to avoid giving out personal information when posting in public. I do so to protect myself and my family. I have made this point repeatedly and yet Hays brings it up as if it is something sinister when it is not and anyone in my shoes would do exactly the same thing.

Robert

steve said...

I see that Robert has chosen to disregard Dan’s request that we avoid the personal stuff and stick with the issues. So be it.

“First I have not compared calvinists to ‘devil worshippers’.”

Of course he has. Robert is on record as stating that the God of Reformed theism is Satanic or diabolical. He also says we become what we worship.

If Robert rejects the logical implications of his past statements, then now is the time to retract his past statements.

“I make no claim that calvinists intentionally worship Satan.”

Suppose I were to say “I make no claim that Arminians intentionally worship Satan. They’re unintentional devil-worshipers.”

Would Robert consider that an appropriate way to characterize Arminians?

“Hays cited me where I said that their ***practices*** are like those that cult members practice…they end up ENGAGING IN THE SAME PRACTICES as non-Christian cults”.”

Which corroborates my original claim. Robert is comparing Calvinists to cult-members.

Once again, suppose I said the ***practices*** of Arminians are like those that cult members practice. Arminians end up engaging in the same practices as non-Christian cults.

Would Robert consider that an appropriate way to characterize Arminians?

“And then I gave some examples.”

He gave some tendentious examples which beg the question. And, of course, a Calvinist would say the same thing in reverse about the varieties of freewill theism.

steve said...

[Robert] “When someone repeatedly engages in sinful verbal behavior and you present scriptures such as Eph. 4:1-3, 17-32; Eph. 5:1-2; Col. 3:12-14; and 2 Tim. 2:24-26, Col. 4:5-6, etc. Passages that speak of interacting with kindness, gentleness, love, etc…”

When Robert says Calvinists engage in exactly the same practices as non-Christian cults, or says we become what we worship, and what we worship is Satanic, does he consider that to be a good example of kind, gentle, or loving speech?

If that’s consistent with his own interpretation of his chosen prooftexts, then what could a Calvinist ever say that is inconsistent with Robert’s own interpretation of his chosen prooftexts? If that’s not verbally abuse, then what is? If it’s not verbally abusive for a non-Calvinist to speak that way of Calvinists, would it be verbally abusive of a Calvinist to speak that way of non-Calvinists?

steve said...

[Robert] “Steve Hays accused me of being a false teacher. Hays knows the bible well enough to know that in the New Testament those who are false teachers are both nonbelievers and hell bound. And this brings up a big difference between me and Hays.”

Of course, that’s an arbitrary disjunction. A false teacher is defined by his false teaching. That’s what makes him a false teacher. He teaches falsehood.

Robert classifies Reformed theology as false doctrine. So, by definition, a Reformed preacher or theologian is a false teacher.

If Robert also defines a false teacher as a hell-bound individual, then, by his own definition, a false teacher, such as a Reformed preacher or theologian, is hell-bounded.

Robert uses one set of definitions for his own verbal practices, but a different set of definitions for his opponent’s verbal practices.

“Now if Hays wants to retract this accusation…”

Robert needs to retract his double standards.

steve said...

[Robert] “I use my real name, but do not give my last name and I try to avoid giving out personal information when posting in public. I do so to protect myself and my family. I have made this point repeatedly and yet Hays brings it up as if it is something sinister when it is not and anyone in my shoes would do exactly the same thing.”

So Robert is a loose cannon. He not accountable for his public statements.

He uses the excuse that he’s protecting his family. Even if that were the case, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s not accountable for his public statements. Yet he demands accountability on the part of his opponents.

Another one of Robert’s self-serving double standards.

If Robert’s job exempts him from being accountable for what he says about other people on the Internet, then he should refrain from attacking other people on the Internet. This is no excuse to attack others, demand accountability, but shield yourself from the same scrutiny.

Robert said...
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Robert said...
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steve said...
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