Tag Archives: predestination

Picking a lane on election and predestination

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Note: While I’m unapologetic about holding to Reformed theology, I’m not evangelical about it. I share the gospel without mentioning it, and gladly fellowship with authentic Christians who hold other views. However, I don’t appreciate the ignorance and arrogance of those who condemn those who believe Reformed theology.

If God didn’t choose to save some particular sinners destined for Hell, then it is because He couldn’t save them, or He wouldn’t save them.

Reconciling God’s sovereignty with man’s responsibility is important to think through for orthodox Christians – whether Reformed, Arminian, Molinist, or whatever you like to call yourself (i.e., anyone who agrees that God knew before creation began who would ultimately choose to repent and believe, and that open theism is false because God is omniscient and not learning as He goes). But I see too many people making the task unnecessarily difficult because they forget that our default destination is Hell. They unwittingly create a straw-man situation where God owes an opportunity for salvation to everyone. But then it wouldn’t be mercy and grace; it would be justice.

In other words, aside from Adam and Eve, who could have chosen otherwise but ultimately needed a Savior because of their choices, everyone else was initially destined for Hell. (For simplicity, I’m leaving out any miscarriage and age of accountability scenarios, however one fleshes those out).

So absent God’s mercy and grace, everyone would end up in Hell. People overcomplicate this to try to get God off the hook for eternal damnation. But it is they who put him on the hook. Everyone deserves to go there, but by God’s mercy and grace, He elects and predestines to save some. So humans are always the cause of them not being saved, not God.

I’ve yet to see someone with orthodox Christian beliefs come up with any alternative besides these reasons for why people end up in Hell:

  1. God didn’t elect them (Reformed)
  2. God couldn’t persuade them (Arminian or Molinism)
  3. God wouldn’t persuade them (Arminian or Molinism)

Even if you hold the view that God “looked down the corridor of time” and elected and predestined those who would choose him of their own “free will,” you are still left with those choices for the remainder.

Option 2 means that nothing God could have done would have convinced you to repent and believe.  It wouldn’t have mattered if He sovereignly put a stellar apologist next door to you and gave you lots of encounters with solid Christians (i.e., good experiences with Christianity and complete access to the facts and logic behind the faith). That sounds like Reformed theology to me, as it means that God created these people knowing that nothing would persuade them to believe. In his foreknowledge, He elected not to make them spiritually alive (a la John 3:8 “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”). They allegedly could choose him freely, but He was powerless to convince them.

Option 3 means that God could have persuaded them but elected not to. Again, that sounds Reformed to me.

I’ve heard of people trying to use Molinism (the concept of middle knowledge, where God knows every possible scenario that could have happened) to get around this, saying that God picked the universe where the most people would choose him. But that means that some would go to Hell in this universe but wouldn’t have in another universe, so God chose them to go to Hell. So they unwittingly end up with the same (false) scenario they are trying to explain away.

It is more biblical and logical to say that people have “free will” within their given nature. But as you can’t choose to fly like a bird because it isn’t in your nature, you can’t choose Jesus when it isn’t in your spiritually dead nature. But if God makes you spiritually alive (again, John 3:8) then you can and will choose Jesus because it is now in your nature to be able to do so.

If God didn’t choose to save some particular sinners destined for Hell, then it is because He couldn’t save them, or He wouldn’t save them.


Bonus thought: Why would Paul anticipate this argument if he was presenting anything but the Reformed view? Romans 9:19–20 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”

John 10:25-30 – so many eternal truths in one short passage

I’ve been focusing on this passage a lot as I added it to my Bible Memory list.  It has one fascinating and important truth after another.  The context is the “Good Shepherd” narrative where Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees.  He was asked if He was really the Christ, but they didn’t want the answer.

John 10:25–30 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

It is crucial to note that these people have seen Jesus face-to-face many times and even seen his miracles firsthand, yet they still don’t believe.

John 10:25 I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe . . .

Keep that in mind when skeptics say they’d believe if only they got a sign from God.  The Bible says they have already been given plenty of signs to know about God:

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

And Jesus warned against asking for signs:

Matthew 16:4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.

And just ask atheists if they’d worship God even if they were provided evidence that met their standards.  Many will admit that they still wouldn’t follow him.

Why didn’t the listeners believe even when they talked to the incarnate Christ in person and saw his miracles?  Because they weren’t his.  The Father hadn’t given them to Jesus.  And as Stan noted in the comments section, they believed because they were his sheep.  They didn’t believe and then become his sheep.

but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep . . . My Father, who has given them to me . . .

How are his sheep identified?  They believe Jesus, they follow Jesus and they persevere over time.

but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

So when “Christian” Leftists and other false teachers deny the Bible – which Jesus affirmed (the Old Testament) and authorized (the New Testament), then you can know they are wolves.  They don’t believe Jesus.   They don’t follow him, they follow the world.

One of the hidden blessings of the LGBTQX movement is that it makes a clear distinction between sheep and goats.  No one will have an excuse as to why they followed a false teacher.

This is an important truth for evangelism.  We should scatter the seed of the Gospel broadly and not try to guess who is and isn’t in Jesus’ flock.  We’ve all seen people who seemed highly unlikely to believe (I witness that monthly doing prison ministry) as well as those who you’d think would believe but don’t.  It glorifies God to proclaim the truth about Jesus regardless of whether people accept him.  But if people are hostile to the Gospel, then they either aren’t his sheep or it isn’t their time to believe.

And note the double assurance of perseverance: No one will snatch you out of Jesus’ hand or the Father’s hand.  You didn’t save yourself, you won’t un-save yourself, and no one else will un-save you.  That isn’t to say that you should never test yourself, just that if you have repented, believed and trust his Word then your default setting should be set on assurance.

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

If you work really hard you can ignore the concept of predestination and salvation by grace and not works in this and other passages :-).  There is no hint that Jesus thinks that if He just badgers them some more that they will become his sheep.  Also this:

My Father, who has given them to me . . .

And note Jesus’ divinity here.  His hand = the Father’s hands. And this:

I and the Father are one.

The whole passage is so clear about sheep, goats, evidence, evangelism, predestination, perseverance of the saints and salvation by grace.  It is no accident that the “Christian” Left works overtime to dismiss the authority of the Gospel of John (and more).  Every time they do so they prove Jesus’ points.

Meditate on this passage today and enjoy the beautiful truths!

Roundup

If you are going to have a productive discussion about predestination, it is important to have a clear understanding of what each party means by the term free will. Stan’s son does a nice job of summarizing it in the link.

Remember, it was acceptable for Ted Kennedy to joke about Mary Jo Kopechne’s death but if you remind people of it then you are crass and tasteless.

And according to a writer on the Huffington Post , maybe Mary Jo would have thought her death was worth it all:

Still, ignorance doesn’t preclude a right to wonder. So it doesn’t automatically make someone (aka, me) a Limbaugh-loving, aerial-wolf-hunting NRA troll for asking what Mary Jo Kopechne would have had to say about Ted’s death, and what she’d have thought of the life and career that are being (rightfully) heralded.

Who knows — maybe she’d feel it was worth it.

Or who knows? Maybe she would have become a Senator.

Here’s the best eulogy for Ted that I’ve seen.  Very thorough. 

Apparently Michael Behe is just too scary for some people. As he notes, perhaps we aren’t as free and/or as brave as we thought.

But remember, Expelled! just made all that stuff up about scientific and academic freedom. All those scientific types just want the facts out there.

Watch the trailer for Blood Money. Looks like a great expose of the abortion industry and those destroyed by it.

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