Monday, May 27, 2013

Intelligent Design videos by Illustra Media

The Privileged Planet

This is a video is based on the book The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery by Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards. Any well stocked library will I have a copy of the book. Many of the local public libraries around me do.

The book and video argue for a simultaneous correlation between the cosmic and terrestrial conditions that make rational sentient life possible on earth with that sentient life on earth to be able to make otherwise unlikely scientific discoveries. The evidence seems to suggest that a cosmic designer intended to both promote sentient life on earth and have that rational sentient life make scientific discoveries about the universe and so to ask deep questions about origins. This obviously has theological and theistic implications.

Some of the common objections to the Privileged Planet Hypothesis include the following:

1. If we humans didn't exist on earth, we wouldn't be around recognize how much we're able to discovery. Therefore the hypothesis is moot. 

2. The hypothesis only makes its conclusions based on the sample size of one example (i.e. humans on earth in this universe) rather than multiple sentient beings on various planets and various universes. Therefore you cannot gauge apparent designed advantages or disadvantages.

3.If we were able to make much fewer scientific discoveries, people could still propose the hypothesis because we wouldn't know how much more discoveries were possible. Therefore, one can't determine the existence of or gauge the intentions of a cosmic designer. Conversely, maybe there are many more scientific discoveries we could have made if things were slightly different. Therefore, that too would make it difficult (or impossible) to determine the existence of or gauge the intentions of a designer. Maybe by design or by bad luck (if there is no designer) we're being "cheated" out of a vast amount of scientific knowledge and discovery. But we wouldn't even know it even if it were true. 

4. In essence, the Privileged Planet hypothesis is basically painting concentric target circles wherever the arrows have landed. So, of course you get apparent coincidental and remarkable 'hits'.

The problem with these objections are similar to objections to the fine-tuning of the universe. See for example this video by William Lane Craig where he gives a useful analogy. Or this analogy explained by Deborah Haarsma. It seems to me that what these objections forget (or at least under appreciate) is all the ways in which it so happens we are able to make scientific discoveries because it JUST SO HAPPENS that certain conditions are such that we can make those discoveries.

Here's an analogy that can of help us appreciate the good fortune we have. Imagine a boy who wants to learn more about the world around him and he secretly discloses this to a newly made rich friend of his financially strapped poor father. The boy unfortunately has difficulty seeing objects both far and near. Then one day a package is dropped at his front door. The package so happens to have a pair of bifocal eyeglasses inside it. He tries them on and they enable him to see much better. In fact, they seem to almost perfectly be the right prescription. As the days go by, he continues to get more and more packages. One day he receives a magnifying glass. Another day he receives a telescope. Later a microscope. Another day he receives a miniature model car which he has to assemble and along with the car are trifocal and multifocal lenswear which he can use to help him assemble it. Now given the scenario, wouldn't it be reasonable for him to conclude that it was his father's rich friend who was sending him these gifts so that he could pursue his passion for discovery rather than that packages were accidentally being dropped off at his house? Even if the the packages were dropped off at the wrong house, one could conclude that they were being dropped off intentionally for the purpose of someone making discoveries and doing science. True, he wasn't receiving volumes of an encyclopedia on a regular basis. He had to make the discoveries for himself. But the point of the analogy should be obvious. Without those tools to enhance his vision, he wouldn't be able to see the things he does and make the discoveries he did. Similarly, there are many coincidences in our earthly circumstance that serendipitously work out for our scientific advantage. And just because the child didn't get access to better investigative tools (e.g. surveillance aircrafts, the Hubble space telescope, or to an electron microscope) doesn't negate the fact that he DOES have equipment that enhances his vision. When it was more probabilistically likely that the child (or we humans on planet earth) should have not had such advantages.

If I understand Gonzalez correctly, of the 65 places in our solar system where one can observe solar eclipses, "it's an amazing coincidence [that] the one place that has observers is the one place that has the best eclipses."

Here are various YouTube links to the video.
The Privileged Planet


in 12 parts


with Spanish subtitles (full video)

Darwin's Dilemma
with some European language subtitle (full video)

Unlocking the Mystery of Life

More recommendations:

The Big Bang, Multiverses, and the Anthropic Principle Discussed by William Lane Craig

"The Moon's Divine Design" Creation Update radio with Hugh Ross (Jan. 4, 2005)

 Fine-Tuning for Life in the Universe by Hugh Ross


The book A MIGRATION HEADACHE….For Evolutionists was written by cultist leader Garner Ted Armstrong (February 9, 1930 – September 15, 2003). I do not endorse the theology of Armstrongism. Though I did 20 years ago. I am now an orthodoxy Evangelical Protestant (specifically Calvinistic in soteriology, and Charismatic in pneumatology). Nevertheless, I have always considered his book on migration really interesting. When I first read it years ago, it got me thinking about how amazingly complex and mysterious animal and insect migration is. I don't know how accurate the factual claims made in the book are, but the general gist of his argument for why migration is problematic for evolution is thought provoking, at the very least. Here's a link to his book.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Undesigned Scriptural Coincidences

Here are links to J.J. Blunt's classic book:

 Undesigned Coincidences in the Writings Both of the Old and New Testaments, An Argument of Their Veracity; With an Appendix



Here's are links to lectures by Tim McGrew on this topic. I'm not sure if any of the lectures are duplicates.

Here's a series of articles by Tim McGrew on Undesigned Coincidences:
Part ONE
Part TWO
Part SIX

A related work that touches upon these issues is Edmund Bennett's book The Four Gospels from a Lawyer’s Standpoint (1893)

In honestly I have to say that some of the force of the arguments that both Blunt and McGrew make are weakened if you take into consideration how tradition in the early Christian community (during the times when the Gospels were being written) could account for some of the coincidences. Along with that, the theory of Markan Priority can account for some of the coincidences. In other words, if we assume that Mark was the first Gospel written, then Matthew and Luke borrow from Mark, while John was written last (and probably with the awareness of the prior three), then some of the coincidences aren't that startling. The theory of Markan Priority isn't necessarily true, but a conservative Christian can consistently consider it as possibly true without compromising his beliefs. I myself lean toward Markan Priority (but not dogmatic on it). While Most liberal and conservative scholars hold to Markan Priority, not all do. For example, Messianic Jewish scholar Arnold Fruchtenbaum holds to Matthean Priority.


Ehrman vs McGrew on Undesigned Coincidences

The Trinity in the Old Testament


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Reprobation: Conditional or Unconditional

This blog has repeatedly been updated since first being posted. Last update was 6/12/13.

My fellow Calvinists seem to disagree among themselves as to whether reprobation is conditional or unconditional. The following are quotes from Calvinists who are mostly supralapsarian. Some of whom believe reprobation is conditional, while others believing it's unconditional. Since I found most of these quotes online by doing a quick search, I don't guarantee that I'm quoting the authors in context.

The tendency seems to me to be that the more sophisticated and well read the Calvinist the more likely he/she will believe that reprobation is conditional (regardless of one's lapsarian view). Also, the tendency seems to be that all (or the overwhelming majority of) infralapsarians believe it's conditional. However, some supralapsarians believe reprobation is unconditional, while other supralapsarians believe it's conditional. Also, the tendency seems to be that as one sides against the concept of Common Grace (and therefore tending towards supralapsarianism), one will more likely affirm reprobation as being unconditional. I also get the impression that when many Calvinists vigorously deny that reprobation is conditional, they do so thinking that it could only be conditioned on foreseen demerit. When it might be the case that when other Calvinists (some of whom are supralapsarian) affirm its conditionality, condition it not on foreseen sin and demerit, but on foreordained sin and demerit. In which case, reprobation is conditional, but not on the actions of sinful men in time. These latter type of Calvinists seem to hold to there being two parts/elements to reprobation: 1. preterition which is unconditional and 2. precondemnation/predamnation which is conditional (i.e. conditioned on foreordained sin and demerit). This could account for the disagreement among Calvinists and my own confusion on the issue. I've come to these tentative and provisional conclusions after reading Berkhof's Systematic Theology on the topic of reprobation.

One Calvinist argued, "Direct evidence in support of double predestination or reprobation comes from such verses of Scripture as Isa 6:9; Mal 1:2-3; Mt 11:25-26; Lk 2:34; Jn 3:19; 9:39; 12:39-40; Rom 9:11-13,17-22; 11:7; 1 Thes 5:9, 2 Thes 2:11; 1 Pet 2:6-8, and Jude 4."
Louis Berkhof cites similar passages "Matt. 11:25, 26; Rom. 9:13, 17, 18, 21, 22; 11:7; Jude 4; I Pet. 2:8"

My highlights in blue indicates statements concerning reprobation as conditional.  

My highlights in purple indicates statements concerning reprobation as unconditional.

Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof is considered a standard and classic Calvinistic systematic theology by which other Calvinistic systematic theologies are measured by. Berkhof argues that both supralapsarianism and infralapsarianism can be defended Biblically, theologically, and logically. He doesn't dogmatically side with either position. Although, I've read people claiming he clearly sides with one or the other. For example, Robert Reymond says in his systematic theology, "Berkhof, who seems (only slightly) to favor the infralapsarian position..." While Phillip R. Johnson wrote, "Louis Berkhof's discussion of the two views (in his Systematic Theology) is helpful, though he seems to favor supralapsarianism."
"Later Infralapsarians, such as Rivet, Walaeus, Mastricht, Turretin, à Mark, and de Moor, all admit that the fall of man was included in the decree; and of the later Supralapsarians, such as Beza, Gomarus, Peter Martyr, Zanchius, Ursinus, Perkins, Twisse, Trigland, Voetius, Burmannus, Witsius and Comrie, at least some are quite willing to admit that in the decree of Reprobation God in some way took sin into consideration. We are concerned at present with Supra- and Infralapsarianism in their more developed form."-Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof, section on Predestination

"It is sometimes represented as if God destined some men for eternal destruction, simply by an act of His sovereign will, without taking account of their sin; as if, like a tyrant, He simply decided to destroy a large number of His rational creatures, purely for the manifestation of His glorious virtues. But Supralapsarians abhor the idea of a tyrannical God, and at least some of them explicitly state that, while preterition is an act of God’s sovereign will, the second element of reprobation, namely, condemnation, is an act of justice and certainly takes account of sin. This proceeds on the supposition that logically preterition precedes the decree to create and to permit the fall, while condemnation follows this. The logic of this position may be questioned, but it at least shows that the Supralapsarians who assume it, teach that God takes account of sin in the decree of reprobation."-Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof, section on Predestination

"Again, it is objected that Supralapsarianism makes the decree of reprobation just as absolute as the decree of election. In other words, that it regards reprobation as purely an act of God’s sovereign good pleasure, and not as an act of punitive justice. According to its representation sin does not come into consideration in the decree of reprobation. But this is hardly correct, though it may be true of some Supralapsarians. In general, however, it may be said that, while they regard preterition as an act of God’s sovereign good pleasure, they usually regard precondemnation as an act of divine justice which does take sin into consideration. And the Infralapsarian himself cannot maintain the idea that reprobation is an act of justice pure and simple, contingent on the sin of man. In the last analysis, he, too, must declare that it is an act of God’s sovereign good pleasure, if he wants to avoid the Arminian camp."-Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof, section on Predestination

Robert L. Reymond's A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith is widely praised by contemporary Calvinists as a modern classic. Holding to what he calls Modified Supralapsarianism, he wrote in chapter 10 of his systematic theology the following:

"And, while it is true that God’s determination to pass by the rest of mankind (this “passing by” is designated “preterition” from the Latin praeteritio) was grounded solely in the unsearchable counsel of his own will, his determination to ordain those whom he had determined to pass by to dishonor and wrath (condemnation) took into account the condition which alone deserves his wrath—their sin."
It seems to me that Reymond agrees with Berkhof (whom he repeatedly quotes) in believing that preterition is unconditional, while the determination of precondemnation is conditioned on sin. Additional evidence is found in chapter 13 (God's Eternal Plan of Salvation). He writes:
Although the infralapsarian’s concern to represent God’s reprobation of some sinners as an act of justice (evidenced in his placing the discriminating decree after the decree concerning the Fall) issues a proper caution against any depiction of God which would suggest that he acts toward men with purposeless caprice, nevertheless, if he intends by this to suggest that God’s reprobation of these sinners is solely an act of justice (condemnation alone) which in no sense entails also the logically prior sovereign determination to “pass them by” and to leave them in their sin (preterition), then he makes reprobation solely a conditional decree, a position in accord with the Arminian contention that God determines the destiny of no man, that he merely decreed to react in mercy or justice to the actions of men.
Additional evidence is suggested by the very fact of how he personally orders God's eternal decree. He has God reprobating SINFUL men BEFORE the decree that men should fall. Traditionally and historically supralapsarians have not had God electing and reprobating SINFUL humans. Continuing in chapter 13, Reymond writes:

 Other supralapsarians, such as (possibly) Jerome Zanchius (1516–1590), Johannes Piscator (1546–1625), Herman Hoeksema (d. 1965), and Gordon H. Clark (1902–1985), have suggested, with minor variations among them, that the decrees should be arranged in the following order: 
1.     the election of some sinful men to salvation in Christ (and the reprobation of the rest of sinful mankind in order to make known the riches of God’s gracious mercy to the elect)
2.     the decree to apply Christ’s redemptive benefits to the elect sinners
3.     the decree to redeem the elect sinners by the cross work of Christ
4.     the decree that men should fall
5.     the decree to create the world and men.

John Gill is considered one of the greatest theologians Calvinistic Baptists have produced. He was a supralapsarian whose writings preserved High Calvinism in his time.

"1. The Supralapsarian scheme is greatly found fault with; and it is asked,[4] What can be supposed more cruelly of God, than that he should, of his mere will and pleasure, appoint men nondum consideratos ut condendos, not yet considered as to be created, much less as sinners, to the everlasting torments of hell?" "I observe, that this learned writer greatly mistakes the Supralapsarian scheme: which considers the objects of election and reprobation as men either already created, but not fallen, or to be created, and in the pure mass of creatureship, but not as men not yet considered, whether they should be created or no. Besides, he confounds, as these men usually do, the decree of negative with positive reprobation, or the decree of preterition with that of damnation; whereas the Supralapsarians, though they think men were not considered as sinners in the act of preterition, or passing by some, when others were chosen; yet they always suppose men to be considered as sinners in the decree of damnation, and that God appointed none but sinners, and no man but for sin, to everlasting torments; and where is the cruelty of this doctrine?"- The Cause of God and Truth by John Gill
Later in the same section Gill write:

I reply, this author seems to mistake the doctrine both of the Supralapsarians and Sublapsarians. The Supralapsarians distinguish the decrees of God into the decree of the end, and the decree of the means; the former respects not man's salvation, or damnation, but the glory of God as the end; the latter, with respect to the elect, includes the decree of creation, the permission of sin, redemption by Christ, the giving of grace, perseverance in it, and eternal salvation, as one complete mean to bring about the glory of God in a way of mercy tempered with justice; with respect to the reprobate, it includes the decree of creation, the permission of sin, dereliction in it, damnation for it, as one entire complete mean for the bringing about of God's glory in a way of vindictive justice. Now let it be observed, that though God decreed man's destruction before his creation, yet he decreed to damn no man but for sin; and though he has willed, or decreed, that sin should come to pass, or that man should fall into sin; yet he wills this not by effecting, but by permitting it; and therefore is not the author of it. Besides, it is not sin, but the permission of sin, that is the mean, in order to the end; which end is not man's destruction, but God's glory; the permission of sin is, with other things, the means of God's glory, but not of man's destruction; for permission of sin stands in the same place in the decree of the means, with respect to the reprobate, as it does in the decree of the means, with respect to the elect. As therefore the permission of sin, is not the means of the salvation of the elect, so it is not the means of the damnation of the reprobate; but, as with respect to the elect, it is, together with their salvation, the means of, and is requisite to, the manifestation of God's glory, in a way of mercy mixed with justice; so it is, together with the damnation of the reprobates, the means of, and requisite to, the display of his glory, in a way of wrath and justice; and therefore permission of sin no more supposes, or proves God to be the author of sin in the reprobates than in the elect. - The Cause of God and Truth by John Gill

I answer, the Supralapsarians distinguish reprobation into negative and positive; negative reprobation is non-election, or preterition, a passing by of some, when others were chosen; the objects of this decree, are men considered as not yet created, and so neither wicked nor righteous. Positive reprobation is the decree of damnation, or that which appoints men to everlasting ruin, to which it appoints no man but for sin. It is therefore a most injurious representation of the Supralapsarians, that they assert that God has reprobated, that is, appointed innocent persons to eternal destruction; when they, over and over, say, as may easily be observed in the writings of that famous Supralapsarian, Dr. Twiss, that God has not decreed to damn any man, but for sin: and that the decree of reprobation is of no moment, or reason of nature, before, and without the consideration of sin. Now, if it is not incompatible with the justice of God, to damn men for sin, it can be no ways incompatible with his justice, to decree to damn men for sin.- The Cause of God and Truth by John Gill

Steve Hays (a supralapsarian) also seems to agree with Berkhof that reprobation has two elements  and that 1. preterition is unconditional, while 2. precondemnation is conditional on account of foreordained sin. Steve is a well known contemporary supralapsarian Calvinist and apologist. He is a contributing blogger at Triablogue and is considered by many Calvinists to be extremely well read and one of the ablest defenders of Calvinism in particular (and Christianity in general).
It's simplistic to say reprobation is either conditional or unconditional. My position is more qualified than that. I distinguished between necessary and sufficient conditionality. Reprobation is conditional in the former sense, not the latter sense.
Election is only conditional by parity of reasoning if, in fact, they are comparable across the board–which is the very issue in dispute. The reprobate get what they deserve whereas the elect get better than they deserve. So election and reprobation are asymmetrical.
How is that inconsistent with supralapsarianism? IMO, supralapsarianism is about why God decreed the Fall.
Moreover, even on Clark's defense of the supra view (and Ryan is a Clarkian), Clark defends it by arguing that the order of intention is the mirror image of the order of execution. In a teleological order, we execute our plan in reverse order to the order in which we mentally arrange the chain of events. How is the conditional aspect of reprobation inconsistent with that explanation?- Steve Hays

Since this issue continues to crop up, I’ll discuss it from another angle. I’ve often read Arminians claim that Calvinism subscribes to unconditional reprobation. I don’t see them quoting any representative Reformed theologians to that effect. Rather, they apparently infer that if election is unconditional, then, by parity of argument, reprobation must be unconditional. However, that’s a fallacious inference.- Steve Hays

There’s a partial asymmetry between election and reprobation. Election is unconditional in the sense that it does not take human merit or demerit into account. By contrast, reprobation has a conditional aspect inasmuch as God condemns sinners. This is not a sufficient condition of reprobation, otherwise everyone would be damned. Hence, reprobation remains a sovereign deed. Nevertheless, demerit is a necessary condition of reprobation. But both election and reprobate [sic] are determinate for the fate of the elect and the reprobate.- Steve Hays

While election is unconditional, reprobation is conditional insofar as the sin is a necessary, albeit insufficient, condition for the condemnation of the reprobate. In that respect, election and reprobation are asymmetrical.- Steve Hays

Election and reprobation are symmetrical inasmuch as God decrees both, rendering the outcome equally certain in each case.
However, they are asymmetrical in another respect. Election is unconditional inasmuch as God doesn’t take human merit (or foreseen faith) into account where election is concerned (since sinners have no merit, and faith is a resultant benefit of election).
By contrast, demerit is a necessary (but insufficient) condition of reprobation. So in that respect, reprobation is conditional in a way that election is not.
Let’s also keep in mind that Calvin was a theological pioneer. As such, later Reformed theologians refine his theology in various ways.-Stephen Hays [possibly the same Steve Hays of Triablogue fame]

R.C. Sproul is probably the most well known Calvinist theologian of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Possibly tied with John Piper. An infralapsarian, Sproul had this to say in his article on Double Predestination (or here):

The importance of viewing the decree of reprobation in light of the fall is seen in the on-going discussions between Reformed theologians concerning infra- and supra-lapsarianism. Both viewpoints include the fall in God's decree. Both view the decree of preterition in terms of divine permission. The real issue between the positions concerns the logical order of the decrees. In the supralapsarian view the decree of election and reprobation is logically prior to the decree to permit the fall. In the infralapsarian view the decree to permit the fall is logically prior to the decree to election and reprobation.
     Though this writer favors the infralapsarian view along the lines developed by Turrettini, it is important to note that both views see election and reprobation in light of the fall and avoid the awful conclusion that God is the author of sin.

Robert L. Dabney is a well known American theologian who lived during the American Civil War. He was an infralapsarian who believed that reprobation was conditional and he understood it as simply due to preterition even though he clearly was aware that some theologians spoke of two aspects to reprobation into preterition and pre-damnation. One can access his systematic theology at this link HERE. Here are some brief quotations demonstrating the above statement (quotations taken from his Systematic Theology).

The theologians, while admitting the strict unity of God’s decree, divide reprobation into two elements, as apprehended by us, preterition and pre–damnation. These Calvinists, were they consistent, would apply a similar analysis to the decree of election,and divide it into a selection and a prejustification. Thus we should have the doctrine of an eternal justification, which they properly reject as erroneous. Hence, the distinction should be consistently dropped in explaining God’s negative predestination. I would rather say, that it consists simply of a sovereign, yet righteous purpose to leave out the non–elect, which preterition was foreseen and intended to result in their final righteous condemnation. The decree of reprobation is then, in its essence, a simple preterition.
Thus, it is disputed what is the ground of this righteous preterition of the non-elect. The honest reader of his Bible would suppose that it was, of course, their guilt and wickedness foreseen by God, and, for wise reasons, permissively decreed by Him. This, we saw, all but the supralapsarian admitted in substance. God’s election is everywhere represented in Scripture, as an act of mercy, and His preterition as an act of righteous anger against sin. The elect are vessels of mercy, the non-elect, of wrath. (God does not show anger at anything but sin) as in Romans 9:22. Everywhere it is sin which excludes from His favor, and sin alone. But it is urged, with an affected over-refinement, the sin of the non-elect cannot be the ground of God’s preterition, because all Adam’s seed being viewed as equally depraved, had this been the ground, all would have been passed by. I reply, yes; if this had been the only consideration, pro or con, present in God’s mind. The ill-desert of all was in itself a sufficient ground for God to pass by all. But when His sovereign wisdom suggested some reason, unconnected with the relative desert or ill-desert of sinners, which was a good and sufficient ground for God’s choosing a part; this only left the same original ground, ill-desert, operating on His mind as to the remainder. It is perfectly true that God’s sovereignty concerns itself with the preterition as well as the election; for the separate reason which grounded the latter is sovereign. But with what propriety can it be said that this secret sovereign reason is the ground of his preterition, when the very point of the case was that it was a reason which did not apply to the non-elect, but only to the elect? As to the elect, it overruled the ground for their preterition, which would otherwise have been found, in their common ill-desert. As to the non-elect, it did not apply, and thus left the original ground, their ill-deserts, in full force.


David Engelsma is well known in the Protestant Reformed Church and is considered to be one of those who have taken on the mantle of Herman Hoeksema in the Common Grace controversy among Calvinists. He is a supralapsarian and his denomination officially holds to supralapsarianism.
If reprobation is the decree not to give a man faith, it is patently false to say that unbelief is the cause of reprobation. That would be the same as to say that my decision not to give a beggar a quarter is due to the beggar's not having a quarter. That reprobation is an unconditional decree is also plain from the fact that if unbelief were the cause of reprobation, all men would have been reprobated, and none would have been elected, for all men are equally unbelieving and disobedient: Scripture teaches that reprobation is God's sovereign, unconditional decree to damn some sinners.- "Hyper-Calvinism" and the Call of the Gospel by David Engelsma
"Calvin’s soteriology was the Gospel of God’s efficacious deliverance of totally depraved sinners by grace alone. Grace is particular, in Calvin’s thought, inasmuch as it has its source in and is infallibly directed by election. And this election, accompanied by an equally eternal and sovereign reprobation, is unconditional."- David J. Engelsma's review of The Binding of God by Peter A. Lillback

I don't know who Marvin Kamps is, but he seems to be a supralapsarian and this quote is taken from the Reformed Free Publishing Association.

"Today, many in the church despise our Reformed Confessions. Today, many theologians deny the very core truths of the Reformed faith; they deny God's absolute sovereignty, His immutability. They deny that grace is an attribute of God, they deny that the decree of God of election and reprobation is unconditional, they deny the doctrine of limited atonement; and much, much more of the truths of Scripture is denied by "Reformed" theologians."- Marvin Kamps

I don't know who Professor Barry Gritters is, but apparently he is (or was) a professor at some Protestant Reformed Church seminary. That's my inductive conclusion because the article from which I get the following quote 1. refers to him as a professor, 2. seems to be written by him (not sure how long ago), 3. suggests he is speaking as a member of the PRC, 4. it's more likely that he's specifically called a "professor" because he worked at a religious institution than a secular one. Like Engelsma, he is probably a supralapsarian because their denomination is officially supralapsarian. He's probably the same professor Barry Gritters described HERE.

"That reprobation is unconditional is seen in more than one place. John 10:26 is a key text, "Ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you." They are unbelievers because God did not choose them. I Peter 2:8 brings that out as well. Jesus Christ is "a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed." Then it goes on, "But ye are a chosen generation..."-Grace Uncommon A Protestant Reformed Look at the Doctrine of Common Grace by Professor Barry Gritters

"Third, teaching and preaching unconditional reprobation is not hyper-Calvinism. When God reprobates, He does not do so because of the unbelief or unworthiness of those whom He rejects. Why does God reprobate this man or that man? For so it seemed good to Him. God's eternal good pleasure. The potter has power over the clay. Whether looked at from a Reformed supra-lapsarian or from a Reformed infra-lapsarian viewpoint, reprobation is unconditional. Even though infra-lapsarians hold that the objects of reprobation are, in God's counsel and mind, sinners, they are not rejected because they are sinners, or all sinners would be rejected. That the Reformed doctrine teaches unconditional reprobation is plain from the Canons themselves. It is also plain from the vehement objections at the Synod of Dordt. What objections would there be to a doctrine that holds that God rejected some because He foresaw that they would reject Him? What violent objections would be raised to that? The Canons and Reformed believers who hold to unconditional reprobation stand in good company with the apostle Paul who, because he also taught unconditional double predestination, heard the very same objections (Rom. 9:14ff.). When Paul (and Dordt) face the unbeliever's challenge to the doctrine of reprobation, they appeal to God's sovereignty, not God's justice or righteousness. This reinforces the truth that reprobation is not conditional." -Defending Sovereign Reprobation from Hyper-Calvinism (1)* by Barry Gritters

I don't know who Rev. Martyn McGeown but according to the following link's website he is ordained in the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church which is affiliated with the Protestant Reformed Churches in the U.S. and Canada. This would mean he's almost certainly a supralapsarian.

"Reprobation is unconditional, God does not decree to make someone a vessel of wrath fitted to destruction because he sinned or because God foresaw that he would sin and persevere in sin, but because it pleased Him to do so, as potter has the right to do with clay what He will."-Rev. Martyn McGeown

Before his death, Edwin H. Palmer had served as executive secretary of the  Committee on Bible Translation; worked as coordinator of all translation work on the NIV; and worked as the first general editor of The NIV Study Bible. His book The Five Points of Calvinism is considered a classic introduction to Calvinism on par with R.C. Sproul's book Chosen by God. Both books are considered to have significantly contributed to the resurgence of Calvinism in the later part of the 20th century. Because he believed reprobation is unconditional, it's likely he was a supralapsarian.

"The most powerful evidence that preterition is unconditional and that unbelief is ordained by God is found in the hypothetical questions that Paul raises in response to this strong assertion of God's sovereignty in both election and reprobation. He ask hypothetically, as if a doubter were questioning God's wisdom: "What then shall we say? Is God unjust?" This question presupposes that double predestination (election and reprobation) is unconditional, that it is not based on God's foreknowledge of who would believe or not, who would be good or evil.-The Five Points of Calvinism by Edwin H. Palmer pages 129-130

"5. Reprobation as preterition is unconditional, and as condemnation it is conditional. [[Is the second half of this sentence, which I highlighted red, an acknowledgement by Palmer of the two aspects/elements of reprobation which I mentioned above some supralapsarians subscribe to? If so, then he believes reprobation is in some sense conditional contrary to the simple unconditionality that he seems to be promoting in his other statements which I highlight in purple- Annoyed Pinoy]] God in passing some by was not conditioned by their unbelief. God did not foresee which ones by their own will would not accept Christ and on that basis reject them. Just as election is unconditional so also preterition is unconditional. The only reason given for the election Jacob and the passing by of Esau is: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated" (Romans 9:13). The reason was in God and not in the foreknowledge of the good or bad that either one would do. ("Before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad - in order that God's purpose in election might stand: not by works but by Him who called - she was told, "The older will serve the younger.") As Calvin said: "As Jacob, deserving nothing by good works, is taken into grace, so Esau, as yet undefiled by any crime, is hated." The most powerful evidence that preterition is unconditional and that unbelief is ordained by God is found in the hypothetical questions that Paul raises in response to this strong assertion of God's sovereignty both in election and reprobation. He asks hypothetically, as if a doubter were questioning God's wisdom: "What then shall we say? Is God unjust?" The question presupposes that double predestination (election and reprobation) is unconditional, that it is not based on God's foreknowledge of who would believe or not, who would be good or evil"-"Twelve Theses on Reprobation" by Edwin Palmer

Vincent Cheung is known by many to be a theological maverick. Among his distinctive and dogmatic theological and philosophical positions, he combines his modified Clarkian Scripturalism (and its accompanying empirical skepticism) with pneumatological continuationism. He is considered by some to be a Hyper-Calvinist or tending toward it because of his stance on occassionalism and hard determinism. He is staunchly supralapsarian and in one of his past works held to Reymond's Modified Supralapsarianism. I can't seem to find that work. Maybe he has revised his views and has edited it out of his material.

"Infralapsarianism confuses the order of purpose and design with the order of execution. It complains that in supralapsarianism, God decrees the identities of the reprobates without a view to their sinfulness. However, the Bible explicitly asserts this view, that reprobation is unconditional, and that God created some people for salvation and all others for damnation "out of the same lump" (Romans 9:21). The reprobates did not create themselves; God created them, and created them as reprobates. " Vincent Cheung

"The major objection against the supralapsarian scheme amounts to an opposition to the idea that God could designate the identities of the reprobates before he decrees their fall into sin. In supralapsarianism, God first decrees that there would be reprobates, and then he decrees the fall so that these reprobates could materialize. Again, the objection is against unconditional reprobation. To put it another way, the objection is against God's absolute sovereignty, or the fact that God is God. Then, the objection against unconditional reprobation is that it is unjust – that is, not according to any standard stated in Scripture, but according to man's sinful intuition. He is uncomfortable with the idea! In any case, by the time God executes punishment upon the reprobates, they have already fallen into sin, so that God does not in fact punish anyone who is sinless and innocent, that is, except when he caused the suffering of Christ. Even then, the punishment inflicted was just in God's mind because Christ was bearing the guilt of the chosen ones (Isaiah 53:10). " Vincent Cheung

"There are many more such passages in the writings of the Reformers, but it would seem unnecessary to pile up more quotations. It is clear that they do not deny but even teach that reprobation, like election, is both active and unconditional."- Commentary on Ephesians by Vincent Cheung

The History and Theology of Calvinism" by Dr. Curt Daniel (Downloadable MP3 Messages)

Curt Daniel's classic lectures on Calvinism (75 messages in all).

The lecture topics:
What is Calvinism    
Augustine and Pre-Calvinism    
The Reformation    
John Calvin    
The Spread of Calvinism    
The Synod of Dort    
The Puritans    
The Westminster Assembly    
Covenant Theology    
High Calvinism    
Calvinistic Antinomianism    
18th Century Calvinism    
Jonathan Edwards and New England Calvinism    
The Princeton Theology    
19th Century Calvinism - North-South    
Calvinistic Baptists    
Dutch Calvinism    
Calvinistic Philosophy    
The Theonomy Movement    
20th Century British Calvinism    
20th Century American Calvinism    
The Sovereignty of God    
Objections to Predestination    
The Providence of God    
The Will of God    
Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility    
Prayer and the Sovereignty of God    
The Glory of God    
The Origin of Sin    
Providence and the Problem of Evil    
Original Sin    
Total Depravity    
The Bondage of the Will    
Total Depravity and Human Responsibility    
Unconditional Election    
The Election of Grace    
Election and Foreknowledge    
Election in Christ    
Objections to Election    
The Destiny of the Elect    
Practical Implications of the Doctrine of Election    
The Doctrine of Reprobation    
The Hardening of the Reprobate    
The Desinty of the Reprobate    
Relation of Election and Reprobation    
The Order of the Decrees    
The Election of Angels    
The Election of Dying Infants    
The Destiny of the Unevangelized    
The Covenant of Redemption    
The Active and Passive Obedience of Christ    
The Extent of the Atonement    
Limited Atonement    
Objections to Limited Atonement    
Irresistible Grace    
The New Birth    
The Gift of Faith    
The Order of Salvation    
Common Grace    
Preservation of the Saints - part 1    
Preservation of the Saints - part 2    
Objections to Eternal Security    
The Reformed Doctrine of Scripture    
The Two Natures of Christ    
The Reformed Doctrine of the Church    
The Reformed Doctrine of Communion    
Reformed Evangelism    
Practical Implications of Calvinism    
The Future of Calvinism    
An Introduction to Calvinism

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Debate Between Paul Manata (Christian) vs. Dan Barker (Atheist)

This is one of my favorite debates between a Christian and an Atheist. That's because Paul Manata uses a presuppositional approach to apologetics and I hold to presuppositional apologetics. Also, because Dan Barker is one of my favorite atheistic debaters. I can identify with him since he was a charismatic Christian before his deconversion.

I've listened to many debates Dan Barker has participated in and this is the only time I think he lost the debate. Not only did he lose it, but he lost it badly. Paul Manata crushed Barker. In my opinion, the only weaknesses in Paul's arguments stemmed from his cessationism. Because of his cessationism, he denied that a cat could talk and proclaim to him a Gospel message [which is what Dan conveyed when he relayed what the cat allegedly spoke in Spanish]. This was something which Dan exploited and showed an inconsistency in Paul's belief system. On the one hand he's willing to believe that a donkey spoke to Balaam, yet denied that a cat could speak.

Additionally, Dan was wrong in saying that it's logically impossible for cats to ever speak, since given naturalistic atheism (which usually believes in macro-evolution), cats can evolve to speak, then evolve not to speak, then evolve to speak again, then evolve to fly, surf, dance and sing Karaoke <g>. Dan seemed to be confused about logical possibility/impossibility and physical possibility/impossibility, along with the difference between deductive arguments and inductive arguments.

Here's another link to the debate in 12 parts:

Here's another link to the debate in 8 parts:

Paul is one of the bloggers at Triablogue

Below is Paul Manata's first public debate against Derek Sansone. This debate occurred before  Manata's eventual conclusion that a strong Modal TAG has yet to be formulated. That's why the form of Manata's argument is different in the two debates.

DOES THE CHRISTIAN GOD EXIST? (Paul Manata vs Derek Sansone)

The classic debate between Greg Bahnsen (Christian) and Gordon Stein (atheist)
"The Great Debate: Does God Exist?," a formal debate between held at the University of California (Irvine) Feb. 11, 1985. 
Bahnsen applied Van Tillian presuppositionalism
(mp3 file here)        (transcript here

Monday, May 13, 2013

Resources Responding to Bart Ehrman

Articles, Audios and Videos critiquing Bart Ehrman's views on the Bible and theology


Steve Hays' review of "Jesus Interrupted"

Bart Interrupted--- A detailed Analysis of 'Jesus Interrupted' Part 1

Bart Interrupted--- A detailed Analysis of 'Jesus Interrupted' Part 2

Bart Interrupted--- A detailed Analysis of 'Jesus Interrupted' Part 3

Bart Interrupted--- A detailed Analysis of 'Jesus Interrupted' Part 4

Bart Interrupted--- A detailed Analysis of 'Jesus Interrupted' Part 5

Ben Witherington on the Historical Jesus Parts 1-7

Bock reviews Forged

E. Randolph Richards Responds To Bart Ehrman

More Reviews Of Bart Ehrman's Forged

Ehrman Corrupted 

Misquoting Metzger

The Rehabilitation of Heresy" 'Misquoting' Earliest Christianity

Ehrman-Wallace Debate Wrap-Up

 The hidden contradictions of Ehrman

 A Review Of The Second Licona/Ehrman Debate On The Resurrection 

The Heterodox Corruption of Bart Ehrman  

Ehrman's just-so story

The Bart Truman Show

A Review Of The White/Ehrman Debate On The New Testament Text 

The Craig/Ehrman Debate

Ehrman's conundrum

 The Bart Ehrman Blog and the Reliability of the New Testament Text

 Bart Ehrman On The New Testament Text

Why Bart Ehrman Keeps Losing Debates

Bart Ehrman's Misleading Article About Christmas

Exposing Ehrman’s whoppers; affirming the reliability of the New Testament

"Misquoting Manuscripts? The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture Revisited"

Review of Bart Ehrman's "God's Problem"

How Jesus Became God Review by: Andreas Köstenberger

How God Became Jesus by Michael Bird, Craig Evans, Simon Gathercole, Charles Hill, and Chris Tilling reviewed by Andreas J. Köstenberger

Raining on Bart Ehrman’s Easter parade By Michael F. Bird & Simon Gathercole

Did the Early Church Invent Jesus’ Divinity After the Fact? Michael Bird Discusses Bart Ehrman’s New Book (And An Unusual Rebuttal)

How Jesus Became God—or How God Became Jesus? A Review of Bart Ehrman’s New Book and a Concurrent Response by Rob Bowman

Bart Ehrman’s Worldview Problem Michael Kruger

How Jesus Became God: A Review Article by Michael Kruger

Lord and God (a review of Bart Ehrman's How Jesus Became God) by Larry W. Hurtado

Why Bart Ehrman Gets Jesus’ Burial Wrong - Part 1
Why Bart Ehrman Gets Jesus’ Burial Wrong - Part 2

More links can be found by doing a search on Triablogue. Go to and type in the "site or domain" field "" then type in some keywords in some of the first three fields. NOTE: Do NOT type in "" in the "site or domain" field. Leave out the "www."


Ehrman Project videos on YouTube

Apologetics 315's page dedicated to Bart Ehrman

William Lane Craig Critique Ehrman (video)

Dr. William Lane Craig Answers Bart Ehrman on the Historical Jesus

James White Critique of Ehrman (video)
possibly the same critique:

Critique of Bart Ehrman's "Misquoting Jesus" by James White

Misquoting Jesus: An Analysis by Peter J. Williams
or here

Norman Geisler Critique of Ehrman (video) part 1 of 4

Daniel B. Wallace Interviewed by Apologetics 315

Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus - John Warwick Montgomery, PhD

Bart Ehrman Answered - Mike Licona, PhD

How Badly Did Scribes Change the New Testament Bible? by Daniel Wallace

"The Burial of Jesus" - Greg Monette


Debate between William Lane Craig and Bart Ehrman :
Is There Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus (video)

Did the Bible Misquote Jesus? Debate between Bart Ehrman and James White

Debate Between Mike Licona and Bart Ehrman :
Can Historians Prove Jesus Rose From The Dead or

Debate between Craig Evans and Bart Ehrman :
Does the New Testament Misquote Jesus?

Debate Between Craig Evans and Bart Ehrman :
Does the New Testament Present A Reliable Portrait of the Historical Jesus?
(1st night Jan. 19, 2012)

Debate Between Craig Evans and Bart Ehrman :
Does the New Testament Present A Reliable Portrait of the Historical Jesus?
(2nd night Jan. 20, 2012)

Was the New Testament Forged? A Discussion between Darrell L. Bock and Bart D. Ehrman
possibly the same discussion:

Is The Original New Testament Lost? : A Dialogue with Dr. Bart Ehrman and Daniel Wallace

the same dialogue:

"Misquoting" Jesus - Bart Ehrman vs. Peter J. Williams on Unbelievable Radio
(Do We Have the Original Writings of the New Testament?)
possibly the same debate:

Does the Bible Provide an Adequate Answer to the Problem of Suffering?
Debate between Michael L. Brown and Bart Ehrman

Book Reviews of Recent Atheist Authors by Christian Apologists

Resources for Dealing with Alleged Bible Contradictions, Discrepancies and Errors

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Consequences of Ideas by R.C. Sproul

The following link is to R.C. Sproul's introductory lessons on the history of philosophy. They are a good introduction to philosophy which can be used to help ground a Christian in approaching Christian apologetics.

James White's Lectures on Church History  (50 lectures in total)

Here's another source from for James White's lectures on Church History.
The lectures linked below were given starting 2016:

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Debates Between Evangelicals and Catholics
Refresh/Reload page if you see a white blank square where a YouTube video should be.

Does The Bible Teach Sola Scriptura?
James White vs. Gerry Matatics
November, 1992

Does The Bible Teach Sola Scriptura?
James White vs. Patrick Madrid
September 28, 1993
(Video LINK)

The Marian Dogmas (The Great Debate I)
James White vs. Gerry Matatics
Video LINK

Sola Scriptura (The Great Debate II)
James White vs. Gerry Matatics

The Papacy (The Great Debate III)
James White vs. Mitch Pacwa
Video LINK

The Mass (The Great Debate IV)
James White vs. Robert Sungenis
Video LINK

Justification by Faith? (The Great Debate V)
James White vs. Robert Sungenis
Video LINK

Purgatory (The Great Debate VI)
James White vs. Peter Stravinskas
Video LINK

Veneration of Saints and Images (The Great Debate VII)
James White vs. Patrick Madrid
Video LINK

Is The Roman Catholic Priesthood Biblical & Ancient? (The Great Debate VIII)
James White vs. Mitch Pacwa

Is The Apocrypha Scripture? (The Great Debate IX)
James White vs. Gary Michuta

Is It Possible for a Non-Christian to Enter into Heaven? (The Great Debate X)
James White vs. Bill Rutland

Sola Scriptura
James White vs. Mitchell Pacwa

Two Consecutive Debates:  
1. Is the Papacy Biblical? 
2. Is the Papacy Historical?
(the 2nd debate appears to begin at 2:00:10)
James White & Robert Zins vs. Scott Butler & Robert Sungenis

An inferior version of the above debate HERE

Is The Roman Mass a Propitiatory Sacrifice? April 2003 
James White vs. Robert Sungenis

The Bodily Assumption of Mary
James White vs. Robert Sungenis
Video LINK

Is Purgatory Biblical?
James White vs. Robert Sungenis

The following are the FOUR classic debates between James White and Robert Fastiggi. I've listed them in the order they were held (AFAIK).

How Is Man Justified Before A Righteous And Holy God?
The debate begins at 31 minutes into the video. The debate itself is only in audio.
Video LINK

Do Roman Catholic Indulgences Really Forgive Sins?

Is The Roman Catholic Pope Infallible? [Papal Infallibility Debate]

Is the Roman Catholic Doctrine Of The Virgin Mary Biblical?
Papal Infallibility
James White vs. Robert Sungenis

Sola Scriptura
James White vs. Peter D. Williams
video LINK

James White vs. Art Sippo
Video LINK

Sola Scriptura Debate
James White vs. Tim Staples

Did Mary Have Other Children?
James White vs. Gerry Matatics
Video LINK
The Perpetual Virginity of Mary: Did Mary Have Other Children?
Eric Svendsen vs. Gerry Matatics

Sola Scriptura Debate
Robert Zins vs. Gerry Matatics
Video LINK

Predestination or Free Will?
James White vs. Robert Sungenis
Video LINK

God's Predestination
James White vs. James Akin
Video LINK
Eternal Security
James White vs. Gerry Matatics

Mary: Sinless Queen of Heaven or Sinner Saved by Grace?
Tony Costa vs. Robert Sungenis

Can A Christian Lose Their Salvation? 
James White vs. Trent Horn

Immaculate Conception Debate
James White vs Christopher Ferrara
Do the Catholic Church's Teachings on Mary Constitute Authentic Christian Doctrine/Teaching?
James White vs. Peter D. Williams

Debate is between two Protestants.

Are Roman Catholics Our Brothers and Sisters in Christ
James White vs. Douglas Wilson

Roman Catholic Debates on Sedevacantism