Arminian Pharoh

Our normal pastor was away at a conference this week so another elder stepped in and taught this morning’s lesson. He made an interesting point this morning. He addressed the issue of Pharoh seeming to not have any choice in whether or not to let the Israelites go. As I life-long Arminian I have always had trouble explaining this. If God gives us free will, where does He get off “doing” that to Pharoh?

Now that I’ve gone over to the “dark side” of Christianity known as Calvinistic thought, I think I finally understand. This morning’s message really put this whole issue in a different light. It wasn’t so much that God took away Pharoh’s ability to decide, what God did was to remove His own restraining influence on Pharoh. Just as when the floodgates on the dam are opened, the river does what it naturally wants (to flow downstream.) When God removed His restraining influence on Pharoh, Pharoh did what he natually wanted to do. Pharoh was finally given true free will and his choice was to consistently go against the will of God. Pharoh was finally and truly an Arminian!

Our God is the hands-on God. He exerts a constant influence in our world. Without that influence we revert to our natural lawless, hateful state. Thank God He manages our universe for our benefit.

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10 thoughts on “Arminian Pharoh

  1. Calvanistic thought is dark, just as you stated. Here in lies the problem. “This is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” 1 Jn 1:5

    We inherited weakness from Adam, not guilt.

    …”But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 1 Jn 1:7

    Jesus is our example showing what humanity, united with divinity, can do. Victory over every sin.

    Pharoh had an exact opposite experience, not that he was predestinated to fail, but that through continual grievance of the Holy Spirit, heaven (or it’s representative = Moses), had no other channels with which to save him. Thus he was left to his own ways, given over to the devil. “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” James 1:15

  2. Lost Coast said “Calvanistic thought is dark”

    I used to think so too. I was a lifelong Arminian. I’ve come to see that it isn’t dark. That my God is in charge of my destiny is a great comfort. To know that it’s not what I have done but what He has done for me that will save me is very liberating.

    Look at all the Old Testament heros? Were they perfect? King David killed one of his own generals so he could have the man’s wife. They all had plenty of opportunity to grieve the Holy Spirit. As do we all every day. How also do we explain Romans 9:14-18?

    14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15 For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT F158 THE WHOLE EARTH.” 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

    As an Arminian I had to tap dance too much to explain verses like that. Did we choose God or did God choose us? That is the crux of the matter isn’t it?

  3. http://gbgm-umc.org/umhistory/wesley/arminian.stm

    A very honorable response from John Wesley about being an “Arminian”.

    Which I needed. To be, frank I was not aware of what it meant.

    It just goes to show you that “old controversies” are being revived, and that the churches are being shaken.

    If there are some points (numbers) you want to discuss we can take a look at it to narrow the field.

    Or we can cut right to the chase and I will tell you what I believe is under the whole issue we are talking about.

  4. Well, I don’t want to rip anything, and I want to be cautious about coming across that way. I know that “debate” and “argument” will not convert anyone and many times have the opposite effect. To drive someone into rebellion because of pride. The most striking example I can think of are God’s own “chosen” people as chronicled in the New Testament account of Christ’s life. He had given them abundant evidence to believe, but because of “unbelief” and pride they rejected the truth. And we know where that led them. To crucify the Son of God.

    With that said, I think the arguments need to be presented so people can investigate and make intelligent decisions. So here is what I believe is under the “Calvanistic” deception. Not that John Calvin was not a Godly man, but people have gone no farther than he did in advancement of the truth and have maginfied things he held in error. Here we are hundreds of years later under much greater light and not straight out of the dark ages and the abundant errors of Romanism. (Though we as Protestants are headed back to Popery quickly, and are acting just like Papists in many respects.)

    The “lie” underneath the errors:

    #1) That we can not keep God’s law.

    #2) and so therefore. We will be saved in our sins.

    Both of which are not Biblical. Both of which are doctines taught by Antichrist. Both of which will lead the majority of professing Christians to the second death.

  5. The “lie” underneath the errors:

    #1) That we can not keep God’s law.

    #2) and so therefore. We will be saved in our sins.

    I’m consued here. Is #1 a reference to Calvinism’s depraved state of man? And also I don’t see where #2 proceeds from #1. Can you expand on that?

    But just to quickly comment on #1:
    I submit that in fact we cannot keep God’s law. That is a sound Biblical concept.

    “The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men
    To see if there are any who understand,
    Who seek after God.
    They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt;
    There is no one who does good, not even one.”
    Psalms 14:2,3

    Paul even cites that again in Romans.

    And please don’t worry you won’t hurt my feelings by stating your case. As steel sharpens steel, so two Godly men engaging in reposte.

  6. The Flying Dutchman

    Logged on behalf of…

    The Lost Coast of California said…
    Believing lie #1 is not “sound” or Biblical doctrine. Let us look at the word of God (manifest in the flesh) himself. And tell me where your statement “I submit that in fact we cannot keep God’s law. That is a sound Biblical concept.” And if that statement fits anywhere into the dialogue then I will change my position.

    Matthew 19:14, 16-26 “…Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven…..And behold, one came and said unto him Good Master, what good things shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is God: but if though wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He said unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and , Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. the young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If though will be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it , they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them and said unto them, With men this is impossible.” but with God all things are possible.”

    Now if you and I were each one of the disciples, and we had piped up with a comment “We can not keep the law of God.” We would be directly contradicting the command and words of our Saviour instructing the man to keep the commandments that he may have eternal life: and in essence calling him a liar. (And we know that it is impossible for God to lie. Hebrews 6:18, 1 John 2:21) If we focus on the words of Christ, and not on the contradiction of sinners (of who which we know are liars. Romans 3:4) we can come to no other conclusion but that if God commands us to keep his commandments, he will give us the ability to do it. And what man thinks is impossible, is possible with God.

    There are many other places to illustrate this, but for now I think this will suffice.

    To expand on how #2 comes out of #1.

    Directly. The only Biblical definition of sin that I have found is. 1 John 3:4 (see also Romans 3:20) “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” So if you believe #1 and that you cannot keep the law, and you hold the belief that you are going to be saved in your present condition, then you believe #2.

    Indirectly. If we hold the doctrine of unrighteousness by presumption (Original sin), then we have taken out the part of salvation that requires us to do our part in the plan of salvation. And we presume that we will have salvation in sin. (Which by the way is the “original” lie of Lucifer in the Garden of Eden. That we can be disobedient to God’s express commands and live forever. Even more, we will be “like God”.

    The fact that we all have sinned, or are sinners, does not negate that fact that we can be saved from our sins. That is the plan of salvation itself. To save us from our sins. Matthew 1:21 “And she shall bring for the a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” And the word is “from” not “in”. If I am from Holland. I’m not there anymore, otherwise I would not be “from” there.

    Praise God for the Good News of the Gospel. Jesus has come to save us from our sins.

  7. The Flying Dutchman

    Here’s a simple test for seeing if we can follow God’s law or not. Name me one person, aside from Jesus Christ, who has ever kept all 10 commandments. If we were capable of keeping God’s laws, all of them in total, what was the point of Jesus’ sacrifice? If even one person were capable of keeping the law then God could point to that person and say, “See? He did it. Be like him.”

    The point is that no one was able to keep God’s laws. That is exactly why Jesus came; to save us FROM, not in, our sins. Or put another way, to save us despite our sins. The whole point of the law was to demonstrate to us that there is no way we can attain salvation through works. “Not what I but what Christ has done.”

    The only way to attain salvation is through the grace of God, manifested in flesh and completed by Christ Jesus, and perfected on an on-going basis by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. That on-going perfection cannot help but result in good works.

  8. David H

    Do you know what the word “sophistry” means? Misleading but cleaver reasoning. It sounds right, but it’s wrong. The devil used sophistry in the Garden of Eden to deceive our first parents, and has been using it in every succeeding generation with great success.

    The Bible tells us when looking for a man who has kept God’s commandments we are to look to Christ the Great I AM. That is why in Antioch those that were Christ-like were first called Christians. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 (Note: This is what we are called to. This is our example, these are the steps we are to follow.) We are not to look to another man. Jesus is the man. “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love: even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” John 15:10 Notice he says “keep” not “try to keep”. There is a difference. If we start looking to “another” man, or “another Jesus” 2 Corinthians 11:4 we would be called Scottians, or Davidians, or Mansnameians, or Papists, not Christians. We would be looking to a man in the place of Christ. Exalting anotherman. Anti(in the place of)christ. (Note: As an aside. There are many Anti-christs, this is why we know it is the last time. 1 John 2:18) In fact we can determine who the Antichrist is from just this one test (Even though there are over 60 identifying marks of Antichrist in Daniel 7, 2 Thessalonians 2, and Revelation 13.) You see Jesus is our example, he is the man we are to pattern after. His life shows us what humanity united with Divinity can do. The mystery of Godliness. Everyone who enters through the pearly gates will be like him. “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:14 “Beloved now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” 1 John 3:2-3

    Antichrist does not believe that Christ came in the “flesh.” “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” 2 John 1:7 But the word of God says, Christ was a “partaker of flesh and blood”, ..and was “in all things”…”made like unto his brethren” Hebrews 2:14-17 who was “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15
    All points. It would not be temptation if there was not a chance of failure. Jesus was truly “made of the seed of David according to the flesh.” Romans 1:3 “For what the law could not do, God did by sending his son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but according to the spirit.
    ‘ Romans 8:3-4

    Praise God, the righteous requirement of the law will be fulfilled in us who walk according to the spirit. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7 Praise God, precious promises.

    That is why Christ had to die. Because his law was broken, and the penalty is death, it could not be remitted, and the law could not be changed to avert the penalty. The penalty had to be paid. Jesus has paid the penalty for everyone who will believe on him and be saved. When we look at the beaten crucified man hanging on the cross, we recognize that it was our sin that he was dieing for. That is love.

    We have a cheap grace in the professed Christian world today. We still have these terms in our own legal system here in the United States. Here’s an illustration I have found useful. In states such as Florida it is a capital crime to kill a police officer. The penalty is death. Now if a man is found guilty of killing a police officer he will be “under the law”. Awaiting execution. But if for some (almost unexplainable) reason the governor would pardon the man (or even venture to give his own life in place of the man). The man who committed this crime would then be under grace. Not under the condemnation of the law. That does not mean that the man is now free to go out and kill as many police officers as he would like. No, No, he is under more obligation to keep the law now that he is under grace than ever before.

    “He that despised Moses law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, and unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” Hebrews 10:28-29

  9. The Flying Dutchman

    True the sacrifice of Crist does NOT give us license to break God’s laws. But again, in my original question, can you point to one man who kept the law in it’s entirety, not breaking a single law? You did indeed supply the one man, Jesus Christ. If we were capable of keeping each an every one of God’s laws, not the just the big ones, but ALL of them in total, then we would have a works-based system of salvation and thence there would be no need for Jesus to sacrifice Himself. As it is, no matter how hard we try (and we should strive without ceasing) we cannot keep each and every law. Have you told a lie lately, even a small one? Have you coveted? Lusted? I know I have. What a miserable creature I would be if it were not for the salvation of Christ! He does not free me from judgement, only the penalty which is eternal separation from God.

    I really don’t think we are as far apart theologically as it might seem. I think you and I understand the same things but are looking at them from two sides of the mirror as it were. The key question that separates Arminians and Calvinists is this: Did you choose God, or did God choose you?

    I’ll watch closer for comments from here on as well. 🙂

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