God is Unavoidably in the Mix

Ken Hamrick

Active member
The question of what any particular man would do apart from God’s influence is irrelevant, since God’s influence is unavoidable. There is no way for God in His foreknowledge to compare different men to see which will believe and which will reject as a difference merely between the men. Rather, since God’s interactions and influence have affected all men to some infinitely variable degree, then the variable is not merely the men but the extent of God’s influence.

The Arminian view sounds reasonable at first: God foresees that Jim will believe and that John will not, so God plans on Jim believing and plans on John not believing. But if the difference in God’s own influences are making the difference between Jim and John, then that view falls into unconditional election, since it ends up being God who has made the real difference.

Since there is no man who has not in some way been affected by God’s interaction with men, then there is no way for God to foreknow of any willing-to-be-saved man who has not already been influenced by God. This would not be a problem for the Arminian view if God’s influence in every case were equal… but it is not equal. With some men, God is much more longsuffering and provides much influence (such as with an elderly man who gets saved after living his entire life under the preaching of the gospel and with the witness of many good saints. With others, God seems less patient and provides much less influence (such as the young man who dies shortly after reaching an accountable understanding, and who lives and dies in a country that has not yet heard the gospel). Also, different men need a different amount of influence in order to result in their conversion. Some hear the gospel the first time and are saved, while others have to be brought to the end of their rope before they reach out to Jesus in desperation.

With all these differences, disparities and variables, how can anyone think that God’s foreknowlege of a man’s “free will decision” to embrace Christ is all the reason that He needs to choose one man over another?

Ken Hamrick
 

Carbon

Well-known member
The question of what any particular man would do apart from God’s influence is irrelevant, since God’s influence is unavoidable. There is no way for God in His foreknowledge to compare different men to see which will believe and which will reject as a difference merely between the men. Rather, since God’s interactions and influence have affected all men to some infinitely variable degree, then the variable is not merely the men but the extent of God’s influence.

The Arminian view sounds reasonable at first: God foresees that Jim will believe and that John will not, so God plans on Jim believing and plans on John not believing. But if the difference in God’s own influences are making the difference between Jim and John, then that view falls into unconditional election, since it ends up being God who has made the real difference.

Since there is no man who has not in some way been affected by God’s interaction with men, then there is no way for God to foreknow of any willing-to-be-saved man who has not already been influenced by God. This would not be a problem for the Arminian view if God’s influence in every case were equal… but it is not equal. With some men, God is much more longsuffering and provides much influence (such as with an elderly man who gets saved after living his entire life under the preaching of the gospel and with the witness of many good saints. With others, God seems less patient and provides much less influence (such as the young man who dies shortly after reaching an accountable understanding, and who lives and dies in a country that has not yet heard the gospel). Also, different men need a different amount of influence in order to result in their conversion. Some hear the gospel the first time and are saved, while others have to be brought to the end of their rope before they reach out to Jesus in desperation.

With all these differences, disparities and variables, how can anyone think that God’s foreknowlege of a man’s “free will decision” to embrace Christ is all the reason that He needs to choose one man over another?

Ken Hamrick
Curious Ken, do you still agree with and teach a middle position, which is neither Arminian nor Calvinistic?

Since you are posting in the A&C forum, I am trying to see which position you favor or agree with.
 
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Carbon

Well-known member
The question of what any particular man would do apart from God’s influence is irrelevant, since God’s influence is unavoidable. There is no way for God in His foreknowledge to compare different men to see which will believe and which will reject as a difference merely between the men. Rather, since God’s interactions and influence have affected all men to some infinitely variable degree, then the variable is not merely the men but the extent of God’s influence.

The Arminian view sounds reasonable at first: God foresees that Jim will believe and that John will not, so God plans on Jim believing and plans on John not believing. But if the difference in God’s own influences are making the difference between Jim and John, then that view falls into unconditional election, since it ends up being God who has made the real difference.

Since there is no man who has not in some way been affected by God’s interaction with men, then there is no way for God to foreknow of any willing-to-be-saved man who has not already been influenced by God. This would not be a problem for the Arminian view if God’s influence in every case were equal… but it is not equal. With some men, God is much more longsuffering and provides much influence (such as with an elderly man who gets saved after living his entire life under the preaching of the gospel and with the witness of many good saints. With others, God seems less patient and provides much less influence (such as the young man who dies shortly after reaching an accountable understanding, and who lives and dies in a country that has not yet heard the gospel). Also, different men need a different amount of influence in order to result in their conversion. Some hear the gospel the first time and are saved, while others have to be brought to the end of their rope before they reach out to Jesus in desperation.

With all these differences, disparities and variables, how can anyone think that God’s foreknowlege of a man’s “free will decision” to embrace Christ is all the reason that He needs to choose one man over another?

Ken Hamrick
Forgive me for, perhaps looking to deeply into your post here, I'm trying to figure out what your position is.

In red above, I'd say Arminians wouldn't have much of an issue with it. Since this man is getting influenced, continuing to hear the gospel under much witness. Considering your words, all this man has to finally do, is make a decision for Christ. God is giving him time throughout his life into old age. I don't see Arminians having an issue with that.

Also, different men need a different amount of influence in order to result in their conversion.
Isn't this describing a free will system?

Some hear the gospel the first time and are saved, while others have to be brought to the end of their rope before they reach out to Jesus in desperation.
Would you be a bit more elaborate? I don't want to miss understand you, but it seems your presenting an argument against free will theology, yet supporting it.
 

ReverendRV

Well-known member
The Arminian view sounds reasonable at first: God foresees that Jim will believe and that John will not, so God plans on Jim believing and plans on John not believing. But if the difference in God’s own influences are making the difference between Jim and John, then that view falls into unconditional election, since it ends up being God who has made the real difference.

With all these differences, disparities and variables, how can anyone think that God’s foreknowlege of a man’s “free will decision” to embrace Christ is all the reason that He needs to choose one man over another?

Ken Hamrick
The RED highlight reminds me of my Saying about God's Prevening Grace making a 'real' difference in our Salvation. It seems to me you are saying that in Arminianism, God's Providence is Efficacious; making a 'real' difference in the lives of All People...

Right? I agree; God IS unavoidably in the mix ..

What was the name of the other Biblical Realist who used to Post here with you?
 
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Ken Hamrick

Active member
Curious Ken, do you still agree with and teach a middle position, which is neither Arminian nor Calvinistic?

Since you are posting in the A&C forum, I am trying to see which position you favor or agree with.
Did I know you under a different name? Yes, my position is toward the middle of the Arminism & Calvinism Spectrum. A's call me a C and C's call me an A. Despite the popularity of such polarized thinking, there is a strong, reasonable centrist position that is worth considering.
 

Ken Hamrick

Active member
Forgive me for, perhaps looking to deeply into your post here, I'm trying to figure out what your position is.

In red above, I'd say Arminians wouldn't have much of an issue with it. Since this man is getting influenced, continuing to hear the gospel under much witness. Considering your words, all this man has to finally do, is make a decision for Christ. God is giving him time throughout his life into old age. I don't see Arminians having an issue with that.


Isn't this describing a free will system?


Would you be a bit more elaborate? I don't want to miss understand you, but it seems your presenting an argument against free will theology, yet supporting it.
Arminians should not be comfortable with God giving years of much influence to one who finally surrenders while giving only days of little influence to one who perishes. Especially those who argue that God elected based on whom He foreknew would believe. It is an unaccounted for inconsistency.
 

Ken Hamrick

Active member
Forgive me for, perhaps looking to deeply into your post here, I'm trying to figure out what your position is.

In red above, I'd say Arminians wouldn't have much of an issue with it. Since this man is getting influenced, continuing to hear the gospel under much witness. Considering your words, all this man has to finally do, is make a decision for Christ. God is giving him time throughout his life into old age. I don't see Arminians having an issue with that.


Isn't this describing a free will system?


Would you be a bit more elaborate? I don't want to miss understand you, but it seems your presenting an argument against free will theology, yet supporting it.
To elaborate, I hold to a more immanent grace--one that works with the free will of men. Rather than the unable-enabled dynamic, I see in Scripture an aversion-persuasion dynamic, by which the inability of sinners is figurative for their unwillingness, and all men encounter--to varying degrees--the grace of influences toward God and truth.
 

Ken Hamrick

Active member
The RED highlight reminds me of my Saying about God's Prevening Grace making a 'real' difference in our Salvation. It seems to me you are saying that in Arminianism, God's Providence is Efficacious; making a 'real' difference in the lives of All People...

Right? I agree; God IS unavoidably in the mix ..

What was the name of the other Biblical Realist who used to Post here with you?
God's agency is the real difference between those who choose Him and those who do not.

The name of the other realist/centrist escapes me.
 

Carbon

Well-known member
Did I know you under a different name? Yes, my position is toward the middle of the Arminism & Calvinism Spectrum. A's call me a C and C's call me an A. Despite the popularity of such polarized thinking, there is a strong, reasonable centrist position that is worth considering.
Thanks for your reply
Though I do believe much is black and white in scripture, especially the doctrine of salvation and the order of, I also find your position interesting and admire your deep thinking especially, which is quite rare today.

I think the question to help me understand is your view on the Ordo salutis. How do you see it?

thanks
 

Carbon

Well-known member
Arminians should not be comfortable with God giving years of much influence to one who finally surrenders while giving only days of little influence to one who perishes. Especially those who argue that God elected based on whom He foreknew would believe. It is an unaccounted for inconsistency.
They may ask, why would God spend years on someone who He foreknew wouldn’t believe? Is God just making the one He spent little time with accountable?

Am I following your thoughts correctly or am I off?
 

Ken Hamrick

Active member
Thanks for your reply
Though I do believe much is black and white in scripture, especially the doctrine of salvation and the order of, I also find your position interesting and admire your deep thinking especially, which is quite rare today.

I think the question to help me understand is your view on the Ordo salutis. How do you see it?

thanks
I do not hold to regeneration prior to faith, although I have been considering it more lately. I like what Andrew Fuller taught on this. Being a 5-pointer, he held that no one would believe unless first regenerated; but he also held that such regeneration only caused a man to do what he otherwise could have and should have done but refused. That makes the doctrine much more accessible to my centrist, non-necessarian view. As a realist, a substantial, spiritual union with Christ through the indwelling Holy Spirit is salvation itself (and union doesn't happen until we are we are indwelt. So if regeneration takes place prior to salvation, then whatever it involves, it cannot involve this union with Christ. It is plausible that God regenerates us through the kind of indwelling of the Holy Spirit that the OT saints experienced--providing a transitory empowerment and communion but without the indissoluble nature and joint identification with Christ that those indwelt after NT Pentecost experienced. It's possible, and I'm considering it; but I don't find it compelling yet.

So I would put it this way:
Effectual Calling, Justification, Adoption, Union with Christ, Sanctification, and Glorification.
 

Ken Hamrick

Active member
They may ask, why would God spend years on someone who He foreknew wouldn’t believe? Is God just making the one He spent little time with accountable?

Am I following your thoughts correctly or am I off?
My view does not have to account for fairness, etc. God has His plan and His elect from eternity past, and He carries out His plan perfectly, but without needing to restrict the free will of men. Men do whatever they freely choose, and yet, every decision is in accord with God's meticulous plan. And only He knows why he seems more patient with one than another, or why some need less influence and some more. Who knows why the prostitutes and tax collectors are entering the Kingdom ahead of the more spiritually minded? But the Arminians, to be consistent, do need to account for fairness in how God deals with men.
 

Ken Hamrick

Active member
So you get a free pass for logical objections by a punt to mystery, yet don't allow that same free pass for the opposing belief?

What if I just said about Arminian unfairness, well, "it's a mystery in the counsels of God's nature;" why is that somehow acceptable for God decreeing unfairness, but not acceptable for God allowing judgments based on delegation?

It just smacks of ad hoc special pleading.
No one yet objected that my position involved any unfairness. But since you brought it up...
God created Adam (and mankind) in such a way that propagation is of the whole being, body and spirit (or soul). Just as our body comes from out parents, so also our soul. This puts all of mankind, in a germinal but nonetheless spiritual way, in Adam and participating in his sin. All men sinned while "in the loins of" Adam. All men deserve nothing but death, misery and wrath. Therefore, God is free and fair to do whatever He pleases, since we have no right to object about anything. And God, loving humanity enough to want to save some instead of letting all perish, chose some to save. And the remainder have no valid objection. Fair enough?
 

Carbon

Well-known member
To elaborate, I hold to a more immanent grace--one that works with the free will of men. Rather than the unable-enabled dynamic, I see in Scripture an aversion-persuasion dynamic, by which the inability of sinners is figurative for their unwillingness, and all men encounter--to varying degrees--the grace of influences toward God and truth.
So where the rubber meets the ground, it's mans free will.
 

Carbon

Well-known member
Carbon said:
So where the rubber meets the ground, it's mans free will.

And yet, God unconditionally elected in eternity past and these alone He saves.
So, I understand your position as a modified Arminian position. No offence, but it is not a middle position from which the bible supports, but instead one you created. I would think the Arminians would be a bit upset with you because you have modified some of their doctrines which they see as distorted.
However, it is far from the Calvinist position and Being an Arminian for many years, from that perspective, I wouldn't call you a Calvinist. Being a Calvinist, I can see your position as a modified Arminian position.

It's like you tampered with someone's computer program, changing some of the program codes and such, tweaking it here and there.

Scripture does not teach God works synergistically with a lost sinner until he finally decides to believe. It's like God becomes someone's buddy to get him born again.

Jesus didn't go into the tomb, sit at the side of dead Lazarus and persuade him to rise. He called Lazarus forth, just as He calls dead, lost sinners forth. He gives them a new heart of flesh and puts His Spirit within them so they can do so.

I do however admire your thinking, it looks like you have spent some time putting this together, even though your not completely convinced of it yourself yet.
 
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