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C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    168 replies to "Theology Unplugged: An Invitation to Calvinism, Part 3"

    • Melani

      Trying to keep it simple but it is still long: Do you remember the Father indwelt Jesus Christ and was “one” with Him, up to the point of His death? Then the Father forsook Him. He was no longer in union with His Father. In Acts 2 Peter reveals that David foretold that God would not abandon the SOUL of Jesus Christ to Sheol (Ps. 16:10; Acts 2:27). In contrast, David knew that God would redeem His SOUL from the power of Sheol (Ps. 4:15). Hosea also talks about God ransoming them from the power of Sheol (Hos. 13:14). So who needed to be redeemed from Sheol? Who got abandoned there? OT believers, who still had not yet been cleansed of their sins were still waiting for the redemption that would come through the blood of Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14). Until that point, “God passed over the sins previously committed” (Rom. 3:25) of the ones who had faith in Him. After His death, by His own blood Jesus Christ entered the heavenly holy place and obtained eternal redemption (Heb. 9:12).

      Now, back to Christ on the cross. He died, no longer in union with His Father. He went to Sheol, but He was not abandoned there. I tend to believe that He was there for only a momentary visit because we are told that death could not hold Him, for he put an end to the agony of its power (Acts 2:24). Through death Jesus destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the devil (Heb. 2:14). And at the moment that He died, the veil of the temple was rent in two showing that the way into the heavenly Holy Place had been made (Heb.9:8). Instead of being abandoned to death (Sheol/Hades) Jesus received from the Father the PROMISE of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:33)..

      Paul addresses the PROMISE of the Holy Spirit in Gal. 3:14 forward. He tells how the PROMISE was made to Abraham and his Seed (Jesus Christ). It was an inheritance (Gal. 3:18), meaning that the one making the promise had to die before the inheritance would be dispersed. (Heb. 9:16-17). Before the death of Christ John is careful to note that the “Holy Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive, for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:38). In between giving the promise and the fulfillment of the PROMISE of the Holy Spirit being given to Jesus, God gave the Law. As good as the Law was it could not give impart (Gal. 3:21). Jesus Christ came to die so that we might live through Him (1John 4:9). God sent Jesus to die so that we could believe in Him and receive eternal life. Jesus Christ gives men eternal life when He dwells in the hearts of men, and anyone who does not have the Son of God does not have this life (1John 5:11, 12). OT believers were not indwelt by Jesus Christ in their earthly lifetime, nor were they placed “in Christ”. After Jesus Christ became High Priest (Heb. 2:17; 7:14-28), He began baptizing men into His body and giving them new life.

      OT believers received this wonderful work of God on the Day of Pentecost. It was foreshadowed by the Law: Jesus was the Passover Lamb slain. That evening began the Feast of Unleavened bread, where one sheaf of wheat was given (sin-free Jesus), and then waved before the Lord the day after the Sabbath (His physical resurrection). 7 weeks later was the Feast of Weeks. On this day there were two loaves of leavened bread waved before the Lord. Do you see the significance of two leavened loaves on the Day of Pentecost? Jews and Gentiles were baptized into Christ that day (dead and living), and they received the promise of the Holy Spirit which Jesus poured forth (Acts 2:33). Jesus Christ/The Holy Spirit is the only source of eternal life for men. That day Jesus Christ began to indwell men and make Himself “one” with them. He promises never to leave or forsake us. We die physically still in union with Christ. We go immediately into the presence of God when we die (no detour to Sheol for us who have been cleansed from all sin and eternally united to Jesus Christ!)

    • Michael T.

      “Here is my point – regeneration is the work of God through which one is made spiritually alive, correct? How are we in any way “partially” alive?”

      I think this is an example of trying to carry a Biblical metaphor or analogy beyond its intent. This is something I think many are guilty of on all sides of theological debates when they try to use a analogy or metaphor from the Bible to prove their point. Regardless I think most Arminians would reject the term “partially alive” here. We would say that all men are given enough grace to allow them to allow God to save them. I do not think we would term this being “partially alive”.

      As to unconditional election and limited atonement these are of course doctrines that Arminians reject on multiple grounds.

    • Hodge


      Your first paragraph to Cheryl above is in error because of your misunderstanding of the word “soul” here. It means “life.” Coupled with your misunderstanding of the word sheol, which means “grave.” It’s clear in Peter’s very sermon that he’s talking about the physical life of the Messiah, as he is referring to Christ’s bodily resurrection, not the salvation of his spirit/soul. OT believers are awaiting the resurrection, and David was not referring to himself, Peter says, because his body underwent decay.

      Your second paragraph disproves the very point you’re trying to make. Paul is saying that Abraham and his descendants all had the promise. And an “inheritance” is not just gained when one dies. Your projecting a modern nuance of the word onto the meaning of the OT that refers to a covenant benefit, not the contents of a will gained when you die, like in Heb 9. But even if it were true, the point is that Christ’s death is not bound by time. It covers humans…

    • cherylu

      Sorry Melani,

      I don’t think that was simple! And I am still not sure of what you believe happened to those OT saints that you said didn’t have salvation or eternal life.

    • Hodge

      Your third paragraph seems to ignore that the disciples were given the Holy Spirit before Christ ascended and before Pentacost. Many OT saints also rose from the grave when Christ died. This has nothing to do with when they were indwelt or regenerated.

    • Hodge


      Some people are of the belief that OT saints were not covered by the blood of Christ until it chronologically took place in history. Hence, they had to wait in a compartment of the netherworld called Abraham’s Bosom, which they get from Luke 16. Once Christ dies in history, then their souls can go to heaven. So Melani seems to be supporting this view. Their exercise of faith in the OT was of their own accord, as was their righteous decision to do so; but they are imperfect (i.e., this is where the Semi-Pelagianism comes in), and hence, need Christ’s blood to enter heaven. They are pleasing to God but not that pleasing. In any case, think of it as a very nice purgatory (really more of a paradise, which is what some see it as) for OT saints while they await a better heaven.

    • cherylu


      I think I understand what you are saying. However I still don’t agree with you. If something–regeneration–comes through faith I simply don’t see how it can be that they occur at the exact same instant. The dictionary definition of “through” that would pertain here would be “by the agency of”. (My paraphase). Something has to exist prior to something else for it to be an agency of anything else happening.

      Besides that, faith is an active thing, not just some substance that is imparted to us. How can faith act and appropriate regeneration if they are received simultaniously?

      And I don’t think what you are saying is the same as what your brothers are saying that insist regeneration has to be there first in order for faith to be given as a gift. And that was what both Melani and I have been trying to address here.

    • cherylu

      Thanks Hodge for your explanation of what Melani probably meant! Now I think I understand where she is coming from on that.

    • Melani

      Hodge, (Re page 3 #50)
      You said,
      “I would agree with most of what you said above, except that you interpret it somehow to mean that OT believers weren’t regenerate. So let’s discuss that point.”

      I think we need to take one step back, and I need to clarify your understanding of some aspects of regeneration. These are questions that come to mind:

      1. Is there some kind of life given in regeneration? (I asked self proclaimed Arminian Roger Olson what regeneration was and he said, “the expulsive power of a new affection”– so I don’t want to assume anything!)
      2. Is the life given in regeneration eternal life?
      3. If the life given by regeneration is eternal life, then what did God mean when John proclaimed, “God has given us eternal life…He who has the SON has the life, and He who does not have the SON does not have life? Can a person have eternal life without Jesus Christ living in him?
      4. Can a person be “made alive with Jesus Christ without Jesus Christ coming to live inside of him? (“Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20; Christ is our life (Col. 3:4); Christ dwells in our hearts (Eph. 3:17). “Christ be in you” (Rom. 8:10). Christ in you (Col. 1:27); His Son in me (Gal. 1:16)…)
      5. If a person doesn’t need to have Jesus Christ dwelling in him to have life, then what does Paul mean when He says, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His” (Rom. 8:9)
      6. If the life given in regeneration is not eternal life, then what Scripture verses can you point to which speaks about this third kind of life? (life in the blood, eternal life, and life given in regeneration)

      Do you believe that John Piper was correct when he stated, “The new life we get in the new birth is the life of the historical Jesus. Therefore if he does not rise from the dead, there is no new life to have”.

      Thank you for sharing your understanding.

    • Melani

      I do not understand how you are putting the pieces together. You believe that men and women received eternal life in the OT, yet you do not believe that they were regenerated. What is regeneration to you? Did Jesus Christ indwell men in the OT to give them eternal life (See questions to Hodge #3-6)? If men received eternal life in the OT without being regenerated, then what kind of life did they receive in the NT when they were regenerated? What Scriptures do you used to support your position?

      Thank you for your clarification.

    • cherylu


      Please tell me first if what Hodge told me you were saying was correct. It helps to not be talking past each other all of the time!

    • Melani

      Yes I believe that God kept men safe in Sheol/ Abraham’s Bosom/paradise until the blood was shed that could cleanse them, and take away their sins, so that they could be joined/ united to the Living God.

      I believe that the Old Covenant foreshadowed the work of Christ to come (Heb. 10:1). Not a work that God had already been doing.

      Under the Covenant given through Moses the only men who could come even near to God’s presence were those who were descended from the brother of Moses, had a special series of sacrifices, special garments, and the anointing of the Holy Anointing Oil. And only the High Priest could go through the veil into the very dwelling place of God. As long as that veil was in place it signified something! What did it signify? Jesus Christ made the way into the veil. Jesus Christ became our High Priest, not under the Old Covenant, but under the New Covenant. It is as High Priest that He makes propitiation for the sins of the people . He entered the Heavenly Holy Place through His own blood, and He made purification for sins. And as High Priest, Christ baptizes each new believer into His death and resurrection. In this baptism He takes away a man’s sins, cleansing him, and he is clothed with Christ. Jesus Christ prepares us to become a holy temple of God. Jesus makes men into priests under the New Covenant. We are sprinkled with His blood, and instead of holy anointing oil, we are anointed with the Holy Spirit. And since the cross men are permanently indwelt by God having become “one” with God, just as Jesus requested in John 17.

      Can you answer my questions now, so that I can understand how you put the pieces together?

      PS I believe I have Scripture that teaches each statement that I made, but I didn’t give the references if that makes for a better ‘conversation’.

    • cherylu


      I just picked up on something you said in comment #41 on the last comment page. You were answering me here. Actually, the HS working with a person and indwelling them are two different concepts altogether. My point is that there is nothing to suggest that the OT believers were not indwelt by the HS…

      I think there is every reason to believe that the OT saints were not indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Note what Jesus says here to His disciples: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17

    • cherylu

      Hi Melani,

      First of all I want to make clear that what I was asking you was if you thought OT people were eternally lost or if they were saved in some way. That question has been answered.

      I believe that regeneration is new life given by the Holy Spirit’s indwelling and that it is the same as eternal life. I believe that is something that happens in the NT only, however. (Note the verse I quoted for Hodge in comment # 14)

      I believe that the phrase, “the just shall live by faith” which is first stated in the OT in Hab 2:4 and repeated several times in the NT is key here. Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. (As found in Galatians 3:6 and elsewhere) Note also the whole discussion in Hebrews 11.

      I found this article this a.m. which is a quite good summary of what I believe:

      (I have never visited this site before, so I am not endorsing it by giving this link.)

    • Melani

      Thank you for your response. I am still unclear about a few things that you believe. I believe you said that OT men and women received God’s gift of eternal life in their lifetime. How do you reconcile your position to these Biblical statements:

      A. “God has given us eternal life, this life is ‘in His Son’, HE WHO HAS THE SON HAS THE LIFE, and he who does not have the Son of God does not have life”, then how do you reconcile the tension?
      B. “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness (all who would look would live), even so must the Son of man be lifted up in order that whoever believes may ‘in Him’ have eternal life.

    • Melani

      Can you have eternal life without the indwelling of the Son of God? Didn’t Jesus say that He had to be lifted up so that men could ‘in Him’ receive eternal life? Both verses speak of eternal life being ‘in Him’. How do you say that OT believers were ‘in Christ’ if Jesus prayed for that reality in John 17?

      Do you believe that OT believers went to heaven when they died? Did they get to see God?

      PS I am hoping that Hodge or somebody will answer the questions posted in #10. We’ve asked similar questions throughout this thread, but they keep getting ignored. Until then I will refrain interacting with the article you listed.

    • cherylu


      I believe as it said in the ariticle above that the sacrifices in the OT were looking forward to the cross and as such covered the people’s sins at that time. And that they were declared righteous because of their faith.

      It could be that they went to some temporary place after death other then heaven. I don’t know for sure. What I do believe is that they weren’t regenerated as we are because He says the Spirit wasn’t yet indwelling them, but that God somehow used their faith for which they were declared righteous and the forward looking sacrifices to save them .

      Does that help?

      But I think we have changed the subject away from the question we were trying to get our Calvinist brothers to answer.

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