Dr. Eric Hankins, 2013 John 3:16 Presentation, Part 2/3

May 29, 2013

Below is a portion of a March 21-22, 2013 John 3:16 Conference presentation.

Read the Baptist Press article about the conference here: http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=39992

A free e-book containing the 2013 John 3:16 Conference presentations is scheduled to be released at SBC Today on May 30, 2013.

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Fred Klooster’s treatment of the biblical data concerning election in the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology is typical of most evangelical approaches to the subject.[1] He notes that the Bible gives us a “rich vocabulary to express several aspects” of election. He mentions specifically (1) elect angels, (2) election to service, (3) the election of Israel, (4) the election of Christ, and (5) election to salvation, with which, Klooster says “the rest of this article is concerned.” Millard Erickson, in his systematic treatment of soteriology, acknowledges the frequency of corporate ideas of election and election to service in the Scripture, but waives these off to deal, as Klooster does, with only the idea of individual election to salvation.[2] Grudem, in his systematic theology, does not even mention the Old Testament in laying out his biblical basis for the doctrine of election. He assumes that determinism is the equivalent of election, so that’s all he finds in the Scriptures.[3] What warrant could there be in simply jettisoning the totality of the biblical data? I frequently hear “election to service” and “corporate election” dismissed as sort of second class ideas concerning the doctrine, so we can all hurry to the discussion of how God chooses some individuals and not others.[4] However, I think we are ignoring the lion’s share of the biblical data in doing so. What might election look like if we really allowed the Bible to speak?

In the Bible, election is the Father’s guarantee of His mission to save a maximum number by grace alone through faith alone in the Son alone by the power of the Holy Spirit alone. Election is not about how God damns; it is about how God saves.[5] This mission rests on those two fundamental soteriological foci: (1) God sovereignly desires the salvation of all people and (2) God sovereignly desires that the faith-response of all people must be free in order to be a saving covenant relationship. In short, election is the outworking of God’s mission according to His desire for the savability of all and the freedom of all. The reality of freedom means that not everyone will put his faith in Jesus Christ, but election means that God guarantees that a massive multitude will be saved by faith even in the face of the radical, sinful misuse of freedom.

Now, the Bible does not articulate the specifics of how God guarantees that a massive multitude will be saved even in the face of the radical sinful misuse of freedom. It simply asserts the glorious truth that He will. The closest it gets is in Rom 8:29 and 1 Peter 1:1-2 where the Scriptures assert that God knows who He is going to save and that He has determined to save them. But the specifics of the who and the how are not addressed. The good news of election in the Bible, the guarantee of God’s mission, has two primary purposes related to the twin foci of savability and freedom. First, election is raised over and over again to reaffirm the claim that the salvation of all people is the scope of the mission. God chooses Adam for the purpose of covenant relationship that will result in all humankind ruling with Him in covenant relationship over a completed cosmos. God makes that covenant again with Noah. The first explicit scenario of election is that of Abraham, who is not chosen for his own sake, but so that through him, all the families of the earth will be blessed. This covenant is reaffirmed and expanded through Israel as a kingdom of priests and a light to the Gentiles, and guaranteed by God to them and through them over and over again. It is fulfilled ultimately in the Elect One, Christ Jesus, who is the means through which all the families of the earth will be blessed. The existence and expansion of the Spirit-filled, Christ-conforming, Jew and Gentile church is the visible demonstration of the guarantee of God’s mission and points toward its ultimate fulfillment in a New Heaven and Earth filled with and ruled by all who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. There is, therefore, an intimate connection between God’s elective purposes for all things and the faith-response of individuals. How does an individual know if he is elect? If he has put his faith in Jesus Christ, he is elect, and that election is guaranteed.

The second emphasis in the purpose of election in the Bible is to reaffirm that the mission will be accomplished no matter how badly humans misuse their freedom in unfaith and wreck the world. So, on the heels of Adam’s fall is the promise of a New Adam who undoes the curse and restores the promise of world-transforming rule with God. After the flood, there is a covenant with Noah; after Babel, a covenant with Abraham. Out of Pharaoh’s attempt at genocide, Israel is born. The golden calf is followed by new tablets, wilderness wandering by the second giving of the law, rebellion by a new judge, Saul by David, Exile by Return, the Old Covenant by the New. All of this points to Christ, who brings forth the New Covenant in His blood for the forgiveness of sins and the purchase of a kingdom people from spiritual slavery. No matter how bad we get, God never gives up. And no matter how bad things get for God’s people, God continually displays his capacity for incorporating the misuse of freedom into His plan for maximum salvation through them. In short, election functions as theodicy.[6] What is God’s word in the face of evil? He says, “I will never give up on My guarantee to save myriads through faith.” This elective guarantee is centered on substitution: those through whom election comes always suffer for those who are not chosen. God chooses the chosen to suffer in place of the unchosen.

Within this baseline understanding, eight dynamics are present in the Old and New Testament’s articulation of election: (1) Election is of God. If He does not do all the work in providing, initiating, and superintending salvation, there is no hope for anyone. Election means God guarantees to save. (2) Election is eschatological. The guarantee of God’s saving plan will be fully on display at the end of history. (3) Election is comprehensive. Its purpose is to bring salvation to myriads upon myriads. (4) Election is covenantal; it requires a response of faith. The sense is that the call and response are happening concurrently.[7] (5) Election comes through one person and goes out to a maximum number. God renews his guarantee over and over again in response to the rebellion of many through the faithfulness of one. (6) Election is corporate. It deals with groups primarily; it deals with the many. Individuals find themselves to be a part of the elect group by a faith commiserate with the one through whom the covenant offer has come. (7) Election is vicarious. It encompasses the misuse of freedom, which has great value for theodicy and assurance. The most oppressed and least blessed are actually the objects of God’s favor and critical to God’s ultimate plans for the cosmos. The rejection of the rebellious actually advances God’s purposes for maximum salvation. And, finally, (8) election is missional. God’s salvation goes out to a maximum number through His chosen people and their faithfulness to His covenant in Christ.

Let me offer two biblical examples of how these themes of election function, one from the Old Testament and one from the New. The foundation for the biblical view of election is God’s election of Israel. The meaning of election in the New Testament is rooted in its meaning in the Old. And here is what is crucial: election in the Old Testament does not mean that God chooses Israel and rejects everyone else. Whatever election means for Israel and brings to Israel is not set over against what is not and never will be given to everyone else.[8] The first explicit mention of election in the OT and the archetype for election throughout Scripture is God’s choice of Abraham. The point of his election, and Israel’s election in him, is that God’s desire for the salvation of the whole world might be set forth in history. God elects Abraham so that all the families of the earth might be blessed through him.

C.S. Lewis puts it like this:

 

When we look into the Selectiveness which the Christians attribute to God, we find in it none of that “favouritism” which we were afraid of. The “chosen” people are chosen not for their own sake (certainly not for their own honour or pleasure) but for the sake of the unchosen. Abraham is told that “in his seed” (the chosen nation) “all nations shall be blest.” That nation has been chosen to bear a heavy burden. Their sufferings are great: but as Isaiah recognized, their sufferings heal others. On the finally selected Woman falls the utmost depth of maternal anguish. Her son, the incarnate God, is a “man of sorrows;” the one man in whom Deity descended, the one man who can be lawfully adored, is pre-eminent for suffering.[9]

 

The election of Abraham is, first of all, of God. God’s choice of a wandering, idol-worshipping, childless Aramean to undo the disaster of Genesis 1-11 fully displays His gracious direction of all things.[10] Second, Abraham’s election is eschatological. It is a promise for the future that he never sees in his lifetime. Only in Isaac does he glimpse the barely believable promise of a nation as innumerable as sand or stars. Third, Abraham’s election is comprehensive–the scope is indeed massive, all the families of the earth. Fourth is the critical role of Abraham’s real response of faith to close the circuit of God’s saving desire for him and through him to the whole world. God’s choice of Abraham is ratified by Abraham’s faith which results in his justification. This is the trajectory of God’s electing activity over and over again. The offer of covenant is extended by grace and grace alone and is accompanied by signs and wonders of the manifest presence and power of God, dramatically drawing a reluctant people. But the response of faith matters and their rejection of covenant invalidates it for them and affects the unfolding of God’s salvific desire for all. Fifth, clearly, Abraham’s election is from the one to the many. Sixth, Abraham’s election is corporate. A nation is born in him and through that nation all nations will be blessed. Seventh, the election of Abraham offers vicariousness as the solution to the problem of evil. What is God going to do about the radical sinful misuse of freedom in Genesis 1-11? What is God’s response to the childlessness of Sarah? What is God’s response to the sinful impatience of Sarah and Abraham? What is Abraham’s response to God’s call to sacrifice Isaac? God will not change His plan to save, and He will never give up. He is so sovereign that He is able to incorporate that misuse of freedom and the resulting brokenness into His ultimate plans. In fact, as Lewis says, God chooses Abraham to bear the brokenness of the nations, the deadness of the nations, in order that life might go out to the nations. Ultimately, election, because of all the components listed above, is substitutionary. Eighth, the purpose of Abraham’s election is to rescue all the inhabitants of the earth.

With respect to Abraham, then, election refers to God’s plan to do all that is necessary to save an undeserving and unexpected people through faith in His covenant offer, which, through them, goes out to the whole world. In the facts of God’s love for the world and His desire for real responses of faith in Israel’s election, we find the same affirmations stated above for a correct view of election: God’s desire to save everyone and His gift of libertarian freedom to every person. Election does not mean that God has chosen each Israelite irresistibly and rejected the nations permanently. That is the opposite of the story of the Old Testament.

These eight dynamics reveal that the New Testament text most often cited as proof that election means God’s fixed choice of some and not others are actually making the opposite point. Romans 8:29-30 and chapters 9-11 are arguably the “pillar passages” for the Calvinist view of election, but actually fit beautifully into this matrix and reveal that God’s saving intentions are for all, not just a select few. There is no question that the election of Israel forms the basis for these chapters. Whatever election means here, it must be collated with what God was doing in His choice of Israel.[11] Paul’s point in the letter from beginning to end is that, as the Jewish apostle to the Gentiles, he is proclaiming that God’s commitment to bring salvation to the world through Israel has been fulfilled in Israel’s Messiah and through the Messiah’s People. In Romans 9-11, God’s covenant with Israel is the driving force. The question of 9:6 (Has God’s covenant with Israel failed?) is answered in 11:25-26 (Israel’s present resistance to the gospel is temporary, purposed by God for maximum salvation among the Gentiles, which will result in all Israel being saved.). The conclusion of this plan is exclaimed in verse 32: “that He might have mercy on them all.” Who benefits from these covenant promises? Anyone who believes (Rom 10:9-13).

First, there is no question that Paul speaks of God’s absolute sovereignty in the plan of salvation in Rom 9:6-29. God, indeed, can save whomever He wants however He wants, but the question is, “Who and how does God want to save?” Does He want to save certain ones and not others? That hardly seems to be the point of a passage that ends with the proclamation that there will be mercy for all. The point of Romans 9 is that nothing can stop God’s plan for maximum salvation, not even Israel’s unfaithfulness. In fact, her temporary disobedience is actually a part of that plan.

Second, this entire passage is completely eschatological. The end of Romans 8 is about the hope of glorification for the elect, and the conclusion of the argument in Romans 11 is that there is a wide difference between God’s temporary hardening of Israel and His ultimate plans for “mercy on all.” This whole passage is future tense. Third, for Paul, the elective purposes of God are comprehensive. Paul’s argument crescendos to its conclusion in 11:32 in a massive coming to faith of both Jews and Gentiles.[12] Fourth, while Paul, in 9:29, makes no bones about God’s absolute sovereignty, he turns in the next verse to argue just as emphatically that Israel’s own unbelief is the precipitating cause of God’s current rejection of them, the remedy for which is faith in Christ alone for anyone who will confess and believe (9:30-10:16). Not everyone will hear the good news (“How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?”) and not everyone will believe (“All day long I have lifted My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people”). But Paul’s point about election in Romans 9-11 is clear: God never just gives up on people. No one is outside of His reach or His mercy. Anyone can be saved. His electing purposes for maximum salvation are unstoppable, yet they fully include the real responses of people to the gospel.

Fifth, Paul is the theologian of the “One to the Many” in the OT and how that is fulfilled in Christ. He has already discussed it thoroughly in Rom 5:12-21, and it is on display in the core of this passage in Rom 10:5-17. Christ is the fulfillment of the New Covenant promised to Israel in Deut 30:12-14 (Rom 10:6-8). Belief in the Lordship of the One Living Christ alone results in salvation of many.

Sixth, election in Romans 9-11 is corporate. Paul is talking about God’s dealings with two groups, Jews and Gentiles, who are being made into one group (Rom 11:16-24). God’s choice of Israel (and His sovereign administration of Israel’s unbelief) has resulted in the coming of the Gentiles, whose belief through the temporary hardening of Israel will result in “all Israel” being saved (Rom 11:26).[13]

Seventh, on a note of substitution and theodicy, in chapter 8, Paul speaks of the present sufferings of the elect under their own and the world’s ongoing brokenness as actually testifying to a glorious future hope. The suffering of God’s elect sublimates the suffering of all creation and their glorification will inaugurate the restoration of all things. Moreover, there is a sense in which the entirety of 9-11 is theodicy, an answer to the question of evil with respect to Israel. How could God let this happen to His Chosen People? How could His covenant people be walking away from their Messiah? Has the word of God failed? Romans 9-11 is a discussion of God’s righteousness in the face of an unexpected evil. Paul’s point is that Israel’s present rebellion is actually a part of the plan to bring salvation to the whole world (9:17-18; 11:11-15). The grafting in of the Gentiles required a breaking off Israel. “My People” becomes “Not My People” so that those who are far off can be brought near. God is hardening Israel for a little while, not according to some hidden will to save some and not others, but according to His revealed will to save anyone and everyone who believes. This is in service of Paul’s larger point of theodicy at his conclusion: God has shut up all in disobedience that He might have mercy on all (11:32). The obedience of Gentile believers in the face of the hostility of the Jews is vicarious as well and makes a way for those “enemies of the gospel” to be saved. And, eighth, again, all this results in the accomplishment of God’s mission in election: maximum salvation through the gospel of Christ’s suffering and victory, which is really the point of the whole letter.

What is the bottom line for us today concerning what the Bible says about election that could inform us theologically as Southern Baptists? The Bible gives us election in order to tell us that, no matter what, God is going to save myriads and myriads of people by faith in His suffering Son, and He is going to use the suffering obedience of His people to do it. When He saves He seals, and when He saves He redeems us for service. His plan is not based on our obedience or ability but His grace through His Son by His Spirit. In fact, the brokenness and punishment of His Chosen One and His chosen people are actually allowed to stand in for the brokenness and punishment due to the unchosen.[14] God demonstrates that He will never give up. What we do matters, but it cannot change His plan to save a maximum number by faith. This unstoppable plan is driven by his desire to save all while taking seriously the reality and consequences of freedom.

 

eric_hankins2By Dr. Eric Hankins, pastor
First Baptist Church, Oxford, Miss.


[1]Klooster, “Elect, Election.”

[2]Erickson, 937.

[3]Grudem, 670-73. Cf. Garrett, 472-81, who devotes four pages of text apiece to the Old and New Testaments in laying out the biblical basis for his doctrine of election.

[4]Garrett asks, “Is it possible that Augustine and later Calvin, with the help of many others, contributed to a hyper-individualization of this doctrine that was hardly warranted by Romans 9-11, Eph. 1:3-14, and 1 Pet. 2:9-10?” (494).

[5]Ekaterini G. Tsalampouni, “‘Election’ and the ‘People of God:’ An Orthodox Theological Perspective,” Ecumenical Review 64 (2012): 16.

[6]N. T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, in Christian Origins and the Question of God, vol. 1 (Fortress: Minneapolis, 1992), 259-60: “The technical term for this doctrine [Judaism’s combination of monotheism and theodicy] is election. The creator god has found a way of restoring his world: he has chosen a people through whom he will act.”

[7]Keathley, “Salvation,” 707, 718-20.

[8]Charlie Trimm, “Did YHWH Condemn the Nations When He Elected Israel? YHWH’s Disposition toward Non-Israelites in the Torah,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 15 (2012): 536.

[9]Lewis, Miracles, 142.

[10]Ibid., 140: “[Christianity] does not tell of a human search for God at all, but of something done by God for, to, and about, Man. And the way in which it is done is highly selective, undemocratic to the highest degree.”

[11]Douglas Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, NICNT (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), notes, “In these chapters, Paul is not simply using Israel to illustrate a theological point, such as predestination or the righteousness of God. He is talking about Israel herself, as he wrestles with the implications of the gospel for God’s ‘chosen people’ of the OT” (548). Robert H. Mounce, Romans, NAC (Nashville: B&H, 1995), observes: “Paul was not building a case for salvation that in no way involves the consent of the individual. Nor was he teaching double predestination. Rather, he was arguing that the exclusion of so many Jews from the family of God did not constitute a failure on God’s part to maintain his covenant relationship with Israel. He had not broken his promise to the descendants of Abraham” (199). Cf. Garrett, 479.

[12]James D. G. Dunn, Romans 9-16, WBC, vol. 38b (Dallas: Word, 1988), 519.

[13]Tsalampouni, 20-22.

[14]Lewis, Miracles, 143: “And certainly we have here come to a principle very deep-rooted in Christianity: what may be called the principle of Vicariousness. The Sinless Man suffers for the sinful, and, in their degree all good men for all bad men.”

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rhutchin

Dr. Hankins writes, “Now, the Bible does not articulate the specifics of how God guarantees that [people] will be saved…It simply asserts the glorious truth that He will. The closest it gets is in Rom 8:29 and 1 Peter 1:1-2 where the Scriptures assert that God knows who He is going to save and that He has determined to save them. But the specifics of the who and the how are not addressed.”

In a Part 1 comment, Johnathan Pritchett wrote, “We believe God has the freedom to save whom He wants to save. We believe He will save those who believe in Jesus and freely chose to do so. ..How it comes to be the case a person believes in Jesus is where much of the disagreement lies,…”

Dr. Hankins correctly states, “…God knows who He is going to save…” and knew this when He created Adam and Eve. The number that God is going to save is fixed and not one will be lost and the number of the unsaved is fixed and not one will be saved. The issue, as Hankins and Pritchett note is how those whom God knows He will save come to believe. God tells us that He has always known those He will save; He does not tell us who they are.

    holdon

    “God tells us that He has always known those He will save; He does not tell us who they are.”

    Yes He does: “everyone that believes on Him may not perish but have eternal life” Jn 3:15 and many other verses speaking to the same fact.

    At the end of the day(s), yes, the number of those saved is fixed and so is the number of unsaved and God knowing how all things turn out knows those numbers from the beginning. But that is not the issue. The issue is whether all the unsaved can do something to belong to the number of the saved: yes they can and it does not depend on being elected or not: they need to believe.
    Nor Romans 8:29 or 1 Peter 1:1,2 have anything to do with that (election for salvation). The former is about being predestined to be Christ-like representatives (the service aspect) and the latter is not well translated in most versions: the word “eklektois” stands 9 words apart from “foreknowledge”, therefore the two thoughts should not be connected. Here in verse 1 it is about the choice material (expressing the excellent value in God’s eyes like in 1 Pet 2:4; 2:6 and 2:9) these sojourners were. Election in all cases has to do with this: the excellent value that one (God) sees in something. See the antonym in 1 Pet 2:4 (‘tested and rejected” and compare the same word used in contrast in 1 Pet 1:7 “tried in the fire”). Based on that, choosing can occur. If election means choosing, then it is always “conditional election” because the object has value. But more often than not it should be rendered as an adjective: a description of quality: “choice sojourners”, “choice generation”,
    The other issue is whether God could change the minds of all the unsaved to make them believe: no He can’t. If He could He should do so, or He wouldn’t be trustworthy saying that He desires none to perish. It is up to the individual (“everyone”) to believe and to be saved.

      rhutchin

      “’God tells us that He has always known those He will save; He does not tell us who they are.’

      Yes He does: “everyone that believes on Him may not perish but have eternal life” Jn 3:15 and many other verses speaking to the same fact.”

      I agree. We know in a general sense as you note. However, God also knows the names of those that are to be saved. He knows everything that will happen in their lives, including that point where they come to believe and the influences that were instrumental to that decision. He does not tell us much of this other than that they will come to believe.

      rhutchin

      “The issue is whether all the unsaved can do something to belong to the number of the saved: yes they can and it does not depend on being elected or not: they need to believe.’

      Not exactly. God knows who will not believe and there is nothing that they can do to belong to the number of the saved. Those individuals that God knows are to be saved is fixed and none of those excluded from that number can do anything to change their situation.

      God divides the unsaved into two groups: those that will be saved (by name) and those that will not be saved (by name) and nothing can change that.

        wingedfooted1

        “God knows who will not believe and there is nothing that they can do to belong to the number of the saved. Those individuals that God knows are to be saved is fixed and none of those excluded from that number can do anything to change their situation.”

        And how exactly is that “good news”?

          rhutchin

          Sounds like good news to me. God will save some where He was not obligated to save any. From what I can tell, those whom God is saving are rejoicing at their good fortune and those whom God is not saving could care less.

            wingedfooted1

            The “cold” response of the calvinist.

            So the Rich Ruler in Luke 16:19-31 could care less?

            wingedfooted1

            “Sounds like good news to me.”

            And that is really all that matters.

            You are a credit to your theology, Rhutchin.

            rhutchin

            But still the truth – which you do not dispute (how could you?).

            wingedfooted1

            Rhutchin,

            Your “dispute” is not with me, but with the Lord. I suggest you take it up with Him.

            rhutchin

            I do and God keeps telling me that He is in control and has everything under control and nothing can happen that is outside His control. God knows who is to be saved and it is certain that they will be saved – every last one of them, no more, no less.

        Johnathan Pritchett

        “Those individuals that God knows are to be saved is fixed and none of those excluded from that number can do anything to change their situation.”

        That annoying modal fallacy rears its head again.

        Not “can do anything”, since the only thing that follows from “The number that God is going to save is fixed and not one will be lost and the number of the unsaved is fixed and not one will be saved” is that none *will* do anything.

        This has been demonstrated time and time again. Your assertion is just a philosophical affirmation and byproduct of God actualizing this world as opposed to some another world He could have actualized. It is a philosophical axiom, and nothing more. It has nothing to do with a Biblical-theological understanding of either soteriology or election.

        sbcissues

        rhutchin,

        You said, God knows who will not believe and there is nothing that they can do to belong to the number of the saved.

        Agreed 100%. The question is this: is it mans choice NOT TO BELIEVE that will keep him out of the number that will be saved or God’s choice that they would not believe?

        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. (John 3:18)

        Jesus said the one who does not believe is condemned already. He did not say that this one who does not believe does not do so because God did not choose him to believe in the first place.

        Can you point to ONE passage of Scripture that supports the following statement:

        God divides the unsaved into two groups: those that will be saved (by name) and those that will not be saved (by name) and nothing can change that.

      rhutchin

      “The other issue is whether God could change the minds of all the unsaved to make them believe: no He can’t. ”

      Not exactly. God is sovereign. He does all He pleases – even to changing the minds of those who are not to be saved if He wanted – and no one could prevent God doing so . God could save all people or He could save none; He has chosen to save some.

        holdon

        “God could save all people or He could save none; He has chosen to save some.”

        So, God is to blame for those who perish.

          rhutchin

          “So, God is to blame for those who perish.”

          I think we can properly lay the blame for this on their sin.

            holdon

            “I think we can properly lay the blame for this on their sin.”

            If sin was/is not an obstacle for those who are saved. Then sin cannot be blamed for not being saved.
            Bottomline is: You are blaming God for not saving the unsaved. Why is that so hard to admit?

            rhutchin

            Holden says, “If sin was/is not an obstacle for those who are saved. Then sin cannot be blamed for not being saved.”

            Sin is not an obstacle to God if He wants to save a person. It does require that He provide a means for Him to save people which He did through Christ. Sin is to be blamed for everyone needing to be saved; sin is not an obstacle to God saving some.

            Nonetheless, you are unable to dispute God’s personal knowledge of those individuals who will be saved and those not. At least, you recognize the obvious – even if you don’t like it.

            holdon

            “Sin is to be blamed for everyone needing to be saved; sin is not an obstacle to God saving some.”
            Therefore the only differentiating factor is God: God is to blame for not saving all. It’s an old story: God gets the blame right from the beginning it was so: Genesis 3.

            “Nonetheless, you are unable to dispute God’s personal knowledge of those individuals who will be saved and those not. At least, you recognize the obvious – even if you don’t like it.” I have no issues with God’s personal knowledge of who will be saved and who not. Jesus said to those in Jerusalem: “how often would I have gathered thy children as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” He did not say: “I would not”.

            rhutchin

            “shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?” Amos 3:6

            Ultimately, God tells us to complain to Him if we do not like what He is doing.

        wingedfooted1

        Has anyone ever noticed that it is only those who believe that they are among the ones predestined/elected to salvation that have no issues with predestination/election to salvation?

        Of course why would someone who wins the lottery complain about the moral and ethical issues of the lottery?

          rhutchin

          Is this you being frustrated about not being able to dispute that which I wrote?

          Why not spend some time considering whether God really knows everyone who is to be saved and those not to be saved. Try to wrap your mind around that great truth.

Jim P

Excellent and Clear article.

I am understanding more and more that those who can’t accept the Bible’s teaching of God and His ways, need men, as Calvin, Luther, Augustine, the Pope, etc, as ‘mediators between them and God’ other than that Mediator The Man, Christ Jesus. But isn’t that the way of the World?

    rhutchin

    I think that refers to scholarship. One reads the Bible and gains an understanding of what he has read. Then he reads the works of others (especially people smarter than he) to see if they gained different insights. Then he delves into the Scriptures with greater enthusiasm to re-investigate issues where there is disagreement.

    Proverbs 27
    17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

      Jim P

      Very Good, Iron sharpens iron can also be iron sharpening iron of the ‘traditions’ of man and not the Word of God.

        Robert Magee

        So, Jim if you would clarify for me. Do you think Hankins in his study for this presentation and in coming to his conclusions did not consult the works of men in commentaries? Do you think he has not been influenced in his thinking by the way these things have been presented in Southern Baptist Churches, especially since his Dad is in the ministry and is strongly opposed to certain interpretations of Scripture that align with certain teachings associated with Calvinism?

        All I am saying is both sides do it!

          Jim P

          That is fair Robert. But whether Hankins or anyone, eventually those who are loyal to the ‘tradition of men,’ will invalidate the Word of God. Each of us individually are responsible, like the noble Bereans to see whether these things are so.

            Robert Magee

            I agree that we all need to be like the Bereans who search the Scriptures. I also agree that in some areas of Reformed Theology “the teachings of men” are used more for support than the Scriptures (ex. baptism). I genuinely am not interested in teaching a theological system but teaching what God’s Word says. Once I know what a passage means, different passages mean, then yes I will attempt to systematize what the Bible is teaching.

            I guess for me, I see more of a tension in Scripture about God’s Sovereignty in salvation and man’s responsibility to respond to the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ than what is being presented by the “Traditional camp” via Dr. Hankins. Yes, some Calvinists go too far and stress out of Scriptural balance God’s sovereignty. But, as I read Dr. Hankins, he seems to be going too far in stressing man’s freedom.

            Jim P

            Robert, I’m just dialoging right now:

            How can so much of scripture and commands make any sense without a degree of freedom of man to respond. Intuitively, it only makes sense that God respects men’s freedom to decide on issues He commands and directs. Yes, even the choice of sin or Him. Saying man is incapable of that decision eviscerates the appeal of gospel.

            sbcissues

            Robert,

            I do not like the phrase “going too far in stressing man’s freedom.” I believe the more correct view would be better stated by the following: “going to far in stressing man’s responsibility to respond.”

            I do not see the issue as being one of freedom and that is I believe clouding the discussion. It is an unfair term to express the differences here.

            If we move from freedom to responsibility to respond then I believe the dialogue has an opportunity to frame itself in a more productive manner.

volfan007

VEry good….very enlightening…very clear….thank you, Dr. Hankins. This blessed me.

David

    Randall Cofield

    David and Jim P.

    I noticed that you both said the article was very clear to you, and I was wondering if you could help me understand this statement:

    …election is the Father’s guarantee of His mission to save a maximum number…

    Dr. Hankins makes that statement several times. Is he saying God only elected to save…that He did not elect specific individuals to salvation? Or is he saying that God chose to save as many as He could? Or is he saying the number of the elect may not yet be determined?

    I’m really not sure how to interpret that statement, but he emphasized it throughout.

    Grace to you, brothers.

      sbcissues

      Randall,

      I believe Hankins’ statement is a reference to a Molinist perspective, which I personally have a problem with.

JB

“Sixth, election in Romans 9-11 is corporate. Paul is talking about God’s dealings with two groups, Jews and Gentiles, who are being made into one group (Rom 11:16-24). God’s choice of Israel (and His sovereign administration of Israel’s unbelief) has resulted in the coming of the Gentiles, whose belief through the temporary hardening of Israel will result in “all Israel” being saved (Rom 11:26).”

He is not talking about two groups. He is talking about two people, babies, twins, exactly the same. Neither did anything and God chose one and not the other. Why? So that His choice would stand, not based upon man. The language is so clear. The idea of corporate election makes no sense. God corporately elects a group of people but doesn’t choose who will be in that group?

    Dean

    You are exactly right, JB. The language of the Bible is clear when it comes to Jacob and Essau. One would have to have the most elementary understanding of the Bible not to recognize that Jacob and Esau represent two groups of people. Consider Genesis 25:23 “And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.” Before they were born it was established that these two brothers represent two groups of people. The Bible is an inconvenient truth for those who prefer man’s philosophy over exposition.

      Jim P

      Thank You Dean

      rhutchin

      Jacob and Esau are two unique individuals. They were chosen individually, together with their descendants for different purposes. God was going to bless Jacob and then his descendants – this we read of in the Scriptures. We read little of Esau as God had decided not to bless Esau as He would Jacob.

      So, Romans 9 speaks first to Jacob and Esau as individuals. We know from everything else we read in the Scriptures that they represent two groups of people – their descendants. Then, there are those others not descendant of either Jacob or Esau.

        Dean

        Romans 9:1-4 Paul states he would be cut off for the sake of his brothers, his own race, the people of Israel.

        Romans 9:4, 5 Paul states all the Jews had in their covenant with God. They were adopted, had the Law, the temple, trace human ancestry of Jesus through Jews, etc…

        Romans 9:6-8 Paul declares not all descendants from Israel are Israel. It is not through Ishmael God will work but through Isaac and the children of promise.

        Romans 9:9-13 teaches that though the brothers are both pure blooded Jews one would be chosen and the other rejected.

        Romans 9:27 -29 speaks of the remnant of Israel being saved.

        Romans 9:30-32 speaks of Israel stumbling over the stumbling block.

        Romans 10:1 Paul’s desire is for Israel to be saved.

        Romans 10:16-21 speaks of Israel’s rejection of Christ.

        Romans 11: 1-5 describes a Jewish remnant.

        Romans 11:6-11 demonstrates Israel’s blindness toward Christ has allowed the Gentiles might be saved.

        Romans 11 12-24 speaks of the Gentiles being grafted into the olive tree (Israel) and warns we are not to be boastful. Paul also speaks with anticipation that Israel will not persist in unbelief.

        Romans 11:25 -27 speaks of Israel being saved.

        Romans 9-11 overwhelms you with Israel. It is all about Israel. Yet because of a system of philosophy some choose to make Jacob individualistic and not symbolic for Israel in spite of the common sense theme running through the three chapters.

          Robert Magee

          These thoughts are taken from Dr. Robert Thomas.

          Romans 1-8 = universal truths about condemnation of man, the justification of man, the sanctification of man, and the glorification of man (whether Jew or Gentile)
          * But what about Israel? Will God keep His promises? If not, will He keep His promises to us?

          Romans 9:6-13 – God’s promises to Israel only applied to the chosen members of that race. In the Isaac/ Ishmael and Jacob/Esau God had sovereignly narrowed the line by His choice.

          Romans 9:14-18 – God’s present hardening of Israel is not unjust and is His sovereign prerogative, as demonstrated from the words of Moses and the example of Pharaoh.

          Romans 9:19-29 – The idea of God hardening hearts, sovereignly choosing objects of His mercy cause man to cry “foul, not fair. How do you still find fault? In context, the point is about God having the absolute freedom to harden Israel and do with her as He pleases, yet as the Creator man is to blame. We also see that those who are on the receiving end of God’s mercy are both from the Jews and from the Gentiles.

          Romans 9:30 -10:21 Here we see how God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility to choose interact. A sovereign act of God to include Gentiles even though it resulted in moral choices by human beings to believe or not believe.

          Romans 11:1-32 God is not through with Israel. She has not been completely rejected by God. He will keep His promises.

          From our perspective, we see our responsibility in the Scriptures to make right choices and the penalties when we fail to do so. But from God’s perspective as presented in Scripture, He is at work in individual lives to bring about what he has planned as the Creator and Controller of all things.

          rhutchin

          “Romans 9-11 overwhelms you with Israel.”

          That is fine. However, God’s plan begins with the election of individuals. First Isaac and then Jacob. Then the example of Pharaoh. Then Paul’s argument that God can do whatever He wants to individuals. Finally to Israel as a nation in Chap 10.

          Corporate election in Chap 9 is by extrapolation from Jacob and Esau (which is OK) but it begins with individual election. There is no way that I see for people to ignore the focus on God’s choosing individuals for His purposes in chap 9 despite what those individuals can represent because of the nations that came from them.

            Johnathan Pritchett

            “There is no way that I see for people to ignore the focus on God’s choosing individuals for His purposes in chap 9 despite what those individuals can represent because of the nations that came from them.”

            Agreed, but your understanding needs nuance to be accurate, Biblically speaking. Since you fail to understand the Ancient Near East culture, as well as the typology that is happening in the chapter,

            A proper understanding of corporate election entails individuals, especially corporate heads, are not excluded from corporate election, only that they are secondary, and not primary in terms of identity in a corporate, collectivist culture. Paul was not a modern, individualist westerner like you rhutchin. You need to change the way you think when trying to understand the Scriptures. Note also the individuals are “types”. Paul compares unbelieving “Israel” to Pharaoh. So that should be a clue if you didn’t get it right at the beginning with Romans 9:1-6 and the quote from Genesis. to say nothing of having a proper understanding ANE culture in general.

            As you also correctly note, the issue is “His purposes”, not soteriology.

            You can shut your brain off all you like, or you can be receptive to what Paul is actually talking about. Your choice.

            rhutchin

            Pritchett writes, “Agreed, but your understanding needs nuance to be accurate, Biblically speaking. Since you fail to understand the Ancient Near East culture, as well as the typology that is happening in the chapter,”

            I am not comfortable with this approach. What it implies to me is that my lack of knowledge of ANE culture (an unbiblical source) is necessary to understanding the Bible. However, given that God is the author of the Bible, it should be understandable by itself (recognizing that one needs to know Greek and Hebrew for this).

            If ANE cultural issues were important to that which God inspired Paul to write, then I think God would have included references to that key information. As God ignores such things, I think we should also.

            Otherwise, we have uninspired sources influencing (corrupting?) our understanding of inspired writings. I have problems with that.

            Johnathan Pritchett

            “I am not comfortable with this approach. What it implies to me is that my lack of knowledge of ANE culture (an unbiblical source) is necessary to understanding the Bible. However, given that God is the author of the Bible, it should be understandable by itself (recognizing that one needs to know Greek and Hebrew for this).”

            The issue isn’t the Bible, it is with the readers. Even the Greek and Hebrew won’t be helpful unless one understands what they meant and how they were used at the time the books were written.

            “If ANE cultural issues were important to that which God inspired Paul to write, then I think God would have included references to that key information. As God ignores such things, I think we should also.”

            Nonsense. The Bible wasn’t written in a vacuum. How Paul thought impacts how Paul writes Scripture under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. God uses the human writers in their style, personality, tone, their historical situatedness,in their cultural climate, etc. The Bible can never mean or be understood as something to you it never meant or was understood to the original audience. This is 101 stuff.

            “Otherwise, we have uninspired sources influencing (corrupting?) our understanding of inspired writings. I have problems with that.”

            Not at all. Just helpful aids to understand the text because we are a culture, language, a continent, and centuries removed from the time the texts were written. So, again, those are your problems and my problems, and everyone’s problems, not the Bible’s problems.

Randall Cofield

Now, the Bible does not articulate the specifics of how God guarantees that a massive multitude will be saved even in the face of the radical sinful misuse of freedom. It simply asserts the glorious truth that He will.–Dr. Hankins

The promise of the New Covenant in both Jeremiah and Ezekiel does indeed state specifically how God will guarantee that the massive multitude of the elect will be saved—despite the total depravity even of the elect themselves.

Notice:

Eze 36:25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.

How does God guarantee the salvation of the elect? He first deals with our utter depravity, cleansing us of our filthiness and idolatry through the washing of regeneration (cf. Tit. 3:5, which alludes to Ezek. 36:25). Regeneration, or the renewal of the New Birth is entirely the work of God, and it guarantees a specific outcome, viz;

Eze 36:26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

The salvation of God’s elect involves a heart transplant wherein the depraved heart (will) of stone is replaced with a new heart (will)—again, a Sovereign work of God which guarantees the salvation of the elect. This new heart (will) receives the inscribed Law:

Jer 31:33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Again, this inscription upon the heart of flesh is the work of God alone, insuring the sanctification of His elect. Further,

Eze 36:27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

The washing of regeneration, the placement of a new heart (will), and the inscription of God’s Law is accompanied by the indwelling of the Spirit—thus guaranteeing the elect will then be able to obey Him and sealing/guaranteeing their final glorification.

Now, some of my brothers here may call that determinism: I call it grace—and it is deeply imbedded in Scripture.

The closest (the Bible does not articulate the specifics of how God guarantees that a massive multitude will be saved) is in Rom 8:29 and 1 Peter 1:1-2 where the Scriptures assert that God knows who He is going to save and that He has determined to save them. But the specifics of the who and the how are not addressed.—Dr. Hankins

I would contend the “how” is clearly addressed in the passages Dr. Hankins references:

Ro 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

To throw a little dirt over a rabbit hole here, what God “foreknows” (proegno) He foreknows because He has fore-ordained it (cf. 1 Pe. 1:20—same root, Acts 2:23—same principle).

Paul here clearly articulates how God guarantees the massive multitude of the elect will be saved:

1) God fore-ordained their salvation
2) God predestined their conformity to the image of Christ (sanctification).
3) Those thus predestined are effectually called
4) Those thus called are justified
5) Those thus called are guaranteed to be glorified.

Notice that this is all the work of our gracious God.

Likewise, 1 Pe. 1:1-2 is quite clear as to the “how”:

To those who are elect…according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

The salvation of the massive multitude of the elect is guaranteed thus:

1) They are fore-ordained to salvation (cf. Ro. 8:29; 1 Pe. 1:20; Acts 2:23)
2) This takes place through the sanctification of the Spirit (cf. Ezek. 36:25-27; Jer. 31:33)
3) The elect are predestined obey Jesus Christ (cf. Ro. 8:29)
4) Because they are sprinkled with His blood (cf. 1 Co. 6:11)

Time and space do not allow the even a cursory review of Eph. 1:1-11, another text in which there are explicit details as to “how” the massive multitude of the elect are guaranteed salvation.

Dr. Hankins mentioned we do not know the specifics of “who” the elect are. I think we can know who the elect are:

1 Thes. 1:4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction…. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.

My apologies for the length of this post.

Grace to you, brothers.

    Norm Miller

    Randall:
    This is too long. But there is grace. You rarely write this much, so I am glad to let it stand. — Norm

      Robert Magee

      Thanks for letting it stand. Randall, strong and persuasive comments from the Scriptures.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    “The promise of the New Covenant in both Jeremiah and Ezekiel does indeed state specifically how God will guarantee that the massive multitude of the elect will be saved—despite the total depravity even of the elect themselves.”

    Agreed. So far so good.

    “How does God guarantee the salvation of the elect? He first deals with our utter depravity, cleansing us of our filthiness and idolatry through the washing of regeneration (cf. Tit. 3:5, which alludes to Ezek. 36:25). Regeneration, or the renewal of the New Birth is entirely the work of God, and it guarantees a specific outcome, viz;”

    Yes indeed. Still good.

    “The salvation of God’s elect involves a heart transplant wherein the depraved heart (will) of stone is replaced with a new heart (will)—again, a Sovereign work of God which guarantees the salvation of the elect. This new heart (will) receives the inscribed Law:”

    Amen and amen.

    “Again, this inscription upon the heart of flesh is the work of God alone, insuring the sanctification of His elect.”

    Yes!

    “The washing of regeneration, the placement of a new heart (will), and the inscription of God’s Law is accompanied by the indwelling of the Spirit—thus guaranteeing the elect will then be able to obey Him and sealing/guaranteeing their final glorification.”

    Indeed. Amen Bro. Randall.

    “To throw a little dirt over a rabbit hole here, what God “foreknows” (proegno) He foreknows because He has fore-ordained it (cf. 1 Pe. 1:20—same root, Acts 2:23—same principle).”

    Fumble…

    Three things.

    1. This is classic illegitimate totality transfer, has been demonstrated time and time again to be so, and also has been amply shown that foreknow, even with God as the subject, means nothing more than to know beforehand. .

    2. The principle in Acts 2:23 is a conjunctive thing. Two things working in tandem. One, an attribute, the other, an action. They communicate one idea from two different categories. It is not one idea from one category expressed in two different terms.

    3. You have a huge philosophical problem. God’s knowledge (natural/middle if you like…or not/free knowledge) is an attribute and thus an essential part of God’s nature. To “foreordain” is to perform an action, which is not an essential part of God’s nature. All of God’s knowledge is complete regardless of Him performing an action in eternity. To assert that God foreknows because He foreordains is to make God’s complete set of knowledge, an attribute, eternally co-dependent upon performing an action. The devastating consequence of which is that God’s knowledge (an attribute) is logically increased by performing an action (even granting the “simultaneous-ness of eternity’s past, which DOESN’T exclude logical priority, logical sequence, and the real issue or co-dependence). On this account, God is considered only scarcely better than the open theist view of God, except the openness of God is a logical moment rather than a perpetual, temporal one. Though when one shakes it all out, this is hardly much of an improvement upon open theism, and is a philosophical affront to God’s complete perfection in all His attributes.

    “Paul here clearly articulates how God guarantees the massive multitude of the elect will be saved:

    1) God fore-ordained their salvation
    2) God predestined their conformity to the image of Christ (sanctification).
    3) Those thus predestined are effectually called
    4) Those thus called are justified
    5) Those thus called are guaranteed to be glorified.

    Notice that this is all the work of our gracious God.”

    1) is not what foreknow even means, and makes redundant the next item in the chain of terms. Even more to the point…while we both affirm the philosophical statement that logically prior to the creation of the temporal cosmos that God “knew” who those who would be predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ, that isn’t Paul’s point here.

    Paul knows how to write “before the foundation of the world” when he wants to point back to “eternity’s past”. Nothing in this passage warrants that philosophical import though. The passage’s time indicator is in verse 8:18 speaking of the present looking to the glory that is to come. 8:29-30 is a looking back from that glory from a future perspective looking back. Meaning,, when the glory came, it was those God foreknew before the glory came from that perspective, they were who were predestined….all focused in and around Christ, hence the aorist. More to the point, chapter 8 is littered with how and why God “foreknew” these eschatological people. They were not mere concepts in eternity’s past. Paul’s use of “foreknew” in Romans as a temporal foreknowing is obvious in Romans 11:2 as well.

    So, while we both affirm the philosophical statement of “foreknew” in the sense of logically prior to the creation of the temporal cosmos, that is not how Paul uses the term in Romans. Indeed, in Romans 8, the people God foreknew: are in Christ – 8:1, set free – 8:2, walking in the Spirit – 8:4, in the Spirit with the Spirit of God and Christ in them – 8:9-11, those who by the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body – 8:13, led by God’s Spirit – 8:14, received a Spirit of adoption by whom they cry out Abba Father – 8:5, the Spirit testifies with their spirit 8:16, children and co-heirs who suffer with Him to be glorified with Him – 8:17, groan eagerly awaiting the adoption and redemption of their bodies – 8:23, hoping for what they do not see with persevering patience – 8:24-25, has the Spirit joining in them in their weakness and interceding in prayer – 8:26, who have had their hearts searched and are interceded for – 8:27, and whom God is working for the good because they love Him – 8:28.

    All of which requires actual existence, not conceptual existence a la “eternity’s past” interpretations of “foreknow” etc. Again, while we agree with the philosophical assertion, that isn’t what this chapter or verse is about. Exegesis trumps philosophical considerations.

    2) is correct, predestination refers to purpose for persons foreknown.

    3) “called” is a technical term Paul uses to refer to “calling” in the sense of name/designation, not in the sense of “summons”. This is its primary use in Paul in Romans and elsewhere as well. Hence, the idea of the word “kaleo”, which refers to either “naming” or “calling” in the sense of a loud summoning probably means the former, since the latter doesn’t fit with the idea of an inward, “effectual” call. This is identical to Paul’s use of the word in the next chapter, as well as most of its occurrences in the book of Romans. See especially 9:9, 24-26. Hence, the “general/effectual” distinctions in the kinds of “call” is a bogus, superfluous Calvinist construct.

    Understanding this, 4) and 5) are correct. All of this screams corporate election, by the way. ;)

    “The salvation of the massive multitude of the elect is guaranteed thus:

    1) They are fore-ordained to salvation (cf. Ro. 8:29; 1 Pe. 1:20; Acts 2:23)
    2) This takes place through the sanctification of the Spirit (cf. Ezek. 36:25-27; Jer. 31:33)
    3) The elect are predestined obey Jesus Christ (cf. Ro. 8:29)
    4) Because they are sprinkled with His blood (cf. 1 Co. 6:11)”

    No problem with any of this besides your blunder with 1) beig repeated here, and much of it sounds exactly like corporate election. We can debate all day long of the idea of whether any of this is prior to repentance and faith though. Election and salvation are not synonymous.

    “Time and space do not allow the even a cursory review of Eph. 1:1-11, another text in which there are explicit details as to “how” the massive multitude of the elect are guaranteed salvation.”

    Agreed. It still wouldn’t bode well for Calvinism if we had that time and space.

    1 Thes. 1:4 doesn’t conflict with anything Dr. Hankins stated.

    Besides some exegetical quibbles, as someone who is not a Calvinist, rejects individual election to salvation, and embraces corporate election and conditional salvation based on repentance and faith in response to grace, I wouldn’t word much of this differently than you did Randall. You sound like a corporate election kind of guy to me with a lot of this. ;)

      Norm Miller

      Johnathan:
      Did you get any sleep last night?
      Your mini-treatise reminds me of an incident in my brother’s family.
      He is a brainiac — a software designer, who has worked for NASA, JPL, Raytheon, etc.
      His daughter asked her mother about an Algebra homework question.
      “Go ask your dad,” was the mom’s response.
      To that my niece replied: “I don’t want to know THAT much about it.”

      Randall Cofield

      Jonathan,

      Glad to see some areas of agreement. :-)

      To “foreordain” is to perform an action, which is not an essential part of God’s nature…. To assert that God foreknows because He foreordains is to make God’s complete set of knowledge, an attribute, eternally co-dependent upon performing an action.

      We may be splitting hairs here. I see no way to separate God’s foreknowledge and his foreordination (foreordination being synonymous with predestination, a point you accept elsewhere).

      Either God works all things according to the counsel of His will (Da. 4:35, Eph. 1:11, etc.—the entirety of scripture is emphatic on this point)…or He re-calibrates his counsel and will in reaction to the choices of His creatures.

      You have a huge philosophical problem.

      Perhaps I do, but I would submit that you have a significantly larger problem. You deftly avoided outright postulation of the foreknown/foreseen faith fallacy, but the logical conclusion of your disagreement is that God foresaw faith in His creatures…and then predestined accordingly.

      That is logical, pre-temporal open theism. :-)

      All of this screams corporate election, by the way.

      When you guys can demonstrate that corporate election can take place sans the individual, you might have a leg to stand on. :-)

      Grace to you, brother.

        Johnathan Pritchett

        “We may be splitting hairs here. I see no way to separate God’s foreknowledge and his foreordination (foreordination being synonymous with predestination, a point you accept elsewhere)”

        I agree foreordination is essentially the same as predetermining or predestining or whatever language you want to use. However, foreknowledge is not foreordination. One relates to an attribute of knowledge, the other relates to an action performed. That is a fairly important hair to split, don’t you think? We are talking about God’s nature after all. For example, your typing a reply is not an essential part of your human nature. Typing is a choice, and action, and unnecessary. Likewise, to foreordain/predestine/decree/whatever is to perform an action, and not part of the divine nature. Rather, it is a divine activity. Big difference. A hair worth splitting. ;)

        So, you make a false conflation, commit an exegetical fallacy,and make a categorical error here on this one.

        “When you guys can demonstrate that corporate election can take place sans the individual, you might have a leg to stand on. :-)”

        Corporate election doesn’t exclude individuals, but comprehends individuals. Perhaps you should read Klein and Abasciano. Look them up. They’ll give you plenty of scholarly meat to consider in the best presentation of corporate election. I stand on both legs. ;-)

        “Either God works all things according to the counsel of His will (Da. 4:35, Eph. 1:11, etc.—the entirety of scripture is emphatic on this point)…or He re-calibrates his counsel and will in reaction to the choices of His creatures. ”

        Though I do agree with this either/or (but no need to get into it here since…—>), I opt for the former anyway and reject the latter (which smacks of open theism). That has nothing whatever to do with determinism, compatibilism, Calvinism, etc. and is unrelated to our discussion.

        “Perhaps I do, but I would submit that you have a significantly larger problem. You deftly avoided outright postulation of the foreknown/foreseen faith fallacy, but the logical conclusion of your disagreement is that God foresaw faith in His creatures…and then predestined accordingly.”

        Nope. I don’t argue that God “foresaw” faith in people. Certainly God’s knowledge of those who would have faith is innate knowledge, not observation. Knowledge is an attribute and thus prior to any action taken by God in eternity, since God is God because He knows all things, and does not need to “DO” in order to “BE”, and God is free to “not do” in eternity as well. Otherwise, we end up with a cosmos as necessary as God’s existence. That is a big no-no.

        So this fake fallacy doesn’t apply to me anyway, nor does it follow logically from my theology or philosophical considerations.

          Randall Cofield

          So this fake fallacy doesn’t apply to me anyway, nor does it follow logically from my theology or philosophical considerations.

          Well, I guess we will just have to take your word for that….seeing you have offered no alternative to my position and have rejected what appears to follow logically from what you have stated….

          :-)

JB

Randall,

Excellent post.

Don Johnson

Randall,

Good points. I agree Ezekiel 36:25-27 and Titus 3:5 are two of several texts which prove faith precedes regeneration.

    Randall Cofield

    Winner, winner, chicken dinner…. :-)

    I repent of my Calvinism in sackcloth and ashes.

    Could someone send me a membership card and let me in on the Trad secret handshake?

    Grace to you, brother.

    holdon

    I think Randall meant it the other way around: regeneration preceding faith.

    I agree too: faith precedes regeneration. Whether for Israel in their future restoration (“turn to me and I will turn to you”) or for us: “the grace of God has appeared offering salvation to ALL”.

volfan007

RAndall,

I’m not Eric Hankins, and I’m sure that he’s more than capable to answer this, himself. But, I do think that he is saying that God has chosen to save people…chosen to save all, who will believe…chosen to save, rather than just condemn us all to Hell….chosen to save all that will respond to His calling and working in the world. So, yes, I believe he is saying more of a chosen to save point of view….and, that God will keep working in this world, and will not give up trying to save people, thus assuring that there will be a chosen people from every tribe, nation, color, and tongue worshipping around the throne of God, one day.

David

volfan007

Well, it looks like my comments are being shot to the bottom of the thread, again….Randall, this is a response to your question on May 29th at 11:12 am.

Norm, why do all of my response comments shoot to the bottom of the thread? Can you check this out?

David

    rhutchin

    “Norm, why do all of my response comments shoot to the bottom of the thread? Can you check this out?”

    If it works fine for everyone else and you are the only exception, then user-error ought to be considered. But, what does it take to punch the reply button?

    Maybe outdated software on your machine? OK, I give up.

wingedfooted1

“Romans 8:29-30 and chapters 9-11 are arguably the ‘pillar passages’ for the Calvinist view of election, but actually fit beautifully into this matrix and reveal that God’s saving intentions are for all, not just a select few. There is no question that the election of Israel forms the basis for these chapters. Whatever election means here, it must be collated with what God was doing in His choice of Israel.”

We are getting warmer.

Not just “was doing” with His choice of Israel, but “is doing” today and “will be doing” with Israel again during the time of Jacob’s troubles.

As one beloved Baptist brother put it….

“Right from eternity past, when the Triune God in counsel decided to create the universe, to put mankind in it, knowing that he would fall into sin. Knowing that He would bring about a Plan of Redemption, and in that Plan of Redemption He would have to bring to fruition the Nation of Israel. So that out of the Nation of Israel would come their Messiah. And that their Messiah could be rejected and go to the cross. It was all preplanned before the ages ever began. Miracle of miracles, the eternal purposes of God to bring about a Savior, not just for Israel, for the whole human race – but it starts with Israel.

And that’s why you know I’ve made the illustration (at least in my classes and in my seminars), that if you take a wheel, especially the old covered wagon wheel with the wooden spokes and the steel tire around the edge and the hub. Well, you can lose a good portion of the rim and you can lose several of the spokes and the wheel will still turn. But you pull the hub out of that wheel and you’ve got nothing. Nothing!

All right, what’s my point? Israel is the hub of God’s wheel. You take Israel out of the mix and you’ve got nothing. And that’s where most of Christendom is. They have totally rejected Israel as a part of God’s eternal purposes and you cannot do it. Somebody told me the other day that their pastor had said from the pulpit ‘There is not one word in the Bible that says that Israel should ever come back to their homeland.’ How in the world can they say something like that, as the Old Testament prophecies are full of it.”

Amen.

Come, Lord Jesus.

    Randall Cofield

    WingedOne,

    ….. ; ^> …..

    Acts 2:15 For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.
    16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
    17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
    that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
    and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams;
    18 even on my male servants and female servants
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
    19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
    20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood,
    before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
    21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

    Grace to you, brother.

    PS. I don’t charge anything extra for being provocative. :-)

      wingedfooted1

      Randall,

      Wasn’t the prophet Joel writing to the Nation of Israel?

      Grace to you as well, brother.

      ps….Keep the change

JB

Jim P,

“I am understanding more and more that those who can’t accept the Bible’s teaching of God and His ways, need men, as Calvin, Luther, Augustine, the Pope, ”

Seriously?

volfan007

rhutchin,

Yes, I hit the reply button. I type my comment, and it looks like I’m typing underneath the comment that I’m responding to. But then, when I hit “post comment,” it sends it to the bottom of the thread????!!!??? Every, single time…

Is anyone else having this trouble?

David

volfan007

Randall,

This is for your May 29 at 2:11 pm comment… :)

David

Kevin Fralick

I notice that it is stated several times in this article of God’s “guarantee” to save. I guess the question that I have is that if it is man’s free-will which is the determining factor, how do we know that the elect will ever be composed of any members? How can there be any guarantee from God if He does not in some way ensure that there will be one or more throughout history who will respond to the gospel?

Dr. Hankins may have answered this, or may do so in the upcoming articles.

Donald

David, are you using a smart-phone to post? What web-browser are you using?

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