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?)
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.
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.
, 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. (Or Christian unitarians, most of us. )
, 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.)