A Response to "Unconditional Election and Total Depravity are Gnostic Teachings", by Deborah Du Randt


Keywords

arminianism, calvinism, deborah, manichaeism, total depravity, unconditional election, discerning the world

Proof-Texts and Cross-References

Gen. 2v17, 3v8; Ps. 110v3; Pr. 5v22, 6v18, 12v20, 16v9, v23, 19v21; Jer. 31v18; Mt. 7v9-11, v17-18, 12v34; Jn. 1v13, 6v44, 11v25, 14v16; 15v16, 16v13; Acts 13v48; Rom. 3v9-23, 5v12-21, 6v16-21, 7v18; 1 Cor. 2v14, 12v9; Gal. 2v11-21, 3v23, 5v1; Eph. 2v1, v8, v10, 4v18; Philip. 2v13; Col. 2v13; Tit. 3v5

Introduction

On the 13th of October 2010, Deborah Du Randt of Discerning The World, published an article in defense of Libertarian Free Will, stating that "Unconditional Election and Total Depravity are Gnostic Teachings" [1].

The article seems to be based primarily on 'The Early Church Fathers and Free-Will' [45] by Jacques More of Jarom Books, and 'On Calvinism' [35] by Steve Gregg of the Society of Evangelical Arminians.

Why I Chose to Respond

I decided to respond to Deborah's essay for a number of reasons.

➢ One. Because I am both, a Calvinist and former Arminian, who once shared Deborah's views.

➢ Two. Because in replying to a commentator by the name of Elmarie, on the 13th of October 2010, Deborah referred to the doctrines of Unconditional Election and Total Depravity as "tripe" [1], "whimsical new ideas" [1] and "false teaching" [1].

➢ Three. Because uninformed readers may latch onto Deborah's material, assuming it's arguments and 'evidences' to be somewhat authoritative in nature.

Please take note that I have no interest in defending either, Prof. Dr. John Calvin (1509-1564) or Augustine of Hippo. When I refer to 'Calvinism', I refer to The Doctrines of Grace, and not that of Calvin or any other Calvinist.

Foundational Arguments

Foundational to Deborah's essay are the following:

➢ One. Deborah believes that Augustine derived both, The Doctrine of Unconditional Election and The Doctrine of Total Depravity, from 'prophet' Mani (216–276 AD), the Founder of Manichaeism, whom he followed until "shortly after Roman Emperor Theodosius I issued a decree of death for Manichaeans in 382 AD" [1] which he later followed by "declaring Christianity to be the only legitimate religion for the Roman Empire in 391" [1].

➢ Two. Deborah quotes, in her defense, some of the most prominent Apostolic- and Church Fathers, including Justin Martyr (100-165 AD), Irenaeus of Gaul (c.130-200), Athenagoras of Athens (2nd century), Theophilus/Ignatius of Antioch (35/50-98/117 AD), Tatian the Assyrian (120-180 AD), Bardaisan of Syria (154-222 AD), Clement of Alexandria (150-215 AD), Tertullian of Carthage (155-225 AD), Novatian of Rome (200-258 AD), Origen (185-254 AD), Methodius of Olympus (260-311 AD), Archelaus, Arnobius of Sicca (253-327 AD), Cyril of Jerusalem (312-386 AD), Gregory of Nyssa (335-395 AD), Jerome (347-420 AD) and John Chrysostom (347-407 AD), claiming that "they all believed in free will, except Augustine" [1].

Augustine & Manichaeism

Deborah starts her argument attempting to "poison the well" [3] against Augustine. "Poisoning the Well" refers to "a logical fallacy whereby adverse information about a target is pre-emptively presented to an audience, with the intention of discrediting or ridiculing everything that the target person is about to say" [3].

She claims that Prof. Dr. John Calvin (1509-1564) obtained his doctrine "from Augustine" [1], who in turn derived his views from 'prophet' Mani (216–276 AD), the Founder of Manichaeism.

RESPONSE

Deborah's argument is fallacious [i.e. logically unsound] for a number of reasons.

➢ One. Pointing to someone's beliefs during their unsaved days (BC, that is 'Before Christ'), to discredit their latter views, is not only wrong, but extremely underhanded.

In fact, if her's were a legitimate argument, we'd all fail Deborah's doctrinal 'acid test'.

- We'd have to discard Paul, since he was once a Pharisee.

- The former Satanist could no longer belief in hell, since he/she would be accused of deriving their views from Satanism (which also believes in Hell).

- The former Jehovah's Witness could no longer hold to Credobaptism (Believer's Baptism), since he/she would be accused of deriving it from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (which also believes in Credobaptism).

- In fact, an Arminian like Deborah herself, could hardly confirm The Doctrine of Universal Immortality, since she'd be correctly accused of deriving it from Egyptian and Greek Philosophy.

Furthermore, Deborah's position undermines the credibility of her very own positional paper, since she quotes in her defense, Justin Martyr (100-165 AD) (himself raised as a pagan [10]), Athenagoras of Athens (himself a former platonic philosopher [11]), Bardaisan of Syria (a Syriac Gnostic [12]), Clement of Alexandria (also raised as a pagan [13]) and Novatian of Rome (himself formerly demoniacally possessed [14]).

➢ Two. Deborah attempts to discredit Augustine on the basis of him being a former-Manichaean, yet in defense of her own views she quotes the Syriac Gnostic, Bardasian, as a Church Father?! [1|12] Augustine started in Manichaeanism and ended in Christianity. Bardasian, on the other hand, "was first an orthodox Christian and afterwards an adherent of Valentinus" [12]. Augustine died a Christian. Bardasian died a Gnostic. [12]

➢ Three. The assumption that Augustine derived his views from Manichaeism, simply because he followed Mani (216–276 AD), for a period of eight years prior to his conversion, is something Deborah has yet to prove.

There is no proof that following his conversion, Augustine ever favored Mani or Manichaeism.

To the contrary, it was amongst other things, "Augustine's polemics against the Manichaeans" [7] that lead to their demise.

- According to W.H.C. Frend, "that Manichaeism failed to survive in the West as an organised religion may be due largely to Augustine's writings and controversies in the years 387-399" [7|8].

- According to Gerald Bonner, "of all Augustine's religious opponents, the Manichees were, perhaps, the easiest victims... They were, moreover, at a disadvantage because, in a certain sense, their instincts were too Christian to permit them to defend their more specifically Manichaean formulas adequately... Finally, the fact that the Manichees were a proscribed sect and one commonly supposed to be given to secret enormities, gave Augustine an excellent debating weapon, which the language of the Manichees did nothing to blunt... It may be held then that, from the purely controversial point of view, Augustine's anti-Manichaean polemics were the most successful of all that he wrote." [7|9]

➢ Four. Contrary to Deborah's claims, Mani's version of 'Total Depravity' contradicts that of the Bible, Augustine, and Calvinists in general.

- As Deborah herself confirmed, Calvinist believe that "every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin" [1|6]. However, Mani and his followers believed that "SOME are born with their nature totally depraved" [4], while others "are born nearly perfect" [4].

- Unlike Calvinists, Mani did NOT have a doctrine of universal depravity, but rather believed that "... the nature of man CAN BE CORRUPT to the point that his will is powerless to obey God’s commands" [1|5] - a belief that is consequently also confirmed by Arminianism's Doctrine of Inability.

- What Mani and his followers taught wasn't Calvinism's Doctrine of Total Depravity, but rather closely related to Arminianism's Doctrine of Moral Neutrality.

➢ Five. Let's ASSUME for a moment, like Deborah, that Augustine's doctrine did in fact parallel that of Manichaeism. What would that mean? Absolutely NOTHING. It is NOT uncommon among the Apostles, nor the Apostolic- and Church Fathers, to draw parallels between Christian Doctrine and Pagan Philosophy, where it existed.

In Acts chapter 17 verse 28 the Apostle Paul quoted a pagan poet to confirm Christian Doctrine. So did many of Deborah's own sources.

- Justin Martyr (100-165 AD) often quoted pagans like "Homer, Euripides, Xenophon, Menander, and especially Plato" [15].

- Athenagoras of Athens (133-190) often quoted pagan philosophers like Empedocles (490-430 BC) [32].

- Clement of Alexandria (150-215) were known for "uniting Greek philosophical traditions with Christian doctrine" [13], quoting Aristotle (384–322 BC) [37], Epicurus (341-270 BC) [37], Plato (428/427–348/347 BC) [37], Thales of Miletus (624–546 BC) [37], Anaxagoras (500–428 BC) [37], Heraclitus of Ephesus (535–475 BC) [37] and Speusippus (408–339/8 BC) [37].

- Bardaisan of Syria (154–222) "tried to create a synthesis of Christian and occult beliefs, in a way similar to Origen" [12].

- Arnobius of Sicca (253-327 AD) often quoted Plato [54|55].

- Jerome of Stridonium (347–420) "initially used classical authors to describe Christian concepts" [60]. For instance, he "used a quote from Vergil — 'The horror and the silences terrified their souls' — to describe the horror of hell" [60].

Biblical truth remains both, biblical and true, regardless of who, may or may not, confirm or affirm it.

That was the belief of the Apostle Paul, Justin Martyr (100-165 AD), Clement of Alexandria (150-215), and of course, myself.

The Church Fathers and Free Will

Deborah starts her second argument utilizing Equivocation, claiming support for Libertarian Free Will from such notable Apostolic- and Church Fathers, as Justin Martyr (100-165 AD), Irenaeus of Gaul (c.130-200), Athenagoras of Athens (2nd century), Theophilus/Ignatius of Antioch (35/50-98/117 AD), Tatian the Assyrian (120-180 A.D.), Bardaisan of Syria (154-222 AD), Clement of Alexandria (150-215 AD), Tertullian of Carthage (155-225 AD), Novatian of Rome (200-258 AD), Origen (185-254 AD), Methodius of Olympus (260-311 AD), Archelaus, Arnobius of Sicca (253-327 AD), Cyril of Jerusalem (312-386 AD), Gregory of Nyssa (335-395 AD), Jerome (347-420 AD) and John Chrysostom (347-407).

Equivocation constitutes "the misleading use of a term with more than one meaning or sense by glossing over which meaning is intended at a particular time" [2].

RESPONSE

Three things may come as a surprise to Deborah.

➢ One. No Calvinist deny Free Will. As Wikipedia confirms, Compatibilism is the believe "that FREE WILL and determinism are compatible ideas" [17]. We "accept both Determinism and Free Will" [20]. What we do deny is that man's will "are free from the determination or constraints of human nature and free from any predetermination by God" [27]. In other words, we believe that no man can make a decision contrary to their disposition.

"Even so, every good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit. A good tree can’t produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit." (Mt. 7v17-18, WEB)

➢ Two. When speaking of man's 'free will':- Calvinists refer to "a freedom to act according to one's determined motives" [17]; while Arminians refer to "choices [that] are free from the determination or constraints of human nature and free from any predetermination by God" [27]. Any reference to 'Free Will', should therefore, be considered ambiguous at best.

➢ Three. When speaking of 'all':- Calvinists refer to "all the elect"; while Arminians refer to "each and everyone". Any reference to God dying for 'all' or salvation being available to 'all', should therefore, be considered ambiguous at best. See, Defining 'All' and Defining 'World'.

➢ Four. While the Church- and especially the Apostolic Fathers surely warrants our attention, we'd do better NOT constructing our doctrinal viewpoints on anything but the sure foundation of Scripture. In Biblical terms, "let God be true, but every man a liar" (Rom. 3v4). On occasion, even Christ's own disciples fell into grievous error. And Paul had to rebuke Peter for Judaizing gentile believers. (Gal. 2v11-21)

Yet, should anyone question my assessment, let us review Deborah's quotations:-

Justin Martyr (100-165 AD)

In defense of Libertarian Free Will, Deborah calls upon Justin Martyr.

"God, wishing men and angels to follow His will, resolved to create them free to do righteousness. But if the word of God foretells that some angels and men shall certainly be punished, it did so because it foreknew that they would be unchangeably (wicked), but not because God created them so. So if they repent all who wish for it can obtain mercy from God." [1|16]

Deborah's quote comes from Justin Martyr's 'Dialogue With Trypho', Chapter CXLI, entitled 'Free-Will in Men and Angels'. [28] Chapter CXLI are located smacked in the middle of Chapter CXL, entitled 'In Christ all are free. The Jews hope for salvation in vain because they are sons of Abraham' [29] and Chapter CXLII, entitled 'The Jews return thanks, and leave Justin' [30].

➢ One. If anything, Martyr confirms The Doctrine of Total Depravity, in stating that those foretold to be punished, were foreknown to "be UNCHANGEABLY (wicked)" [1|16]. The word "unchangeably" means "not capable of being changed or altered" [31].

➢ Two. There is nothing in the above-quotation to contradict Compatibilistic Free Will.

- Calvinists agree that mankind was INITIALLY CREATED "free to do righteousness" [1|16]. Yet, it wasn't long before they fell, becoming Slaves To Sin (Pr. 5v22; Rom. 3v9-23, 6v16-21; Gal. 5v1) and Dead In Sin (Gen. 2v17, 3v8; Jn. 11v25; Rom. 5v12-21; Eph. 2v1, 4v18; Col. 2v13; Tit. 3v5). In the words of Theophilus, "man, disobeying, drew death on himself" [1|21].

- Calvinists agree that "all who wish for it can obtain mercy" [1|16]. Yet, only those who God makes willing, indeed can "wish for it". (Ps. 110v3; Jer. 31v18; Jn. 1v13, 6v44, 15v16; Acts 13v48; Eph. 2v10)

Irenaeus of Gaul (130-200 AD)

In defense of Libertarian Free Will, Deborah calls upon Irenaeus of Gaul.

"This expression, 'How often would I have gathered thy children together, and thou wouldst not,' set forth the ancient law of human liberty, because God made man a free (agent) from the beginning, possessing his own soul to obey the behests of God voluntarily, and not by compulsion of God. For there is no coercion with God, but a good will (toward us) is present with Him continually. And therefore does He give good counsel to all. And in man as well as in angels, He has placed the power of choice (for angels are rational beings), so that those who had yielded obedience might justly possess what is good, given indeed by God, but preserved by themselves... If then it were not in our power to do or not to do these things, what reason had the apostle, and much more the Lord Himself, to give counsel to do some things and to abstain from others? But because man is possessed of free-will from the beginning, and God is possessed of free-will in whose likeness man was created, advice is always given to him to keep fast the good, which thing is done by means of obedience to God." [1|19]

Deborah's quote originates from Irenaeus's 'Against Heresies', Chapter XXXVII, entitled 'Men are possessed of free will' [32].

➢ One. There is nothing in the above-quotation that contradict Compatibilistic Free Will.

- Calvinists agree that mankind was INITIALLY CREATED free. Or, as Irenaeus' said "possessed of free-will from the beginning" [1|19]. Yet, it wasn't long before they fell, becoming Slaves To Sin (Pr. 5v22; Rom. 3v9-23, 6v16-21; Gal. 5v1) and Dead In Sin (Gen. 2v17, 3v8; Jn. 11v25; Rom. 5v12-21; Eph. 2v1, 4v18; Col. 2v13; Tit. 3v5). In the words of Theophilus, "man, disobeying, drew death on himself" [1|21].

- Calvinists agree that Christians "obey the behests of God voluntarily, and not by compulsion" [1|19]. That is because He makes us willing (Philip. 2v13) in guiding (Jn. 16v13) and counseling us (Jn. 14v16). The willingness to obey itself being a gift of God, as confirmed in Irenaeus's own words, "that those who had yielded obedience might justly possess what is good, given indeed by God" [32]

- Calvinists agree that God "placed the power of choice" in men and angels. Denying man's ability to make decisions would be ludicrous. In Biblical terms, you "know how to give good gifts unto your children" (Mt. 7v9-11). Yet, the choices we make springs from the heart that we have (Pr. 6v18, 12v20, 16v9, v23, 19v21; Mt. 12v34), meaning that those who don't belong to God are simply not inclined towards Him. (1 Cor. 2v14) Their evil hearts cannot choose good. (Mt. 7v17-19; Rom. 7v18) They do not seek God. (Rom. 3v11) Nor can they come to Jesus of their own Free Will (Jn 6v44, 15v16; Ep. 2v8). It is the extent of that freedom we question.

Athenagoras of Athens (133–190 AD)

In defense of Libertarian Free Will, Deborah calls upon Athenagoras of Athens.

"Just as with men who have freedom of choice as to both virtue and vice (for you would not either honor the good or punish the bad; unless vice and virtue were in their own power, and some are diligent in the matters entrusted to them, and others faithless), so is it among the angels." [1|33]

Deborah's quote comes from 'Embassy for Christians' also known as 'A Plea for the Christians' [26], Chapter XXIV, entitled 'Concerning the Angels and Giants' [33].

➢ One. There is nothing in the above-quotation to contradict Compatibilistic Free Will.

- Calvinists agree that man "have freedom of choice as to both virtue and vice" [1]. Denying man's ability to make decisions would be ludicrous. In Biblical terms, you "know how to give good gifts unto your children" (Mt. 7v9-11). Yet, the choices we make springs from the heart that we have (Pr. 6v18, 12v20, 16v9, v23, 19v21; Mt. 12v34), meaning that those who don't belong to God are simply not inclined towards Him. (1 Cor. 2v14) Their evil hearts cannot choose good. (Mt. 7v17-19; Rom. 7v18) They do not seek God. (Rom. 3v11) Nor can they come to Jesus of their own Free Will (Jn 6v44, 15v16; Ep. 2v8). It is the extent of that freedom we question.

Theophilus/Ignatius of Antioch (35/50-98/117)

In defense of Libertarian Free Will, Deborah calls upon Ignatius of Antioch.

"For God made man free, and with power over himself ... now God vouch safes to him as a gift through His own philanthropy and pity, when men obey Him. For as man, disobeying, drew death on himself; so, obeying the will of God, he who desires is able to procure for himself life everlasting." [1|21]

Deborah's quote comes from 'Theophilus To Autolycus', Book II, Chapter XXVII, entitled 'The Nature of Man' [22]. Chapter XXVII are found smack in the middle of Chapter XXVI, entitled 'God's Goodness in Expelling Man from Paradise' [23], and Chapter XXVIII, entitled 'Why Eve Was Formed of Adam’s Rib' [24].

➢ One. From it's context it's fairly obvious that Theophilus were discussing the original nature of our 'first parents', Adam and Eve, BEFORE THE FALL. Deborah seems almost deliberate in her dishonesty, striking from the quotation the one sentence that would put Theophilus's words in perspective:

"That, then, which man brought upon himself through carelessness and disobedience, ..." [22]

➢ Two. There is nothing in the above-quotation to contradict Compatibilistic Free Will.

- Calvinists agree that "God [originally] made man free, and with power over himself" [1|21]. Yet, it wasn't long before they fell, becoming Slaves To Sin (Pr. 5v22; Rom. 3v9-23, 6v16-21; Gal. 5v1) and Dead In Sin (Gen. 2v17, 3v8; Jn. 11v25; Rom. 5v12-21; Eph. 2v1, 4v18; Col. 2v13; Tit. 3v5). In the words of Theophilus, "man, disobeying, drew death on himself" [1|21].

Tatian the Assyrian (120–180 AD)

In defense of Libertarian Free Will, Deborah calls upon Tatian the Assyrian.

"Why are you 'fated' to grasp at things often, and often to die? Die to the world, repudiating the madness that is in it. Live to God, and by apprehending Him lay aside your old nature. We were not created to die, but we die by our own fault. Our free-will has destroyed us; we who were free have become slaves; we have been sold through sin. Nothing evil has been created by God; we ourselves have manifested wickedness; but we, who have manifested it, are able again to reject it." [1|34]

Deborah's quote comes from Tatian's 'Address to the Greeks', Chapter XI, entitled 'The Sin of Man Due Not to Fate, but to Free-Will' [34].

➢ One. There is nothing in the above-quotation to contradict Compatibilistic Free Will.

- Calvinists agree that "We were not [originally] created to die, but we die by our own fault" [1|34]. Paraphrasing Tatian, "we who were free" [1|34], as a result of the Fall, "have become slaves ... sold through sin" [1|34].

- Calvinists agree that "Our free-will has destroyed us" [1]. In fact, we'd contend that it is still destroying us. Not only did our 'first parents', Adam and Eve, Fall by Free Will, but so does their posterity being "slaves ... sold through sin" [1|34].

- Calvinists agree that "we ourselves have manifested wickedness" [1|34]. In fact, from birth we are Slaves To Sin (Pr. 5v22; Rom. 3v9-23, 6v16-21; Gal. 5v1) and Dead In Sin (Gen. 2v17, 3v8; Jn. 11v25; Rom. 5v12-21; Eph. 2v1, 4v18; Col. 2v13; Tit. 3v5).

- Calvinists agree that through Christ, those "who have manifested [wickedness], are able again to reject it" [1|34].

Bardaisan of Syria (154–222)

In defense of Libertarian Free Will, Deborah calls upon Bardaisan of Syria.

"'How is it that God did not so make us that we should not sin and incur condemnation?' - if man had been made so, he would not have belonged to himself but would have been the instrument of him that moved him ... And how, in that case, would a man differ from a harp, on which another plays; or from a ship, which another guides: where the praise and the blame reside in the hand of the performer or the steersman ... they being only instruments made for the use of him in whom is the skill? But God, in His benignity, chose not so to make man; but by freedom He exalted him above many of His creatures." [1|35]

Deborah's quote comes from Bardaisan's 'Fragments'.

➢ One. What Bardaisan was arguing against was NOT human depravity, but Fatalism. [36]

➢ Two. There is nothing in the above-quotation to contradict Compatibilistic Free Will.

- Calvinists agree that "God, in His benignity, chose not so to MAKE MAN; but by freedom He exalted him above many of His creatures" [1|35]. Both, the reference to 'making man' and the reference to 'exalting him above many of His creatures' correlates directly with the Creation Narrative of Genesis chapter 2, and thus the state of our 'first parents', Adam and Eve. Yet, it wasn't long before they fell, becoming Slaves To Sin (Pr. 5v22; Rom. 3v9-23, 6v16-21; Gal. 5v1) and Dead In Sin (Gen. 2v17, 3v8; Jn. 11v25; Rom. 5v12-21; Eph. 2v1, 4v18; Col. 2v13; Tit. 3v5).

➢ Three. While Deborah condemns Augustine, for supposedly deriving his beliefs from Manichaeism; she simultaneously calls upon Bardaisan in defense of Libertarian Free Will, blissfully ignorant of the fact, it seems, that it was Bardaisanism itself that "devolved first into Valentinianism and then into common Manichaeism" [12]. In other words, Deborah condemns Augustine for supposedly deriving his doctrine from Manichaeism; while calling upon the very 'Father of Manichaeism' in her own defense?! That is a self-contradiction, if ever I saw one.

Clement of Alexandria (150-215 AD)

In defense of Libertarian Free Will, Deborah calls upon Clement of Alexandria.

"But we, who have heard by the Scriptures that self-determining choice and refusal have been given by the Lord to men, rest in the infallible criterion of faith, manifesting a willing spirit, since we have chosen life and believe God through His voice." [1|37]

Deborah's first quote comes from Clement's 'Stomata', Book 2, Chapter 4, entitled 'Faith the Foundation of All Knowledge' [37].

➢ One. There is nothing in the above-quotation to contradict Compatibilistic Free Will.

- Calvinists agree that we have "self-determining choice and refusal" [1|37]. Yet, while we may be "self-determining", without God's intervention, we can only choose between such things that are natural. Clement's words must be understood within it's context. Chapter 4 are itself preceded by Chapter 3, entitled 'Faith Not a Product of Nature' [37].

- Calvinists agree that "we have chosen life and believe God through His voice" [1|37]. Even Calvinists once said, "Yes" to Jesus. Yet, we'd make it abundantly clear that we could not have chosen Him (Jn. 6v44), unless He first chose us (Jn. 6v29, v44; Ep. 1v4, 2v8) and dragged us to Him (Jn. 6v44, 12v32), since as Clement himself confirmed "nothing is without the will of the Lord of the universe" [1|38].

"But nothing is without the will of the Lord of the universe. It remains to say that such things happen without the prevention of God; for this alone saves both the providence and the goodness of God. We must not therefore think that He actively produces afflictions (far be it that we should think this!); but we must be persuaded that He does not prevent those that cause them, but overrules for good the crimes of His enemies." [1|38]

Deborah's second quote comes from Clement's 'Stromata', Book 4, Chapter 12, entitled 'Basilides Idea of Martyrdom Refuted' [38].

➢ One. What exactly she intended to prove with this quote is unclear, since it affirms Calvinism in stating that "nothing is without the will of the Lord of the universe" [1|38]

➢ Two. There is nothing in the above-quotation to contradict Compatibilistic Free Will.

- Calvinists agree that "nothing is without the will of the Lord of the universe" [1|38].

"... faith is not established by demonstration ... choice is the beginning of action" [1|39]

Deborah's third reference comes from Clement's 'Stromata', Book 2, Chapter 2, entitled 'The Knowledge of God Can Be Attained Only Through Faith' [39].

➢ One. There is nothing in the above-quotation to contradict Compatibilistic Free Will.

- Calvinits agree that "faith is not established by demonstration" [1|39], since we had no natural faith to demonstrate, until we received the Gift of Faith (1 Cor. 12v9; Ep. 2v8; Gal. 3v23), which according to Deborah's Arminianism is no gift at all.

- Calvinists agree that "choice is the beginning of action" [1|39].

Finally, even if Clement did support Libertarian Free Will, it wouldn't concern us a bit, since:

➢ One. Photius the Great, also known as Photios I of Constantinople (810–893 AD) charged that he "degraded the Son to the rank of a creature" [40].

➢ Two. Clement was "accused of Docetism in his teachings on the Incarnation" [40], since he denied Christ's Full Humanity. [40]

Tertullian of Carthage (155-225 AD)

In defense of Libertarian Free Will, Deborah calls upon Tertullian of Carthage.

"I find, then, that man was by God constituted free, master of his own will and power; indicating the presence of God’s image and likeness in him by nothing so well as by this constitution of his nature ... you will find that when He sets before man good and evil, life and death, that the entire course of discipline is arranged in precepts by God’s calling men from sin, and threatening and exhorting them; and by this on no other ground than that man is free, with a will either for obedience or resistance... Since therefore, both the goodness and purpose of God are discovered in the gift to man of freedom in his will ..." [1|41]

Deborah's quote comes from 'Against Marcion', Book 2, Chapter 5, entitled 'Marcion's Cavils Considered. His Objection Refuted, i.e., Man's Fall Showed Failure in God. The Perfection of Man's Being Lay in His Liberty, Which God Purposely Bestowed on Him. The Fall Imputable to Man's Own Choice' [41].

➢ One. 'Against Marion' was written AFTER Tertullian converted to Montanism. [42] Therefore, following Deborah's own 'acid test' of doctrinal accuracy, we'd have to conclude that Tertullian's doctrine of Libertarian Free Will were that of Montanism.

Novatian of Rome (200-258 AD)

In defense of Libertarian Free Will, Deborah calls upon Novatian of Rome.

"He also placed man at the head of the world, and man, too, made in the image of God, to whom He imparted mind, and reason, and foresight, that he might imitate God; and although the first elements of his body were earthly, yet the substance was inspired by a heavenly and divine breathing. And when He had given him all things for his service, He willed that he alone should be free. And lest, again, and unbounded freedom should fall into peril, He laid down a command, in which man was taught that there was no evil in the fruit of the tree; but he was forewarned that evil would arise if perchance he should exercise his freewill in contempt of the law that was given" [1|43]

Deborah's quote comes from Novatian's 'On The Trinity', Chapter 1, entitled 'Novatian, with the View of Treating of the Trinity, Sets Forth from the Rule of Faith that We Should First of All Believe in God the Father and Lord Omnipotent, the Absolute Founder of All Things. The Works of Creation are Beautifully Described. Man's Free-Will is Asserted; God's Mercy in Inflicting Penalty on Man is Shown; The Condition After Death of the Souls of the Righteous and Unrighteous is Determined' [43].

➢ One. In context, Novation was speaking of Man's original state at Creation, BEFORE and NOT AFTER the Fall.

- Deborah's selective quote, are preceded by a Creation Narrative, stating that it was God, as "the absolutely perfect Founder of all things, Who has suspended the heavens in lofty sublimity, has established the earth with its lower mass, has diffused the seas with their fluent moisture, and has distributed all these things, both adorned and supplied with their appropriate and fitting instruments. For in the solid vault of heaven He has both awakened the light-bringing Sunrisings; He has filled up the white globe of the moon in its monthly waxings as a solace for the night; He, moreover, kindles the starry rays with the varied splendours of glistening light; and He has willed all these things in their legitimate tracks to circle the entire compass of the world, so as to cause days, months, years, signs, and seasons, and benefits of other kinds for the human race. On the earth, moreover, He has lifted up the loftiest mountains to a peak, He has thrown down valleys into the depths, He has smoothly levelled the plains, He has ordained the animal herds usefully for the various services of men. He has also established the oak trees of the woods for the future benefit of human uses. He has developed the harvests into food. He has unlocked the mouths of the springs, and has poured them into the flowing rivers. And after these things, lest He should not also provide for the very delights of the eyes, He has clothed all things with the various colours of the flowers for the pleasure of the beholders. Even in the sea itself, moreover, although it was in itself marvellous both for its extent and its utility, He has made manifold creatures, sometimes of moderate, sometimes of vast bodily size, testifying by the variety of His appointment to the intelligence of the Artificer. And, not content with these things, lest perchance the roaring and rushing waters should seize upon a foreign element at the expense of its human possessor, He has enclosed its limits with shores; so that when the raving billow and the foaming water should come from its deep bosom, it should return again unto itself, and not transgress its concealed bounds, but keep its prescribed laws, so that man might the rather be careful to observe the divine laws, even as the elements themselves observed them" [43].

- Deborah's quote are then followed with a description of the Fall, "For, on the one hand, it had behooved him to be free, lest the image of God should, unfittingly be in bondage; and on the other, the law was to be added, so that an unbridled liberty might not break forth even to a contempt of the Giver. So that he might receive as a consequence both worthy rewards and a deserved punishment, having in his own power that which he might choose to do, by the tendency of his mind in either direction: whence, therefore, by envy, mortality comes back upon him; seeing that, although he might escape it by obedience, he rushes into it by hurrying to be God under the influence of perverse counsel." [43], referring to Genesis chapter 3.

➢ Two. There is nothing in the above-quotation to contradict Compatibilistic Free Will.

- Calvinists agree that God ORIGINALLY IMPARTED man with "mind, and reason, and foresight" [1|43] and that "He willed that [we] alone should be free" [1|43]. Yet, it wasn't long before they fell, becoming Slaves To Sin (Pr. 5v22; Rom. 3v9-23, 6v16-21; Gal. 5v1) and Dead In Sin (Gen. 2v17, 3v8; Jn. 11v25; Rom. 5v12-21; Eph. 2v1, 4v18; Col. 2v13; Tit. 3v5).

The same quote also appear in Jacques More's 'The Early Church Fathers and Free-Will: Novatian of Rome c.200-258' (2007) [45], as well as Roger T. Forster and V. Paul Marston's 'God's Strategy in Human History' (1973) [45].

Origen (c.185-254)

In defense of Libertarian Free Will, Deborah calls upon Origen.

"Now it ought to be known that the holy apostles, in preaching the faith of Christ, delivered themselves with the utmost clearness on certain points which they believed to be necessary to everyone... This also is clearly defined in the teaching of the church that every rational soul is possessed of free-will and volition" [1|46]

Deborah's first quote comes from the Preface of Origen's 'On First Principles (De Principiis)'. [46]

➢ One. There is nothing in the above-quotation to contradict Compatibilistic Free Will.

- Calvinists agree "that every rational soul is possessed of free-will and volition" [1|46]. Denying man's ability to make decisions would be ludicrous. In Biblical terms, you "know how to give good gifts unto your children" (Mt. 7v9-11). Yet, the choices we make springs from the heart that we have (Pr. 6v18, 12v20, 16v9, v23, 19v21; Mt. 12v34), meaning that those who don't belong to God are simply not inclined towards Him. (1 Cor. 2v14) Their evil hearts cannot choose good. (Mt. 7v17-19; Rom. 7v18) They do not seek God. (Rom. 3v11) Nor can they come to Jesus of their own Free Will (Jn 6v44, 15v16; Ep. 2v8). It is the extent of that freedom we question.

"There are, indeed, innumerable passages in the Scriptures which establish with exceeding clearness the existence of freedom of will." [1|47]

Deborah's second quote comes from Origen's 'On First Principles (De Principiis)', Book 3, Chapter 1, entitled 'On the Freedom of the Will' [47].

➢ One. Even my monthly shopping list establishes the existence of freedom of will. Yet, the extent of my freedom in choice when shopping are limited by my budget.

➢ Two. There is nothing in the above-quotation to contradict Compatibilistic Free Will.

- Calvinists agree that "There are, indeed, innumerable passages in the Scriptures which establish with exceeding clearness the existence of freedom of will." [1|47] Denying man's ability to make decisions would be ludicrous. In Biblical terms, you "know how to give good gifts unto your children" (Mt. 7v9-11). Yet, the choices we make springs from the heart that we have (Pr. 6v18, 12v20, 16v9, v23, 19v21; Mt. 12v34), meaning that those who don't belong to God are simply not inclined towards Him. (1 Cor. 2v14) Their evil hearts cannot choose good. (Mt. 7v17-19; Rom. 7v18) They do not seek God. (Rom. 3v11) Nor can they come to Jesus of their own Free Will (Jn 6v44, 15v16; Ep. 2v8). It is the extent of that freedom we question.

Finally, even if Origen did support Libertarian Free Will, it wouldn't concern us a bit, since:

➢ One. Origen also believed in a form of 'Christian Reincarnation' [48|49|50], "that the soul passes through successive stages of incarnation before eventually reaching God" [48|50].

➢ Two. Origen "imagined even demons being reunited with God" [48].

➢ Three. Origen was at least a consistent Arminian, in confirming The Doctrine of Universal Salvation. [48]

Methodius of Olympus (260-311 AD)

In defense of Libertarian Free Will, Deborah calls upon Methodius of Olympus.

"Now those who decide that man is not possessed of free-will, and affirm that he is governed by the unavoidable necessities of fate... are guilty of impiety toward God Himself, making Him out to be the cause and author of human evils" [1|51]

Deborah's first quote comes from Methodius' 'The Banquet of the Ten Virgins', Discourse VIII, Chapter XVI, entitled 'Several Other Things Turned Against the Same Mathematicians' [51].

➢ One. There is nothing in the above-quotation to contradict Compatibilistic Free Will.

- Calvinists agree that man is "possessed of free-will" [1|51]. Denying man's ability to make decisions would be ludicrous. In Biblical terms, you "know how to give good gifts unto your children" (Mt. 7v9-11). Yet, the choices we make springs from the heart that we have (Pr. 6v18, 12v20, 16v9, v23, 19v21; Mt. 12v34), meaning that those who don't belong to God are simply not inclined towards Him. (1 Cor. 2v14) Their evil hearts cannot choose good. (Mt. 7v17-19; Rom. 7v18) They do not seek God. (Rom. 3v11) Nor can they come to Jesus of their own Free Will (Jn 6v44, 15v16; Ep. 2v8). It is the extent of that freedom we question.

"I say that man was made with free-will, not as if there were already existing some evil, which he had the power of choosing if he wished . . . but that the power of obeying and disobeying God is the only cause." [1|52]

Deborah's second quote comes from Methodius' 'Concerning Free Will' ('Peri Tou Autexousiou') [52].

➢ One. In context, Methodius was speaking of mankind's original state at Creation, BEFORE the Fall. But don't take my word for it, read the document for yourself. [52]

- Preceding Deborah's quote, Methodius starts out by confirming man's initial freedom of choice. That he was "made with free-will" [1|52], having "the power of choosing if he wished" [1|52], having "the power of being able to do what he wishes" [52], having the power of "deliberate choice" [52]. That "man was made not for destruction, but for better things" [52]. But also, that man having "received power [thereby] enslaved himself" [52].

- Following Deborah's quote, Methodius continues describing what followed, "And man after his creation receives a commandment from God, and from this at once rises evil; for he does not obey the divine command, and this alone is evil, namely, disobedience, which had a beginning" [52], referring to Genesis chapter 3.

➢ Two. There is nothing in the above-quotation to contradict Compatibilistic Free Will.

- Calvinists agree that INITIALLY "man was made with a free-will" [1|52], having "the power of choosing if he wished" [1|52]. Yet, it wasn't long before they fell, becoming Slaves To Sin (Pr. 5v22; Rom. 3v9-23, 6v16-21; Gal. 5v1) and Dead In Sin (Gen. 2v17, 3v8; Jn. 11v25; Rom. 5v12-21; Eph. 2v1, 4v18; Col. 2v13; Tit. 3v5).

Archelaus of Caschar

In defense of Libertarian Free Will, Deborah calls upon Archelaus of Caschar.

"For all creatures that God made, He made very good, and He gave to every individual the sense of free-will in accordance with which standard He also instituted the law of judgment. To sin is ours, and that we sin not is God’s gift, as our will is constituted to choose either to sin or not to sin" [1|53]

Deborah's quote comes from Archelaus' 'Acts of Disputation', Volume VI, Chapter XXXII. [53]

➢ One. There is nothing in the above-quotation to contradict Compatibilistic Free Will.

- Calvinists agree that when "God made" [1|53] us, He INITIALLY "gave to every individual the sense of free-will" [1|53]. Yet, it wasn't long before they fell, becoming Slaves To Sin (Pr. 5v22; Rom. 3v9-23, 6v16-21; Gal. 5v1) and Dead In Sin (Gen. 2v17, 3v8; Jn. 11v25; Rom. 5v12-21; Eph. 2v1, 4v18; Col. 2v13; Tit. 3v5).

Arnobius of Sicca (253-327 AD)

In defense of Libertarian Free Will, Deborah offers two quotes from Arnobius.

"I reply: does not He free all alike who invites all alike? Or does He thrust back or repel any one from the kindness of the Supreme who gives to all alike the power of coming to Him? To all, He says, the fountain of life is open, and no one is hindered or kept back from drinking ..." [1|55]

Deborah's first quote comes from Arnobius' 'Against The Heathen' ('Adversus Nationes'), Book II, Section 64. [55]

➢ One. Deborah's attempt at construing Arnobius' references to 'all' as being in favor of her Arminianism, fails miserably. Arnobius himself often use the word 'all' as referring only to a particular group, nation, nations or substances. See, Defining 'All'. [56]

"Nay, my opponent says, if God is powerful, merciful, willing to save us, let Him change our dispositions, and compel us to trust in His promises. This then, is violence, not kindness nor the bounty of the Supreme God, but a childish and vain strife in seeking to get the mastery. For what is so unjust as to force men who are reluctant and unworthy, to reverse their inclinations; to impress forcibly on their minds what they are unwilling to receive, and shrink from ..." [1|55]

Deborah's second quote comes from Arnobius' 'Against The Heathen' ('Adversus Nationes'), Book II, Section 65. [55]

➢ One. If Deborah actually read the passage, she was quoting from, she would have realized that Arnobius was in fact confirming The Doctrine of Irresistible Grace.

- His opponents said, "if God is powerful, merciful, willing to save us, let Him change our dispositions, and compel us to trust in His promises" [55]. To this Arnobius replied, asking them, as do we our Arminian friends, "For what is so unjust as to force men who are reluctant and unwilling, to reverse their inclinations; to impress forcibly on their minds what they are unwilling to receive, and shrink from; to injure before benefiting, and to bring to another way of thinking and feeling, by taking away the former?" [55]

- Arnobius then continues, to conclude that "it is the right of Christ alone to give salvation to souls, and assign them everlasting life" [55].

Cyril of Jerusalem (312-386 AD)

In defense of Libertarian Free Will, Deborah calls upon Cyril of Jerusalem.

"Know also that thou hast a soul self governed, the noblest work of God, made after the image of its Creator, immortal because of God that gives it immortality, a living being rational, imperishable, because of Him that bestowed these gifts: having free power to do what it willeth" [1|57]

Deborah's first quote comes from Cyril's 'Catechetical Lectures', Lecture IV, Section 18. [57]

➢ One. There is nothing in the above-quotation to contradict Compatibilistic Free Will.

- Calvinists agree that we are "self governed" [1|57] and "rational" [1|57], with "free power to do what [we] willeth" [1|57]. Denying man's ability to make decisions would be ludicrous. In Biblical terms, you "know how to give good gifts unto your children" (Mt. 7v9-11). Yet, the choices we make springs from the heart that we have (Pr. 6v18, 12v20, 16v9, v23, 19v21; Mt. 12v34), meaning that those who don't belong to God are simply not inclined towards Him. (1 Cor. 2v14) Their evil hearts cannot choose good. (Mt. 7v17-19; Rom. 7v18) They do not seek God. (Rom. 3v11) Nor can they come to Jesus of their own Free Will (Jn 6v44, 15v16; Ep. 2v8). It is the extent of that freedom we question.

"There is not a class of souls sinning by nature and a class of souls practising righteousness by nature; but both act from choice, the substance of their souls being of one kind only and alike in all" [1|57]

Deborah's second quote comes from Cyril's 'Catechetical Lectures', Lecture IV, Section 20. [57]

"The soul is self-governed: and though the Devil can suggest, he has not the power to compel against the will. He pictures to thee the thought of fornication: if thou wilt, thou rejectest. For if thou wert a fornicator of necessity then for what cause did God prepare hell? If thou wert a doer of righteousness by nature and not by will, wherefore did God prepare crowns of ineffable glory? The sheep is gentle, but never was it crowned for its gentleness; since its gentle quality belongs to it not from choice but by nature" [1|57]

Deborah's second quote comes from Cyril's 'Catechetical Lectures', Lecture IV, Section 21. [57]

➢ One. Granted Cyril of Jerusalem did believe in "the freedom of the will" [58] (Libertarian Free Will that is), while rejecting The Doctrine of Total Depravity.

Yet, even though Cyril taught Libertarian Free Will, it bothers us little, since:

➢ One. Cyril also believed in Transubstantiation, that "the bread and wine are not mere elements, but the body and blood of Christ" [58] - having been described as a form of 'ritual cannibalism'.

Gregory of Nyssa (335-395 AD)

In defense of Libertarian Free Will, Deborah calls upon Gregory of Nyssa.

"Being the image and the likeness ... of the Power which rules all things, man kept also in the matter of a free-will this likeness to Him whose will is over all." [1|59]

Deborah's quote comes from Gregory's 'On Virginity', Chapter XII. [59]

➢ One. The argument that we were created in God's Image, and therefore, share His attributes is deceptive to say the least. Why not also assign to us His omnipotence, omniscience and sovereignty?

➢ Two. There is nothing in the above-quotation to contradict Compatibilistic Free Will.

- Calvinists agree that we have "a free-will" [1|59]. Denying man's ability to make decisions would be ludicrous. In Biblical terms, you "know how to give good gifts unto your children" (Mt. 7v9-11). Yet, the choices we make springs from the heart that we have (Pr. 6v18, 12v20, 16v9, v23, 19v21; Mt. 12v34), meaning that those who don't belong to God are simply not inclined towards Him. (1 Cor. 2v14) Their evil hearts cannot choose good. (Mt. 7v17-19; Rom. 7v18) They do not seek God. (Rom. 3v11) Nor can they come to Jesus of their own Free Will (Jn 6v44, 15v16; Ep. 2v8). It is the extent of that freedom we question.

Jerome (347-420 AD)

In defense of Libertarian Free Will, Deborah calls upon Jerome.

"It is in vain that you misrepresent me and try to convince the ignorant that I condemn free-will. Let him who condemns it be himself condemned. We have been created endowed with free-will; still it is not this which distinguishes us from the brutes. For human free-will, as I said, depends upon the help of God and needs His aid moment by moment, a thing which you and yours do not choose to admit. Your position is that once a man has free-will he no longer needs the help of God. It is true that freedom of the will brings with it freedom of decision. Still man does not act immediately on his free-will but requires God’s aid who Himself needs no aid" [1|62]

Deborah's first quote comes from one of Jerome's 'Letters', Number 133, Section 10, written 'To Ctesiphon'. [62]

➢ One. Deborah seems completely oblivious to the fact, that the Letter she is quoting from, were directed against Pelagius and his followers [63] - all of them Arminian in their theology, believing "that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without special Divine aid" [64].

- It was these Arminians who misrepresented Jerome, much in the same vain as Deborah, claiming that he and we 'condemned free-will'. Jerome's opponent, Pelagius, and my opponent, Deborah, would have been great buddies, since they both share an Arminian/Pelagian theology, and they both have a propensity for misrepresenting their opponents.

➢ Two. Contrary to Deborah's claims, Jerome confirmed The Doctrine of Total Depravity, limiting the extent of human free-will (hence the accusation of Pelagius and his friends), saying that it "depends upon the help of God and needs His aid moment by moment" [62], and that while "freedom of the will brings with it freedom of decision" [62], "man does not act immediately on his free-will but requires God’s aid" [62]. That's what we Calvinist would call 'a classical textbook response' in defense of Calvinism.

➢ Three. There is nothing in the above-quotation to contradict Compatibilistic Free Will.

- Calvinists agree that "We have been CREATED endowed with free-will" [1|62]. Denying man's ability to make decisions would be ludicrous. In Biblical terms, you "know how to give good gifts unto your children" (Mt. 7v9-11). Yet, the choices we make springs from the heart that we have (Pr. 6v18, 12v20, 16v9, v23, 19v21; Mt. 12v34), meaning that those who don't belong to God are simply not inclined towards Him. (1 Cor. 2v14) Their evil hearts cannot choose good. (Mt. 7v17-19; Rom. 7v18) They do not seek God. (Rom. 3v11) Nor can they come to Jesus of their own Free Will (Jn 6v44, 15v16; Ep. 2v8). It is the extent of that freedom we question.

"But when we are concerned with grace and mercy, free-will is in part void; in part, I say, for so much depends upon it, that we wish and desire, and give assent to the course we choose. But it depends on God whether we have the power in His strength and with His help to perform what we desire, and to bring to effect our toil and effort" [1|65]

Deborah's second quote comes from Jerome's 'Against The Pelagians', Book III, Section 10. [65]

➢ One. Again Deborah seems completely oblivious to the fact, that the book she is quoting from in defense of Arminianism, were indeed written against Arminianism?! Yet, it's right there in the title, 'AGAINST THE PELAGIANS'!

- Deborah obviously doesn't know what a Pelagian is, so let us enlighten her. YOU, Deborah, are a Pelagian. Jerome was writing AGAINST YOU, not us.

➢ Two. There is nothing in the above-quotation to contradict Compatibilistic Free Will.

- Calvinists agree that "when we are concerned with grace and mercy, free-will is in part void" [1|65], since "it depends on God whether we have the power in His strength and with His help to perform what we desire, and to bring to effect our toil and effort" [1|65]. That is Compatibilistic Free Will.

Yet, even if Jerome did reject The Doctrine of Total Depravity, it would be of little consequence, since:

➢ One. Jerome also supported "the cultus of martyrs and relics, the vow of poverty, and clerical celibacy" [60].

➢ Two. Jerome was "accused ... of being an Origenist" [61] by Spanish Presbyter, Vigilantius (370-490 AD), who was much opposed to "a number of Catholic practices" [61]. I'd much rather go with Vigilantius.

John Chrysostom (347-407)

In defense of Libertarian Free Will, Deborah calls upon John Chrysostom.

"All is in God’s power, but so that our free-will is not lost ... It depends therefore on us and on Him. We must first choose the good, and then He adds what belongs to Him. He does not precede our willing, that our free-will may not suffer. But when we have chosen, then He affords us much help ... It is ours to choose beforehand and to will, but God’s to perfect and bring to the end" [1|66]

Deborah's final quote comes from Chrysostom's 'Homilies On Hebrews', Homily 12, Section 5. [66]

➢ One. Deborah is correct, Chrysostom belonged to the Antiochian School of theology and exegesis, teaching that God foreordained all men to holiness and salvation, and that Christ died for all and is both willing and able to save all, but not against their will and without their free consent.

Yet, this bother us little since we do not construct our beliefs on the testimony of another, but on the Word of God.

Conclusion

It is fairly safe to conclude that Deborah's "research" [1] are riddled with fallacies, misinformation, contradictions and inconsistencies, to say the least.

Her 'ad hominem' attack on the person of Augustine turned out to be baseless and self-contradictory.

Her initial claim that all the Apostolic- and Church Fathers "believed in free will, except Augustine" [1], turned out to be false.

Guilty by Association

According to Deborah we can't trust Augustine, since he once associated with 'prophet' Mani. We can't trust Calvin, since he's associated with Augustine. We can't trust Calvinists, since they are associated with Calvin.

To Deborah we reply: Neither can we trust you, since in Arminianism you associate with Roman Catholicism, Hare Krishna, Mormonism, the New Apostolic Reformation Movement, Benny Hinn, 'prophetess' Cindy Jacobs and Rick Warren - all who, like you, believes that salvation is somewhat conditional on our willingness.

Finally, I hope that Deborah learned an important lesson from this. And that is, not to scout the World Wide Web for selected quotations in favor of a preconceived idea. Especially so, if you have no intention of checking and double-checking your sources, contexts and history.

Objections

The objections of Paul Cohen of The Path of Truth

On the 23rd of January 2011, I received a response from Paul Cohen of The Path of Truth regarding my "rebuttal of Deborah’s blog" [67], stating that he couldn't "see anything of value for the Kingdom of God" [67], since I apparently employed "highly intellectual carnal arguments that rely on man’s cleverness and not the simple yet profound faith of Jesus Christ" [67].

➢ One. I must thank Mr Cohen for his compliment. He must be the first person, EVER, to consider me "highly intellectual". My former teachers and lecturers would surely find that 'highly amusing'.

➢ Two. You don't need to be a "rocket scientist" to spot Deborah's misappropriation of the Church Fathers. It's fairly apparent to anyone who can read English.

➢ Three. As a Christian I'm told to love God with all my heart, all my soul and all my MIND. (Mt. 22v37; Mk. 12v30; Lk. 10v27) That I intend to do. To be "spiritually minded" (Rom. 8v6), like the noble Bereans, who "received the Word with all readiness of MIND" (Acts 17v11). You don't have to be an uneducated cretin to be a Christian. In fact, we are told to "study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2v15).

Hypocrisy

Twice, on the 7th of January 2012 and again on the 18th of July 2012 [68], I posted the link to this response, in a comment on Deborah's "Unconditional Election and Total Depravity are Gnostic Teachings".

Unsurprisingly, I was censored. Neither of my comments were EVER approved.

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38. Clement. The Stromata, Book IV: Chapter 12 (New Advent; 12 January 2011) ✔
39. Clement. The Stromata, Book II: Chapter 2 (New Advent; 12 January 2011) ✔
40. Clement of Alexandria (Orthodox Wiki; 12 January 2011) ✔
41. Tertullian. Against Marcion, Book II (New Advent; 12 January 2011) ✔
42. Tertullian (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; 12 January 2011) ✔
43. Novatian. On The Trinity, Chapter 1 (New Advent; 12 January 2011) ✔
44. History of the Baptists, Chapter XIII: Century Three: Novations (The Reformed Reader; 1999) ✔
45. Jacques More. The Early Church Fathers and Free-Will: Novatian of Rome c.200-258 (Jarom Books; 2009) ✔
46. Origen. De Principiis, Preface (New Advent; 12 January 2011) ✔
47. Origen. De Principiis, Book III, Chapter 1 (New Advent; 12 January 2011) ✔
48. Origen (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; 12 January 2011) ✔
49. Christian Reincarnation: The Controversy (The Reluctant Messenger; 12 January 2011) ✔
50. Will Durant. Caesar and Christ: A History of Roman Civilization and of Christianity from Their Beginnings to A.D. 325, Story of Civilization, No 3. (MJF Books; 1994) ISBN 1-56731-014-1
51. Methodius. The Banquet of the Ten Virgins, or Concerning Chastity, Discourse VIII, Chapter XVI (Biblos; 12 January 2011) ✔
52. Methodius. Concerning Free-Will (Biblos; 16 January 2011) ✔
53. Archelaus. Acts of Disputation, Volume VI, Chapter XXXII (Wikisource; 16 January 2011) ✔
54. Arnobius. Against The Heathen, Book I (New Advent; 16 January 2011) ✔
55. Arnobius. Against The Heathen, Book II (New Advent; 16 January 2011) ✔
56. EJ Hill. Defining 'All' (Hillside; 17 January 2011) ✔
57. Cyril. Catechetical Lecture 4 (New Advent; 19 January 2011) ✔
58. Cyril of Jerusalem (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; 19 January 2011) ✔
59. Gregory. On Virginity (New Advent; 19 January 2011) ✔
60. Jerome (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; 19 January 2011) ✔
61. Vigilantius (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; 19 January 2011) ✔
62. Jerome. Letter 133 (New Advent; 19 January 2011) ✔
63. Pelagius (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; 19 January 2011) ✔
64. Pelagianism (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; 19 January 2011) ✔
65. Jerome. Against The Pelagians, Book III (New Advent; 19 January 2011) ✔
66. Chrysostom. Homily 12 on Hebrews (New Advent; 19 January 2011) ✔
67. Paul Cohen. In an Email to EJ Hill (The Path of Truth; 23 January 2011) ✔
68. EJ Hill. Unapproved Comment [screenshot] (18 July 2012) ✔

Revisions

05-08.01.2011 / 12.01.2011 / 16-17.01.2011 / 19.01.2011 / 21.01.2011 / 26.01.2011 / 06-07.01.2012 / 18.07.2012 / 19.12.2012 / 10.08.2014

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