Does the doctrine of election reduce God to a grand puppeteer instead of the loving Father and benevolent King He truly is? Or, was John Calvin really on to something? If Calvin was right, why bother evangelizing?

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If folks are predestined to salvation, they don't need to hear; they're going to heaven, anyway, right? Why would anyone who is predestined need to be converted?

 

Hi Bishop. I trust you are well.

 

I have to reject the premise of your statement above. The bible tells us these two things: 1) that the gospel message is the unique tool by which sinners are saved, and 2) that God has foreknown and ordained those who will be saved. For example, in his first epistle, Peter begins by telling his audience they were "chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father" [1:2], but ends that chapter by asserting that they were "born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God" [1:23]. Or consider how succinctly Paul combines the two thoughts in his second epistle to the Thessalonians: "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" [2:13,14]. 

 

To our human reasoning these two points may seem contradictory. My conviction, nonetheless, is that both are biblical, so both must be true. So just like God ordains who is elect, God ordains that the elect are revealed by their response of faith to the gospel.

 

 

Preaching is for the lost, not the "elect." This doctrine of election is tantamount to a "country-club" mentality which breeds a religious elitism.

 

Every elect believer was unregenerate before he/she responded to the gospel. So the gospel is for unregenerate sinners; those who ultimately respond show themselves to have been the elect of God.

 

It isn't the doctrine of election. as taught in the bible. that makes for elitism. The elect were chosen by God through no merit of their own. When they understand this seminal point, they humbly acknowledge that only God's grace and mercy accounts for their salvation. It's more of a risk that folks who believe their salvation was their own work of faith (the "I decided to make Jesus my choice" crowd) will behave like elitists. They attribute to themselves a judgment superior to that of folks that died in their sins. This can lead them to look down their noses at lost souls, particularly people they witness to who initially resist the gospel.

 

Not to say there aren't false teachers promulgating distorted views of election. If people claim that because of God's election our preaching is unnecessary, they have either not studied the scriptures, or they're intentionally teaching heresy.

 

But, to be frank, I've never corresponded with someone who claimed to be a Christian but also claimed that there was no need to spread the gospel. Have you?

Ok. At least we agree on the need for evangelism. But to your point, everyone is unregenerate until they hear the preaching of the Gospel -- how did they become this way?

 

By Adam. And original sin. Sin born of his choice.

 

So therefore by choice, man lost his original dominion; by choice (acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior) he becomes a new creature, restored into right fellowship with God, restored into his original position of dominion authority.

 

I believe ALL are called but, because of the free will of man and the rebellious nature of original sin, many do not answer.

 

Based on scripture, I refuse to believe that God would flat-out damn someone without giving them the opportunity to accept His free gift of salvation.

 

The doctrine of election/predestination reduces God to a capricious puppeteer and not the loving Father I know Him to be.

 

Apparently I will not change your mind on this and you certainly will not change mine. Therefore, I think we will simply agree to disagree.

 

Love  you and Stay Blessed!

Brother Day.

The Text in Genesis 12: 1 reads in Hebrew

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-אַבְרָם, לֶךְ-לְךָ מֵאַרְצְךָ וּמִמּוֹלַדְתְּךָ וּמִבֵּית אָבִיךָ, אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר אַרְאֶךָּ.

The text here should be translated to read:

Now had said the LORD to Abram Go get out of your country and from the house of ancestor into the land, I will show you!

Now the problem that you are having is you are only able to read the “English Text” I use the NASB so I understand the need. The work Lek (is the fifth word from right to left in the passage above) is a Hebrew imperative meaning that this is a command from God to Abram. What I as a Calvinists believe is that like Abram the elect hear the call of God and we respond in kind. I do evangelism every day, not because I know who the elect are but because I don’t. I am not God; He saves those who He calls to salvation. I do not believe in an easy belifeism or that all are save that is not the teaching of the Bible both OT/NT.

You said “Even Jesus, in His humanity, had to make a choice in the garden of Gesthemene to submit to His divine calling.”

I want to ask you to think this through very carefully. Are you saying that Jesus could have chosen not to go to the Cross? If you answer you to this question than you need to reread all the Gospels over; Jesus had one and only one choice that was to go to the cross (read Psalm 2) in light of Genesis 3:15.

Brother Sweet,

 

I love how you (somewhat condescendingly) love to remind me of "my lack of knowledge..."

 

That said, I stand on my premise. Abram/Abraham had a choice. Moses had a choice. Even Jesus -- in His humanity -- had a choice.

 

Jesus had a spiritual assignment that could not be derailed. Nonetheless, in the Garden He pleaded with the Father that the cup would pass Him by. His humanity was wrestling with the assignment His Spirit was bound to.

Brother Day, I did no such thing and you know that.

All I am doing is pointing out why I believe in and teach the theological paradigm of Calvinism. If you feel that becaus I use what I know that it is my way of putting down that is not my point. I understand the Bible and Theology through my use of the Biblical Languages.

 

It is just as important to me to understand what and why you view things the way you do. We learn in community.

Now that I have said all that I still think that you are wrong in you view. Two thousand years of Church History proves other wise.

It is heretical to think that Jesus could or would have not gone to the cross.  

Preacher, you forget one very true theological premise. Moses while commanded, bristled at going. he did not want to go, it was his choice to be willing to go that made the difference. Its all about our choices. To say that man does not have free will is a big lie. Man has always had choices. Its the choices we make that note who and what we are.
Here's the question every Calvinist must deal with (but will not): Did Adam and Eve choose to sin or was God the architect of sin (heaven forbid)? If man is not a free moral agent, then did God foreordain sin?

I will take a stab at answering your question!

The answer is clear to a Calvinist!

It is Divine Sovereignty and Human responsibility. This is the paradox of human will.. Man is free as far as God allows. One must understand that Adam and Eve’s sin (fall) served the will of God.  Look at the nature in which the punishment was dealt out. Before I go on let me just say for the benefit of all readers here on BPN (a paradox is a figure of speech, a play on words. It is a form of statement that seems to unite two opposite ideas, or to deny something by the very terms in which it is asserted.)

 

So when I say that free will is a paradox it is just that to the Calvinist. We are to know that there are some things that we are not able to fully rap our finite minds around. This is one of those subjects.

God has given us responsibility in making know the Gospel we are at the same time not responsible we the person that we speak to on behalf of God turns away from God that person is. It could be that God has not called that person through our voice and we are just a seed sower and someone else is to water and someone else is to reap the harvest. It could be that God has harden that persons heart just as He did in the case of Pharaoh in the Exodus (Ex. 7:13: 8:15, 19 and so on.) This is what I mean. Pharaoh had free will yet the Bible teaches that God harden his heart.

Wow please excuse the sarcasm preacher, but wow, what a cop out! I mean seriously you just admitted that God is the author of sin basically. Then you attempt to clean it up by saying that since it served the will of God its ok. For you to believe any of what you just said, you would have to ignore the "whosoever"included in Jn 3:16. You would have to totally discount when it is said of God that He 'is not willing that any should perish"

Then you would have to totally disregard when God said to Israel to "Choose this day"...... Yes apparently it must be clear to the Calvinist, because to those of us who are willing to be intellectually honest it makes neither earthly or heavenly sense..

 

Amen, Brother Jonathan!

Thanks Bishop, it is quite disturbing when those in leadership cannot be intellectually honest about things and then try to couch it with "it served God's will" The issue is not did it serve God's will or not the issue is that he admitted that God is the author of sin. He is basically saying that God lies when He says that He does not want any to perish but that He desires all to be saved. He is basically calling God a schitzophrenic who seemingly cannot make up His mind with regard to who should be saved and who should not. Once again the rationale for my premise about how confused and utterly pitiable Calvin was. And why there are whole schools of thought about this nonsense is beyond me, because when examined closely Calvin is to theology what Freud is to psychology.

 

I fully understand you throughts on this but think about this:

 

"I'm so glad that God chose me before the foundation of the world, because he never would have chosen me after I was born!" Charles Haddon Spurgeon

 

The following is a brief discussion of what I understand the biblical doctrine of election to mean.

(1) Election does not mean that God merely knew who would believe and on that basis elected them. D. L. Moody thought that election meant this: "God chose me for himself, but the devil chose me for himself. My choice is the tie-breaker."

 

This really would not be election or "choice." God would not be choosing us; rather, we would be choosing him and he would simply know about it. (Further, the devil, a creature, would be put on a plane equal to God.) The consistent testimony of scripture is that God is the one doing the choosing, not us. Cf. Romans 9:6-21; Ephesians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:4.

 

(2) Election does not obliterate human responsibility. Each person is held responsible before Almighty God as to what they will do with his Son. "There are unsaved people alive today, who, though elect, are now lost and will not be saved until they believe."[1] Cf. Ephesians 2:3.

(3) Election is necessary because we are totally depraved sinners.[2] In other words, we would not choose God unless he first chose us.

 

Non-believers are portrayed as unable to do or think anything which would move them one step closer to God. There is nothing they can do or say which would please God. Cf. Romans 3:10-23; Ephesians 4:17-19. In fact, non-believers are spiritually dead until the Spirit of God calls them: that is, they are unresponsive to anything outside the realm of sin (Ephesians 2:1-3). Just as Lazarus was dead until Jesus called his name, so unbelievers are dead until the Spirit of God calls them. And just as Lazarus could not boast, "Jesus couldn't have done it without me!", neither can we. Dead men don't have much to bargain with. It is important to note that Ephesians 2:8-9 is in the context of God raising us from the dead spiritually.



[1]Charles C. Ryrie, A Survey of Bible Doctrine (Chicago: Moody Press, 1972), 118.

[2] Total depravity does not mean that we are as bad as we could be. Rather, it means that (1) sin has tainted every aspect of our being--our hearts, bodies, and minds; (2) we would be as bad as we could be if it were not for God's common grace (by which he protects humans in general from becoming as wicked as possible); and (3) there is no spark of the divine within us, nothing good that moves God toward that person, as though he or she deserves to be saved.

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