From Christiaan De Villiers, Johannesburg, South Africa on June 26, 2006
Hi Allan. I came across your site a few days ago and I thought I’d leave some comments concerning your expose on Calvinism.
First, regarding the doctrine of total depravity, I am convinced that the Bible does indeed teach that natural, fallen man lacks spiritual discernment to receive the things of God, i.e. the gospel. The Scripture says that the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14). Again, in Romans 8:6-7 we see that the unregenerate does not and cannot submit to God. This obviously means that he cannot respond in faith unless repentance is granted to him by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 2:25). You also attempt to refute this very plain teaching by appealing to Romans 6:17. But, this scripture has nothing whatsoever to say about man’s innate ability to obey the gospel. In fact, the Bible teaches just the opposite. Jesus was very explicit when he said that no one can come to him unless the Father draws him (John 6:44). This latter verse is probably one of the clearest concerning man’s complete inability to come to Christ for salvation in the entire New Testament. Man is not forced against his will to come to Christ as anti-Calvinists so often wrongly assert. Rather, God replaces the heart of stone of the unregenerate man with a heart of flesh that enables him to obey from the heart (Ezekiel 11:19-20; Ezekiel 36: 26-27). In the latter verses God actually says that he will cause them to obey him. This does not mean that God will force them to obey him or coerce their wills in any way. Because God has given his elect new hearts, they will want to obey him by responding to the gospel call in faith.
Furthermore, the Bible states that faith is a gift of God. It is not something that can be generated apart from the work of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 2:25; Phil.1:29; Heb.12:2). Sinful man cannot just work up faith, since he is completely hostile to God. Without the work of the Holy Spirit in the sinful heart of man, he simply cannot believe in the gospel message. As is the case with Lydia in Acts, God has to open the unbeliever’s heart to heed the words of the gospel of Christ.
One other thing before i sign off for the evening. You seem to be implying that to be saved, one must be water baptized. This is where I must ask. What about the thief on the cross?
Well I hope to get some correspondence going with you; a debate if you will. So please contact me sometime. It will be my first debate, and i must say I think I can only learn from the experience.
Sincerely in Christ
Christiaan De Villiers, Johannesburg, South Africa
Reply from Allan Turner on June 26, 2006
I commend you for citing Scripture for what you believe. Such is, unfortunately, not something that many today are willing to do, and I appreciate it very much.
If I were a Calvinist, I would be emphasizing the same verses, although I do not believe they teach what you think they teach.
Because I can see that you are a good Bible student and that you are willing to cite Scripture for your beliefs, I believe a dialogue would, indeed, be beneficial for us both, and for those who will read over our shoulders. So, I will be happy to engage you in such a discussion.
I am putting the finishing touches on a second book and I am presently engaged in a written debate that will more than likely be published as a book, so I am busy, but I’m sure you are as well. So, I will do my best to get back to you as soon as I can.
In the meantime, I have a few questions: Are you an Africaaner and a descendant of the original Voortrekkers? If so, it is safe for me to think that you probably practice one of the purest forms of Calvinism extant, which will be interesting for me as I frequently am confronted by Calvinists that deny various aspects (perhaps consequences would be a better word) of Calvinism. So if you are an Africaaner, I think a discussion with you will be most informative.
If you don’t mind, will you give me a short bio so I can list it for the readers?
Again, I commend you for your appeal to Scripture and look forward to our dialogue.
Yours in service to Him,
From Christiaan De Villiers, Johannesburg, South Africa on June 28, 2006
My requested bio.
I’m 27 years old and a first year student at the Auckland Park Theological Seminary. They are Arminian, unlike myself. I’m literally the only Calvinist on campus. Due to the fact that I’ve transferred to a reformed seminary, i will only be resuming my second year this August. My best subject in first year was Greek, though I’ve gotten a bit rusty and am currently reviewing. Learning a new language was also one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do, as one might imagine. I’m no William Mounce though. About the question whether I’m a Voortrekker, that would be a negative. My Calvinist beliefs was more influenced by men like Jerry Bridges and John Piper. The Lord saved me when I was 19 and I was part of a big Word of Faith church for 5 years. I now attend a Baptist church. Hope that answers some questions. Feel free to ask anything.
You state in your analysis of the 5 points of Calvinism: “But the Bible just as clearly teaches that the unregenerate man can indeed ‘obey from the heart’ the form of doctrine that has been taught, that is, the gospel.” You cite Romans 6:17 as your prooftext. This Scripture, however, is referring to those who are already believers, who have been set free from the law by God’s grace (Romans 6:15). Furthermore, how would you reconcile your statement with Romans 8:7-8, which says that ?
ChrisReply from Allan Turner on June 30, 2006
Chris, you begin your argument with two passages. So I’ll list these and then comment on them. Unless otherwise noted, all quotations of the Bible are from the New King James Version.
1 Corinthians 2:14
“But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.”
If the “natural man” in 1 Corinthians 2:14 means exclusively “the unregenerated man” and the “carnal mind” of Romans 8:6-7 is exclusively “the mind of the unregenerated person,” then you’ve got your Calvinistic proof-texts. However, the contrast Paul makes in these two passages is between two kinds of thinking or “minds,” if you will. The mind, or way of thinking, that is sinful (or “carnal”) is hostile toward God and His word. Such enmity is manifested in a way of thinking that is committed to everything God is against. The “carnally minded” may not really be aware they are enemies of God, and may even deny it, but the fact remains that “friendship with the world is enmity with God,” for anyone who “wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).
The nature of this enmity or hostility mentioned in Romans 8:7a is explained by the rest of the verse, which says, “for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can [it] be.” The Greek gar, translated “for” or “because” shows a causal relationship between 7a and 7b. In other words, the mind zeroed in on carnal things does not and cannot submit to God’s law. The “law of God” here in the context is the general law of God in any and all of its forms. The “peace” with God and the “enmity” against God are measured by one’s attitude or disposition toward God’s law and shows that God and His law cannot be separated, i.e., to reject God’s law is to reject God Himself. For the non-determinist, the contrast between the carnal mind and the spiritual mind demonstrates the “choice” between the attitude of lawlessness, which is the very essence of sin (cf. 1 John 3:4), and the attitude of submission to God’s law (cf. Romans 7:22).
The Greek word translated “subject” (hypotasso) in Romans 8:7 is in, I am told, the passive voice, which means it conveys the idea of surrendering oneself to the authority of someone or something. Therefore, to be “subject” to the law of God means to acknowledge its authority and to make a conscious effort to obey it, which requires free will. But this is precisely what the carnal mind does not do. More significantly, as long as it thinks this way, it cannot do so. This theme is continued in the next verse which, in the International Standard Version, reads, “Indeed, those who are under the control of the flesh cannot please God.” I believe this translation’s “controlled by” gives the proper sense of this verse. It reinforces the point of 7b. What pleases God, then, is inner submission to (viz., getting the mind/heart right) and external obedience to (viz., getting the actions right) to God’s law.
But it is clear that Paul, in Romans 8:7, says that those who minds are carnal cannot submit to God’s law. This is the crux of the matter as far as this discussion goes, for the question is: What is the nature of this inability? You and I answer this question differently. As a Calvinist, this verse is your proof-text for total inability, which serves as the core of the doctrine of Total Depravity. You take these verses (1 Cor. 2:14 & Rom. 8:7) to mean that an unregenerated sinner is unable to repent and obey the gospel without the sovereign and irresistible grace of God, which He in turn gives to those whom He unconditionally chooses. On the other hand, I do not believe these verses teach any such thing. For sure, they teach that the person being controlled by a carnally thinking mind is unable to do something, all right, but this inability is clearly related contextually to the law, not the gospel. This, I believe, is the key to understanding this text.
The carnally minded person is unable to obey any command of the law as God wants it carried out and as the law requires. For even if he obeys it outwardly, if he doesn’t have his heart right, he is unable to please God, and the carnally minded definitely does not have his heart right. Therefore, as long as one continues to think carnally, he cannot obey God’s law. But the optimum words here are “as long as.” In other words, one cannot be pleasing to God in obedience to His law as long as his mind remains bent on doing sinful things. But here is a most important point: there is nothing in these texts that indicates a sinner is unable to positively respond to the gospel by obeying it or that he is unable to redirect the bent of his mind from carnal things to spiritual things. The only inability these texts speak of is the inability of the carnally minded to be subject to God’s law, and the failure to make this distinction is the main error of your interpretation of these verses. In other passages, it is clear that sinners are not only able, but expected, to respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ in faith and repentance (cf. John 3:16; Romans 1:17; Revelation 22:17; cf. Matthew 23:37).
The next verse you cite is 2 Timothy 2:25b, which says, “if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth.” Your comment on this verse was, “This obviously means that he [the unregenerated sinner] cannot respond in faith unless repentance is granted him by the Holy Spirit.” To see if this interpretation is correct, let’s examine this verse in its immediate context.
2 Timothy 2:24-26
“And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”
With your Calvinistic presuppositions, verse 25b appears to be a proof-text for your beliefs. But when one is free of such thinking, this passage is not talking about moral inability at all. Instead, that which falls within God’s permissive will is under discussion, i.e., will He “perhaps” grant these folks the time and opportunity to repent, or not? Sinful men do have the ability to “come to their senses” as verse 26 makes clear. In doing so, sinful men, who are no longer thinking carnally, can “escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” If, as you say, men are born totally depraved and are, therefore, totally unable to respond positively to the gospel of their own free wills, then what the Scripture says here is totally incomprehensible, for it clearly says that these had been taken captive by the devil to do his will, and not only this, but that they could escape this captivity if they would but come to their senses. In Romans 6:16, this same Paul made one’s free moral agency quite clear when he said, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness.” If, as you Calvinists claim, man is born totally depraved and unable to respond to the gospel in faith and repentance, then what in the world was the Holy Spirit talking about when He wrote of the “snare” of the devil? Why would he have to snare or entrap those who he already owned lock, stock, and barrell? It just doesn’t make any sense. Obviously, then, Paul, as he was guided by the Holy Spirit, wasn’t teaching that man is totally depraved and unable to do what is right. So, 2 Timothy 2:24-26, when coupled with Romans 6:16, and other passages that teach free moral agency, is a far cry from teaching what it is you say it teaches.
But you argue that I was wrong in the article you are critiquing, for trying to use Romans 6:17 to deny what you said was a “very plain teaching.” And what very plain teaching was that? Well, 2 Timothy 2:25b, you claim. But the very plain teaching of 2 Timothy 2:25b does not support what it is you are claiming. In fact, Romans 6:17, which immediately follows the verse I discussed above, clearly talks about people who had been “slaves of sin” who had, in turn, “obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which [they] were delivered.” You say, “this scripture has nothing whatsoever to say about man’s innate ability to obey the gospel.” Sure it does, and if your thinking wasn’t distorted by Calvinism, you wouldn’t have a bit of a problem understanding this. You attempted to counter the force of this by saying: “In fact, the Bible teaches just the opposite. Jesus was very explicit when he said that no one can come to him unless the Father draws him (John 6:44).” You then went on to say, “This latter verse is probably one of the clearest concerning man’s complete inability to come to Christ for salvation in the entire New Testament.” It most certainly does not! And it is only your doctrine, and not this verse, that causes you to believe so. Let’s look at the passage.
An Examination Of The Context And Meaning Of John 6:44
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
You said you think this passage is “probably one of the clearest concerning man’s complete inability to come to Christ for salvation.” However, this is not what the passage says. What it says is that no one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him, and the very next verse explains how He does this: “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.” So, the drawing that the Father does and the coming we do, according to Jesus, is by being “taught by God.” This, again according to Jesus, is clearly a “hearing” and “learning” process and not the irresistable grace or better felt than told experience you Calvinists are so fond of talking about.
Yes, the Father draws us, but He does so by calling us (cf. Acts 2:39; Philippians 3:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 1 Corinthians 1:26; Ephesians 1:18, to cite some of the many passages that so teach) through the gospel (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:14a). The hearers of the gospel are not incapable of learning from it, as you Calvinists claim, but are, in fact, expected to postively respond to it by rendering obedience. Obedience “from the heart” (Romans 6:17) can only be offered by a creature with free moral agency, for if one is not free to exercise his or her will, then there is no way that anything that follows could be called obedience. Your point about my supposed misuse of Romans 6:17 to teach that sin-sick man does have the innate ability to obey the gospel “from the heart” has absolutely no ring of truth to it at all. In fact, you say the Bible teaches just the opposite. But where? What I've shown is that you are simply proof-texting your way through this, ignoring the very context in which your alleged proof-texts are found. So, let's just take a look at the context of Romans 6:17. You said in your second e-mail that this verse is referring to those who are already believers. Well, sure they are, now. But they had been the “slaves of sin,” had they not? And what had they done? They had “obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which [they] were delivered.” And what was the result? They had been “set free from sin” (verse 18).
Contrary to Calvinist doctrine, the Bible teaches that sin-sick man is not totally depraved and therefore absolutely unable to obey the gospel. Instead, the gospel is to be preached to all men and women everywhere—men and women who the Bible describes as being dead in sin (cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:1; Ephesians 2:5; et cetera). This means that although their thinking is distorted and depraved, it is not totally distorted nor totally depraved, as you Calvinists teach. On the contrary, those who are dead in their sins can, upon hearing the gospel, render obedience to it in faith and repentance, both of which clearly require free moral agency.
For example, in Colossians 2:11-14, Paul wrote: “In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to His cross.” Notice how this passage flies in the face of Calvinistic doctrine. These individuals had heard the gospel and had obeyed it, thus they were raised up to walk in “newness of life,” as Romans 6:4b calls it, or “alive,” as it is referred to here. Before being “raised,” these had been “dead in [their] trespasses.” In other words, before being raised and made alive, they were exercising themselves positively to the gospel.
Your doctrine, of course, would have them already raised and made alive when the inspired apostle says they were still dead in their trespasses. In obeying the gospel, these sinners had been able to put off the “body of the sins of the flesh” by the circumcision of Christ which, in the immediate context, is described as being “buried with Him in baptism, in which [they] were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God.” So, if this was the only passage that refutes Calvinism, and I’ve already demonstrated it isn’t, then it would be sufficient to show that your interpretation is contrary with the truths taught in God’s word.
Yes, baptism is for the remission of sins and Colossians 2:11-14 clearly teaches that it is. But there is clearly no need for me to take this up here, as I am presently involved in a formal debate that specifically deals with this subject in one of its propositions. You can read what I say about this by clicking here.
“What About The Thief On The Cross?”
The thief on the cross lived under the law of Moses. Unless he came directly in contact with John the Immerser or Jesus’ disciples, I know of no requirement for him to be baptized. So, whether he did come into contact with John or Jesus’ disciples and was baptized, I have no way of knowing. Otherwise, the obligation of the Jew was to repent toward God and believe the kingdom was at hand (cf. Matthew 3:1-2 and 4:17). The thief clearly demonstrated repentance toward God and faith in the coming kingdom (cf. Luke 23:39-43). In other words, the thief on the cross did not live under the New Covenant and therefore was not amenable to the baptism of Christ for the remission of his sins. Such a baptism was commanded from Acts 2:38 onward.
Philippians 1:29 and Hebrews 12:2
Your use of Philippians 1:29 and Hebrews 12:2 to teach that “man cannot just work up faith, since he is completely hostile to God.” Again, your interperative slip is showing. As I already pointed out in my remarks concerning 2 Timothy 2:25b, the ability or inablity being referred to has to do with opportunity, not total depravity. Total Depravity is a cardinal tenet of Calvinism, but it is not taught in the Scriptures. So, what is under discussion in 2 Timothy 2:25b and Philippians 1:29 is opportunity, and there is no reason, other than your allegience to Calvinism, that would cause you to think otherwise.
Finally, what does Hebrews 12:2, a passage that talks about Jesus being the author and finisher of our faith, have to do with man’s alleged total depravity? Jesus, this passage tells us, is the beginning and end of our faith. In other words, there is no other name given under heaven whereby men can be saved (cf. Acts 4:12)—Jesus is it! He is “the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End,” as Revelation 1:8 says. This has nothing to do with man’s supposed inability to render obedience to the gospel as a result of his alleged total depravity, as you claim—absolutely nothing at all!
I’ll be awaiting your reply
Yours in service to Him,
From Christiaan De Villiers, Johannesburg, South Africa on July 5, 2006
You are disputing my interpretation of 1Corinthians 2:14 and Romans 8:7-8 (Note that this is a correction. It is not verses 6 to 7 as I cited). Let me start by quoting your words: "If the 'natural man' in 1 Corinthians 2:14 means exclusively 'the unregenerated man' and the 'carnal mind' of Romans 8:6-7 is exclusively 'the mind of the unregenerated person,' then you've got your Calvinistic proof-texts."
Well, I believe that there is strong evidence to prove that when these texts speak about "those who are in the flesh" ( Romans 8:8) and the "natural person"(1 Cor.2:14) that they are indeed referring to the unregenerated or unbeliever.
Firstly, 1 Corinthians 1:18 reveals who the "natural person" is. It reads as follows: "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." The "natural person" (2:14) is therefore identified with "those who are perishing" (1:18). The context, I believe, bears this out. But wait, there's more.
Then there is also the use of the word translated "natural person" itself. The Greek word is "yuciko" (psuchikos).We can find this word used in James 3:15 where it is translated as "unspiritual." It is used in close connection with "demonic" and "earthly" in the same passage. In Jude 19 psuchikos is translated as "wordly people" who are "devoid of the Spirit." So then, according to the context and the meaning and use of the word psuchikos, "natural person" in 1Corinthians 2:14 is clearly referring to the unregenerate or unbeliever; they are people who do not have the Spirit of God.
Let us quickly look at Romans 8:7-8, which reads: "For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God."
The "mind that is set on the flesh" (verse 7) belongs to "those who are in the flesh" (verse 8). But who are "Those in the flesh?" Well, the very next verse tells us. Chaper 8 verse 9 reads: "You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him." So "those in the flesh" must be those who do not have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them.
Clearly, Paul is contrasting Christians with non-Christians. According to Romans 8:9, "those who are in the flesh" who have "their minds on the things of the flesh (verse5)," are also the ones that do not have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them. Only those who are in the flesh have their minds set on the things of the flesh. But those who are in the Spirit have their minds on the things of the Spirit and are able to submit to God's law. The Spirit's mind-set is found only through union with Christ (verses 9-10).
You made the following statement: "For sure, they (Romans 8: 7-8 and 1 Cor 2:14) teach that the person being controlled by a carnally thinking mind is unable to do something, all right, but this inability is clearly related contextually to the law, not the gospel."
I believe the above analysis proves that "the person being controlled by a carnally thinking mind" is referring to "those in the flesh." Furthermore, your argument that this inability is related to the law and not the gospel is unconvincing. You yourself said that "to reject God's law is to reject God himself." How much more then does this apply to the gospel? Is not the rejection of the gospel the same as rejecting God? If a person is unable to submit to God's law, what makes him able to submit to Christ and his gospel? The point being made in this passage is that the person who is in the flesh (and who has his mind set on the things of the flesh) cannot submit to God, whether it be to his law or his gospel. New Testament scholar, Douglas J. Moo notes the following in this regard: "In light of verses 3-4 (and chap.7), we might expect 'law of God' to refer to the Mosaic law. On the other hand, this may be one of those verses in which Paul uses nomos to depict the demand of God generally rather than any particular expression of that demand." So either way, Romans 8:7-8 shows that man is unable to submit to God. I am convinced that these facts alone prove the doctrine of total depravity.
I would like have a quick look at Romans 6:17. The hearers of the gospel did not "obey from the heart" because they had the ability to do so. They were not the initiators of their own salvation, able to obey without the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit first. The scripture here says that these hearers were "committed" or "handed over" to the teachings of the apostle. The word translated as "committed" is the passive verb paredoqhte (paredothete). The passive form indicates that the "new convert's 'obedience' to this teaching is the outgrowth of God's action in 'handing us over' to that teaching when we were converted." Also, verse 18 does not say that they set themselves free, but that these believers were set free and "have been enslaved to righteousness." the passive verbs used here are indicative of the initiative of God. It is God who hands the hearers over to these Christian teachings. God initiates their salvation. Their obedience is the fruit or effect of being handed over, not the cause.
I would also like to refer you back to a statement I made in my very first e-mail. I said, "God replaces the heart of stone of the unregenerate man with a heart of flesh that enables him to obey from the heart (Ezekiel 11:19-20; Ezekiel 36:26-27). In the latter verses God actually says that he will cause them to obey him." God causes them to obey.
I will leave you with that for now.
Before I sign off, I would like to make one more comment. It regards the following statement: "With your Calvinistic presuppositions...." You accuse me (not meant in a harsh sense) of reading my Calvinist beliefs into certain texts. Now let me be clear that I am not offended by this assertion of yours, but I do think it a little bit unfair. Firstly, no one (not even you) can claim that they have approached the Scriptures with 100% objectivity. Both you and I come to the Scriptures with a certain mindset. To say that a person is completely neutral when coming to the Scriptures is not true. All people approach the Bible with their own personal frame of referrence, which influenced by our experience of the world and reality. We also have different backgrounds than the Bible authors. They come from a Hebraistic worldview, and we from a western wordlview. There is a vast difference. Our goal should be to enter into the minds of the Biblical authors and take on their Biblical worldview. This is certainly my personal goal and I'm sure it is yours as well. Remember Allan, I could just as easily accuse you of the same thing. I could accuse you of reading your "free will" presuppostions into the texts. But I'm not going to do that. I have, just as much as you, eneavoured to deal honostly and fairly with the texts. In order to do this I have made use of the proper guidelines and rules of interpretation. I do not have an "allegiance to Calvinism," as you said. My allegiance is to God and his word, and I will make every effort to rightly divide the word of truth.
I have only dealt with a small portion of your response since I am a little pressed for time at the moment. But I will make every effort to deal with the other relevant scriptures as well, as soon as I can. I will be away for a week, but I will conclude my response as soon as I get back. Please be patient.
Chris De Villiers
Note from Allan Turner: I kept waiting for Chris to get back with me, as I was wanting to read his entire response before replying. He said he would “make every effort to deal with the other relevant scriptures.” Well, as you can see from his response below, he has not made good on that promise. Instead, he has decided to take pot-shots here and there as it suits him. Therefore, I will reply to him with what might be my final response, as I do not see it productive to continue this correspondence unless, of course, he is willing to live up to his part of the bargain by engaging my arguments in an orderly and reasoned fashion. So, whether this dialogue will proceed much further is up to Chris De Villiers.
From Christiaan De Villiers, Johannesburg, South Africa on July 20, 2006
[Regarding 2 Timothy 2:24-26] You say that this verse stresses that God is granting these men the time and oppurtunity to repent. Here is that verse: "God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will."
Where in this verse do you find the words time and oppurtunity? Nowhere. Paul is saying that God may perhaps grant these men repentance. Why does he use the word perhaps? Because he does not know if God will grant them repentance or not. Very simple. Just read it as it is. And how should they repent? By themselves? No. God must give them the ability to repent. He must grant them repentance. A simpler and clearer explanation I simply cannot give. No one can repent without God giving them the ability to do so.
Chris De Villiers
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