What The Bell Has Got Friel Fired Up?

81 thoughts on “What The Bell Has Got Friel Fired Up?

  1. He just said that he hasn’t read the book, what’s the point of this video then? Get over yourself Friel. Also, that trailer for Rob Bell’s book doesn’t say anything… All he is doing is asking questions. He hasn’t answered any of these questions yet. Wait for the book before you’re so quick to judge Friel. Friel is just making conclusions about something he hasn’t read yet. I’m not defending Rob Bell, I’m just saying maybe wait to read the book to find out if what you think is right.

    PS Todd Friel might be the most obnoxious person with a TV show…

  2. ….”LOVE WINS: Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived”….

    Are you a betting man Troy? 🙂

  3. Thanks for that. Very interesting read. I’ll take that type of well thought out review any day over Todd Friel’s infomercial-style ramblings.

  4. Well, I just watched the video. I thought Friel was quite gentle.

    Didn’t like the camera zooming in and out … but what he said was fine.

    Bell is clearly building a case in the promotional video for universalism. Todd got the point across that Bell is likely using his own standard of goodness rather than God’s.

    In the promotional Video, Bell is setting out the straw-man argument that reformed theologians are saying that Jesus saved us from God.

    Well, that tells me everything I need to know. Of course, if Bell was promoting the true Gospel, then he wouldn’t have needed to write a book that needs promoting.

    You only write a new theology book for mass market publication for all believers if you are saying something new. What could be more new than a different Gospel?

    It’s a little Gnostic actually. 2000 years of Christian belief was wrong. Here comes Bell with new secret knowledge … everyone goes to heaven cos love wins!

    get it?

  5. My first serious doubts about Rob Bell came when listening to some videos (“The gospel according to Rob Bell” and a sermon at Willow Creek Church) where he’s putting a lot of historical reference into his message, a lot of which I found incorrect or speculative.
    Any reader of a serious encyclopedia could find that out, even wikipedia will serve, but Bell probably only trusts the sayings of a guy named Van der Laan who seems to be the source of his thinking regarding the world of the 1st century AD.
    In the videos I watched he build several (although not real novelties) heretical cases:

    1. The book of revelations is talking about the past, not the future the imagery reflects the roman Cesars and their dealings not a satanic messenger in the future called the beast. This view is called Preterism and is in a partial form held by orthodox and some catholic traditions. In the form Bell is presenting his case he probably thinks of “full Preterism”. Preterism is not only viewed as heretical in most traditions but is also potentially antisemitic because it holds to a view of history that sees the Mosaic covenant as a thing of the past and void now when preterists refer to the “Last days” as meaning the last days of the Mosaic covenant in the years leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

    2. The christians rejection of taking the mark of the caesar was a political message in order to deny them the adoration and worship that served as a kind of legitimation of their rule, and, ultimately a call for political and social change.
    I have not read any first hand sources from that time, but I think for such a purpose no one would have been willing to die, I think it was because the Cesars demanded from the Christians what they would render only to God and to Him alone.

    3. the martyrs died not for the Lord but for “the movement” that Jesus and his friends founded, a movement to usher in a better world (aka “the kingdom”). This view presented in his Willow Creek sermon reflects a common shift in emergent circles to replace Jesus and God with the church and the “intentional communities”.

    4. The supernatural sayings about Jesus were neither unique but just the usual stuff of other religions and cults (Mithras, Attis, caesar worship), so they are in his eyes probably not important.
    Now, here is either an ignorant or a liar. Look into the wikipedia articles for a start, and read about Attis and Mithras and see if you can find virgin birth, atoning death, resurrection and ascension in the descriptions as Bell claims. The best you’ll find are some weird descriptions of annual rebirth, conception from a tree that sprung from a …(that will be very graphic). Look into description of the roman “lictors” and think about if they can be compared with the elders round the throne in Rev. 4. Bell uses the comparison possibly because there are 24 elders as there were 24 lictors with the caesar, but the latter were bodyguards carrying an axe bundle “the fasces” (as a sign of their “license to kill”) but no crown.

    I find a guy like Bell either a superficial and ignorant guy who is badly prepared when giving his “historical” teachings or he is a liar and maybe worse. Of course such guys flourish when most people care so little for sound knowledge esp. historical knowledge to discern his sayings when he speaks so entertaining about his historical “facts”.

  6. When Greg the Explorer quoted Bell’s new book favourably on Groupsects, that was enough for me…I dont even need to read it now!

  7. Thanks, gandalf, for that basic run-down. It is helpful. If accurate, those teachings are unorthodox.

  8. Bell is such an easy target. Who cares if he is a universalist or not. He loves to push the envelope and then back off a little. After velvet elvis, sex god, his giddy promotion of the TNIV, nooma videos, and teaching yoga during sermons you would think discernment ministries can all label him heretical and a false teacher and move on. If Friel spent half the time studying what his fellow discernment policeman were preaching instead of disecting Bell he would be eating his own, but that would not be good for business.

    Troy, I agree. The guy is a loudmouth.

  9. Listened to Rob Bell soon after leaving C3, heard his underlying question/hiss right from the start “Did God really say that?”……..

  10. @Gandalf ” The supernatural sayings about Jesus were neither unique but just the usual stuff of other religions and cults (Mithras, Attis, caesar worship), so they are in his eyes probably not important.
    Now, here is either an ignorant or a liar.”

    I think thats a bit strong. Mithra and Attis are known to have had virgin births on December 25th, although as you would expect this claim is contentious and there are a huge number of sites stating that this is either incorrect or it dosent matter. Contentious items such as this dont usually appear in main Wikipedia articles because their opponents remove them. So Wikipedia often isnt a good guide when researching religious ideas that are in dispute.

    But there are plenty of other 1st Century figures who it is claimed had a virgin birth. Roman Gods and Heroes – Hercules, Perseus etc.

    “1. The book of revelations is talking about the past, not the future “ Well that was the standard Protestant theology until the 19th Century – the futurist view becoming more common since then. The book is notoriously hard to interpret and there is no guarantee that it is always talking about the “end times”. It is an example of apocalyptic literature, by no means unique at that time, and surely making references to things and ideas in ways that we are now unaware.

    “Look into description of the roman “lictors” and think about if they can be compared with the elders round the throne in Rev. 4”

    Well the comparison has been made before by less ignorant people than you and me, such as Eugene M Boring, Emeritus professor of New Testament at Texas Christian University – in his book “Revelation”

    I dont think Bell is superficial or ignorant, neither is the case particularly strong that he is a liar. He may indeed be a heretic, but I think he is an honest heretic.

  11. Come on Greg!! you are the ultimate heresy litmus test – you could make some great money giving you stamp of approval on potential heretics (like Rob Bell) books!

    The “Greg the Explorer Approval Rating” (GEAR) should be a universally recognized convention for people who don’t want to waste time with bad theology…i.e. a 5 Star GEAR Rating is indicative a book that probably belongs in the fiction section of the Church library (near the Tim Lahaye’s Left Behind series) etc…

  12. If only those who have the required relationship to Jesus are going to Heaven and the rest must suffer for eternity, then its not going to be a great place in Heaven.

    For all of us know someone – a Parent, a child, a nephew, a cousin or a friend who isnt a Christian. So how blissful is it going to be upstairs for us when we think of those downstairs suffering unimaginable and constant pain with no hope for an end? After 1 million years, they can still look forward to a further 1 million of the same fate.

    Most readers here will think it wont be a problem for me, but presumably you all think you will be going to Heaven. So how will you cope with the thought of your loved ones knee deep in molten lava being prodded by pitch-forks all day? Or will you just put it out of your minds?

  13. Painful dilemma indeed, wazza2.

    The thing is, we can’t be another person’s decision maker, and there is a decision for or against Christ for each individual to make.

    The most we can do is warn them, tell them the truth, remind them if they first reject it, and not allow it to be on our conscience to have failed to warn them.

    I suspect these matters will be resolved when we finally come into his Presence, but judgement and condemnation is his call to make, not ours.

    ‘Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”’

  14. It is painful, highly emotive, depressing, and upsetting but it is also quite uncomplicated – knowing that no sinner will receiving anything short of God’s perfect justice (i.e. no one will recieve “injustice” from God)…is God is obliged to be merciful to any? is God is obliged to be merciful to all?

    Be thankful to God (if you are His) that He will not give you justice – you do not want God’s justice…rather seek his mercy while you can…

    If mercy is something that must be administered under obligation then mercy is no longer mercy – is it? rather mercy then falls back into the category of justice….God is just and righteous, be assured that he can be trusted to do what is “right and just” concerning the sinner…

    Ultimately Christian maturity and sound doctrine and teaching is not cultivated by appealing to emotion (as our pente bretheren would have us believe) and sentimentality but rather by appealing to the sole rule for faith and practice of the Church – the Word of God….

    All anti-calvinist rants are welcome….

  15. If someone makes a decision for unrelenting suffering we would usually conclude that they were misinformed, deceived or possibly insane. We would not expect people to freely make an informed decision that was overwhelmingly to their detriment – and we would not expect them to take the full consequences of that decision for an eternity.

    Jesus said that those in heaven will hear the suffering and pleadings of those in hell. One of the most unpleasant experiences is to see a loved one suffering – particularly being in pain. It sometimes feels worse than being in pain yourself. On earth one can console oneself by praying for the person and knowing that there will be an end to the suffering. But the poor people in heaven will have no consolation but the thought that their loved-ones chose this for themselves. The first 1000 years will be the hardest, but after that it will get a bit easier.

  16. @Wazza – You appear to be begging the question and assuming the theology of Pelagius to be correct that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without special Divine aid….

  17. Its probably harder to accept that one’s Mother, Father or child did not receive that Divine aid .. and was always destined to a fate worse than death.

  18. The fact is, wazza2, we all deserve that fate. It is the grace and mercy of God which saves us from it. All the more reason to earnestly preach the gospel while it can be preached.

    I take it you are referring to the story of Lazarus and the rich man. Wasn’t Jesus referring to paradise, which was then in the grave, but, after Jesus was raised, removed to heaven, as he led captivity captive? If it was the case then that the rich man and his brethren could see beyond the great gulf, and communicate with Abraham, I do not think it will be after the judgment, when all sinners will be cast into the Lake of Fire with their master.

    We will not see them, I think. Neither do I think infants are punished in Gehenna.

    ELD, ‘Ultimately Christian maturity and sound doctrine and teaching is not cultivated by appealing to emotion (as our pente bretheren would have us believe) and sentimentality but rather by appealing to the sole rule for faith and practice of the Church – the Word of God….’

    Only a man who lacks a heart could think this way. I don’t think your maturity is demonstrated by any kind of lack of emotion, ELD.

    Emotions and feelings are a normal part of our God-given make-up. They are part of the soul, being the mind, will, emotions, and senses; the very soul which needs to be saved, but it is by the change of heart that we are turned to him, and it is by our confession that we are saved.

    It is by the Word and the Spirit we are changed, not just the Word. The letter kills, the Spirit gives life.

  19. @ wazza2 – Is that what you were referring to?

    Isaiah 66:22-24 “As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the LORD, “so will your name and descendants endure. 23 From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the LORD. “And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”

  20. @Wazza – you are again assuming the baisc foundational goodness of humanity (text book heretical Pelagianism) and you are also assuming that the same “Mother, Father or child” are somehow going to recieve “injustice” from God – what is the basis for that?

    @Kipling, as ususal – you are a muppet, like the other muppet who runs your denomination, you appear to take pride in your ability to twist scripture…

  21. @ELD… ‘muppet’, says the man who firmly believes in a God who will allow mothers to carry infants to full term, kills both at birth, takes the mother (elect) to heaven and consigns the child (not elect) to the flames to hell for eternity, and all of this planned before the foundation of the earth, and then accuses the remaining father of being emotional about God’s apparent decison!

    You know nothing either of God or of Pentecost. You’re a fake and a flake.

    You’r appeal to Pelagianism is a stuck record. I don’t see that wazza2 has said anything of the sort.

    What wazza2 is talking about is the grieving heart for the lost, something a hardened reformist can’t consider because it is beyond their capacity for reason.

    Those who can and do grieve for the lost are empowered to intercede, preach and warn those who are lost.

    How can you intercede to a God who has a preplanned damnation chute for a huge chunk of humankind, including women and children?

    The sadness of the reformist is that s/he believes there is nothing they can do to change a heart through the preaching of the gospel, so they allow themselves to be hardened by reason – the reason which speaks of a false kind of sovereignty devoid of compassion, mercy or grace.

    The sovereign reality is that God has given us a mandate to minister to all who are lost, and all who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

  22. Religion. The curse of the earth! None so religious as a bigot!

    Anyone can throw around insults when they have no answers. Defamation. The last resort of the idea challenged. Even your slander is old hat. Unoriginal, dull and flatulent. I’m waiting for you to put up the Monty Python knight with no arms and legs for umpteenth time on blogs, as if you have articulated some kind of innovative, disarming thought. What a bozo!

    Even the ‘flake’ slap was an imitation of what I called you! See if you can find one for dipstick! Or halibut!


  23. that ad sums up the whole C3 movement -“ooooonly the crrrrumbliest flaaaakiest gooooospel!!!”

  24. I have a new idea for Cadbury – its simply called the “W A N K E R bar”!!! and it even comes with its own weekly promotion:

  25. Don’t you get it, ELD. Your heart is so hard you can’t have a conversation with anyone without insulting them or trying to run them off the park.

    That is, unless they co-tow to your theology, and tip their hat to your apparently incredible knowledge of all things Biblical.

    Think of one single person who disagrees with you that you have not insulted or tried to run off.

  26. ELD,

    Since you have this hard heart, is it, being hard towards people you disagree with, also hard towards God? I ask this because to love God we are commanded to love people, regardless of the their eternal state.

    Even Horton implies, in refuting hyper-calvinism, that the elect need to adhere to a ‘common grace’ because God, he says, allows even those who are not elect to prosper and flourish in the earth, and to show kindness towards one another and even love one another, even though they are predestined to burn in hell for ever, and not enter ‘saving grace’ as the elect! (My paraphrase, but where do they dig this stuff up?)

    So, according to your own theologians, you have to show some kind of love an respect towards those who are ‘without’, since God loves all and has made a way, in his mercy, for all to have the same benefits, challenges and opportunities in his life, if not the life to come! ‘Without’ in your case, presumably meaning the non-elect, and not just the unsaved, who may one day be saved, world!

    But your hardness and mockery of God’s creatures, be they elect or not, shows your hardness towards him, his will, and his plan for the ages.

  27. “It is painful, highly emotive, depressing, and upsetting but it is also quite uncomplicated – knowing that no sinner will receiving anything short of God’s perfect justice (i.e. no one will recieve “injustice” from God)”

    ELD, that’s a great statement. Thou almost persuaded me to be a Calvinist.

    As for you dig at Greg with the GEAR stuff, that is so funny. But top marks for you Greg to be able to take that. To be able to respond well to that speaks volumes about your character to me. You pass the maturity test with flying colors man.

  28. That would be tremendous, churchman, if ELD’s idea of God’s justice were the same as yours. In fact, he holds to a view which contains flaws. Remember that God’s meeting out of justice, for the Calvinist, begins before creation, before all are born, not at the judgement seat, and has nothing ot do with how we live our lives on earth.

    ‘Many Calvinists claim that God loves all people. The only way to make this work within the TULIP system is to redefine love so that it loses all meaning. The crucial question facing Calvinism is why God does not save everyone rather than “pass over” many, damning them to eternal suffering forever (when he could save them because election to salvation is unconditional). As Wesley said, “love” such as this makes the blood run cold. There is no sense whatsoever of “love” compatible with being able to save the loved one from eternal loss and suffering and not doing it.

    The usual answer offered by Edwards-inspired Calvinists (the majority among evangelical Calvinists today) is that hell is necessary for the full manifestation of God’s glory, because all of his attributes, including justice, must be displayed without prejudice to any. As I have said before, this demeans the cross, as if it were not a sufficient manifestation of God’s justice.

    Another way in which many evangelical Calvinists attempt to resolve this conundrum is to say that God blesses the reprobate during their earthly lives. He showers many blessings on them which shows his love for them. However, this is simply to say he gives them a little bit of heaven to go to hell in. That does nothing to rescue the truth that God is love and loves everyone from being qualified to death. Calvinism simply cannot account adequately for the love of God; this God (of double predestination) is not a God of love and does not love everyone.

    One leading evangelical Calvinist bit the bullet on this and said famously, “God loves all people in some ways but only some people in all ways.” Really? What love is compatible with being able to rescue someone from absolute, total, everlasting torment but refusing to do it? The most important fatal flaw in Calvinism is that it departs from the biblical portrayal of God as loving and not wanting any to perish and falls into self-contradiction by saying that God loves everyone but refuses to save them even though he could.

    Of course, some Calvinists will argue that for his own reasons God can’t save everyone. But why? Is God not sovereign and omnipotent? Is his love shackled by his wrath?’

    ‘Some Calvinists argue that God actually regrets having to damn anyone. Why would he, if it brings him glory? And the same Calvinists explain God’s choice between the elect and the reprobate as “according to his good pleasure.” Why would something that brings him pleasure cause him regret? One leading evangelical Calvinist offers an analogy from the American Revolution. According to this analogy, George Washington signed the death warrant of a young officer for cowardice. He wept as he signed it, but had to sign it to keep order among the troops. Well, that analogy simply doesn’t work. To make it work, Washington would have to have condemned the one officer to death while pardoning another officer who committed the same offense. Also, Washington, presumably, did not foreordain or render certain the condemned officer’s acts of cowardice.’

    William Birch: form an article, ‘Another fatal flaw in Calvinism’

  29. @Churchman – then stop sitting on the fence – come join us man!

    BTW – as much as I pee him off at times (and vice versa) I really like and respect Greg…but he is in serious error all the same…

  30. @Kipling – Well Im glad you are quoting Olsen – as deficient as he is, I guess you could do alot worse than him….

  31. Another quote:

    The sovereign God “decides who will believe and undeservingly be saved and who will rebel and deservingly perish.”

    —John Piper, “How God Makes Known the Riches of His Glory to the Vessels of Mercy,” sermon on Rom 9:19–23 (February 16, 2003).

    Presumably he means from before the foundation of the earth! So this is another kind of justice, in its pre-judgment, is it not?

  32. When people are convinced that God does not love everyone, often they give themselves permission to not love others as well. They must be so thankful (prideful) that God chose them before they were born. Others just got the short end of the stick, huh?

    You have to wonder who is being worshipped when more of an effort is made to insult people (while defending Calvinism) than to patiently preach the gospel message in its simplicity with love. You will find more references to Calvin, Sproul, Piper, and MacArthur than references to Jesus, Paul, or Peter. More study of Calvin and his institutes than study of the Bible.

    Galations 5:22-26 (NIV)
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

    Matthew 7:15-20 (NIV)
    Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

    Revelation 22:17-19 (KJV)
    And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
    For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

    I will humbly accept an apology from you if you are ‘willing’ to be humble as well. Never did I insult you. I am sorry that you get so upset when someone points out the errors of those you hold in such high esteem.

  33. “BTW – as much as I pee him off at times (and vice versa) I really like and respect Greg”

    BTW – as much as I pee him off at times (and vice versa) I really like and respect Greg.

  34. @Kipling

    This is the immediate context of the quote – Go to Romans 9:18

    “So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. It was this last phrase that raised the objection. If he hardens whomever he wills if God has the right to decree who will become rebellious then Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”

    “Paul has portrayed God as absolutely sovereign. He decides who will believe and undeservingly be saved and who will rebel and deservingly perish. Before they were born or had done anything good or evil, he loves Jacob and gives Esau over to wickedness and destruction (9:11-13). He is free and unconstrained from influences outside himself when he decrees who will receive mercy and who will not (9:15-18).”

    So there you go Kipling, Piper is 100% correct talking about the eternal decree of God – he is using scripture to support his thesis – you therefore need to refute him from the scripture:

    Romans 9:18 So “then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills…”

    and Romans 9:11 “for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls”

    Thats the eternal decree of God – thats why many in this day are trying to pit Jesus against Paul…could say alot more but dont have time.

  35. SORRY big Mistake!

    I meant to say re that quote….

    that it was one of the most encouraging things I’ve read for a week!!! 🙂

  36. No one denies that God preordains events, prophesies crucial nation-shifting purposes, changes things in advance, or speaks things into being before they take place. “God calls those things which be not as though they were”. That is the essence of his true Sovereignty, grace and power. That is what makes him God. He sees the end form the beginning. He speaks things into being. he is the Word and he is the Spirit. He is God.

    But Paul doesn’t say, at all, that Esau is given over, by God, to wickedness and destruction, as Piper claims. In fact, he says they had done neither good nor evil. Neither does he say that God predestined Esau’s wickedness of nature to be induced from the foundation of the earth.

    Of course, God sees into the future of the two nations in Rebecca’s womb. It is part of his plan of redemption.

    Of course, he pre-planned that Israel would come from her, and that Christ would come from Israel, and even redemption would come from Israel. He spoke these things into being when he chose Abraham. Of course he saw all of redemption taking place in Christ from the beginning. Abraham, Isaac and Israel are part of the redemption plan of God. He called these things into being to save the world.

    This has nothing at all to do with what Piper is saying.

    God is not a puppet-master forcing people to sin and be wicked. They are wicked on their own! Once Adam sinned, all would follow. Righteousness could only come through faith, not through law, because law condemns all who fail. The law produces hardness of heart in those who resist. The only antidote to condemnation is mercy and grace. That’s why He sent Jesus. To redeem the world from sin and transgression, that is, the wickedness which entered through Adam’s transgression.

    It was a prophecy given to Rebecca in answer to her question to God, “Why is this happening to me”, when the twins, yet in her womb, struggled for ascendancy, as they would in adult life.

    The prophecy was, “The older shall serve the younger”, and so it came to pass. Later God said, in Malachi, Jacob I have loved, and Esau I have hated”, and rightly so, because Esau gave away the birthright for a bowl of potage. Did he know this would happen? Undoubtedly. But this is in no way proof of what Piper claims.

    This is very subtle eisegesis by Piper, and hard to detect, but a decent reading of scripture will dig it out. Those who have already decided to adopt the reformed way will never question it, and so the problem intensifies.

    Recognising what is predestined, and what is prophesied is very important.

  37. @Kipling
    “But Paul doesn’t say, at all, that Esau is given over, by God, to wickedness and destruction, as Piper claims. In fact, he says they had done neither good nor evil. Neither does he say that God predestined Esau’s wickedness of nature to be induced from the foundation of the earth.”

    Good! Piper is not saying that either because such an enquiry would necessarily depend on ones lapsarian view point or the understanding of the theoretical order of God’s decree before Creation, and in particular concerning the order of his decree for the fall of man.

    Again Kipling, unless you limit and interfere with the Omniscience of God and start plumbing the depths of Open Theism the same (so-called) philosophical dilemmas must be answered by the Arminian, thats why Open Theism is the most consistent form of Arminianism with the highest possible regard for what is known philisophically as libertairian free will…

  38. No, Universal Dessie Lover, those are your rules and conditions, based on your understanding, which is not all-encompassing, after all.

    Where has God given Esau over to wickedness of nature in the passage? Nowhere. It says the older will serve the younger – prophecy, and that Jacob he loves and Esau he hates – as revealed to Malachi after the fact, and quoted by paul.

    Is it not true that the inherited Adamic nature would be enough for Esau to enter sin? God must have known this. Why would he have to ‘give him over’ to rebel, or to sin? Surely, any intervention on God’s part would have been to prevent Esau from rebelling, since righteousness would have been contrary to his nature.

    “Paul has portrayed God as absolutely sovereign. He decides who will believe and undeservingly be saved and who will rebel and deservingly perish. Before they were born or had done anything good or evil, he loves Jacob and gives Esau over to wickedness and destruction (9:11-13). He is free and unconstrained from influences outside himself when he decrees who will receive mercy and who will not (9:15-18).”

    So, Piper’s idea of absolute sovereignty is that God decides on and causes an effect. Causes rebellion. Causes to perish.

    ‘He decides’! ‘…who will rebel and deservedly perish’!

    Not according to the Word. ‘All have sinned and fallen short of his glory’. Did he decide this? Or did all sin because they chose to sin, and all rebelled, regardless of God’s will? Surely rebellion is rejection of God’s will.

    And we know that God’s will is that none perish. How does his line up with him causing people to perish?

    Where, in Romans 9:9-11 does it say that God ‘gives Esau over to wickedness and destruction’?

    It is, in a way, true, but not in the sense Piper is giving. All are given over to ‘wickedness and destruction’, through rebellion, but that is through the universality of the effect of Adam’s transgression, the very reason Christ is sent to redeem the whole world from sin through the cross.

    The second part of this is his claim that God ‘decides who will believe and undeservedly be saved’. What has this to do with Esau? Esau lived before he could be saved, before the cross, before Christ was raised.

    Unless he is saying that God bases his decision on whether a person repents – believes and receives Christ – or refuses to believe and rejects Christ, which could only take place under the New Covenant, and in the age of grace, not in Esau’s day, and could only follow the preaching of the gospel.

    I think there is a crossing over of doctrines and Testaments here, if that is what you believe Piper is saying.

  39. Genesis 25:23 (KJV)
    And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

    Calvinism is read into and forced upon the scriptures. It misrepresents God. If you are stuck on continuing to depend on the exegesis of the ‘reformers’ and their followers then take a lesson in history and maybe you will be ‘enlightened’.

    I challenge you to peer into the Rosicrucian influence on the reformation and how it has shaped much of the protestant church to this day.

    Calvin was a crypto-jew and an agent of the Priory of Sion. He introduced heretical doctrines to divide the church and hijacked the reformation that was sprouting accross Europe. When the reformers departed from the catholic church many of them held on to beliefs from the Roman system (transubstantiation, infant baptism, and mary worship to name a few). When being introduced to Calvin for the first time they wont tell you that he helped convince those against the usury of the catholic church that it was ok to charge interest and that he persucuted Anabaptists.

  40. Yes, well, when I said keep on seeking, x-pl, I wasn’t really thinking of conspiracy fiction. I think you’ve got your historical time clock and fact sheets slightly out of kilter there.

    Best to stick to the Word and reality of faith for enlightenment.

  41. @ Kipling – What would be your take on the tsunami?
    Me? I totally concur with the following…….

    “When a Tsunami Comes”

    “Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.” – Psalm 135:6

    When it comes to God and His Sovereign right to do all He pleases in heaven and on earth, such is the depravity of mankind that we take our seat in the court of human opinion as both the jury and the Judge. We want answers! We feel we have a right to answers. God owes us an explanation (we think). So we schedule an immediate trial. God Himself must answer to us. He must be put in the dock. We demand that He answer the charges made against Him of injustice. And He had better come up with an adequate explanation. He had better be convincing, for we are more than ready to find Him guilty as charged for violating our moral sense of “goodness.”

    Yet, though we schedule the court hearing, hiring the best prosecution attorneys to act on our beahlf, God does not show up for the trial. This makes us all the more angry of course. But from His perspective, He feels no need or obligation to explain Himself.

    You will remember, I am sure, that Job asked a whole lot of questions as to why calamity had struck him and his family and never once did he receive an answer. God felt no obligation to explain Himself, but instead asked Job “where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” Job is stunned into silence as God asked question after question, none of which he could answer.

    When devastation occurs, many wish to point their cannons Godwood demanding that He explain Himself to us. Many are doing exactly this as the events of the last few days have unfolded. Some Christians and even some preachers, feeling the weight of the questions posed against God, resort to very unscriptural concepts of God to try to shield Him from scrutiny. They say “God is just as upset as you are. Once the tsunami occured, God was weeping in heaven, knowing the calamity would strike. There was nothing He could do. If only there were something. See His tears, as He weeps!”

    Really? Is that an explanation? God was powerless to prevent it? Really?

    In Job 38:8 when he asks Job rhetorically, “Who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb… and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?”

    Was God just being poetic? Was He simply filling space up in our Bibles to fool us with the pretense that He was actually in charge of the waves?

    Psalm 89:8-9 says, “O Lord… you rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them.” Did God lose this kind of power now in our enlightened intellectual and sophisticated age? Really?

    When the deadly threat of the storm came, Jesus “rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm” (Luke 8:24). Is He unable to do this now? As John Piper rightly stated, “even if Satan caused the earthquake, God could have stopped the waves.” That’s the God of the Bible, one who actually rules and reigns. Not even a sparrow falls to the ground except the Father was involved in some way.

    Amos asks the rhetorical question, “Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it?” (Amos 3:6) If we had any doubts as to the answer, those doubts are forever expelled in Isaiah 45:7 where the Lord says, “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.”

    A god who was powerless to prevent the tsunami is not the God of the Bible – plain and simple. In desiring to shield God from scrutiny, those who propagate the idea that God could not prevent all this have fled to the false refuge of idolatry.

    Perhaps someone’s reaction to all this is to say, “I could never love a God like that.” My response is, “Oh I understand you completely. Unless God graciously intervenes to take out our hearts of stone, and put in instead a heart of flesh which beats to know Him, none of us would ever love the true God of the Bible.” It is a work of grace from start to finish.

    Jesus’ shows us that in all reality, though we like to think we can aim our guns toward Him, God’s guns are rightfully aimed in our direction. It is we who must repent, not God. Here is the passage in Luke 13:

    Luke 13:1 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

    Personal tsunamis happen everyday. Perhaps it is the untimely death of a close friend or a loved one – an unfavorable health report from a doctor, a car crash, a plane crash – each of us has to deal with personal tsunamis at some point in our lives.

    What Jesus tells us is that when we see a tower fall on eighteen people and kill them or by wider application, the devastation of a tsunami where the death toll could be in the tens of thousands, rather than questioning God or pointing the finger at others, it should remind each of us of own personal sin and of what each of us deserve.

    Three main points from Jesus’ words:

    1. None of us are better than those who were killed

    which leads us to the second point…

    2. It should have been me (what should surprise us is that we were not killed last night or that God does not send similar scaled tsunamis everyday)

    3. Each of us personally must repent (the tsunami tells me that John Samson needs to repent for his sins and trust in the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ), and in light of the universal guilt of the human race, as a herald of the King, I must call others to heed His words, “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

    A Final Thought
    Lets keep praying for the precious people of Japan and for God’s good purposes in all this to be established. The fact is, we do not know all of God’s purposes, but we can say this for sure, He certainly has them. It may indeed be God’s purpose to bring a widespread awakening to the Gospel thoughtout Japan. On the other hand, without God directly intervening, many could become even more hardened to the things of God because of all this.

    God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy and will harden whom He will harden (Romans 9:18). He will do all His good pleasure.

    With all this being true, it then is our responsibility to pray, to feel compassion and to even weep for the many lost, broken and devastated lives. Our God is a God of compassion who commands us to feel the weight of other’s pain and to weep with them. Dr. John Piper rightly stated, “When the Bible says, “Weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15), it does not add, “unless God caused the weeping.”

    Job’s comforters would have done better to weep with Job than talk so much. That does not change when we discover that Job’s suffering was ultimately from God. No, it is right to weep with those who suffer. Pain is pain, no matter who causes it. We are all sinners. Empathy flows not from the causes of pain, but the company of pain. And we are all in it together.”

    May the love of God be seen in the hearts of all those who are able to help in practical terms, and may it be the cause of our on-going prayers for this great people. May He, through the gospel of Christ, draw many lost people into the fold, where they can experience an eternity of love in the presence of God, saved from His wrath forever.” John Samson – Effectual Grace

  42. Ex-Pirate listener – you appear more and more to be disconnected from the time/space continuum

    “Calvin was a crypto-jew and an agent of the Priory of Sion”

    I think you are a crypto-nut and blood relative of Ian Williams….

  43. His name was Jean Cauuin or Cohen (changed to Calvin), and he was most likely from Khazarian descent. That is not a conspiracy unless you choose to believe in revisionist history.

    In Calvin’s “Institutes” he repeatedly refers to God as the “Great Architect of the Universe”, a phrase repeated throughout French, Scottish, and English freemasonry.

    Luther believed in baptismal regeneration and infant baptism. Any student of the occult will also recognize Luther’s ‘symbol’ immediately.

    Calvin was a murderer. Augustine was highly ecumenical, allowing witches and sorcerers to have fellowship in the ‘church’. Both were theocratic rulers. By their fruits you will recognize them.

    Now what is more plausable, that Calvin was a disciple of Christ Jesus, or that he was an enemy of the truth? I would prefer to not believe the myths and fables shaped by false converts who have been influenced by followers of Talmudic Judaism.

    Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

  44. Kipling- I do appreciate your gracious, sincere reply, and I respect that you are taking the time to stand for truth amongst those who militantly promote reformed theology.

    ELD- Love is kind.

  45. Did you also know that the Apostle Paul started the high level occultic organization called Amway?

    Are you a King James Only-ist by the way?

    Yes, love is kind! (love is also wise and listens to its doctor when he tells it not to suddenly stop taking its medication)

  46. BTW the un-anglicized version is Jean Cauvin (that was when he was an Alexandrian Temple High Preist to Osiris)

  47. ELD-
    What is the motivation for your ‘jokes’? You have talent. Maybe you were predestined to become a comedian.

    I am certainly not a KJVO-ist. You may have noticed that I cited both the NIV and KJV in a previous post on this thread.

    Actually it is wise to question your doctor and get a second opinion when you suspect that he is only human and may be mistaken. Maybe you could do the same with Calvin, and his doctor Augustine who was one of the original ‘doctors’ of the Catholic Church. Maybe you should see another doctor, because you don’t sound so good.

  48. Ah, we’d all have been in trouble in Calvin’s time, for even considering a contrary view.

    Calvin confesses:
    ‘Servetus has just sent me a long volume of his ravings. If I consent he will come here, but I will not give my word for if he comes here, if my authority is worth anything, I will never permit him to depart alive.’

    So Servetus, who had a long running dispute with Calvin, and dared to venture into Geneva whilst Calvin was at the peak of his power, was burned alive for being the equivalent of a Oneness Pentecostal who opposed infant baptism!

    Calvin had it in his power to see him released, but chose to be sure to his word, and not God’s Word.

    Calvin’s view:
    ‘Whoever shall maintain that wrong is done to heretics and blasphemers in punishing them makes himself an accomplice in their crime and guilty as they are. There is no question here of man’s authority; it is God who speaks, and clear it is what law he will have kept in the church, even to the end of the world. Wherefore does he demand of us a so extreme severity, if not to show us that due honor is not paid him, so long as we set not his service above every human consideration, so that we spare not kin, nor blood of any, and forget all humanity when the matter is to combat for His glory.’

    When he speaks of punishing, he includes execution.

    This is the spirit of reformed thinking.

    I know he’s a Trinitarian, but I wonder if ELD believes in infant baptism?

  49. @Kipling, you and “crypto-jew” boy sure make a fine pair of ignoramuses.

    Do yourselves a huge favour and obtain a copy of legendary Church Historian Philip Schaff’s “Calvin and Servetus”, History of the Christian Church, Vol. VIII – find out what Servetus actually believed

    Kipling – I am a credo-baptist but one can be a covenental paedobaptist without holding to the erronious doctrine of baptismal regeneration – I cant believe you dont even know that (on second thoughts – …….., yes I can)

  50. Pre-meditated murder. Does it matter what Servetus believed and taught? Servetus held to false doctrine as well, but at least he was not violent. Are you trying to say what Calvin did was right, or just what he wrote in his institutes? None of us could ever keep the whole law, but sometimes actions speak louder than words.

    Even if a ‘conventional paedobaptist’ does not believe in baptismal regeneration, they still don’t believe in a ‘believers baptism’, and thus they have chosen to follow a pagan and catholic tradition that is nowhere to be found in the Bible.

  51. ELD, it would help you to cut out the silly affinity slaps. I was tempted to align your extremism with Ian William’s, but resisted. I didn’t want to insult Ian.

    But are you saying Calvin did the right thing by Servetus by burning him at the stake for denying the Trinity, as Calvin saw it, and criticising infant baptism?

    I personally don’t see it as a worthwhile pursuit chasing down every credo-paedo extra-biblical prefix. Not that we’re ignorant of the implications, or realisation, that these clans and splinter groups exist, but there’s enough to get on with just the fundamentals of Biblical truth revealed in the Word of God without sliding around the edges of some slippery slope of some intellectually defined nomenclature devised to describe a sectarian diversion.

    1 Corinthians 1
    10* Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
    11* For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you.
    12* Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.”
    13* Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
    14* I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,
    15* lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name.
    16* Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other.
    17* For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.

  52. Not that I’m downplaying the importance of water baptism, but let’s just do what Jesus told us to do in the first place (yes, credo-baptise, if you must be a latino-greco literalist) and cut out the need for qualification of every act Jesus pointed out so clearly.

    How did we ever go so far off track?

    The only way back is back to the Bible, folks. That’s all I’m saying.

    Thanks Calvin. Interesting, if somewhat confusing in places. Thanks Arminius. Helpful in its way, but not quite it.

    Now! Let’s see what Jesus said in the first place!

  53. It’s so easy to look on the past with oh so modern eyes.

    The basic error was not Calvin’s.

    The basic error was Augustine’s. He believed that it was ok to force people to come to Christ on the end of a sword “to save their souls”.

    The reformers inherited the idea of Church-State togetherness all the way from Constantine. Therefore, since you had an established church, as an arm of the state, it was permissible to execute individuals for blasphemy, as it was also an act of treason.

    Doesn’t make it right, but it was deemed to be right back then. Regardless of whether you were catholic, protestant, lutheran, calvinist … whatever.


  54. Note to self – never read this blog after wine that is stronger than you thought.

    “Calvin was a crypto-jew and an agent of the Priory of Sion. He introduced heretical doctrines to divide the church and hijacked the reformation that was sprouting accross Europe. ”

    Did I really read that? I copied and pasted to make sure. Maybe it’s the wine but my head is spinning after reading that…

    ELD. Classic lines again my friend. Paul and Amway?

    People change their names a lot. If expirate listener isn’t Ian Williams than there are a lot more really “interesting” Christians out there than I realize. Pirate, are you a Kiwi?

    I’ll come back to this tomorrow.

  55. “I’m a real pastor and I deal with real people asking real questions”! Unless the one asking the questions is Martin Bashir………hmmmmm.

  56. In 1394 Charles VI expelled the Jews from France. After that Jews did not openly practice their religion in France, and were not legally permitted to live in France until after the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. During this period some Jews that remained in France were protected by the pope and became know as the “Pope’s Jews”. Much has been written about them. Following the Spanish Inquisition and expulsion in 1492 Marranos (secrect Jews) began to arrive in France and called themselves Portuguese merchants because it was safer than being known as a Jew.

    There were many “crypto-jews” in France as well as in other parts of Europe. It is accepted by many historians that in order to avoid persecution Jews practiced their religion secretly, and were even baptised into the Catholic Church. It is likely that Calvin was raised in one of these families.

  57. Wow Ex-pirate, you could quite easily write a book with this very interesting theory, just make sure it stays in the “fiction” section of the bookstore where it belongs….

  58. Here is David Cloud preaching against Calvinism. He uses some very interesting examples from scripture:

    Dave Hunt’s lecture on Calvinism is also very informative. Hunt cites some revealing quotes from Augustine, R.C. Sproul, and John Piper. The entire lectue is about 85 minutes and is nine parts on youtube:

    Some of Dave Hunt’s associations cause concern for me personally, but I have found this lecture to be helpful as well as his research on ‘christian’ psychology and eastern religion.

  59. @Ex Pirate – Know Dave Hunt very well, I am glad his associations cause you some consternation – they really should….

    here is a little bit of a critique on mp3 of old Dave’s diatribe “What Love is This” (AKA “What Research is This”??) from Phil Johnson of Pyromaniacs:

    [audio src="http://gracelifepulpit.media.s3.amazonaws.com/GL-2003-03-06-PJ.mp3" /]

    Exposes Dave for the ignoramus he really is (at least on the reformed faith) as far as Im concerned…

  60. Why Calvary Chapel’s Anti-Calvinist Champion – George Bryson wont debate Calvinists anymore….(this is simply hillarious)

  61. Reflection on Rob Bell’s theological face plant before the watching world….

    Rob Bell is so darn effeminate – he is one of those little nancy boys you just want to punch in the arm or stick his head in the toilet and flush it and shout “harden up princess”…..irrespective of being a compromising liberal – he is just a detestible litte flea

    Having said that, on the above basis alone he is the ideal, un-manly, pathetic, little boy, post-modern evangelical megachurch pastor really…..

  62. He’s one of those guys who never played sport … time for a gang-tackle on a rugby pitch. One at knee height to do ligaments in both knees while another, from the opposite side hits at shoulder height while a third illegally tackles around the neck from behind.

    He’s gonna be stretchered off at that point.


    I am spending way too much time in the gym. It’s the testosterone driven church ladies and gents … and metro-sexual girly men.

  63. That is why I gave a disclamer and said that Hunt’s associations cause me concern. He has had a long history of partnering with Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel (a dangerous movement). I certainly don’t agree with Hunt and Smith teaming up to spread their rapture dogma, or Hunt’s views on eschatology for that matter.

    BUT, that has nothing to do with anything Hunt presented in the above lecture. I believe it can be used for educational purposes. Do you have anything intelligent to say about one thing Hunt said in the lecture? Or would you rather just focus on the man himself and deflect attention away from the discussion of election by introducing characters such as George Bryson?

    “Rob Bell is so darn effeminate – he is one of those little nancy boys you just want to punch in the arm or stick his head in the toilet and flush it and shout “harden up princess”…..irrespective of being a compromising liberal – he is just a detestible litte flea”

    Rob Bell is spreading his liberal, post-modern cancer, but we should pray for him and those influenced by him. We should be offering criticism that is constructive, not ridicule. The above comment is far from Christ-like. I don’t recall Jesus ever physically forcing himself upon anyone in the New Testament.

    Maybe Calvin would have done something like that if there were toilets in the 16th century, before he cut your head off…

  64. Phil Johnson worships all things Spurgeon, another MAN with holes in his doctrine. He edits all of John MacArthur’s books, many of which are chock-full of contradictions.

  65. Phil Johnson? Highly recommend him as a source of good preaching, teaching and all-round good guy. But what would I know – I’m just a sovereign God, sovereign grace sort of person……

  66. Ex-pirate – “Maybe Calvin would have done something like that if there were toilets in the 16th century, before he cut your head off…”

    Didnt you know that Calvin gave Servetus the Royal Flush in the boys toilets AND an Atomic Wedgie before marching him out, dowsing him in zippo lighter fluid and striking a match…!!

    Calvary Chapel is a “dangerous movement” eh? – we can have significant disagreements doctrinally without going quite that far chum….

    You are a indeed a retard…

  67. Obviously you have not studied Chuck Smith.

    -In Smith’s 1978 book, Future Survival, he predicted that Jesus would return by May of 1981.

    -In his 1993 book, Answers for Today, Smith revealed his ecumenism:
    “Paul points out that some say, ‘I’m of Paul,’ while others say, ‘I’m of Apollos.’ He asked, ‘Isn’t that carnal?’ But what’s the difference between saying that or saying, ‘I’m a Baptist,’ ‘I’m a Presbyterian,’ ‘I’m a Methodist,’ ‘I’m a Catholic’? I have found that the more spiritual a person becomes, the less denominational he is. We should realize that we’re all part of the Body of Christ and that there aren’t any real divisions in the Body. We’re all one. What a glorious day when we discover that God loves the Baptists! — And the Presbyterians, and the Methodists, and the Catholics. We’re all His and we all belong to Him. We see the whole Body of Christ, and we begin to strive together rather than striving against one another” (p. 157).

    There aren’t any real divisions in the body Chuck? Are we all one? I would certainly not say that God does not love Catholics, but Catholicism is a false version of christianity. I would rather not strive together with them.

    Smith’s ecumenism is also grossly displayed by his promotion of Rick Warren at the Harvest Crusades. In 2009 he introduced his ‘good friend Rick Warren’ in front of 20,000+ youth in Anaheim.

  68. And any movement (Calvary Chapel) that takes a contradictory stance or remains silent about false teachers such as Rick Warren is dangerous. Much of the Calvary Chapel denomination (and it is one) is divided. If any church wanted to distance themselves from Chuck Smith they should cease to be called a ‘Calvary Chapel’.

  69. Sorry, I would have liked to answer sooner but sometimes other things come into my way.

    wazza wrote: “I think thats a bit strong. Mithra and Attis are known to have had virgin births on December 25th, although as you would expect this claim is contentious and there are a huge number of sites stating that this is either incorrect or it dosent matter.”

    You disappoint me a bit, in one case (Attis) you seem to suggest that being conceived by a fruit from a tree that was before a male genital is a virgin birth?
    I would call it a poetic description of sexual conception.
    In the other case (Mithra) this was a mystery cult, so almost nothing can be said or claimed so confidently as Bell does. And this all in an effort of belittling Jesus divinity and also the main reason for his incarnation.

    wazza wrote: “1. The book of revelations is talking about the past, not the future “ Well that was the standard Protestant theology until the 19th Century”

    I was not talking about futurism, what I learned was that all the prophetic sayings are supposed to occur within history beginning from the tme of the old covenant until the end of history. I think that is what is called historicism and is what is held as being the dominating view of protestants.

    The consequence of Bells view that the promised reconciliation (and probably although not explicitly stated, also the restoration of the cosmos) has already occured and we only need to live it, is this: We are already living in the kingdom and it is in our hands to make it the new heavens and the new earth.
    God has already done his part and will not interfere in any form, which is effectively similar to the view of deists.
    This obviously creates the problem how to deal with what we see every day on tv news or read in the newspaper, or read on this blog about strange things within churches.
    It will also put enormous pressure on humans to work out the fulfillment and offers no hope in darkening times.

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