Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by Aenon, Sep 6, 2012.
I figured I'd make this thread for everyone who has any questions about the subject. Ready, go!
Just a quick, general note.
There were always questions when this subject was brought up in the past.
Please keep your posts civil and back all claims with appropriate Scripture.
Someone wanted me to respond about this subject in another thread, so I made this one to make it on topic.
I enjoyed the comics quite a bit, but like Bloom County, all good things must come to an end.
Oh, that Calvin. Sorry.
Does Unconditional Election makes God a hypocrite and simply gives a good argument to non beleivers that God is really evil and wicked for picking and choosing who gets His mercy and who gets his wrath?
First of all, whether you hold to a Calvinistic view of election or an Arminian view of election, you still believe in election. God is picking and choosing either way. The only way you can say God doesn't choose is if you reject the doctrine of election altogether, in which case you do not hold to a biblical view.
Secondly, because election itself is a given (according to scripture), the issue is if election is conditioned upon nothing (Calvinist view) or conditioned upon the predetermined faith of the person (Arminian view).
Thirdly, there are two different beliefs about predestination amongst Calvinists. Some believe that God predestines some to heaven and the others to hell. The other side states that God only saves some with His grace, while the others are left, given to their own lusts and desires ultimately to their just judgment. The former is intentional/direct, the latter is unintentional/indirect. Neither are unjust or evil. God gets glory from both extending His grace AND giving wicked sinners their just penalty.
Fourthly, I would argue that to say Election is "Conditional" upon faith, you are also saying God is a respecter of persons. You are basically saying God says "You have faith, I like you. You don't have faith, I don't like you." Unconditional election is actually one of the proofs of God not being a respecter of persons like Peter says in Acts 10:34.
I don't see this as being a respecter of persons, though. All God is saying is that faith is the means (essentially available to anyone) by which you enter into grace/relationship/whatever particular terminology you prefer. Kind of like if God put out a box of keys and said, "These keys open the door to Heaven." Anyone who took a key and put it in the lock of Heaven's door and turned it could get in. Anyone who refused would simply be locked out. The keys are freely available to all, but only those who actually take one get through the door.
The majority of my life, I held to the prescient view. When it came to election, I thought that God just looked through time and elect those who would choose him. The problem was, I didn’t think about these words I was taught. The Bible talks about God looking through time. The problem is, nobody is choosing Him (Psa 14:2-3, Psa 53:2-3, Rom 3:10-11). In fact, Jesus goes out of His way to say we did NOT choose him, rather, He chose us, and then upon choosing He uses us to bring forth everlasting fruit (Jhn 15:16). We were lost and we were found (Luk 15:32). Some would say “Well, He chose me because I would have faith!” How? God gives faith (Eph 2:8, Phl 1:29, 2 Pet 1:1), therefore he could not have elected them on account of faith, which he foresaw.
“There shall be twenty beggars in the street, and I determine to give one of them a shilling; but will any one say that I determined to give that one a shilling, that I elected him to have the shilling, because I foresaw that he would have it? That would be talking nonsense. In like manner to say that God elected men because he foresaw they would have faith, which is salvation in the germ, would be too absurd for us to listen to for a moment. There was nothing more in Abraham than in any one of us why God should have selected him, for whatever good was in Abraham God put it there. Now, if God put it there, the motive for his putting it there could not be the fact of his putting it there. ” -C.H. Spurgeon
You may say “Well, it was because I repented that I got saved!” Repentance is also a gift from God (2 Tim 2:24-25, Act 11:18, Act 5:31). One is not saved because of repentance; one is saved because of grace.
“If I were to plead that the rose bud were the author of the root, well! I might indeed, be laughed at. But were I to urge that any goodness in man is the ground of God’s choice, I should be foolish indeed. The love of God therefore existed before there was any good thing in man, and if you tell me that God loved men because of the foresight of some good thing in them, I again reply to that, that the same thing cannot be both cause and effect. Now it is quite certain that any virtue which there may be in any man is the result of God’s grace. Now if it be the result of grace it cannot be the cause of grace. It is utterly impossible that an effect should have existed before a cause; but God’s love existed before man’s goodness, therefore that goodness cannot be a cause.” -C.H. Spurgeon
If Election exists then what is the point of evangelism and going out to preach the Gospel?
Another flaw in the logic.
You should probably hear the response before you say it is flawed logic. Otherwise it just looks like you're just making arguments without really wanting any answers. Election already does exist (Psalm 65:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Romans 9:11; Ephesians 1:4,5,9,11; Romans 11:5; Romans 9:15,23; Psalm 103:11; 1 Peter 1:2-3; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Jonah 2:9.). That is not a negotiable point, if you actually take scripture as your authority. The issue is in the election itself.
To answer the second half of the question, there would be no conversions if the Gospel was not preached. The preaching of the Gospel is the means by which God calls forth His elect. That's why we are called to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. God's "words" are where there is power. From "speaking" creation into existence to "speaking" the gospel. The resurrection of Lazarus is the picture of regeneration to conversion. Jesus speaks the words of God- "Lazarus, come forth," and in doing that, Lazarus is resurrected from a formerly dead body (Outside of Lazarus' ability to "choose" to be resurrected) and begins to walk. Jesus initiated and completed everything, Lazarus did nothing to be brought to life. In the same way, Jesus initiated and completed everything, and we have done nothing to be regenerated unto salvation.
Not only that, I'm fine with the answer "Because God told us to."
The problems I find with the Calvinist view of predestination are several.
First - it makes "free will" meaningless. If I have no choice, i.e. all good is forced upon me by God, without my will or consent, how is it good? And for the forgotten, how can a man be held liable for sin he had no choice but comitting? He was given the tendency towards sin, lived in an environment of sin, not allowed the choice to accept grace, and now would be condemned forever for being in a position he was not allowed to oppose.
Second- it makes God a murderer. With this point of view, He has created beings only to condemn them out of hand.
It's like having clipped a birds wings, now you demand that it fly?
Nobody I know believes free will does not exist. I myself believe it does. We as human beings with a sinful nature (with our free will) CHOOSE sin over God. Nobody seeks after the Lord and there is none that is righteous (Psalm 14, Psalm 53). Everyone is drowning in an ocean of sin and reveling in it. Human beings do not want God, they hate Him. Man wants only to satisfy his own lust. Because of this, God had to intervene and give man a new heart (Eze 36:26).
Well, God did kill every living thing with the global flood, did He not? So surely "murder" isn't what you're upset about. Also, God did not create beings to condemn them. When God created everything, He said it was "good." Sin entered the picture and everything was corrupted. I do not believe God "caused" sin, I believe He simply allowed it.
No, it is like God giving the command and then the bird biting it's own wings off. Man can't choose God because man WONT choose God. The issue is in the rebellion of man.
The term "free will" never appears in Scripture. Paul says man is "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1). The Greek word he used in that phrase is NEKROS meaning dead in the sense of a corpse, totally unresponsive to any stimuli. He also says man is blind to the gospel (2 Cor. 4:3-4) and whenever unsaved man hears the gospel, all he hears is gibberish (I Cor. 1:18). (The word "foolishness" in that verse is where the English word "moron" comes from.) So, how can man have a free will to accept the gospel if he is dead, blind, and deaf to the gospel?
Think of Ezekiel's plight when he was sent to the Valley of Dry Bones. He was commanded to go and preach to these bones which he did. God brought the bones together, covered them with flesh, and brought them life. That is what evangelists do today. They preach to spiritually dead people and by the foolishness of this preaching, God is pleased to save some for his eternal glory.
Aenon, firstly thanks for starting this thread and being open for discussion.
The 5 points of Calvinism when plainly read are against the concept of true free will.
According to Wikipedia...
Total depravity: This doctrine, also called "total inability," asserts that as a consequence of the fall of man into sin, every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin. People are not by nature inclined to love God with their whole heart, mind, or strength, but rather all are inclined to serve their own interests over those of their neighbour and to reject the rule of God. Thus, all people by their own faculties are morally unable to choose to follow God andbe saved because they are unwilling to do so out of the necessity of their own natures. (The term "total" in this context refers to sin affecting every part of a person, not that every person is as evil as possible.) This doctrine is derived from Augustine's explanation of Original Sin.
The disciples did not choose to follow Jesus? We do not choose to humble our hearts and accept the Holy Spirit working on them? We do not choose to harden our hearts and grieve the Holy Spirit?
Unconditional election: This doctrine asserts that God has chosen from eternity those whom he will bring to himself not based on foreseen virtue, merit, or faith in those people; rather, it is unconditionally grounded in God's mercy alone. God has chosen from eternity to extend mercy to those He has chosen and towithhold mercy from those not chosen. Those chosen receive salvation through Christ alone. Those not chosen receive the just wrath that is warranted for their sins against God
God did not plan to extend mercy on those going to hell???
Limited atonement: Also called "particular redemption" or "definite atonement", this doctrine asserts that Jesus's substitutionary atonement was definite and certain in its purpose and in what it accomplished. This implies that only the sins of the elect were atoned for by Jesus's death. Calvinists do not believe, however, that the atonement is limited in its value or power, but rather that the atonement is limited in the sense that it is designed for some and not all. Hence, Calvinists hold that the atonement is sufficient for all and efficient for the elect. The doctrine is driven by the Calvinistic concept of the sovereignty of God in salvation and their understanding of the nature of the atonement.
Some and not all…..??????
Irresistible grace: This doctrine, also called "efficacious grace", asserts that the saving grace of God is effectually applied to those whom he has determined to save (that is, the elect) and, in God's timing, overcomes their resistance to obeying the call of the gospel, bringing them to a saving faith. This means that when God sovereignly purposes to save someone, that individual certainly will be saved. The doctrine holds that this purposeful influence of God's Holy Spirit cannot be resisted, but that the Holy Spirit, "graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ."
No free will to reject God…????
Perseverance of the saints: Perseverance (or preservation) of the saints (the word "saints" is used to refer to all who are set apart by God, and not of those who are exceptionally holy, canonized, or in heaven). The doctrine asserts that since God is sovereign and his will cannot be frustrated by humans or anything else, those whom God has called into communion with himself will continue in faith until the end. Those who apparently fall away either never had true faith to begin with or will return.
I suppose those believing once saved always saved can agree here, but this is even more extreme when you apply the concept from above points of being one of the few that are pre-chosen for mercy.
No matter how you spin it, Calvinism IS a harsh twist of scripture that will cause pride for the chosen and create justification for hatred towards God amongst the 'un-chosen'.
I would never serve a God that I even suspected did not treat everyone fairly. When Scripture says ''God is NO respecter of persons'' it means exactly that.
God in all His power CHOOSES to NOT KNOW the destiny of every baby human He creates. If He did, then He is guilty of not giving all free will and being a respecter of persons…..it is just that simple…
Aenon, why conform to Calvinsim when it insinuates preference by God? How did you become a Calvinist?
When you combine scripture saying that some will go to heaven and some to hell with scripture that says God is no respecter of persons and He is a fair judge....any sane person should be able to deduce the painfully obvious fact that God does indeed give us 100% true free will.
To state that He does not give us free will or even hint at it is to say that God IS a respecter of persons and not a fair judge. The devil WANTS the unsaved to think God shows preference. It is a big lie that justifes an on-going hatred for God.
Aenon, this section was copied from the link in your OP thread 'do babies go to heaven'.
That statement makes perfect sense. But it does not tie up for me with Calvinism. Quote wikipedia '' God has chosen from eternity to extend mercy to those He has chosen and to withhold mercy from those not chosen.''.
Any sane person reading the two WILL say that you believe some babies will go to hell and others not.
Unless we assume ''He has chosen to show mercy on babies, remaining babies...''….we will live for eternity with babies? The mentally challenged will forever be mentally challenged? ....if they grew up there is a chance they will not be amongst the justified for mercy?… we are then justified in killing our babies?
KINGJ: The 5 points of Calvinism when plainly read are against the concept of true free will.
JACK: Depends what you mean by "free will." My cat is free to act like a cat. He can pur whenever he wishes, dig in his litter box when he chooses, but he is not free to act like a dog. He can't bark or chase cars. We are born spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1) spiritually blind (2 Cor. 4:3-4) and spirituall deaf (John 8:43, 47). Do we have "free will" to accept Christ? You may be interested to know that the term "free will" nowhere appears in the Bible. When God saves us, we become "new creatures" in Christ with a new will and a new nature. We are not free to act like a child of God.
KINGJ: According to Wikipedia...
JACK: I would be very cautious about using Wikipedia for anything especially theology. Our Theology should come from the Word of God.
KINGJ: The disciples did not choose to follow Jesus? We do not choose to humble our hearts and accept the Holy Spirit working on them? We do not choose to harden our hearts and grieve the Holy Spirit?
JACK: Jesus said to them, "You did not choose me, I chose you..." (Jn. 15:16).
KINGJ: God did not plan to extend mercy on those going to hell???
JACK: Nope, He sure didn't! That's why it is called hell.
KINGJ: Some and not all…..??????
JACK: Notice in Mark 10:45 and Matthew 20:28 that the word is "many" not "all." The word "many" is a translation of the Greek term POLLOS meaning a large group but never used for all inclusive humanity. If God knew from eternity past who would accept Him and who would not, why would it be necessary for Christ to pay the penalty for unbelievers? Besides, if He did, wouldn't that mean that God extracted the penalty for sins twice: once on his Son and again on the sinner and is that fair?
KINGJ: No free will to reject God…????
JACK: Take note of John 1:12-13. "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even those who believe in His name, who were born [again] not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." After reading these two verses, whose "will" saved us?
KINGJ: No matter how you spin it, Calvinism IS a harsh twist of scripture that will cause pride for the chosen and create justification for hatred towards God amongst the 'un-chosen'.
JACK: There was a time in my life when I believed what you just wrote and I believed it with a passion. When I first heard a Calvinistic sermon I rejected it and mocked it. I thought no one in their right minds would believe such utter nonsense and I set out on a year long Bible study to disprove it. My Bible study resulted in something quite unexpected. Here I am forty-five years later a committed theologian to the Doctrines of Sovereign Grace teaching in a seminary.
KINGJ: I would never serve a God that I even suspected did not treat everyone fairly. When Scripture says ''God is NO respecter of persons'' it means exactly that.
JACK: If God treated us all "fairly" we would all be suffering in hell right now. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God and He would be perfectly justified and fair to place us all there without exception. To think that God isn't fair is ridiciulous. Do you really want Him to treat you "fairly"? Grace is treating us unfairly and praise Him for his Grace.
KINGJ: God in all His power CHOOSES to NOT KNOW the destiny of every baby human He creates. If He did, then He is guilty of not giving all free will and being a respecter of persons…..it is just that simple…
JACK: If this is so simple, where in the scripture does it say this?
AGRICOLA: If Election exists then what is the point of evangelism and going out to preach the Gospel?
Another flaw in the logic.
JACK: Because God commanded us to do it. We don't know who the elect are, so we are to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Paul said it was by the foolishness of preaching that God saves some. Noah was a preacher of righteousness for 120 years, yet the author of Hebrews said he prepared an Ark for his family. The Ark wasn't made for all of humanity but for the eight people who got onboard. Was Noah a failure? Not at all. He preached and some were saved.
1 Corinthians 15:49
1 Corinthians 2:14
1 Corinthians 15:21-22
1 Peter 1:1-2
1 Peter 2:6-9
1 Kings 19:18
1 Corinthians 1:22-24
1 Kings 19:18
2 Peter 3:9
1 Timothy 4:10
1 Corinthians 1:23-24
2 Timothy 1:9-10
1 John 2:19
1 Corinthians 15:10
2 Timothy 1:12
2 Timothy 2:13
1 John 5:4-5
1 Corinthians 1:6-8
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
2 Thessalonians 3:3
1 Peter 1:3-5
1 John 5:11-13
On the contrary, Calvinism affirms the scriptures that God's election is unconditional so that NONE may boast.
God's election is not being a respecter of persons, because the election itself is not conditional. There is absolutely no way God can "prefer" one over the other, therefore he is not respecting anybody because each man's status is the same. Spiritually dead.