Hendryx Responds to Synergist J.C. Thibodaux

A few years ago I offered a challenge to synergists (including Arninians) which was designed to reveal an inconsistency in their affirmation that salvation is by grace alone; a challenge to prove that their theology necessitates a mixture the grace of Jesus Christ and something else. Many synergists believe that their doctrine of prevenient grace resolves this issue. But it is my purpose in this short essay to respond to the points made in a recent posting from a synergist who takes me up on the challenge.

By definition synergists are those who believe that an unregenerate person must cooperate with God's [prevenient] grace which results in regeneration; that we must meet God's condition of faith if God is to grant regeneration. In other words, to the synergist God's love for His people is conditional. The monergist, by contrast, is one who believes that Jesus loves His people unconditionally, because has met all the conditions for us, including giving us a new heart that loves and believes in Jesus.

To simplify, here are the questions I asked in the original challenge:

* Why is it that one unregenerate person believes the gospel and not another?
* Was he able to generate a right thought, produce a right affection, create right belief, while at the same time man #2 did not have the natural wherewithal to come up with the faith to be saved?
* If they both made use of the same grace, did one make better use of it than the other?
* If prevenient grace places us in a neutral state, then what motivates one man to believe and not another?
* What principle in him made him choose what he did?
* If all men are neutral in prevenient grace was it by chance that one believed and not another?
* Is it the grace of God that makes you differ from unbelievers or is it your faith?

Several have attempted to answer the challenge including the most recent answer by a gentleman named J.C. Thibodaux. Before we go on, I want to declare my purpose here is not so much to persuade Thibodaux because in my experience those who have grown this emotionally attached to their position are rarely converted in their understanding. Rather, this paper is more directed toward those visitors still weighing the evidence or are only tentatively leaning one way or the other. Why should you care about this debate? How one answers this question is important because it reveals whether one believes salvation is by grace alone or not.

Here is my answer to his post:

It is important, I believe, that we begin with some of the presuppositions that Thibodaux brings to the question at hand because they are directing the entire flow of his argument. Specifically since his argument against monergistic regeneration rests so heavily on the idea that determinism is false and libertarian free will is true, then we need to begin there and take on his others answers later on.

A statement of mine that Thibodaux repeatedly calls a fallacy is the dilemma:

'if person A and B both had the same grace, then what made person A choose and not person B?’

He repeatedly responded to this concept with answers like the following:

“This is of course simply begging the question of Determinism, since if we have power of contrary choice, then nothing made us choose.”

Consider that although Thibodaux repeatedly claims to reject any kind of determinism yet Thibodaux contradicts himself about this when he defines his own position on the nature and condition of the natural man as follows: “The traditional, Synergist view of human depravity, prevenient grace, regeneration and redemption is that fallen men are inherently depraved and incapable of seeking God of their own power ...” [My emphasis]

Is Thibodaux here acknowledging that that the natural man cannot choose otherwise? It sounds like he believes that, at least in this instance, our moral nature does infallibly determine our choice. Is this not determinism? This statement reveals that Thibodaux wants to have his cake and eat it too which therefore makes the rest of his critique a total belly-flop.

If our moral nature is what determines our choices some times then it is not a stretch to believe it is what determines our choices at all times. Why would he argue that our moral nature determines our choice prior to grace but not after? You cannot say that before prevenient grace that believing the gospel is a holy or moral choice and then change your mind as to the nature of the choice after prevenient grace. Even if prevenient grace were true, the nature of the choice has not changed after prevenient grace, only something in our nature has. If who we are (the nature of our heart) prior to grace makes certain the result of our choice then who we are after grace also determines it. The will cannot be separated from the person. This completely debunks his entire argument.

In spite of all his arguments otherwise, Thibodaux's position on fallen man’s depraved condition outright acknowledges that the choices of the natural man are deterministic due to a moral flaw in man’s nature. Left in his fallen unregenerate state, he is incapable of seeking God. His moral condition leaves him in a state where he cannot choose otherwise. Saying out of one side of his mouth that he rejects determinism, he implicitly affirms it out of the other side when he declares the truth of total depravity. The natural man, he acknowledges, is in bondage to sin and thereby unable to comply with Christ. Sin is what keeps him from Christ, he acknowledges. In other words, he acknowledges that because the natural man is morally depraved all those in that condition by nature “hate the light and will not come into the light.” (John 3:19). We would argue of course that if being slaves to sin is what keeps us from Christ then only changing us to being a slave to righteousness can make us love the light. Romans chapter six makes this abundantly clear. Faith in Christ is a moral decision which means we exercise faith based on who we are, not apart from who we are.  Thibodaux must therefore acknowledge that a moral act cannot be made without a moral constitution.

Since Thibodaux's prevenient grace does not actually give the recipient a new heart, then we can only deduce that it merely props up the old heart or natural man. But if faith does not spring from a renewed heart, as he must confess, then it comes from an unregenerate heart which is propped up. But it is still a natural heart if not regenerated. Since the Bible clearly declares that the natural man cannot understand spiritual truth (1 Cor 2:14) how can it have affections or interest in Christ, still being unregenerate? Jesus must tear down the old house completely; He does not merely improve the old structure.  Prevenient grace, therefore, is something which merely props up nature, the old man, makes repairs to the old foundation, but we all know that water does not rise above its source, nor does an unregenerate heart exercise faith in something it cannot, by definition understand, nor does it want to (Rom 8:7). Unless, of course, Thibodaux believes there are many regenerate people out there wandering around who are unsaved. But an unbelieving regenerate person is not only unsound, but a contradiction.

There are two other states of man’s nature where Thibodaux contradicts himself in the matter of determinism.

The second is the matter of prevenient grace itself. With all Thibodaux's talk of God giving man libertarian free will, does not the belief that God imposes prevenient grace on natural men itself go against his will and desire? The unregenerate, by Thibodaux’s own admission, do not seek God, and yet Thibodaux embraces the idea that God does something to these people that they don’t want, actually violating their free will: a thing called prevenient grace. Is this not a contradictory? God (if prevenient grace is true) would be forcing a new state of being on fallen man in a way which he cannot choose otherwise. Man, in other words, has no choice, as to whether prevenient grace comes upon him or not. God does it to him whether he wants it or not. Again, Thibodaux's theology is self-contradictory.

So now I have already demonstrated that Thibodaux implicitly acknowledges determinism before prevenient grace and during prevenient grace.

The third instance that Thibodaux contradicts himself with regard to determinism is that he defines true freedom as the ability to choose otherwise. But is this how the Bible defines freedom? You would expect, if freedom to choose otherwise were the greatest freedom, that God Himself would have this characteristic more than any, followed by those saints in heaven whom God has sealed in glory and cannot sin. Do either of these have the ability to choose otherwise? Can God or the glorified saints ‘freely’ choose good and evil? The answer is obviously no, yet we consider God and the saints to be the most free. Is it possible, therefore, that Thibodaux has imported a philosophical concept of freedom into the Scriptures rather than let the Scriptures speak for themselves about the definition of freedom? Freedom as the Bible defines it is freedom from sin, not the freedom to choose otherwise. Freedom, according to the Bible, is a matter of what we are free from (see Rom 6).

So we have already shown, with devastating effect, that Thibodaux inconsistently holds to libertarian free will since he must himself acknowledge determinism playing the deciding roll of our choices in at least 3 states of man’s nature: 1) Prior to regeneration, 2) during regeneration (or prevenient grace in the case of the Arminian) and 3) in glory. It is unavoidable, then, that in each of these states people cannot choose otherwise because of who they are by nature. Their nature determines the direction of the will in all three instances. This Thibodaux cannot deny.

So it is now my cause to show that this is exactly the same case for those being regenerated. They choose Christ because they have a new heart. I will demonstrate that the choice to believe must spring from a heart and nature that loves Christ if it is to be a faith that is pleasing to Him. Further the prophet Ezekiel said the result of giving the new heart is that is causes his people to walk in His ways. In other words, there is no heat without a fire, there is no sight without an eye; there is no hearing without an ear; and there is no believing without a new heart. Belief is what is required in the New Covenant and belief is what characterizes those who have been born again (1 John 5:1). We believe the gospel because it is now in our nature to love Christ and see his beauty and excellence. Our natural hostility has been disarmed because it was replaced by another affection. Now to all those who choose Christ do so because their new nature compels them to. A regenerate person never resists the desire to believe. He believes because he wants to and cannot do otherwise. There is NO SUCH THING as a person who is regenerate that does not believe.

Let me here attempt to show more specifically that determinism is the plain teaching of the New Testament as to why some believe and not others.

The moral nature of our heart, as we have already shown, determines the choice of fallen man. The reason the natural man rejects Christ is not merely because of an undetermined choice, as libertarians blindly assert, but because those without the Holy Spirit by nature hate Christ, as the Scripture declares. The only cause of rejecting Christ is the unregenerate man’s natural hatred toward Him.  The Scriptures clear teaching on this makes it impossible to separate our choice from our moral disposition since our will is not independent of our person. We will always choose what we want (Deut 30:16,17,19; Matt 17:12; James 1:14). Fig trees, of necessity, grow figs, not thorns. (Luke 6:42-45). Jesus said.. “ You do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:26, 27). Jesus could not more plainly assert that who we are (His sheep) determines what we believe, hear and follow.He does not say that you are not part of my flock because you don't believe but Jesus carefully says they do not believe because they are not his flock or sheep. He therefore, declares the reason for their unbelief is inextricably tied to their moral nature. They do not believe BECAUSE they are not his sheep. Therefore, if our choice depends on some other source as Thibodaux suggests (e.g. the power of contrary choice, as an arbitrary ability to will, either with or against emotions/nature), it is unacceptable; if two persons are given the same nature/condition, through prevenient grace, and one chooses Christ while another does not, then the choice to choose Christ in his view is determined by something other than the nature of his heart (who he is) and it is clear that cannot separate the will from the person. So, this kind of choosing that synergists speak of, a choosing which is ultimately determined by something other than a good heart, is unacceptable to God. Moral principles must exist in the soul prior to moral action. The Bible, therefore, teaches that all gracious and spiritual affections presuppose and arise from spiritual (not natural) views of divine truth (read 1 Cor chapter 2) . The Bible describes only two types of persons: spiritual and natural. There is never any indication of a third condition in-between except in the extra-biblical logic that Thibodaux's system necessitates.

For example, in John 3:19 it says that those who reject the gospel do so because they love darkness and hate the light. A libertarian, on the other hand, to be consistent, must assert that one rejected Christ, not because he hated him, or on the other hand, did not chose Him because he had affection for Him, but rather only because he chose to, which is contrary to everything we know in the entire revelation of Scripture. The will is never expressed in the Bible as being sovereign and separate from our desire. In fact just the opposite is true. The Text says we “were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:13) God is sovereign in regeneration, not man.

We all know that the will ultimately chooses from the desires and affections that God has granted each person. Quoting the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for the opposite error: “THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.” This reveals that it is impossible to honor Jesus with a faith that does not also honor Him from the desire of the heart . A faith that does not honor or love Jesus is simply no faith at all. But this is not very different from the kind of faith libertarians are describing.

To another group of those who refused to believe his message, Jesus gives the reason why they rejected him when he replied,

"I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin...If you were Abraham's children," said Jesus, "then you would do the things Abraham did. As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the things your own father does...You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God." (John 8:34-47)

Jesus here again continually points to nature, desires and heart motives as the determining factor for believing and rejecting the gospel: they are “determined to kill me”, “their heart is far from me”, they “want to carry out their father’s desire” and they reject Jesus because they “do not belong to God.” The devil lies because that is who he is by nature, Jesus says, likening them to the devil's offspring. That’s an argument from nature folks!!! Need we provide more evidence? Libertarian choice is, therefore, an idea utterly foreign to Scripture and likewise goes against all sound logic. If our choice to receive Christ does not spring from a heart that loves Christ, one that does not arise of necessity from our affections or desire when we see God’s beauty and excellence, then it is made, as it were, out of thin air, for no other reason but that we chose, as if the person wills to choose something he doesn't want. The Bible on the other hand teaches that it is “the motive which gives the moral character to the act. If the motive is good, the act is good; if the motive is bad, the act is bad; if the motive is indifferent, so is the act. The act has no character apart from the motive.” (Charles Hodge) All acts of choice, to be holy, must proceed from a holy motive, all Christians should agree. But it seems wildly odd that Thibodaux makes one exception to this rule--- the first holy choice which constitutes regeneration: to him that may be made instead from the mere desire of happiness, self-love or for nor reason at all. How is it conceivable that anything should be essential to the very nature of one act as holy, that is not necessary to another? Jesus requires right motives when we obey him. Thibodaux would have us believe this is true all the time except when we obey the gospel.

I hope you are beginning to see the confusion in Thibodaux’s theology. Since he acknowledges that the natural man will not choose Christ due to his depravity, this also means that Thibodaux implicitly acknowledges that believing in Christ is a moral decision. If we are hindered by an immoral heart, then we can only believe if it is replaced by a good heart. There is no such thing as a neutral heart in God’s world. A heart is either good or bad. There is no Scriptural evidence to suggest otherwise. Believing and rejecting Christ is not neutral but a moral choice comes from a heart that is good or a heart that is evil. Yet Thibodaux fails to see the inherent contradiction of his system as he makes it clear in his response that we choose Christ because we choose him. Nothing, not even our desires, he believes, cause the choice. We can make an indifferent choice for Christ as far as he is concerned. Again, if the motive is indifferent, so is the act. Have you ever heard of something so convoluted? But as noted, the Scriptures teach that we always make choices for a holy or unholy reason, so that the will is not independent of the person.

So now we have clearly demonstrated that Jesus Himself shows that a person’s nature (who they are) determines the choices they make. This is true before regeneration, during regeneration, after regeneration and in glory. Especially important is that apart from a new heart, no one will believe the gospel. But all those with a new heart will believe it and continue to believe it.

Asked why one with prevenient grace believes and not another, the libertarian answers, “one believed and the other did not”. But I did not ask him what he did, because we all know what he did already from my question, but I asked ‘why’ he believed. 'One believed' is no answer at all. It is merely saying the same thing in other words. Our libertarian friend never really answer the question as I asked it, but he did answer it according to his libertarian philosophy which he imports into the Scripture, since he believes that it was not the nature of his heart (or anything else) that caused him to choose one way or the other. The will itself is sovereign, in the libertarian view, and has an ability of its own which can ultimately choose apart from any gracious affections of the heart. To a libertarian, he can choose Christ even if he does not desire Him. While the affections may influence the choice, in their view, still the will can chose what it doesn’t want ultimately, which, of course, destroys the unity of the person.

We all likewise agree that humility is a virtue and it is the virtue that God requires for someone to be saved. Faith can never come from a proud heart. Ask yourself, can this virtue (humility) be found in an unrenewed heart? No, it is the grace of God itself that makes us humble; neither innate ability, prevenient grace propping up the old nature, or chance will do it. For once we are truly humble before God, we believe. When pride is removed by God he replaces it with humility. There is no middle place where we can choose to be humble or not. Only a person with a new heart can even have the humility to believe the gospel. Humility is foreign to the nature of the unregenerate.

But the libertarian is unwilling to say regeneration was only by God’s grace in Christ because he then would admit to God’s sovereign choice. Nor will he provide an answer that reveals a moral virtue in one person who believed (humility) or the other (who was proud). This would expose his belief in salvation by merit. But these two answers are the only possible conclusions his system leaves us with. So if there is not of necessity any moral reason or motive that ultimately compels one to believe or not then how could God blame someone for rejecting Him? To believe the gospel is a moral choice, from the heart. If not then God could not call the rejection of the gospel a sin. If our affections and nature of our heart do not cause us to believe (or reject) then belief and unbelief is ultimately non-affectional, indifferent, not from the heart and rejection of Christ could not be considered a sin. But if faith is a moral choice then how did one person get a good moral disposition but not the other? One remained proud and the other became humble. Was this humility by nature or by grace? If by prevenient grace then why don’t all men have it? If by nature then are some people are more virtuous than others apart from grace? This dilemma is really fatal to libertarian free will and none of them including Thibodaux have been able to come close to answering these basic questions. The answer ‘just because’ is simply ludicrous.

Having deduced that libertarian free will must still be true, libertarians believe they resolve this problem by inventing a logical scheme (nowhere found in the gospels) where God grants something to all who hear the gospel called prevenient grace, which temporarily removes the sin nature by allegedly placing sinners in a pre-fall-like state where they have libertarian freedom to either chose or reject Christ, a choice undetermined by any desires or nature. Thus, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, to the libertarian, is never sufficient in itself. To grace we must add the choice of the unregenerate will. While we heartily agree with libertarians in the necessity of preaching for salvation so that the Holy Spirit can germinate the “seed” of the gospel, yet to dogmatize the belief that once having heard that one is wandering the earth in a semi-regenerate state with a libertarian free will is wild extra-biblical speculation at best.

Now we can come to the other parts of Thibodaux’s arguments against my challenge. He said:

For starters, Hendryx claims that Synergistic faith is from 'natural capacity' or 'innate moral ability.' This is completely untrue. Traditional, Non-Pelagian Synergistic belief (Classical Arminianism and similar systems) is that men cannot come to faith apart from God's grace. Prevenient grace is more than just a 'level playing field' or 'neutral ground,' but is God actively drawing sinners to Himself. Many, myself included, believe that faith is a gift from God that he grants to those who hear and receive the message of Christ as we are drawn by His grace (and hence we believe through grace). I furthermore hold that the grace of God drawing one is absolutely necessary for one to believe in Christ. Jesus Himself said,

"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44)

If faith were merely from our 'natural capacities,' there would be no need for us to be drawn by God, since we could just up and believe of our own accord apart from grace (that's essentially what the Pelagians taught) which obvious fact Mr. Hendryx seems to miss. To demonstrate the weight that he assigns to this faulty and slanderous belief, all future references to,

* Faith being from natural capacity or innate moral ability
* Sinners producing faith from their fallen nature
* Synergistic faith not being of God or by God's grace
* Synergistic ability to come to faith has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit

My Answer:

The first problem with the response is that he did not read the challenge very carefully. The synergist challenge was actually posted by me with prevenient grace in mind. That is why the prayer I posted itself said that one "made use" of [prevenient] grace and the other did not. So it is incorrect to assume that the challenge targeted only semi-pelagian ideas. If you take a closer look at what was said, I believe it can be demonstrated with finality that prevenient grace merely begs the question and that under such influences the final decision to believe the gospel still does come from a persons' "natural capacity" and innate "moral ability". Here's why:

We understand and have not misrepresented the fact that when a person receives prevenient grace, the Arminian believes the bondage to sin is removed so that he can make a free choice. But we must remind the Arminian that since faith is a moral choice (implicitly acknowledged by him) then a heart that is neither regenerate or unregenerate chooses nothing.

Sin, we agree, is what determined the natural man’s rejection of Christ. With this in mind consider the following scenario:

Two persons are listening to a sermon during which the Holy Spirit gives both persons prevenient grace. The result is that one believes the gospel and not the other. The question still remains, what makes the two to differ in their decision to follow Christ? It obviously was not prevenient grace, since both already had this. So the only other possibility is that something other than grace in their nature made them to differ ... something in their innate moral capacity. . Again, what made them to differ? Jesus Christ or something else? The only possibility left to the Arminian synergist is that some form of natural wisdom, understanding or sensitivity to spiritual things is what ultimately made the two persons who both had prevenient grace, to differ. This reveals that, to the Arminian, salvation is not all of grace but only partly of grace. He can say one made use of grace, but why? How did the one know this was the right choice? Not grace since both had grace. Something else ... something other than Jesus Christ was the determining factor.

Ultimately we must go by what the Scripture teaches about this.

Also the four bullet points Thibodaux produces are tremendously problematic. The Scriptures teach very clearly that there are only two types of persons in the world: regenerate and unregenerate. This is basic Christianity. Thibodaux’s answers raise this question I must ask: During the granting of prevenient grace, is one regenerate or unregenerate?

1) If regenerate, then is he asserting that there is a spiritual state where a person is regenerate but not saved? He is born again and yet, not justified? We can never separate the new birth and faith in Jesus: "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God." (1 John 5:1) It does not say he will be born of God, but he has been born of God.

2) unregenerate: But if on the other hand, Thibodaux believes those with prevenient grace are still unregenerate (not born again) then is Thibodaux claiming that an unregenerate person can have saving faith? That faith is possible for a person who is still unregenerate? The Scripture contradicts this as it clearly defines the unregenerate or natural man as those who cannot understand Spiritual truth and are hostile to it (1 Cor 2:14, Rom 8:7).

The second bullet point is similarly problematic. Our fallen nature is spoken of in the Bible as the “natural man”. But the text of Scripture teaches that only spiritual people can understand spiritual truths.

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. (1 Cor 2:12, 13)

Furthermore it plainly teaches that those who are unspiritual cannot understand spiritual truth but by nature consider it foolish.

“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor 2:14)

So the Bible teaches that there are spiritual people and unspiritual (natural) people. Is Thibodaux trying to promote some kind of middle post-regenerate – pre-conversion state, which is nowhere mentioned or even hinted at in the Bible? Again. it seems rather that this prevenient state that Thibodaux promotes is derived purely from the logic of his system and not driven by the text of Scripture.

The third and fourth bullet points I fully acknowledge and have represented accurately. Synergistic faith does require some kind of grace for man to cooperate with. I fully understand and acknowledge that Arminians believe in the necessity of the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation. That apart from Him no one would come to faith in Jesus Christ. But the very fact that Christ’s work is not itself sufficient to save means that synergistic faith does not believe salvation is ALL OF JESUS AND ALL OF GRACE. But which parent loves his child more? The one who sees the car coming and calls out to the child from the curb hoping the child will get out of the way, or the parent who, at the risk of his own life, runs into the street and scoops up the child to make certain they are safe? Thibodaux would have us believe that Gods love is like the weak-willed, ineffectual love of the first parent that saves no one in particular, rather than the kind of love that gets the job done

Lastly I want to point out that Biblical error most often arise when a theology is based on an isolated text rather than looking at it carefully in context and within the whole counsel of Scripture. This is certainly the case when Thibodaux quotes John 6:44 to try and prove prevenient grace by it.

"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44)

The whole of his theology of prevenient grace seems to be built off of this passage and his philosophical tradition. When looked at in context, however, Jesus does not allow for his interpretation – in fact He leaves no room for it. Notice Jesus’ phrase ‘come to me’ is also used in several other texts surrounding verse 44 which gives us the context that enables us to determine whether Jesus is speaking of a resistible or irresistible grace. In the same exact dialogue Jesus asserts that “ It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all ... "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." (John 6:63, 65)

See there is that phrase “come to me” again. It means “believe”. So Jesus is saying no one can believe in me unless it is granted from the Father. Likewise verse 37 we see the phrase again: “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” When these to phrases from verses 65 and 37 are placed side-by side Jesus can be seen to be forming a syllogism which means the conclusion follows of necessity from the premise. So what is the syllogism?

Together these two verse verses (37 and 65) make clear whether Jesus is speaking of an effectual grace or one which simply puts man in a position to choose. Take the time to read them together. Jesus says: no one can believe in me unless God grants it and all to whom God grants in Me will believe in me. Jesus’ intent could not be more clear and leaves no room for Thibodaux’s synergistic interpretation of verse 44. We can only conclude that all those that God the father draws, come. All those that He draws, believe. But if someone holds so tightly to their own tradition then it really doesn’t matter what evidence you produce, they simply will not believe. Unfortunately I think this may be that is the case with Thibodaux since these passages are air tight and leave no room for ANY kind of synergistic understanding of grace -- the VERY passage he uses to prove his position. This passage is so forceful and devastating to his man-made doctrine that more than anything else he must deal with this. He is kicking against the goads of Scripture and mockingly portraying God’s clear revelation in this matter. If he insists that prevenient grace resolves the issue then I strongly suggest deal with this passage and show us that there is such a state.


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