Category Archives: Uncategorized

Tuscon Shooting Rhetoric Debate

I don’t normally weigh in on such things…but, wouldn’t the arguments about ‘political rhetoric’ causing a shooter in Tuscon to commit mass murder…be THE EXACT SAME argument against the Muslim Faith for causing the massacre at Ft. Hood?  The nature of free speech comes with a price…but human beings clearly are not robotic automatons…they still choose.  If rhetoric alone causes anything then 100s of 1,000s would be taking up arms (or helping the poor).  While ideas certainly have consequences, we don’t seem to notice that rhetoric is most often invented by a human heart to justify its view.  If education would return to teaching people HOW to think instead of WHAT to think; how to pursue virtue, rather than how to feel good about oneself— a profound and noble shift could occur.  God help us. 

– Fred Lybrand

Aside: Free eBook on a Christian View On Dating and Relationships

Many of you know my book Glaen: A Novel Message on Romance, Love, and Relating came out this year.  As a special promotion, the EBOOK is available for FREE until January 9, 2011.  This special promotion gets you in line for the free Small Group Study that accompanies the book.  Of course, the hope is to get the ‘buzz’ to pick up even more for the book…and to get small groups using the material.  Glaen is a novel that takes on a Christian re-thinking of dating, courting, relating, and marriage…in the format of a novel.

Here is a note I received this week:

Hi, Mr. Lybrand!I actually finished Glaen the first day I started it! I believe I finished it in about 2 hours or so. I took notes, re-read it again a day or so later, and will re-read it yet again soon. I loved it.I loved the method for finding deep truths, even if they aren’t that incredibly hard to think of or understand. I gave a mini teaching of it/ discussion with my girls (youth group girls that I’m partly in charge of mentoring and leading) at 3:00am on New Year’s morning. (We were having a sleepover.)The next day when we were having lunch at Culver’s, I noticed that some of the girls at a table near me were having an argument on a tough subject that was bringing frustration and not really cutting to some of the core of the issue. I put to use many of the truths from your book, and the argument was resolved. Mostly what was needed were “just definitions” and a bit of love. I had been learning just before reading this book that I needed to know the exact truth opposite of the lies. Knowing the lies themselves isn’t good enough. This was a huge help! When I thought about it, it was as if I had known these truths in part, but since I couldn’t define them for myself, I couldn’t particularly focus on living them out better, or pray for help on living it.I have seriously seen a change in myself since reading this book, and I can’t wait to see the change in others. I am so excited about learning more and more truths, now and all throughout the rest of my life! 

Thank you!


~ Rachel E. Payauys

Honestly, there are just a few days left…so please go to the site and sign up.

Also, feel free to pass this along.

God bless,

Fred Lybrand

P.S.  Most of all…I’d like your feedback after you’ve read it!

Calvin’s Error on Assurance

I honestly stay stumped by those who think Calvin never made a mistake and those others who think he never said anything true.  I also wonder how many out there are still interested in being objective and understanding both sides of any issue.  I do not find that my rabid 5-point-DORT-calvinism-is-the-only-true-calvinism friends (both advocates and enemies believe this same indefensible point) are able to explain both sides of their issue-of-the-moment.  It is embarrassing theologically not to be able to clearly explain both sides.

Here is Calvin’s error: We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is not alone

Yes, he said it a little fancier, but it is the same point.  Here is the idea…if you REALLY believe, then works MUST show up.  DORT said it too…that you could fall into the most awful lifestyle for a long, long time; but eventually, if you are a TRUE believer, you will come back before you die.

Honestly, that is just simply made up.

And here’s the rub— if someone is in ‘sin’, how do you know he will ‘come back’ someday?  You clearly do not.

And— If this same person may not REALLY be saved/justified, then he certainly can’t be assured of his destiny with God.  True?

AND—WHAT ABOUT YOU? If you COULD fall into a sinful life in the future…and that would mean you COULD not really be saved…then HOW can you possibly be assured now?

Hence, Calvin’s error.  Calvin was so defensive about the Catholic retort of “What about Works?” when he accurately explained FAITH ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE…that he compromised his theology and his logic.  Don’t get me wrong…it does make sense…but only inside the framework of Calvin’s assumptions.  Of course, it is mostly an issue of incongruence; Calvin did often stay away from co-mingling works and faith.

This view about works DOES NOT MAKE SENSE in reality.  It is an assumption about the nature of faith AND and assumption about our ability to discern TRUE from FALSE works in others.  Hey gang, God is the one who knows.  But honestly, why don’t we see great populations of people getting ‘better’ in Christ as they age?  Why don’t we see better doctrine over time (if people who are saved must get godlier and godlier)?  It’s simple, people must also GROW SPIRITUALLY…which is a second choice / issue / concern.  Salvation is apart from works, but spiritual growth is intimately connected to works.

Below is the info on my intensive labor on this issue…if you want to be loaded for bear (or for bearing witness)…300+ pages and 600+ footnotes lays it out.  It also contains a mini-course in logic.

Recently a lady wrote me that she had studied this book and was in a small group meeting where she politely engaged the pastor who was trying to support Calvin’s Error.  As she explained that assurance is only sustained when we look at Christ (and not ourselves) this lady spoke up in the meeting for that moment—testifying that she suddenly had assurance for the first time in 12 years!  The wild thing was that it was her own pastor who was leading the group discussion.

Face it, as long as you look at yourself and your works, you will never be truly assured of heaven.  And, as long as you look at others’ works, you will never be assured of heaven for them either.


Now, please let’s get the word out.  I’m finding this book is being  used to convert both rabid Arminians and rabid Calvinists to the clarity found in affirming Faith Alone in Christ Alone, while dropping our lust for judging others.  I know there are lots of questions…but most get addressed in the book.


Fred Lybrand

So Here’s What Stumps Me in the Debate About the Doctrine of Election

Well, let me say at the outset that some of you (many) will not agree with my point here.  If you’d like, please read my article about Calvinism (so called) to understand why I think of myself as a 1.5 Arminian (Click Here for the Article).

I’ve run into a number of folks who say they are 0.0 Calvinists and not Arminians either.  I really have not been able to decipher that notion, so if you can explain it, please pitch in!  Frankly, you don’t have to like the label (or even wear it for that matter), but it doesn’t change the fact that each of the ‘5 points’ are simply either / or…and everyone believes something about some of them.  Either people are depraved or not, God has an effective call or He doesn’t, one can resist God’s call or he can’t, etc.

But here is where I’m stumped.  There is an argument for a ‘corporate election’, but most folks have abandoned the weakness of that argument; so all that is left is that (a) God choose freely apart from our choices, or (b) God chose based on our actions.  This second view is where I get lost.  Good friends of mine believe that God knew which individulals would chose Him, so He chose each of them…a case of mutual love and choosing.

Here’s my problem—if it is a mutual choice, then why does the Bible use the word elect /  chosen?  We can all spend time in our language tools, but it doesn’t seem to matter.  Here’s an example:

30.86 ἐκλέγομαιa; αἱρέομαιa; λαμβάνωe: to make a choice of one or more possible alternatives—‘to choose, to select, to prefer.’
ἐκλέγομαιa: ἐντειλάμενος τοῖς ἀποστόλοις διὰ πνεύματος ἁγίου οὓς ἐξελέξατο ‘he gave instructions by the power of the Holy Spirit to the men whom he had chosen as his apostles’ Ac 1:2; οὐχ ὁ θεὸς ἐξελέξατο τοὺς πτωχοὺς τῷ κόσμῳ; ‘has not God chosen the poor in this world?’ Jas 2:5.
αἱρέομαιa: τί αἱρήσομαι οὐ γνωρίζω ‘I do not know which I should prefer’ Php 1:22; μᾶλλον ἑλόμενος συγκακουχεῖσθαι τῷ λαῷ τοῦ θεοῦ ἢ πρόσκαιρον ἔχειν ἁμαρτίας ἀπόλαυσιν ‘he chose to suffer with God’s people rather than enjoy sin for a little while’ He 11:25.
Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, vol. 1, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament : Based on Semantic Domains, electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., 360 (New York: United Bible societies, 1996).

The word just means ‘to choose’ and that’s all it means; context informs everything else.  So, God chooses His own…but why is this a problem for the second view (we both choose each other / He foreknows that we will choose Him so He chooses us)?

Well, in my way of thinking, ‘elect’ (choose) is a really silly word to use unless it means He chose us apart from our actions or choosing.  Honestly, if God calls everyone and only some choose to accept the calling (meaning they choose Him too)…then how is that being chosen?  It isn’t a choice for God at all because He actually called everyone but only some chose.  If this is the case than ‘chosen’ is not the word to use…He didn’t chose us we chose Him.

Let me say that again.  If ‘foreknowledge’ is the reason He chose someone, then it isn’t a choice, He had to choose that person BECAUSE that person chose Him.  This debate has been hashed out ad-nauseum over the centuries, but in my slow mind it just seems obvious now.

Unless God chose His own apart from any action (deserving) on their part, then the wrong word is used…it is not a choice.

I still hold to the mystery of it all…I certainly understand that I came to believe without Him simply regenerating me spiritually.  Yet, I also believe He clearly looked down though time and decided, “Fred, you’ll be mine.”  I don’t get the mystery of  it, but I also don’t want to argue with the gift-giver!  What kindness…and as I ponder, I wouldn’t have chosen Him without this kindess (I’m just not that noble apart from His grace).

So, what do you think?  Can we really say we are chosen / elect if we believe He chose us because we chose Him?

I’m not saying that there aren’t challenges in thinking this sort of thing through, but really, how can anyone argue it was God’s choice if it was dependent (contingent) on our choosing?  I’ve heard speakers use the notion of human love and marriage.  My wife chose me and I chose her…so it goes.  Well, the English means to select out of various alternatives.  So, I guess you could say I ‘selected’ my wife out of the choices…and…I guess you could say I ‘chose her’ because she was the only one who would have me; but, that really isn’t the nature of a choice.  We really don’t talk that way.  We fell in love, we decided together, etc.  She is my bride and my wife, but she isn’t my chosen one (unless I have the authority to pick whomever I want…like a king perhaps).  She could be my chosen one if our parents arranged the marriage, but these contort the point don’t they?

Next, consider the use of the word from the angle of those abandoned to their own destiny apart from God.  If believers are ‘the chosen’ then unbelievers are the ‘unchosen’—there is no other way to go.  So why did God not chose them?  Option #2 above says it is because they did not ‘choose’ Him.  So really, God chose everyone, but some rejected.  Again, the word elect / choose is NOT the right word.  He didn’t choose, He just got rejected.

Finally, pretend God really did ‘choose’ individuals apart from anything in the individual (just His own  free volition).  What word would you have wanted Him to use to convey that idea.  How could God have said it so it was CLEAR that He chose them apart from any reason other than His own will.  I’m pretty confident He would use the word CHOSE / ELECT.

I’m really wanting to get the argument, but honestly my friends, you wouldn’t let anyone get away with shape-shifting language in another discussion on another topic.  Why do it here?  Why can’t ‘elect’ just mean elect?


Fred Lybrand

Communication 102 – Opinion Hurts

Sorry for the absence…been on vacation…did a lot of reflecting!

Here’s another key point in communication: separate FACT from OPINION

It is a simple fact that people don’t really conflict about facts; but it is a further fact that people go to war over opinions.  The next time you are wrestling with someone (or are overseeing a disagreement), just set the facts on one side of a sheet of paper and the opinions on the other.  Suddenly you’ll know what you are EXACTLY disagreeing (and agreeing) about.

It gets even cooler when you ask this question, “Now, can we find out if this (name one) opinion is true or not?”  If you can’t, then why argue?—you can’t prove it.  If you can prove your opinion, then go do so and make it into a FACT (so everyone will agree).

Frankly, theology and the news is loaded with all this strident and nonsensical brandishing of opinions.  I’ve been the victim of plenty of this and I’m afraid I’ve left a few marks on others as well.  Not now.

Maturity in communication finds out the facts…and…sure doesn’t pass along opinion as fact.  Of course, following these thoughts will kill a lot of the email that flies around.  But so be it.


Fred Lybrand