A list of questions for Jesse Morrell

by Matt Slick
8/22/2016
Jesse Morrell Page
 

Following is a list of potential questions I had for Jesse Morrell but was never able to ask. I had assumed that the debate would have a cross examination.  But, I overlooked that fact due to my very busy schedule.  In my opinion, cross-examination is where the debate is really made.

So, here is the list of questions that I had for Jesse at my ready, but did not get a chance to use.  I placed his quotes in brown.

  1. Man centered free will definition: In your book on page 5 you said, “Free will, as the ability to obey or disobey the law of God, is the ability to originate selfish intentions or benevolent intentions.”  You also said that, “that free will is the ability to will what the law commands or to will what the law forbids,” (p. 5). 
    1. Question: If free will is the “ability to obey or disobey the law of God,” “originate selfish intentions,” and “will what the law forbids,” then, can you please explain how your definition is not a man-centered and insufficient since it excludes God himself?  After all, God cannot disobey his own Law.  So, by your definition, God does not have free will.
    2. Comment:  Jesse has started with man as the standard of free-will, moral truth, not God
  2. God suspends a person’s free will: In your book on page 9 you said that “God may even temporarily suspend the free will of a being and use him as an instrument in order to accomplish his will”. On page 10 you said, “God also set aside the free will of King Nebuchadnezzar, even changing his nature, when he turned his mind into that of a beast.”
    1.  Question:  How is this not a form of spiritual rape when you say that God suspends a person’s free will in order for God to make a person do what God wants him to do?
      1. Note:  Jesse said on page 73 of his book, Jesse said, "If Calvinism were true, when we pray “Thy will be done” (Matt. 6:10; 26:42), we would be praying for children to be raped!"
  3. Unbeliever can keep the law of God: On page 272 of your book you said, “Therefore, no man can see their need of Jesus Christ or of God’s forgiveness as long as they believe that the law of God is impossible and they are not able to keep it.” (p. 272)
    1. Question: Are you saying that an unbeliever can keep the law of God?
      1. Romans 2:14, "For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,"’
        1. Paul is rebuking the Jews who thought they could keep the law according to the standard of God’s word. They condemned the Gentiles. But, the Gentiles were able to keep the very law the Jews could not.
            Paul was not talking about keeping the law perfectly, which is God’s standard (Ga3:10; James 2:10), which the Gentiles could not do since they could not sacrifice, or worship the true God, etc. Paul was saying the Gentiles did what was right based on their divinely created conscience – more so than what many of the Jews were doing. Therefore, according to the Jews own expectations of righteousness by the law, the Gentiles were okay. But, they are not able to keep the law perfectly as the law itself requires.
      2. Deuteronomy 27:26, " ‘Cursed is he who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’"
      3. Galatians 3:10, "For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.”"
      4. James 2:10, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all."
      5. Rom. 4:1-5, “What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is du5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,"
    2. Question: Are you saying that an unbeliever cannot be saved unless he believes that he can keep the entire law of God?  Remember, the law of God says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might,” (Deut. 6:5).  And “…you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.”  So, an unbeliever who can do no good (Rom. 3:10-12) can keep the Law of God perfectly?
      1. If you say not perfectly, then he is not keeping the Law.
      2. If you say perfectly, then he does not need Christ.
        1. Galatians 2:21, "I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”"
        2. Galatians 3:21, " Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law."
  4. Question:  Do you sin anymore?
    1. You state in your book on page 366, that a person loses his salvation every time he sins.  But, if you don't sin, then you can't lose your salvation.  So, if you sin, Jesse, then you lose your salvation.  But, if you don't sin, then you can't lose it.  So, which is it?
  5. Why do some people believe and others do not? You said in your book on page 478, “So why are some saved and others not? It is because some freely choose to repent and receive God’s offer and others freely don’t.” 
    1. Question: Without begging the question in your answer, can you explain why one person’s free will enables him to choose to repent and another does not?  After all, you say in your book “Whatever the faculties of our constitution are at birth, they are such by the creation and design of God.” (p. 97)  Also, you said, “He forms us in the womb just as the Bible says that God formed Adam and Eve (Gen. 2:7-8; 1 Tim. 2:13), the Bible uses the same word and language to say that God forms us in the womb…” (p. 617)
      1. Question:  If God forms the person's will, then isn't the difference in decisions made by that will due to God's design?
  6. Faith is our choice.  On page 333 of your book you said “faith itself is our free choice.” 
    1. Question:  In light of your statement, what you do with Philippians 1:29 which says that God grants that we believe and also John 6:28-29 where Jesus says that our believing is the work of God?
  7. Salvation is by forsaking sin and repenting. On page 435 of your book you said “forgiveness of sin only comes after we forsake our sins” and that “repentance from sin is in fact a condition of forgiveness,” (page 404), and that people “must repent of their sinful lives in order to forgiven,” (page 416).
    1. Question: Since turning from sin is a command of God as is found in the Old Testament in the 10 Commandments and elsewhere, then can you please explain how you are not advocating salvation by obeying God’s command to repent as a means of attaining salvation by a person's own efforts?
  8. God does not know all things
    1. Question: Does God know the future exhaustively, so that he knows every event that will occur as well as every event that might occur?
      1.  No: If you deny that God knows the future exhaustively, then you aren’t you saying that God learns?  If he learns, can he then make mistakes?
  9. Is the unregenerate sinful by nature? 
    1. Question:  Is the unregenerate person sinful by nature?
      1. No: If you deny that the unregenerate person is sinful by nature then what you do with Ephesians 2:3 which says we are by nature children of wrath?
  10. Unregenerate Sinful Man
    1. Question:  Does the unregenerate, sinful man have the ability to completely self-generate the good work of belief?
      1. Yes: If you affirm that sinful man has the ability to self-generate the good work of belief, then what you do with the verses that say that you cannot come to Christ unless it is been granted to him from the Father (John 6:65) and 1 Corinthians 2:14 which says that the natural man, the unbeliever, cannot receive the things of God?
  11. Question:  Since you say that a person can lose his salvation, es:  If a person can lose his salvation, then can you please list me out what must be done in order to keep yourself right with God?
    1. Also, what do with John 6:39 where Jesus said he would lose none:  "This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day."   
    2. Question:  If a person can lose his salvation, then hasn't Jesus failed to do the will of the Father?
    3. Question:  If Jesus has failed to do the will of the father, by losing people, then does that mean that Jesus sins?
  12. In your book on page 382 you state that “election is national, not individual,” that “God did not decide which individual Jews or which individual Gentiles would choose to be saved and become part of his elect or precious people.”
    1. Question:  If election is not individual as you say, then what do you do with the election of Paul the apostle in Acts 9:15.  “But the Lord said to him [Ananias], “Go, for he [Paul] is a chosen [ekloge] instrument [skeuos-vessel] of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel."
      1. Note: For clarification, the Greek word for “chosen is ekloge ἐκλογή (1586) and it means “to choose, select. Election, choice, selection.”
  13. Question: Since you say that salvation is up to the unregenerate’s free will choice, then what do you do with John 1:12-13, which speak to the contrary?
    1. John 1:12-13, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
      1. Morrell:  “John 1:13 is not saying that our will is not involved in our salvation, which would contradict so many other passages, but is simply saying that the decision of our parents did not give us a relationship with God or produce in us that which occurs at the second birth.” (The Natural Ability of Man, p. 349)
        1. Note:  The context of the verse is not about the decision of her parents not giving us a relationship with God. Those who receive Christ are born again. Verse 13 is telling us that this is not accomplished by the will of man.
    2. Scripture
      1. Rom. 9:16, "So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy."
      2. 1 Peter 1:3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,"
  14. Do you affirm or deny that Jesus took our place on the cross as a substitutionary atonement?
    1. Isaiah 53:4–6, "Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. 6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him."
    2. Isaiah 53:10, "But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand."
    3. 2 Corinthians 5:21, "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
    4. 1 Peter 2:24, "and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed."
  15. Calvinism is of the devil:  In your book you make several references to Calvinism and you say there’s a lot of truth of the idea that the God of Calvinism is the devil, (p. 63), that it “makes God the cause of sin” (p. 64), that “God caused the damnation of all” (p. 65), that he is “the author of sin” (p. 72), that for a Calvinist to pray “Thy will be done” means, that “we would be praying for children to be raped,” (p. 73) and that “God’s grace is insufficient to overcome sin in this life.” (p. 294). 
    1. Question: So, Mr. Morrell, since I’m a Calvinist, do you then say that I am not a Christian even though I completely trust in Jesus as my savior, that he is God in flesh, affirm that he died on the cross, that he rose from the dead and that my sins are forgiven by faith in his sacrifice?
    2. Question:  If you say that I am a Christian, then how is that possible and be guilty of all that you accuse us Calvinists of promoting, particularly the evil of God and that the God of Calvinism is the devil? 
  16. God's creation and man's free will
    1. Question: Since God is the creator of all things, including the heart, the mind, the soul, who puts a person in that place and in that time, is it not true that God is determining the outcome since he knows the outcome of all variables that he is established?
      1. Didn't God make that person (Psalm 100:3) and fashioned our hearts and wills (Ps. 33:14-15) and put him in a particular place and time? Didn't God know the exact outcome of all the variables that God had arranged in his sovereign will (Eph. 1:11)?
        1. Psalm 33:14–15, "From His dwelling place He looks out On all the inhabitants of the earth, 15 He who fashions the hearts of them all, He who understands all their works."
          1. The word “hearts” is n m. AV translates as “heart” 508 times, “mind” 12 times, “midst” 11 times, “understanding” 10 times, “hearted” seven times, “wisdom” six times, “etc..." 1
  17. Question:  If 'freewill' is the thing that enables choice, then why does one person freely choose God and another does not?  If you say it is because they just do, that doesn't answer the question. What is it about one person's free will that is different from another's?  Did not God make that free will both of them?
    1. Psalm 33:14–15, "From His dwelling place He looks out On all the inhabitants of the earth, 15 He who fashions the hearts of them all, He who understands all their works."
  18. Question:  If God wants everyone to be saved and he must bend to their free will choice regarding salvation, then why does Jesus speak in such a way so you will not be saved?
    1. Mark 4:11-12, "And He was saying to them, 'To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God; but those who are outside get everything in parables, 12 in order that while seeing, they may see and not perceive; and while hearing, they may hear and not understand lest they return and be forgiven.'"
  19. God creates man with free will: You said on page 16 of your book you said, “Men are the authors or causes of their own choices and sin. God, as the Sovereign of the universe, creates men and angels with the faculty of free will.”  
    1. Question: If you have free will, and since you deny election, what you do with first Timothy 5:21 which mentions elect angels? "I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality,” (1 Timothy 5:21).
      1. Note:  Angels are individual persons (i.e., have wills, self-aware, etc.)
  20. Calvinism is evil
    1. Question:  Mr. Morrell, since you say Calvinism "makes God insincere in his commandments," (page 54); that the "God of Calvinism is a sinner," (page 60); that the God of Calvinism "is a worker of iniquity," (page 60), that it "makes God the cause of sin," (page 64) and he said on page 73, "If Calvinism were true, when we pray “Thy will be done” (Matt. 6:10; 26:42), we would be praying for children to be raped!."  Would you not then assert that I am not a Christian?
  21. Jesus' sacrifice and legal debt.  You said in your book on page 469, that …if “Jesus paid our debt” there would be no real grace, mercy, or forgiveness in our salvation. This is because grace, mercy, or forgiveness is when our debt is pardoned or when our penalty is remitted.” In light of what you have stated, I quote Col. 2:14, where Paul says that Jesus "having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross."
    1. Question:  Do you agree with Paul that Jesus cancelled the debt at the cross?
    2. Question:  Can anyone go to hell for a sin debt that is cancelled and therefore, does not exist?
  22. Losing Salvation.  Mr. Morrell, you stated in your book on page 366 that, “You lose your salvation every time that you sin.”  You said on page 353 that “salvation is maintained by staying away from sin and abiding in Christ.”
    1. Question:  Can you give me a rough estimate of how many times you have lost and regained your salvation?
    2. Question: Are you doing enough to maintain your salvation with God? 

 

 

  • 1. Strong, James. Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1995.
 
 

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.