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Old 04-17-2009, 09:34 AM
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George George is offline
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Default Re: "CALVINISM: Sound Doctrine?"

Originally Posted by boaz212 View Post
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".

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.