DOES GOD’S CHOICE OF MESSENGERS EQUALLY DEMONSTRATE HIS CHOICE OF THOSE WHO HEAR AND ACCEPT THE MESSAGE?
Consider these 5 passages about God’s choice and calling out of His messengers:
(1) “God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.” -Acts 10:40-41
(2) “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit…” -John 15:16
(3) The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” …Now the Lord appointed a huge fish to swallow Jonah… -Jonah 1:1-2;17
(4) “Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”” -Acts 9:3-4
(5) “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come….” -Matt 22:2-3
God certainly did choose His prophets and apostles. And when necessary He used miraculous means to persuade their wills to conform to His own. That doesn’t prove, however, that God decided beforehand who would and wouldn’t believe their message. Proof that God chose and convinced particular individuals to deliver His message (by external miraculous means such as big fish and blinding lights) isn’t proof that God chose and irresistibly convinced particular individuals to believe that message (by means of some secret inner effectual working).
- Calvinists bear the burden of proving that link biblically (i.e. God used a big fish to convince His own servant’s will to deliver the message therefore God used secret inner irresistible means to convince the wills of preselected individuals to believe his message.)
According to scripture, God inspired His message to be sent “so that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21) not so an elite group would be irresistibly caused to believe.
“These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” -John 20:31
Notice that God has worked to effectually ensure the WRITING not the BELIEVING of His word. He will use whatever means necessary to bring His truth into the world but that doesn’t remove man’s responsibility (read “ability-to-respond”) to that truth (Jn 12:48).
Do not allow Calvinists to conflate God’s choice and calling of His messengers with His choice and calling of those who hear that message.
72 thoughts on “CHOOSING MESSENGERS ”
Thanks. Just a few days ago in the comment section of one of your posts, I referenced Jonah and Saul/Paul in this same way.
I think in both cases the Word is demonstrating to us that God is certainly willing to push hard for someone to do something. I think that Jonah could have chosen to resist and would have had the fish acid just rot him the whole way. Scripture shows that many do resist God’s will…..and pay.
But again, this is not determinism the way Calvinists portray it.
I certainly try to persuade my kids with rewards or warnings, but I cannot impose myself completely on their free will.
I think the Word shows us in hundreds of places how our Father is that kind of father also.
I appreciate that He makes my path rough in some places or very smooth in others….to guide me, but then He lets me make decisions. That is what makes our relationship personal!
Hey Dr. Flowers
I sent an email a couple weeks ago that contained a syllogism that I was wanting your opinion on. I’m sure some have thought of this, bit I’ve never heard anyone say it nor back it up. If you have, I apologize I am a new fan and haven’t gotten to all of your videos.
Below is the jist of what i sent please let me know if you see a flaw in the argument or the responses to my anticipated objections….
The Calvinist position of how an individual obtains salvation is summed up in the Acronym TULIP:
T-otal Depravity U-nconditional Election L-imited Atonement I-rresistable Grace P-ersistence of the Saints
Jacob Arminius only issues with the “ULI”. Another major difference between Arminians and Calvinists that needs highlighted is that the “election” made from all eternity Arminian’s view as a “corporate election”… Which Calvinists assert it’s based on “individuals”… My argument will focus on the “U” and “L” of TULIP… (I have certain issues with all of them, but these are the focus)
Premise 1: According to http://www.reformed.org/calvinism/ as well as other Calvinists… (James White, RC Sproul etc) The doctrine of Unconditional election is as follows….
“Unconditional Election is the doctrine which states that God chose those whom he was pleased to bring to knowledge of Himself, not based upon any merit shown by the object of his grace and not based upon his looking forward to discover who would “accept” the offer of the gospel. God has elected, based solely upon the counsel of His own will, some for glory and others for damnation (Romans 9:15, 21). He has done this act before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4-8)… ”
Premise 2: Doctrine of Limited Atonement is defined as follows
“Christ’s death was not a death of potential atonement for all people. Believing that Jesus’ death was a potential, symbolic atonement for anyone who might possibly, in the future, accept him trivializes Christ’s act of atonement. Christ died to atone for specific sins of specific sinners…”
Premise 3: By the time of the crucifixion… The individuals unconditionally elected and ordained for salvation had already received a “divine pardon”… Their glory was decreed was before the foundation if the Earth… not based on ANYTHING the elect would do…
Premise 4: It’s impossible to change God’s decree or alter His plans of salvation for His individual elect…
Premise 5: Those who would receive the effects of the atonement are dependent on those who were decreed by God before the foundation of the Earth…
Conclusion: If Calvinism’s “U” and “L” are true, Christ’s atonement saved and will save NO ONE. It is the decree of God that made that individual saved.
Possible Objections and Responses…
“The atonement was the way God reconciled His elect to Himself…Therefore Christ did save the elect…”
Answer: “The decree wasn’t dependent on the crucifixion… those who received the atonement of the crucifixion is dependent on the individuals whom were decreed before the foundation of the earth… and we’re going to receive it regardless of any counterfactuals… due to the decree… those whom weren’t decreed… didn’t receive the atonement sacrifice… the DECREE is the key to salvation… not the atonement…”
“God can’t sacrifice His just character.. He had to have the crucifixion to punish sin… ”
Answer: This is logical only from an Arminian perspective, because of the adherence to philosophical concepts of God’s nature. In the Arminian view the crucifixion is only necessary in a world where humans are free to sin and he is God is cleaning up after the imperfect human free will. For a Calvinist to say this, is to suggest that God is subject to a counter factual and could not have made the world otherwise or could have, but chose not to which still yields a crucifixion that didn’t have any impact on the decision to save the person before the foundation of the earth.
“The atonement and decree to salvation comes as a package deal…”
Answer: The decree to salvation occurring simultaneously as deciding those who would receive a remedy for sin forces by necessity the decree of sin itself. It is the same as suggesting that a person will make an antidote before the poison exists.
Matt revira writes, “Conclusion: If Calvinism’s “U” and “L” are true, Christ’s atonement saved and will save NO ONE. It is the decree of God that made that individual saved.”
Everyone agrees that Christ’s atonement, by itself, did not save anyone: All agree that the atonement is necessary for a person to be saved. The Calvinist says that God chooses – His decree – whom to save and the atonement is the means God uses to deal with their sin. The non-Calvinist says that God provided an atonement for sin so that people could decide whether they want to be saved from the penalty of their sin. The people who end up saved are the same people whether chosen for salvation by God or freely deciding that they want to be saved as God already knew who would be saved when He created the world.
Admin writes, “Do not allow Calvinists to conflate God’s choice and calling of His messengers with His choice and calling of those who hear that message.”
God uses both saved and unsaved individuals to deliver His message. In fact, many who PROFESS Christianity today are His messengers but are still unsaved. Delivering the message is not the standard of salvation. God’s choice to save (regardless of the human will) is the standard.
Those who are supernaturally born from above will become messengers of the Gospel. But being a messenger of the Gospel is not the standard.
Having said this, God’s choice to elect a people for Himself for salvation should never be confused with His choice of sending a messenger. However, His elect WILL deliver the message out of a love for the One who created the message in the first place.
You said …
—–However, His elect WILL deliver the message out of a love for the One who created the message in the first place.
But what is that message that the elect deliver? And to whom?
Is the message “God loves you”? Then if delivered to the non-elect it is false, and in fact a ruse.
Is the message “Christ might have died for you”? Then if delivered to anyone….that is not good news.
What is the message you try to persuade people with? In what ways are you all things to all men so that you might win some? What is that message?
FOH your questions are not germane to the topic at hand. But the message of the Gospel is that Christ came to seek and to save that which was like lost. He did not come to seek and to save ALL the lost. He came to save HIS people from their sins. So we can conclude that the Gospel is summed up in the statement that Christ is saving His lost people from their sins through His atoning sacrifice and His Spirit seeking out HIS lost sheep through the proclamation of the Gospel.
The message was never meant for every human being, for Jesus said that “you don’t believe BECAUSE you’re not of my sheep”.
Never mind Troy.
Same old 10 – 15 verses to underscore the message that God does NOT in fact love all people (or even very many in fact!).
So how did you derive that from my comment? Although, it is true that God’s love is discriminatory! God does not love all people in just one way. God’s love for His elect is distinct from His love for the non-elect, just as our love for our wives is distinct from our love for our friends.
I was referring to your habit of pasting a partial verse (no context) as though that solves everything.
“you don’t believe BECAUSE you’re not of my sheep”.
I know…I did the same…..but want now to look at the whole of Scripture to see the message of God pleading with people over and over….
Is His pleading real or just for show? (hundreds like this: “Oh Jerusalem….I wanted you ….but you would not…”)
And for the second part …..you say that God shows a different kind of love for the elect.
I dont see ANY love (from a God who describes Himself as love) being shown to the non-elect. In what way does He love them?
IFOH writes, “I dont see ANY love (from a God who describes Himself as love) being shown to the non-elect. In what way does He love them?”
So are you admitting by the above statement that God does NOT love the non-elect and therefore does NOT love everyone?
I am not the one saying that….you are! My point is that in your philosophy the non-elect are not loved by God.
1. You cannot show any kind of 1 Cor 13 love shown to the non-elect.
2. You compare God’s love to the elect like mine for my wife….but the love I have for all others is certainly not “purposed them for destruction from the beginning.”
3. I believe the Scripture teaches that God loves all persons…..and I tell them that freely with no hesitation. You cannot.
Are you purposely missing my point?
Please answer Leighton’s question ….in what way does God show 1 Cor 13 love to the non-elect? Or any love.
Using God’s definition of love in 1Cor 13 can you demonstrate how God loves the non-elect.
I will be interested to hear any attempt to use the definition of love in 1 Cor 13 as it applies to the non-elect.
I want to take a second also to say that the Bible says “God is love” but does not say the same about justice. We say God is just, but not “God is justice” So an adjective defines Him here, but He defines Himself with a noun in “God is love” (Not “God is loving”)
That is an important distinction.
You analogy does not work…
“just as our love for our wives is distinct from our love for our friends.”
Even though you love your wife in a different way, you still love the others. What God has for the non-elect cannot be called love in any fashion. According to the determinist philosophy He has planned their destruction from before time.
Certainly I love my wife differently than others…..but that above does not describe “my love” for my friends.
Dr. Flowers writes, “Using God’s definition of love in 1Cor 13 can you demonstrate how God loves the non-elect.”
1 Corinthians 13 describes the attributes of the person who has love – for the believer love, and the attributes of which love is comprised, is to be pursued until one expresses all those attributes. If we look at all those attributes, we see that God treats all people the same – there being no respect of persons with God. The Universalist says that this requires that God save all people. The Calvinist says that God is not obligated to save anyone and may save whom He chooses. The non-Calvinist says that God has obligated Himself to save those who believe.
The context here is salvation. If God loves the non-elect as the Universalist believes then God will express His love for the non-elect by saving them. If God does not love the non-elect – because they refuse to believe (and thereby commit the unpardonable sin) – then God need not choose to save the non-elect.
So, God expresses love for the non-elect, in line with 1 Corinthians 13, in His dealings with them in all areas outside salvation.
Dr. Flowers writes, “According to scripture, God inspired His message to be sent “so that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21) not so an elite group would be irresistibly caused to believe.”
Yet it is still true that:
1. All will not be saved.
2. An elite group – known to God when He created the world – ends up saved and they are called the elect.
3. The elect find the gospel irresistible while the non-elect do not.
How (3) comes about is the point of much debate.
I was going to credit you with one of your best statements……but …you added…
“known to God when He created the world”
I congratulate you for a well-written non -confrontational post….
But one disclaimer. He knew there is the elect. It never says he knows individuals….nor that the others (who are not IN the elect vehicle, Christ) could never come—-in any case—and were created for eternal conscious torture (for His glory).
Anyway hats off for one of your best.
FOH writes, ” It never says he knows individuals….”
That would mean that God is not omniscient.
that would just mean that God is not omniscient in the way that you define it.
FOH writes, “that would just mean that God is not omniscient in the way that you define it.”
Why do we make easy concepts seem difficult to understand. Omniscience means God knows EVERTHING!! There’s NOTHING that exists outside of His knowledge. Therefore, the elect were known by God individually because:
1) He created them
2) He had already planned redemption for them BEFORE He created them (2 Tim 1:9; Titus 1:1,2; Rev 13:8)
This is what you are choosing to believe. That is fine. You are free to choose that. It is a matter of free choice to believe that way.
FOH writes, “that would just mean that God is not omniscient in the way that you define it.”
To avoid confusion, perhaps we should refer to omniscience greater (having complete knowledge of the future) and omniscience lesser (not having complete knowledge of the future).
and grasshopper …one more thing.
you pull out the God is omniscient card a lot (!!!) but not one verse do we have that says that phrase..and not one that defines it even if we did.
FOH writes, “you pull out the God is omniscient card a lot (!!!) but not one verse do we have that says that phrase..and not one that defines it even if we did.”
Are you kidding me??!!! Really?? Are you really using this form of argument FOH? So where does the phrase “God is a trinity” in the Bible? It’s nowhere to be found but the concept is replete throughout Scripture. The same is true regarding God’s omniscience.
My good sir, I truly believe that you know the truth, but you choose to suppress it because it does not satisfy your flesh.
“but you choose to suppress it because it does not satisfy your flesh.”
So you are saying that I do have a choice? My choice matters? I can change my choice? My present choice can change my future? If I choose one thing then……X If I choose another then Y ?
That sounds very man-centered, and sounds like the future is not determined yet.
Do you even hear yourself?
FOH writes to Troy, ‘So you are saying that I do have a choice? My choice matters? I can change my choice?”
According to Paul, “the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so;” (Romans 8) So, while the choice is there, depravity prevents one choosing certain options. The unsaved can choose to disobey the law but cannot choose to obey the law.
Once again, your argument is preposterous sir, for I assert that mankind has freedom of choice but that freedom of choice is not autonomous because he’s enslaved to his fleshly desires.
Also your future is already set, even to the day that you die. This is offensive to you but the truth is suppose to be offensive to the flesh. Your future is not determined by your choices. Actually your choices are already predetermined by God as He orchestrates your free choices according to His purpose. Whatever you choose to do in time was already decreed by God before you were born.
Why in the world would you say it is “offensive to me”?
Your statements do not offend me in the least. You are allowed your opinion. All your decisions are your own choice. Fine. No offense taken.
It is you Troy who unsheathes the “heretic” “foolishness” “apostasy” “satisfies your flesh” daggers. Demonstrating your zeal… and your youth.
If you only knew how little your position matters to me, you would not say I was offended.
If you could only hear yourself say ….”Actually your choices are already predetermined by God as He orchestrates your free choices according to His purpose” you would understand why your position and statements are anything but offensive to me.
If you are right, then I am only doing what I was orchestrated and predetermined to do.
FOH, to troy, writes, “If you are right, then I am only doing what I was orchestrated and predetermined to do.”
In addition, that which you do, you do freely, consistent with your wants and desires, and without coercion.
You have just demonstrated why we “have to be taught Calvinism”——because of non-sensical statements like this.
If God has predetermined my actions since before time…..there is no logical or biblical way of saying I had any free will in them. Such a waste of time these kinds of discussions.
Let’s fix our eyes on Christ!
These kinds of discussions are only a waste of time if your primary aim is only to prove a presupposition. If your primary aim is to arrive a truth, then you be like Paul and argue all day in the synagogue.
The fact is that God has given man the freedom of choice. However, God is orchestrating those choices as He sees fit because, as an omniscient God, He already knows the choices of man BEFORE man even contemplates his own choices. God already knows and therefore manipulates all of man’s free choices before he makes them. This isn’t illogical at all. It’s simply an all-knowing and all powerful Deity at work accomplishing His own decree. It’s the sinful creature who doesn’t understand and thus rebels.
again…if I dont understand and I rebel it is because He (unchangeably, unalterably) predetermined it so! Great conversation!
But the mistake you make sir is that you have no idea if His decree includes you coming to truth in the future.
But you youngsters miss the point. None of it matters at all.
If I am in rebellion now (He predetermined it) if I come to truth later (He predetermined it). In fact —if what you say is true there is nothing I can learn from the Bible, this blog, your posts, or my own cogitating. We only do what we are predetermined to do.
So if I go out on a wild spree right now….that was His will too!
I just dont get the point.
And I certainly do not see that being the point in the thousands of stories of faith, action, bravery, cowardice etc in the Bible. What is the point of all those great stories? What is the point of the Bible?
So that we can learn? But we cant…..not unless He predetermined it.
FOH writes, “So that we can learn? But we cant…..not unless He predetermined it.”
This is a truism that you must struggle with my dear sir. You must accept the fact that God has a decree that supersedes your puny and insignificant will in comparison to His overall plan. You are apart of that decree whether you like it or not and there’s absolutely NOTHING you can say/do to change it or thwart it. Whether you agree or disagree is really immaterial. You are contending with an omniscient and omnipotent Deity that doesn’t take into consideration whether you agree or disagree with how He chooses to deal with His creation. If you don’t like the fact that God has a specific and meticulous decree, then that’s YOUR struggle.
“If you don’t like the fact that God has a specific and meticulous decree, then that’s YOUR struggle.”
You see that’s the point…. you cannot say “YOUR struggle” to me since I am only doing what I am predetermined to do. It all just goes ’round and ’round.
Even my struggle and my sin is all by His design and for His glory!
Even the fact that “I dont like it” is all His going.
ps. You said “if you dont like the fact,” but I never said that! I dont care one bit one way or the other about your philosophy.
pps. Yikes! even my not caring comes from Him…..
FOH writes, “Even my struggle and my sin is all by His design and for His glory!”
You only have this struggle because God has opened your eyes and given you faith. If nothing was sin to you, and you did not care to struggle against the old man, you would know that God had not saved you.
FOH writes, “if what you say is true there is nothing I can learn from the Bible, this blog, your posts, or my own cogitating.”
Au contraire. By such means as you describe, you can know exactly where you stand with God do that when you stand before Him at judgment, there won’t by any whining and crying on your part (that is, if God doesn’t save you – if God has saved you, rejoice now, rejoice then).
FOH writes, “if I dont understand and I rebel it is because He (unchangeably, unalterably) predetermined it so!”
Yeah, God predetermined that you should exercise freely the evil desires of your wicked heart without God standing in your way.
FOH writes, “If God has predetermined my actions since before time…..there is no logical or biblical way of saying I had any free will in them.”
Yet we all share the same experience. We love our sin and we sin because it is what we desire. God does not compel us to sin – we know that it is ingrained in our nature. We sin freely and openly – even if in the darkness of night. God knew us when He created the world even though we had not yet been born. He opens the womb of one and closes the womb of another and no one is born except by God’s decree. God’s knows the day of a person’s birth and the day He will withdraw His life sustaining hand from the body. God knows every minute of every person’s life and has always known it. People want an out, so they deny who God is thinking that doing so will ease the evil desires and wants that plague us. Pretending that God doesn’t really know us makes it easier to deny Him – easier to sin.
FOH writes, “you pull out the God is omniscient card a lot (!!!) but not one verse do we have that says that phrase..and not one that defines it even if we did.”
Same thing with the term, “trinity.” Should we presume you have problems with that term, also?
FOH writes, “But one disclaimer. He knew there is the elect. It never says he knows individuals….nor that the others (who are not IN the elect vehicle, Christ) could never come..”
I’m sorry FOH, but it baffles me that a man who’s been in the faith/ministry for so long, that you could believe that an omniscient God would elect people to be in Christ BEFORE creation and yet you expect people to believe that God didn’t choose specific individuals to be in Christ. Does this REALLY make sense to you FOH??
The elect consists of individuals. The argument that God has an elect people without choosing individuals is just a ridiculous notion and demonstrates the extreme lengths that people will go to explain away God’s sovereignty in salvation. It’s simply illogical to believe that God elects without electing individuals. It’s an impossible argument to prove. Both Christ and His people are elect/chosen.
I am truly sorry that you find such offense at my words.
Indeed had we lived 500 years ago I might be on my way to the river with a millstone tied to my feet. but I can only follow Scripture.
Phrases such as “is just a ridiculous notion” and “It’s simply illogical” have little effect on me since so much of Scripture requires us to be “ridiculous” (did Christ really walk on water, rise from the dead….ridiculous(!) some say).
I can only go by the clear traces that God leaves us in Scripture.
God had a chosen people in the OT, and yet many of them left (were unchosen) by disobedience and many joined by faith (Rahab, Ruth). There is no such claim in Scripture that these persons were set before time. Indeed, why does God tell us these stories if not to tell us exactly the opposite.
Ruth/ Rahab—-in no way part of the chosen people, come into the line of Christ by faith…. and that faith is even spoken of Hebrews 11 to inspire us and teach us about faith.
We have no Scriptures that tell us that she was chosen before time or that her faith was given to her.
But endless chapters are written taking about the exploits of men and women based on their faith.
Indeed King Saul was chosen by God…..and yet….he was unchosen for disobedience.
Romans 9 tells us that God will chose who He wants…..and the Scripture makes it clear that it is not because one can boast to be from the chosen people. Rather we are simple an undeserving wretches eating the crumbs off the table in faith. “No greater faith in all Israel” was what Christ said of a man born as an un-chosen dog.
The greatest trace that He gives us of His mercy (and one repeated in so many other books) is that of the Passover.
He provides the means of salvation…..He directs them to the blood and instructs. But they must apply the blood and stay in the house.
This He makes perfectly clear. He does not apply the blood, only provides it. Apply the blood and stay in the house.
It is no different for the second Passover and the blood of the lamb.
Apply the blood in faith and stay in the house.
I couldn’t disagree more with your line argumentation sir. The Passover is an OT type/shadow of the true salvation wrought by God. The fact that they made the effort to spread the blood across the door post is NOT what saved them. The blood itself, representing Christ’s sacrifice is what God used as a picture of Salvation. The human effort is NOT the focal point.
Also you seem to be conflating God’s choice of national Israel as representative of His people on earth with those whom He actually chooses for salvation. National Israel, as a nation, has always and will always be reprobates. It was NEVER God’s intention to save national Israel as a people. They were only a shadow/type of the spiritual Israel (the elect).
Paul was chosen to be a ruler over Israel but that doesn’t translate to him being apart of the elect people of God.
“The fact that they made the effort to spread the blood across the door post is NOT what saved them. The blood itself, representing Christ’s sacrifice is what God used as a picture of Salvation. The human effort is NOT the focal point.”
God saved them.
Human effort is not the focal point. Agreed.
Would it have been enough for them to believe that God would save them? Would God have saved them for that?
Would it have been enough for them to be a Hebrew? Would God have saved them for that?
Would it have been enough for them to have slain an animal? Would God have saved them for that?
Would it have been enough for them to have the blood (say, in the bucket)? Would God have saved them for that?
Would it have been enough for them to apply the blood and say, go outside about their business? Would God have saved them for that?
Could someone besides a (chosen people) Hebrew have applied the blood and been saved?
Let’s not forget that this story of Passover is repeated more than any other story in the Bible and is constantly referenced as a picture of freedom from slavery (sin) and a picture of Christ.
Praise God for the blood of Christ! Applied in simple faith.
FOH posed Q’s to Troy.
1. “Would it have been enough for them to believe that God would save them? Would God have saved them for that?”
Whether the people believed God is unknown. They would believe that putting blood on the door would save them from the death angel. We see later that the people refused to believe God and died in the wilderness. Salvation also involves putting blood on the door – submission to Christ. Do people make a submission to Christ for personal reasons having nothing to do with believing Christ – Yes (Matthew 7). So, belief in Christ (a work of God) precedes submission to Christ.
2. “Would it have been enough for them to be a Hebrew? Would God have saved them for that?”
No. As John 1, “…not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
3. “Would it have been enough for them to have slain an animal? Would God have saved them for that?”
4. “Would it have been enough for them to have the blood (say, in the bucket)? Would God have saved them for that?”
5. “Would it have been enough for them to apply the blood and say, go outside about their business? Would God have saved them for that?”
Don’t know that the Scriptures say.
6. “Could someone besides a (chosen people) Hebrew have applied the blood and been saved?”
Yes. Egyptians could have joined themselves with Israel.
You are sounding more like an Arminian every day!!
Allowing those Egyptians to join!! Good for you! How would they?!
By applying the blood, in faith. Bravo…good call.
But I do notice that you continue to add to Scripture.
“So, belief in Christ (a work of God)”
You guys always add to Scripture.
They were told to believe God and apply the blood to the door (and yes we do know it says stay in a blood-applied house (Ex 12:13)).
But you always, always add to the Scripture with presuppositions (instead of letting Scripture speak for itself).
Nowhere in that story or any of the thousands of stories of faith in the Word does it add (like you do) ….”a work of God.”
All readers here can see that anything can be “proven” if we add “a work of God” to the thousands of stories of faith in the Bible. But again, only if you bring that the Scripture.
FOH writes, “Nowhere in that story or any of the thousands of stories of faith in the Word does it add (like you do) ….”a work of God.”
“…He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phiippians 1)
“…it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2)
“…we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2)
“we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8)
“…we also constantly thank God that when you received from us the word of God’s message, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.” (1 Thessalonians 2)
yep Rhutchin…..just like you said….
” in you who believe….”
perfect list of verses ending in the minor part that we play. We believe.
Oh, just to make sure we understand….that verse also says “you received it” and “you accepted it”
I praise God that He shows us so clearly what we must do!
FOH writes, “just to make sure we understand….that verse also says “you received it” and “you accepted it””
By Philippians 1, God initiates the action. Thus, man’s action to believe/receive is subordinate to God’s act to begin the good work (that, in context, is salvation) in man. Thus, God begins the work of salvation and man responds by believing/receiving. As that which God begins, He perfects, then necessarily all in whom God initiates salvation will believe/receive. Given that you claim to be a former Calvinist, this argument will not be new to you (I suspect you used it at times). I have yet to see a counter argument (which just shows I have not read a lot of the non-Calvinist literature), so did you, or someone else, come up with a counter argument in response to the Calvinist logic?
That is a fair and honest question.
I think that I learned well the Calvinist talking points just as the wave was taking over my Bible college in So Cal in the late 70’s.
Later, yes, I repeat early and often the main verses…even (as I have explained here) crushing the heart of a gal I was dating whose father was not in the Lord.
And yes….it is amazing to see how many people have moved into Calvinism reading ONLY the literature, blogs etc they are steered to. No push back offered.
I dont think I was looking for push back or a “counter argument” as you said.
I literally began to read huge portions of the Bible —-and it made no sense. There were far, far, far too many verses of the Lord (Yaweh, The Eternal, the Almighty…sometimes clarifying His name 3 times in the verse) saying “If only you would have ….I would have…” “why did you not?…” “I would have made you…but you did not.”
Not a few verses here and there interpreted my way. Thousands of verses. The stories of faith (hundreds and hundreds and never, ever in the story a hint that “God gave that person the faith”) ….God saying “for David’s sake I will…”
This just wore me down.
God giving David 3 choices for a punishment. Negotiating with Abraham for Sodom.
It was all so personal. Give and take….. and the God I had learn about in Calvinism was impassible, emotionless, “never-changing”.
Why all these passage (I mean really the WHOLE Bible) if God was not trying to teach us about Himself so that we could learn from it?
I needed no counter argument to the verses you list since (1) there are so few (seems like a lot if they’re the only ones I read and I read them over and over), (2) they ALL can be seen differently in the context where they are found. I got so tired of repeating a half a verse in Malachi (out of context) to prove that “all calamity comes from God” when He so clearly states in hundreds of places that it does not!
So, I didn’t really look for counter arguments and honestly I stumbled onto this site (I dont do sites—-actually I did a LOT of books and later site—all Calvinist).
I dont need counter arguments.
I just stopped coming to the Bible with pre-made definitions of “sovereignty” “omniscience”. God is as sovereign and omniscient as He wants to be…..not more just because we say He must be.
FOH writes, “I dont need counter arguments. ”
I other words, you have no argument so you pretend the Scriptures do not say it, as non-Calvinists are prone to do. If you read thousands of verses to say what you want them to say, then you can ignore what the Scriptures really do say. That seems to gist of your comment.
No, the gist of my comment was intended to be kinder than that.
The reason I said I dont have a counter argument, and that I dont need one, is simply because I do not see the Scriptures saying what you say. Why counter a non-reality?
Simply stated, the Scriptures tell us about God and His story. He is a personal God who created man in His image.
There was no room for a personal God in my former theology. Only an impassible one who …
has no emotions (though He created us with them);
has no reactions (though we are created to have them);
makes no real-time decisions (though we are created to do that);
shows no love to others than His .05% chosen (although we are commanded to love them);
creates 99.95% of His creation for eternal conscious torture for His glory (although we see nothing glorious in that);
tells stories of invitations to all (wedding feasts, etc) (but whose invitations are not really sincere);
tells stories of a loving father who waits for his son to come to his senses (the senses we have been created in His image with).
I could go on all day!
I dont need a counter argument to any such philosophy built on Greek understanding of Dualism, and sovereign deities. I just need the loving Christ in the Word who is holding out his arms to Jerusalem saying He is calling and all we need to do is believe.
FOH writes, “I don’t need a counter argument to any such philosophy built on Greek understanding of Dualism, and sovereign deities.”
You argue that you don’t need a counter argument because you don’t have one. Yet, this ideals with one of the strongest arguments Calvinist advance. Philippians 1 harmonizes with John 6.
John 6 – “No one can come to Me, unless the Father…draws him;” ==> “He who began a good work in you” – Philippians 1
Philippians 1 – “[God] will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” ==> “I will raise him up on the last day.” – John 6
That which God intends, God brings to pass. God draws a person; God begins the process – God completes the process; Christ raises the people God draws.
This goes to the strength of the Calvinist argument that God saves whom He will. You say, ” I just need the loving Christ in the Word who is holding out his arms to Jerusalem saying He is calling and all we need to do is believe.” This just means that you know the strength of the Calvinist argument and you cannot argue against it – it’s probably why you wanted to be a Calvinist at one time. But you couldn’t bring yourself to tell people the truth – especially when they were grieving. Your response was to hide certain Scriptures and pretend that they did not exist. That’s fine – it’s what non-Calvinists do. The problem for you is that you are now forced to live a lie.
You can be harsh my friend! Why so much angst? Relax.
After some of your posts I feel like you and Calvin are gonna knock at my door and carry me off to the river for a millstone treatment (he and Augustine were good at that you know).
Anyway you tell me a lot about myself…..like, “it’s probably why you wanted to be a Calvinist at one time.” I dont need to show my Calvinist bona fides to anyone. I know who I am and was.
What you dont see in all your “harmony” talk is that we harmonize perfectly Christ saying when “I am lifted up I will draw all men to myself,” with the rest of the Word.
That particular “draw” does not work for you….only your John 6 one does. You quickly add….(adding to the Scriptures again!!) “Christ means all kinds of men.”
So nice to have people tell us what Christ means.
You tell me man cannot come unless the Father draws them, and I (not adding) say “Amen!”
I say “Christ draws all men to Himself, like He said,” and you (adding) say “He means all kinds of men.”
Which one of us lives in harmony?
FOH writes, “You can be harsh my friend!”
Truth hurts. However, we have this promise from Christ, “…you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Then, ” I dont need to show my Calvinist bona fides to anyone. I know who I am and was.”
Once a Calvinist; always a Calvinist. Not a Calvinist now; never a Calvinist.
Then, “we harmonize perfectly Christ saying when “I am lifted up I will draw all men to myself,” with the rest of the Word. ”
The rest of the word minus Philippinas 1, John 6, etc.
Then, “You quickly add… “Christ means all kinds of men.” ”
At least it conforms to Ephesians 3. That’s better than defining Scriptural terms using Webster’s dictionary.
Then, “Which one of us lives in harmony?”
You espouse an Universalist theology. That’s fine, I hope you are right – but the Scriptures seem to oppose that conclusion.
Besides….I was talking about the thousands of verses that talk about individual faith (specifically in this thread in the OT) and once again you cherry-picked a few verses (which are not at all precise) (and not our context).
But what of all those thousands of verses that talk about the exploits of Barak and Gideon etc? Should we read those stories out loud to our kids and grandkids and just add in “a work of God” every couple of verses?
That seems very presumptuous on your part!
Troy responding to FOH writes, “The argument that God has an elect people without choosing individuals is just a ridiculous notion…”
In Romans 11, Paul, referencing the OT, writes, “I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.” This is the idea behind election. In the same way, God has reserved to Himself those who have not bowed the knee to Baal across time. When God tells us that He reserved 7,000 to Himself, are we to think that He does not know who these people are? Does FOH argue that such is the case? God knew the 7,000 even as He knows all those He has reserved to Himself.
Troy, when you say that corporate election is illogical. Can you give us your understanding of what Paul meant to the Ephesians in verse 1:4. If it read ‘He chose us (to be) in Him…’, then I could certainly follow your reading of choosing specific individuals…but because it doesn’t say that it is a bit less clear. Please explain your understanding of the phrase “in Him” there in that verse and what you think was trying to be communicated to the Ephesians.
Thank you for your comment Travis. However, I believe that people are refusing to believe the plain meaning of this text because they want to desperately cling to their own presuppositions.
The text says plainly, “He chose US..”. The direst object of the choosing are “us”. The last time I checked “us” refers to a group of INDIVIDUALS. We are trying to either overthink this or just refuse to believe the plain teaching of the text.
We’re chosen “in Christ” because He’s the source of our salvation. Without Him there wouldn’t be an elect. But the fact is that the elect consists of INDIVIDUALS that Christ says he came to “seek and to save”. There’s just no getting around the fact that God has a plan of salvation that only includes HIS sheep.
Once again you say…..
“I believe that people are refusing to believe the plain meaning of this text because they want to desperately cling to their own presuppositions.”
If we stop “refusing to believe” can we believe? Is that our choice?
Presuppositions? When you came to Christ you had simple faith, no idea of TULIP. Now that you have been taught you see all things through those lenses. That my friend is a set up presuppositions.
Someone could show you 2,000 verses where God (Lord, Eternal, God of Israel, Almighty) says “I did not want you to ….” If you will only X I will do this….” “Why did you not believe when I sent my prophets…” (and thousands more in every kind of formulation you want), and you would “refuse to believe the plain meaning.”
Why? Your presuppositions.
Funny…..my wife just asked me “Are you still writing that guy? I thought you told him you were a Calvinist pastor but the Bible just did not support it?”
Oh well, it’s your choice Troy (because I really believe we have choices). You choose to believe those presuppositions and alter and interpret the “plain meaning of the text” through those lenses. You are free to do so!
Freedom of choice does not determine truth. Also, God has written the Bible in such a manner as to seal mankind in their unbelief. The Bible must be carefully studied and our presuppositions must be taught CONSISTENTLY throughout Scripture. If our presuppositions don’t jive with ALL that the Bible teaches, then we must abandon those presuppositions and approach the Scriptures praying for God’s wisdom to rightly divide the Word of truth.
Remember we have been privileged with the task of unveiling the very mind of God as He has revealed Himself in Scripture.
FOH writes, to Troy, “You choose to believe those presuppositions and alter and interpret the “plain meaning of the text” through those lenses.”
Here is one of Troy’s presuppositions, “the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so;” (Romans 8)
Do you think that this is a valid presupposition and could properly be applied to understand the thousands of verses you have referenced – i.e., “alter and interpret the “plain meaning of the text” through those lenses.”?
I’m anxious to hear FOH’s response to this.
Troy writes, “There’s just no getting around the fact that God has a plan of salvation that only includes HIS sheep.”
I think we can say, “God has a plan of salvation that only includes HIS sheep and personally bringing only HIS sheep to salvation.” However, I don’t think Troy would object if other people jumped on the bandwagon (so to speak) and freely decided to seek salvation on their own without God’s help – i.e., not like in the city of Sodom when the angels had to grab Lot by the hand and pull him out of the city. Neither Troy nor I would be upset if everyone was saved and no one faced an eternity separated from God.
A hearty AMEN to that Roger!!!
Travis to Troy writes, “Can you give us your understanding of what Paul meant to the Ephesians in verse 1:4. If it read ‘He chose us (to be) in Him…’, then I could certainly follow your reading of choosing specific individuals…”
Paul, writing to the Ephesian believers, refers to “us” and we understand this to be Paul plus the believers – Paul could have written it as, “You and I.” In the same way that God chose Paul, God chooses other believers. As God is the author, using Paul as His instrument, believers today read this as applying to them – each believer knows that God chose him/her.
“In Christ” tells us the means that God used to accomplish His purpose – “that we should be holy and blameless before Him.” So, it is not, “(to be) in Christ” but “by means of Christ.” God’s purpose is to make certain people holy and blameless before Him. In order to achieve that goal, God says that He used Christ as the instrumental means to this end.
However, the issue is whether the above rendering of the verse tells us that God chooses individuals. As Paul included himself in “us,” we understand that Paul could have written just “me.” Paul understands that God chose him to be holy and the means to make Paul holy was Christ. As Paul is an individual, we conclude that God chose Paul and chooses others as individuals. If the corporate sense were meant, Paul should have written, at least, “God chose you (plural),” although that would have left the meaning obscure.
I would even say that God’s choice of messengers doesn’t even guarantee their personal salvation.
1. “Jacob I have loved and Esau I have hated” did not guarantee their individual salvation/damnation or the salvation of everyone born in Israel or damnation of everyone born in Edom (Gen 33:4, 10, Deut 23:7-8).
2. Israel was chosen to be a kingdom of priests (Ex 19:6). Not all were automatically to be saved because of that choice.
3. Balaam being a prophet that the LORD spoke to did not guarantee his personal salvation (Num 21)
4. Balaam’s donkey speaking for God did not guarantee its salvation (Num 21). 😉
5. David’s chosen Messianic seed did not guarantee all the kings of Judah were going to be saved (1Kings 21:19-23).
6. Cyrus being called by God “His Anointed (Messiah)” did not guarantee his personal salvation (Is 45:1).
7. Every person is formed in the womb with a life plan (having conditional elements not predetermined) to serve and worship God and to enjoy Him forever (Ps 139:16). Not all are therefore automatically to be saved because God made that plan for them. They must humble themselves and receive His saving grace to fulfill that good plan.
I could even add to that… I would even say that God’s choice of messengers doesn’t even guarantee their personal behavior.
Many examples of messengers gone astray can be provided. Were they not called/ chosen/ anointed?
King Saul. Jonah. Wise Solomon. Moses…..not allowed to see the promised land.
Was it God’s plan all along that Moses not see the promised land?
Was it God’s plan that Saul govern well the people of Israel?
Why does He then say in His word….
“You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. (1 Samuel 13:13)
Interesting that God is saying that He would have done something differently if a man (Saul) had acted differently….even though Saul was God’s anointed.
Great added examples, FOH!
As you well know there are hundreds of examples of a personal God working with non-robotic humans all throughout Scripture. “If you will do this….I will do this….” Over and over and over.
As you also know it was the examples of these hundreds of biblical stories, narratives, parables that led me out of deterministic Calvinism.
There is no point to them in that philosophy.