Argument of Humility


For some time I’ve wondered how different view points might view this position. I’ve held back on it for some time but seeing that the forum is taking off I thought it might be a good time to land it here on the site.

I call this the Argument of Humility because it deals with the subject of arrogance and salvation. I’m sure Arm. and Calvinist positions will handle the argument differently but I’d love to hear back from our own members.

The argument follows.

  1. All men are arrogant (sinners)
  2. ONLY God humbles the arrogant man
  3. The humble are lifted up
  4. many are not humbled by God and thus are punished eternally for their arrogance.

Now I’ll eloborate;
No 1: All men are arrogant.
I believe that both arm and calvinist will agree that every sinner is arrogant.
It seems it would be futile for any evangelical christian to argue that there are men who do not submit to God but they are humble. Thus I hold at this time that no. 1 is sound concerning Orthodox belief.

No 2: Only God humbles the arrogant man.
I believe that both arm and calvinist will agree that the only reason a arrogant man is humbled is due to God working in the life of the arrogant.
It seems it would be futile for any evangelical christian to argue that a man’s humility is due to the devil or some other outside force. If it is argued that the arrogant man is responsible for the humbling than one has to explain how pride dethrones itself off of the throne. The point being Arrogance never commits suicide but always puffs itself up. It is not until the arrogant get his/her head kicked in (figure of speech) that the arrogance is smashed and the person is humbled. In other words the act of humbling is ALWAYS done from an outside source.

It also seems to me that NO ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN would ever say, God did not humble me, I humbled myself. In fact they ALL attribute their salvation to God’s having BROKEN THEM and thus saving them (humility).

No 3: The humble are lifted up
I believe both Arm. and Calv will agree that when God humbles the arrogant he lifts them up as he promised (humble thyself at the side of the lord and he will life you up).

This entails another point: When the arrogant is humbled does God accept their humility or step on them though they have become humble. If one argues the arrogant still are resentful to God then I would argue they have not been humbled. Thus my definition of “humble” is to draw to the side of the lord OR BE ARROGANT.

It seems futile to me for any evangelical christian to argue that God does not lift up the humble but rather often dashes them to pieces placing them right back into their arrogance (hatred for God).

Even the calvinist, it seems, would say if any arrogant man is humbled it is because God in his sov. humbled the man to break him of his arrogance that he would be saved (election).

Thus it seems sound by orthodox christian understanding that if One is humbled by the arrogance (hatred of God) he is humble (loves God). If he still does not love God then he is still in his arrogance and has not been humbled.

No 4. Many are not humbled by God.
Arm thgology would assert that God is TRYING to humble the arrogant (all mankind). As he loves all men and wants not one to perish he attempts to humble them but utterly fails due to their free choice which he allows them. Thus God fails to humble those he is trying to humble before it is too late.

Calv. Theology would assert that God accomplishes all the humbling he desires (the elect). He only loves the elect and therfore accomplishes this means and dispenses the arrogant into ECT as they deserve it for they were arrogant.

My consensus at this time is that a major theme in scripture is that it is God who humbles; All men are arrogant (hostile to God, or born into sin); Arrogance never humbles itself.

Thus I am arguing that Under Evangelial Universalism God does indeed humble EVERY single person who is arrogant. I do not believe he has to do so all at the same time but I do hold that it is inevitable that each person will come to the point where they will be humbled (ever knee shall bow) and thus they will love (every tounge will confess) their God (That Jesus Christ is lord).

If one argues that God does not humble all of the arrogant, then which part of scripture declares Gods inablility to humble the arrogant? Which part of scripture declares God’s failure to humble the arrogant?

It is of my opinion this is exactly what Isaiah and Paul saw concerning the prophecy. Every man will be made humble and become subjects to their king; like knights in honor of their king…THEY BOW!

Any thoughts,



Beth Moore said that both Calvinists and Arminianists are correct in what they assert and wrong about what they deny.

Cals assert that God can save every one and deny that He wants to.

Arminians assert that God wants to save everyone and deny that He can.

How close is Beth to UR?

This post is very interesting. I’m gonna have to spend some time thinking about it.



Yes Thomas Talbott raises the syllogism

  1. God wants to save all men (calvinist deny this)
  2. God can save all men (Arm. deny this)
  3. God will punish men eternally and serperate them from him eternally (UR deny this)

The argument I’m making is very similar.

It’s difference is on the issue of Humility rather than the ability of God to save. They could be seen as the same thing using different language (humility synonomous with salvation).

The point I’m raising concerning Arm. Theology is that in their understanding God wants to humble the arrogant man.
Except for some reason, to them, scripture does not declare God can humble them.

This leads down a faulty road I’m afriad.

If I believe “Well, God could humble them if he really wanted to” then why does he not?

It is their arrogance (pride) which keeps them from God. If their pride is broken then they are no longer prideful and will accept God’s gracious offer of reconciliation.

However the thing in us all that keeps us from depending on God is SELF (arrogance or pride).

So the big question is Why does God not break each individuals pride but he does some.

If It is argued:
Those who get saved are not humbled by God but came of their own humbling, then that is to say that one saves himself.
This entails that Pride is self collapsing. The reason a prideful man would break his pride is for an internal conflict (within). I find this hard to embrace.
I believe Pride never commits suicide but ALWAYS seeks to preserve itself (anti-christ compared to Christ who gave up his life on the cross).
If pride never seeks to dethrone itself then a person coming to humility is because the pride was BROKEN. This leads me to the fact that broken pride is from an outside source and CANNOT come from within.
Again, I believe Arm’s would agree as we all say “God broke me” and not “I broke myself”. For who is in bondage if he can break the chains?

The ultimate eschatological follow up is that God does indeed humble all. Some will be humbled in the end as they head down to hell and some to heaven.

Of course the question is why then does God not demonstrate that power to break them of their arrogance if he indeed loves them SO MUCH.

It might be argued that:
To show that kind of power would not be “fair” and all men would be saved. So God wanting us to choose relents his power and waits to see who will love him without showing such force.

I would argue then that “God does not do all he can to save someone” to be an anti-christ statment.

It seems to me the Cross is exactly that. God did EXACTLY what he needed to do to save all creation.
(God reconciling the world unto himself, not counting men sins against them).

So It seems that the Arm. would have to agree that God does indeed not want to save all men in the extent that he does all he can to save them.

Of course the question (the calvinist raises) is:
Why is it then that some people get broken by God and some do not?

What is it about the saved that the unsaved lack? Was it God not applying enough pressure to break the arrogance?
Perhaps God simply did not care for them?

Sorry so long : )



Don’t have time to comment yet, but I think I strongly agree with what you’re trying to say. (Though I would suggest some polishing in places to better pull together what I think you’re trying to say. I’ll try to get back to this later.)

I’ve heard that Beth Moore is probably a universalist, from a few other people, Mike. As you point out, one can hardly affirm both of what Calvs and Arms distinctly affirm and deny what they distinctly deny, without logically arriving at universalism. But I get the impression that she’s diplomatically vague about it, in order to keep from alienating her fanbase. (For which I don’t blame her. I think some people who believe it should work quietly like leaven in the dough, in a non-threatening way. :slight_smile: )


Jason this is extremely intersting to me. Beth Moore is my wife’s hero. It would be crazy if she were actually a universalists. I wonder if my wife would quit listening to her.

auggeybendoggy-I’m still trying to sort out what you are saying. I’ve been off work for two weeks and my mind is on downtime. :laughing:


Mike and Jason,
Absoultely I need polishing on this. A major reason why I wanted to run it with you guys.

The thurst is built upon the Idea that Salvation from sin is Synonomous with Arogance destroyed unto humility.

In scripture it seems sound to me that God is seeking to humble all the arrogant and WILL NOT FAIL.

Humility only Comes from God. I don’t believe it can be argued from the orthodox christian that it is not. Or else we might say people can save themselves (humble themselves unto salvation) For God would surely not cast into hell a man who has humbled himself at the side of the Lord.

So in the Arm understanding is God trying to humble the lost? Is he looking to DESTROY their arrogance?

It seems our theology as christians is a bit akward. In one sense we talk of pride and greed as breing our downfall but when we talk of salvation it is NOT FROM THOSE THINGS. Now under a “non” universalist debate I believe an orthodox christian would agree with what I’m saying. However this leads to universalism (I believe) because if they are synonomous then WILL God Humble the arrogant or NOT.

This argument is identical really to Talbotts in that God wants to humble all men (save all men) but he can’t. Thus the real conclusion of the Arm position is that God is not going to PUSH HARD ENOUGH to humble them before it’s too late.

However there are some “good” souls who just happened to respond the SLIGHT pressure God applied when he was “trying” to break them.

It seems to me this language is non-biblical. What I mean is that scripture never speaks in terms of God is TRYING to break the arrogance of the proud. Instead scripture seems to render God as HE NEVER FAILS at breaking the arrogance of the proud.

I’m throwing these ideas out there so any feedback or cleaning up would be appreciated.




auggeybendoggy, could you define humility/salvation as you see it. I’m just trying to formulate some ideas about this and it would be extremely helpful to me. Thanks.


This is an extremely general statement and yes I know it’s stereotypical but some of the Calvinists that I have dealt with seem to be very arrogant, but now that I think about it I know some Arminians that believe they have reached a level of sinlessness. One takes pride in the fact that God has chosen them exclusive over the unregenerate and the other takes pride in the fact that they have mastered the freewill deal to the point that they can choose not to sin. Both seem to lack humility. Now rest assured that I don’t think for a minute that they would see it that way, it just my fallacious view of them both. I would be very hesitant to say that neither were saved but I would argue that both were in the process of being saved. (humbled) I guess I would need to ask was it humility that brought them to the Lord in the first place and they have somehow lost that humility. (salvation)

I would also add that my sin has been used in the process to humble me but I don’t think that I need to sin more to be humbled more. Paul addressed this I think. Andrew Murray said that one of the motives to humility was the mystery of grace. I believe this has humbled me more than anything. I also think this is why I have UR leanings. Grace teaches me that I did nothing to earn God’s unconditional love. It takes humility to accept any thing unconditionally. It exposes my freewill as something that doesn’t really matter that much to God. He loves me in spite of the quality of MY decisions or lack there of. It also tells me that God is no respector of persons and we are all in this together. To finish Murray’s quote on grace and humility he says " [grace] teaches us that, as we lose ourselves in the overwhelming greatness of redeeming love, humility becomes to us the consummation of everlasting blessedness and adoration."

Rambling perhaps but its helping me. :laughing:


How does this fit into your thought process?

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, **He humbled Himself **and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11).


Good ramblings, by the way. :slight_smile:

I know that, classically speaking, this statement has been crucial (in more than one meaning for that term) for the Adam Christology held by trinitarians (and some other kinds of Christians). As the Fathers used to put it, Man (Adam) in his arrogance and for his own sake tried to seize that which he couldn’t be and to which he had no right, Godhood, and consequently lost much of the manhood that he already had been given. Christ, by contrast, humbles himself to become and to come to us as a man, pouring Himself out while losing none of what He had already been given, for our sakes, not for any gain of His own. (There is a statement in 2 Cor to this effect, too, that Christ while already being and remaining rich became poor for our sake so that we may through Him become rich. The Greek is a bit muffed in English translations.) Jesus states in GosMark that the Son of Man does not come to be served, but to serve, giving His own life for the raising up (or ransom) of the many.

I can see several ways in which this could apply to humility-salvation (and other Christian groups would necessarily have some difference in their application, due to different Christologies, of course). But I’ve got to leave for the night. :slight_smile:


Nimb and JP,
I’m not going to go into the Typologies at this time so I’m going to avoid the Christology views on Adam. I will say I am taking an…In Bob’s words…“Avant Garde” position. I’m only tinkering with it but I do agree with most on the matter of Adams disobedience.

But to answer Nimbs question of the defintion of humility/Salvation, I will at least try.

Humility in this argument is the OVERALL position taken of the person who denies his own self; Dies to himself. If it is true that the nature of Pride is SELF SUSTAINING and never seeks it’s own destruction than Dying to oneself is the pinnacle act of humility.

Thus Humility is the denial of ones self ultimatley leading to dependence upon God.

Salvation, The metaphor or literal metaphor (if that makes any sense) I would define as the person who is rescued from the former state which was destruction. Salvation is from the death which is fueled by a persons NON dependence upon Life (God).

Obviously I see the two connected or synonomous here.

As stated before if Pride is the beast which causes a man to deny God and adores ones self than I assume that humility is the blessing that causes the man to deny ones self and embrace God. This to me is what Salvation equates to.

So the Question is does God want to humble people in this age AND he is going to cut off people forever who are not humbled in this age. But then the question is being raised… When does God not apply enough pressure to the man who rejects his will. If it is true that God is applying pressure on this revolting man than why is it the man does not break?

It seems to me that the only resolution is to say God does not try hard and could do it but doesn’t want to pressurize them into salvation rendering the relationship forced.

However if that is true than what is to be said of the person who is under God’s pressure to break the arrogance and DOES GIVE IN. Shall we conclude that the relationship was forced since that very person GAVE INTO the powerful hand of God which BROKE the arrogance of the man?

The language we use is that God dealt with my arrogance in some form or another but that it was he that LED me away from my arrogance.

Now if the arminian should argue that WE DO HUMBLE OURSELVES and it is not God then perhaps it is true that man can be saved outside of God’s BREAKING HIM. For the man did not need God’s pressure in order to break the pride.

If we say that God’s pressure was of a lesser value or weaker in strength, than it would be argued that our pride is not that serious and only needs a slight nudge.

Anyhow, just more thoughts.



The first thing that comes to mind is Paul on the Road to Damascus. I don’t see Paul dying to self but being slain by Christ. This brought about instant humility. I’ve heard it said that the only form of capital punishment that a man cannot do to himself is crucifixion. Its true when you think about it. I am crucified with Christ. I am dead to self. Grace helped me to realize it through sin. Where sin abounds grace does much more abound. How can one be arrogant about sin when this comes it fruition in our lives. Now when I thought I was crucifying my flesh I was a pretty arrogant Christian. Then God told me that I was only interested in how I looked to other people. He is in the process of tearing off the strips of dead flesh that still cling to these once dry bones.


Nimb, I do think there are truths in these metaphores however. Paul being slain is the beginning of his dying to himself. His arrogance was destroyed but in a process in which his tranformation begins.

Now in my OP I’m speaking in such terms but I am saying that it seems:

  1. A person cannot be saved without having been humbled
  2. A person who has been humbled does not stand in opposition to God.
  3. God wants to humble each man
  4. God can humble each man WITHOUT FAILURE.

Again this is similar to talbotts syllogism however I’ve not forumlated any argument at this point. I’m not even sure I know how : )

I’m wondering how a LFW thinker goes about these ideas.

Again the only stance I could see them taking is that God does not really try to humble each and every person in a way that is unfair.

As an illustration lets use Lbs of pressure:
Suppose that man can only take 30 lbs of pressure psi before being humbled.
Suppose that God can apply an infinite amount of pressure psi.
So Suppose that God applies 40 lbs of pressure psi to each individual and All men are saved.

Than it would be argued: There is no real relationship since the ONLY reason they responded to the love of God is because the pressure to break them of their arrogance was too much.

So suppose than that God only applies 20 lbs of pressure psi to see which ones will choose him at 20 lbs of pressure applied.
Now one man’s arrogance breaks because all his arrogance needed was 20 lbs of pressure to crack.
another mans arrogance breaks at 38 lbs of pressure and he remains in his arrogance.

Now the question remaining is WHO decides how bad a person is and how good a person is? Why is it that some men only require 20 lbs vs. 35 lbs.

Now if we avoid these thoughts and dismiss the whole idea that God is not trying to break us of our arrogance than I would like to know what it is exactly that God is trying to do with us?

This leads me back the parallel semetry of Salvation and Humility.

Any more thoughts?



I have always played around with the idea that the “elect” is a particular group of people. I am a football coach. I allow any who want to to come out and play. I select, choose, elect, a particular group of players to carry out my plans as a coach. Everyone else is on the team but some will only play a minimal role in the plan. Does God do the same thing? Has he elected a remnant to carry out His plan? If He has will He apply more pressure to those than anyone else?

Some early morning thoughts. Got a lot on my mind this morning.



As I’ve kicked it around a bit more I’ve narrowed down my thoughts to the notion that the difference between Talbotts argument is that it encopmasses the idea that God can or God wants to save all men.

The argument of humility is more about God’s ATTEMPT to save all men which seems to be a bit of a different angle.

Talbotts argument is pointed more towards the differences of Calv and Arm. theology. It approaches the idea if God wants to save all men and if God can save all men. Thus God’s preference and his ability are at question.

In this argument I’m pointing more to the way we view “pride” and if God is ACTIVELY attempting to save the world or FIND the lost.

The reason why this argument is raised is because in the Arm. structure God has NOT reconciled the world unto himself but has ONLY offered reconciliation to the world.

Jesus dying on the cross was not an act of saving people but an act of PAVING the way of salvation or better said MAKING salvation possible.

Thus I see the Arm. stating God offers salvation to mankind but does not save against the will. For the will of the man but first be in agreement with God.

I remember reading an analogy Dr. Talbott used which is one I had thought of as well.

To the Arm. God throws the life saver into the water and yells at you to instruct you how to save yourself (synergism).
To the calv. God jumps in the water and saves those he intends to save (monergism)

I’m more inline with the calv here that is I believe God is the one seeking us out rather than he’s hoping we find our way to him.

So if it is true, and I think it is, that God is trying to break us of our pride, then is he trying to break the arrogance of ALL MEN?




It is true that an arrogant man NEVER submits to God.

it is also true that a humble man always submits to God.

Concerning salvation; it is always true that when a man calls upon the name of the Lord he is acting out of humility rather than arrogance (dependence upon oneself).

So here I make a point that it is God who takes the arrogance of a man and destroys it that the man should call upon the name of the Lord.

I also augment this by stating Pride never comits itself to self destruction. It always seeks it’s on benefit and preservation.

Conclusion: The Arminian view is faulty in it’s position that God is seeking to humble each and every man (that he might call upon the name of the Lord) but fails to do so.

probably fallacious.



Catching up while being away (kind of) on that huge catch-up project. (yeek… I’m catching up from catching up from catching up from… catching up. I think.)

Anyway. Auggy’s further ruminations are worth commenting on in his revised thread, but I thought I’d mention here, for whatever it may be worth, that I’ve long understood this to be the conceptual meaning of “elect” in OT and NT narrative usage.