The Tail Between the Legs Calvinists

Tom (Discerning the World)

Tom Lessing is the author of the above article. Discerning the World is an internet Christian Ministry based in Johannesburg South Africa. Tom Lessing and Deborah Ellish both own Discerning the World. For more information see the About this Website page below the comments section.

19 Responses

  1. Joy Michael says:

    Can salvation be lost and if so can this person go to the lake of fire??

  2. Deborah (Discerning the World) says:

    Joy

    Salvation can not be lost. Read all articles here on Salvation here please: https://www.discerningtheworld.com/category/important-dtw-topics/eternal-security-backsliding-once-saved-always-saved/

    IF as person could lose their salvation for sure their destination is hell because you can’t be saved twice. The apostle Paul is pretty clear on this:

    Hebrews 6:4-6 4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6If 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.

  3. John Stewart says:

    IF THIS WEBSITE IS PRO-GAY, GET ME OUT OF HERE! I AM BOTH A FIVE POINT CALVINIST AND A FULL TIME GRACE EVANGELIST. PLEASE ANSWER MY QUESTION. I BECAME A MEMBER HERE FOR 10 MINUTES AGO BECAUSE I LIKED THE BAPTISM FIRE ARTICLE. BOTH ME AND GOD ABHOR SODOMY. GENESIS 19:20.

  4. Deborah (Discerning the World) says:

    Dear John

    First: DON’T SHOUT it’s rude.
    Second: We are not pro-gay, homosexuality is a sin.
    Third: God abhors the doctrine of Calvinism too.

  5. Tony Griffin says:

    I would respectfully ask the writer, do you read Greek and understand its various tenses, verbs,nouns and so forth? I ask because I would like to understand your exegetical insight of the text you quoted from Hebrews 6. What is your literal, grammatical, historical approach to that text of Scripture? I totally agree that a person cannot lose their salvation. I would just like to know where you’re coming from in that text scripture .

  6. Hi Tony

    I suggest you read this article on Hebrews 6 I wrote some time ago.

    Lost Your Salvation? Is it Possible?

    Tom

  7. Tony Griffin says:

    Interesting exegesis. I must say respectfully that you not being very clear in that article . At times it sounds as though you are advocating a loss of a person salvation because you reference it by saying “tasting the heavenly gift” is a reference to someone who is genuinely saved. And later in the article you say that a person persevering in the faith is a type of work that does not save them. At least that’s what I’m understanding so there’s a form of contradiction here.

    I do totally agree that perseverance on the part of the believer does not secure salvation. However God secures that salvation. Thus true believers are “kept by the power of God through faith for salvation,” (1 Peter 1:5. Those who do fall away from Christ give conclusive proof that they were never truly believers to begin with and this is found in first John 2:19. Look at what Jude encourages the believers to do in Jude 21 he says ” keep yourselves in the love of God” , and immediately points them to God, “who is able to keep you from stumbling” Jude 24. God does the securing or the persevering through the believer because God is sovereign.

    As to Hebrews 6. This passage by far, the verses four through six, are the most difficult passages to interpret in the New Testament . To understand properly one has to look at the entire context and the whole counsel of Gods word. The entire book of Hebrews if read in context was written to three specific groups of people . The first and primary group were Hebrew Christians who are being persecuted by fellow Jews. The second were Jewish unbelievers who were convinced of the basic truth of the gospel but who had not placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their own Savior and Lord . Intellectually they got it but spiritually they were uncommitted. The third group addressed were Jewish believers who were not convinced of the gospel truth but had experienced some exposure to it And chapter 9 is largely devoted to them see verses 11, 14,15, 27 and 28.

    The phrase once enlightened is often taken to refer to Christians, and the accompanying warning taken to indicate the danger of losing their salvation if they “fall away” and “crucify again for themselves the son of God.” But there is no mention of their being saved and they are not described with any terms that apply only to believers such as “holy,” “born-again,” “righteous,” “brethren,” “saints,” “brothers,” and so forth . These terms are commonly used throughout the New Testament. And as you can see they are absent in this context. Just a cursory look at the original text in the Greek you will see that.

    The problem that arises here is when one inaccurately identifies the spiritual condition of the ones being addressed. So the big question is who is being actually addressed. I think it’s very clear here that it’s not a believer. I know many people have been enlightened by the Gospel and they have an intellectual assent to it but they never remain. Just as first John chapter 2 says they left us because they were never of us. In this particular case they were unbelievers who would have been exposed to God’s truth, His redemptive truth and perhaps made a profession of faith but had not exercised genuine saving faith. I know that you probably have known people who have done just that and then what happens….they disappear. Take a look at Hebrews 10:26 the reference once again is to an apostate professing Christian, not to genuine believers who are incorrectly thought to lose their salvation because of their sins.

    The Greek term in Hebrews 6:6 “fall away” occurs here only once in the New Testament. In the LXX it was used to translate terms for severe unfaithfulness and apostasy. If one follows context in the whole counsel of God’s word, apostasy cannot refer to someone who is born again. That’s impossible . Because to aposticise by biblical definition is to be enlightened or intellectual ascenting to the truth and yet walk away later. This is evidenced in first John chapter 2. One of the first principles in hermeneutics for biblical exegesis is Scripture interprets Scripture. And this is one of those examples.

    They had rejected him with full knowledge and conscious experience described in verse five and six with full revelation they rejected the truth concluding the opposite of the truth about Christ and thus had no hope of being saved. They could never know more knowledge than they had when they rejected it . They have concluded that Jesus should’ve been crucified and they stand with his enemies. There’s no possibility of these verses referring to losing salvation . Or to referring to Christians in any way.

    Those who want to make this verse mean that believers can lose their salvation somehow will have to admit that it would then also say that one could never get it back again. Do you see where I’m coming from. I just want to understand what you’re trying to say about Hebrews chapter 6 . So please forgive my lengthy writing here brother .

  8. Tony Griffin says:

    I made a mistake here. I made a comment on your Hebrew six post about falling away. But I needed to put it in this post. So let me try again. Sorry for the mistake .

    Weirsbe is wrong in his definition of falling away being the Greek word parapipto. Parapipto is the verb form of the word (actually used in the Greek text) parapesontas. Parapesontas is the correct word rendered in the Greek text because I’m looking at it now. It means in the grammatical structure of this sentence….To fall away from the true faith and from the worship of Jehovah. It also means to apostatize.

    I read Greek and have studied it for 30 years and I always find it amazing when people work hard to try and validate their own presuppositions and ideas by going to vines dictionary to find only a partial rendering of a Greek word rather than look at the actual grammatical structure of the text and get the proper meaning . Never ceases to amaze me . Weirsbe was known for that quite often. I don’t say that to be facetious. In fact I am only trying to be lovingly instructional.

  9. Tony Griffin says:

    Now as to the bulk of your article, it is rather confusing to say the least. What I can gather is you don’t like anyone who supports calvinistic doctrine and I must say it is unbecoming and lacks the fruit of the spirit as you try so hard to insult other people. In fact this article seems to convey the idea of insulting others who disagree with your doctrines. What I can see is that you obviously don’t like hearing about God being sovereign and I honestly don’t understand the thesis or point to your article. I am not a Calvinist by the way. In all honesty and as loving as I can be, I ask you why you try so hard to insult and imply that those people you disagree with are stupid? If they are brothers in Christ that is wrong to write in that way. If they are unbelievers it is equally wrong and counterproductive to the furtherance of the gospel.

    My question is simple, since you do not believe in the sovereignty of God of God’s sovereign will, is God, then, bound by some other outside force or is He in control of everything? I truly want to know your answer.

  10. You wrote:

    The problem that arises here is when one inaccurately identifies the spiritual condition of the ones being addressed. So the big question is who is being actually addressed. I think it’s very clear here that it’s not a believer.

    You correctly underscore the importance of context but fail to adhere to it yourself? Do you really think Paul (the author of Hebrews) would have written the following to unbelievers?

    Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, (Heb 6:1)

  11. How do you interpret God’s sovereignty in salvation? Does man have any say whatsoever in his salvation? The article deals primarily with the acceptance of gays’ as pastors in the church. What connection do you see God’s sovereignty having with this?

  12. Tony Griffin says:

    No Tom I disagree with you. Let me explain. First of all let’s get correct here, Paul did not write Hebrews. Almost all biblical scholars agree to this. In fact it could be argued that the apollos might have written Hebrews. But nonetheless the authors not stated so let’s be fair about that. If you want to believe that Paul wrote the letter, then so be it I don’t have a problem with that.

    As to Hebrews 6 verse one , that is a very fair question. And I thought it a very good question. And I would like to explain that if you will allow me. Actually to understand this question that you’re asking one has to understand a little bit of the Old Testament. Remember the writer of Hebrews is addressing Jews specifically.

    The same Greek root found in verse 14 in chapter 5 is translated perfection in chapter 6 verse one and is elsewhere translated perfect 7:1, 19,28; 9:9; 10:1,14. It is used in Hebrews, including this text, as a synonym for salvation. In that sense, it refers to the completion which comes when a person becomes a believer in Christ, rather than referring to a Christian who has become mature. As you know, Jesus invited unbelieving Jews to the salvation perfection which came only through following him in faith in Matthew 19:21. Paul wrote that those who had come to Christ by faith were thereby mature and able to receive the wisdom of God in first Corinthians 2:6. He described believers as mature when he referred to those whose righteousness was in Christ Philippians 3:2-20, as opposed to those who had confidence in the flesh. Paul also declared that the apostles warned and taught everyone that we may present everyman perfect in Christ Jesus in Colossians 1:28. Now I think you would agree that the deeper, more solid truths about the priesthood of the Lord Jesus could only be given to those who knew him as Savior. Athletic training and competition form the metaphor implied by this particular word “exercise” in the text. The person who is come to Christ for spiritual completion is then trained by the Word to discern truth from error and holy behavior from unholy behavior found in second Timothy 3:16 and 17. As you can see, and I’m sure that you know this, what I’m doing is applying a principal and hermeneutics called synthesis. Let me go further. The word leaving in chapter 6 verse 1 of the text, does not convey the idea or mean to despise or abandon the basic doctrines . They are in place to start, not stop. They are the gate entrance on the road to salvation in Christ. Let’s look at that phrase elementary principles of Christ. As the oracles of God found in chapter 5 verse 12 it refers to the Old Testament and so does this phrase. The writer is referring to basic Old Testament teaching that prepared the way for Messiah, the beginning teaching about Christ. The Old Testament principles includes six features listed in verses one and two. In verses one chapter 6 the verb phrase “go on to perfection” is passive so as to indicate “let us be carried to salvation.” This is not a matter of learners being carried by teachers, but both being carried forward by God. The writer warns his Jewish readers that there is no value in stopping with the Old Testament basics and repeating (“laying again”) what was only intended to be foundational. That statement repentance from good works, is tricky. This Old Testament form of repentance is the turning away from evil deeds that bring death, (Ezekiel. 18:4; Romans 6:23) and turning to God. Too often that you only turn to God in a superficial fashion fulfilling the letter of the law as evidence of his repentance. The inner man was still dead (Matt. 23: 25-28; Rom. 2:28-29). Such repentance was not the kind that brought salvation , see verse 6 , 12:17, Acts 11:18, and second Corinthians 7:10. Under the new covenant, however, “repentance toward God” is coupled with “faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” Acts 20:21. Christ Jesus atoning sacrifice Saves from dead works, verse 14 of chapter 9, and faith directed only toward the father is unacceptable without faith in his son Jesus Christ . So as you can see obviously he is not addressing just believers. He is addressing Hebrew people who professed Christ but had not gone all the way onto salvation. It was a warning. A good example of this would be most churches in the world. For example when a preacher gets up and preaches, it would be a foolish thing for people to believe that everyone within that congregation is born again. This is the same gist of the passage. I hope that explains it well and answers your question.

  13. Tony Griffin says:

    As to your question about God being sovereign in salvation, and does man have a choice . You will think I’m crazy but I once was a very strong Calvinist , then turned Armenian, and now I’m right down the middle. If you will allow me I will try to explain what I mean by that. I’m very reformed in my doctrine. But I believe that both Calvinist and Armenians are correct in some respect. I do believe that God is totally sovereign over everything. I also believe that man is responsible for his choices. Man has choice and God is sovereign. They are two principles that are both true and yet diametrically opposed to one another. In the Scriptures where you find one you will find the other. That’s where the confusion lies. However it is not confusing to God to us it’s called a paradox. Quite frankly I can’t explain why it is true but it just is and I can rest in that. It’s just one of those things, the paradox, we have to leave to the Lord . I don’t understand why God is totally sovereign and yet we have a choice in the matter. But it is obviously true because Scripture teaches both. Do you see where I’m coming from?

    Now as to homosexuals in the church, well I am totally against homosexuality because God hates it and Scripture teaches against it. Enough said I will say this there is no such thing as a homosexual Christian or homosexual marriage, they are both an oxymoron.

  14. Would you have written a letter to your sweetheart ridden with paradoxes so that she should guess whether you loved her or not? I can tell you upfront that paradoxes are the worst enemy of true love because it confuses one, as you so rightly said. OK, let’s simplify it a little. Do you really think God would weave one paradox after the other into his love story so that those who come to Him for salvation should be totally confused? Or, do you think his absolute sovereignty (which I too happen to believe He is), will hinder anyone who seeks salvation, from finding it just because He sovereignly chose not to save that person? Did you know a simple prayer can sway God’s sovereign decrees and persuade Him to change his sovereign decisions?

  15. Tony Griffen wrote:

    Man has choice and God is sovereign. They are two principles that are both true and yet diametrically opposed to one another. In the Scriptures where you find one you will find the other. That’s where the confusion lies. However it is not confusing to God to us it’s called a paradox. Quite frankly I can’t explain why it is true but it just is and I can rest in that. It’s just one of those things, the paradox, we have to leave to the Lord.

    You sound exactly like John MacArthur when he was asked: “How do you tell them that God loves them but that Jesus did not die for them?” He answered as follows,

    “Well, you tell them whatever the Bible tells you to tell them. And the Bible tells you to go into all the world and to preach the Gospel to every creature. And that’s what you do because that’s what the Scripture says. Any tension you have between that and the nature of the atonement; any tension you have between that and the doctrine of divine election and predestination; any tension you feel in those areas, I feel. I feel the same tension. I ask the same question. I don’t know whether there is some kind of quick answer to the question. . . . I am, however, happy to concede that God can resolve things that I can’t. . . . I don’t expect of you and you shouldn’t expect of me to be able to unscrew the inscrutable. You really don’t think that I am going to solve all the vast theological dilemmas that have existed since the Scriptures were penned. . . . The best answer to this question is ‘my brother, I feel your pain.’” (2010 Shepherd’s Conference).

    So, next time, when you present someone with the Gospel and you are confronted with this ugly dilemma called “PARADOX,” say to the person: “My brother, I feel your pain.” Should the person ask you what you mean, you can tell him that you can already feel the pangs of hell in his behalf; it is an excruciating pain he will have to endure the moment he dies and is cast into hell because Jesus loves him but did not die for him.

    I can only say that your and MacArthur’s paradoxical gospel is a gospel directly from hell where it was inaugurated by Satan himself.

  16. Tony Griffin says:

    Well obviously I don’t agree. I think Dr. MacArthur honestly has the credentials to back up what he says but also that does not mean that he’s right about everything. I will say this I spent over 30 years researching these kind of subjects like this and whether you want to agree that paradoxes exist, they do . There are just some things that we cant understand about. And frankly I think that is quite egotistical and I’m not saying that you are, to believe that you can understand everything of the mind of God. For instance you can’t tell me that you know fully the concept of the Trinity. And you can’t tell me that you know fully the ramifications and the concepts surrounding substitutionary atonement. Because if you said that you could completely understand them and I would have to say that you’re not being truthful. In fact the way you describe things frankly sounds a lot like Creflo dollar and Kenneth Copeland when they are talking about being little gods, meaning that they understand things that peons like myself don’t understand. That’s just how I feel. I never once said anything about the gospel being paradoxical. I don’t even know where you’re getting that from.

    Let me pose a question to you. would you agree that there are people today that have died and gone to hell and are dying and going to hell? And my next question is very simple , if God is not completely sovereign as the Scriptures say that he is sovereign, then as I asked you before is there some outside force outside of God that is forcing his hand in a different direction than what he wants to go? My next question is that if God is not totally sovereign over all things , then wouldn’t that mean that he is not really God ? My last question is this, the scriptures teach that God chose us in Him, before the foundations of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. Was my salvation and your salvation secured before the creation of all things or not?

  17. Your very last question, ” . . . the scriptures teach that God chose us in Him, before the foundations of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. Was my salvation and your salvation secured before the creation of all things or not?” clearly demonstrates why you believe in salvific paradoxes.

    The simple answer is: God, having known from eternities past who would respond in faith and repentance to his Gospel in order to be saved, chose THEM to be holy and blameless in his sight.” It does not mean that God sovereignly chose to save some (the elect) and damn the rest (the non-elect). God has never and will never force anyone to respond to his love. That’s not love. That’s pure and simple despotic coercion.

    In fact, it is a stone-age kind of love where man is depicted as a despot who clobbers a woman over the head, drags her to his pad and forces her to love him. Moreover, it equals to perfection the kind of abominable sin that led to the Great Flood in Genesis, i.e. “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.”(Gen 6:1-2). The women had no choice; they were forced to enter into a marriage with them.

    God doesn’t work that way. God’s love is a reciprocal love. Once again, Calvinists do not believe that man is able to love God of his own accord. In other words, he cannot love God because he has no free-will and needs to be regenerated monergistically before he is able to love Him. How did you get married? Did you say to your sweetheart. “OK, listen up, doll. You don’t have a free-will to choose either to hate or love me. But don’t fret. I will supply you with a free-will and a love so that you may love me after our compulsory marriage.” That’s preposterous.

    I cannot explain the Trinity but does that make Him a paradox? Faith and paradoxes do not go well together. Can you explain your own make-up, i.e. spirit, soul and body? Of course not. You simply believe it is true because the Bible teaches you that we have a spirit, a soul and a body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). You may argue that there are no specific verses that tell us that God is a Trinity. True! Nonetheless, there are various places in the Bible that point us to this fact. For instance, when the SON was baptized, the SPIRIT (in the form of a dove) came to rest on Him and the FATHER spoke from heaven and said: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” And here, as you can see, we have the TRINITY fully explained. What more do you need? How you can see this a a paradox, is inexplicable.

    Your statement “And you can’t tell me that you know fully the ramifications and the concepts surrounding substitutionary atonement. Because if you said that you could completely understand them and I would have to say that you’re not being truthful” is very troubling. Not knowing what the ramifications (consequences, results, effects) of salvation is, prompts me to quote to you the following:

    Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. (2 Co 13:5-6)

    And by the way, I have exposed the heresies promulgated by Kenneth Copeland and Creflo Dollar umpteenth times on this blog and elsewhere on the internet, in the same way I exposed the abomination called Calvinism – election and predestination. So, I would suggest that you read some of them before you accuse me of their abominable belief that I am a little god. You are much more than what I am. You are a teacher; I am nothing.

  18. Tony Griffen wrote:

    Well obviously I don’t agree. I think Dr. MacArthur honestly has the credentials to back up what he says but also that does not mean that he’s right about everything.

    This is what I call a perfect paradox. MacArthur has the credentials (authorization, qualifications) to back up what his says but his credentials are untrustworthy? Did you know it was primarily false teachers in Paul’s time who bragged about their credentials?

    Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. (2 Co 3:1-4)

    The only credentials you need is the Spirit of Truth (Holy Spirit) to guide you into all the truth and declare to you things to come. (John 16:13).

  19. Tony Griffen wrote:

    There are just some things that we cant understand about. And frankly I think that is quite egotistical and I’m not saying that you are, to believe that you can understand everything of the mind of God.

    Are you saying Jesus lied when He said:

    When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into ALL THE TRUTH, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.(Joh 16:13)

    Everything God has revealed to us in his Word is humanly comprehensible, knowable and understandable. He even said that we can understand how He created the cosmos.

    By faith WE UNDERSTAND that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (Heb 11:3)

    “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. (Deu 29:29)

    To say and to believe that the doctrine of salvation (the doctrine of substitutionary atonement) is a paradox and therefore somewhat incomprehensible is completely reprehensible. Even a child can understand it. In fact, Jesus Himself said,

    Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Mar 10:15)

    If you want to know how paradoxes work, please read this article I wrote some time ago.

    https://www.discerningtheworld.com/2013/06/05/unanswerable-questions-2/#comments

    Do you see that only adults wear paradoxical spectacles and not children? Kids see more clearly than adults.

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