Rick said: I seem to have little tolerance for what I see as false doctrine, and corrupt religious leaders.
Amen to THAT! And I agree with the general viewpoint you have been "debating" from.
But why some people think that a theological construct like Calvinism should radically change the plain meanings of so many Scriptures impacting such a foundational understanding as for who can have repentant/spirit-filled belief in Jesus, and of which their plain meanings, as understood by the common, theologically unsophisticated man, which were also embraced by the Church as a whole, for 15 centuries, and of which its theology was only initially nuanced by a few, key theologians over the last 500 years, is beyond me. Did the church fail to understand for 15 centuries that God had prevented the ability for some to believe? How and who Calvinists believe can and cannot have repentant faith in Jesus have filled countless volumes, spilled mountains of ink, worn out more than a few keyboards. No simple man reading such stuff would in a million years glean a Five Point view of Scripture. So did God give it in such a way that only theologians and the theologically savvy would understand it? Really?
And we can play games with and debate the definitive definitions of various theological terms all day long, but what is the real bottom line here? What did God construct, provide, offer, limit or prevent? ONLY the bottom line is what truly matters! All of this debate over terminology - which by the way even Calvinists themselves debate over - really is so often a smokescreen over what the bottom line, END RESULT is of what God SUPPOSEDLY constructed/purposed. I think this is also what Rick was referring to.
So, who cares whether or not one has a definitive understanding about what a term like Double Predestination means IF the bottom line is that God decided before any of us were ever born or had even committed our first sin, whether he wanted us in heaven or in hell for an eternity - and based upon nothing we would ever do, decide, or even would be given the ability to decide? And to use Double Predestination as an example, I would say most Calvinists are uncomfortable with the term because its focus and cause is not people's unrepentant sin, but more the supposed first action - that God also FIRST elected to hell the unrepentant BEFORE they had ever sinned once. This is why the first comment from Calvinists is so often, "it's not like the unrepentant WANTED to repent and follow the Lord."
So I'd say let's stick to the bottom line impact of what GOD has supposedly done, and not to whom is skewing whose theological term. And while I well realize defining terminology within the debate is quite important, it's so often used as a smoke and mirrors debating technique.