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Luke 03-04-2009 03:18 PM

I would hesitate to call them pagans, as it implies that they were willfully rejecting the counsel of God. It would appear that they were more ignorant (remembering that Calvin did not have the infallible word of God, nor did Luther, only portions of it), than wilfully practising pagan traditions.

Alexander Hislop does outline the pagan origins of Rome in his book "The Two Babylons". Unfortunately today, those who still hold to these errors (infant baptism, baptismal regeneration, nicolatian doctrines (difference between laity and clergy), sacraments, transubstantiation etc), are pagan, as there is plenty of evidence against it, most of all the written word of God.

stephanos 03-04-2009 07:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Forrest (Post 16227)
Hello Brother George. I agree with the sound Biblical teaching in your posts. So, I guess we are of the "same mind" and that puts me in the :amen: corner! I hope you are planning to put this entire teaching on your website so I can direct others to it.

Yeah, I've been thinking the same thing. It would be nice to be able to link to a single html version of all this.

Also, George, thank you so much for taking the time to do all of this. I get dizzy thinking about doing this sort of work myself.

Peace and Love,
Stephen

stephanos 03-04-2009 07:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gord (Post 16229)
To understand the freedom you have to day, I at least am curious as to how those ex-latin-using baby sprinkling pagans" (the folks who had the courage to defy the roman catholic church) as you call them, came to begin to understand then, under the "rule of the roman church" the glen of light and truth that today afford us the freedom in Christ we can now understand and enjoy. I prefer to be curious to understand, rather then pigeon holing a group of people at the faults of others.

The operative part of my statement was "ex". I don't think the founders of the Anabaptists were pagans, but they were for the most part "ex" Catholic pagans.

To answer your question, a lot of them could read Hebrew and Greek (like the edition put out by Erasmus, another reformation era Catholic). Granted, a lot of them did read the Latin texts, but those texts were (at that point in time) pretty corrupt (I think the Old Latin texts, which we now have only fragments of, were more in line with the TR). So, these reformers were able to piece together a more solid doctrinal position which led to their speration.

EDIT: I just had another look at my post and it does look like I was saying that they still are pagans. That wasn't what I was trying to say. Sorry for the confusion.

For Jesus' sake,
Stephen

stephanos 03-04-2009 07:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Luke (Post 16232)
I would hesitate to call them pagans, as it implies that they were willfully rejecting the counsel of God. It would appear that they were more ignorant (remembering that Calvin did not have the infallible word of God, nor did Luther, only portions of it), than wilfully practising pagan traditions.

Alexander Hislop does outline the pagan origins of Rome in his book "The Two Babylons". Unfortunately today, those who still hold to these errors (infant baptism, baptismal regeneration, nicolatian doctrines (difference between laity and clergy), sacraments, transubstantiation etc), are pagan, as there is plenty of evidence against it, most of all the written word of God.

I'm pretty sure Luther had it. I think his german translation includes all 66 books.

Peace and Love,
Stephen

chette777 03-05-2009 04:28 AM

I don't agree with Arminianism(SP?) or Calvinism. But my Calvinist friends call me a Arminian and my Arminian friends call me a Calvinist.

I agree with George on all the issues he has brought out on Calvinism. why is it we are labeled by these groups when we differ from their thought.

What are we then? OH Yeah BIBLE BELIEVERS!:D and proud of it!

Forrest 03-05-2009 08:02 AM

Brother George, you may have (probably) already addressed this, but I was wondering about the verse:
Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
The argument that before a person can even believe, "regeneration" performed by God must take place. If you addressed this already, which post is it? If not, would you expound?

George 03-05-2009 12:04 PM

Re: " CALVINISM: Sound Doctrine?"
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Forrest (Post 16284)
"Brother George, you may have (probably) already addressed this, but I was wondering about the verse:
Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
The argument that before a person can even believe, "regeneration" performed by God must take place. If you addressed this already, which post is it? If not, would you expound?"

Aloha brother Forrest,

I believe I addressed the matter in my second Post (#3) – here is the Link:
http://av1611.com/forums/showpost.ph...59&postcount=3

The following excerpt comes from Post #3 (near the beginning):

Quote:

According to the Bible - the state of all men and women born into this world is best described as being “SINFUL” – NOTTotally Depraved”. All men and women are “Sinners” – NOTTotally Depraved”. The Scriptures describe all men and women {without God} as “the NATURAL man” – NOT the “Totally Depraved” man [1Corinthians 2:14]. By describing all men & women as being“Totally Depraved” the Calvinists have changed the parameters (words) of the issue – making a man incapable of even BELIEVING unless he is “regenerated” FIRST! God grants that we believe (Phil. 1:29); and God appoints people to believe (Acts 13:48); or as the “Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics” puts it: “The unregenerate (unsaved) man is dead in his sins (Romans 5:12). Without the power of the Holy Spirit, the natural man is blind and deaf to the message of the gospel (Mark 4:11f). This is why Total Depravity has also been called "Total Inability”. The man without knowledge of God will never come to this knowledge without God's making him alive through Christ (Ephesians 2:1-5).” But, “what saith the Scriptures”? [Ephesians 1:13In whom ye also trusted, AFTER that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also AFTER that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,]

And herein is the first major difference between most Calvinists and myself. In their concern for men having absolutely NOTHING to do with EARNING their salvation, the Calvinist (through the doctrine of “TOTAL DEPRAVITY”) make it impossible for a man (or woman) to even BELIEVE – unless they are “regenerated” FIRST!

Now, I believe that there is NOTHING we can DO to EARN God’s Salvation; but there is SOMETHING that we MUST DO to RECEIVE God’s Salvation – WE MUST FIRST BELIEVE! THE QUESTION IS: . . .Sirs, WHAT MUST I DO to be saved? THE BIBLICAL ANSWER: And they said, BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. [Acts 16:30-31]

There is a huge difference between sinful men (and women) being unable (in the flesh) to DO anything to EARN their Salvation, and men and women first “BELIEVING” the Gospel (with their heart) in order to RECEIVE God’s Free Gift of Eternal Salvation!

Now the Calvinists (in their concern for man having NOTHING to do with his Salvation) cannot accept that we BELIEVE before we are “regenerated” (for, according to Calvinism, that would be a WORK on the part of man, and since Salvation is:
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;[Titus 3:5] then (according to the Calvinists) we must be “regenerated” before we can believe – since BELIEVING (according to Calvinists) is a WORK. But BELIEF is solely an operation and function of the HEART – NOT the flesh! “WORKS of righteousness” are done in the FLESH. The heart is our “faculty” where our will resides; the flesh is our “substance” that produces WORKS!
The following excerpt comes from my Post #3 (near the end):

Quote:

The “WORK” of God (in this age) is to convince people (through His word) to “BELIEVE” the Gospel. The purpose of the Gospel is to bring people to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. IF God “gives” us our “BELIEF”, WHY does He have to WORK at it? If our “BELIEF” is a “gift” from God - where then is there any “WORK” on God’s part? According to the Scriptures, God is now working at getting people to believe on him whom he hath sent.[Acts 13:41 Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.] If our “BELIEF” is a “gift” from God, there would be no “WORK” involved at all (on God’s part). Why would God try to “convince” someone of the very same thing (belief) that He is going to “give” them anyway?

2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

We obtained like precious "faith" (God's precious "gift" to us) by "believing" in our hearts, “after” we heard the Gospel of the Grace of God.

Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, AFTER that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also AFTER that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Please notice the “Chronological Order” that leads up to our Salvation: We TRUSTED, AFTER we HEARD the word of TRUTH (The Gospel). We were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise”, AFTER WE BELIEVEDNOTBEFORE”!
[Ephesians 1:13]:

Although faith is a “gift” from God (based on the Lord Jesus Christ’s finished WORK on Calvary), our “belief” in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is NOT a “gift” from God, but is instead an operation and function of our heart – God does NOT “BELIEVE” for us, or “FORCE” us to “believe” in Him!

From the very beginning of the creation of Adam, and up to the present time, God has wanted people to "believe" Him and obey Him. There have been different Dispensations; and God has required different things of people under the different "Covenants"; but the one constant thread running throughout all of the ages (Dispensations), and under all of the "Covenants" is God's consistent requirement that we "Believe" Him (His Holy words). He does not FORCE us, or MAKE us "believe" Him, but He "REQUIRES" it!

God has required of everyone under every Covenant and in every "age" that they "BELIEVE" His words {Oral or Written} and OBEY them. We are very fortunate that under the "New Covenant” - All we have to DO to get saved is to "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, . . . ." {When WE "BELIEVE" in Christ's death, burial, and resurrection and "RECEIVE" Him as our personal Saviour, we have done (obeyed) all that God has required of us (under the "New" Covenant) to get saved.} God never said that we are tooDEPRAVED” to believe Him – He has said that there is nothing we can DO (“WORKS”) to save ourselves {
Romans 1:16; Romans 3:19-28; Galatians 2:16}. Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
To answer your question – I believe that Ephesians 1:13 settles the matter of the Chronological order of Salvation (in this age and under the New Covenant) for ever. According to the Scriptures presented - "Regeneration" (the "new birth") takes place AFTER we have BELIEVED - NOT BEFORE! {After all, the whole purpose of the Gospel is to get us to BELIEVE; why would God emphasize the Gospel and our BELIEVING it, IF He is only going to honor the promises within it, to those He "Regenerates" first? Wouldn't that be disingenuous?}
[Ephesians 1:13In whom ye also trusted, AFTER that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also AFTER that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,]

Calvinists have confused the “Chronological Order of Salvation, and in doing, so they have constructed a system of biblical interpretation and theological formulations based upon a FALSE PREMISE (Premises), resulting in a “doctrine” (doctrines) that is not only FALSE, but also extremely pernicious (clearly demonstrated by some of the Calvinists’ responses to my Posts on this Forum – adversarial, belligerent, arrogant, epithetical (name calling), insulting, and (most importantly) without any “SUBSTANCE”!).

Once someone truly BELIEVES in “something”, it is extremely difficult to change one’s heart (NOT mind) on the matter. I do not profess to understand the workings of the heart; I only know (from reading and studying the Holy Scriptures and personal observation) that true, genuine BELIEF (no matter in WHAT) is a sole function of the heart, and that when it takes place, there is a “Commitment” to that “BELIEF” (that takes place within the heart) that makes it extremely difficult (often impossible without the Holy Spirit convicting and convincing) to CHANGE! {Try to witness to Catholics, Mormons, JW’s, Seventh Day Adventists, Cambellites, Pentecostals, Baptist Briders, Hindus, Buddhists, Mohammedans (Islamists), Humanists, etc. and you will know what I mean. :frusty:}

Well, the same holds true for Calvinists. A person who has accepted the doctrines of Calvinism is a “Calvinist”. A Calvinist accepts the “teachings” of Calvinism and believes (is convinced) in his/her heart that Calvinism is the ONE TRUE WAY (the ONLY WAY). Their faith in Calvinism mirrors our faith in God’s Holy word, the only problem being is, that they are placing their faith in a man and his writings – rather than Almighty God and His Holy word. {witness PB1789’s “reverence” for the writings of John Calvin – i.e. “FEAST”. :eek:}

Calvinists USE the Holy Bible (or corrupt bibles), as do ALL CULTS, to establish their pernicious doctrine, and IGNORE any and all verses of Scripture that are clearly contrary to what they believe. They think that, because they emphasize the “Sovereignty” of God, they can’t possibly be wrong. But the problem is, they, like their “Neo Orthodox” brethren (who supposedly emphasize the Person and Majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ), IGNORE THE TRUTH (i.e. THE SCRIPTURE – John 17:17) and in doing so, they construct a system of biblical interpretation and theological formulationsthat lead to erroneousbiblical interpretations” (leaven); dead orthodoxy; and eventually APOSTASY! {The unassailable historical record of Calvinism – in whatever churches it has been received and accepted. In other words - Calvinism = A DEAD END!}

Whenever Christians (or a church) abandon the Holy word of God and substitute “the tradition of men” in its place [Colossians 2:8], they are on the road to APOSTASY. It may take 40 years; it may take 100 years; it may take 200 years or more, but “leaven”, just a “little leaven”, ALWAYS “leavens the whole lump” (without exception). [1Corinthians 5:6; Galatians 5:9] I have personally witnessed on several occasions (within my lifetime) the destructive results of just " little leaven" in some of the churches I have attended.

[Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.]

[1 Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
Galatians 5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.]

stephanos 03-05-2009 03:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chette777 (Post 16279)
I don't agree with Arminianism(SP?) or Calvinism. But my Calvinist friends call me a Arminian and my Arminian friends call me a Calvinist.

I agree with George on all the issues he has brought out on Calvinism. why is it we are labeled by these groups when we differ from their thought.

What are we then? OH Yeah BIBLE BELIEVERS!:D and proud of it!

Yeah, my Mennonite friends are dictionary definition Arminians, and they still think that I'm a Calvinist, even after I told them I think it's the most destable heresy in the Church today. Some folks just can't get past pidgeon holing folks.

For Jesus' sake,
Stephen

George 03-10-2009 06:53 PM

Re: "CALVINISM: Sound Doctrine?"
 
Aloha all,

The following is the sixth Post on the Calvinistic doctrines of T.U.L.I.P. Again, I want to apologize for the delay, but these studies have taken longer than I anticipated (they always do :)).

T.U.L.I.P.{the famous acronym associated with Calvinistic beliefs}

P = “Perseverance of the Saints”

Calvinists state:
You cannot lose your salvation. Because the Father has elected, the Son has redeemed, and the Holy Spirit has applied salvation, those thus saved are eternally secure. They are eternally secure in Christ. Some of the verses for this position are John 10:27-28 where Jesus said His sheep will never perish; John 6:47 where salvation is described as everlasting life; Romans 8:1 where it is said we have passed out of judgment; 1 Corinthians 10:13 where God promises to never let us be tempted beyond what we can handle; and Phil. 1:6 where God is the one being faithful to perfect us until the day of Jesus’ return.

To begin with, the words “persevere” and “persevered” cannot be found in the Holy Bible. The word “perseverance” shows up only once in the Bible [Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;] and has absolutely nothing to do with the Calvinist doctrine of the so-called “Perseverance of the Saints”.

WHY do all of the main tenets (premises) of Calvinism either misuse Biblical words (take them out of context or misapply them) or use words, to bolster their doctrines, which cannot be found in the Holy Bible? [1 Peter 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.]

Calvinists state:
You cannot lose your salvation. Because the Father has elected, the Son has redeemed, and the Holy Spirit has applied salvation, those thus saved are eternally secure.

Although the preceding statement is true (overall), the way it has been stated leaves a lot to be desired - because it is cleverly worded to emphasize Calvinistic doctrine, and avoids mentioning (leaves out) many important Scriptures applicable to the subject.

Let us carefully examine the statement (bit by bit): You cannot lose your salvation. Because the Father has elected,” Is that the ONLY REASON why we “cannot lose your (our) salvation”? I trow not! I am always suspicious of religious people who only use those Scriptures that reinforce there pet doctrines and leave out the rest of the council of God on an issue.

We cannot lose our Salvation because the Holy Scriptures have PROMISED us that if we BELIEVE on/in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, we will have (receive - possess) ETERNAL LIFE and NEVER PERISH!

John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

The Calvinists conveniently LEFT OUT part of the “equation” {BELIEVE} – didn’t they? WHY? Why do Christians do that? Why not give us the “whole council of God”, instead of only those parts that support your system of biblical interpretation and theological formulations?

And please take note: Calvinists have a strong “personal preference” for the word “ELECT” and at the same time, seem to have an aversion to the word “BELIEVE”.

FACT: In the entire Bible there are a total of 27 verses with the words “elect”, “elected”, and “election” in them. Of those 27 verses with those words in them – 1 verse is in reference to the “elect” angels; 2 verses are in reference to the Lord Jesus Christ; 14 verses are in reference to the Jews (Hebrews); and 10 verses are in reference to Christians. {Check it out}.

FACT: There are approximately 302 verses with the words “believe”, “believeth”, “believed”, “believing”, and “belief” in them (better than 10 to 1 with “elect”, etc., and better than 30 to 1 when applied only to Christians). IF the Scriptures speak 10 times more (or 30 times more) about “believing”, etc., than “elect”, “elected”, and “election”, – WHY do some Christians keep on emphasizing “election”, etc., while practically ignoring “BELIEVING”? Hmmm? {It reminds me of some of our Pentecostal brethren (“Charismatics”) always over emphasizing “speaking in tongues” - after the Apostle Paul’s admonition: “Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.” [1 Corinthians 14:19] Our Calvinist brethren over emphasis on “elect”, “elected”, and “election”, isn’t quite that bad - but its’ bad enough, and out of order (i.e. balance).}

Is the sole reason why You cannot lose your salvation” -the reason that Calvinists supply: Because the Father has elected,” or is there more to it? I am not going to go over “election” again, except to say that I am highly suspicious of people (especially “religious” people) when they USE the Bible to support a “pet” doctrine, and only emphasize those verses in support of their beliefs, and conveniently fail to supply “the rest of the story” (the whole council of God).

According to the Holy Scriptures “election” is part of the reason we cannot lose our salvation. But the other part that is crucial to our not losing it, and the part that God emphasizes far more than “election”, is His PROMISES to us – that is - IF we BELIEVE!
Quote:

[Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?]

[Romans 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.]
Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

John 10:25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.
26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

1 John 5:10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

There’s more (a whole lot more), but why go on? The written "PROMISES" of God are sure, and they give us hope. The statement: You cannot lose your salvation. Because the Father has electedis only PART of the Scriptural testimony - the PART that Calvinists have chosen to emphasize to strengthen their doctrine, to the detriment of the testimony of the rest of the Scriptures dealing with the subject! Remember: “A text without a “context” is a PRETEXT”!

Calvinists state:
You cannot lose your salvation. Because the Father has elected, the Son has redeemed, and the Holy Spirit has applied salvation, those thus saved are eternally secure.

When Calvinists state: “The Son has redeemed”, they will get no argument from me or any other genuine Bible believer [Galatians 3:13]. Our salvation is based SOLELY ON: The Lord Jesus Christ’s life; His death; His shed blood; and His resurrection. Its’ ALL based on GOD’S GRACE - NOT OF WORKS! The ONLY thing that we must DO to receive this wonderful gift from God is – we must BELIEVE! [Acts 16:31]

The “simplicity” that is in Christ [2 Corinthians 11:3] is such, that even a child can receive it. Woe to the man (or men) that are guilty of “corrupting” that “simplicity”. [2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.]

Calvinists state:
You cannot lose your salvation. Because the Father has elected, the Son has redeemed, and the Holy Spirit has applied salvation, those thus saved are eternally secure.

I have looked throughout the Scriptures for the phrase “the Holy Spirit has applied salvation” (or something close to it). It may seem a moot point, but – WHY not USE “Scriptural Terms”, if you’re going to teach Bible doctrine? The following verses are the only verses that I could find, out of all the verses in the Bible, with the word “apply” or “applied” in them.

Psalms 90:12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Proverbs 2:2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;

Proverbs 22:17 Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.

Proverbs 23:12 Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.

Ecclesiastes 7:25 I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:

Ecclesiastes 8:9 All this have I seen, and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun: there is a time wherein one man ruleth over another to his own hurt.

Ecclesiastes 8:16 When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth: (for also there is that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes)

Every single verse has to do with menapplying” their hearts unto “something” (knowledge, understanding, instruction, wisdom, every work) – NOT “the Holy Spirit has applied salvation” unto men (or women). The statement is probably true, but the use of words and phrases that cannot be found in the Holy Scriptures opens up avenues for private interpretation; and it’s hard enough dealing with men privately interpreting the Scriptures – never mind having to deal with words and phrases that are foreign to the Bible.

The following are some verses (from the Holy Bible) describing the Holy Spirit’s work in our salvation. In addition to convicting and calling men (through God’s word) - AFTER we BELIEVE the Gospel - the Holy Spirit WASHES, REGENERATES, SEALS, SANCTIFIES, and RENEWS us. IF that’s what Calvinists believe when they say: “the Holy Spirit has applied salvation”, then that is satisfactory to a Bible believer.

Ephesians 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Titus 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

I believe that genuine Bible believers can accept the rest of the statement, made by Calvinists, as being true and doctrinally sound; although the use of 1 Corinthians 10:13hints” at Christians being UNABLE to FALL into sin – because of the so-called “perseverance” of the saints - a doctrine that would promote “sinless perfection”, with all of its defects and deficiencies.

“They are eternally secure in Christ. Some of the verses for this position are John 10:27-28 where Jesus said His sheep will never perish; John 6:47 where salvation is described as everlasting life; Romans 8:1 where it is said we have passed out of judgment; 1 Corinthians 10:13 where God promises to never let us be tempted beyond what we can handle; and Phil. 1:6 where God is the one being faithful to perfect us until the day of Jesus’ return.

Personally, I do not like the term “perseverance of the saints”, which “hints” at men (the saints) having the power (within themselves) to “persevere”. I do not believe that Christian men or women have the “power” to KEEP their salvation for even one day! If it weren’t for God’s Grace; His Love; His Mercy; His Patience; His Long Suffering; and His PROMISE to KEEP and PRESERVE His saints – none of us would “persevere”!

1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

Psalms 31:23 O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.

Psalms 37:28 For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.

Psalms 97:10 Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.

Proverbs 2:8 He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.

1 Samuel 2:9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.

Jude 1:1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

I am done with my examination of Calvinism, or more specifically the Calvinistic doctrines known as T.U.L.I.P. I have tried to compare those doctrines with the Bible and I have found many of them to be contrary to the Holy words of God. You will notice that I have refrained from making any personal attacks on Calvin himself, or any of his followers.

If I have differed or disagreed with Calvinistic teachings, I have tried to remain within the confines of the Holy Scriptures in my rebuttal of their doctrines. I don’t profess to know everything, and neither do I think that I have all of the answers. What I do know is that, if someone like me, (without religious “training” or any formal Bible “schooling”) can refute these doctrines, (as I have from the King James Bible) then Christians should not be fearful of contending with Calvinists, just because they may be “educated” (schooled) and “well-versed” in their doctrines.

I may post another Post on this issue in the future, where I may examine the person of John Calvin himself; his background; his life; his “conduct” (his “conversation”); his “works”; and some of his other “doctrines”. I have yet to decide whether I will undertake that study or not. Suffice it to say that, from what I do know (and remember) from my studies of church history (back in the 70’s & 80’s), many of the people today, who have embraced John Calvin’s teachings and doctrines, would not have been quite so enthusiastic about the man or his doctrines if they had had to live under his oppressive ecclesiastical RULE!

Matthew 20:25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Mark 10:42 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.
43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:
44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.
45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Luke 22:25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.
26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.

The Lord of Glory (God manifest in the flesh) set THE EXAMPLE for ALL of His servants to follow:

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

I am leery and suspicious of any Christian, (regardless of how “godly” he may appear) WHO sets about to “rule”, or “exercise authority”, or have “dominionover other Christians; or WHO seeks to establish a “reputation” for himself. If the Lord of Glory didn’t seek these things while “serving” on this earth – WHY would ANY Christian think himself better than our Lord? Hmmm?

Matthew 18:11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

WHY would any Christian “think” that he could “improve” on that? Or WHY would any Christian try? :confused:

chette777 03-10-2009 08:37 PM

Many blessings to our brother George for his thoughtful and tasteful exposition on the Calvinistic TULIP I am sure he is blessed as we are.:amen:

Diligent 03-11-2009 08:57 AM

Good stuff. I wrote a very short study on "preservation and salvation" a while ago. The problem with "perseverance of the saints" is that it is works-salvation cloaked. It's ironic that Calvinists essentially teach that the elect will "persevere" rather than God "preserve."

Luke 03-11-2009 01:26 PM

Yep, it's works based salvation.

Pure arminianism, except with the clause that "God does all my works, so they are meritous". But if one does not do works, then that "proves" they aren't saved. So in essence, they do works to keep themselves saved.

Luke 03-11-2009 02:53 PM

That was supposed to say "aren't meritous". Sorry about that mistake.

Forrest 03-12-2009 08:18 AM

:amen: Excellent study, brother George. Thanks again for the investment of time. I hope you will consider putting this on your website...so I can link the study for others. It will be a great Bible centered resource. Love you in the Lord, brother!

Gord 03-12-2009 01:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Forrest (Post 16706)
:amen: Excellent study, brother George. Thanks again for the investment of time. I hope you will consider putting this on your website...so I can link the study for others. It will be a great Bible centered resource. Love you in the Lord, brother!

I'll 2nd that. :amen:Thank you brother George.

George 03-26-2009 08:07 PM

Re: "CALVINISM: Sound Doctrine?"
 
Aloha all,

Sorry for the delay, but this whole study has taken much longer than I had anticipated. :)

The following short condensed biography of John Calvin was gleaned from Philip Schaff’s “History of the Christian church” and various other sources on the net.

John Calvin

John Calvin was born on July 10, 1509 in Noyon, Picardy, France. Calvin was the son of a lawyer, and developed a love for scholarship and literature at a very young age. Jean (John) Calvin was raised in a staunch Roman Catholic family. The local bishop employed Calvin's father as an administrator in the town's cathedral. The father, in turn, wanted John to become a priest. Because of close ties with the bishop and his noble family, John's playmates and classmates in Noyon (and later in Paris) were aristocratic and culturally influential in his early life.

His father, Gérard Cauvin, had a prosperous career as the cathedral notary and registrar to the ecclesiastical court. Gérard intended his three sons—Charles, Jean (John), and Antoine—for the priesthood. Jean (John) was particularly precocious; by the age of twelve, he was employed by the bishop as a clerk and received the tonsure, cutting his hair to symbolize his dedication to the (Roman Catholic) Church.


Calvin won the patronage of an influential family, the Montmors. And through their assistance,
in 1523 he was able to attend the Collège de la Marche in Paris, where he studied theology, grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music; and where he also learned Latin from one of its greatest teachers, Mathurin Cordier. Once he completed the course, he entered the Collège de Montaigu as a philosophy student. {14 years old!}

In 1525 or 1526, Calvin’s father withdrew his son {16 -17 years old}from Montaigu and enrolled him in the University of Orléans to study law. According to contemporary biographers Theodore Beza and Nicolas Colladon, Gérard believed his son would earn more money as a lawyer than as a priest. After a few years of quiet study, Calvin entered the University of Bourges in 1529. He was intrigued by the presence of Andreas Alciati, a humanist lawyer. Humanism was a European intellectual movement which stressed classical studies. During his eighteen month stay in Bourges Calvin learned Greek, a necessity for studying the New Testament. {19 years old}

Calvin was pressured by his father to study Law, but in 1531 his father died giving Calvin the freedom to resume his religious studies. {22 years old}


By 1532 Calvin finished his law studies and also published his first book, a commentary on De Clementia by the Roman philosopher, Seneca.
{At 23 years old – Calvin had spent all of his youth and formative years (9 years a student) in Roman Catholic Schools and Colleges!}

At some point between 1528 and 1533 he experienced a "sudden conversion" and grasped Protestantism. "God subdued my soul to docility by a sudden conversion" was how Calvin described this experience. {Somewhere between19 - 24 years old}


Another account of Calvin’s “conversion” states:

Sometime during this period Calvin experienced a sudden religious conversion. Not much is known of the surrounding circumstances, but he made one reference to it in the preface to his Commentary on the Book of Psalms: "God by a sudden conversion subdued and brought my mind to a teachable frame, which was more hardened in such matters than might have been expected from one at my early period of life." Scholars have argued about the precise interpretation of this statement, but it is agreed that his conversion corresponded with his break from the Roman Catholic Church. {For someone who was such a prolific writer – this is the ONLY account that Calvin left of his “conversion” - his only written “profession” of faith.}

In 1536 the first edition of "Institutes of the Christian Religion" was published in Basle. It was revised on a number of occasions and the final edition was published in 1559. This book was a clear explanation of his religious beliefs. The later versions expanded on how his church should be organized. {“First Edition” – 27 years old!}

For the second edition, published in 1539, Calvin dropped his former format in favour of systematically presenting the main doctrines from scripture. In the process, the book was enlarged from six chapters to seventeen. He concurrently worked on another book, the Commentary on Romans, which was published in March 1540. The book was a model for his later commentaries: it included his own Latin translation from the Greek rather than the Latin Vulgate, an exegesis, and an exposition. In the dedicatory letter, Calvin praised the work of his predecessors Philipp Melanchthon, Heinrich Bullinger, and Martin Bucer, but he also took care to state that his own work was distinct and courteously criticised some of the shortcomings of these three major reformers. {“Courteous criticism” = the hallmark of persons raised in scholastic surroundings; isolated from the real world - living in a “theoretical world”.}


In July 1536, Calvin went to
Geneva (a French-speaking Swiss city - which actually became a part of Switzerland in 1815), which at the time of Calvin’s arrival, the city was struggling to achieve independence against two authorities who were trying to exercise control over it. But within Geneva itself a struggle took place between those who wanted mild reform (such as no compulsory church attendance) and those who demanded radical reform such as Calvin. The split was deeper than this however. The mild reformers were called the Libertines and they wanted magistrates firmly in control of the clergy. Calvin wanted a city controlled by the clergy - a theocracy. In 1538, the Libertines won the day and Calvin fled the city and went to Strasbourg. {29 years old!}

In 1540 a new crop of city officials in
Geneva invited Calvin back to the city. As soon as he arrived he set about revolutionizing Genevan society. His most important innovation was the incorporation of the church into city government; he immediately helped to restructure municipal government so that clergy would be involved in municipal decisions, particularly in disciplining the populace. He imposed a hierarchy on the Genevan church and began a series of statute reforms to impose a strict and uncompromising moral code on the city.
{
A Theocracy}

By the mid-1550's, Geneva was thoroughly Calvinist in thought and structure. It became the most important Protestant center of Europe in the sixteenth century, for Protestants driven out of their native countries of France, England, Scotland, and the Netherlands all came to Geneva to take refuge. By the middle of the sixteenth century, between one-third and one-half of the city was made up of these foreign Protestants. In Geneva, these foreign reformers adopted the more radical Calvinist doctrines; most of them had arrived as moderate Reformers and left as thorough-going Calvinists. It is probably for this reason that Calvin's brand of reform eventually became the dominant branch of Protestantism from the seventeenth century onwards. John Calvin died on 27 May 1564. {54 years old}

Philip Schaff’s History states:John Calvin was, first of all, a theologian. He easily takes the lead among the systematic expounders of the Reformed system of Christian doctrine. He is scarcely inferior to Augustine among the fathers, or Thomas Aquinas among the schoolmen, and more methodical and symmetrical than either. Melanchthon, himself the prince of Lutheran divines and “the Preceptor of Germany,” called him emphatically “the Theologian.”

“Calvin's theology is based upon a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He was the ablest exegete among the Reformers, and his commentaries rank among the very best of ancient and modern times. His theology, therefore, is biblical rather than scholastic, and has all the freshness of enthusiastic devotion to the truths of God’s Word. At the same time he was a consummate logician and dialectician. He had a rare power of clear, strong, convincing statement. He built up a body of doctrines which is called after him, and which obtained symbolical authority through some of the leading Reformed Confessions of Faith.” [From "History of the Christian Church" by Philip Schaff, D.D. LL. D.]

IF John Calvin truly was: “the ablest exegete among the Reformers, and his commentaries rank among the very best of ancient and modern times”, then many doctrines that Bible believers believe today are “false”. IF, on the other hand, John Calvin was a product of his Catholic upbringing, training, education, and studies - then he isn’t everything that the scholars make him out to be; and he certainly isn’t someone, who modern day Christians should be following.

According to the scholars:Calvin was a tireless polemic and apologetic writer who generated much controversy. In addition to the Institutes, he wrote commentaries on most books of the Bible as well as theological treatises and confessional documents, and he regularly gave sermons throughout the week in Geneva. Calvin was influenced by the Augustinian tradition, which led him to expound the doctrine of predestination and the absolute sovereignty of God in salvation.”

Calvin stated: Augustine is so wholly with me, that if I wished to write a confession of my faith, I could do so with all fullness and satisfaction to myself and to his writings.”

The second part of Calvin’s “Institutes” includes several essays on the original sin and the fall of man, which directly refer to Augustine, who developed these doctrines. He often cited the Church Fathers in order to defend the reformed cause against the charge that the reformers were creating new theology.”
I believe a comparison between Augustine and Calvin is in order:


COMPARISON --------------------------------------------- AUGUSTIINE ----------------------------------------------- CALVIN

SOCIAL --------------------------------------------------- Middle Class ---------------------------------------------- Middle Class

FAMILY ------------------------------------------------- Ambitious Mother ---------------------------------------- Ambitious Father
---------------------------------------------------------- {Social Climber} --------------------------------------- {Financially Driven}
-------------------------------------------------------- {A “Momma’s Boy”} -------------------------------------- {A “Daddy’s Boy”}

EDUCATION ----------------------------------------- Philosophy Major/Teacher -------------------------------- Philosophy Major/Teacher ---------------------------------------------------- {Paid for by “Benefactor”} -------------------------------- {Paid for by “Benefactor”}

CHARACTER ---------------------------------------- Intellectual/Academician ---------------------------------- Intellectual/Academician
---------------------------------------------------- {Aristocratic Disposition} --------------------------------- {Aristocratic Disposition}

STATUS -------------------------------------------- Philosopher/Theologian --------------------------------- Philosopher/Theologian
----------------------------------------------------- {Extremely Influential} ------------------------------------ {Extremely Influential}

CONVERSION -------------------------------------- TO: “Catholic Christianity” ----------------------------------- TO: “Protestantism”
------------------------------------------------ {Personal Crisis – “Unseen Voice"} ---------------------------- {God - “Subdued” his MIND!}

CHURCH -------------------------------------- Roman Catholic (“Mother”) Church ----------------------------------- Reformed Church
------------------------------------------------- {Confirmed & Strengthened} -------------------------------- {Confirmed & Strengthened }

CHURCH (Polity) --------------------------------------- THEOCRATIC ------------------------------------------------ THEOCRATIC
-------------------------------------------------------- {Authoritarian} ----------------------------------------------- {Authoritarian}

WRITINGS ------------------------------------------- Very Prolific Author -------------------------------------------- Very Prolific Author

PERSECUTION ------------------------------------ Approved of Persecution ------------------------------------- Approved of Persecution
----------------------------------------------- {Dissenters: Example - Donatists} ----------------------------- {Dissenters: Example - Ana-Baptists}

BELIEFS ----------------------------------------- Absolute Sovereignty of God ---------------------------------- Absolute Sovereignty of God
------------------------------------------------ Predestination of Saved & Lost ---------------------------------- Predestination of Saved & Lost
------------------------------------------------- Israel = the “church” = Israel ----------------------------------- Israel = the “church” = Israel
-------------------------------------------------------- Amillennialism ------------------------------------------------ Amillennialism
------------------ ------------------------------------- Infant Baptism ----------------------------------------------- Infant Baptism

How about a further look at what Augustine, the “great church father” who was so venerated by Calvin, believed:

AUGUSTINE:

ACCEPTED Non-Canonical Books of the Old Testament as Scripture, or on the par with Scripture -(Tobias, Judith, I&II Maccabees, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, Bel and the Dragon, Susanna, and the Song of the Three Children.) He also believed that the “Septuagint was divinely “Inspired”!

In addition to the “Absolute Sovereignty of God” (read - “Irresistible Grace”); “Predestination” (read – “Unconditional Election” & “Limited Atonement”); the church is the same as Israel or visa versa; “Amillinnialism” (no physical return of Christ to rule & reign); and “Infant Baptism” - Augustine Believed and Taught the following:

He taught that the “proof” of regeneration could be seen by the “pious life” (works) of the “elect”; and that “perseverance” in “godly living” (works) ultimately “proves” who is predestined to eternal life, and who is not.

He believed in, and taught Baptismal Regeneration.

He believed that the ONLY TRUE CHURCH was the CATHOLIC CHURCH! {“The Catholic Church alone is the body of Christ, of which He is the Head and Saviour of His body.”}

He believed in an “apostolic succession” of Bishops from Peter as “one of the marks of the true church.”

He believed in the Catholic “Priesthood” and “Celibacy” for priests.

He acknowledged the authority of “Tradition”, and that of the Catholic Church in the interpretation of the Bible.

He synthesized Scriptural doctrines and teachings with “Philosophy” (Neo-Platonism).

He used Philosophical terms (Platonic) to set forth Christian concepts and precepts.

He believed that The Millennium was - “The Age between the First & Second Advents”.

He also taught Post-Millennialism. {???}

He believed Satan was “Bound”.

He believed that the “saints” were reigning with Christ NOW - during his life time (i.e. during the church age).

He taught the Mary was sinless and promoted her worship.

He allowed for the “intersession” of the saints.

He allowed for the adoration of relics and together with the “miracles” attributed to them.

He defined the “Sacraments” as “a visible sign of invisible grace”.

He added “confirmation”, “marriage” and “ordination” as “ordinances” to the Scriptural ordinances of the Lord’s Supper and Baptism.

He believed that the “Memorial” of the Lord’s Supper became the spiritual presence of Christ’s body and blood.

He is credited with giving the doctrine of “purgatory” its “first definite form”.

He was a VEGETARIAN!

If I were to dig further I’m sure that I would find more HERESY – but why proceed any further? WHY dig through a DUMP looking for a Diamond – when we’ve got the DIAMOND MINE? WHY go searching through a CESSPOOL trying to find Gold - when we’ve got the GOLD MINE?

WHAT was it that Calvin testified to? Augustine is so wholly with me, that if I wished to write a confession of my faith, I could do so with all fullness and satisfaction to myself and to his writings.”

“Reformation theologians such as Martin Luther and John Calvin would look back to him (Augustine) as the inspiration for their avowed capturing of the Biblical Gospel.”

Augustine's formulation of the doctrine of original sin has substantially influenced both Catholic and Reformed (that is, Calvinist) theology.”

Remember: ALL OF THE EARLY “REFORMERS” CAME OUT OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH! They had all been trained and educated within the Catholic Church (and nearly all of them had been Priests, or had held official positions within the Catholic Church). Having received a “Classical Catholic Education, they all were heavily influenced by PHILOSOPHY; “Scholasticism” (Thomas Aquinas); and the early church “fathers” (especially Augustine). And before coming out of the Roman Catholic Church, they all tried to “reform” it from within - before finally leaving it. And after leaving the Catholic Church they all still carried a lot of Garbage & Baggage from their Catholic training and schooling; and from their Classical education and studies (i.e. PHILOSOPHY); and from their practice within the roman Catholic Church.

While we can admire the courage of some of these men; and possibly appreciate the fact that they had some of their doctrines correct (for example - justification) – WHY would any Christian today want to FOLLOW them, when we now have the pure, unadulterated, perfect, Holy, and inspired word of God? As a matter of fact – WHY would any modern day Christian want to FOLLOW any man; or any man’s writings, when we have God’s Holy words preserved for us in a single Book, i.e. the King James Bible?

Calvin & Servetus

On his way to Italy, Michael Servetus (a Spanish “heretic”) stopped in Geneva for unknown reasons and attended one of Calvin's sermons in St Pierre. Calvin had him arrested and composed a list of accusations that was submitted before the court.”

Calvin wrote:After he [Servetus] had been recognized, I thought he should be detained. My friend Nicolas summoned him on a capital charge, offering himself as a security according to the lex talionis. On the following day he adduced against him forty written charges. He at first sought to evade them. Accordingly we were summoned. He impudently reviled me, just as if he regarded me as obnoxious to him. I answered him as he deserved… of the man’s effrontery I will say nothing; but such was his madness that he did not hesitate to say that devils possessed divinity; yea, that many gods were in individual devils, inasmuch as a deity had been substantially communicated to those equally with wood and stone. I hope that sentence of death will at least be passed on him; but I desired that the severity of the punishment be mitigated.{By “mitigated”, Calvin meant that instead of Servitus dying a slow death by BURNING – that they should BEHEAD HIM INSTEAD! John Calvin had a “peculiar” sense of the meaning of the word “mitigated”! But then again, as previously stated, Calvin held several “peculiar” doctrines that his followers no longer follow.}

Calvin and other ministers asked that he be beheaded instead of burnt. This plea was refused and on 27 October, Servetus was burnt alive at the Plateau of Champel at the edge of Geneva.

On 27 October 1553 Servetus was burned at the stake just outside Geneva with what was believed to be the last copy of his book chained to his leg. Historians record his last words as: "Jesus, Son of the Eternal God, have mercy on me."

In addition to the false doctrines and heresies that John Calvin believed in and taught, the issue of his intolerance towards dissenters (Christian or otherwise) is an extremely troubling problem that is lightly dismissed by many of his followers today as being “the tenure of the times”; or “you have to take into account the times and the culture that he lived in”; etc.

This “spirit of persecution” was INEXCUSABLE – no matter what the time; the culture; or the circumstances were! The Lord Jesus Christ warned his disciples against forbidding those who were not following them from doing a work for God [Luke 9:49-50]. And when James and John wanted to call down fire from heaven to consume some Samaritans for refusing to receive Him He strongly rebuked them with:

Luke 9:55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

How is it, that someone who was supposedly such a “great man of God”; who was supposedly at home in the Scriptures; and who, next to the Apostle Paul, was considered the “greatest expositor of the Holy Scriptures the church has ever seen” (“the ablest exegete among the Reformers”); how is it that Calvin didn’t understand this very plain and simple precept from God’s word? [the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.”]

What was this “great man” doing KILLING someone with whom he disagreed? What was he doing trying to build the Kingdom of God on earth by physically joining the church with the government and forming an “autocratic” THEOCRACY (run by him and his cohorts) – when NOT ONE disciple; NOT ONE Apostle; NOT ONE elder or pastor during the Apostles time ever got involved in such a venture? {When was the last time you wanted to "kill" someone (even a heretic) because they had a different opinion or belief than you?}

The “spirit of persecution” is a damnable practice, and if the truth be told, there is many a pastor amongst the so-called “Fundamentalist” circles today, who (if they were given the opportunity and the power) would do the same exact thing that John Calvin did 450 years ago! I have personally dealt with some of these men, who personally believe that Christ has appointed them (in His stead) to “head” His church, and to control the saints lives as they see fit. And if they had had the “power” that Calvin had, I would certainly be a dead man!

WHEN did James; or John; or Peter; or Barnabas; or Paul; ever set up an authoritarian government? WHEN did these men ever PERSECUTE those who opposed them; or TORTURE them; or KILL them? They NEVER DID – NO NOT ONCE! Paul, the greatest Apostle that ever lived, once said:
2 Corinthians 1:23 Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.
24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.

If the greatest apostle who ever lived did NOT HAVE DOMINION over the Christians in his time; please tell me what was Calvin thinking? What is any man thinking when he desires to exercise authority over God’s children, or heretics, or unbelievers, (especially PUNITIVE AUTHORITY) to the degree where they will KILL a man if he disagrees with them? WHAT MANNER OF “SPIRIT” IS THIS? It certainly is NOT the Spirit of Christ! It certainly is NOT following the example that the Lord Jesus Christ, or any of His Disciples and Apostles, left for us to follow!

Not all of the “great” men of God before this time; during this time; and after this time had thisspirit of persecution. Did Patrick? Did Wycliffe? Did Tyndale? Did Roger Williams? Did David Brainard? Did the thousands of ordinary Christians? There is NO EXCUSE for the spirit of persecution, no matter what time a man lived in! Thisspirit of persecution was some of the garbage and baggage that many of the Reformers brought with them from the Catholic Church, which had approved of persecuting “dissenters” for well over 1,000 years!

The following are just a few of comments about the man John Calvin:

Calvin wrote commentaries to ostensibly explain scriptural writings, but in reality he, like theologians before him, used the commentaries to argue for his own theology as he believed was present in scriptural writings. They are less an explanation of the Bible than a piece by piece construction of his theological, social, and political philosophy.

Calvin's writing and preaching provided the seeds for the branch of theology that bears his name. The Presbyterian and other Reformed churches, which look to Calvin as a chief expositor of their beliefs, have spread throughout the world. Calvin's thought exerted considerable influence over major religious figures and entire religious movements, such as Puritanism, and his ideas have been cited as contributing to the rise of capitalism, individualism, and representative democracy in the West.”

In each case those appealing to Calvin have treated his ideas anachronistically (Each of these is discussed in Paul Helm, John Calvin’s Ideas, (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2004)). In writing that book I discovered that if one uses Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae as a kind of template, then there are remarkable coincidences between Thomas’ thought and Calvin’s, even though there are obvious stylistic differences, and very little internal evidence in Calvin of a direct influence.”

What does this coincidence show? At least, that Calvin was thoroughly at home in the thought world of the theology of late medievalism, taking on many of its ideas uncritically in areas where the issues of the Reformation were not at stake. Even though he had, from time to time, critical things to say of that theology, or rather of its speculative tendencies.”

I have not had the time (nor the inclination) to search out the “remarkable coincidences” between John Calvin’s doctrines and “philosophy” and that of Thomas Aquinas (called the greatest Roman Catholic theologian – 1225-1274), but after comparing some of Calvin’s doctrine with that of Augustine’s, I would venture to say that an examination of Thomas Aquinas’ “thought” and Calvin’s "philosophy" would produce many “similarities” – and why not? Calvin surely studied Thomas Aquinas’ works during the 9 years he attended Roman Catholic Schools & Universities!

John Calvin
, along with most (if not all) of the so-called church “fathers” (Origen, Ambrose, Augustine, etc.) employed the “allegoricalmethod of interpreting Scripture, and relied heavily on the “academic divines” (church “fathers’&“scholars”-the “traditions of men”) in determining the “Truth” (that is - Calvin’s “concept” of “truth”).

According to the testimony of church historians: John Calvin was a philosopher, scholar, & academic theoretician; - like Thomas Aquinas,like Augustine, like Ambrose, and like Origen, (before him); in addition, he was a kingdom builder - like Thomas Aquinas, and like Augustine, (before him); and like
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Carl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, etc. (after him)

And speaking of Vladimir Lenin, Paul Johnson of Modern times states: * “No man [than Lenin] personifies better the replacement of the religious impulse by the will to power. In an earlier age he would surely have been a religious leader. With his extraordinary passion for force, he might have figured in Mohammed's legions. He was even closer perhaps to Jean (John) Calvin, with his belief in organizational structure, his ability to create one and then dominate it utterly, his puritanism, his passionate self-righteousness, and above all his intolerance.” * [Paul Johnson, Modern Times]

I’m not saying (or even intimating) that John Calvin was a communist (which he certainly was not!); but it is interesting that when writing about Vladimir Lenin, the man and impetus behind the Communist Revolution in Russia, that a secular writer compares Lenin’s “passion for force”; his “organizational structure”; his “ability to create one and then dominate it utterly” and his puritanism, self-righteousness, and intolerance - that he is compared to John Calvin!

I have examined John Calvin; his life; his work; and his doctrine. I believe that I have demonstrated (with Scripture) that much of his doctrine is in error or is plainly false. When we look at John Calvin’s life, we see a man that was extremely bright, highly educated, and scholarly. We also see a man that was industrious, determined, zealous, and ambitious.

But, on the other hand, we also see a man, who was doctrinaire, rigid, despotic and tyrannical. John Calvin was an authoritarian disciplinarian, who set up a Theocratic Dictatorship (with himself at its head), and who would not tolerate any disagreement with his interpretation of the Scriptures. {Does that sound like any "pastor" you have met?} :rolleyes:

There is not a single example in the whole of the New Testament where a Christian elder or pastor is supposed to do anything other than SERVE GOD; PREACH and TEACH God’s Holy word; and MINISTER to the saints of God. There is not one instance in the whole of the New Testament, where God calls a man of God to RULE over people (lost or saved) through a Theocratic Religious Dictatorship.

It is a mystery to me – why any modern day Bible believer would recommend John Calvin’s written works with the words: “Read what Jean Calvin wrote himself. Look at his commentaries on various Bible books. Read his sermons. Enjoy! Feast!

“FEAST”!-On what? Are we to “FEAST” on the speculations of the “allegorical” interpretation of Scripture; or of Pagan Philosophy (Aristotle) mixed in with Bible doctrine; or of Roman Catholic doctrine and practices; or Reformation doctrine and practices? Who needs it, when we have God’s perfect, inspired, Holy, and unadulterated word? WHY would anybody want to return to such a leavened mess?

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

God’s preserved His words for us, so that we might feast on them -WHY “FEAST” on the “UNINSPIRED” words of a mere man, when we already have every thing that we need to “be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” WHY “FEAST” on the “UNINSPIRED” words of a mere man, when the Lord Jesus Christ said: “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” [Matthew 4:4]

WHY any genuine Bible believer would want to FOLLOW this man is beyond my comprehension. If he were here today – I WOULDN’T FOLLOW HIM ACROSS THE STREET! :eek:

Debau 03-26-2009 10:38 PM

Cavin and Persecution-harmless as serpents!
 
Here's a summary by Jack Moorman.

http://www.a-voice.org/tidbits/calvinp.htm


Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

I think Calvin mixed these words up!

George 03-26-2009 11:25 PM

Re: " CALVINISM: Sound Doctrine?"
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Debau (Post 17471)
Here's a summary by Jack Moorman.

http://www.a-voice.org/tidbits/calvinp.htm


Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

I think Calvin mixed these words up!

Aloha brother Debau,

Thanks for the great "Link". I read all of it - I didn't have room to list all of the persecution that Calvin and his "henchmen" prosecuted against any and all who dared to step out of line.

Your link is an excellent addendum to my Post, and greatly reinforces what I said about the "spirit of persecution". No one could possibly defend such actions by Christians - at no time & under no circumstances (regardless of who was the perpetrator)! :mad:

peopleoftheway 03-27-2009 06:50 AM

Thank you Brother George for all your hard work and effort on the subject of calvinism. I have never held any of the points and find it a horrible teaching far removed from Biblical truth.
Please let us all know when your articles are available in document form so I may print off and share with my Grandfather (he has no computer).

God Bless you and yours

CKG 03-27-2009 07:46 AM

I was saved in 1983 and early on in my Christian walk I became aware of Calvinism, but it didn't seem to be that big of an issue back then. It seems like in the last 10 to 12 years (especially in the last 5 years) it has become quite a contentious issue and I'm wondering if this is due to a surge in Calvinistic theology during this time frame or has Calvinism always been prevalent, but now more people are starting to question it?

Along those same lines it seems there is more emphasis on rightly dividing Scripture. I rarely heard that term in my early days as a Christian, but now its become quite common. Maybe as people learn to rightly divide God's Word one of the results is it exposes long held teachings and doctrines such as Calvinism. I'm sure the advent of the internet is also responsible as people are now able to share the truth of God's Word in a way that was not possible before.

George 03-27-2009 01:02 PM

Re: "CALVINISM: Sound Doctrine?"
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CKG (Post 17478)
I was saved in 1983 and early on in my Christian walk I became aware of Calvinism, but it didn't seem to be that big of an issue back then. It seems like in the last 10 to 12 years (especially in the last 5 years) it has become quite a contentious issue and I'm wondering if this is due to a surge in Calvinistic theology during this time frame or has Calvinism always been prevalent, but now more people are starting to question it?

Along those same lines it seems there is more emphasis on rightly dividing Scripture. I rarely heard that term in my early days as a Christian, but now its become quite common. Maybe as people learn to rightly divide God's Word one of the results is it exposes long held teachings and doctrines such as Calvinism. I'm sure the advent of the internet is also responsible as people are now able to share the truth of God's Word in a way that was not possible before.


Aloha brother CKG,

I personally believe that Calvinism appeals to those people who are "academically inclined"; the "scholarly type”; or the "intellectual". Calvinism, as "a SYSTEM of biblical interpretation and theological formulations", appeals to the mind of man and is based on the "intellect", i.e. human knowledge, discernment, understanding, and wisdom - and NOT on the Holy Scriptures and spiritual knowledge, discernment, understanding, and wisdom.

Calvin and the Reformers lived in the age when the “University System” was becoming the center of learning and influence in the Western world. All of the Protestant Churches (as the Catholic Church before them) established Universities – ostensibly to teach Christian values and further whatever Denominational beliefs the churches held. And every single one of them (without exception) became corrupt; and then apostate; and eventually reprobate!

There is something about the nature of “SCHOOLING” (no matter WHO does it, or for WHAT motive) that eventually corrupts those involved in it - regardless of the purest and very best of intentions! {Harvard, Yale, & Princeton being the prime examples in the U.S.A. – and there are literally dozens more now}

I believe part of it has to do with people (teachers), who have had little or no practical experience in life, and who live in an academic world (the world of the “mind”) and apart from ordinary people, and who, because of KNOWLEDGE, get puffed-up and full of PRIDE, and “think of themselves more highly than they ought”, and who are honored and revered by many because of their “learning”. Remember - it was the desire for KNOWLEDGE that was the cause of Eve’s downfall, and which (after she received it) corrupted her “mind”!

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, AS the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

In our Humanistic culture, SECULAR SCHOOLING has become the predominate way of obtaining knowledge (and practically the only “acceptable” way). As a matter of fact, if a person (in our society) has not gone to college and obtained a college "degree", they are considered (by society) "ignorant" and can therefore be ignored. {Peter, Andrew, James, and John wouldn’t even get "a hearing" in Western Society today, and neither would the Lord Jesus Christ – none of them were “schooled”, none of them held “degrees”!}

SCHOOLING (Scholasticism & Philosophy) was the downfall (or undoing) of Origen, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and John Calvin (and countless others since). A School (College, University, or Seminary) CANNOT teach spiritual discernment, understanding, or wisdom; ONLY the Holy Spirit can teach those things [
1 Corinthians Chapter 2]. Schools can only teach the kind of "knowledge" that is directed at the MIND, with an emphasis on a "curriculum" {pre-determined subjects, pre-determined courses of study, modules, syllabus, etc.; i.e. educational programs - all with built in biases.}

On the other hand, when a person studies the Holy Scriptures (without the "guidance" of a School, or a pre-determined course of study) the Holy Spirit can teach SPIRITUAL knowledge, discernment, understanding, and wisdom which is directed at the HEART; and the SPIRIT; and the CONSCIENCE of a man - not only the MIND. [
Deuteronomy 32:46; 1Samuel 21:12; 1 Kings 3:12; Job 22:22; Proverbs 4:4, 22:17; Isaiah 59:13]

Psalms 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine HEART, that I might not sin against thee.

Proverbs 23:12 Apply thine HEART unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.

Jeremiah 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine HEART: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.

Jeremiah 20:9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine HEART as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.

Ezekiel 3:10 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine HEART, and hear with thine ears.

How can I (or a school) teach the HEART, or the SPIRIT, or the CONSCIENCE of a person? I can’t, and neither can a school (i.e. teachers). We CAN only teach to the MIND - it’s up to each individual to “apply thine HEART unto instruction”. I may appeal to a person’s heart with the Holy Scriptures, but they must “receive in thine HEART” – “ALL MY (GOD’S) WORDS”, I cannot “receive” for them. When it comes to sin – it’s up to each individual to “hide” God’s word in the heart – I cannot do these things for them (and neither can schools (or teachers), although many think they can; or that rules, regulations, and ordinances can.

What happens to a child if the courses, subjects, and educational programs that are being taught to him (or her) are not centered on God and His Holy word? What if the curriculum is centered on the values, beliefs, ideals, and morals of the predominate “Culture” in which we live? I will guarantee you, if that child’s mind, heart, spirit, and conscience is not firmly rooted and grounded in the Holy Scriptures, his or her mind will become “corrupt”.

People are born with a heart that is naturally “deceitful” [Jeremiah 17:9], but their minds are a “clean slate” (so to speak). Whereas a child’s heart is naturally deceitful, their minds are not naturally corrupt – this is where our culture, entertainment, the media, and “schooling” come in; especially SCHOOLING!

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, AS the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

How many Christian parents are there (who raised their children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” and who trained them up according to the Bible as best they could) have sent their children off to SCHOOL (Secular or “Christian”) only to see their sons (and daughters) turn their backs on God and His Holy word and become reprobates? The number is in the thousands! Just what is going on? The schools (Secular or “Christian”) have become the repository of a Philosophy (Religion) - HUMANISM that is so subtle and perverse, that most of today’s Christians don’t even recognize it for what it is.

Along with whatever subject matter is being taught within these schools (Secular or “Christian”) – Humanistic VALUES are unknowingly being inculcated into the MINDS of Christian children. That is - their minds are being “corrupted” by a godless, atheistic philosophy (“belief system”, i.e. religion) while at the same time they are acquiring a secular or religious “education”!

The Scriptures state: “Knowledge puffeth up” [1Corinthians 8:1]. You would think that would be warning enough for Christians (especially Bible believing Christians) to beware of Schooling.

Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches DECEIVE the HEARTS of the simple.

But sadly, most of today’s Christians are so ignorant of the Bible, (God’s words) they cannot discern between good and evil. John Calvin was raised and educated a Roman Catholic. He went to Catholic schools and Universities; and much of his personal philosophy and “belief system” was shaped by the men he studied under (all Catholics); and the written works of the “fathers” (Augustine foremost - Catholic); and without doubt (because of “similarities”) Thomas Aquinas (the greatest Roman Catholic “Theologian”).

John Calvin is a perfect example of WHAT & WHO a Bible believing Christian should avoid. We should avoid the kind of “education” he received, and we should avoid the kind of works that he produced - a Persecuting Theocratic Dictatorship! The Apostles are our examples of who we must follow, and ultimately the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; We don’t need to follow John Calvin or his writings. :(

Luke 03-27-2009 02:49 PM

There is a calvinist resurgence.

There are even websites about it

www.theresurgence.com

Lots of young people are taking it up, mainly for the reasons George says. It also puts them in an elite group, something that all young people desire.

I don't see much fruit coming from it.

What I am interested in seeing is what happens to these young people who are "restless and reformed" in 10 years time. At the moment, a lot of testimonies from them on youtube are all about how they stopped sinning after God made them stop, and then rebuking other Christians who struggle. I wonder what happens in 10 years when the trials of life really set in.

It seems as though becoming a Calvinist gives you 400 years of education in a split second, and the right to rebuke anyone and everyone else as teaching "works based salvation" and "easy believism".

peopleoftheway 03-27-2009 05:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Luke (Post 17487)
There is a calvinist resurgence.

There are even websites about it

www.theresurgence.com

Lots of young people are taking it up, mainly for the reasons George says. It also puts them in an elite group, something that all young people desire.

I don't see much fruit coming from it.

What I am interested in seeing is what happens to these young people who are "restless and reformed" in 10 years time. At the moment, a lot of testimonies from them on youtube are all about how they stopped sinning after God made them stop, and then rebuking other Christians who struggle. I wonder what happens in 10 years when the trials of life really set in.

It seems as though becoming a Calvinist gives you 400 years of education in a split second, and the right to rebuke anyone and everyone else as teaching "works based salvation" and "easy believism".

So very true Brother, you are around the same age as myself (Im 34) And most of the youth around where I live that are "Christians" are either pentecostal or calvinists. I find it so very hard to find Bible believing, rightly dividing fellowship.
I hope things are better with you ,the devil is certainly trying to give those that walk in truth a battering in his final days. But his end is near.

Revelation 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

God Bless

chette777 03-28-2009 03:00 AM

People sounds to me there is a calling there to start a fellowship of Bible Believers. You should pray about that and if the Lord is leading start one by faith.

I can give you 100 testimonies (if not more) as to God providing for him who he calls. I started this fellowship with a $20 a month promise. went to nothing and now I have a regular amount (not enough to live on in the States but enough for here). The car we bought by faith last July has been fully paid off as of this month. that was our latest testimony to God's provision by faith.

peopleoftheway 03-28-2009 07:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chette777 (Post 17505)
People sounds to me there is a calling there to start a fellowship of Bible Believers. You should pray about that and if the Lord is leading start one by faith.

I can give you 100 testimonies (if not more) as to God providing for him who he calls. I started this fellowship with a $20 a month promise. went to nothing and now I have a regular amount (not enough to live on in the States but enough for here). The car we bought by faith last July has been fully paid off as of this month. that was our latest testimony to God's provision by faith.

Thanks for that Brother.
You know way back in 1957 my grandfather and 3 or 4 friends disagreed with the Church system here in Northern Ireland and the apostate nature of most of them so they, through prayer and faith built a Gospel hall. Not a massive hall, a decent sized Gospel hall seats about 100, baptismal tank and prayer room. They trod miles on foot every day to witness and to invite the local community to the hall for Gospel meetings, I even recall my Grandfather and his friend building a bridge over a small stream (Cut almost 2-3 miles of a journey) so that the young folks of the area could come to the Hall to hear the Word of God in Sunday school. I remember as a small child going to Sunday school there and sometimes the meetings spilled outside due to lack of room. Last year I visited the hall again and I was quite disheartened to learn that some had come in with peculiar teachings and modern versions and the numbers had greatly dropped. I ask if you could pray for me to get in touch with my Grandfathers old fellowship (those who are still alive) and possibly help to bring back the Zeal to the Hall and encourage the young people to attend again, if that is the Lords will for me.
I would very much like to visit the Philippines one day and come and see you and your Church.

Much Love in the Lord

chette777 03-28-2009 06:50 PM

we will most definitely be praying for God still has souls that need teh truth there where you are at. I would love to help so prayers is the first step. you can visit our web page for now seeing airfare is so expensive. It should be on my profile.

boaz212 04-16-2009 12:29 PM

Question on Romans 9
 
Hi George, my name is Tim. I just joined the forum. I have been studying Romans 9. I understand that the context of the chapter is on the election of the nation of Israel. But a calvinist would twist it to mean predestination of the saved/lost. I have some questions on your study on this chapter. I have a few things I am not understanding so I can't put the whole chapter together. I need your help.

[I]Rom 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.[/I]
To whom is the mercy/compassion referring to?

Rom 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus?
Rom 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Rom 9:22 [What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
Rom 9:23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
Rom 9:24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
What does it mean "made me thus"? What's the complaint? Is the vessel of wrath referring to just the pharoah? What how do you define "fitted"? and the meaning "fitted to destruction"? And lastly, what is the "glory" in v23 referring to?

It has been a bit frustrating for me trying to sort through the maze of calvinism. Your explanation in this thread has been a great blessing to me. Thanks for your help.

boaz212 04-16-2009 12:35 PM

I just remembered another question I have.

2Ti 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
My understanding of repentance is a change of heart/mind that we have to make. So I am having a difficult time with this verse that sounds like repentance is given by God. I know this verse will come up as I talk to calvinists in my church. I think they might say that without God's help, no one can repent and believe Christ. Thanks again for the help.
Tim

Luke 04-17-2009 03:16 AM

The problem with being against Calvinism's "sovereign" God that decrees everything, is that sometimes, we make ourselves a God who does nothing...

God DOES draw people to himself. God does touch hearts. God does move men. God does bring conviction.

The Bible clearly says that no one can come to Jesus unless God draws them.

What the Calvinist does is say that this "drawing" is the new birth, and no one can come to God until they are born again. Basically, they are regenerated before they are saved.

The Bible has it the other way around. We are convicted by the word, by the Holy Spirit. We come to God because we see our need, and He has provided, and He regenerates us by grace through faith.

Having said that - I'm not sure who that verse is to be applied to. It refers to someone who has been decieved by the devil. They oppose themselves. I am not sure what that means. False doctrines perhaps.. They are saved but their false doctrines confuse them. Not sure.

George 04-17-2009 09:34 AM

Re: "CALVINISM: Sound Doctrine?"
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by boaz212 (Post 18266)
Hi George, my name is Tim. I just joined the forum. I have been studying Romans 9. I understand that the context of the chapter is on the election of the nation of Israel. But a calvinist would twist it to mean predestination of the saved/lost. I have some questions on your study on this chapter. I have a few things I am not understanding so I can't put the whole chapter together. I need your help.

[I]Rom 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.[/i]
To whom is the mercy/compassion referring to?

Rom 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus?
Rom 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Rom 9:22 [What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
Rom 9:23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
Rom 9:24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
What does it mean "made me thus"? What's the complaint? Is the vessel of wrath referring to just the pharoah? What how do you define "fitted"? and the meaning "fitted to destruction"? And lastly, what is the "glory" in v23 referring to?

It has been a bit frustrating for me trying to sort through the maze of calvinism. Your explanation in this thread has been a great blessing to me. Thanks for your help.


Aloha brother Tim,

I am working on an answer to your questions, and will reply soon. However, let me say that although I have been a student of the Bible for 50 years (a serious student for about 40 of those years), I do not have all of the "answers" to some of those Bible issues that "are hard to be understood" and the Apostle Paul had more than his share! [2Peter 3:16]

If you ask me to "rightly divide" the Book of Matthew or the Book of Acts (where many a "Bible scholar" stumbles) I have very little problem, BUT when it comes to the Book of Romans or the Book of Hebrews, that's another story.

I believe that the reason for my difficulty is that the "KEY" to understanding the Books of Matthew & Acts is the "JEWS" - if a Christian can rightly divide between the Jews; the Gentiles; and the church of God (i.e. Christians) [1Corinthians 10:32], rightly dividing the word of truth in those Books is not that difficult. On the other hand Paul's Letters are another matter!

The Apostle Paul's Letters require much more discernment than keeping track of the Jews, the Gentiles, and the church of God. Much of what Paul writes requires spiritual discernment and understanding [1 Corinthians 2:1-16] that only God can give. No church, no "Bible school", and no man (myself included) can teach or give another man this kind of "discernment" and "understanding"; and I don't claim to understand ALL THINGS, nor do I claim to have the ability to be able to "transfer" what little discernment and understanding I do have to others.

Paul's Letters basically deal with two main issues (i.e. "weightier matters") - Bible "DOCTRINE" & Christian "CONDUCT". I "get" most of what Paul has to say about our "conduct", but I confess (with Peter) that "in all of his epistles" - there are "some things hard to be understood". And your questions are dealing with some of those "things".

Quote:

2 Peter 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

I see the New Testament as the complete "Testimony" of and about our Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospels = God's testimony to Christ's earthly "ministry" (almost exclusively to the Jews); The Acts = Christ's return to His Father and His working (through the Holy Spirit) using His Apostles and Prophets (servants & ministers) to establish HIS church; The Apostles Letters or "Epistles" (especially Paul's) = WHY He came; WHAT He accomplished; and HOW He accomplished it. In other words the Gospels are a PICTURE or illustration of the Lord Jesus Christ's life and ministry here on earth; and the rest of the New Testament is a COMMENTARY about Him, His Life, His Ministry and the fact that He is coming back (Revelation and the rest of the New Testament prophecies.) In other words, the whole of the New Testament is all about THE LORD JESUS CHRIST!

Your questions deal with the "WHY" (God did what He did); and the "HOW" (the manner in which He accomplished His "work"); i.e. "strong meat" indeed; and not "easy" questions - to which there are no "easy" answers. I will try to answer your questions, but you must understand, better men than I have stumbled over these issues, and my "understanding" of them is incomplete - at best. [1 Corinthians 13:9-12]

From your testimony I perceive that you may be a bit "frustrated" (either with those people who may be mistaken, or possibly your inability to understand some of the word of God). My advise to you is don't let "Christians" get you down - keep your eyes on the Lord, He will never fail you. And don't get discouraged trying to understand God's words. The worst thing that Christians do (when it comes to studying the word of God) is FORCING the Scriptures into some "system" so that they can understand it (.i.e Calvinism, Hyper-Dispensationalism, Arminianism, or any other "ISM"). If you don't understand something in God's Holy word - Let it be; get on with your studies; don't "FORCE" a "private interpretation" upon it in order to understand it. If God wants you to know something - He'll show you (in His time), and if He doesn't show you, all of the books, schools, and Bible teachers in the world are NOT going to be able to give you the discernment and understanding that God will give you (if, and when, He sees fit to give it to you).

Your questions are dealing with the "strong meat" of God's word, and I sometimes have difficulty "digesting" God's "strong meat".

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.
13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

At my age (considering how long I have been saved) I should have a much better understanding of some of these issues; and if I had spent as much time studying "The Book" - as I did studying ABOUT "The Book", perhaps God would have given me more light on the matter.

You have asked some excellent questions. I hope that I can answer them satisfactorily. :)

Winman 04-17-2009 05:38 PM

Boaz212

I am almost reluctant to try and answer your questions, as I am sure Brother George will do a far better job.

My personal opinion, and remember, no scripture is of private interpretation, it that people are reading Romans Chapter 9 wrong. I am no scholar, I simply read the Bible and ask God to give me wisdom to understand. And I can testify that God has answered my prayers many times. I have prayed about a certain verse or passage that I could not understand, only to attend Church and the Pastor preach on that very passage and make it clear as day. And in a few cases, the Lord just seemed to open my understanding and suddenly the passage was clear. Sometimes you get an answer very soon, sometimes you have to wait awhile. But if you are sincere, God will answer you.

James 1: 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

There you go, God is happy to give you wisdom if you ask, so don't doubt Him.

Now, to how I read Romans Chapter 9. I always approach problems in the same way I was taught in Algebra many years ago. Always take what you do know, to determine what you do not know.

Now, this we know, God is not willing that any should perish.

2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Now, remember that word "longsuffering", because you are going to see that again in Romans 9. And another important word there is "repentance".

We also know that God does not tempt any man to sin.

James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

So here we have two very simple and straightforward things we KNOW. God is not willing that any person should perish, and God does not cause any man to sin.

And Election? Have you ever heard a radio show where they say, "the first person to call in and tell us what year the movie Wizard of Oz came out will win a thousand dollars!"? That is election. If you call in and give the correct answer first, it has already been determined beforehand that you will win the prize. If you call in and give the wrong answer, or you are correct but you were not the first to call in with the correct answer, it has already been determined beforehand that you will not win the prize.

And God has determined that He will only save those who come to Him in faith.

This is what Romans 9:15 means.

Romans 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

And this is explained in earlier verses.

Rom 9:8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

God has already determined he will have mercy on those who come to Him by faith, not works, or not because of genealogy (descended from Abraham according to the flesh).

Now, here is where it gets tricky. God already knows who will come to Him by faith, and God knows who will not. And this was the case with Pharoah. God knew beforehand that Pharoah would rebel and resist God.

Now, that is not God's fault. God gives every person free will. You must come to God because you LOVE him, not because you are a robot that has no choice. This is where some go wrong. They think God is cruel and determines some to be punished forever, and chooses some to have everlasting life. No, God gives every man free choice. And that is how it should be. If you were getting married, would you want your wife to marry you because she chose you and loved you, or because you stuck a shotgun in her face and demanded she marry you? No, real love always gives a person free will and choice, and God gives you free will and choice.

Have you ever had a debate with someone where you knew (or at least felt) you were correct, and knew they were wrong? And no matter how much evidence you provide that person, instead of agreeing with you, they just get more and more stubborn?

I argued with my wife once over the words to a song. She was singing a song and got the words wrong. I laughed (big mistake) and told her that is not how the song went. She got offended and insisted she was correct. I insisted I was correct, she insisted she was correct. We got in such a heated argument over this silly song that we did not speak to each other for over a week. We never did resolve it, we just dropped it.

But that is how Pharoah was. Pharoah was stubborn. He did not like to be wrong, he did not want to listen to God or anybody else. So in this sense God hardened his heart, by commanding him to let God's people go. The more God told him, and the plagues God brought upon him, the angrier Pharoah got, and the more determined to resist God he became.

Now read Roman 9:17-18 and it will make sense.

Rom 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

Yes, God used Pharoah to demonstrate his power. He knew Pharoah would resist Him, and God could show his great power in bringing the Israelites out of Egypt. But God did not make Pharoah stubborn, that was Pharoah's own fault.

Now look at Rom 9:19-22

Rom 9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

First, note that they asked "why hast thou made me thus?" You hear that a lot today. The homosexuals will claim that they have no choice in their lifestyle, that God made them that way. But that is not true.

Notice how I highlighted "of the same lump" in verse 21, this is very important. We are all made from the same lump. God does not create you good or evil, you CHOOSE to be good or evil. You can come to Jesus in faith, or you can choose your own way. But remember, God has already determined beforehand that He will only accept those who come to Him by His Son Christ Jesus in faith. He will have mercy on those who come to Him in faith, He will have no mercy on those who choose their own way.

And notice verse 22, where God says "he endured with much long-suffering".
He gave Pharoah every possible chance he could. At one point Pharoah even admitted he had sinned.

Exo 9:27 And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the LORD is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.

But Pharoah said this for convenience. He just wanted the plague to end, and once it did, he went right back to his old stubborn ways.

Exo 9:33 And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands unto the LORD: and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth. 34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants. 35 And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken by Moses.

Yes, God caused Pharoah to harden his heart by confronting him, but it was Pharoah's own personal choice.

So, God is not wrong to show His power and wrath on those who stubbornly resist Him, and He is not wrong to show mercy to those who obey Him by coming in faith.

I hope this helped. This is how I understand this chapter.

boaz212 04-19-2009 03:22 PM

Winman, thanks for your reply. I will go over your post a few more times. I already found things very helpful to me!

Thanks George, while you are working on your answer, I have been reading over and over again that whole section ch.9-11. Can't wait to get your insights. Take care.

Tim

chette777 04-23-2009 05:31 AM

Just a quick input Romans 9 through 11 must need be actively rightly divided. and by doing so the context becomes clear. this section of scriptures deals mainly with Israel. right from the beginning of this section of Romans Paul begins to address what the cross cause and effect upon the OT law.

for three chapters Paul gives us a great understanding of Israels position and purpose. most of which during this age of grace the nation Israel has been set aside. and must come to God through Christ as any other man.

Wonderful truths of Gods will and purpose for Israel is confirmed and laid out in the three chapters of Romans dealing with "what about Israel?" Romans 9-11 must be taken together as one section and read in light of Gods will for Israel's future.

so many come away with the wrong perception and even off or false doctrines by not keeping the context of Israel.

Timotheus 04-28-2009 04:27 PM

Firstly, thank you for sharing with us your study on Calvinism Brother George. It was a blessing to read, and most edifying.

I have a few questions I wish to ask, though I don't mean to add any more work to this otherwise long study.

A friend of mine recently sent me this website on Calvanism and why the five points are Biblical. I still haven't done much research into beyond taking note that their doctrine is not derived from the Perfect Word of God.

But here are a few highlights that I have questions on.

Quote:

The totality of our rebellion is seen in Romans 3:9-10 and 18. "I have already charged that all men, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, as it is written: None is righteous, no not one; no one seeks for God....There is no fear of God before their eyes."

It is a myth that man in his natural state is genuinely seeking God. Men do seek God. But they do not seek him for who he is. They seek him in a pinch as one who might preserve them from death or enhance their worldly enjoyments. Apart from conversion, no one comes to the light of God.

Some do come to the light. But listen to what John 3:20-21 says about them. "Every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God."

Yes there are those who come to the light—namely those whose deeds are the work of God. "Wrought in God" means worked by God. Apart from this gracious work of God all men hate the light of God and will not come to him lest their evil be exposed—this is total rebellion. "No one seeks for God...There is no fear of God before their eyes!"
So they are stating we are in total rebellion and nothing about us is in line with God (before salvation) correct, because any "good" thing we do is wrought in God, and if we are Wrought in God we must be saved? Seems a little circular to me.

Quote:

Man's inability to submit to God and do good is total.

Picking up on the term "flesh" above (man apart from the grace of God) we find Paul declaring it to be totally enslaved to rebellion. Romans 8:7-8 says, "For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, indeed it cannot; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God."

The "mind of the flesh" is the mind of man apart from the indwelling Spirit of God ("You are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God really dwells in you," Romans 8:9). So natural man has a mindset that does not and cannot submit to God. Man cannot reform himself.

Ephesians 2:1 says that we Christians were all once "dead in trespasses and sins." The point of deadness is that we were incapable of any life with God. Our hearts were like a stone toward God (Ephesians 4:18; Ezekiel 36:26). Our hearts were blind and incapable of seeing the glory of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4-6). We were totally unable to reform ourselves.
And that, well that part went over my head.

http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceL...ism/#Depravity

Is the site my friend sent me though.

I thought at the very least it might be good for your study to get other Calvanisitic views on their doctrine.

Luke 04-28-2009 06:13 PM

Quote:

Now, that is not God's fault. God gives every person free will. You must come to God because you LOVE him, not because you are a robot that has no choice. This is where some go wrong. They think God is cruel and determines some to be punished forever, and chooses some to have everlasting life. No, God gives every man free choice. And that is how it should be. If you were getting married, would you want your wife to marry you because she chose you and loved you, or because you stuck a shotgun in her face and demanded she marry you? No, real love always gives a person free will and choice, and God gives you free will and choice.
While I agree with the general premise, sinners coming to God are coming not because they love him, but because He loved us and died for us. Our love for God will grow AFTER salvation, but before salvation, there is none that seeketh after God. One cannot love someone he does not know.

Luke 04-28-2009 06:19 PM

I wouldn't worry about "desiringgod.com" too much. It's John Piper's website. He teaches what is called double predestination.

He declares that God actually selected and decreed who would go to hell and who would go to heaven. A "double" election. This is actually the logical calvinist position..

The more common position is that God elected who would go to heaven and ignored the rest.

Both are wrong.

George 04-29-2009 11:51 AM

Re: "CALVINISM: Sound Doctrine?"
 
Quote:

Question on Romans 9

Hi George, my name is Tim. I just joined the forum. I have been studying Romans 9. I understand that the context of the chapter is on the election of the nation of Israel. But a calvinist would twist it to mean predestination of the saved/lost. I have some questions on your study on this chapter. I have a few things I am not understanding so I can't put the whole chapter together. I need your help.”

[I]
Rom 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.[/i]

To whom is the mercy/compassion referring to?”

Rom 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus?
Rom
9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Rom 9:22 [What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
Rom 9:23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
Rom 9:24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?


What does it mean "made me thus"? What's the complaint? Is the vessel of wrath referring to just the pharoah? What how do you define "fitted"? and the meaning "fitted to destruction"? And lastly, what is the "glory" in v23 referring to?”

It has been a bit frustrating for me trying to sort through the maze of calvinism. Your explanation in this thread has been a great blessing to me. Thanks for your help.”

Tim
Aloha Brother Tim,

Before I answer your specific questions I want to establish some precepts and principles in “rightly dividing the word of truth”. There are some Scriptures that can “STAND ALONE” - that is, some verses (on their own) establish God’s truth without the necessity of corroborating verses (although there may be other verses that support the Scriptural precept or principle); and there are some Scriptures that if made toSTAND ALONE” (without corroboration, or if taken out of “context”) can lead to False Doctrine or Heresy.

A few “Examples” of Scriptures that can “STAND ALONE” follow:

Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Psalms 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

Psalms 33:4 For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.

Psalms 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

1 Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

1 John 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

There are literally hundreds of verses like those that I cited above that can “STAND ALONE”.

All of the verses that I cited can be “corroborated” with other verses, but, if cited, they can “STAND ALONE” because they establish an immutable Scriptural “precept” or “principle”. On the other hand, there are Scriptures (like some of those you cited) which if MADE TO “STAND ALONE” (without Scriptural corroboration), can be twisted, wrested, and taken out of context to satisfy a “private interpretation”, and which (as is often the case) can end up actually supporting “False Doctrine” or “Heresy”.


The mark of a CULT and/or a False Teacher (a Heretick) is when they take Scripture (containing “the mysteries of God”; or “the wisdom of God”; or “the deep things of God” – i.e. those things that the “natural man” cannot understand, “because they are spiritually discerned”) and MAKE IT “STAND ALONE” (without Scriptural corroboration) or TAKE IT OUT OF “CONTEXT” – in order to PROVE APRIVATE INTERPRETATION”. We must always be on guard against Heresy and False Teachers (Hereticks), and be extremely careful that we, ourselves, do NOT employ THEIR METHODS in our study of God’s Holy word.

Your question concerning:
Quote:

[I]Rom 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.[/i]
To whom is the mercy/compassion referring to?
The quote that Paul is citing is from Exodus 33:19 – [Exodus 33:19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.]

I believe that in the context of Exodus Chapter 33 the words are directed, first in regards to Moses and secondly to the nation of Israel (Read all of Exodus 33 1-23). You will notice that in Romans Chapter 9: 1-33 Paul first speaks about his “brethren”, his “kinsmen according to the flesh” {“Who are Israelites”}; he then goes over the written record in Exodus 33:1-23 and elsewhere in The “Oracles of God”, i.e. “the Scripture of truth”, and he makes some “spiritual comparisons” for Christians, and he also goes on to make some “spiritual applicationsto Christians (specifically – the “Gentile” Christians); that is Paul set forth the precept that God’s mercy, graciousness, and compassion are NOT LIMITED to the Jews ONLY. Paul would often cite “episodes” or “incidents” from the Old Testament which involved the Israelites and use them as “examples” or “ensamples” for us to learn by. [Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11] But what Paul did NOT do was to take Old Testament “DOCTRINE” - directed specifically at the Jews (and exclusively for the Jews) and make a “DOCTRINAL APPLICATION” to Gentile believers.

Paul is making SPIRITUAL comparisons between the children “of the flesh” and the children of “promise” (i.e. faith) and he is making a SPIRITUAL application to all those (Jews & Gentiles) who, by faith, are the genuine children of God. He is NOT teaching a New Testament DOCTRINE that “some are elected into salvation, others are not”! Please notice that the wordseternal life” and “salvation” can NOT be found in the entire Chapter 9 of the Book of Romans. And the word “saved” shows up only once [Romans 9:27] and is obviously in reference to a “remnant” of “the children of Israel” – NOT born again children of God. [Romans 9:27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:]

In Romans 9:1-33 Paul has “great heaviness and continual sorrow” in his heart over the fact that the nation of Israel rejected Christ their Messiah & Saviour, but then he demonstrates, that just because Christ’s brethren (in the flesh) rejected Him, that didn’t prevent God, in His mercy, from blessing the Gentiles; that is those Gentiles, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, and who became the children of God “by faith”. God demonstrated that: He (God) “will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.” Paul is clearly teaching that God’s graciousness and mercy are not reserved for the Jews (in the flesh) ONLY, but that He (God) could choose whomsoever he wanted (regardless of their physical birth) to bestow His mercy upon.

The point that Paul was making was - just because a person was born a Jew (in the flesh) didn’t guarantee that they are a genuine child of God. Paul cites Hosea 2:23 (Romans 9:25-26); Isaiah 10:22-23 (Romans 9:27-28); Isaiah 1:9 (Romans 9:29); and Isaiah 8:14 (Romans 9:33) in making his point.

If you are studying the Book of Romans, you should be studying the “companion book” to Romans (The Book of Galatians) also. Much of what is taught in Romans will be corroborated, substantiated, and expounded on in the Book of Galatians also. If a “Christian” goes to a few verses in the Book of Romans and tries to make those verses “STAND ALONE”, you can be sure of one thing - they are trying to “persuade” you to their point of view (i.e. “private opinion”) on a spiritual issue that is extremely complex, and which CANNOT be settled by just one verse, or a handful of verses, taken (wrested) out of “context”.

Your next questions:
Quote:

Rom 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus?
Rom
9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Rom 9:22 [What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
Rom 9:23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
Rom 9:24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles
?

What does it mean "made me thus"? What's the complaint? Is the vessel of wrath referring to just the pharoah? What how do you define "fitted"? and the meaning "fitted to destruction"? And lastly, what is the "glory" in v23 referring to?”

In studying this complex issue, Christians must familiarize themselves with the Old Testament record of the people and events that Paul is writing about. In addition they must read ALL of Paul’s Epistles (to see what else he says about the issue); and they must not take this handful of Scriptures in Romans Chapter 9, without having a good grounding and familiarity with the whole Book of Romans (and the “companion” Book of Galatians).

We are commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ to “Search the Scriptures” [John 5:39]; and the Bereans were commended by Paul because they: “. . . . searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” [Acts 17:11] When it comes to a “doctrine” as complex as “Calvinism”, we must do a whole lot of “searching” in order to arrive at the truth of God’s word.

I cannot answer your questions without first examining the preceding verses in Romans Chapter 9 (in order to establish the “context” of WHO & WHAT the Apostle Paul is writing about):

Quote:

Romans 9:1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,
2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.
3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;
5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:
7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.
8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
It should be obvious to all that Paul is writing primarily about “the Jews” (Israelites/Hebrews – Paul’s “brethren” & “kinsmen according to the flesh”). He is testifying about the Jews “special relation” to the God of Scripture {Romans 9:1-5} and then demonstrates the difference between “the children of promise{Isaac} and “the children of the flesh{Ishmael}. Both were Abraham’s children (of Abraham’s physical “seed”), but only Isaac was considered the child of “promise” and “counted for the seed”. {The fact that God CHOSE the one above the other drives Humanists (lost or saved) crazy - they cannot accept that God chooses to bless some individuals and that he actually discriminates against others! [Romans 11:7, 25; 2Corinthians 3:14, 4:4; Ephesians 4:18 - John 9:39, 12:39-40; Romans 11:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:11] The problem (or question) remains – upon WHAT BASIS does God do His CHOOSING?}

Quote:

9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.
10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;
11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth:)
12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
And here is the “crux of the matter” with Calvinism. Did God just “pick” Jacob over Esau for no reason whatsoever? Calvinists believe that that is exactly what he did! Did God just arbitrarily choose to “LOVE” Jacob and “HATE” Esau - “without a cause”? [What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.” Romans 9:14] If you have read my essays on Calvinism, you will know that I believe that God basis His “choosing” on His “Foreknowledge” [Romans 8:29]; and that God’s “foreknowledge” is NOT based on WHAT He “knew” (beforehand) we were going to DO (i.e. the “WORKS OF THE FLESH”), but that God’s “foreknowledge” is based on what God “knew” (beforehand) as to WHAT we would “BELIEVE” (an OPERATION or FUNCTION of THE HEART – NOT THE FLESH). [Romans 9:13]

As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” You can be sure that God “knew” [1 kings 8:39; 2 Chronicles 6:30; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Luke 16:15; Acts 1:24; Acts 15:8; 1 John 3:20] beforehand that Esau “despised his “birthright” (in his heart) long before he carelessly threw it away and sold it for a mess of pottage (a work of the flesh). [Genesis 25:34] That is - God “knew”, even before Jacob and Esau were born, that Esau would “despise” (a function and operation of his heart) the “promise” of God, and God “hated” him for it!

In the context Paul is continuing his thesis: that the children of “promise” are “counted” as Abraham’s “seed” and NOT the children of the flesh. Both Jacob and Esau were of the physical “seed” of Isaac, and yet God CHOSE Jacob as the child of “promise” – NOT Esau! Is eternal life “in play” here? Is anything being said about eternal salvation? These verses are talking about God CHOOSING one child of the physical “seed” of Abraham [the child of “promise”] and rejecting another child of the physical “seed” of Abraham (the child of the “flesh”). Based on what? “that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;

In order to understand what the preceding verse is speaking about, the first thing that has to be done is, we must try to determine (by the Scriptures) just exactly WHAT is the “PURPOSE” of God? We know that the “Purpose” is “according to election”. But is the “Purpose” (as spoken about here) about the eternal destiny of all of the souls of men from the beginning of creation up until now? I trow not! The “Purpose of God” (as spoken about here) has many facets, (a “pure seed”; a “perfect seed”, a “royal seed”; the “right seed”, i.e. the “seed” of “promise”), but overall the “purpose” (here in the context) was to insure that “the children of promise” would receive God’s blessing, and NOT “the children of the flesh”. {And WHY was it so? So that the “promise” would not (could not) be EARNED BY THE WORKS OF THE FLESH; but that it would be GIVEN BY GOD to those WHO BELIEVED GOD’S WORDS, and WHO (BY FAITH) TRUSTED IN HIM.}

And so in order that - “the purpose of God according to election might stand,God did not (in His “Foreknowledge”) base His “CHOOSING” on WHAT the physical “seed” of Abraham DID (or would DO in the future) IN THE FLESH, [i.e. not of works, but of him that calleth;”] But instead God (in His “Foreknowledge”) CHOSE “the children of promise” based on WHAT and WHO they BELIEVED (or would “BELIEVE” in the future - in their hearts). [Genesis 18:17-19]

Throughout this whole discourse the apostle Paul is leading up to WHY God has turned to the Gentiles, and made it possible for them to become “the children of promise” (because of their “BELIEF” in Jesus Christ); and WHY He has turned away from the nation of Israel, i.e. “the children of the flesh” (because of their “UNBELIEF” and their REJECTION of Jesus Christ – their Messiah & King - Romans 11:20-30). That is, Paul is taking examples of past events that happened to the Hebrews (Jews/Israelites – the physical “seed” of Abraham) from the Holy Scriptures and he is using them to demonstrate WHY the Gentiles (who “BELIEVE”) are also “the children of promise”, just like the Jews (who “BELIEVE”); and that just because a man is born a Jew does not insure that he is indeed one of the true “children of promise”. And not only that, in Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians Chapters 3 through 5 Paul explains HOW the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (The TRUE SEED of Abraham – Galatians 3:16) made it possible for not only BELIEVING Jews to become “the children of promise”, but that Christ’s sacrifice made it possible for ALL who BELIEVE in Him to become “the children of promise”. [1Timothy 4:10]

The whole discourse (in Romans Chapter 9) is NOT about individual “salvation” (i.e. “eternal life”), it’s about WHY God (lawfully & legitimately) turned to the Gentiles (because of Israel’s UNBELIEF- Romans 3:3 & 11:20) and HOW, when a Gentile BELIEVES the Gospel and receives the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her personal Saviour they are counted as “the children of promise”. [John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:]

Quote:

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
As to hardening the heart of “Pharaoh” (the King of Egypt) and his “servants” and the Egyptian people:

COMPARE: Exodus 4:21; 7:3, 7:13-14, 7:22; 8:19; 9:7, 9:12, 10:1, 10:20, 10:27; 11:10; 14:4, 14:8 – WITH: Exodus 8:15 & 8:32

COMPARE: Exodus 9:34 WITH: Exodus 9:35

Exodus 9:34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.

Exodus 9:35 And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken by Moses.

COMPARE: 1Samuel 6:6 WITH:Exodus 14:17 & Exodus 7:3

1 Samuel 6:6 Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when he had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed?

Exodus 14:17 And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

Exodus 7:3 And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.

The preceding verses (and the ones immediately following) require careful study, and we are commanded to “rightly divide” them. Is there a “contradiction” in the Bible? - Of course not. Pharaoh and the Egyptians “hardened” their hearts, and God (in turn) “hardened” their hearts! Since God “knows all things”, don’t you know that He “knew” ahead of time that Pharaoh would harden his heart? God doesn’t act arbitrarily (like men); and He doesn’t act unrighteously. If He hates someone, it’s because their hearts are dark and evil. If He hardens someone’s heart, it’s because they are determined (in their heart) to ignore his words to begin with.

Quote:

19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
And now on to your questions:
What does it mean "made me thus"? What's the complaint? Is the vessel of wrath referring to just the pharoah? What how do you define "fitted"? and the meaning "fitted to destruction"? And lastly, what is the "glory" in v23 referring to?”

The accusation: “Why hast thou made me thus?” is the unjust “accusation” of an unbelieving and unrepentant sinner; that whatever sin or evil they commit – it’s “ALL God’s FAULT!

What's the complaint?” – The “complaint” is much the same as the “accusation”! I’m sure you’ve heard the psychobabble: “I can’t help it”; “it’s not my fault”; “I can’t control myself”, etc.; etc. The “complaint” is the EXCUSE that – “God made me this way” (it’s in thegenes”); or “I had terrible parents”; or “I was deprived as a child”; “my environment shaped me”; etc.; etc., and so there is NOTHING I can do about it. It’s ALL God’s FAULT! Much like Cain before:

Genesis 4:6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Is the vessel of wrath referring to just the pharoah?” -Please notice, the verse says “vessels (plural) of wrath - of which Pharaoh is a perfect EXAMPLE.

What how do you define "fitted"? I have a RULE when it comes to defining Bible words: If the word in question has “spiritual” significance – I let the Scriptures define its meaning. If a word is “archaic” or perhaps not used much today, I use Webster’s 1828 Dictionary to define words that do not determine doctrine. “Fitted” simply means”:
Quote:

FITTED, pp. Made suitable; adapted; prepared; qualified.
the meaning "fitted to destruction" – Notice WHAT HAPPENED to Pharaoh and his army. Again God has shown us an example of THE ULTIMATE END OF ALL THOSE WHO OPPOSE HIS WILL.

Our God is a Sovereign God. He often uses “vessels of wrath” to fulfill His will: Nebuchadnezzar (pagan king of Babylon) is called (by God) “my servant” [Jeremiah 27:6]; Cyrus (a pagan king of Persia) is called (by God) “my shepherd” [Isaiah 44:28] and “his {God’s} anointed” [Isaiah 45:1]; Darius (a pagan King of Media & Persia) was used of God to fulfill His purposes [Daniel 6:25-27]; God not only uses and blesses “the vessels of mercy”; He also uses and curses “the vessels of wrath”. Ultimately “His Will” – will be done! And He will use whomsoever He will to get it accomplished.

what is the "glory" in v23 referring to?” – Ultimately God is going to receive ALL GLORY. Whether it be from His creation; His creatures; His people (“the vessels of mercy”); or “the vessels of wrath”. God is going tomake known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory” [Romans 9:23] Someday God is going reveal to ALL (all of mankind) just how loving, merciful, and longsuffering He has been, by bestowing the “riches of His glory” on His people (the vessels of mercy), undeserving as they (we) are! And He will receive “GLORY” because of this act of GRACE (Undeserved Favor).

These verses illustrate that God “chooses” to bless some people and curse others. However, they do NOT tell us WHY (His basis) God chooses to bless some and curse others, nor do they tell us HOW (His methodology) He chooses. But the Bible has made it perfectly clear that His “choosing” is NOT based on something we DO, i.e. THE WORKS OF THE FLESH [Romans 9:11]

The Calvinist’s would have us believe that God just “arbitrarily” decides (based on NOTHING other than His “sovereign will”) WHO He will bless and WHO He will curse. I believe that the basis of God’s “choosing” is founded on the fact that although - “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” [Romans 3:23], there are some people ((“the vessels of wrath”, i.e. the children of the flesh”) who “choose”, in their heart, NOT to believe God or His words and there are others (“the vessels of mercy”, i.e. “the children of promise”), WHO “choose”, in their heart, to BELIEVE God, and WHO have placed their FAITH IN HIM. And although (in the flesh) there is no difference between the two (both are sinners and come short of the glory of God – Romans 3:23), God “chooses” to bless those who BELIEVE (in their heart) in Him and in His words; and He has “chosen” to curse those who REFUSE to BELIEVE (in their heart) in Him or in His words.

1 Corinthians 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

The preceding verses explain our “calling”, i.e. the “calling of God”. Within these verses we can see “the PURPOSE of God” and can understand WHY the basis of God’s “choosing” CANNOT be “OF WORKS” - but of him that calleth;”! [Romans 9:11]. The reason WHY God “chooses” the way He does (i.e. “the purpose of God according to election”) is so: That no flesh should glory in his presence.” and That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

When it comes to salvation under the “New Covenant” - I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: “Now, I believe that there is NOTHING we can DO to EARN God’s Salvation; but there is SOMETHING that we MUST DO to RECEIVE God’s Salvation – WE MUST FIRST BELIEVE! THE QUESTION IS: . . . Sirs, WHAT MUST I DO to be saved?” THE BIBLICAL ANSWER: “And they said, BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” [Acts 16:30-31]

However, in the context of this Chapter Paul is not writing about the salvation of the individual. He is talking about the fact that not only are the Jews the “called” of God, but the Gentiles are the “called” of God also. “Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?[Romans 9:24] This whole chapter (along with Galatians Chapters 3 through 5) is an explanation or an exposition and justification as to WHY the Gentiles (who believed the Gospel) are also “the children of promise”, i.e. the sons of God.

In Paul’s day there were many Jews who believed the Gospel and who were genuinely saved (i.e. born again), but who also did not (or could not) understand WHY God had also “called” or “chosen” the Gentiles (who believed the Gospel). This Chapter is Paul’s (under the guidance of the Holy Spirit) explanation as to WHY. It is NOT an explanation or description of individual salvation.

Quote:

25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.
26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.
27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:
28 For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.
29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.
30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
There is so much more, but I don’t have the time (or the space) to expound any further. And truthfully, I feel inadequate to comment on some of these things because there is much that I still do not fully understand myself.

I recommend that as you study the Book of Romans that you also study the Book of Galatians along with it. If a Christian can “get a grip” on these two Books of the Bible they will never wander too far off from “sound doctrine”. But like Peter has said about Paul’s Epistles: there “are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” [2 Peter 3:16] If Peter had a hard time understanding some of Paul’s writings, don’t get discouraged if you don’t understand all of what he wrote.

Believe what you do understand (doubting nothing), and that which you don’t understand – leave for another day or another time. Although I have been a Christian for over 50 years, God has opened up my understanding to certain matters in the Scriptures in the last 3 years that I had very little idea about before. Be patient and don’t “force” Scripture into a “theological construct” or a “Denominational box” so that you can "MAKE" it understandable.

2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Gord 04-29-2009 01:14 PM

Brother George, re: post #117.

You have yet to post a response that I have not 'learned something new' from.

I just wanted to say thanks, again.

boaz212 04-29-2009 05:41 PM

Hi Brother George! I am about 1/3 way through reading your answer to my questions. Since it will take me a while to finish reading the whole thing, I want to take a quick break and thank you for your time and care that was put into this thoughtful answer. I am very very thankful again for your help. I know this study that you've done has been a blessing not just to me but also to many others. Thanks so much!
Tim

Gord 07-05-2009 12:59 PM

I must say that this tread had me ask myself a lot of questions. I have spent the past 3 months reading and studying as much as I can on this topic. Brother George, as lot of the scripture references you provided especially on election, just didn't make any sense to me.

When I read Paul's statement Ro*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.
Ro*8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

To me, it means exactly what it says. I can not agree with any of the arguments of free will as that then mean MAN has some control of his salvation.

It seams to me Paul had this right long before Calvin was even born.

To make this easier for me, I have quoted the arguments of Dr. Keith Sherlin (Short Narrative) as he explains this far better than I ever could.

Quote:

Rev. Keith Sherlin holds a Bachelor's degree (Theological Studies) from North Greenville University, a Master's degree (Theological Studies) from Tyndale Theological Seminary, a Doctor of Divinity from Scofield Theological Seminary, and a Th.D from Scofield Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D Doctoral candidate (Theology) from Trinity College and Theological Seminary. He is also a graduate of the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy and is a certified South Carolina Law Enforcement Officer. He founded Essential Christianity Ministries, and co-foundeed Foothills Church in the upstate of SC where he has served as one of the elders. He has served in various pastoral positions throughout SC. He is also an adjunct professor with Tyndale Theological Seminary. He has published articles in the Conservative Theological Journal and has published a monograph, "Essential Christianity: Foundations for a Faithful Faith." His second book, "How Can God Be All Powerful and Totally Loving When He Planned a World With Sin and Suffering," was released in SPring of 2009.
Election/Predestination: What does the Bible Teach?

http://www.essentialchristianity.com...p?pageid=23852

The Controversy Over Predestination

If you mention the subject of predestination or election it almost invariably stirs up a controversy within most any religious discussion. The word itself often invokes spiritually immature people to anger and rage. Furthermore, for the person bringing up the subject within certain contexts of people or denominations the possibility of receiving scorn is as likely as finding water in a lake! The famous Baptist pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon once commented that when you bring up the subject of God's love to the Arminian advocate (a theologian who endorses man's ability as the key to salvation) his eyes and face glow with warmth. However, when you introduce the subject of election or predestination to the same person their eyes often turn red with fire. From those eyes comes a blazing fire of anger that often comes forth in a violent rage. Dr. William Crews of Spartanburg SC noted in his manuscript of this topic:

"The doctrine of election perhaps encounters stronger opposition than does any other Bible doctrine . . . . I have seen people become violent under the preaching of the doctrine of election. I was preaching a special meeting years ago when on the next to final night of the meeting a young man rose at the end of the service, after I finished preaching on God's sovereignty in election, furiously enraged. He made his way to the front of the church expressing before the congregation his disagreement and detestation of what had been preached. His appearance indicated that in his fit of rage he might become sufficiently violent to physically attack me. It was obvious that he was so mad that he was beyond the point of self-control. The man was not an infidel, agnostic, or atheist. He was not an irreligious person. He was a professing Christian" (The Bible Doctrine of Election, 4-5).

I hope to discuss and present this subject in a manner that does not provoke or entice someone to such an episode of anger. I realize that many Christians have grown up in churches whereby the subject has often been neglected. Many people today sit in churches whereby the pastor(s) pick and choose which subjects to teach from in the Bible. In these places many believers suffer from spiritual malnutrition because the leaders fail to teach the fullness of the Bible. That spiritual malnutrition exposes itself quickly when people begin to discuss the subject of predestination/election.


Hopefully, I can introduce this subject to you in such a way that you can make logical step-by-step advances in understanding the truth of this biblical doctrine. Sometimes, but not in all of the cases, believers dislike this doctrine by the way the subject is introduced. Sure, there are unbelievers who will oppose the doctrine because it cuts to the heart of their self sufficient, prideful, and haughty spirit that leads to self exaltation. A sinner that has never been converted will naturally by their own sin nature oppose anything that removes them from their life of selfism. The doctrine of election/predestination makes God really real and removes the person from the position of trying to be their own god. It cuts to the very heart and soul of a person's pride. But, nonetheless, saints still sometimes struggle with the idea for other reasons, which sometimes include issues of self reliance as well as issues of balancing this doctrine with other legitimate teachings of Scripture. For example, some people are confused or they misrepresent the doctrine as if people who believe in predestination deny God's universal love. The Bible is clear, however, that God does have a love for all people (see John 3:16, 1st John 2:2; 1st Timothy 2:6). Therefore, this introduction seeks to provide a balanced treatment that can progressively introduce you to an important theme in God's love book to us.



All Bible Believers Admit the Bible Contains the Subject of Predestination/Election

I. The Words Election and Predestination are Found in the Bible

No person, especially a believer, can honestly read Scripture for long without coming across the words "election," and "predestination." To ignore that these words exist in the text of the Bible is to lie against the truth. We are not talking about definition of these words just yet. The first step is to simply admit that the Bible does indeed use such terminology. Here are some verses that simply use the terminology of elect, election, chosen, and predestination. 

"For many are called, but few are chosen" (Matt. 22:14 ESV). 

"And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short" (Matt. 24:22 ESV).

"And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night" (Luke 18:7 NIV)? 

"I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen" (John 13:18a NASB).

"You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit" (John 15:16a NKJV). 

"this man [Christ Jesus] delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23a NASB). 

"For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified" (Rom. 8:29-30 HCSB). 

"though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad-in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call" (Rom. 9:11 ESV). 

"just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will" (Eph. 1:4-5 NKJV).

"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father" (1 Peter 1:1-2a NASB). 

 
These few verses reveal at the very least that the Bible contains the subject of election and predestination. No Christian can honestly avoid the subject. I like what the Southern Baptist Dr. Paige Patterson, who currently serves as President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, had to say of the subject concerning the Bible doctrine of election. He noted in a chapel address that, "Any approach to soteriology [the doctrine of salvation] which omits the Bible doctrine of election is incomplete, inadequate, and misleading." The Bible talks about election and so the Christian must agree that it is indeed something taught in the Bible. What it exactly means is another issue. But first all Christians must agree it is a doctrine of the Bible. 

II. The Doctrine of Election/Predestination Relates to Salvation 

In the verses above the teaching of election relates to the concept of man's salvation. For instance, Romans 8:29-30 specifically relates the subject of predestination to the work of God in calling and justifying the person. Justification is another term used to mean making a person rightly related to God. Ephesians 1:4-5 talks about about God predestinating a portion of people to adoption. Adoption means becoming a part of God's family. 

From these verses alone we can see that the doctrine relates to the salvation of individuals. Now again, note that I have not said how this predestination takes place. For now we are simply looking at the basic facts that this doctrine does indeed relate to the concepts concerning salvation. Election and predestination have a direct application to the issue of ones destiny and how that destiny is ultimately determined. 

Of course, this is the very reason why the subject creates so much heat and tension. It is a serious subject. Anytime we talk about destiny, a person's eternal destiny, it means we are discussing a very serious and solemn subject. This is why the teaching and discussion of this doctrine causes a person's passion to rise high. The eternal destiny of a person is a highly emotional and sensitive subject. 

III. All of the Main Line Protestant Creed/Confessions Speak of the Subject of Election/Predestination

Creeds or Confessions of Faith serve the community of faith with a guide or standard as to what the Bible teaches. Most all of the denominations that formed from the 1500s until today formulate some type of doctrinal guideline. A peripheral reading of all of the mainline denominational confessions reveal that the broad, evangelical, multi-denominational persuasions of Christianity teach on the doctrine of predestination.

Here are just a few examples of some of the creeds and confessions that mention the idea and concept of predestination:

The Articles of Religion in 1571. Sometimes it is called the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England. This is the confession of faith used by the Episcopal and Anglican church. Article 17 specifically teaches on election and predestination.

The Formula of Concord in 1577. This is the confession of faith that governed the Evangelical Lutheran Church. If you recall, Martin Luther was the main leader in Protestant Reformation. This confession of faith in Article II teaches on the subject of Predestination.


The Westminister Confession of Faith of 1643-1646. This is the main classic confession for the Presbyterian denomination. This confession of faith specifically deals with election and predestination under Chapter 3, Of God's Eternal Decree, in Chapter 9, Of Free Will, Chapter 10, Of Effectual Calling, and Chapter 11, Of Justification. In all of these chapters the Bible discusses predestination or related concepts.


The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689. The earliest Baptist Confession of Faith in America discusses the subject of predestination and election in several places in the confession. In Chapter 3, dealing with God's eternal decree, Chapter 5, issues with Divine Providence, Chapter 9, which deals with man's will, Chapter 10, discusses God's work in calling people to faith, and Chapter 14 provides information in how God provides saving faith for people. All throughout these chapters references are made to election, foreknowledge, predestination, calling, and other related concepts dealing with salvation. Other Baptist Confessions follow suit with this as well. The New Hampshire Baptist Confession of Faith in 1833 and the Baptist Faith and Message of the Southern Baptist Convention (all editions from 1925 to the current 2000 version) have sections that discuss the election and predestination subjects. 



These confessions teach us one thing for certain, God's church seriously considers the subject. The doctrine of election and predestination must be dealt with as the subject comes directly from the pages of Scripture. If multiple denominations from various persuasions with historical and theological differences all speak to the subject it must be because the subject is clearly taught within the Bible. One cannot come to the Bible and ignore the subject. Though it may be controversial, a person must admit and interact with what the Bible says on this subject if he or she is faithful to the biblical text.



Election/Predestination is Related to the Omniscient Foreknowledge of God

What or Who Determines Who is Of the Elect? 

What determines if a person is elect and one of the predestined people? This is the most serious question of this study. What exactly does it mean when God says we "are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father" (1 Peter 1:1-2a). When Paul says "those whom He foreknew He also predestined" (Romans 8:29) what does he mean? This is where the subject begins to breed deep controversy. 

All Christians who believe the Bible recognize that God is omniscient. This means that God knows everything. The Bible is very clear about this. For example, in 1st John the Bible says, "for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything" (3:20). 

I. The Only Three Options Available to Foreknowledge and Election

1. God simply does not know the future; he makes educated guesses. This view teaches that God simply does not have omniscience. God has to grow and develop. God, according to this view, is limited and he has to make educated guesses based upon probability. In this view the elect are those whom choose God. God discovers this only when the person actually believes. 

2. God knows because he has to learn who chooses him. This view says that election is based upon God's omniscient foreknowledge of learning or looking to see who will choose Christ. God in this version has a unque ability to see into the future from the vantage point of eternity. Those whom God foresees accepting Jesus Christ are then elected. In this model God has knowledge of who will choose but not from all eternity. God has to learn or look into the particular history of a person to see what man will do before he, God, determines what he will do in regard to election. 

3. God knows because he has eternally determined his own knowledge of history. This view says that God does not have to look or learn the future events of history from eternity. God has known all things eternally by thinking up history in his own mind. Those whom God foreknows are those whom he has eternally thought up in his mind as his eternal children. These are the elect ones. People elect to love God because God elected to first love them in his own mind in eternity. 

Only one of the three options presents the real God of the Bible. If God is truly eternal and all knowing, and if he is all knowing without having to learn anything, then only option number three represents the true God of the Bible. 

In other words, if we believe that God is fully omniscient, meaning that he does not have to look or learn anything whatsoever, then the only option left is number three. God knows his children because he has eternally thought of them in this light. In other words, God thought up a certain portion of humanity as his own from eternity, not because he had to learn who would or would not choose him, but because he decided to think (determinately foreknow) his own. Maybe this explanation will help. God's elected/predestined children are elect in accordance to what he thought up in his own mind. God, before the foundation of the world, determined by his own mind, his own cognitive processes to think up in his mind a certain group of people who would be called and adopted into his family. God eternally thought of them as his elect, his children, his predestined people.


II. All People Who Believe in God's Omniscience Struggle with why God Created Those Who Will be Eternally Lost

Some people try and argue that God's election is based upon man's will instead of God's foreknowledge. In some cases this is argued because the person is lost and unrenewed. An unregenerate heart desires to place salvation in the hands of man. Lost people like to think they can do something to earn and gain God's favor. The natural mind does not accept the things of the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:14). Grace, a work of the Spirit, cannot be earned. However, the sinner wants to obtain God's favor on his own terms and conditions. In essence the sinner wants to be his own god and because of that drive he or she will naturally seek to justify himself/herself before the eyes of God by their own actions, efforts, or meritorious deeds. 

But sometimes even believers get confused about this subject because of false teachers who teach a skewed idea of God's election. Some people introduce the idea of man's will into the equation because they want to alleviate God of the responsibility of creating someone when he knows the person will eventually go to hell. The argument goes like this: "It is unfair for God to create someone and not give them an free will to be saved or damned." But, normally these people have not thought through what they are saying. The idea behind this is that if we introduce election based upon man's will instead of God's omniscient foreknowledge then it alleviates God of creating someone with the end destiny being hell and condemnation. But this reasoning still does not remove the problem. 

For example, if a person truly believes God is all knowing then it does not change the issue whether or not we believe that election is based upon God's foreknowledge or man's will because the end result is the same if God truly does know all of history. Free will does not change the final outcome. If you believe in election based upon God's omniscient foreknowledge, or election based upon man's will, the outcome is still the same. God has chosen to create some knowing that in the end their destiny is going to be hell. Let us look at some logic for moment. 

Scenario #1: If You Believe God Knows Everything then You Believe He Created Some with No Hope of Eternal Salvation. 
 
A. Do you believe God knows the future of every person before he creates that person? YES!

B. Then no matter if you believe in election based upon God's foreknowledge or upon man's free-will you still have God creating someone who will go to Hell. HOW SO?
 
C. If God knew that the rich man in Luke 16:19-31 would never come to believe in Christ then could God have chosen not to create him? YES, God could have chosen not to create this man. At the very moment when God thought out this man's history he could have opted to refrain from creating him since he knew the man's final destiny. But did God still create the rich man found in Luke 16 knowing that in the end he would never believe? YES. 

D. Therefore, we know that in either position (election based upon God's omniscient foreknowledge, or man's free-will) that God still chose to create those whom he knew would go into eternal condemnation. Inserting free-will into the equation does not solve this difficult truth. If God knows someone will never believe before he creates that person then what God knows must actually happen. History cannot happen in any other way than by what God already knows.
 

III. Inserting Man's Will as the Reason or Cause of God's Election Turns Salvation into a Works Orietented Gospel 

Salvation according to the Bible is by grace alone. Grace alone means man did not deserve the favor. The Bible teaches that "for by grace through faith we are saved; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Eph. 2:8-9 NASB). Some people, for whatever reason, pride, misunderstanding, ignorance due to false teaching, etc., insert man's will as the basis for God's election. However, if a person does this then grace becomes something the human earns by making the right choice. That turns the gospel message into a message of justice instead of a message of undeserved grace and favor. If God demands that a person believe in order to be saved, and if this belief is the basis of why God elects/predestines a person then the person who obeys the command/law earns God's grace and favor by his obedience. 
 

Scenario # 2: If You Believe that God's Election/Predestination is Based Upon Man's Will then you believe in a Works System of Salvation 

A. Do you believe that God commands all people to repent and choose Jesus Christ for salvation? YES

B. Do you believe that God elects those whom first elect/choose him? YES

C. If God commands man to believe in Christ, and then when man obeys this law/command he is then elected, it means he earned the favor of God by his obedience to the command. 

D. Therefore, the gospel in this system is one of justice for doing what is right in the eyes of God.
 

Scenario # 3: A Practical Application of a Message of Justice 

A. A company boss promises that if you obey his request to trust his company's product he has for sale that you will recieve a financial blessing. If you trust his product he will give you a commission for choosing that product. 

B. You determine to believe him and you choose that product. 

C. On the spot he gives to you a financial commission for trusting him and his product. 

D. This then means that you earned the commission because of your obedience. Your good choice earned you that commission. You obeyed his request, and in the process of this you earned the favor of that boss. 

Likewise, those who teach God's election is based upon our obedience to make the right choice have introduced a small but very real element of justice into the equation. In these two scenarios above the person receives the reward for making the right choice. When a person chooses to obey the command/request he or she then is blessed or rewarded. This turns the gospel into a mesage of justice and works. That is not the gospel of free, undeserved, and unconditional grace.

Election/Predestination is Conditioned 
Upon God's Determinate Foreknowledge, 
Not Man's Will and Obedience

God Determines What He Eternally Knows

God does not learn, grow, or develop. The Bible teaches us that God knows all of history because he has planned, purposed, or thought up all events of history in one single eternal thought. In other words, God thought one thought for all of history. Yes, I know that is a deep thought. Realizing that God does not think in steps boggles the human mind. Nonetheless, history flows from the mind of God. God does not learn history by looking into history. Rather, God knows history because he has planned all of history from his own mind. Dr. Wayne Grudem correctly says, "God fully knows himself and all things actual and possible in one simple and eternal act" (Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, 190).
Scripture to Support this Conclusion


Psalm 139:4 "Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord You know it all."

Psalm 139:16 "Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The Days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them."

Isaiah 46:9-10 "Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.'"

Ephesians 1:11 "We have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will."

Note that in the Ephesians text that predestination follows "His purpose." God's purpose to know or to plan or to set forth something comes from his own purpose. And furthermore, we see here that all things, not some things, not almost everything, but actually ALL THINGS (that leaves out nothing and includes every single event of history) flow from the "counsel of His will." All things that are holy occur because God planned it actively. He is the cause of it. All things that are sinful occur because God planned it passively. In one sense God determinately knows because of his plan what holy events in history will take place. In another sense God determinately knows the sinful actions of others from all eternity.
God Eternally Knows Some, But Not All, As His Children


The chosen vessels, the predestined ones who are eternally known by God, have been foreknown by God from all of eternity. These children have been in the heart and mind of God from the very moment of his plans for all of history. They are there because God thought of them as his own from the moment he purposed to create them in his own mind. These are the elect.

However, there are those whom God has eternally thought up as the non-elect. These are those whom he has never known as his own. These are the creatures that he has never known from all of eternity. These are the sinners whom God has thought of as choosing to live in sin forever. These are the vessels that God thought up in his mind as the Christ rejecting sinners who refuse to believe in the gospel of grace.

Look at these two verses below:


Matthew 7:22-23 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; Depart from Me, You who practice lawlessness.'"

Who are the ones whom God has never known? These are the ones whom he has eternally thought of as not being his children. When God says never known it is the reverse of those whom he has foreknown. Some are foreknown as his. Others are not known as his, or in the words of Christ, "never known." That means from eternity to eternity (which includes history) some are never known to be the children of God.

Romans 9:21-23 "Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessles of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory" (NASB).

The New Living Translation captures this thought in a very vivid way: Romans 9:21-23 reads in the NLT: "When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn't he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into? God has every right to exercise his judgement and his power, but he also has the right to be very patient with those who are the objects of his judgement and are fit only for destruction. He also has the right to pour out the riches of his glory upon those he prepared to be the objects of his mercy."

In other words, God's elect, his vessels of mercy are eternally known as his own children. These elect vessels, such as with Jacob (Rom. 9:13), Jeremiah (Jer. 1:5), and Paul (Gal. 1:15) are those whom God "foreknew" which "He also predestined" (Rom. 8:29).

However, the vessels of wrath, those whom God has eternally not known as his children, such as with Esau (Rom. 9:13), are those whom God has never known (Matthew 7:23; Romans 9:13, 22; 1 Peter 2:8). These are those whom God leaves, those whom he passes by and allows to have their own will and way. God does not predestine someone to hell; he does not make them do evil or reject Christ. People do this own their own will of choosing to live in sin.

Election Is Only for the Positive: People Suffer Condemnation Because they Reject Christ and the Offer of Salvation 


Those whom God foreknows, the elect, receive grace and mercy. Election is the cause of a person obtaining grace and favor in the eyes of God. Election does not send someone to hell. Election is only for the good. Those whom God eternally does not know simply live out their own sinfulness and prepare themselves for destruction by their own rejection of God, Jesus Christ, and the offer of salvation. Some are known by God, and others are not known by God. We, however, as humans do not know who is or is not of the elect until they believe in Christ. Only believers and those whom persevere in the faith are of the elect.
Fear Being a Vessel of Wrath and 
Flee to Jesus Christ for Salvation

This is a very solemn subject. Maybe after reading this there has been a severe fear growing in your spirit. You may now be wondering something like this: "Oh my God, how can I know if I am eternally known as a vessel of mercy or a vessel of wrath?" Dear friend this is a question worth more than all the goods on this earth. In actuality, eternity will hinge upon how you personally answer that question. 

The only way to know if you are of God's eternally known children, an elect predestined child of God, is by making your calling and election sure. 2nd Peter said it this way, "be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall" (1:10 ESV). How can you know if you are one of the elect, one of the vessels of mercy? 

Repent and Receive Christ Today by Faith 
First, repent of your sins and turn to Jesus Christ in belief and faith. Trust in him and him alone for the salvation of your soul. The Bible tells us that "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that whoever is believing in him right now will not perish but will have everlasting life" (John 3:16 my translation of the Greek text).

Evaluate Your Growth in Grace: Are You Seeking to Live a Pure Life? 
Second, check up on your life. Are you growing in the faith. Is there any known sin that you are continually living in? The Bible says, "No one who is born of God will continue to practice sin" (1st John 3:9). If there is continual sin, sin that you do not desire to repent of and seek to turn from, then it means you are not regenerate. It may then mean you are not of the elect. Vessels of wrath continually live in sin with no repentance. Vessels of mercy when regenerated will repent of known sin under the conviction and guidance of the Holy Spirit. They grow in the qualities as given by 2nd Peter 1 verses 5-7. 

Flee from sin today and turn to the Savior so that you can have the assurance from the Holy Spirit that you are one of the eternally foreknown elected children of God (Rom. 8:16). Do not waste any time, turn to the Savior right now and believe upon Christ for the remission of your sins. Then confess your belief to others (Rom. 10:9-10).


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