Joe: "Forgiving everyone"?


, Joe"]

We should forgive all unilaterally, regardless of their repentance, because Christ died for us, and everyone, even while we were his enemies. Christ brought forgiveness for everybody on the cross even though many do not repent and so remain in a broken relationship with God.
…I find it hard to understand why Joe would write this, as he is anti-EU i.e. is he claiming we must forgive, but that God doesn’t?? Or that God forgives but send us to ECT after that? :confused:

It’s also puzzling that he follows up with this post:


"](7 A’s of confession)

  • Address everyone involved
  • Avoid if, but, and maybe
  • Admit specifically
  • Acknowledge the hurt
  • Accept the consequence
  • Alter your behaviour
  • Ask for forgiveness (and Allow time)


there’s a fair bit of irony there, i’ll agree with you!
and yes it does seem odd for God to tell us how to forgive (ie endlessly, and without bitterness or any trace of unforgiveness as we can be judged for that) and then do precisely the opposite.
the argument that God can do what God wants and anything He does is good for that reason has issues because we are told to be His Sons and bear His name…therefore we’re told to act like Him.

and would anyone think a father was good that exhibited the “do what i say, not as i do” model of parenting?


Hi Alex,
Reading the post, I get the idea he’s saying that God forgives all, but not all agree to the reconciliation. Which is not quite consistent with Calvinist theology which says that only the elect are forgiven.



, Joe"]…
Our forgiveness is a compulsory obligation since as Cristians our eternal debt was cancelled.

But Gods forgiveness is not compulsory nor is it owed people. Note: the unforgivable ‘eternal’ sin.

Our forgiveness is a little thing, since people’s offences are primarily transgressions against God, and we are ‘In the same boat’ as fellow transgressors.

But Gods forgiveness of us is something else: it is miraculous because it is seemingly impossible.

Our forgiveness is modelled off Gods unconditional act FOR everybody, but as mentioned, even our earthly forgiveness does not effect reconciliation which requires repentance.

Gods work for the forgiveness of everybody, since many fail to repent, means that they will not be eternally forgiven/reconciled – while still meaning that we have no right to withhold forgiveness as fellow sinners.


Like Sonia, I’m seeing exactly no account of Calvinistic election here, nor (very similarly) Calvinistic original persistence to salvation from God.

Also like Sonia, I seem to recall Joe being (and defending) Calv previously. Has he gone Arminian, or are we misremembering? (Maybe Bruce Burgess, whom he was quoting, is an Arminian and Joe doesn’t realize it?)

, Joe"]…
Our forgiveness is a compulsory obligation since as Christians our eternal debt was canceled.

I can think of other reasons, more directly related to trinitarian theism, that our forgiveness is a compulsory obligation (in the sense of being a moral obligation); but I don’t disagree with this either. :slight_smile:

For example, by the same logic we can consider our forgiveness of other people to be a compulsory obligation since God Himself has already forgiven everyone in Christ. (BB wrote “because Christ died for us, and everyone, even while we were his enemies. Christ brought forgiveness for everybody on the cross”.) If we don’t join with God in Christ forgiving our enemies, then we’re the ones rebelling as sinners against God thereby!

, Joe"]But Gods forgiveness is not compulsory nor is it owed people. Note: the unforgivable ‘eternal’ sin.

Completely beside the point if Joe agrees with Bruce that God in Christ has already forgiven everyone of their sins.

In that case, the unforgivable ‘eternal’ sin is (as most of us here would agree, myself included) the conscious refusal to repent of a sin. But that has nothing to do with God’s forgiveness (which per Joe’s comments he seems to agree God already does for all sinners) not being compulsory or owed people. That has to do with sinners insisting on sin instead of accepting salvation from sin.

(I would also challenge, on trinitarian grounds, the notion that God’s forgiveness is not morally owed people. I understand the point of saying so is to avoid appealing to a moral ground transcending God, which I agree must be avoided on pain of denying even supernaturalistic theism, much moreso trinitarian theism; but there are other issues involved in the total theological account. We aren’t Muslims.)

, Joe"]Our forgiveness is a little thing, since people’s offences are primarily transgressions against God, and we are ‘In the same boat’ as fellow transgressors.

I don’t consider cooperating faithfully with God in the work of God which He expects us to join Him in, to be a “little thing”, except insofar as we ourselves are “little things” compared to God. And seeing as how a refusal to do so is sin, and seeing as how God Himself goes to the cross to save us from our sins, I am inclined to treat it as being a ‘big’ thing if the ‘Biggest’ thing assigns it that much importance by His actions. But be that as it may. :slight_smile:

, Joe"]But Gods forgiveness of us is something else: it is miraculous because it is seemingly impossible.

No more impossible or miraculous than the Trinity, which is where I would trace God’s forgiveness from. And our ultimate standard of morality, too. Meaning that God’s forgiveness of us is not some categorically different “something else”, nor quantitatively “bigger” either. It’s the moral thing to do for the same reason that our seeking fair-togetherness with our enemies is the moral thing to do: because God, as the foundation of all reality, is intrinsically the active fulfillment of fair-togetherness among persons. That’s why trinitarian theism is different from any other type of theism.

Again: we aren’t Muslims. :slight_smile: (Or Christian unitarians, most of us. :smiley: )

, Joe"]Our forgiveness is modeled off Gods unconditional act FOR everybody, but as mentioned, even our earthly forgiveness does not effect reconciliation which requires repentance.

Not completely, no, although reconciliation depends on forgiveness being offered until completion. If the forgiveness is withdrawn or never offered at all, that’s it, no reconciliation is possible from the side of the one sinned against.

Arminians would explain the lack of repentance being a result of free will against God’s active intentions otherwise, which God allows (and eventually gives up trying to save us from).

But Calvinists (whether soft or hard-shell) typically explain the lack of repentance being due to God’s choice not to even empower the sinner to repent. Those whom God empowers to repent, God intends to save, and will keep at it until He accomplishes it.

Where does Joe fall in that paradigm again…? Because if he now accepts that God acts to save all sinners from sin, and still believes God persists in saving all sinners whom He intends to save, then technically he’s a universalist!–even if he believes God has revealed that some people will never choose to repent, leaving God at an ever-continuing stalemate. That’s a subtle but crucial difference from believing that God will give up on some sinners eventually (or be defeated by them), much less that God never really acted to save some sinners from sin in the first place.

, Joe"]Gods work for the forgiveness of everybody, since many fail to repent, means that they will not be eternally forgiven/reconciled – while still meaning that we have no right to withhold forgiveness as fellow sinners…

Sounds like standard Arminianism to me!–it isn’t that God has chosen never to give them means to repent, but that given the means people fail to do so, the result being that God will not keep acting to forgive/reconcile them forever but will either be defeated by them or just give up trying eventually. (Because, supposedly, God doesn’t “owe” people continuing forgiveness, or even forgiveness at all in the first place, including morally owe them; nor is “compelled” to do so in any way for any reason, including by His nature as God the foundation and standard of all morality instead of not-God.)


, Joe"]Calvin appreciated, as I do, what the NT authors described as a death not only sufficient for every single person, but in principle having an application for all too. By Christ dying a death ‘in principle’ for all, all who reject the ‘offer’ of repentance are justly condemned.

I havent read all of Calvin, nor do i take my doctrine from that system, but as far as ive read from the institutes, Limited atonement does not mean his death did not have an affect for every individual. But what he maintained, and I agree, is that this death ‘for all’ is effective for the atonement of a limited elect because in his foreknowledge he went to the cross not only for that general application (judgment) but also specifically in order to effect the salvation of those whom he had predestined and accordingly now calls to faith in that death.

I don’t think my notes from the PeaceWise stuff above contradict this though.


Let me try to paint a picture, which sadly probably has happened somewhere at sometime, so it’s not a dramatic overstatement :frowning:

Alpha rapes and murders Beta’s family in front of Beta and yet a few years later, Beta forgives Alpha and visits him in prison and lovingly pays for all Alpha’s medical bills. Unfortunately Alpha never repents and dies. God judges Alpha and sends him to ECT/P.

Your system ends up with Beta forgiving & loving more than God, who never forgives Alpha.

It’s much more powerful (& I’d say Biblical) to say God is extraordinarily forgiving & loving, and we do our best to imitate that. Saying that “Our forgiveness is a compulsory obligation” doesn’t sound very loving, it sounds legalistic, which is the opposite of what God desires.

In your last comment, you are putting people’s fate ultimately in people’s hands (because they reject), not God’s.


I’m not sure why ‘offer’ is in qualification quotes: was it ever a real offer, or not? Calvinists would tend to say it was never a real offer for the non-elect; even softshell Calvs would insist God never loves the non-elect with saving love. (Hardshells would say God never loves them in any way at all!)

Arminians would insist that the offer was real for everyone; although some would say it was only an offer, that Christ never goes out through the door and down the road (so to speak) after sinners but only holds the door to the Ark open for a while (so to speak) before eventually shutting it. Others would say He goes out after even the 100th sheep, but eventually the sheep forces Him to stop or else Christ just gets too annoyed about it eventually and goes home to leave the sheep outside, never bothering to go out after it again.

Kaths (universalists) would insist that Christ persistently keeps going after all sinners, empowering us to repent and be reconciled, until He gets the job done (even if in fact that’s never due to our intransigence–the key distinction being that He never quits.)

Interestingly, your PeaceWise stuff seems to lean more toward a Katholic stance on forgiveness, even as a moral obligation: we’re to actively (not merely formally) offer forgiveness to all who have sinned against us, not waiting for them to repent first, and we’re not to give up on that, even though the reconciliation cannot be completed if they do not repent. But the failure should never be on our side of things.

If God did that, universalism (of one or another kind) would be true, compared to Arm or Calv soteriology!–which is why you try to exempt God from doing that (or rather to explain why He is supposed to be exempt from it.) But this leads, among other things, to what Alex noted: we end up being more moral than God if we follow God’s morality (and there isn’t any other or higher morality) and never give up seeking everyone’s salvation from sin (whether the sin is against us or against someone else, though always against God.)

Yes, but as you seem to agree with him afterward, the effect (per Calvinism) is different for different individuals. For the non-elect the effect is only judgment; God doesn’t even intend for it to be anything other than that. For the elect the effect is atonement (reconciliation, same word in Greek), which God not only intends but will persist at until completion via our repentance (which He empowers and leads the elect in doing–unlike the non-elect, per Calvinism!)

The PeaceWise stuff contradicts the limited scope of “limited atonement”. We aren’t called to actively forgive only those we elect to forgive, or even (in practice) only those whom God has elected to forgive. We’re called to forgive everyone in a cooperative modeling of God’s forgiveness of us. “We should forgive all unilaterally, regardless of their repentance, because Christ died for us, and everyone, even while we were his enemies.”

Absolutely: but that isn’t Calvinistic limited atonement. God doesn’t forgive the non-elect, even on and through the cross; God doesn’t love them with saving love (and maybe doesn’t love them at all, depending on how hardshell the Calvinist is.) The cross is only a judgment for the non-elect, nothing more.

This is hugely important in Calvinistic soteriology (and its non-Protestant analogues), because one of the big selling points is the Calvinistic stress on assurance of salvation: God doesn’t wait for us to do something (per many Arms nowadays) before agreeing to persistently save us, but acts from the beginning to persistently save us (where ‘us’ == ‘the elect’, not ‘them’ over there ‘the non-elect’.) God intended to save us while we were yet sinners, and acts to do so, and empowers us to be saved, and we can TRUST HIM to keep at it even though we are untrustworthy sinners.

The key distinctions and differences between Calv and Arm are in what we can trust about God.

Calvs: we can trust God to persist in saving everyone He intends to save (and here’s how you can reliably tell if you’re one of those on God’s to-do list, instead of one of the hopelessly non-elect.)

Arms: we can trust God to intentionally act to save everyone (you aren’t excluded from that, although you may hopelessly exclude yourself sooner or later.)

Kaths combine those trusts: we can trust God to persist acting to save everyone from sin (although thanks to your choices you may not be saved from punishment at first. But even the punishment won’t be hopeless, because it comes from God.)


Thanks Jason :slight_smile: Unfortunately I’m still under the pump at work, so haven’t the time/mental capacity to fully answer Joe myself.


"]Hi guys, arguing in terms of systems is really sad. Whether philosophical examples Alix or theological system analysis like your contrast and compare Jason.

You should just stick to reading and trying to understand the text of the Bible.

If I quote some authoritative text I may sound Arminian, and if I borrow the language of another I may sound Calvinistic. We’re not going to give a full double sided systematic treatment of every subject whenever we open our mouths in order to balance the tones and connotations in the direction of whatever our preferential doctrinal system is.

Let’s be clear that propositional revelation can stand alone without being added to by truths which are nonetheless complementary and essential. So it is true for example to say people will perish who refuse to love the truth even while it is true and without needing to add that it is God who will send them the powerful delusion so that they will believe what is false in order to condemn all who did not believe the truth. 2 Th 2:12

This turning towards analogous reasoning (Alix) or reasoning from system analysis (Jason) will send me away in despair. I’m not going to play this game. This is not the Enlightenment. Let’s not try to be Thomas Reids. I’m not going to fight reason with reason.

But let me finish by reminding you according to Christs words: “if you do not forgive anyone his sins, God will not forgive your sins”

May not sound like your perfect motive of love here either, and nor is that uncommon throughout the NT which often gives reward or avoidance of judgement as motivator.

And may sound here like a God who withholds forgiveness, because that is the God revealed to us. The command to forgive like the command to repent is given to all even while the gift of forgiveness and the gift of repentance is only granted Gods elect.

The cross/resurrection commands all to repent and in this way also condemns those who do not, to the eternal unforgiveness of God. The spirit convicting unto condemnation the world which rejects the work of Christ in ascension and also in bringing judgement on the ruler of the world is one thing Jn 16:8 describes.

Looks like we made far too much sense, “Alix”. :mrgreen:


if we don’t love our enemies, we are not “being sons of God” who makes the rain fall on the just and unjust.

forgiving our enemies is crucial…the unforgiving servant who was forgiven his debt but refused to forgive his own debtor was worthy of judgement. though i hasten to add…the judgement in the parable to which he was judged was NOT FOREVER.
it was until the very last penny of his own debt was paid.

this is not incompatible with universalism that says we get what we’re due…but God works to save us. our sins may not be under His blood if we act like this, but the Bible doesn’t actually appear to teach eternal punishment in any consistent way that would justify ECT as a belief.
i can accept the possibility of annihilationism (though this is not satisfactory) and i might accept the idea of hell being “not that bad” (or, “hell is hell from heaven’s point of view, not from hell’s point of view”…another unsatisfactory view), but God is not petulant or vindictive. we can see in Scripture that punishment teaches and punishment comes before restoration.
the Old Testament speaks of the remnant, with some overt hints about the world (nations)…but also has the amazing declaration by Jeremiah under influence of the Holy Spirit in Lam 3:31.
the new Testament expands this restoration to everyone…and seems to include those who are cast into the Lake of Fire (TEU, Revelations chapter…i have yet to examine this for myself though properly) as they are urged by the Lamb and the Bride to “COME!” through the open gates of the New Jerusalem and sample the fruit from the trees that will bring healing to the nations (who were previously in rebellion).

so…i would contend that no one can hold a grudge forever, especially not God! even if some of us that refuse to forgive end up paying a debt for a time in a debtor’s gaol of some supernatural nature. our debt would be paid AND i would say that eventually we would forgive our debtors too.

God definitely emphasises forgiveness and getting things sorted between each other, so it is crucial to our spiritual wellbeing as well as that of others that we do not hold grudges…that we live as God lives…in a state of pure love and forgiveness…love that loves us even while we were yet sinners.


“Come now. Let us reason together”, says the Lord.

What is Joe’s reason for not fighting reason with reason?



I believe God is the source of all reason, and that it’s a gift to be able to examine things and indeed a command when someone makes claims about God or what we ought to be doing.

to Joe, I"]Joe that comes across as condescending, but I’ll try to forgive that :slight_smile: I’m surprised that you can’t see that you do have a system for understanding the Bible. We all do, and we all try to be in harmony with the Bible. e.g. both our systems see Christ as central, however, sadly I’m sure we’ve both come across people who can’t even see that! Btw, technically your OP contains no direct Bible references either.

I’m disappointed to hear you think that reason can’t be used to defend your understanding of God as revealed in the Bible.

I’m hardly “turning towards analogous reasoning”, as I said, I’m sure the scenario has happened in real life many times. So it’s quite fair to say many people have forgiven/loved people more than you claim God does.

Full reconciliation can’t be reached until all parties forgive, we need to forgive others & we need God’s forgiveness. By God’s grace, I believe both will happen eventually.

I still think God’s love/forgiveness is a better motivation to love/forgive others than fear of God’s judgement. However, I acknowledge that the latter is a motivation too.

In the 2nd last paragraph you’ve switched back to “Calvinism”, saying some people can’t ever repent because they haven’t been given that gift. Being commanded to do something they’ll never be enabled to do sounds harsh. I’d simply say God commands us to repent, and by His Spirit, eventually enables us to all do that.

Lastly, as we know that God will make us more like Himself in the New Creation, doesn’t that mean many who we love/forgive now (who God doesn’t), we will then have to change to unloving/unforgiving them? Is forgiveness genuine if you then unforgive them??


A great question! (That’s my boy, folks.)

Is it even possible to unforgive someone whom you have genuinely forgiven? How can unforgiveness be an option lurking quietly in the back of your brain? Doesn’t that mean your initial forgiveness is conditional, insincere and incomplete, a show of forgiveness, but not the real thing?



It got quite messy after that and ended with the following :frowning:



God has all the time in the world.


Fortunately for us all. Love is patient, so I must try to be. Just could be a little awkward at church :neutral_face:


Eh, I basically quit back when he was complaining that we were being too logical. :wink:

In my experience, once someone does that, any hope of profitable discussion is over for a while.