Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Atheist lodges valid objection if you are Arminian!

In the previous June 30 post, the following comment was left by the atheist and former pastor, John Loftus, of the Debunking Christianity blog:

This caught me eye. You see, the whole question is silly from my perspective. Let me briefly explain.

If there is no Christian God then of course I was never saved...and neither are you. This is what I now maintain.

If the question is whether I believed in Christ and the gospel message, professed it, and spread it, then I did. I believed the message even if now I claim the message is false and delusionary.

The only kind of Christians we ever see are professing Christians. As far as I can tell you are professing Christians, and that's all you can say about yourselves, even if the Gospel is true.

So to say I was never a professing Christian is obviously false, because I was, just like you. To say I have not committed the unforgiven sin goes against any good interpretation of the relevant biblical texts. But to say that a professing Christian who's faith was not just to the bone, but to the very marrow, means your God rejected me when I believed in him and accepted with everything in me the gospel of grace. That, my friends, is a callous and indifferent God unworthy of nothing more than disgust from me.

My response to his comment from a Calvinist perspective:

Thanks for your visit.
You said………….
But to say that a professing Christian who's faith was not just to the bone, but to the very marrow, means your God rejected me when I believed in him and accepted with everything in me the gospel of grace.

The contributors here are Calvinists. As such we do not believe in salvation as you describe it. Men through human decision do not accept the gospel of grace apart from God causing it through regeneration. Therefore, God does not reject those he effectually calls and gives the gift of faith. Your professed faith was not wrought by God the Holy Spirit and was a false faith. As you put yourself, it was a delusion. You have made a correct judgment about your faith being delusional and have assumed that everyone else with faith must also be delusional. Unless you are really an agnostic posing as an atheist, you have simply exchanged a faith in God for a faith in nonsense. To place your faith in an uncaused cause other than a supreme intelligent being is to embrace the ultimate in hocus pocus magic.

From an Arminian perspective a real problem is raised:

Arminianism asserts that faith precedes regeneration and once a sinner believes God, then He regenerates and causes them to be born again. This atheist is charging that God rejected him when he believed with everything in him. This is not a hypothetical situation. This is real and under the Arminian concept of salvation he has a valid complaint. He is basically saying that he did his part by believing and God failed to regenerate and change his heart.

I gave the Calvinist explanation to this real situation. The Zane Hodges theology answer is that he is saved even as an atheist.

Can anyone give me the Arminian answer to his objection? Anyone?

aa

6 comments:

donsands said...

Jack Hayford would say he was once a Christian, even born again, but has lost his standing with God. He is unborn again.

Paul commends the Corinthian believers in his first epistle, and then says: "unless you have believed in vain".

There are false disciples in the Church. Some go out, because they are not of us, as St. John tells us.
And there will be many in the Church who false believers, lukewarm, and Jesus says you are better to be hot or cold. many will say Lord Lord on that day, and many will give an account for trusting, and then turning their back on God.
And there will be those who by His great mercy shall be forever grateful, and full of undeserving joy.

jazzycat said...

Don,
Thanks. Good points. TRUE FREE GRACE is from God and it does not fail.

John W. Loftus said...

If your God chooses not to cause my salvation through regeneration then I am damned to hell and there is nothing by believing in the Gospel I can do in obedience to the Gospel which will bring me into salvation.

It's very hard for you to see THIS for what it is. That, my friends, is a callous and indifferent God unworthy of nothing more than disgust from me.

Let's say Allah exists, predetermines that you are deceived into believing in Christianity just to send you to hell. That is the same kind of thing you believe with regard to me. What would you think of Allah? The same thing I think of Yaweh. That, my friends, is a callous and indifferent God unworthy of nothing more than disgust.

It's simply incredible that you would believe in such a God, love him, praise and worship him. This God of your is nothing but a big bully, and egomaniac, a despicable thug. He is a user, and it does no good to say he has a right to use us. As people with thoughts and feelings we still want to know we are loved and cared for and not used.

The atonement does nothing to save your God for there is no theory of atonment that is rationally justifiable. And our sins cannot be so bad that it justifies your God's treatment of us. No theory of justice demand that a criminal should be punished differently depending on who he victimized.

donsands said...

" And our sins cannot be so bad"

But they are, according to Scripture. We can think whatever we want, can't we.

Some people will say Hitler was evil, but what about Ganhdi?

God looks a one Man, and He is the example for us all. Jesus of Nazareth is how one is to live.

But no one can, so there's no way to the Father.

But God, with his great love wherewith He loved us gave His Beloved Son, and Jesus declared He is the Way. He is the Truth. And He is the Life.

Jesus is the good news for a world of sinners.

People make up what they think is bad and good don't they. But how do they come up with what is bad?

Is raping a child bad? How about stealing a bike?

God sees it way different then we do.

jazzycat said...

John,
Thanks for the response.

The bottom line of your assertion is basically the same as that of Adam's desires. You are asserting a parallel relationship with the God of the Bible. Since the actual relationship is vertical, you are basing a lot of judgmental thinking about God on a faulty premise. As a former pastor I am sure you are aware that the Bible makes a huge distinction between the pot and the potter.

Those who believe in Allah are in the same boat as atheists, so I am not sure I follow your point here.

Those of the antinomian free grace movement consider you saved and bound for eternal life. I would sure like and appreciate to know how you would react if they are correct and you discovered after death that you were headed for heaven. How would you react? What would you say to God?

jazzycat said...

Don,
Thanks. Good point!