God Has Chosen You From the Beginning (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

Below is the video broadcast walking through 2 Thess. 2:13 with a response to Calvinistic pastor, Paul Washer. Or you can download the podcast version HERE.

2nd Thessalonians 2:13-14

But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is commonly quoted text by Calvinistic scholars seeking to prove that certain individuals were chosen for salvation to the neglect of all others. I, along with many scholars, believe this is very Western individualized interpretation of the scripture, however. We tend to read texts from an individualized (me, I, my) perspective in our egocentric society. This was not the common way of understanding such texts in the first century’s collectivist society where people were seen as under the headship of their cultural heritage, not merely as individuals.

We must understand that the predominately Gentile congregations of Paul’s day were constantly being told they were not the elect of God, but instead barbarian rejects. The Judaizers of the first century insisted that only Jews were chosen by God and Paul spent much time attempting to debunk this commonly held false belief (see the book of Galatians).

In the “Jew versus Gentile” context of Paul’s ministry (and this passage) he often references himself and the Jewish apostles as “us” and “our” in contrast to the Gentile believers as “you” and “your.” For instance, in verse 14 Paul seems to indicate that “you” (the Gentile believers) were called “through our” (the Jewish Apostles’) gospel. Therefore, it makes perfect sense, in Paul’s context, to thank God for his Gentile audience being chosen, or engrafted (Rom. 11:13-24), into the means salvation through faith. This, after all, is the mystery which had been hidden for generations which is just now being made known through men like Paul (Eph. 3:1-11).

In short, the “Apostle to the Gentiles” is likely combating the false view that the Gentiles were not the elect of God by writing this affirmation of God’s choice to include them from the very beginning.

1,193 thoughts on “God Has Chosen You From the Beginning (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

  1. BRIANWAGNER said:
    Hi Richard… how about considering this possible interpretation – 2Thess 2, 13 Richard replies: Thank you for your insights, I realize my “robot theology” statement may need fine tuned as it is abrasive, but so is TULIP. I say what I say in light of Proverbs Chapter1 for example. Pro 1:23  Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. 
    Pro 1:24  Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; There’s that fork in the road again. God is involved, the gospel is preached and then decision time. It’s all on us at that point. If we believe, God will save us…Pro 1:33  But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil. One might argue that salvation is not the issue here. Nevertheless, whether salvation or obedience, the principle is the same….believe God.

    1. We agree I think Richard on how people get saved. I’m wondering what you think about my interpretation of the word “beginning” in 2Thess 2:13 and associating it with Paul’s use in Phil 4:15.

      1. Brian,

        What I challenge you to do regarding Phil 4:15 is to study out the subject of it. The subject is NOT the Gospel. The subject is:

        “no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.”

        The sentence structure tells you this. I’m taking out the Macedonia reference between the comma’s.

        “in the beginning of the gospel, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.

        See the subject? It’s not about the gospel, at all.

        So you can’t equate that to Thessalonians, or Ephesians either.

        When he began his ministry, NO ONE told him about giving or receiving, except for this church.

        HOW can you equate THIS “in the beginning” to that of Thessalonians is beyond my comprehension.

        Ed Chapman

      2. Ed – Philippians 4:15 NKJV — “…in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia….” Thessalonica is in Macedonia. God gave Paul the Macidonian vision which took him into Europe for the first time… a new “beginning” for his gospel ministry.

      3. Subject matter is different. Thessalonians is discussing the process of how one is saved, and that was not determined when Paul departed Macedonia. The subject of Philippians was that of giving and receiving. Two different subjects, two different “in the beginning”.

      4. And my last comment is the reason why I asked how people were saved before Paul left Macedonia. Many Jews were saved long before Paul came on the scene.

      5. Actually Ed… “in the beginning” in Phil 4:15 points to that new beginning, and not the beginning of Paul’s ministry or Gen 1:1… and “from the beginning” points to Paul’s reminding the Thessalonians how God chose them that “from” that start of his ministry there they could get saved only one way… being drawn by the Spirit to place faith in Christ.

      6. No, Brian, you are reading something into it that isn’t the subject. I sure hope that you took English Composition in high school. Sentence structure is important here. This is why the so called scribes to our NT could determine where to put comma’ s from a Greek language that doesn’t have punctuation.

      7. Well, Ed, I’m hoping you are enjoying the congregation or school where the Lord has you teaching His truth as you see it. I’m sticking with what I believe the grammar and context say Paul’s use of the word “beginning” means in his epistles to both Macedonian congregations. Thx for the chat.

      8. Brian,

        LOL…well, I do study…a lot. This is why I’m not a fan of seminaries, as you only learn what THEY want you to learn, and like I said, you guys don’t go deep enough for me. For me, this is all Christianity 101 stuff. Easy peasy!

        I need someone to challenge my mind, and you guys just don’t to it. Sorry!!!!!! I’m with Richard on this, that salvation is a process by which God determined from the foundation of the earth, not at some point when Paul left Macedonia.

        Ed Chapman

  2. Hello Brian,
    I’m not familiar with Phil 4:15, but your question generated a rewarding study. The words “in the beginning” are there in both the Majority and Alexandrian text. This is reflected in the KJV, ESV but interestingly the NIV and NASB smooth it out so to speak with….in the early days,…..the first preaching, respectively. I’m no expert, I found all this out on the Bible Gateway page, an amazing resource. Hope this helps.

    1. Richard… have you tried Biblehub? I think it is much better, especially for studying the Greek text and words, and for exegetical commentaries. So did your study convince you Paul was talking about the “in the beginning of” his gospel ministry in Macedonia in that verse?

      1. Brian,

        In my KJV, 2 Thess 2:13 does not say “IN” the beginning, but FROM the beginning.

        Philippians TELLS YOU what “in the beginning” is in regards to, and you and I agree all because it TELLS YOU.

        But 2 Thess 2:13 is not worded as such, and can’t be compared.

        The words “IN” and “FROM” are key words.

        In what? The BEGINNING of the MINISTRY of Paul

        From what? FROM EVERLASTING.

        1 John 2:13
        I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning.

        Psalm 119:160
        Thy word is true from the beginning:

        Proverbs 8:23
        I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.

        Isaiah 40:21
        Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?

        Isaiah 41:4
        Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am he.

        Isaiah 41:26
        Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may know? and beforetime, that we may say, He is righteous? yea, there is none that sheweth, yea, there is none that declareth, yea, there is none that heareth your words.

        Isaiah 46:10
        Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done

        Isaiah 48:3
        I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass.

        Jeremiah 17:12
        A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.



        I didn’t provide all, because when the word “OF” is used, it’s discussing a different topic, i.e., “in the beginning of THE DAY”, etc.

        This is discussing eternity past, or at the foundation of the earth.

        It’s obvious that both you and I have a different take on EXEGESIS.

        Ed Chapman

      2. Ed, I’m guessing you are not an elder in a local congregation. Have you received yet, the right hand of fellowship or laying on of hands to teach in Christ’s body? I can’t remember if we discussed this already. My memory of those past conversations we had are probably not as sharp as yours. 😉

        The warning of James is a good reminder to all of us. [Jas 3:1 NKJV] My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. And if you have not submitted yet your teaching ministry to confirmation by other qualified leaders, I would exhort you to do so. The internet is a market place that reveals many “would be” teachers of God’s truth who are unwilling to submit to others called by God to teach His Word. I hope you are not one of them.

        But good hermeneutics requires that you don’t pull meanings of words from other authors of Scripture until you have first looked at how the author of the verse being discussed uses the word. Paul uses the word ἀρχή mainly for recognizing heavenly “authority” and usually it is translated “principality” in the NKJV in those Pauline passages.

        There is one other place, however, where Paul uses ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς – from the beginning. It is [Act 26:4 NKJV] “My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know.” I wonder if you found it and were afraid to share it since it totally went against your position. I hope not. For that is not a good method of helpful teaching to hide contrary evidence. There in Acts 26:4 Paul is certainly not pointing to the beginning of history, but to only another “beginning” in Paul’s life of a new experience of his, like in 2Thess 2:13 and Phil 4:15.

      3. Brian,

        Oh, I see what you are doing. You are trying to PUT ME IN MY PLACE. You think your education is far superior to my knowledge. Sorry, but I don’t roll that way. The Bereans searched the scriptures daily to see if YOU are teaching right, and they didn’t have college degrees at all. Paul did, and yet they searched the scriptures to see if the college educated was telling them the truth or not. And we do know, based on the words of Timothy and Titus that there are FALSE TEACHERS, so in other words, don’t trust the teachers just because they teach.

        I took a year of English Composition, and I know how sentences are structured, and about adverbs, and adjectives, and subject, etc., etc. I am also aware that 16th Century English is a bit different, but that difference is ALL THROUGHOUT the bible and is consistent. It’s the most PUREST of English in the KJV than all of the modern day versions put together, and it is concise with the Strong’s concordance.

        You concentrate on the ONE WORD “beginning”, rather than the USE of it, as it pertains to the subject and verbs, adverbs, adjectives, etc. The use of the other words is what determines what the word BEGINNING is discussing.

        Ed Chapman

      4. Ed, I noticed you neither confirmed nor denied whether you have received yet, the right hand of fellowship or laying on of hands to teach in Christ’s body. Why? I am truly interested, so that I may know you better, and so that I may know how to serve you in Christ better. I am not trying to put you in any “place”, but to build you up in your understanding of Scripture. The fact that you do not acknowledge the evidence I gave you as to how Paul used the same words “from the beginning” in another text indicates you might not want to be taught from grammar and context, the basis of all good hermeneutics. It will then become very difficult for us to proceed further in this conversation.

      5. Brian,

        I think my words are self evident.

        John 14:26
        But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

        Hebrews 5:12
        For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

        I don’t get my knowledge from the internet, for my knowledge came before I knew what internet was.

        Ed Chapman

      6. What is the SUBJECT of 2 Thess 2:13. Salvation. How is salvation obtained? THRU something, 2 things. WHEN was that determined? FROM THE BEGINNING.

        That was NOT determined from the beginning of Paul’s ministry. It was determined FROM THE BEGINNING OF TIME (GENESIS 1:1).

        So I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how your hermanuetics determines anything else but that.

        Ed Chapman

      7. Brian,

        Since you are a non-Calvinist, and bringing forth your knowledge to debunk Calvinism by using your interpretation of hermanueitics, I did find the following…FROM THE INTERNET, so that I can get a better understanding of where YOU are coming from in this debate:

        “The other issue is “from the beginning” in this passage, which probably has reference to the beginning of Paul’s ministry among the Thessalonians (there is no reason to take it as a reference to eternity or the beginning of time as Calvinists often do). It would be like saying. “from the very start, you were receptive to God’s working among you, receiving God’s salvation and becoming His people through faith and the sanctification of the Spirit.” There is also a textual variant issue at play in this passage which has “chosen as first fruits” rather than “from the beginning” here, which might convey the same basic idea of them being the first to embrace the Gospel in Paul’s ministry in that area.”

        But…here is my problem using my knowledge:

        Everyone’s argument is coming from the subject being, “YOU”. I don’t see the subject as being YOU, no more than I see the subject of Ephesians 1:4 as being, “US”.

        So, from the Calvinist standpoint, they think that THEY were CHOSEN from the foundation of the earth, and that is where all this crazy talk about BEGINNING is coming from.

        But from my angle on it, the subject is NOT YOU were chosen, but the process of salvation was chosen from the beginning in 2 Thess 2:13, and in Ephesians 1:4 the subject is our behavior as Christians that was chosen from the foundation of the earth.

        This is MY hermanuetics having nothing to do with the Calvinist/Non-Calvinist debate, or as you guys say, Armenian, Pelican, whatever they are. Whoever they are, I could care less, cuz I don’t get my talking points from them at all.

        Ed Chapman

      8. I would like to throw a question into the fray if both of you are interested.

        In 2 Timothy 2:8 and in Romans 2:16 Paul references the gospel as μου εὐαγγέλιόν (my gospel)

        I notice he doesn’t state it as ὁ εὐαγγέλιόν “The gospel” – but uses μου “My” which I believe is speaking in first-person.

        I wonder if this would be the equivalent of an evangelist today using the phrase “my message”?
        Which in our vernacular today be also the equivalent of “my message to you that Jesus Christ is raised from the dead”?

      9. br.d,

        Yes, I’ve noticed that Paul discusses HIS gospel a lot.

        Romans 16:25
        Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel,

        I agree.

      10. It occurs to me that Paul’s experience with the Lord was extremely direct compared to most evangelists today.
        The Lord met him directly on the Damascus road.

        You or I today probably wouldn’t say “My Gospel” because this message has been preached for centuries and it we wouldn’t use language that would infer some kind of ownership of it.

        Although today it is common language for a believer to say “My Testimony” – which is a reference to the events that surrounded that individual’s salvation experience. But to say “My Gospel” would be language I personally would not feel comfortable using because in our social structure it would imply ownership – and the Gospel doesn’t belong to me.

        But it may be different in Paul’s day when in most of the countries he traveled he was the very first and only person bringing that message. So it may be the case that for Paul – bringing that message to people was much more in his mind his own personal message to them?

      11. br.d, and Brian,

        I see you both right regarding this. But like I said yesterday, non-Calvinist Baptists don’t go deep enough for me. It is said that Paul got his revelation directly from the Lord, but I’m not convinced that it was Damascus Road. That conversation was a bit short, and he was directed to go to somewhere else.

        2 Cor 12:1-4, Paul is discussing himself in the 3rd person, and it is during THIS TIME that I believe that Paul got his revelation.

        In addition, Paul was in a hiatus for, what was it, about 3 years or so? He didn’t really begin his ministry until after that.

        I have some REVIEWING to do about the timeline, but he didn’t begin his ministry right away.

        Ed Chapman

      12. Br.D Paul’s gospel is more than just his preaching of the gospel, but includes the fact that he received it by direct revelation. Galatians 1:11-12 NKJV — But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

        Of course it is the same basic gospel of mercy for sins given through faith, but Paul got his own special session on it from God to confirm its application to the Gentiles creating one new body of Christ with believing Jews, called the church.

      13. chapmaned24 writes, ‘Everyone’s argument is coming from the subject being, “YOU”. I don’t see the subject as being YOU, no more than I see the subject of Ephesians 1:4 as being, “US”. ”

        LOL!! The subject is obvious – “God…chose you” – it is God. “You” is a direct object, identifying the person to whom the action of “choosing” applies. Same with Ephesians 1, “…He (God) chose us…”This parallels 1 Thessalonians 1, “knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.”

        Then, “the subject is NOT YOU were chosen, but the process of salvation was chosen from the beginning”

        It is true that, “the process of salvation was chosen” but it was chosen by the subject – God. Paul is saying to the Thessalonian believers, “God chose you.” A simple declarative sentence. The process by which those believers would be brought to Christ was also chosen by God.

        As to the phrase, “from the beginning,” the NET Bible offers this:

        “Several mss (B F G P 0278 33 81 323 1739 1881 al bo) read ἀπαρχήν (aparchēn, “as a first fruit”; i.e., as the first converts) instead of ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς (ap’ archēs, “from the beginning,” found in א D Ψ M it sa), but this seems more likely to be a change by scribes who thought of the early churches in general in this way. But Paul would not be likely to call the Thessalonians “the first fruits” among his converts. Further, ἀπαρχή (aparchē, “first fruit”) is a well-worn term in Paul’s letters (Rom 8:23; 11:16; 16:5; 1 Cor 15:20, 23; 16:15), while ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς occurs nowhere else in Paul. Scribes might be expected to change the text to the more familiar term. Nevertheless, a decision is difficult (see arguments for ἀπαρχήν in TCGNT 568), and ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς must be preferred only slightly.”

      14. Notice Roger that you provided a good example how scholars can get evidence wrong. The NET scholars said – “…while ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς occurs nowhere else in Paul….” of course they could just mean in his epistles… but Paul is quoted by Luke as using ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς in his speech in Acts 26:4. So maybe that reading should have much more preference. 😊

      15. brianwagner writes, “Paul is quoted by Luke as using ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς in his speech in Acts 26:4.”

        So, we have:
        “Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel,…”
        “My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation…”
        “God from the beginning chose you for salvation…”

        So we have the phrase, “in the beginning,” telling us something about the gospel, Paul’s early life, and God. Each is distinct form the other and should be understood consistent with that which it modifies.

      16. rhutchin,

        You had said:
        “So, we have:
        “Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel,…”
        “My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation…”
        “God from the beginning chose you for salvation…”

        So we have the phrase, “in the beginning,” telling us something about the gospel, Paul’s early life, and God. Each is distinct form the other and should be understood consistent with that which it modifies.”

        My response:

        As I told br.d this morning, you and I AGREE on what you said here.

        BUT, YOU and I, and BRIAN have a DIFFERENT take on the words “chose you”, as it relates to the whole verse.

        My take on it is that EVERYONE is the YOU, all because EVERYONE is chosen for salvation THRU (THRU BEING THE KEY WORD).

        There is ONLY one way to salvation and it is THRU. Everyone is invited, but not everyone RSVP’s.


        However, to conclude, Thessalonians is to the Jews, not Gentiles. In other words, YOU are not the elect. Unless, of course, you are a Jew.

        But, the word BEGINNING has nothing to do with CHOOSING anyone at all. The choosing is EVERYONE, THRU. His audience was ALREADY Christians, he was speaking to the choir who already obtained salvation THRU. Paul’s use of the word “YOU” was his audience, NOT due to them being chosen, but because they obtained it THRU something.

        Non Christians are INVITED too.

        And if Paul’s audience was NON-CHRISTIANS, he would have said, YOU ARE CHOSEN TO SALVATION THRU…

        That is an INVITE. That does not say that they were chosen. It’s telling them what the THRU is. Let me say that again, it’s telling them WHAT the thru is. Nothing more, nothing less.

        Ed Chapman

      17. chapmaned24 writes, “BUT, YOU and I, and BRIAN have a DIFFERENT take on the words “chose you”, as it relates to the whole verse.
        My take on it is that EVERYONE is the YOU, all because EVERYONE is chosen for salvation THRU (THRU BEING THE KEY WORD).”

        So, we have Paul writing, ‘But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation…” and you take, “…you, brethren beloved by the Lord,…” to be everyone and not the Thessalonians. That is eisegesis and you do in order to say, “…all because EVERYONE is chosen for salvation THRU…” You are basically saying that God chose everyone for sanctification by the Spirit and belief of the truth. That may be true but that is not what this verse tells us. Absent a sound argument to this effect, you are doing eisegesis.

        Then, “However, to conclude, Thessalonians is to the Jews,…”

        So, you have Paul, the apostle to the gentiles, only writing to the Jews in Thessalonica. This, even though Paul addresses his epistle to “To the church of the Thessalonians…” At the least, this would include both Jews and gentiles in that church. In Romans 10, Paul said, “there is no distinction between Jew and Greek.” Then, in Galatians 3, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” In Colossians 3, “you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” Paul is more inclusive than you are.

        Then, “That does not say that they were chosen….”

        It is hard to argue against Paul, “…God from the beginning chose you for salvation…”

      18. rhutchin,

        You show your ignorance in Bible knowledge, that’s for sure.

        IT was always the custom of Paul to go preach to the JEWS FIRST before ever going to the Gentiles.

        If you read the book of Acts…I won’t tell ya where, cuz ya gotta read it on your own, you will see that when Paul went to Thess…whatever that word is, that there was an UPROAR with the Jews against Paul who was preaching TO THE JEWS. Paul made a lot of enemies at that time.

        But Paul was able to convert some of them.

        But you wouldn’t know that, now would you?

        There is also a DISTINCTION between CHURCHES OF THE JEWS and CHURCHES of the Gentiles.

        Many wrongly think that Both Jews and Gentiles attended the same Christian church services. But that just goes to show that no one is READING the bible as a novel.

        Romans 16:4
        4 Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.

        The Jews have to be DE-CONVERTED from OBSERVING the law of Moses.

        Gentiles never had the law of Moses to begin with. Especially in the days of Paul evangelizing. Do you think that Paul have a list of 613 laws that people had to obey, including the Ten Commandments? Or, was it Love Thy Neighbor as theyself?

        Did you know that the Bereans were JEWS?


        A synagogue.

        Gentiles are NOT ALLOWED IN A JEWISH SYNAGOGUE, as it was forbidden by law.

        The Epistles of Peter is EASY to figure out that he was talking to the Jews. All ya gotta do is read it. He was in Babylon at one point. There were many more Jews in Babylon than had come back to Israel, and it is the location that the Babylonian Talmud was written.

        My golly goodness, lots of ignorance with you knowledgeable people. NOT.

        Ed Chapman

      19. rhutchin,

        Ephesians 2:11
        11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;


        Oh, and I DARE YOU to find the word ELECT in ANY of the book of Ephesians at all.

        It’s NOT THERE.

        How about foreknowledge? No?

        How about the books of Corinthians?

        Corinthians is to the Gentiles, NOT THE JEWS. No mention either of Elect or Foreknowledge.

        1 Corinthians 12:2
        Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

        Ed Chapman

      20. rhutchin,

        Oh, and let’s not forget about the Book of James, buddy.

        James 1:1
        James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

        Who was the book of Hebrews directed at? Jews.

        Ed Chapman

      21. The subject is NOT “YOU”. You is just a pronoun. The subject in 2 Thessalonians 2:13 is AFTER the word “TO”, which is the word “salvation” and the adverb is “THROUGH”.

        Everyone is the YOU. Everyone is CHOSEN TO SALVATION through…

        God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:


        Ephesians 1:4

        The subject is NOT US.

        Every Christian is the US. US is just a pronoun, not the subject. The subject of Ephesians 1:4 is AFTER the words “THAT WE SHOULD BE”, which is the words, “holy and without blame before him in love.”

        The subject of Ephesians 1:4 is NOT Calvinists (US).

        According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:


        That’s what it is saying. It isn’t saying that anyone was chosen.


        Now, while you may have exhaustive, at your fingertips commentaries, I’m not buying what they are saying.

        Ed Chapman

      22. Brian,

        In my opinion, using Phil 4:15 as an argument to justify the word beginning in 2 Thess 2:13 is flawed.


        Because Ephesians 1:4 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13 are LIKE VERSES, and as such, the Calvinists use both to justify that they were chosen IN THE BEGINNING [of time], or AT THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH.

        Now, the only way that you could be right in this argument, using hermanuetics, of course, is if Paul began his ministry AT THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH.

        In other words, Phil 4:15 can’t be used to justify the word beginning, since Ephesians 1:4 is using the phrase, AT THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH.

        Ephesians 1:4 is the only verse that can be used to figure out when the beginning is, not Phil 4:15.

        And since I quoted an ARMENIAN website yesterday, I see that you get your talking points from Armenians, instead of independent study, cuz ya both are basically saying the same thing.

        Compare the 2 verses (Ephesians 1:4 with 2 Thessalonians 2:13), and leave Phil 4:15 out of the conversation.


        Ed Chapman

      23. Brian,

        The last thing I need to mention here, as it is important to Thessalonians, is the word Elect, or Election.

        In the Baptist world, whether Calvinist or not, they seem to think that the word Christian and Elect goes hand in hand.

        But it doesn’t.

        We had this discussion about a year ago…on this thread.

        In my opinion, the Elect are Jews only, whether saved, or unsaved, and there is bible proof of that.

        The word Israel cannot be spiritually defined as Christians in the case of the word Elect, or Election.

        The reason that the Jews are the elect is because God had to blind them for the purpose of killing Jesus, as well as to keep Judaism alive and well while remaining blind to the Messiah, Jesus.

        And since it was God who put the blinders on the Jews, he will indeed unblind them, awaking them from the slumber that God put them in, just like he did with Paul. God is not a respector of persons, and the Jews are no different than Paul is.

        People seem to think that THIS LIFE is the only opportunity to be saved, but we are judged AFTER we die, not before. Ignorance is the same as saying INNOCENT, in that the sins committed while ignorant is not imputed. Jesus demonstrated this when the Pharisees asked Jesus if they were blind, and Jesus responded with, “If you were blind, you would have NO SIN, but since you claim to see, your sins remain.”

        The blind can’t see, and the Jews are blind, and therefore, all the sins that the blind Jews have committed are not imputed.

        Many are ignorant regarding the PURPOSE of the Law of Moses. The only purpose of the law was to TRIP PEOPLE UP, so that sin can increase.

        There was a REASON that Abraham didn’t have the law of Moses, but NO ONE discusses that. But they sure want to talk about the law of Moses.

        Abraham slept with his sister, and God never informed him of the verses pertaining to that sin. WHY? And then to give Abraham and his sister a child, yet, it’s an evil act to sleep with your sister.

        Now, you admonished me for bringing that up last I recall, but ya never dug into this topic.

        The sin could NEVER BE imputed to Abraham, and why is that? Ignorance, and God was not gonna tell him, either. This same philosophy is also mentioned in Romans 2:14-16, and prior to Adam and Eve getting knowledge (God never told them that they were naked, as God asked, “Who told you that you were naked).

        Deuteronomy 29:4
        Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.

        Acts 28:26
        Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:

        Acts 28:27
        For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

        Deuteronomy 29:4 is mentioned in:

        Romans 11:7-8
        7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.

        8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

        It’s not the fault of the Jews for not seeing, perceiving, or hearing. God OPENED UP THE MIND of Paul…oh, and Lydia, too. Lydia was a Jew, not a Gentile.

        The reason that Paul gives:

        1 Timothy 1:13
        …I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

        How is Paul different from the average Jew?

        Romans 11:32
        32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

        Gentiles are not blind, no matter how much the Calvinists say that everyone is.

        Romans 15:21
        But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.

        The Jews are the ones who are the elect, not the Gentiles. Thessalonians were to the Jews, not the Gentiles.

        You may argue that the message is to all, both Jews and Gentiles, for there is no difference, etc.

        Paul always went to the JEW FIRST before going to the Gentiles. And there was a huge animosity against Paul from the Jews for preaching Jesus TO the Jews, but some did convert to Jesus, thus the epistles of Thessalonians to the Jews (elect), not the Gentiles.

        The major error is relating the word elect to the word Christian, as if it pertains to both Jew and Gentile Christian. It doesn’t.

        Ed Chapman

      24. chapmaned24 writes, “In my opinion, the Elect are Jews only, whether saved, or unsaved, and there is bible proof of that.”

        So, in Romans 8, where we read, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies,” you say Paul is singling out Jews in that one comment, “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect?”?

      25. rhutchin,

        You state:
        “So, in Romans 8, where we read, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies,” you say Paul is singling out Jews in that one comment, “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect?”?”

        My response:

        Paul is talking to Gentiles ABOUT THE JEWS, the elect. WHO shall bring a charge against the Jews?

        Let me tell ya who!

        The GENTILES do all the time. They blame the Jews for killing Jesus, they blame the Jews for being rich, they blame the Jews for owning banks, they blame the Jews for nothing more than existing.

        Even Gentile Christians badmouth the Jews, because that is what they were taught by the likes of Martin Luther, and more.

        The Catholics did it all the time. People who call themselves Christians bring charges against the Jews.

        But they are INNOCENT no matter what sins that they have committed, because they are blind. Their sins pile up, and are enormous, but ya know what? Their blindness will give them MERCY. And who are we to tell God, “But God, look at the evil things that they have done! They don’t deserve your mercy! They deserve to be burning in hell because they didn’t accept you as their savior!”.

        But ya fail to see that their blindness is what saves them.

        Romans 11:28
        28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes.

        The above verse TELLS YOU that Gentiles are NOT ELECT. The elect are ENEMIES for YOUR SAKE.

        verse 32
        32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

        The Jews are the ones blind. NOT your everyday average human.

        Ed Chapman

      26. chapmaned24 writes, “Paul is talking to Gentiles ABOUT THE JEWS, the elect. WHO shall bring a charge against the Jews?”

        We understand Paul differently.

      27. rhutchin

        You state:
        “We understand Paul differently.”

        Who is WE?

        It’s not a matter of understanding Paul. It’s a COMPLETE reading of the WHOLE BOOK, as a novel, THEN you can understand Paul.

        You people strain at a word, talking about GRAMMAR and CHURCH HISTORY, when it is irrelevant.

        Romans 11:32
        32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

        WHO is “them all”, and who is “upon all”. WHOEVER “all” is, they are in UNBELIEF.

        WHY should THOSE people NOT get MERCY?

        What’s the PURPOSE of MERCY?

        Did you ever read the story of Joseph and his brothers? Joseph is a depiction of Jesus, where Joseph gave his BROTHERS mercy, and the brothers are portrayed as the Jews. THIS….THIS IS WHAT WE CALL PROPHESY OF THE RELATIONSHIP THAT JESUS HAS WITH THE JEWS.

        But, like you said, “WE”, whoever we is, understand the bible differently. God have MERCY on your soul, cuz you people are ignorant of scripture.

        Ed Chapman

      28. I enjoyed reading this post!

        Yes – the Calvinist mind lives in a world of DOUBLE-THINK
        And a mind so conditioned – quite naturally will project that very DOUBLE-THINK onto Scripture.
        Its just the way the human mind works :-]

      29. br.d

        Ya, this particular post is a very popular one.

        I find that the non-Cal Baptists are in such a hurry to dismiss Calvinism that they will twist ANY scripture to try to prove a point, such as using Phil 4:15 to tell us that “beginning” means Paul’s ministry, rather than Genesis 1:1, or John 1:1, or Ephesians 1:4.

        Earlier this morning, I read rhutchin’s comment to Brian, and I do agree with rhutchin, but then Brian comes out with NET something something, trying to debunk OUR thinking, as if we get our theology from the internet. I don’t know where that logic came from.

        Yes, Calvinism is WRONG, but the arguments against…I find amusing.

        Ed Chapman

      30. rhutchin,

        I had said:
        ““Paul is talking to Gentiles ABOUT THE JEWS, the elect. WHO shall bring a charge against the Jews?”

        rhutchin responds:
        “We understand Paul differently.”

        My final response:

        Romans 11:13
        13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles,

        But lets back up a few verses:

        Verses 1-2
        1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

        2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.


        1 Peter 1:2
        Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,

        Peter, the apostle to the JEWS.

        Elect, foreknowledge.

        Romans 8:29
        For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.



        But lets back up a few more verses:

        Romans 7:1
        Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?

        WHO but the Jews knows the law?

        But wait…there’s more:

        Romans 2:17
        17 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,


        It is the Jews that are the ones idientified as foreknew, foreknow, foreknowledge…not the Gentiles.

        When you read the book of Romans, if Paul is speaking to the Jews, YOU KNOW IT. And if Paul is addressing the Gentiles, YOU KNOW IT.

        Key words and phrases. Gentiles are NOT the foreknowledge of God, not the elect, not the ones under the law of Moses, not the blind.

        You know the distinction by reading the whole Bible as a novel. Calvinists are not elect. Just the Jews.

        Ed Chapman

  3. Brian, my KJV says “in the beginning” based on the Textus Receptus..εν αρχη. This is the same phrase used at Genesis 1:1 in the Greek Septuigant and John 1:1 TR. and is translated ….in the beginning. So it could be as you say, there’s not a textual problem, just a translation choice. I tend to lean toward the..NIV ..in the early days, NASB…the first preaching…of the Gospel. IMHO

  4. rhutchin
    That’s wrong. God set the external situation in which Adam was placed (the garden, Satan, Eve). In doing so, God knew with infinite understanding that Adam would eat the fruit given those factors. Adam was PERMITTED to obey God but could not overcome himself to do so and that was a natural limitation that Adam could not overcome without God’s help..

    Not LOGICALLY possible
    1) Calvin’s god cannot RENDER-CERTAIN Adam’s disobedience and Adam’s obedience come to pass at the same time.
    He can only RENDER-CERTAIN one of these.

    2) Calvin’s god cannot leave OPEN the DETERMINATION of which one of those will come to pass.
    That would be OPEN THEISM which Calvinism rejects.

    Theopedia – Open theism:
    Open theism…..is the belief that God does not exercise meticulous control of the universe but leaves certain events “open” …
    In this case for Adam or Nature to determine.

    3) By virtue of RENDERING-CERTAIN Adam’s disobedience come to pass – Calvin’s god by caveat also RENDERED-CERTAIN that Adam’s obedience wound NOT come to pass.


    That is consistent with what I said.
    So long as you allow the divine to be either the immediate or remote, cause, no problem. None of your points 1-3 preclude this.

    Calvin’s god CANNOT PERMIT the NEGATION of what he RENDERS CERTAIN

    Additionally – it doesn’t really matter if there is an immediate cause or a remote cause.
    Since in Theological Determinism Adam’s natural ability to obey was RENDERED-CERTAIN TO NEVER HAVE EXISTENCE in the first place. Since obedience for Adam represented a physically IMPOSSIBLE future.

    As Peter Van Inwagen affirms:
    “Determinism may now be defined: it is the thesis that there is at any instant exactly one physically possible future.”

  5. BrD (and Brian if you are “watching”),

    Below is a link to a comment I posted (now removed) on another blog a couple of days ago (on 12/27/19 to be exact). If the link works adequately, you should be able to view my comment when it was “awaiting moderation” (found at the very bottom of the thread).

    To keep a long story short, my comment was never posted for others to read. And, obviously, that was the “goal” of the moderator on that website. While I was somewhat disappointed the comment never saw the light of day, what was really disturbing is the lack of a response or rebuttal. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just deleted.

    I just wanted to share this with you BrD (and Brian) because, at least here, all comments are approved, even if that comment might not be “what we believe”. Honestly, I just thought the response (or rather, lack of a response) and the deletion of the post was cowardly. Especially coming from a professing Christian.

    Anyway, I appreciate what you (and all the moderators) do here at this blog. The idea of a thoughtful comment being deleted just because it exposes the possible errors of our own beliefs is both arrogant and ungracious.

    Please let me know if my comment at the bottom of the thread can be viewed. It should be #34.



    1. I see it there for now Philip. My guess is that you will probably be approved… But that the admin of that site might be slow with pending comments on the holidays. 😊

    2. Thanks for your kind words Phillip!
      I see your post there also still waiting moderation.
      And I would guess along with Brian that the host is perhaps taken up with Holiday duties.

  6. Brian and BrD,

    I guess I should have explained better.

    That is a screen shot right after I posted my comment.

    Below is a link to that same site as of the 28th (the next day) and as of right now (a current view).


    Gone. I thought the comment could stay in moderation until the administrator had a chance to form a rebuttal. But, again, nothing. Just deleted. Without a word, either by post or email. At first I thought my comment might have been too long. Or that maybe they had guidelines that I stepped over. But, nope. Just deleted. Like it never happened.

    If I hadn’t saved the previous link, there would be no evidence the comment was ever posted. Again, just sad that another brother in Christ would delete a post just because he didn’t want to deal with it and obviously didn’t want other on-lookers to see it. I’ve never had a comment deleted due to content. Anywhere.

    Again, I appreciate y’all! Everything gets posted. No matter how outlandish others might perceive it to be.

  7. Okay.

    My bad. He responded. He must have saved my comment, and posted it when he had a chance to respond.

    Blessings to you, brothers.

    Happy New Year!

    1. Phillip… it seems pretty wordy and unorganized. He understands the corporate election idea of Israel ok, it seems. But I disagree with his understanding of the branches in Rom 11 as individuals.

      I read fairly quickly… but I don’t recall him mentioning what he thinks of precreation election of individuals. So I would be interested in his take on Eph 1:4, for example.

      1. Brian,

        I appreciate the feedback.

        I have no idea who this Samuel Whitefield is, but when I noticed the tulips at the top of the article, I had to guess he was a Calvinist.

        Whitefield writes… “This is why we have to be careful not to confuse election in the call and purposes of God with election unto salvation.”

        He hints on two forms of election. I never read a Calvinist say anything even remotely like this before. Calvinists just speak of unconditional election of individuals to salvation and nothing more. I was just taken back a bit when I read this. He does touch on the notion of predestination of individuals to salvation, but doesn’t elaborate (not the point of this article).

        He also seems to understand the importance of the salvation of the nation of Israel, which also caught me a little off guard because most Calvinists are Amillennial. Whitefield writes…

        “Even though she is unsaved, her calling remains and God refuses to end the age without bringing her into it; therefore, the rage over Israel’s election is ultimately not a controversy over Israel but a controversy over the God who elected her.”

        I thought that was profound.

        Can you elaborate a bit on your disagreement with him regarding the branches? I’m not sure I understand.


      2. Phillip, if I were to guess, this is trying hard to be biblical first and loyal to theology second. On that he should be commended. As for the branches in Rom 11, 22

        The branches in Rom 11:22 are not individuals and the tree is not personal salvation… unless you believe God has to take away personal salvation to make room for others to get saved…
        Romans 11:19-20 NKJV — You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear.

        The branches are generations of nations being blessed by God with gospel ministry. They are broken off from those gospel blessings when as a nation they turn from a corporate Christian profession.

        In contexts where ἔθνος is contrasted with Jews, then “Gentiles” seems appropriate. But in contexts where it is contrasted with “Israel” (as a nation), like this one, I think the translation – “nations” – is more appropriate. I think Paul is talking about Israel as a nation has been cut off from the covenant blessings that started with Abraham, and the other nations can now be grafted in to those blessings.

        Those covenant blessings given to other nations in the preaching of the gospel of Christ and His kingdom do not guarantee personal salvation for everyone in those nations, but they do indeed provide more opportunity for individual salvation in each of those nations, just like Israel had when it was connected to those blessings of promise.

        I’m not denying that the passage is a difficult one, especially because of its parabolic genre. You may need to consider again the implication of “branches were broken off that I might be grafted in” statement again. But does God break off unbelieving individuals to make room for believing individuals, or does He break off gospel benefits from the nation of Israel for multiple generations so that those benefits can spread rapidly to the other nations?

        The noun – ἀπιστία – “unbelief”, does not have to mean they once believed in Jesus as Messiah as individuals or as a nation and then “stopped believing”. But instead, there was sufficient unbelief in them as a nation, especially in the leadership, that the nation was cut off from the covenant/gospel privileges until the fullness of the Nations (the representation God seeks from every one of them) is reached.

      3. Brian,

        Well, you have given me something (else) to think about.

        Is this your own take on Romans 11? Or do others share it (that you know of)?

        If you would like to discuss this further off-line, you are more than welcome to contact me directly. If not, here is fine.

      4. Phillip, my memory is not as good on some things, but usually I come up with my own solutions in difficult passages and then look for who agrees with me. 😂

        So I believe this is one where others have agreed wirh me after reading it, but I don’t recall if I’ve found and written agreement yet in commentaries. Let me take a quick look again.

        Sure… we can discuss it here if you want, or offline.

      5. Brian,

        I have been studying Romans 9-11 for some time now and I have not found, what I consider to be, one sound biblical explanation for them. Obviously, I reject the Calvinist explanation. I currently lean this portion of scripture has to do with the restoration of the future kingdom promised to Israel.

        If we, as Gentiles, find this portion of scripture to be difficult (and today we have the entire word of God) then you know the Gentiles in Paul’s audience were clueless. However, I have no doubt that the Israelites in Paul’s audience knew exactly what he was talking about.

        As of today, I lean that the root of the olive tree is Abraham or, at least, the Abrahamic Covenant. For me, this would explain why Abraham’s descendants are the “natural branches”. I also lean that “the gifts and calling of God” that are “irrevocable” are the covenant promises made to Abraham’s descendants.

        Previously, you wrote….. “the noun – ἀπιστία – ‘unbelief’, does not have to mean they once believed in Jesus as Messiah as individuals or as a nation and then ‘stopped believing’.”

        That’s interesting, because I sometimes wonder if by “unbelief” Paul (originally) meant “unfaithful” or just “disobedient”.

        If you are comfortable discussing this in a public forum we can. Maybe others are still watching this (old) thread and would consider it beneficial. If you prefer, you can reach out to me directly, off-line (do you have my email address?), and we can discuss un-interrupted. I don’t want the discussion going in 20 different directions.

        I appreciate the dialogue.

      6. I, myself, would love to see a dialog, and I would stay out of the conversation, so as not to interrupt.

        However, I’d like to interject here, this one time, that when the word, unbelief, is used, it’s not discussing Jesus… It’s not discussing the messiah. It’s discussing one word only.

        That one word? Righteousness.

        Righteousness thru the law, or, righteousness without the law.

        Jews don’t believe anyone can be righteous without obeying the law, so, they still want the law, they are trying to obtain righteousness thru the law.

        Their unbelief is based on the law.

        Thru Jesus, the law is removed, for those who believe, and they don’t believe in Jesus being the messiah, but, they had and have no clue that Jesus was to remove the law, hence, believing Jews telling Gentiles to obey the law, and be circumcised in acts 15. Those Jew believed in Jesus, but still thought that God wants believers to obey the law.

        Anyway, I believe that the word unbelief has to do with righteousness, because the constant contrast is the difference between works of the law vs. Grace.

        All thru Romans, this is discussed. Belief in Jesus is not the issue… unless it’s accompanied with righteousness apart from the law, that Jesus justifies the ungodly thru grace, not law, that no one can earn salvation thru the law, and that Abraham BELIEVED God’s promises, without the law justifying Abraham.

        I’m always confused when the words, blessings of Abraham come into play in this. I’m like, what does that have to do with the price of tea I China?

        Anyway, I’ll back out, and not interject further.


        Ed Chapman

      7. Sure, Phillip, we can dialog here. I don’t mind. I did take a quick look… and did not find yet any who hold to my branch view that there are nations (and generations of them) being benefited by the covenant/gospel promises.

        I have no problem seeing that root of the olive tree as beginning with the Abrahamic covenant promises which were intended to include the nations being being blessed by his Seed, which was Christ. [Gal 3:16 NKJV] Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ.

        And I have no problem seeing – ἀπιστία – as including unfaithfulness or disobedience, while maintaining it is a general rejection by the nation of the gospel blessings, especially be the leaders representing a nation.

      8. Brian,

        Okay. Discussion here is fine, but if too many jump in and try to muddy the water, I am getting out and, hopefully, we can take it off-line.

        I have been dialoguing with you for about 5 plus years now and I consider you to be fair-minded, willing to think outside of the box, challenge the status quo, and gracious. And, more important, objective. All refreshing attributes.

        After 5 plus years of commenting here, I think we both know we agree on much, while slightly disagreeing in some minor areas. So I don’t expect us to come to blows at every turn or even at all.

        And, for clarity, when I say I “lean” a certain way that by no means I am “locked in” and can’t be persuaded otherwise. My only goal here is to understand Him better. If that goal puts the fire of Calvinism out once and for all, so be it. If that goal puts me at odds with others, that’s fine too.

        So how do you think it best for us to go forward? I don’t want this to get messy and I don’t want it to be burdensome.

      9. Well, Phillip, I’m here to be a resource to help you think things through. There are many things I also “lean” towards believing… and many things I’m locked in on believing until Jesus comes and tells me I was wrong to be dogmatic about something I believed based on normal rules of grammar and context.

        At this point I totally doubt He will do that… But I could be Peter misinterpreting the sheet being let down. 😁 The things I lean towards would need some specific Scripture proof to the contrary to get me to change, and that proof would also need to be from using normal rules of grammar and context.

        So you can ask the first question from Rom 9-11. I always think I’ve shared all what I thought before… But I may not have.

      10. If it helps Philip – I can ask others to stay out of your dialog with Brian.
        They should be able to restrain themselves – at least for a little :-]

      11. BrD,

        Hopefully that would not be necessary. I think most folks here are adults and can behave as such. That said, please feel free to intervene if warranted.

    2. Hi Phillip,
      My focus will typically be different from Brian’s.
      When it comes to the Calvinist position on scripture – Brian is typically more inclined to focus on the exegetical aspects – while I am typically more inclined to focus on irrational thinking patterns I observe in Calvinist thinking.

      So here are a few comments from me:

      Firstly on the issue of exegesis – I am reminded of what N.t. Wright says
      “Romans 9 has become the happy hunting ground for Reformed Theologists”

      I think you get the gist of what Dr. Wright is alluding to.
      One can approach the data of scripture with one’s mind already made up – and the motivation is to simply *USE* scripture for one’s own purposes. By virtue of approaching scripture that way – one is disrespecting the text – and is guaranteed to abuse it..

      Secondly on Calvinism’s IRRATIONAL thinking
      Here are my responses to a few quotes from the article:

      There, Paul makes the case that the Old Testament predicted a scenario where the gentiles would end up provoking Israel to return to her God.

      But how does that make sense to a Theological Determinist (aka Calvinist)?
      Would it be logical to say that Puppet_A provoked Puppet_B in a puppet show?

      The puppets would have to have AUTONOMY in order for that to be logical.
      And people do not have any more AUTONOMY in Calvinism than puppets do.

      How can one attribute anything to “the gentiles” when in Theological Determinism absolutely nothing is UP TO the creature?
      The gentiles can only BE/DO what Calvin’s god determines them to BE/DO
      Nothing more and nothing less is permitted.

      So with that as a logical consequence of Theological Determinism – to promote the idea that one person can provoke another – is to promote the idea that one puppet can provoke another

      quote from article
      Paul’s point is that Israel’s fall, while shocking and unanticipated, is actually advancing God’s plan.

      How does it make sense in Theological Determinism to say that something is “shocking”?

      For something to be “shocking” would entail a certain degree of AUTONOMOUS mental functionality – which does not exist in Theological Determinism.

      Why doesn’t the author use language consistent with what he believes?
      That every microsecond is of every day is pre-programmed in advance.

      As Calvinist Robert R. McLaughlin says:
      “God merely *PROGRAMMED* into the divine decrees all our thoughts, motives, decisions and actions”
      (The Doctrine of Divine Decree)

      And as Calvinist Paul Helms says:
      Every atom and molecule, every thought and desire….every twist and turn of each of these is under the direct control of God (The Providence of God pg 22)

      quote from the article:
      The purpose of election is to demonstrate that no one is worthy.

      What sense does it make to even suggest a creature is “worthy” in Theological Determinism?

      Are puppets said to be “worthy” of being chosen for a certain puppet show?
      What can a puppet possibly do to make itself “worthy”?

      In Theological Determinism absolutely NOTHING is UP TO the creature.
      So in that context – it is a logically impossible to be “worthy” of anything.
      So if Theological Determinism is true – then why isn’t Paul using language that is logically consistent with it being true?

      quote from article:
      Moses interceded on the basis of the same principle that Paul recognizes.

      How does that make sense if Theological Determinism is true?

      In Theological Determinism absolutely everything is determined by Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world – and is FATED to occur.

      So why does Moses assume that events *CAN* come to pass otherwise?
      ff Theological Determinism is true – then Moses must know that is a logical impossibility.
      Moses must know that interceding for people *AS-IF* they can DO OTHERWISE than what is immutably decreed is IRRATIONAL thinking.

      Does Moses think using Calvinism’s DOUBLE-THINK patterns?

  8. Brian,

    Well, no place like the beginning.

    Romans 9: 1-5 (NKJV)
    I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

    I don’t see any confusion in verses 1 thru 5. The above describes Paul’s unceasing love for his follow Israelites, even to the point of forfeiting his own salvation if that would satisfy God’s wrath and save his Jewish brothers. Paul’s words even mimic those of Moses (Exodus 32:31-32 NKJV). All the blessings God gave to Israel are still theirs. The adoption, the glory, the covenants, the law, the service of God, and the promises are all in the present tense. I would even say that in their fallen state, they are still the chosen people of God.

    Romans 9: 6 (NKJV)….
    But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel…

    Romans 9:6 (KJV)….
    Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel

    Romans 9:6 (NASB)….
    But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel

    Brian, here is the first portion of scripture I need your help with. What would be your literal interpretation of…. “For they are not all Israel who are of Israel”?

    1. Phillip… I would add that Paul’s love and desire for all his Israelite brethren to be saved can not be an unholy love or a love greater than God has for those same lost Israelites.

      But I take Romans 9:6 this way — But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect [in respect to God’s promises and love for the elect nation of Israel]. For [because] they are not all Israel [the covenant people] who are of Israel [the physical forefather, Jacob, and the physical nation from his seed].

      This view comes from seeing Paul’s explanation of what he means in verse 8 – That is, those who are the children of the flesh [“of Israel”] , these are not the children of God [“not all Israel”]; but the children of the promise [who believe in the promise] are counted [present tense, not past tense before creation] as the seed.

      This is just like Galatians 3:6-7, 26, 29 NKJV — just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham…. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus….And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

      1. Brian,


        When it says “for they are not all Israel who are of Israel”, who are the “they” Paul is referring to?

      2. Phillip… I thought my answer gave both meanings of the two instances of “Israel” as I see them in that verse. And the “they” you asked about points to those in the second “Israel” in the verse that are not part of the first “Israel” in the verse.

      3. Brian,

        Okay. That helps.

        So correct me if I am wrong. Your take would read as “But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. Because not all the physical descendants of Israel (Jacob) are the covenant people.”

        Here’s my take….

        Romans 9: 6 (NKJV)….
        But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel…

        Paul is saying that the word of God has indeed taken at least some effect on His chosen people. Maybe not entirely, but certainly partially. Compare this with what Paul stated just moments earlier.

        Romans 3:3-4a (NKJV)….
        For what if some (“some”, not “all”) did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not!

        Now applying this with Romans 9:6, and keeping Romans 9:3 in mind, we have the following….

        “For they (those unbelieving or unfaithful Israelites) are not all Israel who are of Israel (Jacob)”.

        The larger group does not represent the whole. While the majority of Israel rejected God’s word, a portion, a remnant, of the chosen people have remained faithful. There has always been a faithful, or righteous, Israel, within the nation of Israel. Being a physical descendant of Abraham won’t save them (Romans 2:17-29). They have to come to God by faith (Romans 8-9a). However, regardless of faith, both groups are still the elect of God.

        Romans 9:7-9 (NKJV)…
        nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.”

        Paul now begins to outline the lineage of the chosen/covenant people. Some have translated “those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God” as meaning it wasn’t about the physical lineage, but the spiritual thru faith. These folks believe “the children of the flesh” refers to physical birth, while the “children of the promise” refers to spiritual birth. While it is true that anyone of faith is a child of Abraham, this is not what Paul is alluding to here. If that were the case, why distinguish between Sarah and Hagar? Surely a descendant of Ishmael could become a child of God thru faith, but Paul says “these are not the children of God”. Instead, the “children of the flesh” is a reference to Abraham’s attempt to fulfill God’s promise thru his own fleshy efforts instead of relying on God’s promise. This same Paul writes…

        Galatians 4:23…..
        But he (Ishmael) who was of the bondwoman (Hagar) was born according to the flesh, and he (Isaac) of the freewoman (Sarah) through promise

        Again, if “the children of the promise” referred to salvation thru faith, then why single out Sarah and reject Hagar? The “children of the promise” would come thru Sarah, not Hagar, as God promised. This is biblical proof that the physical descendants of Ishmael, “the children of the flesh”, are not “the children of God” or the covenant people.

        Genesis 17:17-19 (NKJV)….
        Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!” Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.

        So the children of the promise refers to the covenant people. Isaac’s descendants after him. But just as all of Abraham’s children were not the children of promise, neither are Isaac’s, which we will see.

        Romans 9:10-13 (NKJV)….
        And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”

        Here we come to the conclusion of election. The children of promise would be the physical descendants of Jacob. That “great nation” promised to Abraham (Genesis 12:2). (Added note: “Our” father Isaac. Proof that Paul is addressing his fellow Israelites in the audience and not Gentiles.)

        1 Chronicles 16:16-17 (NKJV)….
        The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His oath to Isaac, and confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel for an everlasting covenant

        So, again, if the above is about becoming a child of promise via faith (this so called “spiritual” Israel), then why bother distinguishing between Isaac and Ishmael? Why Jacob instead of Esau? What would be the point? Surely the descendants of both Ishmael and Esau could come to God thru faith and be His (Romans 8:9b). I don’t believe this has anything to do regarding being a child of Abraham by coming to faith in Christ. It was about who Paul just seconds earlier said…

        Romans 9:4-5a (NKJV)…..
        ….who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises (all of them); of whom are the fathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came

        No Gentile can make such a claim. It was this that Paul was alluding to and it was this that Paul intended to prove. God’s word, His promises to the nation of Israel, did not fail. Paul is reminding his audience that God’s word is true, regardless if some, or even most, of Israel didn’t believe.

        I would appreciate your feedback.

      4. Phillip, you understood my view, I believe. Let me try to state what I think is the difference in our views. Yours – all the physical nation is the children of promise. Mine – the children of promise (in verse 6) is only some of the nation.

        I believe we both agree the physical nation is elect/chosen to be carriers of the promises and a source of their fulfillment through a physical Seed from their nation – Christ. But in this context Paul is explaining why the elect nation is being rejected (for a time) and yet the salvation promises to them are being still fulfilled.

        He just said in chapter 8 that nothing separates the elect from God’s love in Christ. Now he explains how the elect nation is being cut off from the benefits of the promises.

        I think we both agree God is going to be true to the promises to the physical nation because of His unconditional love for their fathers who believed those promises and were counted as children of promise through faith… but he’s not going to talk about that till chapter 11.

        Here in 9 Paul is making a distinction between the saved in Israel – the children of promise – and the physical unsaved Israel, being hardened like Pharaoh to provide the opportunity of the gospel to the nations.

        So while I agree there were physical selections between children (Ishmael & Isaac, Jacob & Esau), sovereignly made by God, that one would bear and physically fulfill the promises leading to Christ and one would not, and that these selections are discussed by Paul in this chapter, the phrase “children of promise” is not about those physical choices but about the saved seed being reckoned (present tense, vs 8).

        The use of the present tense verb convinces me of this definition. The children of promise in physical Israel were being added to in his day, Paul is saying, spiritually not physically.

        Being selected as part of the physical seed did not guarantee becoming a child of promise even though that child was selected to bear the promise and to experience the blessings pointing to the Christ, who is the fulfillment of the promise. Does that help?

      5. Brian,

        My deepest apologies, brother, for the delayed response. Some family issues (parents) have arisen and unfortunately I will not be able to interact for a while. As it stands right now, this issue would not allow me to respond as quickly as I would like and only string out the discussion over several days, if not weeks. I feel that wouldn’t be fair to you or others who might be interested in reading along. With that said, I think it best (and fair to you) to put this conversation on hold for the present time. Hopefully, if you are willing, we can come back in revisit this important topic at a later date.

        Again, sorry for the delayed response.


      6. No problem, Phillip. I understand very well how these things happen in our lives, and I will be praying for much grace and wisdom as you serve the Lord in these family matters.

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