Calvinist Comments: Twisting and Torturing "Free-Will"
These comments are from Soteriology 101’s post “What You MeantFor Evil, God Meant For Good.” Notice the Calvinist’s (Rhutchin) twisted view of free-will and how he deceptively tries to incorporate it into a very non-free-will theology. (I have learned SO MUCH about Calvinism from this Calvinist’s comments. He is a well-educated, well-trained, “intelligent” Calvinist who is as slippery as they come - knowing which Bible verses (redefined or taken out of context) to throw at which arguments, knowing when to hide his real meanings/definitions, how to trap and manipulate people into Calvinism, using every Calvinist trick in the book to wriggle out of any hard spot, etc.. He has been instrumental in helping me see Calvinism’s deception and manipulation and nonsense in action. So thank you, Rhutchin!) FYI: I have made minor alterations for better clarity and explanation. [And I will be adding my own notes in brackets, interspersed throughout the Calvinist comments. And this will be long. Calvinism creates such a huge mess with its deceptive nonsense that it takes some time to clean it up.]
The Calvinist, Rhutchin, says (in blue):
“Free-will is the freedom to do as one desires. If one desires to obey Satan, he can do so; if one desires to disregard Satan, he can do so.”
[My – Heather’s – note: This is such a deceptive Calvinist statement! Calvinists will say that free-will is “choosing to do what we desire,” to make it sound like their theology includes an amount of free-will, to not scare off the Christians who would be alarmed by “there is no free-will.” And most of us stop listening critically at something like this, satisfied that they support the idea of free-will, of us being able to make our own choices.
But this is not what it seems! Because what they really believe (but usually hide!) is that God (Calvinism’s god, a.k.a. Calvi-god, as I call him) determines which desires we have (the desire to sin or to obey, to reject Him or to believe in Him, etc.) by giving us the nature he predestined us to have.
Calvi-god gives a “regenerated nature” to the elect, and this nature contains the desire to seek him, believe in him, do good, obey, etc. But he does not and will not give this nature to the non-elect because he has predetermined to give them the “sin nature” because he has predestined them for hell. And the sin-nature contains ONLY the desire to sin and reject him, which means those with the sin-nature will ONLY be able to choose sin, as their desires tell them to. And we cannot change the nature Calvi-god gave us, according to Calvinism.
Some “freedom,” huh!?! Being forced to have only one kind of desire (to sin, if you are one of the non-elect), which means you can only “want” to sin, which means you can only choose to sin (in Calvinism, you are a slave to your desires and can never choose anything other than what your built-in desires tell you to choose) … and all because Calvi-god wouldn’t give you the “regenerated nature” he gives to those he predestined for heaven, because he predestined you for hell and needs to make sure it happens. So you get the nature that can ONLY ALWAYS want to sin and ONLY ALWAYS choose to sin, with no chance of ever wanting to come to the Lord. Once again, some “freedom,” huh!?!
So when a Calvinist says “We do what we desire,” it’s flat-out, shameless deception and manipulation. They don’t mean you desire what you want or that you can really choose between different options; they mean that you can only desire what your nature (given to you by Calvi-god) tells you to desire and that you can only make the choice that those desires force you to make.
You don’t pick your nature, you don’t choose which desires come with your nature, and you can’t choose anything differently than what your nature tells you to choose. How deceptive! And how very different from a plain reading of “Free-will is the freedom to do as one desires”!
No, Calvinism’s “free-will” is only being able to desire what your Calvi-god-given nature tells you to desire, and then only being able to make the choice that goes with the desire of your nature. In Calvinism, it’s not “If one desires to obey Satan, he can do so”; it’s “If Calvi-god gives you the sin-nature which contains ONLY the desire to obey Satan, you WILL do so!” Big, big difference!]
Calvinism says that no one willing accepts salvation through Christ, and this because of man’s depravity.
[Heather’s note: In Calvinism, we don’t really accept salvation because we wanted to, and we can’t even “want” salvation on our own anyway (because of our “totally depraved” nature, according to Calvinism) unless Calvi-god causes us to. And he only causes the elect to want and accept salvation by giving them – and only them - the regenerated nature. Everyone else is out of luck. They just weren’t “chosen,” through no fault of their own.
And so – duh! - of course in Calvinism NO ONE “willingly” accepts salvation. Because in Calvinism, no one can “will” to do anything. In Calvinism, only Calvi-god really wills anything. So if Calvi-god wills you to believe in him, you will. If he wills you to reject him, you will. You have no real choice in the matter; you can only desire to do what Calvi-god willed you to do. And you can NEVER choose to do anything differently.
Don’t believe me that this is what Calvinism really teaches? Rhutchin confirms it in another comment of his: “God does not coerce people to reject the Gospel; it’s built into their nature.” (Emphasis is added.)]
Calvinists reject the idea that unregenerate man can choose good without first being regenerated. Calvinists affirm free-will that is not coercive and that reflects the person’s desires.
[Translation: “You CANNOT choose good (or God) unless God takes away your sin-nature and gives you the regenerated-nature, which He will only do for the elect. Therefore, those He predestined to hell have to keep their sin-nature, which contains ONLY the desires to sin. And therefore, the unregenerated, non-elect people can ONLY ALWAYS desire to sin and ONLY ALWAYS ‘choose’ to sin. But since they ‘desired’ to sin (even though they had no control over which desires they got), they weren’t really ‘coerced’ into sinning. They ‘desired’ to do it anyway, according to the desires of their sin-nature (chosen for them by Calvi-god), so it’s really ‘their fault’ that they sinned. Not Calvi-god’s.”
It’s flippin’ nonsense! Deceptive, demon-inspired nonsense!]
Man is free to sin until God intervenes to bring about a different outcome.
[Heather’s note: How deceptive! “Free to sin”? No, the unregenerated people are not “free” to sin; they are predestined to sin with no ability to NOT SIN. In Calvinism, we are “free” to choose only that which Calvi-god predestined us to choose. It would be like being on a island where all they had was bananas, and they tell you, "You are free to eat whatever you want."
So the unregenerated people are “free” to choose which path to take, but there is only one path available for them: SIN. And their sin-nature, given to them by Calvi-god, forces them to “want” to sin. And so they choose the path of sin. And yet Calvi-god holds them responsible for sinning, because they “wanted” it and chose it, even though that’s all they could do.
Yep! Sounds like a trustworthy, just, righteous god to me! First giving people the magic potion that makes them only want to sin and only able to sin, and then punishing them when they “choose” to sin.
Does this really sound like an accurate picture of God and the Gospel to you? I wish Calvinists would stop associating themselves with Christianity! It makes a bad name and a big mess for those of us who are trying to uphold God’s character as He revealed it and the Bible as it is written!]
Man is never autonomous but can only do that which God accepts, and then God intervenes at certain times to get a course correction.
[Heather’s note: Deceptive hogwash! “Accepts” is a cover for “preplanned and causes.” What he means here is that we can’t really make our own choices but that we can only do what Calvi-god ‘accepts’ (and Calvi-god will only ‘accept’ what he predetermined would happen, what he preplanned and causes).
And yet, somehow, even though Calvi-god predestined/causes/controls everything (every choice we make and sin we commit), he still has to “intervene” at times to correct the course we’re on!?! Interesting! Correcting the mistakes we make and detours we take, even though he preplanned everything that happens, including the mistakes we make and detours we take!?! So he preplans that people mess up his plans so that he can ‘fix it’!?! Does this make sense to anyone?
This is simply a Calvinist’s attempt to absolve Calvi-god of the responsibility for the bad choices we make, even though he preplanned/controls/causes everything we do. It’s really saying, “God causes the bad choices we make, and then He causes us to correct the bad choices we make, because He wanted both things to happen for His glory and plans.”
In Calvinism, sin is as glorifying to Calvi-god as is the correction of sin. Calvi-god cares only about his glory and causes everything that happens to get more glory for himself, even sin.
“But,” you rightly ask, “if Calvi-god causes sin for his glory, then why do we fight against sin? Aren’t we then fighting against what he’s causing for his glory?”
The Calvinist answer: “Because it brings him glory when he fight against the sin he causes for his glory.”
Do you really hear that!?! How contradictory, irrational, and schizophrenic that is!?!
Sin glorifies Calvi-god. He causes our sins for his glory. And then he causes us to fight against sin for his glory. So he is equally glorified by both causing child abuse, murder, lying, thievery, etc. and by causing us to fight against these things. Really think about that, about what it does to God and His Gospel and His character and to our role here on earth as His representatives.]
In Lydia’s case, God opened her heart prior to believing, thereby enabling Lydia to respond (or believe) in that which Paul was preaching…. Lydia was ‘listening’ [to Paul]. But she was neither understanding nor believing and therefore, could not respond to what she was hearing. God’s opening of her heart gave her the ability to respond (a response requires understanding and believing). Otherwise, you have the situation where a person is listening/understanding/believing the gospel yet does not respond to the gospel and that conclusion is not tenable.
[Heather’s note: Where does Scripture say any of this? This is super-imposing their own Calvinist views onto Scripture.
Let’s look at what the Bible actually does say in Acts 16:14-15: “One of those listening was a woman named Lydia … who was a worshipper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us into her home.”
And that’s it!
And so I ask … Where does it say that she didn’t believe in God before He opened her heart? Where does it say that she was neither understanding nor believing, that she COULD NOT respond, unless God caused her to? Where does it specify what Paul’s message was, the thing that God “opened her heart” about? Where does it say that it was about salvation (believing the Gospel), instead of being about something like the importance of baptism? Where does it say that “opening someone’s heart” means “controlling their choices,” instead of maybe something like “helping someone who wants to understand the truth to see the truth more clearly, and encouraging them to believe it”?
One key to finding the flaws in Calvinism’s interpretation of Scripture is to take what they say about the verse, read the verse (the whole passage) for yourself, and ask yourself, “What is the passage clearly saying, in context, and what does it NOT say that Calvinism says it does?” You’ll find a lot of their errors this way. (Also see "12 Tips on How to Think Critically about Calvinism.")
(And notice the only options Rhutchin presents: Either God caused her to understand, believe, and respond … or you can have people believing in the Gospel without responding to the Gospel. It’s bad logic that doesn’t even make sense, meant to trap you into saying “Okay, since you can’t have belief without response, then I guess God must have caused her to believe and respond.”)]
My comment, in relation to the Calvinist idea that God Himself decides what man will decide in every situation:
Then how do Calvinists explain these verses:
Hosea 8:4: “They set up kings without my [God’s] consent; they choose princes without my approval.” (God’s own words. How is this possible if He plans all things, causes all things, and decides what people decide? According to Calvinism, EVERYTHING is done according to God’s consent and approval (pre-planning and causing). So … is God lying in this verse?)
Acts 14:16: “In the past, [God] let nations go their own way.” (How can He do that if everything is HIS way? How would “letting them go their own way” be any different from always carrying out His way, if He determines all things that happens all the time?)
Isaiah 30:1: “‘Woe to the obstinate children,’ declares the Lord, ‘to those who carry out plans that are not mine …'” (What’s this I hear!?! “Plans that are not Mine”!?! Impossible, for all plans are His plans, according to the Calvinist. God must have been lying then, right, saying He didn’t plan what they did? Giving them the credit for their plans when He alone causes everything for His own glory?)
1 John 2:22: “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ.” (If God causes men to deny that Jesus is Christ, wouldn’t that make God complicit in the lie? A liar spreading lies?)
Matthew 18:6: “If anyone causes one of these little ones – those who believe in me – to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Umm … if Calvinism is true, then isn’t God the one who caused the little ones to stumble? Should He tie a millstone around His own neck then?)
Jeremiah 19:5: “They have built the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Baal - something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.” (Once again, God’s own words. How can God cause someone to decide to do something that God Himself says never entered His mind?)
Calvinism cannot explain verses like these (and these are just a few!) in any rational, logical ways that keeps God’s character intact and that maintains the truth found in Scripture as a whole. But they keep trying! Doing more and more damage to God’s character and Gospel Truth!
Rhutchin's comment, trying to explain the connection between Calvinism’s “God predestines your decisions” and non-Calvinism’s “We are the cause of our own choices” like this:
There is not disagreement between the two statements. God is the remote cause; people are the proximate cause of their choices. [Heather’s note: In Calvinism, “remote cause” is something like being the “ultimate but indirect cause,” as in God is out there somewhere, making decrees about what actions will happen on earth, but He’s not actually doing the actions Himself. He causes us to do them, making us the “proximate cause,” the secondary cause, the ones who actually do the actions and carry out the plans that He decreed. In Calvinism, God ultimately predestines what happens, and we are simply the ones who carry it out on earth. Basically, God programs what we do, and we do what we were programmed to do, like a robot (proximate cause) following the orders of the programmer (remote cause). This is a pathetic attempt to make it seem like man really had a part in their decision to sin and so he can be held accountable for it, even though God preprogrammed us to do those sins and we couldn’t choose anything differently.]
As God is omniscient, God knew, before He created the world, every event that was to happen. [Heather’s note: Of course Calvi-god “knew it,” he preplanned it! “God knew” is just a cover for “God predestines/causes/controls.” But they say “God knew” so it can sound like “God knew we would sin” instead of “God caused us to sin.” They’re covering up what they really believe so that they don’t have to explain how Calvi-god can cause our sin but hold us accountable for it. And if they do get caught and have to explain it, their answer is usually “Because He is God and we are not. Who are we to talk back to Him? He is the Potter and we are the clay. It’s a mystery, and who are we to think we can peer into the mysteries that God keeps for Himself.” And other such manipulative garbage that really just means “Shut up, accept what I tell you, and don’t ask questions!”]
By creating the world, God set in motion everything that He knew was to happen – God decreed everything that was to happen. Thus, God is the cause of all that happens. However, as God has infinite understanding of the world He created, He also knew the desires of the people that would come into existence and God decreed those desires to arise out of their sin natures when He could have easily stopped them. [Heather’s note: Okay, now he’s just confirming everything I said about what Calvinism really believes.]
People are the proximate cause of their choices – they make choices without being coerced by God to make those choices. [Heather’s note: They don’t have to be “coerced” because the built-in desires of the nature Calvi-god gave them will ensure that they do what he predestined them to do. So maybe it’s not “coercion,” but it’s sure not “choice.”]
God is able to arrange circumstances to put people under pressure to see if they will trust Him. For example, God has Samuel delay his arrival before King Saul, leading Saul to make the sacrifice. [Heather’s note: Yet in Calvinism, Calvi-god didn’t just arrange the circumstances to give Saul room to make a bad choice. No, Calvi-god caused Samuel to be delayed, but then also caused Saul to make the bad choice. Big difference!]
God can destroy cities or the whole world if He wants, and no one lives to the next day unless God decreed it before He created the world. [Heather’s note: Yeah sure, but how does a Calvinist translate “God can … if He wants” into “Therefore, God preplans and causes everything that happens”? That’s a mighty huge, illogical, unbiblical leap! And in no way is “God can do what He wants” the same thing as Calvinism’s “God always does what He wants, and everything that happens is because God preplanned it, wanted it, and caused it”! Two totally different things!]
BR.D. (non/anti-Calvinist) says:
Calvinist Paul Helm’s quote: “Not only is every atom and molecule, every thought and desire, kept in being by God, but EVERY TWIST AND TURN OF EACH OF THESE is under the *DIRECT* CONTROL of god.”
Based on the fact that, in Calvinism, every creaturely decision is UNDER THE *DIRECT* CONTROL of Calvin’s god, we can say Calvin’s god is thus the PROXIMATE CAUSE [the direct cause] of every twist and turn of each of these (i.e. creaturely decisions).
That would make Calvin’s god the PROXIMATE CAUSE of the proximate cause.
TS00 (another non/anti-Calvinist) responds:
Exactly. Rhutchin leaves unspecified the relationship between the remote cause and the proximate cause, which Calvinism does not leave open to debate. Calvi-god is the sole determining cause of whatsoever comes to pass. It makes not the slightest difference how or if he uses a ‘remote’ control (pardon the pun), a whole chain of secondary means or simply thinks all things into existence and uses secondary means to bring them to pass. The buck stops with Calvi-god – that’s why he gets all the glory, right?
Illogical or devious, Calvi-god is always trying to take all the glory without the responsibility for the evil he ordained into existence. Since Calvi-god ordains all things before man exists, it is preposterous to assert that man has any responsibility for anything he thinks, desires, believes or does – despite all of Calvinism’s claims.
Here are Rhutchin’s responses to the verses and comments I presented earlier:
Heather says: “Hosea 8:4: “They set up kings without my [God’s] consent; they choose princes without my approval.” (God’s own words. How is this possible if He plans all things, causes all things, and decides what people decide? According to Calvinism, EVERYTHING is done according to God’s consent and approval (pre-planning and causing). So … is God lying in this verse?”)
Rhutchin’s reply: Similarly, Cain murdered Abel without God’s consent or approval. God allowed David to get into bed with Bathsheba without His consent or approval. God allows Heather to sin without His consent or approval. Hosea also said, “With their silver and gold they have made idols for themselves,” also without God’s consent or approval. So, “EVERYTHING is done according to God’s consent and approval (pre-planning and causing),” but this does not mean that God coerces sinful behavior by people or that people do not voluntarily do the sinful things they do. [Heather’s note: First off, huh!?! He says things are done without God’s consent or approval while also affirming that everything is done with God’s consent and approval? I’m not sure how to respond to that. What Calvinists will say, though, is “Of course God doesn’t consent or approve of sin; He just predestined it to happen, even though He doesn’t consent or approve of it.”] Unless, you mean to deny God the ability to be omniscient, I don’t see why you have a problem with this verse. [Heather’s note: In Calvinism, God’s omniscience (knowing everything) is synonymous with “God preplans and actively controls everything.” So if you deny that God preplans and actively controls everything, if you say that we can make choices on our own that God doesn’t cause us to make, they will accuse you of denying God’s omniscience. It’s another trap, another bit of manipulation, meant to shame you into agreeing with them.]
Heather says: “Acts 14:16: “In the past, [God] let nations go their own way.” (How can He do that if everything is HIS way? How would “letting them go their own way” be any different from always carrying out His way, if He determines all things that happens all the time?)”
Rhutchin’s reply: Here, we see that God uses the sinful acts of people for His purposes. [Heather’s note: No, Calvi-god CAUSES the sinful acts for his purposes! Big difference!] So, “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God.” We see this in the life of Joseph whose brothers went their own way, not to kill Joseph but only to sell him to the Midianite slave traders. God gave Satan free rein over Job. The three Israelites were thrown into a burning furnace by Nebuchadnezzar. In all events, God’s will is accomplished through the wills of sinful people [Heather’s note: In Calvinism, God’s Will is accomplished not just by working our choices into His plans, but by controlling our wills to force us to do what He predestined us to do. This isn’t “causing all things to work together for good.” It’s just “causing all things.”] God does not have to prod people to be sinful as they do this naturally being born with a sin-nature and ruled by Satan [See what I mean!?!], but God does need to restrain the evil that people desire to do. All these things were decreed by God before He created the world, nothing happens that is not known by [Calvinists code for “caused by”] God.
My reply to Rhutchin:
I have no problem with “God causes all things to work together for good,” which is biblical. I have a problem with “God causes all things!” Which is not biblical. God allows things that He doesn’t cause – things He lets us decide to do – and He works it into His plans. He allows us to sin, but does not cause us to sin, and then He works our self-chosen sins into His plans.
And don’t bring up the fake “free-will” again, saying that Calvinism says people still “freely” make their own choices according to their natures – when we all know you mean that God alone determines what nature a person gets, whether they get the new “saved/regenerated” nature or whether they have to keep the old “sinner/unrepentant” nature where all they can do is sin. That is not free-will or freedom! It’s not mankind being able to make choices. It is still God causing you to be what you are and to do what you do.
If I threw you out of a plane with no parachute and said you were “free” to do whatever you wanted as you fell to the ground, who would be responsible for you crashing into the ground? Me?
“Oh, no,” I would say, “you had ‘freedom’ to do whatever you wanted while you were in the air. It’s not my fault you crashed, because you were ‘free’ to do what you wanted while falling. So don’t blame me.”
“Remote cause” and “proximate cause” are fake constructs, to try to explain why Calvi-god shouldn’t be accountable for the things he causes people to do. It’s Calvinism’s way of saying “But the unbeliever is responsible for their own choices because they had freedom to do what they wanted on the way down, even though God’s the one who threw them out of plane. But don’t blame God for their demise, because they had ‘freedom’ during the fall.” God is still the reason they were falling in the first place, and they couldn’t do anything to stop the fall. Who cares what fake “freedom” they had while they fell! God’s still the one responsible for the fall, and the person couldn’t do anything differently, according to Calvinism. It’s sad that you can’t see that.
And you (Rhutchin) say: “Similarly, Cain murdered Abel without God’s consent or approval. God allowed David to get into bed with Bathsheba without His consent or approval. God allows Heather to sin without His consent or approval.”
Would Calvinists really say that things can happen without God’s consent or approval? That we can cause something to happen against His wishes? That’s what the kings/princes verse is saying, that they picked leaders that they never asked Him about and that He didn’t approve of. They went ahead on their own – without consulting God – and picked their own leaders. So are you admitting that there are things we do that God doesn’t actively cause, that we can act on our own? However, according to Calvinism, God is in full control of what happens – causing it all – for His purposes and glory. How can things happen that He doesn’t approve of if He supposedly causes it all for His glory, according to Calvinism? Are you admitting there are things that are outside of His “sovereign” micromanaging control, since you say things can happen that He doesn’t give His consent on or approve of?
If Calvinism is true, God causes it all – wants it all to happen – because He planned it all, and it brings Him glory. And so you Calvinists can’t say that anything happens that He doesn’t consent to or approve of. (And yet the Bible does say there are things we do that He doesn’t consent to or approve of. So who’s wrong and who’s right?)
I don’t have any problem with saying that God works His Will out through the wills of men, that God takes what we choose to do and works it into His plans. I have a problem with Calvinism saying that God controls the wills of men (so in Calvinism, there really is no such thing as “man’s will” because it’s ALL Calvi-god’s will). I have a problem with saying that God decrees everything that happens (meaning that He preplanned and caused it all) because this means God causes us to do the things He commands us not to do (sin, rebel, disobey, etc.) and that He actively prevents us from doing the things He commands us to do (believe, repent, obey, etc.), which is a total contradiction of His character and makes Him unjust and untrustworthy and a liar.
And then it means that Calvinists have to do this crazy Scripture-twisting to try to make it seem like man can justly be held accountable for the things God ultimately causes us to do. A desperate attempt to absolve God of any responsibility for the evil things we do, making it sound like it’s our fault (“proximate cause”) while still trying to say He “sovereignly” controls all things (“remote cause”). It’s nonsense. Instead of just rethinking their incorrect definition of God’s “sovereignty” and their wrong view of a few “Calvinist-sounding” verses until they fit with the rest of the Bible, Calvinists alter the rest of the Bible to fit their wayward view of God’s sovereignty and their misunderstanding of a few “Calvinist-sounding” verses. All the while not caring about the damage it does to God’s character, the Gospel, and Jesus’s sacrifice! Nonsense and garbage!
Rhutchin’s reply to me:
Heather writes: “If I threw you out of a plan with no parachute and said you were free to do whatever you wanted as you fell to the ground, who would be responsible for you crashing into the ground? Me?”
Rhutchin’s reply: That is a great illustration. God brings a baby into this world but does not give the baby faith. That baby grows up and lives the days given to it by God, and if God does not give that person faith, he dies without mercy. [This is Calvinism at its most honest.] It would be just like God throwing a person out of an airplane with no parachute. If you don’t accept that position, then you must believe that God gives faith to each person at birth, seemingly contrary to Romans 10, “faith comes by hearing.” Is that your position? [See the bad logic and manipulation! A core characteristic of Calvinism! But sadly, most Calvinists don’t know it or realize it. They just think they picked the theology that best honors God. It’s sad. Most Calvinists’ hearts are in the right place, while their theology isn’t.]
BR.D. calls out Rhutchin’s bad logic for what it is:
“A False Dilemma Fallacy”: When only two choices are presented (either “God gives faith to only certain preselected people” or “He gives faith to everyone”) yet more exist, or a spectrum of possible choices exists between the two extremes. False dilemmas are usually characterized by “either this or that” language, but can also be characterized by omission of choices.
[Heather’s note: False dilemmas are Calvinism’s attempts to trap you into their view. “Either God controls all things” or “God controls nothing.” You feel forced into agreeing with them that “God controls all things” because you know you can’t say that God controls nothing. However, the biblical response in somewhere in the middle, an option they do not present to you: That God allows mankind to make choices within boundaries, and that He is over it all, “in control” of it all but not controlling it all. He knows all that happens, He chooses what to allow and what to not allow, when to sit back and when to act, and how to incorporate our choices into His plans and make something good out of them. But a Calvinist will ONLY give you “God controls everything or nothing” to trap you into their theological views!
And that’s what Rhutchin did here with “Either God chooses to give faith to a few preselected people” or “He gives faith to everyone” (which is clearly the option you are supposed to reject, forcing you to say that God gives faith to only certain, preselected people). But the biblical option, which they don’t present to you, is “God has made faith and salvation possible for all people, because of Jesus’s death on the cross for all sins of all men and because He calls to all men and has made the truth available for all men, but we decide how we will respond to His offer, to His truth, to His Gospel. Some people will choose to put their faith in Him and to accept His offer of salvation, but many won’t. And God promises salvation for those who willingly choose to put their faith in Him.”
Be warned, though, that Calvinists will also say “we willingly choose to believe in Jesus,” but they mean that a person’s regenerated nature (given to them by Calvi-god) causes them to be willing to choose to believe, not that the person themselves had any control or influence over their willingness to believe.
Also be warned that Calvinists will accuse you of saying that “everyone gets saved” [Universal Salvation] when you say that “salvation is available for all people.” They just can’t grasp the difference between the two. As illustrated by Rhutchin above, they will set up the false dilemma of “Either God picks certain people to be saved … or everyone gets saved,” trying to manipulate you into “Well, obviously not everyone gets saved so it must be that God only chooses some for salvation.”]
Non-Calvinist Fromoverhere adds:
Remember that great quote from Henry Ford that reminds us so much of Calvinists: “You can have the Model T in aaaaaaany color you want … as long as it’s black.”
Good one! Yes … Hotel Calvin-fornia: You’re FREE to check out any time or way you like, but you can never leave.