Etikettarkiv | Calvin

The unbiblical TULIP (five points of calvinism) stands or falls together

Calvinist theology is usually identified with the five points of Calvinism – TULIP, and this concept derived around the year 1619 due to the happenings in the famous Synod of Dort. John Calvin himself died 1564, so long before the ”five points of calvinism” started to be used in this way. While not all calvinists necessarily agree with John Calvin to 100%, most of them (if not all) would agree with the five points of TULIP.

If a person chooses to believe in T in TULIP (Total Depravity) then he MUST believe in the rest of the points/letters in TULIP because TULIP stands or falls together. However, it is possible (and common) to believe only in P (which boils down to ”unconditional eternal security” or ”once saved always saved”) and not in the other points. There are some believers who still SAY they are 2-point/3-point/4-point calvinists but it’s not possible for obvious reasons. I can also say that I’ve encountered NO calvinists who are consistent with their own teachings. They all frequently express themselves as though man has free will to accept/reject God and that we all have an option to get saved, but this is not what their own theology allows.

The doctrines within Calvinism was originally introduced to church by Augustine (who the Roman Catholic Church views as one of their founding fathers) in the fourth century, and he taught that Christ did not die for all men but for a chosen few whom God had chosen and predestined to become His children. John Calvin revived this teaching and continued to spread this idea, and today this dangerous soul-damaging doctrine continues to spread and deceive people. This is why we must not be silent and let it spread in peace, because we are dealing with people’s SOULS here. TULIP is based on the gnostic idea that we are all born with a sinful nature, but do we get this nature according to God’s will or against his will? Calvinists will not tell us.

  • Total Depravity. Also called ”total inability” . This doctrine asserts that every person born into the world is enslaved to  sin and not by nature inclined to seek or love God. (Whose fault is that?). This means, that in order to ENABLE people to seek and find God, God must first ”wake him up” from his spiritual death (calvinists wrongly use the term ”regenerate”). The ones God chooses to wake up are the same as those who will get saved. This doctrine results in that 1)  GOD is the one CHOOSING whom to wake up. 2) The ones he does not wake up have no chance to get saved which God is aware of 3) God does not want all to be saved because then he would have ”woken up” more people 4) Most people will remain in their wicked sinful way of living only because God want them to, 4) It wouldn’t make sense for Jesus to die for people who God never intended to save, but for the elect only.
  • Unconditional election. This doctrine asserts that God has chosen from before the foundation of the world those whom he will save, and this choice is not based on anything the individual does or believes (not merit, faith, etc) because it’s unconditional. Rather, this doctrine means that God’s unconditional election causes individuals TO repent and believe in him, and further that the chosen ones WILL end up in the Kingdom of God. This doctrine results in that 1) God has WITHHELD mercy from all the rest and those individuals WILL end up in hell 2) Repentance and faith are not conditions for salvation since God WITHOUT them will choose to whom he will provide the means of repenting and believing, 3) God could save everyone if he wanted but he wanted to save only some, 4) It wouldn’t make sense for Jesus to die for people who God never intended to save.
  • Limited atonement. This doctrine asserts that Jesus’ only died for a few people (the elect) and his death was CERTAIN to bring about salvation for all those he died for. This  doctrine results in that 1) only the sins of the elect were covered through Jesus’ death and not the sins of the whole world, 2) God never had a goal to save ”as many as possible” but only the elect, and that’s why the atonement was limited for the elect only, 3) Those who end up in hell do NOT do so for rejecting Jesus sin offering because his sin offering was never meant for them or intended for them. 4) Most individuals are born doomed (even if we can never know exactly who they are) since the atonement was never meant for them.
  • Irresistible grace. This doctrine asserts that God’s desire/decision to save individuals cannot be resisted, but WILL cause them to obey his calling. This means that when God sovereignly purposes to save someone, that individual WILL be saved. The Holy Spirit causes the chosen individuals to cooperate,  repent and believe. This doctrine results in that 1) God chooses who will end up in heaven or hell and we have nothing to do with this choice, 2) It’s not totally fair to say that individuals are saved through ”faith” since the truth is that they are saved by ELECTION, 3) Those who are lost were never offered any grace because IF they were offered grace they wouldn’t be able to reject it,4) It’s not fair to say that individuals end up in hell due to their SINS, since they are only doomed because God never enabled them to believe in him, and he never intended to save them in the first place. This choice was made BEFORE they were born and BEFORE they could think about sinning, so sinning has nothing to do with their destiny.
  • Perseverance of the saints. This doctrine asserts that the ”saints” (those individuals who God has chosen to save before the foundation of the world) WILL continue in faith until the end. Those who apparently fall away either never had true faith to begin with or will return. This results in that 1) It’s impossible for an individual to at any time know if he is truly saved and ”eternally secure” because if he falls away in the latter part of his life this shows ”he was never saved to begin with”. 2) Individuals can safely place the responsibility to avoid sinning on GOD since HE is the one who are to ”preserve” those he has chosen to save. 3) Christians might easier fall for temptations because they know they will be preserved to the end anyway, if they are among the elect (which all calvinists believe they are). 4) It can bring a false sense of security and that you can be saved in your sins.

P in TULIP is the most dangerous point since the TRUTH is that we cannot serve two masters and be saved in our sins – and Satan knows it. This doctrine might cause people to easier fall for temptations, and then their SOULS are at risk! This is a good reason to highlight the danger of Calvinism/Gnosticism to the world to prevent more people from being deceived.

When exposed to the contradictions within TULIP (which makes God the author of sin), the ordinary excuses are soon to follow:

1) God’s ways are higher than our ways!

2) Who are YOU to question GOD?

3) It’s impossible for our finite minds to fully understand the infinite mind of GOD!

4) This only seems contradictory to us – NOT to God!

5) The potter always forms the clay to what he wants!

6) I believe in paradoxes – so what? The trinity is a paradox…!

7) The Roman Catholic Church teaches like you do!

Any cult in the world can defend any contradiction at all by using the above excuses, resulting in that anything goes even if it’s totally against the Bible and makes no sense whatsoever.

NONE of the early church fathers taught against free will the first 300 years AD (this can easily be proven), and none of them taught that we are born with a sinful nature or that we are unconditionally eternally secure. ONLY the gnostics taught such unbiblical doctrines. Calvinists have no answer for why ALL the church fathers were ”wrong” (and the gnostics actually RIGHT) for so many years until Augustine entered the scene and got it ”right”. Most will say that it’s the Bible that is important for us and not the views of the church fathers, councils, etc. While it’s of course true that it’s the BIBLE that should correct us, they must still explain why both the Bible AND the early church fathers taught free will, and they must also explain why they put so much emphasis on the events in the Synod of Dort, and the unfair treatment of Pelagius in councils where he was not even present to defend himself. Suddenly councils are very important….

2 Tim. 4:2-3 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.

Annonser

God does not have a secret will

Is God the author of sin? (Thanks to Britt Williams)

Some may be surprised to learn that Calvinism, by implication, actually makes God the Author of sin. Calvinism (also known as Reformed theology) advocates, among other things, an unscriptural and perverted view of the sovereignty of God, election, and the atonement. It asserts God, as sovereign Ruler of the Universe, either directly or indirectly causes all events, including sin?

”Creatures are so governed by the secret counsel of God, that nothing happens but what he has knowingly and willingly DECREED.” 
John Calvin (Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, XVI)

”the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has DESTINED.” 
John Calvin (Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, XVI)

”God is the only proper author and fountain; we only are the proper actors”
Jonathan Edwards

”God controls not only natural events, but he also controls all human affairs and decisions”
Vincent Cheung (The Problem of Evil)

Calvinists also attribute the fall of Adam to God’s decree, teaching that God not only foreknew Adam would sin, but orchestrated it as well. John Calvin affirms this belief in the Institutes of Christian Religion

”God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure ARRANGED it.” 
John Calvin (Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, XXIII)

Some Calvinists teach that God is the originating cause of sin but not the proximate cause of sin. However, if Calvinists consistently follow their theology to its logical end, especially the doctrine of God’s sovereignty and predestination, they must attribute to God every act of sin, including murder, rape, sodomy, incest, child molestation, etc. Calvinists affirm the exhaustive foreknowledge of God, but hold to a determinist view of the future. They believe if the future is known then the future must be determined, thereby denying the possibility of libertarian free will and causing all moral choices, including sin.

”Thieves and murderers, and other evildoers, are instruments of divine providence, being employed by the Lord himself to execute judgments which he has resolved to inflict.” 
John Calvin (Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, XVII)

”Whatever things are done wrongly and unjustly by man, these very things are the right and just works of God” 
John Calvin (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.169)

”But where it is a matter of men’s counsels, wills, endeavours, and exertions, there is greater difficulty in seeing how the providence of God rules here too, so that nothing happens but by His assent and that men can deliberately do nothing unless He inspire it” 
John Calvin (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, pp.171-172)

”Does God work in the hearts of men, directing their plans and moving their wills this way and that, so that they do nothing but what He has ordained?” 
John Calvin (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.174)

”For the man who honestly and soberly reflects on these things, there can be no doubt that the will of God is the chief and principal cause of ALL THINGS” 
John Calvin (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.177)

”Everything is controlled by God?s secret purpose, and nothing can happen except by his knowledge and will” 
John Calvin (The Institutes of Christian Religion, Bk. 1, Ch. 16, Sect. 3)

”Since, therefore, God moves and does all in all, He necessarily moves and does all in Satan and the wicked man” 
Martin Luther (The Bondage of the Will, Sovereign Grace Publishers, p. 87)

Calvinist theologian James White, in a debate with Hank Hannegraaf and George Bryson, was asked,”When a child is raped, is God responsible and did He decree that rape?” To which Mr. White replied…

”Yes, because if not then it’s meaningless and purposeless and though God knew it was going to happen he created without a purpose and God is responsible for the creation of despair. If [God] didn’t [decree child rape] then that rape is an (sic) element of meaningless evil that has no purpose”
James White.

Hence, since ultimately, all moral choices, past, present, and future, are subject to God’s sovereign dictate, all sin can be traced to God Himself. Some Calvinists, usually referred to as ”hard determinists” or ”hyper-Calvinists”, will readily admit this, while others often deny it or use theological and philosophical gymnastics (i.e., compatibilism) in an attempt to cloak the implications of their theology. As Vincent Cheung, a popular Calvinist apologist boldly declares?

”God controls everything that is and everything that happens. There is not one thing that happens that he has not actively decreed – not even a single thought in the mind of man. Since this is true, it follows that God has decreed the existence of evil, he has not merely permitted it, as if anything can originate and happen apart from his will and power”
Vincent Cheung (The Problem of Evil)

Ironically, Calvinists tend to theoretically believe concepts they deny in practice. If a child molester boldly proclaimed God caused him to molest little children, Calvinists would rightfully conclude he was a deluded liar and demon possessed. However, when the theologian essentially declares the same concept, they applaud him as orthodox. Such reasoning is not only inconsistent but absurd. According to Calvinists, God commands men to abstain from what He has decreed that they do, causes them to do, yea, in what they have absolutely no choice but to do, and then He utterly condemns them for doing it. This is not the God of the Scriptures.

Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers Job 8:20

James 1:13-17 clearly challenges the Calvinist concept of God as the Author of sin

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:13-17

If God, being holy, is above tempting men to do evil, who can dare believe He would cause them to do evil? And yet some Calvinists insist James 1:13 is misapplied when used metaphysically.

”James is pointing out what the Christian should consider and address in his struggles as a Christian; he is not dealing with metaphysics”
Vincent Cheung (The Author Of Sin)

Mr. Cheung, of course, is merely offering his biased opinion. We must realize that metaphysics can be very subjective, especially when applied through the presuppositions of our theological bents. In my estimation, James 1:13-17 holds significant and profound metaphysical relevance: ”God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man”, offers me two ethical absolutes that undermine the doctrine of determinism as taught by Calvinists.

Indeed, God can, through His providence, turn what men meant for evil for good (Gen 50:20). Likewise, He can use the worst of situations to sovereignly chastise, teach, and conform His people to His Son, Jesus Christ (Rom 8:28), but God never initiates, causes, or otherwise induces sin or evil. God is not the Author of sin. Yet, Calvinists teach that God, in His sovereign plan, introduced evil for His glory and did so ultimately to bring about ”good”. However, the Scriptures teach such a concept, for God or man, has never been part of true, Apostolic theology. In fact, such carnal reasoning is condemned as dangerous indeed. The Apostle Paul, inspired by God’s Spirit, declared…

And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just. Romans 3:8

DID GOD CREATE EVIL?

Some Calvinists even assert God created evil. Calvinists often cite Isaiah 45:7 as a proof text for this false and blasphemous doctrine. Notice how the verse reads?

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. Isaiah 45:7

The evil spoken of in this verse is obviously not moral evil, but natural evil. The Hebrew word literally means ”calamity”, which is physical evil. Notice, the text in Isaiah 45:7 does not read, ”I make righteousness and create evil”. No, the evil spoken of here is contrasted with peace because the evil referred to is calamity. Likewise, there are other Scriptural references pointing to God bringing natural evil or calamity on a nation, city, or people as judgment for sin (Neh. 13:18; Jer. 21:10; 25:29; Amos 3:6). God hates evil (Prov 6:16-19; Isa 61:8; Jer 44:4; Am 5:21; 6:8; Heb 1:9; Rev 2:6, 15), therefore, it is illogical to suggest God is the Author of sin.

True, God created everything in the physical or material world. However, God did not create moral evil. Evil is not material, but volitional. It is a moral disposition of free moral agents and involves, by nature, choice. Thus, evil is merely the absence of conformity to God’s law in moral agents.

”…(even) Augustine maintained that evil was only ‘privatio boni’, or an absence of good, much like darkness is an absence of light. An evil thing can only be referred to as a negative form of a good thing, such as discord, injustice, and loss of life or of liberty.”
Wikipedia (Theodicy)

We cannot deny that God created the potential for evil by creating free-moral agents endowed with a free-will who have the ability to resist God and violate His law. Nevertheless, God did not create moral evil or disobedience. Thus, man, as a free moral agent choosing to reject God and disobey His law, is the source of moral evil (Mark 7:21-23).

CAN THE AUTHOR OF SIN BE EXEMPT FROM MORAL RESPONSIBILITY?

Calvinism, with its skewed view of the sovereignty of God, philosophically funnels everything back to God, even sin itself. Hence, ”God is the Author of sin” is an inescapable deduction of Reformed theology. However, the next logical step creates increased philosophical and moral tension: if God causes men to sin is He not then responsible and morally culpable? Not surprisingly, with conscience and reason raging, most Calvinists are uncomfortable making God a ”sinner”. Waxing irrational, some Calvinists cling to God as Author of sin while unashamedly attempting to blame man?

”Man is a responsible moral agent, though he is also divinely controlled; man is divinely controlled, though he is also a responsible moral agent.”
J.I. Packer

Mr. Packer’s statement is a glaring theological contradiction. How can God justly hold men accountable for sin He has, either directly or indirectly, decreed they commit?

Others employ theological and philosophical smoke and mirrors seeking to obscure, cloak, and explain away the obvious ethical problems such a hypothesis presents. Mr. Cheung, in his article ”The Author of Sin”, bluntly states?

”…if God directly causes you to sin, it does make him the ”author”of sin (at least in the sense that people usually use the expression), but the ”sinner” or ”wrong-doer” is still you. Since sin is the transgression of divine law, for God to be a sinner or wrong-doer in this case, he must decree a moral law that forbids himself to be the Author of sin, and then when he acts as the author of sin anyway, he becomes a sinner or wrong-doer.”
Vincent Cheung (The Author Of Sin)

It is absurd to suggest that God can be cosmically behind all sin and yet be expunged from all moral responsibility for sin. Can the turn-coat FBI agent who masterminds a spy ring actually expose, apprehend, indict, testify against, and help convict spies he facilitated without implicating himself? I think not. Neither can the Calvinist God, who unquestionably governs all the affairs of men, hold men who are predestined to reprobation accountable for their sins without making Himself culpable.

That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Genesis 18:25

Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice? Job 8:3

Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment. Job 34:12

And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.Psalms 9:8

God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? Romans 3:6

Moreover, how can men be responsible for actions they do not have the will to perform or ultimately the freedom to resist? If the Scriptures teach that law and the knowledge of the law are both prerequisites for culpability, which it does (Lev 4:13-14; Deut 1:39; Rom 3:20, 4:15), how much more the will and ability to obey the command? Granted, though the Bible teaches men can resist specific acts of sin, no man can fully obey God apart from divine grace (Rom 7:18; Phil 2:13; Heb 13:21). However, from a Calvinistic perspective, men have no real choice in the matter. God governs and controls all. Can we, based on Scripture, logically establish moral ”responsibility” apart from ”respond-ability”? The answer is a resounding ”no”. This is a Scriptural and philosophical absolute. Hence, if God is the author of sin, God is accountable for sin.

Calvinists say those who question God do so because His ways violate their carnal concept of justice. All agree that fallen humanity can have unusual ideas about justice, but God reveals Himself as just and defines His justice via the Scriptures. Calvinists often say that if we understood divine justice, it would no longer be divine, or some similar tautology. What strange reasoning. If we can understand God’s Word will it cease to be God’s Word? Surely, God’s people, filled, led, and taught by God’s Spirit, can comprehend, at least to some degree, God’s justice? Without the revelation of true justice, (which is displayed by God and His Word) men could not walk righteously or fulfill God’s plan in the earth.

Furthermore, for the Calvinist, a theological contradiction arises when God shows indignation toward those who, by living in sin, are only fulfilling their divine destiny inaccordance with God’s predetermined decree?

Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Ephesians 5:6

It is amazing that Calvinists vehemently deny that God works at cross purposes with Himself. If reprobates disobey God, harden themselves in sin, and ultimately shun the gospel because God sovereignly predetermined they do so in His secret will, why then does God not agree with what He decreed?

IS GOD CONSISTENT WITH HIS OWN LAW?

for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. Psalms 138:2

Amazingly, many Calvinists believe God, as Sovereign Ruler of the Universe, cannot be expected to honor the standard of His own law. Is this true? Calvinist apologist, Vincent Cheung, in his blog article entitled ”The Author of Sin”, boldly stated?

”Whether or not God is the author of sin, there is no Biblical or rational problem with Him being the author of sin”

Really, Mr. Cheung? If God is responsible for every act of evil then He has broken His own law. Such an assertion, according to the Word of God, is impossible, not because God is above His own law, but because such behavior is contrary to His holy nature.

Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant? Deuteronomy 7:9

He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. Deuteronomy 32:4

Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever? Psalms 146:6

I propose that God could never violate His own law nor compel others to do so. I base this absolute on several Biblical principles, namely:

1. God is holy. Holiness, as defined by Scripture, is to be conformed to God’s moral law. Granted, there are some areas where God’s moral law applies only to man, nevertheless, to cause men, in any way, to violate His law is against God’s nature (James 1:13).

2. God and His Word are synonymous. If God cannot deny Himself (2 Tim 2:13) how could He breach His own character by violating His Word or causing men to do so?

3. God the Father and Jesus Christ, both being part of the triune Godhead, are the same in essence (Col 2:9). Jesus Christ, the eternal Son, never broke the law of God but fulfilled the law. This being true, it is reasonable to assume God cannot break His own law.

4. God’s Spirit inspires holiness and conformity to moral law (Rom 8:4; Gal 5:16, 22-23). Would the same Spirit who effectually restrains sin in redeemed man in time inspire sin in our holy God in eternity? Again, I think not.

5. God is love (1 Jn 4:8). Love is conformity to moral law (Rom 13:10). Moreover, God’s character is immutable; He cannot change. Therefore, how could God violate His law and be consistent with His revealed nature?

6. God is not the Author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33). Nothing is more disorderly and confusing than sin. Thus, God cannot be the cause of sin.

Therefore, we conclude that God cannot be the Author of sin and remain true to His revealed nature throughout the Scriptures.

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5

Foreknowledge does not constitute predestination. Case in point:

FIRST: David was being pursued by Saul. So, David asked the Lord that, if he goes down to Keilah, will Saul also come down there, and will they deliver David into Saul’s hand? The Lord answered yes.

So, what did David do? ”Then David and his men, which were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go..” (1 Sam. 23:13).

So what we find here is that God knew WHAT WOULD happen IF David went to Keilah – he would meet Saul there, for God foreknew that Saul would be there, and that those in Keilah would hand him over to Saul. BUT THIS DID NOT HAPPEN. David left the area of Keilah. God knew WHAT WOULD happen, even that which DID NOT happen. God foreknows future contingencies, and is not directing every event by a strict necessity or predetermined decree.

SECOND: God left a matter in David’s own hands. ”And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, ‘Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee….'” (1 Sam. 24:4).

So, what did David do? He spared Paul’s life. But God PERMITTED David to do whatever he wanted to do. David had more than one option before him. God did not tell David what to do, as though it was already predetermined by decree, but allowed David to choose.

The idea of the DUAL NATURE is GNOSTIC in origin

The idea of the dual nature was condemned in the first century as the Gnostic heresy.

To say that sin is inevitable is to attribute to Satan power he no longer has. The Bible teaches that the old man is dead.

Rom. 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Col. 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

2 Cor.  5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

If you are in Christ, the old man has passed away, and all things are new, and ALL THINGS ARE OF GOD. Temptation however does not cease, but even with the temptation we are given assurances by God that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to withstand.

1Co 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

The enemy might lie to you and convince you that you cannot be free of his control. You have been taken captive to continue to obey his will.

2Ti 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

The gnostics believed the flesh was inheritably evil, but the spirit was inheritably good. They taught that regardless what you did in the flesh, your spirit was not affected. They were going to whores, and getting drunken and claiming to be in good with God. To them their spirits were good and could not be corrupted by the flesh. That is what John was talking about in 1 John 2:19. People who sin and then justify it. Notice there are 4 places where John referred to lying or liars:

1) 1Jo 1:5 ¶ This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

2) 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.8 ¶ If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

3) 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

4) He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

Here is the Gnostic heresy. They claim to walk with God but continue to walk in darkness by sinning. But then they claim to have no sin because of the dual nature. But by saying they have not sinned they make God out to be a liar. Why? Because he that says he knows God but does not keep His commandments is a liar.

1Jo 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. 4 ¶ Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

This clearly says that anyone who is born of God does not sin any more. Anyone who sins is of the devil, and not of God. And it is not because of a dual nature. Verse 7 equates the righteousness of a believer to the Lord’s righteousness. ”he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous”. The second he in that verse refers back to the Him in verses 5 and 6, which is Jesus. Did Jesus have an old man corrupting Him? As to the absolute necessity to cease from sin, the Bible says this:

Heb 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord

As to the ability to do this in this lifetime, (cease from sin), we have this passage in 1 Peter.

1Pe 4:1 ¶ Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

This says ceasing from sin happens in this life before death. Death is nothing more than a cop out for most people who refuse to take on the suffering necessary to cease from sin. Death while you are still in your sins will not suddenly fix you. It will send you to hell.

//Thanks to BRO COPE

Augustine, the former gnostic, and his many heretical views

Augustine, a former gnostic, lived between 354 and 430 AD, and introduced the following heretical views into church and made them popular

1. Absolute predestination (God decides who will be saved/doomed)
2. Impossibility of falling away or apostasy (Eternal Security)
3. Man has no free will (monergism)
4. One cannot know if he/she is saved (since also those who are carnal minded might be saved)
5. God commands impossibilities (God requesting man to stop sinning which he cannot do)
6. The supreme authority of the Roman church
7. Purgatory
8. Prayers for the dead
9. The damnation of unbaptized infants and adults
10. Sex is sinful also within a marriage because depravity is inherited (hence the rise of monasteries)
11. Mary never committed sin, and we do well to worship her/pray to/through her
12. The gifts of healing, prophecy and tongues have ceased
13. Apocrypha is included in the Scriptures
14. Eucharist is necessary for salvation
15. Giving people the official ”saint” title

Unlike Pelagius, Augustine didn’t understand much Greek. The historian Neander observed that Augustine’s teaching ”contains the germ of the whole system of spiritual despotism, intolerance, and persecution, even to the court of the Inquisition”. He instigated bitter persecutions against the Bible-believing Donatists who were striving to maintain pure churches after the apostolic faith.

Augustine interpreted Bible prophecy allegorically; among other things teaching that the Catholic Church is the kingdom of God.

Augustine was one of the fathers of the heresy of infant baptism, claiming that unbaptized infants were lost, and calling all who rejected infant baptism ”infidels” and ”cursed”.

Augustine exalted church tradition above the Bible and said,”I should not believe the gospel unless I were moved to do so by the authority of the Catholic Church”. 

He was among the first who taught a-millennialism and that the nephilim were descendents of Cain instead of (as the Bible says) a mixture of angels and female human beings.

Augustine said:

“By Adam’s transgression, the freedom of’ the human will has been completely lost.”

“By the greatness of the first sin, we have lost the freewill to love God.”

“By subverting the rectitude in which he was created, he is followed with the punishment of not being able to do right” and “the freedom to abstain from sin has been lost as a punishment of sin.”

According to Wikipedia we can learn: 

He was contemporary with Jerome and Ambrosius. In his early years he was heavily influenced by Manichaeism and afterward by the Neo-Platonism. Although he later abandoned Neoplatonism some ideas are still visible in his early writings. After his conversion to Christianity, Augustine developed his own approach to philosophy and theology, accommodating a variety of methods and different perspectives. He believed that the grace of Christ was indispensable to human freedom, and he framed the concepts of original sin and just war.

When the Western Roman Empire was starting to disintegrate, Augustine developed the concept of the Catholic Church as a spiritual City of God (in a book with the same name). The Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion view him as an pre-eminent Doctor of the Church, and the patron of the Augustinian religious order. Many Protestants, especially Calvinists, consider him to be one of the theological fathers of Reformation.   Much of Augustine’s later life was recorded by his friend Possidius, bishop of Calama (present-day Guelma, Algeria), in his Sancti Augustini Vita. Possidius admired Augustine as a man of powerful intellect and a stirring orator who took every opportunity to defend Christianity against its detractors. Reformed theologians such as Martin Luther and John Calvin would look back to him as their inspiration.

Compared with Augustine,  Pelagius was way more consistent with the Bible and shared the same Bible interpretation as the church fathers before him. (Read more about him in another blog post in the same Category.)

Examples of KJV verses which could be better translated

The Bible only perfect in English?

I certainly couldnt be a ”KJV-onlyist” because I prefer to read the Bible in my own tongue which is Swedish.

If the KJV was ”perfect” then you would never have to go back to the Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic at any time for references and to get a more clear view, because the KJV is supposed to stand on its own legs and fully able to solve all queries. Nevertheless also KJV-onlyists sometimes go back to the Greek when they want to see the more ”original” meaning of a passage, and this is evidence in itself that KJV is inferior to the original languages and and not ”perfect”. Sometimes it’s hard also for native English speakers to understand some of the words in the King James Bible. They may have to look up the meaning of words and some words have changed meanings over the years. If the KJV was ”perfect”, the language used should always be up to date, but this is an impossible demand for any Bible translation.

Some suggest that people who don’t have English as their native tongue could still use their own Bible version of ”Textus Receptus”, and be a ”onlyist” when it comes to this particular version, but not all languages have this type of translation. Since the year 2003, there is a Swedish translation (”Reformationsbibeln”) rather close to the ”KJV” because Textus Receptus is used as a source (or the main source), but only the New Testament is translated. Besides, I’ve seen examples of errors in this translation, like adding question marks where there are none in the original Greek. Neither can we conclude that ”the very first Bible translation” from the original language to another language is the superior one for that language. This simply isn’t always the case.

Why would God select the King James Bible of all versions to be supernaturally preserved? Because he likes English speakers the best? If KJV was superior over all other versions, then all those who are not English native speakers would have to sit down by the feet of those who are, to learn the ”real” truth. As soon as there is a difference of opinions concerning a Bible passage, then the person who is a native English speaker could claim to be more accurate since he is basing his understanding on the KJV.

There are many examples of where a particular expression can be better captured in Spanish, Swedish, or some other language, rather than in English. (In other cases it might be the other way around.) It makes better sense if it’s the original Greek, Hebrew and Arameic which should correct us and not a secondary translation. As soon as you translate a sentence from one language to another, there is always a risk that the perfect nuance of the original language gets lost.

Anyway, here are some examples where KJV has an inferior translation than other versions in English. (Note, that I still feel the KJV is the best translation overall in English.)

Titus 2:13 Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus;
The New American Standard Bible 

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  
The King James Version 

In the NASB ”our great God and Savior” refers to one person, Jesus Christ Himself. This makes the deity of Christ clear, by calling Him ”our great God.” The KJV opens up for the possibility that ”the great God” and ”our Saviour Jesus Christ” may refer to two distinct persons.

Romans 9:5 
Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised!
The New International Version 

Romans 9:5 
Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever.
The King James Version 

Whereas the NIV proclaims that Christ ”is God over all,” the KJV avoids this claim to Christ’s deity, stating only that Christ is ”over all.”

John 5:18 
For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.
The New American Standard Bible

John 5:18 
Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. 
The King James Version

The deity of Christ is better shown in the NASB, because only Jesus had a completely unique relationship with God, where God is His ”own” Father. God was no one else’s Father in this unique way. If we all had God as our Father in this unique way, then we would also be making ourselves equal to God.

Matthew 26:63-64 
But Jesus remained silent.  The high priest said to him, ”I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”  64 ”Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied.
The New International Version 

Matthew 26:63-64 
But Jesus held his peace.  And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.  64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said.
The King James Version

The NIV makes it clear that Jesus’ response to the high priest, literally ”you say,” is a Greek idiom meaning ”yes, it is as you say,” (i.e. ”what you have said is true”).  Therefore, Jesus’ response is an indication of that He claimed to be the Christ, the Son of God. The KJV, fails to translate this idiom into its full meaning for modern readers, and consequently leaves doubt as to whether Jesus actually claimed to be the Son of God.

Revelation 1:8 
”I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God . . .
The New American Standard Bible

Revelation 1:8 
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord . . .
The King James Version

The KJV omits the word ”God” (Greek theos), supplying instead only the word ”Lord,” which by itself does not necessarily denote deity.

Hebrews 1:3 
And He [Jesus] is the radiance of His [God’s] glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.  When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high;
The New American Standard Bible

Hebrews 1:3 
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;  
The King James Version

The NASB makes it clear that the nature of Jesus is precisely identical to the nature of God Himself (”the exact representation of His nature”). The KJV diminishes this expression to merely the ”image” of God.  Given that all human beings are said elsewhere to be made in the image of God (Genesis 2), it becomes difficult to establish from the KJV rendering of this passage anything more than the humanity of Jesus.

Another evidence that the KJV is not ”perfect” is the below verse.

Hebr. 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. 

The word IF is not in the Greek in verse 6!

Yet, this word is what many theologians base their understanding of when it comes to this verse. Consider what Adam Clarke wrote about this and the aorist tense:

”And having fallen away” I can express my own mind on this translation nearly in the words of Dr. Macknight: ‘The participles who were enlightened, have tasted, and were made partakers, being aorists, are properly rendered by our translators in the past time; wherefore parapesontas, being an aorist, ought likewise to have been translated in the past time, ”HAVE fallen away”. Never­theless, our translators, following Beza, who with­out any authority from ancient MSS. has inserted in his version the word ”if” have rendered this clause, IF they fall away, that this text might not appear to contradict the doctrine of the perse­verance of the saints. But as no translator should take upon him to add to or alter the Scriptures, for the sake of any favourite doctrine, I have trans­lated parapesontas in the past time, ”have fallen away” according to the true import of the word, as standing in connection with the other aorists in the preceding verses.

(Theodore Beza is John Calvin’s successor.) Young’s literal translation reads:

”And having fallen away, again to renew them to reformation, having crucified again to themselves the Son of God, and exposed to public shame” (v. 6).

More articles concerning errors in the KJV can be read here and here. 

A question that calvinists cannot answer – because it’s a paradox

CHALLENGE to CALVINISTS to please explain the contradiction of Westminster Confession of Faith 3.1:

A Calvinist writes:  ”[God] does not actively work unbelief into the non-elect. All are already under sin. God is not responsible for the sin of Adam, or the fall of mankind. God is not the author of evil. ”

Q. Who then *is* the author of evil? Who did work unbelief into the heart of men? If all men are under sin, what was God doing when it happened – did it occur behind his back / outside his sovereign causality? Calvin wrote: (quote): 

“..the will of God is the supreme and primary cause of everything…” (The Institutes of Christian Religion, Book I, Ch. 16, Sect.

 “We also note that we should consider the creation of the world so that we may realise that everything is subject to God and ruled by his will and that when the world has done what it may, nothing happens other than what God decrees.” (Acts: Calvin, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, p.66)

“…the devil and all the ungodly are reined in by God, so that they cannot conceive, plan or carry out any crime, unless God allows it, indeed commands it. They are not only in bondage to him, but are forced to serve him. It is the Lord’s prerogative to enable the enemy’s rage and to control it at will, and it is in his power to decide how far and how long it may last, so that wicked men cannot break free and do exactly what they want….” (The Institutes of Christian Religion, Book I, Ch.17, Sect. 10)

= And again. WCF3.1 says God ordains EVERYTHING that happens.

Q. How then, having asserted this position, can Calvinism claim God is not authoring these things – THAT’S WHAT AUTHORING MEANS – (to conceive a plot, and via third parties cause a narrative to come into being, and then to publish it via secondary agents, for the world to experience it’s reality.) i.e. by the normal definition of the words, Authoring IS ordaining / decreeing / causing / predetermining, by creative design.

I really hope you guys can take this challenge on – because it lies at the heart of Calvinism’s claims of sovereignty. These are not complex questions, and are based on what Calvinism clearly states. I’m not pulling a clever trick on you here, but asking how you reconcile this contradiction: To quote Calvin again:

”First, it must be observed that the will of God is the cause of all things that happen in the world; and yet God is not the author of evil.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.169)

“Whatever things are done wrongly and unjustly by man, these very things are the right and just works of God. This may seem paradoxical at first sight to some….” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.169)

Too right it seems paradoxical!….. It IS. Again. My questions have not been answered -I’ve received lots of references to God being ”passive” while people go do things that God is not *actively* in control of, whilst simultaneously claiming God is in control of everything.

PROBLEM 1.) If God stands back and lets a man do something that God himself has not actively caused to be, then you are opening up space *outside his sovereign will* by claiming he stands by and lets things happen he did not cause.

PROBLEM 2.) Calvinists seem to also be claiming God IS in fact in TOTAL control of every atom in this universe etc. Thus you cannot claim God is in total control and at the same time shelve the effective causailty onto someone else… This question is normally responded to by Calvinists by stating ”you do not understand Calvinism – go back and relearn”. I am – I have – I am taking you at your word and asking questions about it – please dont refer to charts or other material – I need to know how you square this circle personally. Or do you switch your mind off and accept mutually exclusive opposites as compatible truth… ie ‘A = NotA’

Sovereignty = total control / causality (predestination = ordination).
Soveriengty = active causality to salvation
Sovereignty does not = active causality to sin
Sovereignty does not = total control / causality

(Thanks to Stephen Thomas. Also read his long list of verses which show that TULIP is incorrect here)

Pelagius has been falsely judged by his critics

Unlike Augustine, Pelagius knew Greek. Pelagius did not teach that man can save himself. He only taught that a man can live a righteous life via free will choice. The idea that man can save himself is what came from Augustine’s accusations against him, as Calvinists do with Arminians today when they accuse them of teaching ”works salvation”. True Pelagianism is truth according to what the early Church taught, not as Augustine described it. What Augustine described is without a doubt heresy, but it’s not what Pelagius actually taught. This is evident in the writings of Pelagius, as well as in the fact that the councils could find no fault in his teachings 2 times that he appeared before them in his own defense. When he was finally marked as a heretic the third time around, it was when he could not be present to defend himself (in Tunisia where Augustine resided) and Augustine and Jerome were present to misrepresent his position.

Most of the information we have about Pelagius rests in the hands of his enemies. That is not enough for a righteous judgment. If God judged us by the words of our enemies, we would be outraged at the injustice. It is unfair for us to condemn a man based on the evidence presented by his enemies, and not from the man himself. We would also be guilty of slander if we continue to claim that an innocent person is an ”heretic” even though he might not be. Let’s be careful so God won’t judge us one day for slander, false accusations and causing division.

Pelagianism teaches only that man can choose to do right and choose not to sin. It does not teach that a person can be holy without God or His grace. This is a lie given through the heretic Augustine. Augustine was a liar seeking to have him condemned, as he was offended by his preaching against his teachings to the people. Augustine was teaching a ”sinning religion”, and people were following it and living it. Pelagius could not stand for this heresy, so he began to teach against it. In his efforts he brought out the a man CAN choose to not sin, because he is not so spiritually dead that he could not make such a choice. Augustine turned this around with false accusations against him, misrepresenting him as if he was teaching that man could save himself. This is not what he was teaching at all. And his own writings prove it – which were not even discovered until this past century. Augustine tried to make sure of that by having them burned or destroyed, but a few slipped through the cracks. Now Augustine is exposed for the liar and gospel pervert that he is.

Calvinism began with Gnosticism – which is very clearly shown by many quotes given by the early Church. Tertullian and Hippolytus and Irenaeus all wrote extensively against the Gnostic groups, telling of the things they believed and how the Church has always disagreed with them, calling them heretics. Augustine was infested with Gnosticism, which Calvin also adopted.

Here is a quote from an article below on the Letter to Demetrius:

”The moral life of purity, for Pelagius, can only be achieved by drawing upon both ”the good of nature and the good of grace” (9:1); this will be the dominant theme of his exhortation. Pelagius’s reflections on the human person are not unlike those of the Eastern Fathers. They share the same starting point of moral reflection, that is, the innate goodness of man because God has created him in His image and likeness. Pelagius writes, ”you ought to measure the good of human nature by reference to its Creator” (2:2).”

The above quote shows the balanced thought of Pelagius teaching. His accusers only point out that he taught ”the good of nature” and the ”innate goodness of man”, and completely leave out the blanche of his teaching that tells of the ”good of grace” and ”because GOD has created him in His image and likeness”. Pelagius thought was in giving glory to God in His creation, in that men have a mind and free will to choose that has been given by the creator, which makes them able to choose to do right. Of course man has to know right and wrong first, but the ability is with him once he knows the difference.

Prior to Pelagius being ‘found’ guilty of heresy, he was cleared by two synods of bishops. These synods were provoked by Augustine’s influence. Then the council of Carthage, where Augustine was bishop, declared Pelgius a heretic. A few years later, Augustine and two others brought heresy charges against Pelagius to the bishop of Rome. Pelagius was cleared again, a third time. The bishop of Rome declared Pelagius a heretic a few years later under pressure from Imperial Rome and not before that time. It was perceived that the effects of Pelagius’ doctrine would undermine Imperial rule and so political pressure was then applied and the bishop of Rome declared Pelagius a heretic. Another interesting note is that Pelagius was well received and there was generally no problem with his teaching. The charges against him only arose when some one else, Caelestius, who was building on Pelagian teaching denounced infant baptism. Then and only then the problem arose. Infant baptism was under assault – if they were not born guilty and therefore did not need to be baptized to be saved then ecclesiastical power structure was going to be undermined. That kick started the whole controversy against Pelagius: they synods and councils did not occur until the implications of his teaching threatened infant baptism. See Peter Brown’s ”Augustine of Hippo” there are 3 chapters that deal with Augustine-Pelagian controversy that document everything posted.

Pelagius is often ascribed views he doesn’t have

From Jesse Morell:

Matt Slick of CARM wrote that “Pelagianism…. taught that people had the ability to fulfill the commands of God by exercising the freedom of human will apart from the grace of God.  In other words, a person’s free will is totally capable of choosing God and/or to do good or bad without the aid of Divine intervention.”[29] This is an example, not of Pelagian heresy, but of Pelagian hearsay.

I would suspect that Matt Slick learned about Pelagianism from its opponents, and not from actually reading the writings of the Pelagians. This is a common practice for Calvinists, but what if that is how their doctrine was treated? What if someone stated what Calvinism teaches, by stating the opponents? Augustine accused Pelagius of denying the grace of God, but this was an accusation not a fact.

Had Matt Slick actually read some of the few writings that still exist today from the original Pelagians, he would have read in Julian of Eclanum’s Pelagian Statement of Faith: “We [Pelagians] maintain that men are the work of God, and that no one is forced unwillingly by His power either into evil or good, but that man does either good or ill of his own will; but that in a good work he is always assisted by God’s grace, while in evil he is incited by the suggestions of the devil.”[30]

Pelagius himself said, “I anathematize the man who either thinks or says that the grace of God, whereby ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,’ is not necessary not only for ever hour and for every moment, but also for every act of our lives: and those who endeavor to dis-annul it deserve everlasting punishment.”[31]

Pelagius said, “This grace we do not allow to consist only in the law but also in the help of God. God helps us through His teaching and revelation by opening the eyes of our heart, by pointing out to us the future so that we may not be preoccupied with the present, by uncovering the snares of the devil, by enlightening us with the manifold and ineffable gift of heavenly grace.”[32]

Pelagius said, “God always aids by the help of his grace. God aids us by his doctrine and revelation, while he opens the eyes of our heart; while he shows us the future, that we may not be engrossed with the present; while he discloses the snares of the devil; while he illuminates us by the multiform and ineffable gift of heavenly grace. Does he who says this, appear to you to deny grace? Or does he appear to confess both divine grace and the freewill of man?”[33]

Pelagius said in a letter to Innocent, “Behold, before your blessedness, this epistle clears me, in which we directly and simply say, that we have entire freewill to sin and not to sin, which, in all good works, is always assisted by divine aid. Let them read the letter which we wrote to that holy man, bishop Paulinus, nearly twelve years ago, which perhaps in three hundred lines supports nothing else but the grace and aid of God, and that we can do nothing at all of good without God. Let them also read the one we wrote to that sacred virgin of Christ, Demetrias, in the east, and they will find us so praising the nature of man, as that we may always add the aid of God’s grace. Let them likewise read my recent tract which we were lately compelled to put forth on freewill, and they will see how unjustly they glory in defaming us for denial of grace, who, through nearly the whole text of that work, perfectly and entirely profess both free will and grace.”[34]

Pelagius taught that the freedom of the human will was not lost by the original sin of Adam, but that grace was necessary for man to rightly use his free will. He also taught that free will itself was a gracious gift given to us at Creation. He did not deny grace as necessary or as an aid for free will. The only grace he denied was Augustinian grace, which said that free will was lost by original sin and therefore man’s ability to obey needed to be restored by grace. However, one of the best Greek-English Lexicons, Thayer’s, defined grace as “divine influence upon the heart” which is precisely how Pelagius viewed grace in contradiction to Augustine.

It was Augustine’s view of grace that was inconsistent with free will, not Pelagius’. As Augustine said, “I have tried hard to maintain the free choice of the human will, but the grace of God prevailed.”[35] Pelagius affirmed both the freedom of the will and the necessity for the grace of God, while Augustine denied the freedom of the will because of His mistaken view of grace.

This is why John Wesley said, “I verily believe, the real heresy of Pelagius was neither more nor less than this: The holding that Christians may, by the grace of God, (not without it; that I take to be a mere slander,) ‘go on to perfection;’ or, in other words, ‘fulfill the law of Christ.’”[36] And also “Who was Pelagius? By all I can pick up from ancient authors, I guess he was both a wise and a holy man.”[37]

John Wesley said, “Augustine himself. (A wonderful saint! As full of pride, passion, bitterness, censoriousness, and as foul-mouthed to all that contradicted him… When Augustine’s passions were heated, his word is not worth a rush. And here is the secret: St. Augustine was angry at Pelagius: Hence he slandered and abused him, (as his manner was,) without either fear or shame. And St. Augustine was then in the Christian world, what Aristotle was afterwards: There needed no other proof of any assertion, than Ipse dixit: “St. Augustine said it.”[38]

On the issue of the freedom of the will, Pelagius was in perfect agreement with the Early Church while Augustine was in agreement with the heretical Gnostics:

Dr Wiggers said, “All the fathers…agreed with the Pelagians, in attributing freedom of will to man in his present state.”[39]

Episcopius said, “What is plainer than that the ancient divines, for three hundred years after Christ, those at least who flourished before St. Augustine, maintained the liberty of our will, or an indifference to two contrary things, free from all internal and external necessity!”[40]

Catholic councils that calvinists appeal to

There were three councils that condemned Pelagianism; the Council of Ephesus in the year 431; the Council of Carthage in the year 418; and the Council of Orange in the year 529. This is because Pelagius was not invited nor present to defend himself but his opponents and adversaries stated his doctrine for him. When Pelagius was able to defend himself, the Council of Diospolis in 415 declared Pelagius orthodox. And Pope Zosimus also declared Pelagius’ orthodoxy in 417. He was always acquitted when present to clarify and defend his views. If these are our authorities to determine orthodoxy, do we accept the ones in favor of Pelagius or the ones against him?

In addition, the Council of Orange and the Council of Carthage were not ecumenical councils. They did not consist of Bishops from the entire church, which mean that the rulings of the Councils were not universally affirmed by the Eastern and Western churches.

If heresy is heresy because a council says so, or because of majority vote, Calvinism must be more heretical than Pelagianism was because there were more councils that condemned Calvinism than condemned Pelagianism. The Calvinist doctrines of predestination, limited atonement, and irresistible grace were condemned throughout history. Lucidus was condemned by the Council of Oral in 473, Council of Arles in 475, and Council of Orange in 529. And Gottschalk (Gotteschalcus) was condemned by the Council at Mentz in 848 and the Council of Chiersey (Quiercy) in 849. And what do Calvinists think of the Council of Constance in 1414 for John Huss, or the Council of Worms in 1521 for Martin Luther, or the Council of Trent in 1561 for the Protestants? Are these Councils not the voice of Orthodoxy as Ephesus and Carthage supposedly were?

In fact, the Council of Orange that condemned Pelagianism also condemned the doctrines of Calvinism. If the council is authoritative in the former case, it must be equally authoritative in the latter as well. But if it was mistaken in the latter case, maybe it was mistaken in the former as well. Tony Miano essential condemns his own theology by appealing to church councils and assuming their authority.

Many thanks to Lyndon Conn, Joshua Harris and Jesse Morell