Below I have produced the notes I used in doing the Dividing Line Webcasts responding to Dr. Geisler’s added appendix on The Potter’s Freedom (these programs aired 8/11, 8/18, and 8/25/01. See www.straitgate.com/aom). This is not my “published” reply to Dr. Geisler. That is found at here. These are simply the rough notes I used. I expanded on some points in my written response, while other points are only mentioned here. I provide this for those few who wish to sit down with the appendix and a copy of The Potter’s Freedom and see how utterly consistent this appendix is in completely misrepresenting the document it is ostensibly reviewing.
Key issues: the review demonstrates clearly the difference between Dr. Geisler and myself: his is a philosophical approach that subsumes exegesis beneath a priori philosophical considerations, mine is the approach of exegesis that says that man’s philosophies must be derived from God’s revelation in Scripture. There is no exegesis offered in this response. NONE.
Further, the review is grossly flawed. Page reference after page reference to TPF is simply in error. While identifying me as over-zealous and arrogant, the article claims I engage in ad hominem and name calling, and yet every single reference given is either in error or is not by any rational definition supportive of the assertion. All in all, it is a tremendously poor response that will not move the dialogue forward in any fashion.
A Response to
The Potter’s Freedom
Since Chosen But Free has been honored by an extensive analysis from a strong Calvinist’s perspective, and since many have inquired as to my reaction, a brief response is in order. First of all, let me express my appreciation for James White and his admirable work for Christ and His kingdom. It has been my honor to write an introduction for one of his books and to commend others over the years. He is a good brother in Christ with whom I have worked side by side in defending the gospel. James is a committed and conservative young scholar who zealously defends the great essentials of the Christian faith.
Appreciation for White’s Review
In spite of the fact that The Potter’s Freedom (hereafter PF) is a sharp critique of my moderate Calvinism, strangely enough, I found myself agreeing with much of what it says. The reason for this will become apparent as I respond briefly to its contents.
PF raised many valid issues that occasioned minor revisions reflected in this edition of Chosen But Free (hereafter CBF). These refinements have helped me to sharpen my position and present it more clearly. For this I am grateful to Mr. White.
In addition, I appreciate his skill revealed in pointing out errata in the first edition; these now have been corrected.
It was not my intention to “point out errata.” However, when responding in-depth to someone, errors will be more clearly seen than in other contexts.
For example, PF correctly notes that God’s electing “in spite of” His foreknowledge could better be rendered “independent of” (PF, 67) and that “so dead” (PF, 104) is redundant. (Parenthetically, there are similar errors in PF. For instance, “world” should be “word” on 261 and 262, and PF misquotes my statement about “unlimited” atonement [CBF, 199], calling it “limited” atonement [PF, 248].)
In reality, the quotation is exactly correct. In fact, I’m the one that pointed out the error to BHP, who made the correction in the second printing.
PF also raises additional issues that, although they have been adequately addressed by others, we did not have occasion to discuss in our first edition. These too have been briefly included in the above text. Also a response to Roger Nicole’s arguments that Calvin held to limited atonement have been included.
That does not change the fact that the definition of “extreme Calvinist,” based solely upon the assertion that Calvin was absolutely and without question one who held to universal atonement, remains untenable. No effort is made to rehabilitate this point.
Misunderstandings and Misrepresentations
My main response to PF centers around an improper understanding of the moderate Calvinistic view I express in CBF. Seldom have I read a review that so thoroughly misunderstands the object of its criticism. To begin, it misrepresents my view by claiming it has only two Calvinistic elements (PF, 20), when, in fact, I agree with all but one of PFs definitions of its six points of Calvinism – irresistible grace on the unwilling (PF, 39-40).
This claim is repeated later in the review, yet, such is transparently untrue. Defining unconditional election as “unconditional on God’s part but conditional on man’s faith” is not unconditional election, as I argued and proved in the book (no response offered to the demonstration of his error). Saying man has a free will and accusing Calvinists of making man a “robot” or a puppet and “destroying” the will shows he does not believe in total depravity as it has been defined by Reformed writers from the beginning. Geisler redefines, and in the process denies, every single point of the acrostic, hence, this is mere obfuscation.
In spite of clear statements to the contrary, PF claims I embrace the Molinist view that God is passive in His knowledge of man’s free choices (cf. CBF, 50-51, 53-54). This mistake is repeated over and over again in PF (cf. 55, 61-65, 69, 133, 173).
Nowhere did I ever once identify Geisler’s position as Molinism. I noted Molinism in passing, but clearly recognize the difference between a claim to middle knowledge and Geisler’s “predeterminately foreknowing/foreknowingly predetermining.”span style=”mso-spacerun: yes”> In the full chapter documenting his view and refuting his view, I never once say, “This is Molinism.”
As I read the critique in PF, much of which I was in full agreement with, I could not help but wonder what book it was criticizing. It appeared to me, as to many others who read it, that PF would often simply reduce my view to an Arminian position and then use material readily at hand to critique that viewpoint.
Dr. Geisler will identify this as a straw man and “name calling,” yet not once does he respond to the fact that his position is identical to the Arminian, nor to the fact that when he criticized Arminianism, he was forced to criticize process theology, not Arminianism. If he’s not an Arminian, why couldn’t he criticize it?
Indeed, PF sometimes attributes a view to me that I explicitly repudiate. For example, PF claims I affirm that God’s election is “based on man’s free will (PF, 55, 64). Amazingly, PF soon after offers a quote from CBF that clearly refutes this criticism (PF, 66).
Read PF 54-55 (marked), 64 (marked), and then note the fact that you had already, by this point, taken pains to point out that “determined” for Geisler is passive, not active.
Sometimes my view is so distorted by stereotype that it seems almost impossible to believe that PF had my book in mind. For example, PF claims that I believe God is passive in His knowledge of our free choices but that “God is enslaved to our free choices” (PF, 67). This in spite of PF even quoting the passage where I say, “God is totally sovereign in the sense of actually determining what occurs” (PF, 66).
Same issue: “determining” is, according to Geisler, based upon God’s perfect knowledge of future events. He may deny that one action precedes the other, but as I, and others, have pointed out, he is in error here. His response ignores the decades old criticism of his position, and makes it appear as if I didn’t even touch his argumentation, when in fact I spent an entire chapter, 53-73, 20 pages, doing just that, and Geisler does not even mention this fact.
Likewise, PF claims I hold election to be conditional (PF, 72) and that it “depends on the will of man” (PF, 87), when I repeatedly affirm that I believe election is unconditional for God (CBF, 119f.).
Of course it is unconditional for God, but conditioned upon man’s faith which is the Arminian viewpoint as well! Since this was discussed, thoroughly, in numerous places, how is it honest to say I am misrepresenting him when he does not bother to respond to an entire chapter (5) where I documented that the historical view of unconditional election is not what Geisler is talking about? Saying you believe in unconditional election when you are actually teaching that God elects TO SAVE and leaves the condition of faith to be fulfilled by the free actions of man is double-talk. Further, I note that there is nothing on page 87, as cited, that refers to the phrase “depends on the will of man.” This is one of many such page mis-citations in this appendix.
Space only permits brief mention of other PF misrepresentations, namely, that I hold: that fallen man can will to please God (96);
See p. 96 and marked sections.
that being “dead” in sin means only separation from God (101)
Read p. 101 marked.
that the unsaved can come up with righteous desires (102);
Read p. 102, marked.
that faith is the moving cause of our election (131);
Read p. 131, marked.
that God doesn’t elect individuals (174);
Read p. 172ff, marked.
that man’s will is supreme over God’s (181, 203);
Read marked 181, 203
that God didn’t ordain people but only a plan (196);
Read marked 196.
that God “merely” predicted the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart but was not active in doing it (221);
read marked 220ff.
that the clay can force the potter’s hand (225);
Read marked 225.
that the atonement of Christ is only theoretical (226).
There is nothing on page 226 relevant to this topic. I do, however, make this assertion, and it is well founded.
I counted no less than forty times my view was misrepresented.
Yet, not one of them so far is listed in this review!
Interestingly, in one place PF even admits finding it difficult to understand my view (58). One might ask how something can be properly evaluated which is not properly understood. Nonetheless, this failure to comprehend my position does not impede in the least the overly zealous, pedantic, and at times somewhat arrogant critique of it in PP.
Aside from the obvious ad-hominem here, the actual statement is far from how Geisler presents it (read 58, marked)
PF offers virtually unlimited opportunities for beginning theology students to identify logical fallacies. The following is an incomplete list: (1) Straw Man (94); (2) Diverting the Issue (94); (3) False Analogy (284); (4) Taking a text out of context (29, 105); (5) Avoiding the issue (89); (6) Guilt by association (92); (7) Caricature of a view (140, 142, 145); (8) Non sequitur (136, 141); (9) Assuming an answer isn’t right because it’s short (27, 181); (10) Overstatement (28); (11) Assuming the unexplained isn’t explainable (106); (12) False disjunctive; (13) Theologism; (14) Ad Hominem; (15) Name Calling; and (16) Criticizing a parable for not making other points than it was intended to make (307).
“beginning theology students” Sadly, as we see below, Dr. Geisler fails to substantiate every single allegation made here.
Etienne Gilson, in his classic work The Unity of Philosophy and Experience, identifies an error at the heart of PFs extreme Calvinism: “theologism.” Briefly, this is the fallacy of assuming that the view that seems to give the most glory to God is true. Extreme Calvinists resort time and again to this position (PF, 39, 178).
Read marked 38-39, 178.
Interestingly, this fits with their associated view of voluntarism (see under “Sidestepping the Big Issues,” page 260), which also has parentage in William Ockham. After all, deists have argued that it gives more glory to God to believe that He created a world in which He never intervenes in the same way that it brings more glory to a mechanic to make a perfect machine that never needs repair.
PF and other extreme Calvinists argue that the less credit given to man, the more glory given to God.
No, we argue man is undeserving of any credit at all.
And, God will get the most glory if creatures have absolutely nothing to do with their salvation, not even exercising their free choice to receive it.
That ignores the entire presentation in TPF showing man’s slavery to sin.
However, this does not follow, since truth is not determined by what appears to glorify God but by what actually fits with the facts.
Of course….but what facts? The facts we derive from our philosophy, or the facts derived from the exegesis of Scripture?
As has been demonstrated in CBF the evidence of Scripture and good reason fit better with a form of moderate Calvinism.
Such is wishful thinking in light of the reality.
This fallacy literally means a response “to the man” (rather than to the argument). Throughout PF, the author takes great pride in his exegetical skills,
This seems ad hominem. 🙂
while any exegesis of the text contrary to his is labeled not “consistent” (19),
Not exactly what I said, two possibilities on p. 19 (read marked).
not “meaningful” (20),
There is nothing on pages 19-21 that is remotely related to this allegation.
not “in depth” (136),
Read marked on 136
a “mere presentation” (29),
Read the marked on p. 29!!!! Unbelievable!
or not based on “definitive” works (254).
Read marked on 254.
Note: not a single example of ad hominem has been found! All of Norm’s supporters who say this work is filled with personal attack should note that when Norm was given the opportunity to list ad hominem, he failed to find a single example.
Another favorite technique of PF is the fallacy of name calling. Consider only the following out of numerous examples. My reasoning and conclusion are labeled “a non-response” (217),
Even if this passage contained no meaningful interaction with Dr. Geisler’s discussion (it is about Romans 9), would this be “name calling”? Of course not! But note what is actually said: (read marked, p. 217).
“shallow at best” (253), “simplistic arguments” (253),
The first phrase does not appear on page 253….the second does, in this context….(read)
a “source of great confusion” (19),
Read marked, p. 19. This is about the book as a whole, in the context of redefining all the terms that have historically been used in the debate, and as such, it is true, and is surely not “name-calling.”
not “substantial” (25),
Read marked, p. 25.
“quite simply ridiculous” (23),
This assertion is fully substantiated by examining the context, where Geisler accuses Owen of “adding to the Word of God” while ignoring the entirety of Owen’s argumentation, which is, in fact, simply ridiculous. The best way to prove me wrong is to demonstrate that the accusation against Owen was sound, and the author does not even attempt to do….nor would anyone else.
“almost frightening” (62),
Read marked p. 62.
“tremendous confusion” (71),
Read marked, start on previous page, 70.
“utterly amazing” (87),
Read context, p. 87.
“completely fallacious” (165),
Read context, p. 165, and point out that if simply using the phrase is “name-calling,” then Geisler could never use it to respond, for example, to Joseph Smith or to the Watchtower Society. What makes something name-calling is that it forms the core of the argument and that it is meant to skew the thinking of the person hearing it. None of these things come even close.
“completely backward” (168), “the most amazing statement” (167), and even a “most torturous line of reasoning” (169).
These three all come together regarding Dr. Geisler’s amazing comments on John 6:44. Look at context….
Summary: Note that so far we have had two sections claiming to list ad hominem and name calling errors on my part, and so far, we have not found a SINGLE example of what Dr. Geisler has accused me of! How can this be? How can Dr. Geisler put in print this kind of completely erroneous reading?
Poisoning the Well
The effect of all this name calling entails another fallacy called “poisoning the well.” These statements work toward polluting the reader’s mind against a view rather than reasonably considering its merits. It is a debating technique geared to winning arguments, not to discovering truth.
Quite true…but would not the use of the term “extreme Calvinism,” which involves the documented redefinition of all of the terms used historically in this debate, be a far better example of “poisoning the well,” especially since we have found every single example given by Dr. Geisler thus far to be fallacious?
PFs favorite name-calling device is what its author believes is the theologically toxic word “Arminian.” Despite the fact that I clearly and emphatically disavow being Arminian, claiming to be a “moderate Calvinist” who holds a less extreme version of all five points of Calvinism’s TULIP (see chapter 7), PF persists in using this sinister term to describe my view. This is done even though on PFs own definition (39— 40), I could subscribe to five of its six points of Calvinism (TULIP plus “the freedom of God”). Outside of PFs definition of irresistible grace on the unwilling, I hold a Calvinistic view very close to the way PF defines these points, though not always the way it spells them out. This leads to comments on another fallacy.
This is surely one of the most amazing elements of this entire response, one that will not only leave the person who has read TPF stuttering in amazement, but one that should leave the person who just finished CBF scratching their heads. TPF documented, repeatedly, the parallel between Geisler’s position and Arminianism; we pointed out that Geisler could not criticize Arminianism even in the chapter where he said he was going to do so, and had to resort to critiquing process theology instead. Why? Because he could not criticize his own position! But to then go so far as to say that he could agree with five of the six definitions I gave, “though not always in the way I spell them out” is simply disingenuous! < expand >
By reducing my view to the dreaded Arminian position and then castigating it, PF is largely a straw man attack. Repeatedly, I found myself agreeing with PFs critiques and wondering whose view it was scorching. I had the distinct impression that since my moderate Calvinism did not provide enough fuel for its extreme Calvinistic fire, the author brought his own woodpile on which to chop. Unfortunately, the weary reader may go away thinking PF has succeeded in demolishing a view it has not really addressed.
Unfortunately, we have seen that to this point, Dr. Geisler has not made a single cogent argument upon which to base this somewhat humorous statement.
One of PFs most prevalent fallacies is a false disjunctive, used repeatedly (53, 63, 65, 72, 76, 108—109, 268). It wrongly assumes a reasoning process that goes something like this: Either Geisler’s view is Calvinistic or it is Arminian. It is not Calvinistic as PF understands the term. Therefore, it is Arminian.
This, of course, overlooks that there is at least one other view between what PF insists is “Calvinism” and what is Arminianism, namely, moderate Calvinism. This view is clearly spelled out for any-one desiring to understand it in several chapters and appendices in CBF which need only be read with an open mind to verify. In fact, there is very little, if anything, unique about my basic position. It has been held by most of the great fathers of the church (see appendix 1), by the early St. Augustine (see appendix 3), by St. Thomas Aquinas, by other Calvinists like William Shedd, James Oliver Buswell, Stephen Charnock and Emery H. Bancroft, by Dispensational Calvinists like Lewis Sperry Chafer, John Walvoord, Charles Ryrie, Fred Howe, and Robert Lightner, and others. For PF to pretend this moderate Calvinistic view does not exist is not logically valid, historically accurate, or intellectually fair.
Note that Geisler utterly ignores the demonstration of the error of his position, seemingly thinking that merely repeating his position is enough to refute the documentation provided in TPF.
Another important example of the false disjunctive is at the heart of the PF argument. The author asks: “Does God’s foreknowledge determine what he decrees or does God’s decree determine what He foreknows?” (50). PF seems oblivious to another alternative. The whole of CBF offers one, namely, that they are coordinate acts in the simple and eternal Being of God. Thus, neither determines the other. Rather, God knowingly determined and determinately knew and willed from all eternity everything that would come to pass.
This is truly amazing as well. Anyone who has read TPF knows that I not only bent over backwards to accurately and fully represent Geisler’s unique view, but I also spent quite some time refuting this very assertion! How can Dr. Geisler say he is responding to a book that contains the following material (pp. 58-59), and then say that my book is “oblivious” to this very issue? And what makes this worse, I presented not only my criticism of Geisler’s assertion that you cannot determine a logical relationship between God’s predetermination and actions in time, but I presented decades-old, published criticisms by acknowledged scholars of the same material, and Dr. Geisler ignores all of this en toto! How can this amount to a response or a rebuttal in any scholarly sense of the word?
The non sequitur fallacy occurs when the conclusion drawn does not follow logically from the premises given. A classic example of this occurs when PF attempts to argue for limited atonement from Christ’s intercession in heaven only for the elect (Heb. 7:25). PF affirms that (1) Christ prays only for those for whom he died; (2) Christ prays only for those who are elect. (3) Hence, Christ died only for the elect (241).
This section is particularly troubling, since it does not seem Dr. Geisler has invested the time to thoroughly read the work he is reviewing. The above is only partially correct. Anyone who has read TPF knows that I invested a great deal of space to a presentation of particular redemption from the text of Scripture. And part of that presentation involved the discussion of Christ’s role as intercessor and mediator, roles involved in His being the High Priest of the book of Hebrews. The first part of Dr. Geisler’s summary, “Christ prays only for those for whom he died” is partially correct: He prays ONLY for those for whom He died and for ALL of those for whom He died, as intercession is INTRINSICALLY part of the very work that He accomplished on Calvary.
However, this is an elementary error known as an undistributed middle term. In short, even if there are not more for whom He prays than those for whom He died, nevertheless, there may be more for whom He died than those for whom He prays.
This is simply an error on the same elementary level Dr. Geisler accuses me of. If Christ prays ONLY for those for whom He dies, and for ALL for whom He dies (the work of intercession being part and parcel of the work of atonement), then it follows of necessity that that there are none for whom He dies that He does not pray. Otherwise, His work is split into two parts that can be separated. Geisler not only does not touch the biblical exegesis (so far, he’s not made any attempt in that area), but he misses the key of the argument: that you cannot divide the work of Christ in this way. Note how the use of syllogisms, at the expense of biblical theology, leads Geisler to an obvious and incredible error.
To make those for whom He died and the elect one and the same group involves a fallacy of illicit conversion of terms. It is like saying that if all horses have four legs, then all four-legged things are horses.
While such would truly be a fallacious statement, no effort is put forward to even demonstrate that in fact the position taken in TPF in any way falls into such a basic error. How does the observation that Christ’s work of atonement and intercession are co-extensive fall into such a trap?
Although (1) All Christ died for are in the only group for whom He presently intercedes in heaven, and (2) All the elect are in the only group for whom He presently intercedes, it does not follow that (3) All He died for are the elect.
The first condition makes no sense from Dr. Geisler’s position: since he says Christ died for all, then, is He presently interceding for all, inclusive of non-elect? This again violates the truth established in the text of TPF: that the work of intercession is co-extensive with the work of atonement. Did the High Priest enter the Holiest place and intercede for those for whom he brought no blood sacrifice? Of course not. This is not a response in any meaningful use of the word at all!
There are also numerous internal inconsistencies that beset PF. Space permits comments on only a few. First, on the one hand PF warns against the use of human illustrations (mine). On the other hand, PF approves of the use of human illustrations (its own) (cf. 307— 312).
Note that no reference is given to warning against “human illustrations.” However, even here it is completely in error, for the illustration on pages 307-312 is actually Dr. Geisler’s own parable, corrected and refuted! Again, anyone reading TPF cannot help but be amazed at this kind of response
Second, PF affirms that God is free not to act according to His moral attribute of mercy to save all men, yet He is not free not to act according to His moral attribute of justice to condemn all men.
Such is an obviously glaring error: justice is based upon law. When God’s law is broken, justice demands punishment. Mercy can only be shown when justice has already proclaimed condemnation. To ignore the obvious relationship between justice and mercy by identifying them as “moral attributes” is a clear error. God is not free to simply dismiss justice; God is free to extend mercy to whom He wishes, as Romans 9:18 clearly asserts!
PF chides CBF for citing secondary sources, while it cites a secondary source of its own (Piper) on the same passage (24).
Again, even a cursory glance at this assertion is simply humorous. No reference is given for my chiding CBF for using secondary sources, hence, we cannot place the assertion in any meaningful context. And if we have learned anything already, context is a vital element that is utterly ignored by Dr. Geisler’s response. But it only gets worse when you look at page 24! Yes, I cited Piper. Why? Because I was documenting how Dr. Geisler utterly and completely misrepresented the book and failed to respond to it! Hence, it IS the primary source of documenting Dr. Geisler’s complete misuse of Piper!
It contends that a “mere presentation” of my view is not sufficient (29), yet it sometimes does the same for its view and at times even no presentation at all, such as an explanation of one of the most difficult verses for extreme Calvinists, 2 Peter 2:1 (251).
Again one is left utterly amazed, for as we have already pointed out, the phrase “mere presentation” on page 29 has NOTHING TO DO WITH NORMAN GEISLER! [READ] This kind of basic misreading of a text is MOST troubling! But beyond this, Dr. Geisler will raise the issue of 2 Peter 2:1 more than once in his response, but in none of these references does he bother to note that I directed my readers to the full and excellent response by Dr. Gary Long on that very passage! How can Dr. Geisler provide this kind of consistently errant response? I truly have no idea.
Ironically, PF rejects my position on predestination (that election is according to, but not based on, foreknowledge), yet it appears to affirm a very similar view (49).
These attempts at demonstrating inconsistency only document the fact that whoever wrote this response (the multiplied errors would suggest to many that a student wrote up notes upon which Dr. Geisler then based the appendix) simply did not make the first attempt to actually understand TPF, which surely is one of the greatest contrasts between my approach and Dr. Geisler’s. I did not simply dismiss his work, but studied it and accurately represented it in my own response. Seemingly, while forced, by weight of the endorsements gathered and the distribution of the book, to respond to TPF, Dr. Geisler shows no interest in actually understanding TPF nor the position it espouses. The consistent failure of this appendix to make a single cogent point must have an explanation derived from such an observation.
Geisler presents a view based upon the idea that God’s foreknowledge and predetermination are “one,” that is, that there is no way to answer the logical question of which precedes which. I reject this, as do the vast majority of theologians with whom I am familiar. There is nothing in my discussion of the relationship of God’s sovereign decree and the actions of man in time that would suggest, to the semi-unbiased observer, that I hold Geisler’s unique view of this topic. There is nothing unusual about the presentation I made, based upon such classic passages as Genesis 50 or Acts 4. Such is standard, classical Reformed teaching on God’s decree and man’s will. There is nothing inconsistent whatsoever in decrying Geisler’s attempt to create room for an autonomous creature’s will by undoing God’s sovereign decrees and pointing out these biblical teachings about man’s desires.
PF claims that my view is “unique” (51), but at the same time classes it as Arminian (200), which is not unique.
Another example of ignoring context. On page 51 I said that Dr. Geisler’s view of God’s sovereignty is almost unique, referring to the following chapter which contains many pages of citations of Dr. Geisler’s work down through the decades on his “predeterminately knowing” theory. However, on page 200, through directly quoting Dr. Geisler, I focus upon the issue of man’s freely choosing God, etc. (read p. 200). And this is an Arminian, versus Calvinistic, viewpoint. To call it “moderately Calvinistic” is again an oxymoron.
It holds that man is not forced to do evil, yet he is controlled by his nature and must do evil (84, 87—88).
Yet another example of ignoring the presentation of TPF. I specifically refuted Dr. Geisler’s constant use of the term “force” both in regards to God’s decree and sin, and God’s work of regeneration as well. This rebuttal is ignored. Man does evil for it is his fallen nature to live as a rebel. How would God have to “force” evil men to be evil?
Persons “dead” in sin are not free to reach out to accept the gospel (104), yet they are free to reject the gospel (101).
There is nothing on page 101 saying man is “free” to reject the gospel (read p. 101). This is not an inconsistency: people dead in sin cannot do what is pleasing to God. Hence, they do not embrace the gospel because they remain rebels, but their rebellion naturally makes them rejecters of the gospel. How this is in any way consistent is hard to say.
Furthermore, according to PF the unsaved can understand the gospel, yet the words are empty (110). (How one can understand empty words is not explained.)
Actually, it is explained, thoroughly, on page 101 (read); interestingly, even though a direct refutation of an errant assertion by Geisler regarding the Greek term dechomai appears on this same cited page, no response or defense is offered.
“Everyone” means all in Romans 5:9— 10; 8:7—8 (113), yet elsewhere when speaking of unlimited atonement it means only some (231f.).
Again, one is left wondering how to respond to this kind of assertion. The term “everyone” does not appear anywhere in Romans 5:9-10 nor in Romans 8:7-8, despite Dr. Geisler’s use of quotation marks. Secondly, I don’t speak of unlimited atonement, since I don’t believe in it, so I guess he meant “limited atonement,” it is hard to say. But when I do refer to the atonement, I provide exegetical argumentation for every passage I address…exegesis simply dismissed, not debated or refuted, by Dr. Geisler. So again, the only inconsistency we find here is yet again in Dr. Geisler’s research and writing, not in TPF.
On the one hand, PF uses “source” as cause (210) when defending extreme Calvinism, while on the other hand PF does not allow it to mean cause when I use it against extreme Calvinism (186).
Read p. 201 marked, p. 185-6 marked. Again, the writer of this review has a tremendous problem following contexts….
More Misunderstandings and Misrepresentations
Amazingly, all the way through to this point, we have not found a single accurate objection/rejoinder on Dr. Geisler’s part.
Here is but a selection from PF: It claims that I could not agree with Calvin that election is from God’s free choice (131), when, in fact, I do;
One of the constant problems with Dr. Geisler’s writing on this topic is his insistence upon the right to redefine all the terminology associated with the topic through history. Dr. Geisler does not believe God has chosen, actively, apart from the free will choices of creatures, an elect people. He says this clearly in his book. Calvin did not hold Geisler’s “predeterminately knowing/knowingly predetermining/you can’t figure out which comes first” position; hence, to say he agrees with Calvin, who makes God’s decree the basis of the actions of men in time, is simply disingenuous at best. Further, when we look closely at what Dr. Geisler actually says, he says the free choice of election is God’s choice TO SAVE, not His choice of any particular individual. That is NOT what Calvin was teaching.
that praying for all men necessitates that we go through each name in the phone book (140);
This statement was made in reference to the assertion on Dr. Geisler’s part that “all men” in 1 Timothy 2 has to refer to every single individual human being. The point, of course, is that if we take that assertion seriously, Paul is commanding that the Christians pray for every individual, necessitating the use of the “phone book.” Obviously, the point seems to have been missed by the writer of this response.
that what CBF supposedly “clearly says” is the opposite of what it actually says (173); that I believe the final factor in election is our free choice (173), while I believe it is God’s choice;
Read p. 173, marked.
that clear statements are confusing (174);
Read pp. 174-175, marked.
that Arminianism holds what it does not hold (269);
Read 269 marked.
that I am an Arminian (123) when I state and demonstrate that I am not;
Already answered many times.
that I believe salvation “depends on will of man” (87), when I hold that it depends on God’s grace alone, which is merely received by man’s choice;
This shows either a very cavalier attitude toward this vital issue, or a complete and utter lack of understanding of the entire issue. Even here it is clear that Dr. Geisler is speaking of “grace plus,” that man’s “choice” then becomes the key. Even though I brought this out, it is as if the author of this appendix just skimmed through, looking for things to pick upon, instead of hearing the heart of the work. Note page 91, marked.
that in a synergistic view grace must be dependent on free will (91), when I disavow this view;
And yet, we just read Dr. Geisler saying that for grace to accomplish salvation requires the free actions of man!
that I simply presuppose free will (93), when, in fact, I give both biblical and rational arguments for it (chapter 2; appendix 4);
TPF never says Geisler “simply” presupposes free will. In fact, anyone who has actually taken the time to read the book fairly knows that on the very cited page, I wrote (read p. 93, marked).
that I deny God’s ,active decree (59—60); that I hold God’s sovereignty is limited to giving the gift of freedom (60), when I affirm it is not;
Again, ignoring chapter 2 and everything it says, drawn from his own writings.
that I “completely ignore” the arguments of Calvin, Hodge, and Turretinus against free will (93—94), when, in fact, I treat them extensively (chapter 2; appendices 1, 3, 4, 9);
Again, context is sacrificed as if the author had nothing more than a set of notes about TPF rather than the book itself. The actual statement is that Dr. Geisler ignored the responses to the objections he makes against the Reformed view that are provided by Calvin, Turretin, Hodge, Wright, and Reymond. And this is the case. He cites chapter 2, but chapter 2 never mentions Hodge, Turretin, Wright or Reymond, and when it cites Calvin, it does not deal with his answers to the objections Geisler is raising; Appendix 1 is a listing of patristic citations, and does not mention Calvin, Turretin, Hodge, Wright, or Reymond; Appendix 3 mentions Calvin once, but not in this context, and never mentions Turretin, Hodge, Wright or Reymond; Appendix 4 never mentions Calvin, Turretin, Wright or Hodge (read pp. 184-185, response at bottom of 184 in CBF); Appendix 9 does not mention Calvin, Hodge, Turretin, Wright, or Reymond. So, what in the world is Dr. Geisler talking about? Obviously, he is redefining even the context of my original statement, and that while accusing ME of inconsistency! I cited specific works of these great scholars of the past and present: he ignores these citations and their arguments, and then simply asserts that since he argued for the necessity of “free will,” he must have dealt with their arguments, too, even if he didn’t ever once mention them! But the reader of his statement would be fooled, unless they went to the original sources and discovered for themselves that he did not, in fact, ever cite them, nor deal with them.
that my view of free will is that man is autonomous (98), when I have a whole chapter affirming God’s sovereignty over everything, including man’s free choices (chapter 1);
Asked and answered already above.
that I do not believe in the infallible work of the Holy Spirit (118), when I even affirm it is irresistible on the willing.
“irresistible on the willing” is an oxymoron that says, and means, nothing whatsoever. Read footnote 20, pp. 118-119, marked.
Revealing Admissions by PF
One of the most illuminating claims in PF is that God does not love all men in a salvific (saving) sense (302—303).
This is neither a revealing, nor illuminating, affirmation. All Calvinists recognize God’s special love in redeeming His elect people.
This is a denial of the core and classical attribute of God’s omnibenevolence.
Dr. Geisler may well believe this. But he had already said that in CBF. I refuted his assertion in TPF. I argued fully that to assert God must love all equally means that God has to be less than the creature He himself has made. But there is no response offered here to TPF, just a repetition of the error already made in CBF. How is this a response to just repeat what you have already said?
Nor does PF comprehend that it is a category mistake to fail to understand that God having power He does not use is not the same as having love He does not show.
This assumes I made such an error, but no references are given, nor is any connection made to the text of the book.
For love, like justice, is a moral attribute of God that demands action on its object, whereas power as a nonmoral attribute does not. God can no more fail to act lovingly than He can fail to act justly.
What does it mean “fail to act lovingly”? When God punishes sinners by sending Israel to destroy them in the land of Canaan, was this a “loving” act? When God sends impenitent sinners to hell in eternity, is this a “loving” act? How is Dr. Geisler differentiating between acts of justice, which are demanded on the basis of law, and acts of love, which are by nature free?
PF also admits holding that there is no free will in any creature (35), claiming that God is the only truly free being in the universe (68).
Amen and amen. Of course, I defined “free will” there in the sense of autonomy.
Since free will is part of the image of God, this amounts to a denial that fallen man is in His image (which is clearly contrary to Scripture; e.g., Gen. 9:6; James 3:9).
We are not told by Dr. Geisler upon what basis we are to believe that his definition of “free will” is part of the imago dei. TPF was very clear in affirming, over against Dr. Geisler’s misrepresentation, that man has a will, a creaturely will, that is enslaved to sin until freed through God’s gracious act of regeneration. Since this was part and parcel of TPF’s discussion, why not deal with it? Again it seems like the author does not even have the book before him while writing.
It also robs humans of one of the essential characteristics of their humanness—their ability to make free moral choices.
No, that’s what sin does, not Calvinism. 🙂
PF further reduces humanness to “pots” of clay, taking an obvious allegory literally and claiming that God has absolute authority over the people He makes apart from any truly free choice on their part (36— 41, 61).
Of course it is allegorical, but if the allegory does not teach us that we are created and God is the Creator, that we differ from Him ontologically and fundamentally, and that He is sovereign over us in totality, what is it telling us? Dr. Geisler fails to tell us. And do we not see here that Dr. Geisler rejects the sovereignty of God that he said he affirmed only a few paragraphs ago? This shows us that he continues to demand that everyone adopt to his unusual and non-traditional terminology, rather than using the terminology used by theologians for centuries to discuss these very issues.
This is reminiscent of the Muslim poet Omar Khayyam who likened humans to pawns on a chessboard. Indeed, PF rejects human free will without even attempting to give a real definition of it or defense of its view.
Amazing to see the Bible’s view of God as the potter and man as the pots paralleled with Islamic teaching!
PF also admits that God does not do all He can to save all (99).
What is more, God in fact hardens Pharaoh’s heart to the glory of His justice and power! Amazing that Romans 9 remains in the canon of Scripture!
Thus, it cannot escape the conclusion that God is not even as good as a finite fallible human father who would do everything he could to save all his drowning children.
Again, it seems the author of this review hopped and skipped through TPF, ignoring the exegesis and refutation, seeking only a-contextual snippets to use to erect a shallow and meaningless response. It is utterly amazing, given the time and effort that has been invested in the refutation of Dr. Geisler’s consistently errant understanding of this very topic that he continues to doggedly repeat it, all the while ignoring the ever growing mountain of refutation as if it does not even exist. Dr. Geisler assumes that all mankind are God’s “drowning children.” No, all mankind are rebel sinners under His wrath. One becomes a child of God by the exercise of His mercy and grace, not by any compulsion placed upon God. TPF demonstrated this, Dr. Geisler closes his eyes and simply repeats himself. Such shows that CBF cannot be defended.
Further, PF is seemingly unashamed to acknowledge that God commands what is impossible (108), being apparently oblivious to the irrationality this attributes to God.
Read p. 108 marked, then….why doesn’t Geisler respond to the rest of my argument?
Again, if any earthly father commanded his offspring to do what was literally impossible and then punished them temporally (to say nothing of eternally) for not doing so, PF would surely condemn him. Yet it does not blush. to say God does this very thing.
This is one of the many statements that causes me to truly question the authorship of this piece, for I know without a doubt that Dr. Geisler surely must know that such is a simply inane comment for anyone who has taken even a few moments to listen to Reformed believers with the first desire to understand what they are saying. SURELY no one could actually read TPF and still make such a statement without, immediately, dealing with the refutation of this very statement that is found throughout its text. But, of course, this response ignores that refutation. To make God the kindly human parent and sinful rebels the poor, helpless children put in an impossible position by an irrational parent is utterly foolish, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Reformed view. As the lengthy refutation of Geisler’s parable of the farmers pointed out, the biblical view of man in his sin is not of poor children seeking to be saved from peril, but of rebel God haters who do all they can to reject the rulership of God over them. Dr. Geisler may well reject this view of man in his sin, even though he previously attempted to say that I had misrepresented him by saying he believed men capable of producing godly desire even prior to regeneration. Well, which is it? Can men desire to be rescued (a godly desire) or can they not? Be that as it may, he may reject my position, as he assuredly does, but that does not give him the right to caricature it.
PF admits there is a distinction between the potential and actual salvation of the elect before the world and their actual salvation in the world (268—269). Yet it denies this same distinction to moderate Calvinists, who believe all men are potentially saved by the Cross, while only the elect are actually saved by it.
Read p. 269 marked. Surely the author can see the difference between the certainty of God’s decree bringing about the redemption of the elect in time, and the making of salvation dependent upon the synergistic cooperation of grace and free will!
Sidestepping the Big Issues
PF attempts in vain to avoid the logic that the extreme Calvinist must hold: that all good, free acts are caused by Another and, hence, we can have no responsibility for them.
And here we see the key issue that was raised in TPF once again: CBF is an attempt to take a philosophy and press its conclusions upon the text of Scripture, resulting in constant eisegetical error (eisegetical errors documented in TPF, and ignored in this response). TPF specifically asserts that one does not begin with man’s philosophical systems, but with God’s truth in Scripture. The very approach used in both books is diametrically opposed, so it is no wonder that the results are completely different.
Secondly, to make his point, Dr. Geisler would have to undo the testimony to God’s sovereign decree over the actions of men, not based upon foreknowing those actions perfectly, but upon the decree of the counsel of His own will. This he does not do. Hence, his argument is against the biblical presentation, not against me. God holds men accountable for their actions, whether Dr. Geisler likes the grounds upon which He does so or not. And until Dr. Geisler responds to the demonstration of this truth provided in TPF from such passages as Isaiah 10, he will make no progress toward communicating with those who hold Scriptural teachings as their highest authority.
Nowhere does it really grapple with this crucial premise of extreme Calvinism.
TPF thoroughly dissected this false assertion through biblical exegesis. It is simply false and misleading to state otherwise while closing the eyes to those passages the reviewer cannot respond to.
Another big issue completely ignored by PF is the charge of voluntarism against extreme Calvinism (CBF’, 35—36, 40, 42, 59).
Completely ignored? Entire chapters presenting the difference between the biblical sovereignty and predestination is to “completely ignore” something? Given the surface-level, error-ridden nature of this response, one is left almost breathless at such comments.
In the final analysis, for PF something is good only because God wills it; God does not will it because it is good (in accordance with an unchangeably good nature).
Dr. Geisler’s philosophizing is left hanging in mid-air due to his lack of exegetical argumentation and response. God is the standard of good. What God does is good because God is good and cannot be otherwise. Dr. Geisler might well wish to consider if his logical syllogisms can stand up to the test of Scripture, or if he is not, as was documented in TPF, guilty of misreading the Scriptures so as to support his philosophy.
Not one of the many biblical and philosophical arguments listed against voluntarism in an extensive appendix (CBF, no. 4) is addressed.
TPF is an exegetical, biblical work. By the time Dr. Geisler’s appendixes were addressed, the entire foundation of his system had been washed away. Geisler ignores the biblical refutation and takes solace in his philosophy. Let the reader note this well.
This is one of the central premises of extreme Calvinism, and there is not a word of defense for it in PF.
I.e., “OK, I can’t respond to the biblical stuff, but I will beat my philosophy drum so loudly I hope no one will notice.” Given the character of this response to this point, it is hard to give respectful credence to such comments.
Likewise, PF brushes aside the fact that the extreme Calvinist view is an historic anomaly, having the support of the late Augustine as the only significant voice before the Reformation.
And I wonder who Geisler refers to who held to his “predeterminately knowing/knowingly predetermining” synthesis?
This it calls a “mature” view when it does not grow out of any significant position in church history before it but is based on an overreaction against a schismatic group (the Donatists) forced to believe in the doctrine of the Catholic Church against their choice (see CBF, appendix 3).
LOL! Talk about historical revisionism! The position of the Westminster Confession of Faith does not grow out of a significant position in history and yet Geisler’s does???
While trumpeting its exegetical skills, PF nowhere engages some of the big exegetical issues. As mentioned, a crucial text in defense of unlimited atonement (2 Pet. 2:1) is not addressed at all.
Noted above….he still ignores Long’s treatment, to which I referred. Given that 99% of the entirety of the exegetical material in TPF goes unMENTIONED let alone unANSWERED by Dr. Geisler, this kind of comment is simply shocking.
Other texts clearly refuting PFs limited atonement view are handled with the kind of eisegesis in which “all men” is magically transformed into “some men.”
Thus sayeth Norman Geisler! Thankfully, I never once handled his eisegetical errors in this cavalier fashion. When I charged him with eisegesis, I proved my point by providing exegesis in its place. Here Geisler charges eisegesis, but makes not the first attempt to respond to the contextual and grammatical arguments that he is dismissing with a wave of his hand! This is simply irresponsible! I challenge Norman Geisler to answer the chapters presenting limited atonement and critiquing his own view. Merely claiming I am in error is not enough. Prove it!
Nowhere does it address my challenge to produce even one text where the word “all” is used generically of human beings in a limited sense. Nowhere does it provide a single text that says in so many words that Christ died only for the elect.
The reader can hopefully see through this desperate smokescreen. Page after page of argumentation stands unrefuted in TPF, and why? Because Dr. Geisler knows he is not capable of responding to it. I provided numerous examples of the term “all” that is used in the sense of “all kinds.” Dr. Geisler should be able to easily refute my demonstration of this fact, but, he fails to do so. Why? By now, the answer is too obvious for comment.
Likewise, PF sidesteps the force of all the many passages that depict fallenness in terms of sickness, blindness, and pollution (as opposed to its mistaken understanding of “dead” as the destruction of ability to respond positively to God).
Where does TPF supposedly sidestep these? Logically, would it not require Dr. Geisler to refute our exegesis of the passages that clearly say that man is not able to positively respond to God, such as John 6:44 or Romans 8:7-8? Why is there no attempt to even do so, only the ipse dixit of Dr. Geisler saying I am mistaken?
Further, it affirms, contrary to Scripture and the nature of God, that an all-loving God loves only some and forces them contrary to their will to accept Him, while consigning the rest to eternal and conscious punishment.
Again, how can someone seriously read TPF and its argumentation and then so lightly dismiss it with this kind of shallow response? TPF talks about the love of God, the kinds of love God shows, the love He has for His elect; it likewise speaks of the will of man, the slavery of the will, the incorrectness of using terms such as “coercion” and “force” when speaking of resurrection, etc.
Redefining Terms That Hide Error
Another technique employed by PF to further its position is to redefine terms that cover the harsh reality of a biblically, morally, and rationally indefensible view.
I hope the reader will note that when I have responded to Dr. Geisler’s attack on Calvinism, I have quoted his own words, and yet many have said that I was the one being harsh. Note that despite his utter failure to provide a single bit of exegetical response to my work, the author still says it is “biblically indefensible.” If that’s the case, why does he not prove his case? Given the fact that I offered FAR more exegesis than is contained in CBF, it should be easy, if this statement has any connection with reality at all, to prove me in error, and yet he does not do so. I find this kind of ad hominem, in light of the fairness with which I treated his material, simply reprehensible.
Irresistible grace on the unwilling is labeled a “middle ground” between persuasion and coercion (69—70).
Yes, it is called “resurrection,” a distinction that would have to be acknowledged on the basis of simple honesty.
This is a theological euphemism par excellence.
He who comes up with stuff like “predeterminately knowing” and “knowingly predetermining” and “irresistible grace on the willing” and the like should be very careful about accusing others of theological euphemism, especially while such a person is carefully walking through a minefield of unanswered refutations of his own position, hoping no one will notice.
How can an act of God that is absolutely contrary to the desires and will of a totally depraved human being who is dead in sin be anything less than coercive?
Asked and answered in the book, had it been read fully by the one writing the review. Resurrection is indeed a radical thing, but as TPF showed, Dr. Geisler mocks the concept of giving someone a new heart and a new nature in his work. The synergist will always reject the helplessness of man. But let Dr. Geisler offer us a meaningful response. Tell us what ou dunatai means when it says man is NOT able! Do SOMETHING more than just give us this kind of “is so, is not, is so” kind of response! It’s no wonder we haven’t gotten a positive response to our challenge to debate!
Moving the coercive’ act of God to the point of regeneration does not make it any less violent, for the totally dead person being regenerated is both unaware and unwilling of the operation of God upon him that is totally against his will and desires.
Tell it to Lazarus, Doc, tell it to Lazarus.
A similar problem emerges when PF employs a kind of theological doublespeak to forward its view.
Like “irresistible grace on the willing”? 🙂
For example, it affirms that fallen humans can will, but yet they have no will (192);
More simply atrocious research and reading from the pen of Dr. Geisler, or whoever. Read bottom of 191-192, marked.
that grace is irresistible, but yet it is not coercive (161);
Yes, God’s work of resurrection cannot logically be identified as force, rape, or coercion in the context Geisler presents it. This was clearly laid out in TPF, and if the author had read the work with a desire to understand it, there would be no reason to simply be repeating the mantras of CBF.
that depraved humans are dead but are alive enough to hear and reject the gospel (101);
Such ignores, utterly, the discussion of the meaning of spiritual death. This sounds very much like what young Arminians say who have never bothered to “listen” to the other side, and given the rest of this response, that is probably exactly where such sentiments came from.
that God does not force anyone, but He regenerates them contrary to their will (200).
Again, as above, ignoring the meaning of spiritual resurrection, etc.
Pride and Exclusivism
I am not alone in detecting a proud and exclusivistic undertone in PF.
What nameless, faceless people are being referred to here? I had many “feelings” about CBF, but I mentioned only those issues that I could document.
For example, it calls its view “the Reformed” view (38, emphasis added), while summarily dismissing other Reformed theologians CBF cites who do not agree with major points in its presentation (e.g., William Shedd and R. T. Kendall).
Note that this assumes the very term “Reformed” cannot be defined! Here the author ignores entire chapters of documentation from Reformed confessions that contradict his redefinition, and yet he can still say things like this! Amazing!
The author of PF immodestly announces, “I will be demonstrating” that Geisler’s view “is in error” (30).
Shock of all shocks! I disagree and prove my disagreements! But yet again, this is a mis-citation of my own statement anyway! This is simply incredible. Note what I actually said on p. 30! This kind of purposeful editing and changing of the text is simply inexcusable.
Better to set forth one’s case and let the reader decide that.
Note that once one reads what I actually said, this comment is left without foundation.
It speaks of “such obvious errors” (103)
Actually, this is about the obvious errors in Geisler’s misrepresentation of the Reformed view, and some very strange argument he promotes in that service. See page 103 in context.
of those who oppose it and of the “only way” to interpret irresistible grace (137), when it is known that there are other ways.
Note the context and the fact that Geisler ignores, in the entirety of this response, the documentation of what “irresistible grace” means in the Reformed tradition.
It claims my position is “utterly without substantiation” (262) and that its own conclusion is true “without question.”
Again, utterly incredible! Look at page 262! This follows a demonstration that Geisler has misunderstood a Calvin quote. The context is the assertion that Geisler’s position on Calvin’s view of the atonement in which he uses the word “certainly” is in fact in error, as has just been proven. But again demonstrating an incredible ability to cut and paste words without the slightest thought of context, the author(s) then pull the final phrase, “without question,” from a preceding discussion! The phrase “it is without question” is about what CALVIN is saying, not about MY position!!!
PF even goes so far as to leave the realm of exegetical refutation and to pass an implied moral judgment on those who disagree with its interpretation, saying they express “unwillingness to accept what the text itself teaches” (165). Good and godly scholars on every side of this issue have long disagreed over how to interpret these and other texts. In response, one might suggest that a bit more intellectual openness, scholarly reserve, and spiritual humility would be appropriate.
Unbelievable! The writer ignores the text, ignores the argumentation, ignores that the position taken by Geisler in this particular passage is not shared by others (who else makes the attempt to connect John 2 to John 12 the way Geisler does?), expands this outside of this one particular passage and then uses it as a club to beat me over the head. Incredible, simply incredible.
As readers of PF can detect for themselves, the author is convinced of his exegetical skills and chides CBF for its alleged ‘lack thereof. Yet PF repeatedly reads “some men” into passages that clearly and emphatically say “all men” (140, 142). It insists against the context that 2 Peter 3:9 (where God desires that all men be saved) is not speaking about salvation (146—147).
This is truly amazing as well. Page after page of argument, based upon context and language, is presented by TPF in these sections, yet, not a word of rebuttal is offered, just the ipse dixit, “you are wrong!” For those hoping to see a scholarly rebuttal of the Reformed exegesis of these key passages, it must be truly disappointing to get nothing more than “is not!” Further, nowhere does TPF say that salvation is not mentioned in the text (yet another misrepresentation); it says the topic is the delay of the coming of the Lord. Salvation is mentioned in passing, and that being in reference to the salvation of God’s elect. Yet another example of “Context? Context? What does that matter?”
It claims that John 1:12—13 does not say “received” when the very word is used by John in this text (185).
Our author again shows an incredible ability to miss the most obvious statements on the page before him. Nowhere does TPF say “received” is not in the text. This is simply false. The text is clear (read 185, just above mark). By now the listener cannot help but note that this is the hallmark of this response: utter error in its every attempt to deal with the biblical argumentation of TPF.
It overlooks the context that speaks of unrepentant people (Rom. 9:22), claiming Romans 9 affirms that the “only difference” between vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy is God’s action. It distorts the word “saves” to “saves himself’ (64), and so on.
Not even worth commenting on, given his inability to respond to the exegesis of Romans 9, Piper, etc., and the last one on page 64….well, just read it.
Other Significant Errors
PF furthers its agenda by confusing cause and effect in God’s decrees (57). It shows no understanding of the difference between a primary cause (God) and a secondary cause (free choice) (68), which even the Calvinistic Westminster Confession of Faith recognizes. (57). It views our faith in God as a work (179) in order to eliminate any action of man as legitimate in receiving his own salvation—even believing.
At this point all I can say is that it would be nice if someone would write a reply that actually dealt with the book. Obviously, this one doesn’t.