Posts Tagged ‘predestination’
Posted by Job on February 1, 2012
Posted in Jesus Christ | Tagged: Calvinism, Charles Sermon, Christianity, doctrine, election, free will, human responsibility, Particular Baptist, preaching, predestination, Reformed Baptist, Romans 10, Romans 10:20-21, salvation, sermon, sovereign grace, video | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Job on October 26, 2011
In this sermon Paul talks about the misuse of Scripture in the understanding of salvation.
Regeneration vs Decisionism – DEEPER Conference 2008 Breakout Session (Living Waters & Way of the Master)
Posted in Bible, Christianity, discernment, election, evangelical, evangelical christian, evangelism, faith, false doctrine, false teaching, Holy Spirit, irresistible grace, Jesus Christ, Judaism, limited atonement, Reformed, religion, Ruach Hakadosh, salvation, salvation prayer, salvation through Jesus Christ, spiritual warfare, televangelism, testimony | Tagged: Baptist, Biblicism, Calvinism, decisional regeneration, doctrine, free will, God, infralapsarianism, Jesus Christ, paul washer, preaching, predestination, regeneration, salvation, sermon, soteriology, supralapsarianism, Theology, video | 4 Comments »
Posted by Job on December 31, 2010
Many Christians acknowledge the clear Biblical evidence concerning predestination. However, in order to preserve their belief that God must humble Himself, bow before, and submit to man’s free will decisions, they have incorporated this Biblical evidence into a doctrine called “predestined foreknowledge.” It basically allows free will to coexist with the rest of Calvinism (as opposed to pure Wesleyanism, which rejects Calvinism completely) and is largely the position of most evangelical and fundamentalist churches. However, this position still falls short of making the best use of the Bible’s evidence.
The “predestined foreknowledge” doctrine is based on Romans 8:29, which reads “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.” Unfortunately the piece below, which otherwise addresses all the other issues adequately, does not properly deal with this verse, instead choosing to deal with other verses that more explicitly teach the predestination doctrine.
Instead, the problem is a translation issue. The word translated “foreknow”, proginōskō, should actually be translated as foreordain. As a matter of fact, proginōskō is translated as foreordain in 1 Peter 1:20. And of course, this text, by the Palestinian Jew Peter as opposed to the more Hellenized diaspora Jew Paul, says “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you”. So, Romans 8:29 should read “”For whom he did foreordain, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” And that allows Romans 8:29 to be interpreted with 1 Peter 1:13-25. Not surprisingly, if you do that, they confirm each other in one coherent, unified doctrinal statement which relates election, predestination and salvation to sanctification, perfection and glorification in Christ Jesus.
The bottom line: Romans 8:29, especially when it is interpreted with 1 Peter 1:13-25 and being consistent with the translation of the same word (totally appropriate as they are used in the same context), clearly declares that God predestinates based on His choice, and not on His foreknowledge of our choice. Before you say “no fair, why can’t I just interpret proginōskō to be “foreknew” in 1 Peter 1:20″? Simple, because saying that God foreknew about the blood of Jesus Christ from the foundation of the world makes no sense whatsoever. God the Father didn’t just know that Jesus Christ would die for our sins. God PLANNED for Jesus Christ to die for our sins. How do we know this? The words of Jesus Christ Himself. John 3:16 – a favorite of free will Christians – does not say that for God so loved the world that He knew in advance that His only Son would come. Instead, John 3:16 says that for God so loved the world that He gave, He sent, His only Son. Jesus Christ bore witness in the gospels that it was God the Father’s plan, that it was God the Father who sent Him, and that He was being obedient to what God the Father ordained in advanced, not to what God knew would happen in advance and adjusted or adapted to. That is why even though “foreknew” is the preferred translation of proginosko (which is why the translators chose it for Romans 8:29), they had to use foreordain in 1 Peter 1:20 because there was no other viable option. For instance, the New Living Translation gives 1 Peter 1:20 to be “God chose Him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days”, meaning that they translated proginosko in that passage to mean “God chose Jesus Christ by foreordaining Him.” And that fits John 15:16, where Jesus Christ says to the church (through His apostles): “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”
Now that Romans 8:29 has been dealt with
Posted in Bible, Christianity, evangelism, false doctrine, false teaching, Jesus Christ | Tagged: 1 Peter 1:13-25, 1 Peter 1:20, Arminianism, Biblicism, Calvinism, election, foreknow, foreordain, glorification, John 3:16, perfection, predestination, predestined foreknowledge, proginōskō, Romans 8:29, salvation, sanctification, soteriology, Wesleyanism | 23 Comments »
Posted by Job on December 22, 2010
This sermon is VERY HARD to take!
Posted by Job on February 23, 2009
This powerful post on the topic of abortion from brother Laz caused me to ponder on the whole anti – abortion political movement and its influence on evangelical Christianity, particularly the fact that a great deal of tolerance is bestowed by evangelical political leaders upon those who profess to be Christian so long as they are sufficiently pro – life no matter what other flaws these “Christian pro – lifers” have in their doctrinal systems and lifestyles. Truthfully, other than perhaps the work of Billy Graham (and before him John Wesley), nothing has been more effective at uniting evangelical Protestants with Roman Catholics and (lately) Mormons and not to mention the wealthy, powerful decadent “Christian in name only” personalities active in politics and politiically driven media than the pro – life movement, which itself is but a part of the “family values theology” which again is part of the “Christian culture/Christian nation theology.”
So, I recounted during Election 2008 that presidential candidate John Edwards (who despite his support for abortion and homosexuality and – more important – his personally being an adulterer, making him no different from plenty of abortion and gay rights opponents who are also adulterers and fornicators, claims to be a devout Christian of Southern Baptist leanings) hired viciously anti – Christian atheist Amanda Marcotte to publicize his campaign. Among many of the “witty gems” that Marcotte produced was something to the effect of: what if Mary was on Plan B (the abortion pill) when Jesus Christ was conceived. (Actually, Marcotte’s words were much more mocking of God and vulgar.) Yet, this evil woman’s point was a good one: that the agenda of the “religious right” was not religious at all, but a cultural and political agenda. Now it is true that many of these people have indeed integrated culture and politics into their theological worldview, but the result is something that teeters on being a false religion that rejects the reason why Jesus Christ came (to die on the cross for our sins) and before then why Israel and Judaism were formed (so that Jesus Christ could come to die on the cross for our sins) in the first place.
After all, Marcotte was somewhat correct in her mocking: abortion pills and other modern forms of contraception were not available to Mary at the time that Jesus Christ was conceived and in the nation and culture that Jesus Christ was born into. Now from the perspective of a political (worldly and carnal by definition) Christian, the response would be to imagine if it had been and gasp with horror at what might have been were our abortion pill culture had been in existence in Mary’s Roman Empire, and had Mary availed herself of it. And you know what? That is not only a perspective that rejects faith, but also history.
For the Roman Empire that Jesus Christ was born into was not a “Christian nation” and it was also not a “moral family values” one. Instead, there were multitudes of religions and bizarre abominable practices. For instance, homosexuality was commonly practiced, and if a man did not want his family, not only could he easily receive a divorce, but if he did not want to bother with divorce proceedings provided that he was a Roman citizen he could simply have the entire family – his wife and children and everyone living in his house – killed. So, the world, the western culture that Jesus Christ was born into was not a family values culture. Furthermore, it was still not a family values culture when He finished His work and ascended into heaven. It was wicked before Jesus Christ came, was wicked when He departed, and will be wicked when He returns. Jesus Christ stated that this world and its cultures would always reject Him and those who truly know and represent Him. The “family values/Christian culture” theologians get around this by claiming “oh, Jesus Christ wasn’t talking about OUR culture and nation when He said that … He was only talking about the Pharisees, Sadduccees, and the rest of those wicked Jews.”
And so, in the decidedly “anti – family” that was the Roman Empire, do you know what else was available? A primitive form of abortion, along with infanticide and primitive contraception. So what if Mary had decided to avail herself of what was available and commonly practiced in the culture and gotten an abortion? After all, though betrothed, she was still technically single. She was also impoverished, belonged to a marginal class even among Jews, and her being pregnant would ruin practically any chance of getting married, which was her only practical hope of financial security and/or social mobility. Oh yes, there was also the fact that under Jewish law, she could have been killed by stoning. So, Mary had every reason to furtively seek out the Romans to receive an abortion, a decision which of our last several presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama have stated that they would have fully supported. (Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush made no such statements, but Bush was on record as opposing the overturn of Roe v. Wade and Reagan for his part signed America’s most liberal abortion bill into law as governor of California, and, as he himself was a divorcee, signed a no – fault divorce bill into law as well.) But Mary did not.
Joseph for his part had his options as well. He could have handed Mary over to be stoned. Or he could have divorced and abandoned her and the child. And keep in mind: there is no scriptural evidence that Joseph had the full benefit of knowledge that Mary did. The Bible does not relate Joseph being told that Mary’s child was the Son of God and the Messiah. The Bible only records Joseph being told that the child was of the Holy Spirit. (And keep in mind this context: Judaism taught that ALL conceptions were the work of the Holy Spirit.) Also, Joseph was not given this information in an awesome angelic visitation as was Mary. It came to him in a dream that would have been very easy to later deny and reject as part of justifying his decision to rid himself of responsibility for a child that was not his, and of the woman who became impregnated with such a child while she was engaged to him. After all, consider this fellow’s plight. The fact that Mary was pregnant before they were officially married with a child that was not his … how do you keep something like that secret, and prevent being the subject of gossip, scorn, ridicule and rejection, especially from your own family? But like Mary, Joseph did the right thing.
And why did Mary and Joseph both do the right thing concerning Jesus Christ, ensuring not only His birth, but that His birth that would fulfill prophecies that would demonstrate to the Jews and to the world His identity? Simple: they were righteous people that obeyed God. Their righteousness was not the product of growing up in a “Christ honoring culture in a Christian nation with Christian values encoded in their system of laws.” In other words, it was not due to abortion being unavailable to Mary, not an option for her legally or practically. Mary had every opportunity to do wrong, but chose to do right.
For Joseph, the opposite was actually true. For him, the right thing to do according to the Torah would have been to take Mary to the priests and other religious and legal authorities to be stoned to death. Even though many who have studied Jewish history during the period state that stonings for adultery and other violations of the Sinai code had become exceedingly rare during that time, by taking Mary to the priests, Joseph would have fulfilled his own responsibility under the law. And further, it can be argued that Joseph’s plans to divorce Mary secretly without exposing her to public shame – or threat of death – qualified as his understanding Jesus Christ’s teachings of the weightier matters of the law, which are judgment, mercy, and faith.
But instead, Joseph and Mary did the right thing, which was to trust and obey God. Mary did not need a “Judeo – Christian set of laws” or a “values based society” in order to keep her from sinning by abortion or anything else. She merely needed to be righteous, to love God by keeping His commandments. And Joseph would have actually been conforming to his Jewish legal and cultural context, righteous according to the externals of the law, by turning Mary over the authorities. The fact that he was pondering how to exceed the external righteousness of his religious and cultural systems in the first place, that he was trying to do more than what was required of him to be counted as righteous and just in the eyes of man, was evidence of his love for God, and the fact that he heeded the dream and made Mary and the child his responsibility was evidence of his faith.
Mary and Joseph did not obtain their righteousness and faith from being born into a nation that loved and honored Yahweh and had a system of laws that reflected His nature. This would not have been possible, as the nation and culture that was the Roman Empire was as bad as our own of today, if not worse. Instead, they obtained their righteousness and faith from God. Consider the plight of Elijah, who was running from Jezebel and Ahab, the latter two of whom had led Israel into pagan idolatrous apostasy and killed the prophets. God’s statement to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:18: Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
In the midst of the wickedness of the nation and culture, God preserved for Himself a people for His Name. These people were not righteous because of the world, because they were called out of the world, just as Israel was chosen from among the nations. They were called by God, predestined and elected to righteousness by God, and placed in that particular place and time by God for the purposes of serving Him and bringing glory to His Name.
The same is true of this Mary and Joseph. No matter what sort of culture or nation that they were born in, they would have still fulfilled their duties that came with bringing Jesus Christ into the world. Regardless of whether their external environment was good or evil according to its laws, culture and religion, Mary and Joseph were inevitably going to do the right thing because they were righteous. The reason is that their righteousness was not due to governments and cultures – which are the works of men – because if they were, then men should be able to boast about contributing to their own justification. Instead, their righteousness was due to God’s making them so, and predestining that they would be so. And where man’s nations and systems will inevitably fail, God’s divine sovereign decrees cannot and will not fail. This is with respect to man’s salvation and everything else. That is the meaning of the doctrines of grace.
Make no mistake. Abortion is a great abomination, a great evil, that should be outlawed in any society that considers itself civilized. The same is true of homosexual marriage. However, it was not the absence of legal abortion that prevented Mary from aborting Jesus Christ. (And as stated earlier, Joseph actually opposed the religious and cultural views of the day to obey his dream from God to make Mary his wife and to adopt Jesus Christ as his son.) Instead, it was the fact that Mary – and Joseph – was righteous. Mary and Joseph were not righteous because they were born in a Christian nation. They were not righteous because they were born to a church going family. They were not righteous because they were baptized as infants. They were not righteous because they raised their hands or came forward in response to an altar call (not that I in any way oppose invitations; I support them 100%!), said a prayer, or had their names added to a church roll. Instead, they were righteous because God made them so by virtue of His divine predestination and election. They were righteous because God called them out of this world to be part of His ekklesia. And their righteousness was not demonstrated or proven by their nationality, religious or political affiliation, cultural norms, or even their stated beliefs, but by their behavior, which was unyielding obedience to God and His Word in the face of all obstacles and in spite of all opposition.
So, despite the evil that goes on in the world (or perhaps because of it) our goal is not to transform the world, to change the culture. In “The Visitation”, the Frank Peretti novel, the protagonist informed a young naive pastor that the job of the church was not to “take the town for Christ” because not even Christ Himself “took a town for Christ!” No, not only did Jerusalem reject Jesus Christ, but the place where Jesus Christ had the least honor, the fewest followers and believers, was His own country, and even His own brothers born in His house did not believe in Him! Instead, our job is to evangelize. To spread the gospel. To preach, teach, minister, disciple, and to baptize. Our job is to be the vessels for the sovereign God to use to call others out of this wicked world just as He called us out of it. And anything that distracts or hinders or redirects us from that task is just that: a barrier erected that opposes the will and righteousness of God. It must, by definition then, be considered sinful, evil, a work of Satan, the adversary, and not of God.
Christians are not called to transform the world into Christ’s image. Christians are called to reject the world so that we might be fully effective in being used by Jesus Christ to go after His lost sheep. The sad fact that this world is sinful, that people are born in sin, and that people are going to sin. However, the joyful fact that opposes this is that if we would just obey God, He will use us to bring people out of sin and into salvation so that He will transform them, transform His people, transform His church, into righteousness. The issue is not to transform a sinful world, but rather to go after the people that God will conform into the image of His Son. If you profess yourself to be a Christian, please, go about the business of that issue today and every day. Maranantha!
Posted in abomination, abortion, abortion rights, Christianity, Jesus Christ, politics, pro choice, pro life, religious right, Y'shua Hamashiach, Y'shua Hamashiach Moshiach, Yeshua Hamashiach | Tagged: Amanda Marcotte, doctrines of grace, election, evangelical, evangelism, gospel, predestination | 37 Comments »
Posted by Job on October 29, 2008
Please click on link below!
It contains a link to this good teaching as well:
Posted in Bible, Christianity | Tagged: Belief, Children of God, conversion, election, Free Grace, Limited Atonement, Matthew, Matthew 22:14, New Testament, particular grace, Pauline Theology, prayer, predestination, Promises of God, Romans, Romans 11:5, saving grace, Scripture Comment, Spiritual Life & Death | 8 Comments »
Posted by Job on October 28, 2008
Decided to start reading the book of Joshua recently to revisit an Old Testament theophany, more specifically the appearance of the pre – incarnate Jesus Christ (Christophany) to Joshua before the battle of Jericho as mentioned in Joshua 5:13 – 6:5. Of course, the fascinating narrative of Joshua is hard to put down once you have begun it, and before long I was well into stories of battlefield conquest. Two things made no sense to me.
1. Achan. First off, this fellow tries to make off with 200 pieces of silver (ten times the amount that Joseph was sold for … further Judas Iscariot was paid 30 pieces of silver and the price of the land in Zechariah 11 was 30 pieces, so we are talking about a substantial sum of money) and enough gold to make 50 pieces (where silver is now trading at $15 per ounce, gold is now $750 per ounce, so his 50 pieces of gold was actually worth 250 pieces of silver)? As if Israel had some sort of underground black market economy or some way of laundering money so everyone wouldn’t have known where he got all that gold and silver from. And what was this fellow going to do with a BABYLONIAN suit? Like he would have been able to prance around ISRAEL wearing a suit from BABYLON as if he was Joseph wearing the coat of many colors made by Jacob? By the way, I am certain that the writers of Joshua did not include the fact that the clothing was Babylonian or that Achan called it “goodly” as mere detail. Instead, I believe the fact that Achan even wanted something from the place that represents not only sin and wickedness but creation’s brazen willful defiance against the authority and rule of God was recorded to demonstrate Achan’s spiritual condition, which was so bad that Achan not only saw and desired things that he was not to have (lust of the eyes), but committed a high handed sin against God by taking something that he had no practical way of benefitting from (unless he was going to prance around in his Babylonian clothes in his tent or spend maybe one or two gold and silver coins a year to keep from being found out). Achan reminds me of James 1:14-15 which reads “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” So again, I am certain that Achan saw and desired something from Babylon, the place where all men came together to build a tower as a symbol of human pride and power that rejects and sets itself against God, because that was where his sinful heart always was.
2. The issue of hearts brings us to the Canaanites. The Bible makes it clear that everyone had heard the path of genocidal destruction that Israel was making, and that they knew that the reason was not Israel’s military might (please recall God’s refusing allow Israel to own chariots, which should be a lesson to politically conservative Christians who all but worship the military industrial complex and would rather see tax revenue go to yet another aircraft carrier or nuclear submarine than to roads, bridges, levees etc.) but rather YHWH fighting on their behalf, making them unbeatable. So … why didn’t they petition the Israelites for peace as the Gibeonites did? Or better yet … WHY DIDN’T THEY JUST LEAVE? Being a war refugee beats being dead. Now maybe if you are a king, noble, or someone else of great power, wealth and esteem the perhaps you would prefer death to living as a landless powerless wanderer. (Then again, the elites could have taken their riches with them and used it to buy a life of relative comfort somewhere else maybe?) But what of the poor, who already had nothing and hence had nothing to lose? Why did they consent to certain death as being grist for Israel’s war machine?
Well the answer is given in Joshua 11:20 – “For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.” You might recognize that term as being applied to pharaoh in Exodus 7:2-4 “Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.” So it would seem that the problem of the Canaanites was the same as that of Achan the covetor of Babylonian clothes that he could never wear in public: a desperately wicked heart.
So it was God’s will that these people be destroyed. Why? Read Romans 1:18-32. They were wicked people who rejected the righteousness of God to instead practice idolatry and all the evil that goes with it. As a result, God’s judgment was against the people of Canaan. As Romans 1:18-32 states, the Canaanites had been given over to reprobate minds to do things that are not convenient. As a matter of fact, the idolatrous practices of the Canaanites were probably the very thing that caused the corruption of not only individual minds but entire cultures to the point where they were unable or unwilling to act out of regard for their own safety or that of their family. It is not unlike how in our modern world a man, knowing full well the scourge of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, will regularly indulge in homosexual acts and intravenous drug abuse in his one life and then take those life and health destroying viruses and pathogens to his wife and family in another. Indeed, there does exist a huge Achan subculture in the here and now.
Now there is a point of contact between Achan’s family and the Canaanites. It seems unusual, as where the Canaanites were idolators, Achan was not only a child of Israel that came out of the wilderness (meaning that all of the Israelis that had been conditioned by not only Egyptian slavery but their exposure to their system of false gods) but of the very same tribe of Judah that Jesus Christ was born of (yes both Mary and Joseph were of Judah, please note that Mary’s geneaology is given in Luke 3). This is not a coincidence but serves as a warning lesson to the church.
So just as Achan’s genetic, tribal, national, physical etc. membership in Israel did not prevent him from having a Babylonian heart, being raised in a Christian nation, culture, or family or even a member of a church does not make one born again in Christ Jesus and truly a member of Israel. Achan despite his heritage, upbringing, and affiliation was no better off than the Canaanites. The Canaanites, for their part, was no worse off than Achan despite their idolatry and being born outside of God’s covenant people. Achan and the Canaanites had the same issue – a hardened heart – and hence received the same reward.
Another point of contact: those who were to some degree innocent. Consider first Achan’s family … his wife, children, servants, etc. and stoned and burned them to death. Those people did not participate in Achan’s crime. They may not have even known of it! Yet they perished as well with the patriarch of their family. Why? The modern western mindset with its individualism and feminism hates this notion, but the man is the covenant representative of his household before his nation and his God just as a king is the covenant represenative between a nation and God. If the covenant representative does well before God (be it the father or the king), then those under the covenant (be they nations or households) are blessed. If the covenant representative does ill, then those under it are punished. The same with Achan was true of the Canaanites. You had many women and children, including newborn infants, that had no role in the decision to defy God by remaining in the land to face the armies of His covenant people. They were not the kings who chose not to beg for peace or the fathers who chose not to take their families and flee. So how is this fair?
Well let us consider what constitutes a “hardened” heart. From what the Bible teaches us, it is no great mystery. All of humanity save Adam, Eve, and Jesus Christ were born with them as a consequence of the fall. (Adam and Eve for their part received such hearts afterwards). Now it is true that the Canaanites and pharoah had a specific hardening that related to a course of action that they took or refused to take. That is why it is fair to say, in a manner of speaking, that God hardened their hearts as scripture does. But let it be known that all mankind is born with a hardened heart in ultimate terms with reference to our relationship with God. So just as the ultimate inevitable result of the unusually hardened hearts of pharoah and Canaan were death, the result of all other hardened hearts is the lake of fire.
The similarity between the unusual hardening and the normal hardening is again in the case of Achan. God did not harden the heart of this child of Judah for the purposes of judging Achan and his family. No, Achan instead acted out of the consequences of his own sinful heart and fallen nature. Also, consider Saul. God did not harden the heart of Saul to judge the man that He had raised over Israel, let alone Saul’s sons including righteous Jonathan. First, the sins that caused Saul to lose his kingdom were done before God allowed the evil spirit to trouble Saul. Second, the sins that caused the death of Saul and his remaining sons – his consulting the necromancer witch of Endor and his persecuting the Gibeonites who had entered into a treaty with Israel – were completely unrelated to the vexation of the evil spirit but instead were caused by Saul’s own desire for power and popularity.
Please recall that when God chose Saul’s replacement, David, He said of David that this David was a man after God’s own heart. It is very accurate to argue from silence that Saul was not, and Saul’s own works verify this matter. In short, Saul was Achan, and he received Achan’s reward, which was the same as the reward of the people whose hearts God DID NOT particularly harden. In other words, sinners have a hardened heart already, and it is God’s prerogative to harden their hearts more still in order to use such reprobates to accomplish His will. So why did God choose a man that was not after His own heart not only to rule Israel, but according to the words of Samuel would have established His kingdom through Saul’s line? Well, Israel asked God for a king, not a preacher. As a matter of fact, they rejected the religious leadership of Samuel and judges. So perhaps God was attempting to see if a secular ruler would be His servant in civil matters, a wise conscientious basically obedient covenant ruler. Please recall that even pagan kings like Egypt’s pharoah and Medo – Persia’s King Darius fit this description. There is evidence that even Nebuchadnezzar and Artaxerxes did so when they elevated Daniel and Mordecai to be their second in command as did Egypt with Joseph.
So God did not pick Saul to be king because of Saul’s righteousness. It may be that God picked Saul because He felt that the rebellious children of Israel would respect him because of his stature and physical prowess. Perhaps the way Saul looked, his coming the way they expected a king to and his winning victories on the battlefield, would have spurred Israel to obedience. (After all, Israel later rejected King Jesus Christ because He came poor and humble riding on a donkey and rejected conquest with the sword.) But that required Saul himself to be obedient, and Saul failed in this task even with God’s hand behind him and Samuel to be his human advisor. So God demonstrated that even with all of those advantages given to Saul, someone with a hardened heart would not do in terms of playing a major role in the redemption of His elect.
God’s righteousness required someone that lacked a hardened heart to accomplish His purposes, including to start the royal line that Jesus Christ would be born into. It appears that when God uses hardened hearts, it is without the hard hearted person having any idea of what he is doing. As a matter of fact, the hard hearted person often seems to consider himself to be trying to accomplish the very opposite of what God intends! Examples run from the pharoah who was unknowingly participating in the judgment of his own nation to the Jewish religious leaders who thought that they were being rid of Jesus Christ and His movement by delivering Him to the Romans. Of them Jesus Christ said “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do!” But in order to be a willing knowing servant and participant in God’s purposes and plans, a heart hardened with original sin will not do. Not an Achan heart. Not a Saul heart. Certainly not a pharoah or Canaanite heart. Instead, one’s heart of stone must be removed and be replaced with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19, Ezekiel 36:26, Ezekiel 44:7, 2 Corinthians 3:3). Common grace will not do. Saving grace is absolutely required.
But how does a heart of stone become a heart of flesh? The answer: only if God changes it. God Himself must do it. Man cannot do it. Because of his sinful state, man is utterly unable to help his condition. Only God can change hardened hearts into flesh. Consider the case of Judas Iscariot. This Judas Iscariot was an apostle who personally knew and served with Jesus Christ. He was called by Jesus Christ and did many great works in His Name. Yet what was said about Judas Iscariot by Jesus Christ? It would have been better for him had he never been born! So God who foreknew us elected some of us and predestined some of us to salvation. In the case of this Judas Iscariot, the die was cast. Being an Israelite did not help him. Being not only a follower but an apostle of Jesus Christ did not save him. Even repenting of his sin of betraying Jesus Christ, declaring His innocence before the sinful Pharisees did not save him. This Judas Iscariot was simply not among the elect, so it was never in his fate for his heart to be transformed from one of stone to one of flesh, from an Achan heart to a Peter heart. Indeed, the Bible records that Satan himself entered Judas Iscariot when it was time for him to perform the most vile abomination. So yes, like pharoah and the Canaanites, Judas Iscariot was especially hardened. Judas Iscariot was chosen by God, yes. But as he was not among the truly elect, his calling was to do the greatest act of evil, to betray the Son of God, which God used to work the greatest good. God’s providence in using the placement of a specific sinner? Yes. Special saving grace? By all means no.
And further there was this Pontius Pilate. Pilate was able to fairly judge Jesus Christ and bear witness before His accusers and the world that Jesus Christ was innocent. In this matter, common grace by installing a leader willing and able to declare the innocence of Jesus Christ was sufficient to do God’s Will in the matter. A hardened heart sufficed. But to actually prevent Jesus Christ from going to the cross, an act of true righteousness in the dark spiritual climate that he was immersed in, to heed the warnings of his own wife? No, that would have taken a man with a heart of flesh given by special saving grace empowered by the Holy Spirit. But it was not God’s will that Jesus Christ be spared the cross, so a fellow with a sufficient measure of common grace was placed in civil magistrate authority over Jesus Christ to perform some righteousness but ultimately do evil, as Jesus Christ Himself stated “you would have no power over me were it not given to you from above.” Did Pilate regard “given to you from above” as meaning his being appointed by Caesar or raised up by God?
Again, go back to Judas Iscariot. Jesus Christ said that this person’s fate would have been better had he never been born. So how then could such a person have had a free will decision to accept Jesus Christ as His Savior and Lord, as Simon Peter did even upon denying Jesus Christ three times? The hardened heart cannot save itself. No, the hardened heart needs God to intervene to save it. And once God intervenes to save the hardened heart, God cannot be mocked. He cannot be opposed. He cannot be turned down. After all, if the hardened heart that becomes softened rejects the gospel of Jesus Christ, was it ever softened? No! Only hardened hearts are able to reject the righteousness of God. Only softened hearts are able to accept the righteousness of God. A heart that God has not softened cannot accept His righteousness, a heart that God has softened cannot reject it. It is not so much that God compels the person whose heart has been softened to accept Him. Why? Because why would God have to? What possible reason that a person with a softened heart have for rejecting God? Claiming otherwise is the very same as claiming that a person with a hardened heart does not REALLY have one. If both a person with a hardened heart and a softened heart can choose to reject God, then what difference is there between a hardened one and a softened one? Claiming that a person with a softened heart can reject God rejects the doctrine of original sin.
A heart that God has softened cannot behave after the same manner that a heart that God has not softened. Hearts hardened by sin and hearts softened by grace cannot react the same way towards God. Otherwise, the grace of God, which is the power of God, the will of God, the purpose of God etc. would have no effect. If man could overpower God by rejecting His grace with a mere decision, then it makes God no God at all; a God incapable of calling creation into being out of nothing (ex nihilo) with the spoken word, and certainly incapable of ruling and governing creation. And naturally, such a God would be unable to destroy, preserve, reward, punish, etc. His creation as He sees fit.
This brings us back to the difficult issue mentioned earlier of infants. What about the little children, newborn babes, that God had Israel to put to the sword. Jebusite, Hivite, Hittite, Amorite, Edomite, Ammonite etc. babies that were ripped from their mother’s arm and made their last anguished cry after having their tiny hearts split in half by a sword or spear. You might say that only an evil God would command His elect people to do such a thing. Well that is looking at things at how they exist in the natural and not in the spiritual. You, looking at temporal physical things, see a human baby. God, for the purposes of eternity, only sees a spirit of man. God knows whether the spirit of man associated with the human baby has been elected and predestined to salvation or not. So whether the human life of this spirit of man ends at 100 hours or 100 years, its eternal fate has been predetermined by God, who knows whether this child has the heart of Judas Iscariot or the heart of Peter. The heart of Saul or the heart of David. The heart of Achan or the heart of Joshua. The heart of Cain or the heart of Abel.
Again, we know this from scripture: Abijah the child of Jeroboam in 1 Kings 14. Verse 13: “And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him: for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found some good thing toward the LORD God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam.” (Despite the wickedness of Jeroboam, he did obviously love and care about his son. Again, common grace, not saving grace.) Abijah was given by God at a tender age a heart of flesh, and though he died at a tender age he was given the good reward of those chosen by God. Now if Abijah had a heart of stone, what profit would there have been in living 930 years as did Adam? As he possessed a heart of flesh, what did he lose by dying at a tender age when he will reign for an eternity with Jesus Christ?
So the only issue is that whether you have a hardened heart, or whether God has chosen to give you a heart of flesh. If God calls the hard hearted person, his only duty, his inevitable duty, is to respond. I encourage the reader to respond right now if he has not already. Please follow The Three Step Salvation Plan.
Posted by Job on October 20, 2008
Is free will salvation, or Arminianism (truthfully Coornhertism for Jacobus Arminius rejected the soteriology of the reformers in favor of the viewpoint of a Roman Catholic, and the doctrine is associated with Arminius rather than its true originator and exponent for it is not convenient for Protestant free will Christians to broadcast and advertise that the one who came up with this doctrine also defended praying to the host of heaven and bowing to dumb idols) a works theology?
On its face, it is not. However, we must consider what was ironically a debate that took place not between adherents to the Reformation and those who like Coornhert remained in semi – Pelagian Roman Catholicism, but rather within the Reformation (to use a broad term) itself, such as between Lutherans and Anabaptists. The former reached “salvation by faith alone” and, being satisfied, pretty much stopped. Please recall, for instance, Martin Luther’s claim that the book of James “was made of pure straw” (but accepted its canonicity nonetheless) because of its statement “faith without works is dead.” Anabaptists and others who came out of Roman Babylon went on to appropriately apply James’ doctrines to justification and the need to produce an external witness (please recall that James was only repeating what he heard from His teacher Jesus Christ on this matter, please remember for example Jesus Christ’s statements on the sheep versus goats, and the difference between those who called Him “Lord Lord” that would be accepted versus those that would be rejected?).
What this argument centered on, truthfully, was the sovereignty of God. Is God completely sovereign, free to act entirely according to His own will, desire, and volition in every aspect concerning His creation that He produced out of nothing merely by speaking? Or is God in some way beholden to and in a sense in arrears, in bondage, imprisoned to His creation in any matter? Both groups held the belief that works doctrines were to be rejected because they denied God’s sovereignty. The idea that if man does something then God is obligated to respond is troubling enough. What is more troubling still is the idea that if man does something then God is obligated to do something that He does not want to do, making it possible for man to not only defy God but actually overpower and overcome God by doing works. This is precisely what the Roman Catholic Pelagian system taught, and what the Reformers appropriately rejected. The dispute between the Lutherans and Anabaptists (and also the Reformed i.e. Calvinists and Zwinglians I might add) were simply over the details.
Now those who justify works based doctrines claim that they are due to God’s willingly ceding His sovereignty to man in certain areas to accomplish whatever purposes He willed. An example of this: God’s giving up dominion of the earth to Adam, and the Word of Faith purports to seek to reclaim it. Leaving aside the fact that the Bible clearly states that Adam’s dominion will be restored to Jesus Christ upon His return and not the church that awaits Him (claiming that dominion belongs to the church in this time is Origen amillennialism adopted by Roman Catholics), God gave Adam dominion over creation alone, not Himself. Prosperity doctrine advocates claim that the old covenant obligates God to bless those who keep the portions of it pertaining to blessings, some going as far as saying that even the unsaved will receive health, wealth, family, etc. benefits from tithing. Not only did Paula White explicitly say so to Larry King, but new age witch and occult spiritist Oprah Winfrey, who reportedly tithes, is often listed as an example. While this is based on a rather corrupted understanding of the true purpose and nature of a covenant that only applied to national Israel and moreover doesn’t even exist anymore, even if true it has no bearing on salvation. After all, the old covenant was never given for salvation, for even in old covenant times salvation was by grace (but Noah found grace in the sight of the Lord) and furthermore the book of Hebrews makes it clear that even Old Testament saints were redeemed by Christ’s blood, and without the cross there would have been no salvation for those such as Enoch, Elijah, Samuel, Deborah, Huldah, Moses, etc.
But going back to the “works promises” that allegedly existed in the old covenant, please recall that all of those were irrevocably tied to the land of Israel itself, the land flowing with milk and honey. No land meant no blessings, works or not, and the land was freely given to the children of Abraham as part of the promise given to Abraham by grace. So no Israelite ever received a new thing by doing works of the law, but rather was benefitting from what was given to him by grace already. The old covenant was a conditional covenant, true, but the condition was entirely based on forfeiting what one had already been given by refusing to do the works rather than doing works and receiving what had not been given. An analogy can be tied to a wealthy man (or woman) who has a son (or daughter) and composes a will leaving the heir a portion of the estate. If the heir basically behaves, he or she will receive the inheritance that he or she never worked for or merited in any sense. If the heir grievously offends the benefactor with disloyal or immoral behavior, the wealthy person has the sole prerogative to “write him or her out of his will.” Even if the benefactor writes some conditional clause such as “in order to receive the inheritance he must get married” (the plot of not a few bad movies) if the fellow acquires a wife for the purposes of receiving the wealth he would not have earned the money in any sense but instead would have received something that he never worked for and his benefactor had the sole right to give or deny, including the right to alter the will shortly before expiring based on a dislike of who his heir chose as a spouse! So please explain this to any prosperity Word of Faith teacher or adherent you come across.
So then, there is not a shred of Biblical evidence that speaks of God having an obligation to His creation in any area, including salvation. While God certainly gives dominion of some portions of creation over others, there is no evidence that God surrenders His own sovereignty or prerogative to creation in any sense. After all, how could an eternal spiritual God be limited by what is natural and temporal? Even though Jesus Christ was lowered and thus limited while existing in the natural plane upon His incarnation, He was still fully God in the spiritual realm, a fact which evil spirits were forced to recognize when they asked Him if He had come to destroy them!
So instead, the entirety of Biblical revelation consists of creation having an obligation to God. Creation cannot compel God one way or another, and in spiritual matters involving eternity it is all the more important that this truth be recognized and operated within. So then, as free will salvation doctrine places God in a box by compelling Him to honor human decision, it must be rejected.
But wait, you say, it is not forcing God’s Hand when a person accepts eternal salvation because it is God’s Will that all men be saved, you reply. Even were I to concede that part for argument’s sake, what about the other way around? Does not exercising this free will to reject Jesus Christ compel God to send a person to the lake of fire that He does not wish to? Under this doctrine, no matter how God may desire it, no matter how God may strive and work for it, no matter how God may beg, plead, or even try, His best efforts, His very will and volition, can all be undone by a mere creature’s standing athwart grace and saying NO. Anathema that such a thing should be allowed to happen, because even in this one very limited sphere, man is God and God is man. Let it be stated that for any man to have the right to damn himself removes the right of God to damn anyone at all, making Him no God at all, and that is true even when one does not factor in God’s sending His Son to the cross. Please know that a man’s ability to make a decision to reject God the Father sending Jesus Christ to become human, die on a cross, and be resurrected from the dead is no trivial cosmic matter! Believing that it is a matter of such triviality makes God a mere triviality. Again, anathema!
So then, the doctrine that does not place God in a box of being under obligation to creation is one that recognizes that God alone decides who will be saved by His personal decision and command – the same decision and command that brought man into existence along with the rest of creation in the first place – and places man under obligation to obey God. That is something that none other than the tale of Jonah and the whale should teach us. It is more than a fantastic Bible story perfect for aweing children and proving the truth of the Bible to skeptics using apologetics (as in the fact that men have been swallowed whole by sperm whales and later rescued). Instead, this event illustrates God’s sovereignty. God told Jonah to preach to the Ninevites, and Jonah had no choice in the matter but submit to the will of the sovereign God and respond.
There is an interesting cross reference here. Remember the Pharisees. They came to Jesus Christ demanding that He show them a sign upon which they would believe that He is the Messiah and then they would follow Him. Again, creation trying to place the Creator in a box by making His actions dependent on human desires. (Later, this same bunch tried to compromise and bargain with God by lifting the miracle requirement and saying “Just tell us whether you are the Christ!) Jesus Christ never placed Himself under their obligation. Instead, He stated that the only sign that they would receive … was that of Noah.
God is not obligated to even give man a decision – why should He regarding His solely entirely owned property that He created and whose destiny He controls! – let alone honor said decision. The Bible declares this to be true, and we are obliged to acknowledge it and to consider its implications.
Posted by Job on October 8, 2008
“You Did Not Choose Me, But I Chose You…” by I’m Speaking Truth.
Many people say things like “when I stopped running from God” or “I gave my life to God” - and in reality, they are speaking in error. The bible is full of evidence (from the mouth of God) that we didn’t choose Him, rather He preordained our relationship with Him (John 15:15-17; Ephesians 1:5;Ephesians 1:11; Romans 9:15-16, and many more).
Here’s a great video from Mark Kielar at Cross TV (found on Lane Chaplin’s youtube page) with a fundamental explanation of predestination in God’s plan of salvation:
Believer, You’re Saved Because God Chose You First Not Because You Chose Him First
Posted in Bible, Christianity, Jesus Christ | Tagged: Calvinism, election, John 15:15-17; Ephesians 1:5;Ephesians 1:11; Romans 9:1, predestination, reformed doctrine, Reformed Theology, salvation, soteriology | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Job on October 4, 2008
Arminian (or free will) Christians regard the new covenant to be based on a free will choice of salvation; that people choose Jesus Christ. I wonder: is there evidence that the old covenant was one of free will? For instance, did Israel choose God, or did God choose Israel? Did God choose the priests (who had to come from the line of Levi) or did the priests choose their occupation? Did God choose the kings (first Saul and then David and his line) or did they take the initiative?
Of course, the old covenant is different from the new covenant. But saying that where the new covenant is one of grace where the other was a covenant of works is at best an oversimplication. Grace was always present in the old covenant. What great works did Moses do to deserve his calling to lead Israel? Commit murder and then run away? What great works did Israel do to deserve being placed under the Sinai covenant? Rebel, disobey, and provoke God over and over again in the desert? And what great works did Israel to do remain in the covenant? Israel disobeyed from the very beginning. They did not drive the Canaanites out of the land, and you saw the dark wicked period of Judges, plus there was the continual idolatry and wickedness that continued until Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians and Babylonians. As a matter of fact, the entire tribe of Dan NEVER served God, but went after syncretism from the very beginning. That is why the tribe of Dan is not mentioned among the 144,000 in Revelation 7; they were replaced by Manasseh. So Israel never received a thing under the old covenant by works, because their works were wicked.
Jesus Christ made the point to the Pharisees and scribes in the gospel that in their zealotry over the failure of people to keep rules and regulations, they were ignoring the weightier matters of the law such as MERCY. Paul moreover made the point in Romans and Galatians that the works of the law never justified, sanctified, or sealed anyone. It was all by grace.
And then there was the Jonah incident. Where was free will in that story? God compelled Jonah to go to Ninevah, and the conflict was merely Jonah’s submitting to God’s sovereign will. There was also the child of Jeroboam in 1 Kings 14, whom God declared as His remnant from the house of Jeroboam and slew before Jeroboam could corrupt him into wickedness.
So, those searching for evidence of free will decisions for YHWH in the old covenant are basically limited to the queen of Sheba, and that is inconclusive at best. So if we have two covenants from the same God, both apply to the children of Abraham, both are of grace, then how can one be a covenant of free will decisions and another a decision of corporate election and predestination?
Posted by Job on September 20, 2008
The word translated “church” in the New Testament is ekklesia. Ekklesia means “called-out ones.” The church, then, is God’s particular people chosen from humanity. In this respect, Israel, who was called out from among the peoples and nations to be God’s unique people and form His unique nation, was the typological forerunner of the church. Now, did Israel choose God or did God choose Israel? Acts 13:17 specifically states that God chose Israel, and scripture further tells us that it was not because Israel was the strongest, mightiest, or most virtuous but rather by God’s own decision and grace. So if the old covenant was a covenant of God’s decision, how could the new covenant be one of man’s decision?
Also, go back to the term “ekklesia.” Now, it is easy to state the Remonstrant position by saying that God elects and predestines those whom He will make the offer of salvation to, but it is up to the human decision to respond. (This position would in fact resolve a great many of the issues with free will or Arminian Christianity.) However, were that the case, then the church, the body of Christ, would consist of people who both accepted AND rejected the offer of salvation, for “ekklesia” only refers to those that God called. It does not denote “those that accepted the call.” Free will Christianity would love to pretend that such is the meaning of ekklesia, but it is not. Also, please note that the New Testament writers – and especially the Holy Spirit that guided them – could have chosen a different word or group of words had the church been composed of those who both were called and chose to respond. Instead, the word “ekklesia” was used 112 times, indicating that those who were called had no choice but to respond.
So either the Body of Christ must include those who love Jesus Christ and those who hate Him because both were called and only some accepted and some rejected, or the body of Christ includes only those drawn into the church by the Holy Spirit’s irresistible grace. Were this not the case, the word that the Holy Spirit inspired the apostles to use would not have been “ekklesia”, those who were called out, but something similar to “ekklesia apokrinomai” meaning “those who were called and responded.”
Posted by Job on August 23, 2008
Everyone is familiar with Martin Luther’s 95 theses nailed to the door that started the Protestant Reformation. What is probably not as widely known is that it was Luther’s SECOND document challenging Roman Catholicism, and furthermore was not intended to start any great controversy, but was rather meant only to provoke theological debate among Luther’s peers at the University of Wittenburg. It was Luther’s FIRST document, the 97 theses, that he originally intended to use to challenge the Roman Catholic Church. However, because his original challenge dealt primarily with doctrinal and practical issues, while it was accepted among Luther’s circle at Wittenburg (who had already been heavily influenced by Luther’s preaching for several years prior, meaning that the field had been plowed), it went no further. So, the 95 theses was meant as a followup to keep the internal debate going. Now realize that the 95 theses were not nearly as theological, but was instead much more practical, speaking directly to the religious, political, economic, and social conditions of the day, and in that manner actually more closely resembled the preaching of Jesus Christ, Peter, and John the Baptist than his prior theological manifesto which is listed below.
This truly demonstrates that God works in ways that man cannot understand, predict, or comprehend. Luther’s first document that he intended to provoke a wide debate based on his deep theological insights went nowhere, much to his disappointment, and he actually may have even given up on his reform agenda. But his second document, written after he regarded his original plan to be a failure with the intent of merely stimulating a debate among his adherents and made its challenge based on the way that people worshiped and lived rather than what they believed, was what God used to change the world!
From this we can perhaps draw the lesson that while God certainly cares about and uses to change and transform us what we believe (orthodoxy) it is how we worship and live (orthopraxy) that God uses to transform others. Orthodoxy is what God sees, orthopraxy is what the Holy Spirit causes other people, especially non – Christians that God has elected to salvation, respond to.
As a side note, certain people misappropriated Luther’s movement and used it to cause a great deal of trouble, including violent uprisings. (Among them were people who called themselves prophets and declared that they no longer needed scripture because they received direct revelation from God.) Naturally, this caused problems for Luther, as the Roman Catholics sought to blame him for the trouble. Prior to now, you had a lot of people attempting to reform Roman Catholicism from within, and their leader was regarded as Erasmus, whose primary goal above all else was to avoid dissension and conflict (a religious philosophy that owed more to Greek pagan philosophy than the teachings of Jesus Christ). Where Erasmus was originally sympathetic to Luther, he refused to commit to cast in his lot with Luther because it would have been the very sort of troublemaking that Erasmus’ religious beliefs held to be the root of all evils. In other words, Erasmus was the forerunner of modern Christians who demand that we should all strive for peace and unity no matter the differences doctrines and behavior! But when the uprisings that were blamed on Luther happened, it provoked Erasmus to take a stand against Luther, for Erasmus regarded Luther as having committed the biggest possible crime and injury against his belief system: disturbing the peace. So, Erasmus, leader of the humanist reformers of Roman Catholicism (in his day “humanism” meant “lovers of the humanities” i.e. arts, classic literature, etc.) decided that the best way to challenge Luther was to go after the doctrines of election and predestination, and in doing so wrote his own manifesto rejecting those doctrines and asserting his own belief in free will salvation. Luther’s response: Erasmus’ notion of free will had its origins in Greek pagan philosophy, the Aristotle, Plato, and Zeno that Erasmus so loved and was heavily influenced by, and not the Bible. (In defense of Erasmus, he acquired his love for Greek pagan philosophy because of his own dissatisfaction with Roman Catholic scholarship … he and the other humanists rejected many of the teachings of Rome and decided to go back to the Bible itself. Unfortunately, they decided to go back to the writings of many early western Christians also, and their writings were filled with the very influences of pagan philosophy that led to the development of Roman Catholicism to begin with. So Erasmus was willing to come part of the way out of Babylon, but not all of the way out, for he found certain parts of Babylon pleasing and useful to him. In addition to the earlier point on how God uses a Christian’s orthodoxy to transform the Christian himself but a Christian’s orthopraxy to transform other people, the wages of being unwilling to fully abandon Babylon are also worth contemplating.)
Translated by Harold J. Grimm, taken from Luther’s 97 Theses: Disputation Against Scholastic Theology (Scholasticism) on the Contend Earnestly blog.
1. To say that Augustine exaggerates in speaking against heretics is to say that Augustine tells lies almost everywhere. This is contrary to common knowledge.
2. This is the same as permitting Pelagians1 and all heretics to triumph, indeed, the same as conceding victory to them.
3. It is the same as making sport of the authority of all doctors of theology.
4. It is therefore true that man, being a bad tree, can only will and do evil [Cf. Matt. 7:17–18].
5. It is false to state that man’s inclination is free to choose between either of two opposites. Indeed, the inclination is not free, but captive. Tiffs is said in opposition to common opinion.
6. It is false to state that the will can by nature conform to correct precept. This is said in opposition to Scotus2 and Gabriel.3
7. As a matter of fact, without the grace of God the will produces an act that is perverse and evil.
8. It does not, however, follow that the will is by nature evil, that is, essentially evil, as the Manichaeans4 maintain.
9. It is nevertheless innately and inevitably evil and corrupt.
10. One must concede that the will is not free to strive toward whatever is declared good. This in opposition to Scotus and Gabriel.
11. Nor is it able to will or not to will whatever is prescribed.
12. Nor does one contradict St. Augustine when one says that nothing is so much in the power of the will as the will itself.
13. It is absurd to conclude that erring man can love the creature above all things, therefore also God. This in opposition to Scotus and Gabriel.
14. Nor is it surprising that the will can conform to erroneous and not to correct precept.
15. Indeed, it is peculiar to it that it can only conform to erroneous and not to correct precept.
16. One ought rather to conclude: since erring man is able to love the creature it is impossible for him to love God.
17. Man is by nature unable to want God to be God. Indeed, he himself wants to be God, and does not want God to be God.
18. To love God above all things by nature is a fictitious term, a chimera, as it were. This is contrary to common teaching.
19. Nor can we apply the reasoning of Scotus concerning the brave citizen who loves his country more than himself.
20. An act of friendship is done, not according to nature, but according to prevenient grace. This in opposition to Gabriel.
21. No act is done according to nature that is not an act of concupiscence against God.
22. Every act of concupiscence against God is evil and a fornication of the spirit.
23. Nor is it true that an act of concupiscence can be set aright by the virtue of hope. This in opposition to Gabriel.
24. For hope is not contrary to charity, which seeks and desires only that which is of God.
25. Hope does not grow out of merits, but out of suffering which destroys merits. This in opposition to the opinion of many.
26. An act of friendship is not the most perfect means for accomplishing that which is in one.5 Nor is it the most perfect means for obtaining the grace of God or turning toward and approaching God.
27. But it is an act of conversion already perfected, following grace both in time and by nature.
28. If it is said of the Scripture passages, “Return to me,…and I will return to you” [Zech. 1:3.], “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you” [Jas. 4:8], “Seek and you will find” [Matt. 7:7], “You will seek me and find me” [Jer. 29:13], and the like, that one is by nature, the other by grace, this is no different from asserting what the Pelagians have said.
29. The best and infallible preparation for grace and the sole disposition toward grace is the eternal election and predestination of God.
30. On the part of man, however, nothing precedes grace except indisposition and even rebellion against grace.
31. It is said with the idlest demonstrations that the predestined can be damned individually but not collectively. This in opposition to the scholastics.
32. Moreover, nothing is achieved by the following saying: Predestination is necessary by virtue of the consequence of God’s willing, but not of what actually followed, namely, that God had to elect a certain person.
33. And this is false, that doing all that one is able to do can remove the obstacles to grace. This in opposition to several authorities.
34. In brief, man by nature has neither correct precept nor good will.
35. It is not true that an invincible ignorance excuses one completely (all scholastics notwithstanding);
36. For ignorance of God and oneself and good work is always invincible to nature.
37. Nature, moreover, inwardly and necessarily glories and takes pride in every work which is apparently and outwardly good.
38. There is no moral virtue without either pride or sorrow, that is, without sin.
39. We are not masters of our actions, from beginning to end, but servants. This in opposition to the philosophers.
40. We do not become righteous by doing righteous deeds but, having been made righteous, we do righteous deeds. This in opposition to the philosophers.
41. Virtually the entire Ethics of Aristotle is the worst enemy of grace. This in opposition to the scholastics.
42. It is an error to maintain that Aristotle’s statement concerning happiness does not contradict Catholic doctrine. This in opposition to the doctrine on morals.
43. It is an error to say that no man can become a theologian without Aristotle. This in opposition to common opinion.
44. Indeed, no one can become a theologian unless he becomes one without Aristotle.
45. To state that a theologian who is not a logician is a monstrous heretic—this is a monstrous and heretical statement. This in opposition to common opinion.
46. In vain does one fashion a logic of faith, a substitution brought about without regard for limit and measure. This in opposition to the new dialecticians.
47. No syllogistic form is valid when applied to divine terms. This in opposition to the Cardinal.6
48. Nevertheless it does not for that reason follow that the truth of the doctrine of the Trinity contradicts syllogistic forms. This in opposition to the same new dialecticians and to the Cardinal.
49. If a syllogistic form of reasoning holds in divine matters, then the doctrine of the Trinity is demonstrable and not the object of faith.
50. Briefly, the whole Aristotle7 is to theology as darkness is to light. This in opposition to the scholastics.
51. It is very doubtful whether the Latins comprehended the correct meaning of Aristotle.
52. It would have been better for the church if Porphyry8 with his universals had not been born for the use of theologians.
53. Even the more useful definitions of Aristotle seem to beg the question.
54. For an act to be meritorious, either the presence of grace is sufficient, or its presence means nothing. This in opposition to Gabriel.
55. The grace of God is never present in such a way that it is inactive, but it is a living, active, and operative spirit; nor can it happen that through the absolute power of God an act of friendship may be present without the presence of the grace of God. This in opposition to Gabriel.
56. It is not true that God can accept man without his justifying grace. This in opposition to Ockham.9
57. It is dangerous to say that the law commands that an act of obeying the commandment be done in the grace of God. This in opposition to the Cardinal and Gabriel.
58. From this it would follow that “to have the grace of God” is actually a new demand going beyond the law.
59. It would also follow that fulfilling the law can take place without the grace of God.
60. Likewise it follows that the grace of God would be more hateful than the law itself.
61. It does not follow that the law should be complied with and fulfilled in the grace of God. This in opposition to Gabriel.
62. And that therefore he who is outside the grace of God sins incessantly, even when he does not kill, commit adultery, or become angry.
63. But it follows that he sins because he does not spiritually fulfill the law.
64. Spiritually that person does not kill, does not do evil, does not become enraged when he neither becomes angry nor lusts.
65. Outside the grace of God it is indeed impossible not to become angry or lust, so that not even in grace is it possible to fulfill the law perfectly.
66. It is the righteousness of the hypocrite actually and outwardly not to kill, do evil, etc.
67. It is by the grace of God that one does not lust or become enraged.
68. Therefore it is impossible to fulfill the law in any way without the grace of God.
69. As a matter of fact, it is more accurate to say that the law is destroyed by nature without the grace of God.
70. A good law will of necessity be bad for the natural will.
71. Law and will are two implacable foes without the grace of God.
72. What the law wants, the will never wants, unless it pretends to want it out of fear or love.
73. The law, as taskmaster of the will, will not be overcome except by the “child, who has been born to us” [Isa. 9:6].
74. The law makes sin abound because it irritates and repels the will [Rom. 7:13].
75. The grace of God, however, makes justice abound through Jesus Christ because it causes one to be pleased with the law.
76. Every deed of the law without the grace of God appears good outwardly, but inwardly it is sin. This in opposition to the scholastics.
77. The will is always averse to, and the hands inclined toward, the law of the Lord without the grace of God.
78. The will which is inclined toward the law without the grace of God is so inclined by reason of its own advantage.
79. Condemned are all those who do the works of the law.
80. Blessed are all those who do the works of the grace of God.
81. Chapter Falsas concerning penance, dist. 5, 10 confirms the fact that works outside the realm of grace are not good, if this is not understood falsely.
82. Not only are the religious ceremonials not the good law and the precepts in which one does not live (in opposition to many teachers);
83. But even the Decalogue itself and all that can be taught and prescribed inwardly and outwardly is not good law either.
84. The good law and that in which one lives is the love of God, spread abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
85. Anyone’s will would prefer, if it were possible, that there would be no law and to be entirely free.
86. Anyone’s will hates it that the law should be imposed upon it; if, however, the will desires imposition of the law it does so out of love of self.
87. Since the law is good, the will, which is hostile to it, cannot be good.
88. And from this it is clear that everyone’s natural will is iniquitous and bad.
89. Grace as a mediator is necessary to reconcile the law with the will.
90. The grace of God is given for the purpose of directing the will, lest it err even in loving God. In opposition to Gabriel.
91. It is not given so that good deeds might be induced more frequently and readily, but because without it no act of love is performed. In opposition to Gabriel.
92. It cannot be denied that love is superfluous if man is by nature able to do an act of friendship. In opposition to Gabriel.
93. There is a kind of subtle evil in the argument that an act is at the same time the fruit and the use of the fruit. In opposition to Ockham, the Cardinal, Gabriel.
94. This holds true also of the saying that the love of God may continue alongside an intense love of the creature.
95. To love God is at the same time to hate oneself and to know nothing but God.
96. We must make our will conform in every respect to the will of God (in opposition to the Cardinal);
97. So that we not only will what God wills, but also ought to will whatever God wills.
In these statements we wanted to say and believe we have said nothing that is not in agreement with the Catholic church and the teachers of the church.
Posted in Christianity | Tagged: 95 theses, 97 theses, Arminianism, Calvinism, church history, election, Erasmus, free will, Martin Luther, orthodoxy, orthopraxy, predestination, Roman Catholicism, scholastic theology, scholasticism | 1 Comment »
Posted by Job on August 22, 2008
I was in PalTalk last night and my brother Tim Micer brought up an interesting question: Is election necessary for preaching the Gospel? While we all didn’t agree on the implications of what our brother was saying, he did bring up 10 very solid reasons for his case. As I saw them, it dawned on me that these reasons in themselves make a good case. Here then are Brother Tim’s ten reasons why election is necessary for the preaching of the Gospel:
Paul was told in Acts 18:8-11 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized. Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city. And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them
1.) Proclaims the Holiness of God; by giving God the glory and not self. Election proclaims the falleness of man by stating that God chooses due to man’s inability.
2.) Guarantees results in evangelism. 1Co 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
3.) Brings boldness to evangelism by knowing that it is not in vain
4.) Causes the one proclaiming to depend on the Sovereignty of God
5.) Reveals a God that is active in His creation and that His will is accomplished by means
6.) Proclaims with Christ “it is finished” by revealing a sacrifice that actually saves
7.) Demands that the means that God uses is the Gospel. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation and salvation is not possible without hearing the Gospel. The Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ according to scripture.
a. We are Justified by faith
b. Faith is given by God
c. The resurrection proves the acceptance of the sacrifice
d. Faith is assurance, and there is no assurance apart from the resurrection of Christ.
8.) Causes one to see his own depravity (lostness, inability) without this no man will come to Christ
9.) Causes a true humility in the one who receives by knowing that God has done this work due to no reason in self.
10.) Reveals a true amazing Grace.
I liked this material but of course, this being a public blog and all, your comments, thoughts, criticisms are welcome. I would also heartily recommend Tim’s websiteSeeking 4 Truth to you.
These are some mighty strong statements and bold claims! But it does fit the strength and boldness of the Bible and its gospel.