The Predestination Paradigm:
The Plan or the Man?

February 13, 2013

by Ron Hale

He has served as Pastor, Church Planter, Strategist (NAMB), Director of Missions, and Associate Executive Director of Evangelism and Church Planting for a State Convention, and now in the 4th quarter of ministry as Minister of Missions.


Can you picture in your mind the most magnificent church that you have ever entered? For me it was walking into St. Stephens Cathedral in Vienna, Austria.

Seeing the big picture, the architect must have initially pictured and purposed the Cathedral in his mind.  He studied the lay of the land and marked out the length and width of the building — first conceptually, then onto paper in design drawings.  Yet, the concept preceded the construction.

Eventually men with rougher hands marked out the outer walls with stakes or markers in preparation for building.  They studied the plan and began to dig the foundation and lay stones.  Therefore, the “marking out” of the building plan beforehand was imperative. 

I Peter 2:4-10 shares how Jesus is … “the living Stone … chosen of God …we are living stones, being built into a spiritual house … we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession … .”

The Bible teaches that Christ was foreordained before the foundation of the world to die as the sacrificial Lamb (Rev. 13:8; I Peter 1:20).   This ransom and resurrection was purposed by the Father in eternity.  This plan was no afterthought or last minute addition after Adam sinned.  In eternity, God “marked out” His great and glorious plan of salvation and it would be “in Christ.” Jesus is God’s beloved Son or the Chosen One (Luke 9:35).

The phrase “in Christ” was one of the Apostle Paul’s favorite expressions. In Ephesians 1:3-14 the phrase “in Christ” or “in Him” is utilized in some form at least ten times in these verses to depict our union with Christ, and over thirty times in the book of Ephesians.

Let us concentrate on these wonderful verses:

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding …”

11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.”[1]

In teaching this passage, Dr. Herschel Hobbs saw that God sovereignly chose or elected a specific plan of salvation.  God “marked out beforehand” that salvation would be “in Christ” which reflects the basic meaning of the Greek word proorisas (predestine, v.4).  Dr. Hobbs teaches that proorisas or “pro-horizo” comes from two Greek words, “pro” and “horizo” and basically pictures the marking out a boundary.  Hobbs says, “The verb translated “having predestinated” is a participle meaning “to horizon beforehand.”  This verb is used six times in the NT (Acts 4:28; Rom. 8:29-30; I Cor. 2:7; Eph. 1:5, 11).[2]

In other words, God as the great architect of the universe “marked out beforehand” that all who are “in Christ” (the Church, His Bride) will be saved – the elect of the ages.  The question then becomes: How are we to be found “in Christ”?  The Scriptures are constantly and consistently clear that whosoever hears the Gospel (which is the power of God unto salvation, Rom. 1:16) and repents by trusting (believing on/in) Jesus will be saved!  God’s dealings with individuals can only be understood in the context of his greater plan!

In eternity God sovereignly “marked out beforehand” this “in Christ” plan of salvation – that all who believe “in Him” become the elect of the ages or the new chosen people!  Individuals who hear the Gospel and as the Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin and the convincing of truth, the believer is saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9) – and receives the “new birth” (JN 3:3).

The “in Christ” view of predestination (and election) is a God-centered view of salvation.  It begins with God in eternity. It is grounded in the OT revelation of God choosing a particular people to bless all peoples on earth (Gen. 12:4).  Jesus is the “Chosen One” before the foundation of the world.  In the “fullness of time” Jesus comes into our sinful world (through God’s elect people).  His atoning death on the cross makes it possible for lost sinners to be saved.  This was done as Christ was handed over by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge (Acts 2:23).

The Holy Spirit works to lift up the name of Jesus (to draw, convict, call — Rev. 22:17) and to apply the atoning sacrifice of Jesus the very moment the sinner exercises faith in Christ. Instantaneously, the believer is baptized into the body of Christ (I Cor. 12:13).  The born again believer is now “in Christ” and Christ is in the believer (Col. 1:27; Romans 8:10).

Hobbs says, “So if you are ‘in Christ’ you are saved. If you are not ‘in Christ,’ you are not saved.  God in his sovereignty decreed ‘in Christ,’ but each person in his free will decides wheter or not he will be ‘in Christ.’  Thus God’s sovereignty and man’s free will are harmonized.”[3]

We can say that in eternity, God “marked out beforehand” His church and “in time” the sinner believed and was saved. The new believer is spiritually baptized into that one body (the church) and becomes “in Christ.”  Ephesians 1:13 explains it:

1) “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation” 2) “When you believed”  3) “you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.”

Most persons reading this article have filtered every sentence through a theological paradigm (a pattern or model of seeing things).  As I read the Scriptures, I clearly see the “in Christ” corporate model of election; the plan not the man (the “how” not the “who”).  As I reflect on the sovereignty and character of God, this view makes sense to me.

Final Encouragement:

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph. 2:19-22 ESV).

 

© Ron F. Hale, February 9, 2013


[1] Ephesians 1:4-8; 11-13 (NIV, 1984 Edition).

[2] Herschel H. Hobbs, New Men In Christ, (Waco: Word Books), 1974, 17.

[3] Ibid., 20-21.

Sources to Study:

Herschel H. Hobbs, New Men In Christ, (Waco: Word Books), 1974.

David Dockery, Ephesians: One Body in Christ — Adult Winter Bible Study, (Nashville: Convention Press), 1996.

David L. Allen and Steve W. Lemke, Whosoever Will, (Nashville: B&H Academic), 2010.

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available

Adam Harwood

Ron,
This is an excellent summary of the way many Christians–including a vast number of Southern Baptists–understand the concepts of election and predestination.
Thanks for your article.
In Him,
Adam

    Preach BlackMan Preach

    This is an excellent piece, both doctrinally and true historically to the holy scriptures. Christ Jesus the Second Man, The Last Adam, was willing to go beyond the passiveness of the first man Adam, who was silent during the womans trangression and guilty of his own disobedience in the eyes of God. This makes the statement “in Christ” precious to the soul of the redeemed because the obedience of Christ, even unto death, is always in view.

Rick Patrick

Ron,

Thanks for your excellent exposition. So many voices are crying for us to be Christ-centered today in a wide variety of other areas, but you have actually delivered the goods with this Christ-centered view of election.

Before the foundation of the world, the important election is when the Father chose Christ as the plan by which He would save all who place their faith in Him. Thanks for exalting Jesus in describing the meaning of election.

Ron F. Hale

Adam and Rick:
Thank you for your kind words of encouragement! It is always refreshing to read a few positive comments at the beginning — you can certainly understand.

Blessings!

rhutchin

Mr. Hale advocates a corporate view of predestination – that God had only the church in view and not individuals in His salvation plan. However, as Southern Baptists have believed, and other comments to this list have affirmed, God, in His omniscience, knew the individuals that He would save, regardless how this was to come about, before He created the world.

Thus, when Paul writes in Ephesians 1, “For he chose us…In love he predestined us…In him we were also chosen,…” he writes to individuals in using “us” and “we.” That God had framed a plan of salvation that was centered “in Christ” is not really an issue. All agree. Taken out of its surrounding context, we could see corporate election of the church in the term, “in Christ.” However, we must consider context and context focuses on the individual so that each and every person down through the ages can read this first chapter to understand that God has a extremely personal relationship with all those whom He has saved.

Ephesians 1 is written to believers and each believer can read this as a personal letter from God to him/her, “For I chose you…In love I predestined you…In him you were also chosen,…” God’s affection and love for individual believers is on display in Ephesians 1.

danielmcgaha

Mr. Hale,
Thank you for this thorough and fair presentation of the biblical view of election. Many think that by believing in any form of election, it shows God’s election to be fatalistic in nature and removes the ability of contrary choice from man. You have shown that God’s foreknowledge and man’s ability to choose can coexist. God Bless.
Daniel

    Ron F. Hale

    Thank you Daniel … Blessings in your seminary studies!

Johnathan Pritchett

“Mr. Hale advocates a corporate view of predestination – that God had only the church in view and not individuals in His salvation plan. However, as Southern Baptists have believed, and other comments to this list have affirmed, God, in His omniscience, knew the individuals that He would save, regardless how this was to come about, before He created the world.”

So? Are you going to try this yet again? :)

“Thus, when Paul writes in Ephesians 1, “For he chose us…In love he predestined us…In him we were also chosen,…” he writes to individuals in using “us” and “we.” That God had framed a plan of salvation that was centered “in Christ” is not really an issue.”

Not all individuals in his audience are assumed to be believers though (Eph. 5:5). Of course, the audience is individuals. However, what Eph. 1:4 says “us” and “we”, it is a plural, corporate language. God chose the Jew + Gentile church (the we, you, and us scattered about). You do not, nor can not, automatically get a me from an us any more than you can get an ought from an is. Ephesians 1:4 only says God chose “us” (the Jew + Gentile church) in Him…the only way that a “me” is a part of an “us” is by identifying with Christ in repentance and faith on the one hand, and identification with the Jew + Gentile (the “us”) Church in Him on the other. God chose “us”, as opposed to some other people group or corporate body. To say more than this is to say more than the Bible says here.

“All agree. Taken out of its surrounding context, we could see corporate election of the church in the term, “in Christ.” However, we must consider context and context focuses on the individual so that each and every person down through the ages can read this first chapter to understand that God has a extremely personal relationship with all those whom He has saved.”

Actually, the context (and ancient Neareastern people in general) are collectivist peoples. They do not focus on the individual as individual, but seek personal identity within the corporate group. The context of the passage itself does not betray the ancient context. It is a passage about Jews and Gentiles, we’s, you’s, and us’s. There is no mention of “individuals” except the corporate head, Christ, for whom the group seeks their identity.

So no, the context is not as you say, but the opposite, so that the CHURCH down through the centuries can know that they, and not some other group (like Jews only, Hindus. people of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or any other group) are the people in Christ whom God chose. The only way an individual is a part of the chosen people is, again, by identifying with Christ in repentance and faith on the one hand, and identification with the Jew + Gentile (the “us”) Church in Him on the other.

Not only are you wrong, but you are completely backwards wrong. Not only does the social context of the Ancient Near East go against your assertions. The context of the passage itself, and the book as a whole, with its corporate language and plural pronouns referring to people groups (Jews and Gentiles) as the one body in Christ goes against your assertions as well. The context doesn’t focus on individuals at all. Your thinking is backwards (how you approach the text with your modern individualism), and your reading is backwards (seeing a “me” where there are “wes”, “yous”, and “us’s” and Jews and Gentiles, etc.).

    rhutchin

    “Not all individuals in his audience are assumed to be believers though (Eph. 5:5).”

    ‘For this you know, that…’ I take the “you” to be a believer, so I think Paul writes specifically to believers from 1:1 on.

    “Of course, the audience is individuals. However, what Eph. 1:4 says “us” and “we”, it is a plural, corporate language.”

    Or by “us,” Paul could have meant himself plus the reader. Since Paul writes “to the saints” then the reader would be “the saints” telling us that there was more than one believer at Ephesus. However, there is no reason to deny that which Paul says if only one believer were in Ephesus.

    Whether corporate or individual, the reprobate are not included, so I don’t see a logical difference between the corporate body of believers or an individual believer. That which Paul says would be true for either unless you know a way to slice out individual believers form the body and make the individual somehow different as an individual when separated from the body.

      Johnathan Pritchett

      “‘For this you know, that…’ I take the “you” to be a believer, so I think Paul writes specifically to believers from 1:1 on.”

      Seriously think about how letters to large audiences work. Every Calvinist I know of understands that while Paul’s letters are generally to churches (even the ones addressed to individuals such as Philemon, Timothy, or Titus), Paul (nor any writer of any correspondence to any large audience at any era of human history) simply assumes all of the hearers, even in the community, are personally believers or “saved”. There is no evidence of this, and plenty of evidence the opposite is true. Hence, umm…all the warnings in Scripture…okay then.

      “Or by “us,” Paul could have meant himself plus the reader. Since Paul writes “to the saints” then the reader would be “the saints” telling us that there was more than one believer at Ephesus. However, there is no reason to deny that which Paul says if only one believer were in Ephesus.”

      Nope. It is not allowed for in the larger context of the letter. The “us” is “Jews + Gentiles”. In any case, the corporate view doesn’t exclude the individual at all. So your point is moot. Paul does include himself with the audience (to say “reader” is a bit anachronistic, these are oral documents first and foremost, and subsequently private reading documents much more secondarily), but that does nothing to gainsay my explanation of the context, or the meaning of the text.

      “Whether corporate or individual, the reprobate are not included, so I don’t see a logical difference between the corporate body of believers or an individual believer.”

      Nor does a corporate view require such, so this is irrelevant.

      “That which Paul says would be true for either unless you know a way to slice out individual believers form the body and make the individual somehow different as an individual when separated from the body.”

      In Christ, no believer is separated from the body, even when using the restroom. The text of Ephesians 1 only applies to you by identifying with Christ in repentance and faith on the one hand, and identification with the Jew + Gentile (the “us”) Church in Him on the other. It is “extremely personal” because of such identification, but it not extremely individualistic in the meaning of the text because of your personal identification, which you keep imposing and conflating as if they were the same.

John H. Gregory

Truly a great article! I will use & share this one! Thank you Brother Hale for such a profound
paper!
God bless,
John G.

Bill Mac

As a Calvinist, let me offer this: Although I am not fully persuaded by the corporate view of election, it is miles and miles more sound than the foreseen faith view of election, which I find incomprehensible.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    I agree. I am not a fan of the “looking down the corridors of time” sorts of analogies. God need not to do that to know anything (of course, contrary to even the Calvinist, I don’t think God needs to do anything at all to know anything…since to decree is to do, to do is an action, but to know is an attribute, and an attribute is inherent to God’s unchangeable nature whether God does or does not do anything, either now or in eternity’s past, which He is, was, and will always be absolutely free to do or not do at any time according to His pleasure without ever becoming less God because of it).

    As such, I have no trouble positing a foreKNOWN faith. Because, from all eternity, God has always known all things. This, of course, is a philosophical affirmation since I am a classical theist who believes in God being omni-everything.

    But I do not get this from Ephesians 1 or Romans 8:29 since I don’t think those texts are saying that God predestines individuals because of foreknown or foreseen faith any more than the Calvinist does. That is a particular type of Arminian interpretation (though, not all Arminians go that way of course) would be individual view of election, which I don’t affirm. Those texts aren’t about individuals, they only apply to individuals insofar as they are part of the corporate people.

    So, I still differ with the Calvinist on what those texts mean, of course, but I also disagree with the individual election because of foreseen faith view as well that many Arminians affirm from those texts.

    However, given all of the above, I admitting agreement with you on corporate election being more sound the foreseen faith issue (which is an individual election view), and disagreement with the Arminian interpretations of various texts like those cited above; that is, however, still about the texts themselves, not the comprehensibility or incomprehensibility of the position.

    Thus, I see nothing incomprehensible about their view, only that such a view isn’t sufficiently stated in the texts they marshal to support it. That is a far cry from the view being incomprehensible though. I do not agree with you that it is incomprehensible. It is very comprehensible. There is no contradiction in it. I just don’t see it as being exegetically sound. That is miles and miles more different from it being incomprehensible though.

      Bill Mac

      Jonathan,

      It is not incomprehensible to me, in that I don’t understand it. What I don’t understand is why anyone believes it. The text doesn’t support it and logic doesn’t allow it.

        Johnathan Pritchett

        I agree with the first sentiment about the text, but not the second. Why does logic not allow it? If it were not logical, it would be incomprehensible (formally, at least).

        What about logic does not allow that God predestines certain benefits and outcomes to those individuals He foreknew would believe in Jesus? There is nothing logically contradictory in that statement at all.

        In fact, there is, philosophically speaking, absolute truth in the statement that “God predestines certain benefits and outcomes to those individuals He foreknew would believe in Jesus.” No Calvinist I know of disagrees with that statement when taken in and of itself, at least at the philosophical level.

        Again, the issue is the text itself. And neither of us suggest this is what the texts are saying, but surely we both can affirm the logic of the statement, since it is true, regardless of how one understands how it came to be the case God foreknew those individuals they would believe, and how it came to be the case they would believe.

    Preach BlackMan Preach

    Apart from foreseen anything there would be no salvation at all. No decree, no plan no salvation.

John H. Gregory

Thank you Brother Pritchett for answering brother Rhutchin & his Calvinistic paradigm so well!
I had an idea that there would be a Calvinist attack upon this great article. They never fail! So sad!
God bless,
John G.

Brian Robertson

Ron,

Great article! One thing to add . . . Romans 8:29. How often we leave this verse out when discussing Ephesians 1:13-14. Paul says, “For those God foreknew, he also ‘predestined’ to be conformed to the image of his Son.” The predestined part refers to what God wants out of every believer: that is, to be more like Jesus. Too often, as in Eph 1, we simply relegate predestination to the eternal when yes, Jesus died to save me from hell (Rom 6:23); however, he also died so that I could live an earthly life reflecting his goodness, grace, and mercy to the world. We also call this evangelism, or the good news. I actually was speaking to another man on Eph 1 this past Monday–we were discussing your article before you wrote it! Interesting! I believe you have done an excellent job of explaining in lay terminology how salvation is in Christ and through Christ, and that in Him, we are to reflect his likeness.

Brian

    Johnathan Pritchett

    Well, just as I caution Calvinists not to import (their misunderstanding of) Ephesians 1 into reading Romans 8:29, I think the same must be said for not importing Romans 8:29 into Ephesians 1, especially if one has a misunderstanding that Romans 8:29 has some notion of foreknown faith in view (not saying you understand that passage that way Brian, I don’t know if you do or not).

    In any case, I think we can use various other texts to theologically understand a text, but not so much to exegete a text unless the text we are exegeting cites or echoes another text of Scripture (the NT quoting the OT for instance, or Paul echoing a traditional teaching of Jesus a la 1 Cor. 7 or 1 Cor. 11 for other examples)

    I think Ron’s leaving that ball of wax out was intentional.

    Spot on for the rest of your post though. Just wanted to add that caution.

      Ron F. Hale

      Johnathan,
      Thanks for your comments today! I’ve had a death in the family and seeking to prepare for Wednesday night message and funeral etc, its been difficult for me …responding to comments. Blessings!

        Johnathan Pritchett

        Thank you for your kind words.

        My sincere condolences for your loss. Your absence is well understood, and your time is far better spend tending to those far more important matters than this internet blog comments thread. May God give you all peace and comfort.

        I am confident I can speak for all of us here that our prayers are with you, your family, church, friends and loved ones, and with your Kingdom work in this difficult time.

    Ron F. Hale

    Brian,
    Thanks for sharing and your point is well taken. Also, I hope to see another of your articles on this blog soon!

Les

Ron,

Good writing brother. You have used the text to make your case. I profoundly disagree with your textual conclusions, but I affirm that you have made as good a case as a non-Reformed person can for your view. Blessings brother.

    Ron F. Hale

    Les,
    Thanks for the positive word — even in disagreement.

Robert

Johnathan Pritchett is correct, rhutchin keeps bringing up his argument from foreknowledge again and again:

“So? Are you going to try this yet again? :)”

I dealt with this just a week ago and will simply repost my response. Everytime rthutchin tries to foist this foreknowledge argument on us here, I will just repeat my answer to it.

I have seen this poster who posts as “rhutchin” repeatedly bring up his “argument” for calvnism based upon the reality that God foreknows all events, all actual outcomes. rthutchin seems to think that if God foreknows all things then we must not have what is ordinarily referred to as a free will or that Jesus was provided for the whole world.

Rthutchin states:

“Non-Calvinist have ignored the controversial issues posed by Calvinists on this question.”

This is not true at all in fact Johnathan Pritchett gave an answer to this argument in a previous thread, but rhutchin ignored it and just keeps presenting this argument over and over and over again.
Here it is again:

“As Vines says, “Southern Baptists overwhelmingly hold the view that Jesus died for all the sins of all the people of all the world.”Southern Baptists also hold the view that God is omniscient and knew the names of the elect and the non-elect when He created Adam. Further, we know that the number of the elect cannot increase nor the number of the non-elect decrease. Southern Baptists seem to believe contradictory positions. Are they contradictory?? Perhaps Conference speakers will sort this out.”

I am going to answer this argument and hopefully never ever see rhutchin bring it up again. Note my answer will be **based upon non-calvinist beliefs** (i.e. things that non-calvinists believe about God’s foreknowledge and free will and plan of salvation) which should not be shocking! :-)

First note that rhutchin claims that it is a CONTRADICTION for someoene to hold simultaneously that God foreknows all future actual outcomes and that we have free will (cf. “Southern Baptists seem to believe contradictory positions.”). Let’s note that most non-calvinists who are orthodox (excepting open theists who deny that God foreknows all future events) believe BOTH: (1) that God foreknows all future actual outcomes, and (2) that people at least sometimes have what is ordinarily understood to be free will (i.e. I have a choice between two different alternative possibilities, I then make a choice between these possibilities, choosing to actualize one possibility while not actualizing the other possibility and the choice of which option that I choose is up to me and not necessitated by some necessitating factors, which also means that while I choose one possibility I could have done otherwise and chosen the other possibility).

rhutchin brings up the first belief when he writes: “Southern Baptists also hold the view that God is omniscient and knew the names of the elect and the non-elect when He created Adam. Further, we know that the number of the elect cannot increase nor the number of the non-elect decrease.”

And this is true, if God is omniscient and knows all future actual outcomes, then before he even created the world he knew the names of all who would be believers/elect and all who would be non-believers/non-elect. This has to be true due to the nature of God’s foreknowledge. God’s foreknowledge involves knowing what will in fact take place. Let’s call an event that will in fact take place, an ACTUAL OUTCOME. Actual because it will in fact occur, an outcome because it is an event produced by some causes. When we speak of God’s foreknowledge we are not talking about events that will not occur, events that may have occurred but did not occur, but only events that will in fact occur.

rhuthchin brings up the second belief when he writes: ““As Vines says, “Southern Baptists overwhelmingly hold the view that Jesus died for all the sins of all the people of all the world.”

The majority Southern Baptist belief is that God provides Jesus as an atonement for the whole world (1 John 2:2), that God desires the salvation of everyone (1 Tim. 2:4), and that out of love the Father gave the Son as this atonement for the world (John 3:16).

rthutchin seems to think that holding all of these beliefs simultaneously is a contradiction.

Exactly how so?

How is God’s foreknowledge of all future actual outcomes contradictory to God providing Jesus as an atonement for all people?

Rthutchin seems to think that because God does foreknow who will be saved and who will be lost before he creates Adam, that that somehow contradicts his plan of salvation which involves Him giving Jesus as an atonement for the whole world.

There are four additional beliefs that non-calvinists hold that need to be kept in mind here. First, the non-calvinist believes that people are saved through a freely chosen choice to trust in Christ alone for salvation (so all who are saved are human persons who freely trust the Lord for their salvation). The second belief which is actually closely connected with the first is that non-calvinists, contrary to universalists believe that the Bible teaches that not all at the end will be saved (so some are saved and some are not saved, those who are saved had faith and those who did not freely chose to reject God and his offer of salvation through Christ). Now calvinists may detest our belief that people must freely (and determinists have devised various arguments to ridicule and question that the choice occurs freely) choose to trust in order to be saved, but that is in fact our belief. The third belief is that God is sovereign and so He does as He pleases. This means that He creates the world to be the kind of world that He wants it to be AND that He decides the nature of the plan of salvation. So if HE decides before creating the world that people will be saved through a freely chosen faith in Christ, then that will be the way it is no matter how many calvinists question or reject or mock this reality. And fourth, if He decides beforehand that human beings will have the capacity to have and make their own choices (i.e. free will as ordinarily understood), then that will be the way that it is not matter how many calvinists question or reject or mock the existence of free will.

Now let’s put these beliefs together and compare them with rhutchin’s claim that they are contradictory. So say that God decides before he creates Adam that the plan of salvation will involve the atonement of Christ on the cross. And say that God knows there will be exactly say 1 million believers in history, that precisly 1 million will freely choose to believe in Jesus and be saved (and all the rest who reject Jesus will not be saved). God provided Jesus for everyone but knows that of the whole world 1 million will freely choose to trust in Jesus and be saved. How is that contradictory?

Rhutchin has an unspoken assumption operating here. His assumption is that if God knows everything that will happen before it happens, then everything is fixed, but if everything is fixed, then how can people be freely choosing to trust in Christ for salvation? If this was the Hans Christian Anderson story, right about now the little boy would be pointing out that rhuthchin’s assumption has no clothes! The little boy might ask: Ok, it is true that God knows what every future outcome will be, but the question is HOW are these future actual outcomes brought about???

Are they brought about because of God’s foreknowledge?

Does God’s foreknowledge cause all future events? Or are they the result of freely made choices?

Let’s invent two people to show how this works out practically speaking.
Tom is born in Germany. Because Tom is a human person he is part of the whole world for which Jesus was prodided as an atonement. Tom lives much of his life freely living his own way apart from God. Then through a series of circumstances Tom repeatedly hears the gospel, the Holy Spirit reveals things to him including that Jesus is the only way of salvation, that Tom is a sinner that needs to repent of his sin, etc. etc. Over years time Tom is a convert to Christianity, he freely chooses to trust in Christ alone for his salvation. Did God know before creating Tom that Tom would be a believer/elect? Yes. Did God control Tom like a Robot and make him choose to trust? No. Tom freely chose to trust Christ alone for salvation.

John is born in the United States. Because John is a human person he is part of the whole world for which Jesus was provided as an atonement. John lives much of his life freely living his own way apart from God. But John is also born in a Christian home with believing parents and siblings. He is exposed to the gospel from practically the day he was born. He goes to Christian schools, goes to Christian camps; he gets lots of exposure to Christianity. And though all of this the Holy Spirit is revealing things to John. John knows he is a sinner, knows Jesus is the way of salvation; John has many things revealed to him. His parents and siblings are genuine and consistent Christians so he sees the Christian life right in front of him. Unfortunately, John keeps rejecting the work of the Spirit, he keeps rejecting God. He does not want Jesus to be Lord over his life: no one tells him what to think, say or do!. John sadly continues in this way for his whole lifetime. Only after years of freely rejecting God and the gospel does John die. John was never saved. Did God know that John would end up unsaved before God created Adam? Yes. Did God control John like a robot and make him not believe? No, John’s repeated choice to reject was his own freely made choice.

In the case of both Tom and John God knew everything about them before they were ever born. But Tom chose to trust and John did not. Both acted freely, both made free will choices. God knew all the choices they would ever make in their lifetimes. Did God not love John? No, because Jesus died on the cross for John as he did for every person. God through the Spirit revealed things to John. The problem is that John kept freely rejecting God and the offer of salvation.

Where is the contradiction in all of this rhutchin? ? ? ?

God created this world where our choices are real and meaningful and even have eternal consequences. God created this world knowing that some would freely choose to accept Jesus and some would freely choose to reject Jesus. And in this case there were a million people who freely chose to trust. Could it have been otherwise? Yes, if more had believed then more would have been saved. If instead of 1 million freely choosing to trust in the Lord, 100 million freely chose to trust, then that would be the actual outcome, 100 million people would freely choose to trust the Lord. No matter what the numbers end up being, God foreknows exactly what those numbers would be. No matter what the numbers end up being, people freely choose both to accept and to reject Christ.

There are no contradictions in holding noncalvinist beliefs that God provided Jesus for the whole world, that only those who freely choose to trust will be saved, that God knew who would and would not choose to trust before he even created Adam. Now some will not ***like*** this scenario, they will then argue something like: so why didn’t God not create the world if he knew such and such number would freely choose to reject Him? The problem with that question is that the world is the way it is because God is sovereign (i.e. it pleased Him to create human persons with the capacity to freely choose) and God does love everyone because He provided Jesus for everyone and desires for everyone to be saved. It is not like people will be damned because they never had a chance (as is true in calvinism by the way, where God fixes the number of saved and unsaved and if you are unsaved you never had a chance to be saved, you were damned from eternity). In the Bible people are damned for the willful rejection of the light they have been given. So if anyone is damned it is their own choice and if anyone is damned they had to have continually and repeatedly rejected God and his revelation given to them, over and over and over again. Now I know determinists/calvinists may hate what I am saying here. But that is not the issue, the issue is that rhutchin thinks that noncalvinist beliefs are contradictory: when in fact they are not. They are not contradictory, they are just beliefs that calvinists/determinists reject.

So then the question becomes if these beliefs held by noncalvinists are true, what are calvinists in fact freely choosing to do? They are rejecting the truth.

Robert

    rhutchin

    “Johnathan Pritchett is correct, rhutchin keeps bringing up his argument from foreknowledge again and again:”

    It is just to make sure that we all building on the same foundation. I don’t see repetition of common beliefs to be detrimental to discussion.

volfan007

Great post, Ron, as always. Dont you owe me a steak dinner, BTW? \

David :)

    Ron F. Hale

    David … If you say that I owe it …then I must, because I have full confidence in you!

Robert

Johanathan makes a very important point that is often left out of the discussion concerning election and predestination:

“Actually, the context (and ancient Neareastern people in general) are collectivist peoples. They do not focus on the individual as individual, but seek personal identity within the corporate group. The context of the passage itself does not betray the ancient context. It is a passage about Jews and Gentiles, we’s, you’s, and us’s. There is no mention of “individuals” except the corporate head, Christ, for whom the group seeks their identity.”

It is precisely because they were “collectivist peoples” that the corporate election view has merit. Ephesians 1 involves corporate language which is why some as Hale argue for the corporate understanding of election. What is forgotten is that parts of Romans 9 are also coming from a corporate understanding (e.g. the contrast between Esau and Jacob is not between individuals but between two groups, the Israelites in contrast to the followers of Esau, the Edomites). Just as the corporate understanding better illuminates Ephesians 1, it also does so in Romans 9. Unfortunately, calvinists such as rhutchin come to the text with an individualistic bias and so read both Romans 9 and Ephesians 1 in an individualistic manner rather than in a corporate manner. If the corporate view is present in both Ephesians 1 and Romans 9, then the individualistic view is false.

Ephesians 1 is clear, the key is to be “in Christ.” The follow up question asked by Hale is so then how does one get “in Christ”. I like Johnathan’s answer to this question:

“So no, the context is not as you say, but the opposite, so that the CHURCH down through the centuries can know that they, and not some other group (like Jews only, Hindus. people of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or any other group) are the people in Christ whom God chose. The only way an individual is a part of the chosen people is, again, by identifying with Christ in repentance and faith on the one hand, and identification with the Jew + Gentile (the “us”) Church in Him on the other.”

Put simply we get “in Christ” by faith and repentance. And this is precisely what the message of the early church was:

repent and believe in Jesus and you will be saved!

Johnathan further argued for the corporate understanding when he said:

“Not only are you wrong, but you are completely backwards wrong. Not only does the social context of the Ancient Near East go against your assertions. The context of the passage itself, and the book as a whole, with its corporate language and plural pronouns referring to people groups (Jews and Gentiles) as the one body in Christ goes against your assertions as well. The context doesn’t focus on individuals at all. Your thinking is backwards (how you approach the text with your modern individualism), and your reading is backwards (seeing a “me” where there are “wes”, “yous”, and “us’s” and Jews and Gentiles, etc.).”

The corporate nature of both Ephsians 1 and Romans 9 thus becomes a very important factor in the correct interpretation of these passages Instead of reading in our own views into these passages we should first understand them in their historical context. If we do so, we will end up with a corporate understanding of these passages.

Robert

John Barker

Johnathan,

So God chose a group made up of individuals, but didn’t know who would be in that group…..hmmm. That’s illogical.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    I have never once stated this. In fact, I stated the exact opposite to my response to Bill Mac.

    Trying to link, associate, or attribute a belief or understanding to me that I do not hold is bearing false witness. ;)

    In any case, despite this, it is not actually illogical, as our misguided open theist pals rightly assert. There is nothing illogical in God choosing a group made of up individuals (all groups are made up of individuals) without knowing the identity of the individuals since God chose a people in Christ, despite not knowing who those people are or will be.

    However, I do not intend to bother more about defending open theism since I flatly reject it, but I do wish to defend logic (and its bounds), and there is nothing illogical about open theism or the notion that God can choose a group (or rather a group identity) and not know who its individual members will be as the group takes shape in history.

    Now, again, such a view is false, but it is not, however, illogical.

Robert

Rhutchin keeps bringing up his pet argument that God foreknowing everyone’s eternal destinies is in his mind some kind of problem for non-calvinists. In the earlier attempt he claimed that holding to foreknowledge, the ordinary understanding of free will and unlimited atonement was A CONTRADICTION.

I demonstrated that there is no contradiction.

I did this to rebutt rhutchin’s argument against noncalvinism/so called “Traditionalism”.

Now note rhutchin’s response:

rhutchin writes:

[[“Johnathan Pritchett is correct, rhutchin keeps bringing up his argument from foreknowledge again and again:”
It is just to make sure that we all building on the same foundation. I don’t see repetition of common beliefs to be detrimental to discussion.”]]

This is completely dishonest on the part of rhutchin.

He did not bring up his Foreknowledge ARGUMENT merely to “make sure that we all building on the same foundation”.
He brought it up as an ARGUMENT against noncalvinism.

I remind everyone again, he said it was a CONTRADICTION to affirm foreknowledge, free will and universal atonement simultaneously.

He also tries to suggest:

“I don’t see repetition of common beliefs to be detrimental to discussion”.

But again, rhutchin keeps bringing up his foreknowledge argument not as a reminder that we share common beliefs but as an ARGUMENT against noncalvinism.

Robert

    Les

    Robert,

    “This is completely dishonest on the part of rhutchin.”

    Brther you obviously don’t agree with rhutchin. But you need not accuse him of dishonesty. I think Norm does not want that kind of personal ascribing of motives here on SBC Today.

    Les

Robert

John Barker apparently does not understand the corporate election view. The corporate election view does not deny that God has foreknowledge of who will end up being saved and who will end up being lost. It affirms God’s exhaustive foreknowledge of all future outcomes.

Johnathan has affirmed both God’s exhaustive foreknowledge of all outcomes AND that Ephesians 1 involves corporate election.

Barker ignores all of this and writes:

“So God chose a group made up of individuals, but didn’t know who would be in that group…..hmmm. That’s illogical.”

Where has anyone who advocates the corporate election view suggested that God “didn’t know who would be in that group”?????????

The fact is that one can easily affirm both exhaustive divine foreknowledge AND the corporate election view simultaneously.

Which is in fact the view held by Ron Hale, Johnathan Pritchett, etc.

Robert

    Johnathan Pritchett

    Thank you sir.

    Though technically, as I pointed out to Barker, open theists hold such a view. The view has nothing to do with corporate election, but a view of foreknowledge. As you stated, I flatly reject this and have stated such in this thread. Nonetheless, it is fair to mention that open theists hold to corporate election and deny God’s exhaustive foreknowledge. What is false witness is Barker trying to link, associate, or attribute such a belief to me.

Robert

Les writes:

[[ “This is completely dishonest on the part of rhutchin.”
Brther you obviously don’t agree with rhutchin. But you need not accuse him of dishonesty. I think Norm does not want that kind of personal ascribing of motives here on SBC Today.”]]

The issue is not my disagreement with rhutchin regarding particular beliefs. I don’t accuse someone of being dishonest simply because they hold different beliefs than I do. No, that is not why I am saying that rhutchin is dishonest. Repeatedly here at SBC Today rhutchin has trotted out his argument that God foreknowing people’s eternal destinies is an argument against noncalvinism and specifically what “Traditionalists” here believe. He has made this argument over and over and over again. I ignored it repeatedly until last week when I finally responded and refuted this argument of rhutchin’s. His response is to claim that he was simply pointing out comman and shared beliefs. This is not true at all. If you repeatedly try to attack someone’s else’s beliefs with an argument: you are not simply pointing out what shared beliefs you have with them in common. This is clearly being dishonest.

And Les states:
“I think Norm does not want that kind of personal ascribing of motives here on SBC Today.”

I don’t appreciate this coming from you of all people, as I saw your nasty postings here in the past. Need I quote them again here. You were extremely sarcastic and cutting in your comments. You left and I thought that you had been banned, and frankly I was quite happy to not see you here. Now you have come back, again to argue for calvinism and against Baptist beliefs (just last week you tried to engage in an argument for infant baptism which had nothing to do with the topic at hand). You are an ex-southern Baptist who converted to Presbyterianism. You advocate beliefs and ideas that we Baptists reject. And why are you posting here? To argue for calvinism and against Baptist beliefs. You bring up the issue of motives. So perhaps if you want to talk about motives we should consider your motives for interacting here. It is certainly not to support and strengthen Baptists in their beliefs nor is it to encourage Baptists in their beliefs and practices.

Robert

    Les

    Robert, I hope you have a blessed day.

    Les Prouty (@HaitiOrphanProj)

    Oh yes Robert,

    “just last week you tried to engage in an argument for infant baptism which had nothing to do with the topic at hand).”

    I actually tried to beg off that topic and made clear to Norm that I had/have no intention of bring that discussion into SBCToday. He wanted to discuss it.

    Blessings brother.

    Les

      Norm Miller

      This is true, Robert. I all but insisted that Les answer for me some questions about his Presbyterian support, view and practice of infant baptism. — Norm

John H. Gregory

Brother Barker is heard from! Telling us that we are illogical. Who ever said that “So God
chose a group made up of individuals, but didn’t know who would be in that group…….hmmmmm.
That’s illogical.”
My question, brother Barker, is who ever said and where that God does not know those He
has elected? Of course He knows them! God knows all of us & every thing else!
John G.

John Barker

Johnathan said “there is nothing illogical about open theism or the notion that God can choose a group (or rather a group identity) and not know who its individual members will be as the group takes shape in history.”

Just think about it a little bit. God selects a specific group of people to be the elect but doesn’t determine who will be in that group? You can say that it is not illogical but it is. God chose one twin to be of the elect and not the other. Its not a complicated thing. God chooses. Thats it.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    But, God does determine who the group will be. God determines that it will be composed of people who believe in Jesus as opposed to people who believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Krishna, ,or any other group. There is nothing illogical about it, EVEN IF God does not know who these people are.

    Again, open theism is not my view, but there is nothing illogical about it.

    There is certainly nothing illogical about the corporate election view in general either, whether it is held by some Arminians, Traditionalists, Molinists, or Open Theists, or whoever else.

    You can say that it is illogical but it is not.

    God chose one twin to be elect and the other not. Yes indeed. Elect for what? His indivudual Salvation? The choice of Jacob wasn’t for his individual salvation. That was not the purpose of election as Jacob relates to it according to Romans 9 (or Romans 1-8 for that matter). Jacob, not Esau, was chosen as a corporate representative of a people to be the line of flesh from whom would come the Messiah according to the flesh.

    The “purpose”, as the word, used only twice in Romans (8:29 and 9:11) of election, refers to Christ being the first born (preeminent one) among many brethren in God’s new creation. It is no mystery or wonder why God would choose second born patriarchs from Abraham then, to be the line through whom the Messiah, the promise for the children of promise, would come according to the flesh, who is God over all, blessed forever, amen (Rom. 9:5).

    You are correct, it is not complicated at all. God knows what He is doing, and always has.

      Johnathan Pritchett

      Because the Messiah, though from Israel according to the flesh, is also God over all, is why the children of the flesh are not the same as children of the promise. Hence, for both Jew and Gentile alike, Christ is the center of promise. Therefore, as Paul illustrates in Romans 9, merely being a descendant of Abraham guarantees nothing. It is the children of promise who are considered seed (God’s eschatological people centered in Christ). Christ is the promise just as Isaac was typologically the promise, so then the children of promise are called seed as it relates to promise, not physical descent. Paul’s argument with the unbelieving Jewish interlocutors is precisely this, that just because they were elected as a corporate people for service, namely, to be the line from whom the Messiah comes, means nothing if they reject the Messiah and establish their own righteousness by works.

      Whenever one loses the Christological center, as often happens with Ephesians 1 as well as Romans 9, all sorts of bad theology results.

wingedfooted1

Brother Ron,

You said “As I read the Scriptures, I clearly see the ‘in Christ’ corporate model of election.”

How do you harmonize this with the following?

Romans 11:28… “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes.”

God bless

John H. Gregory

Brother Barker, I have never heard such an argument! Think about it a little bit? I have thought
about the matter for over 50 years. God elects a specific group of people to be saved! That
is Calvinism, which you are. God elects a person or a group of persons based upon His knowledge
that those persons are going to believe. His election refers NOT to their salvation, but to their
being sealed by the Holy Spirit, their guarentee of sanctification, & their destiny in Glory.
You deny the free will of the individual! You deny that the individual has the ability to make a
choice! Time after time in the Scriptures God asks mankind to CHOOSE! But you (calvinism)
tell us that man is NOT able to make a choice! That is not only illogical but it is also NOT
Scriptural. I am going to pray for YOU that God will set you free from the grip of Calvinism so
that you may freely choose to be a Biblicist/Traditionalist.
God bless,
John G.

    jimmiedon

    And, Lord, Please open brother Gregory’s eyes to see that the word “can” refers to and means ability. So if Jesus said, “No one can come to me,” then this means no one has the ability to come to Christ. Our Lord apparently thought that the image of depravity and reprobation was good enough to evoke a response from one in that condition, that is, it served as an invitation. Try, Mt. 15:21-28 where Jesus says, “it is not right to take the children’s bread and cast it to dogs.’ And the woman of Canaan agrees with him. But even the dogs eat the crumbs… Luther Rice said election and predestination and depravity, etc. are all in the Bible and one had better preach it. The father of missions among Southern Baptists disagrees with you brother Gregory.

      Johnathan Pritchett

      What does John 6:44 have to do with whether or not people have to make a choice? Oh right, nothing. You act as if he’s never read that verse before and doesn’t know what it means.

      Seriously, there is nothing in the verse that says that choice is not a factor simply because one must be drawn. Prisoners and nets are dragged, God draws people (which is why no translation committee translates it drag, and Calvinists dominate translation committees, by the way), it is not irresistible (Neh. 9:30), so choice is still a factor.

      “Depravity” and “reprobation”, all Traditionalists affirm.

      The problem with the statement you make when you say “Our Lord apparently thought that the image of depravity and reprobation was good enough to evoke a response…” is that depravity wasn’t the issue Jesus spoke of in the context of the chapter. The issue was unbelief, and most immediately, lack of following instruction. Exodus 16 figures in here, so one must go back and see what that is all about (the Israelite people didn’t follow the instructions too well at first, so the manna stinketh!). Isaiah 54:13 figures here as well, so one must go back and look there as well, We see Jesus qualifies that to those who listen and learn out of the “all” who were taught.

      Rather than gratuitously theologizing from the text, you must first exegete the text. Verse 40 states that those who believe are raised, so just because the word “believes” is not in 6:44 doesn’t overturn what Jesus has already said in 6:40 and 47, and everywhere else in this passage. The drawn must believe, in order to be raised. That should be a given. There is also the issue of “who” is being given to the Son in 6:37-39. Remember, this is a narrative. So those being given to the Son is a people that relates to the narrative of Jesus’ ministry. The answer, of course, is already stated in verse 6:45. Those who listened and learned from the Father. Plus, the whole passage is full of subjunctives, so that should give the Calvinist some pause as well. Yes, Jesus’ teaching here is hard. Yes, many find it unwelcome to hear. But no, this has nothing to do with whether or not people have to make a choice. We see in this passage, the people make a choice, to not believe and turn their back on Jesus.

      As such, I haven’t the slightest idea why you think John H. doesn’t affirm what you think he denies, simply because he believes in free will.

      Also, are you sure you understand the dynamic of what is going on in Matthew 15? Depravity and reprobation are not the issue there as well. The word “dogs” doesn’t make that the issue.

      Bigotry, reversal, and shame are the issues here. The disciples, somewhat bigoted that they are, insist to Jesus he dispose of her. Playing to their bigotry, He tells her He is only there for the lost sheep of Israel, and refers to her as Israel’s “dogs”, which is exactly how the disciples saw her. When she responds in humility, what does Jesus say to her? The exact opposite of what he constantly says to his disciples all the time in the book of Matthew. He commends her great faith, as he does often with Gentiles who come up to Him. This, once again, is to shame the disciples.

      If depravity were the issue because of the word “dogs”, then Jesus would have said He only came “to the lost dogs of Israel”, since they are depraved and reprobate too. On the other hand, Jesus commends the “dog” for the very thing he says the “children” (in this instant, the disciples) constantly have so little of.

      This is why one must not import all these extra theological conclusions and impose them into every text they read, or the real point of the passages get missed.

      Traditionalists preach predestination, depravity, election, etc. We just preach them correctly.

        Johnathan Pritchett

        Lest all this is too hard to grasp, I will state it more plainly.

        I do not, nor do I think John H. does not, nor any Traditionalist for that matter, believe that any person can come (or believe) in Jesus unless drawn.

        Nor do I, nor John, nor any Traditionalist for that matter, think this negates the concept of free will.

        For the theology (rather than exegesis) on these matters, I will refer you to the ENTIRE Traditionalist Statement, where we all clearly affirm the necessity of grace prior to one exercising faith in Christ.

      wingedfooted1

      Jimmiedon,

      You said…. “Luther Rice said election and predestination and depravity, etc. are all in the Bible and one had better preach it.”

      Our Lord said in Matthew 10:27…

      “What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.”

      If the calvinist is right in his understanding of election, predestination, and depravity, then why are these “truths” hidden from the Lost? When you witness to others, do you share these “truths” or conceal them?

Mary

I would love to see someone right something out about God and His relationship to that which we call “time” God created time. We see the word omniscience thrown about – God is all-knowing, but I see people make the mistake of treating God as if He’s all-knowing because He’s like a fortune teller who reads the future. God isn’t just omniscient He is also omnipresent – He is in not just all space, but all space and time. God doesn’t know the future because He “foreknows” He knows the future because He’s there. So when we use words like foreknowledge and predestine we need to understand that these are words from our very limited human understanding that are trying to describe an indescribable God. If the world were covered with sand a million feet deep what we are capable of understanding about God would not even equal a fraction of a grain of sand. Also I think that people who believe God can only know that which is causes to bring about shows a very low view of God’s Sovereignty.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    While any good B-Theorist would agree with your contention that God is at every where and every when, this is still actually not quite right.

    Take away creation, and there is nowhere for God to be at every where and every when. What does God know then?

    See the problem?

    God must know all “before (technically “prior”) to there being a creation for Him to be at every where and every when.

    As such, God’s knowledge can not be dependent upon creation existing and Him being at every where and when of it to have such knowledge.

    For God to be all-knowing, and omniscience being an attribute in His unchanging nature, this all-knowing knowledge had to be in His possession prior to there ever being a creation for Him to be at every where and every when. Otherwise, He is dependent upon creation for knowledge, and thus could be said that He has gained or increased in knowledge at the point when creation exists. This is a big theological no-no.

    Also, as such, it is proper to speak of “foreknowledge” because 1) the Bible speaks that way, and there is nothing to suggest this is merely anthropomorphism (as in accommodating language), and 2) temporally and providentially speaking, God does know things about the future before the present moment or any moment after that before it ever arrives in time.

    This is all due to His unchanging nature of which omniscience is an attribute, and of His sovereignty over, and transcendence of time (being able to operate both outside of, and within time).

      Mary

      Johnathan, thank you for your reply. I wish I had more time to respond but it’s Valentines day and I’ve been trying to explain to my teenage son that one white rose for his first girlfriend is very nice but we’re gonna have to add a teddy bear or something since he is refusing to buy a card because he hates them or else be faced with disappointment from said young girl. I am trying to convince him that even though I am a mother and getting quite aged I was a girl once and do remember those times.

      Now I pretty much disagree with what your saying. It seems to me that you are doing the same thing that I see the Calvinists do which is make God constrained/bound by time. If we take away creation what is there? I don’t know but I know that God is there and God has been there always. So God has known always. It’s hard for me to articulate but I think it has to do with trying to deal with the infinate – God when we are finate. But if we say God is God and He is than it is not possible for there to be any concepts like before or prior applied to God. Foreknowledge is only foreknowledge from our perspective – because God is already there in the future.

      So I know what I believe, but perhaps I’m not articulating it well. I worry in these discussions that we sometimes think of God as if He is human and we put our human limitations of Him. I think we need to first let God be God and then with that in mind read passages about foreknowledge and predestination.

        Johnathan Pritchett

        I think you misunderstood me. I don’t bind God to creation or anything else. That was precisely what I was arguing.

        As I read your view, it seemed like you bound God knowing because He is at every where and when.

        My point is that God has to have all knowledge prior to there ever being a universe to be at every where and when.

          Mary

          I frquently misunderstand what I’m thinking/saying so it’s certainly possible I misunderstood you. I think we agree.

          God does have all knowledge prior to there ever being a universe, Yes??? And thus He is every where and when in eternity past, present and future. Before anything God was. And if God was before anything than God had all of that which we call knowledge.

          The mistake I think the Calvinists make is that God can only know the future if He determines the future. God doesn’t have to determine the future to have knowledge of the future.

            Johnathan Pritchett

            Agreed. To say, “determines the future” (i.e. decree), is to perform an action.

            God’s knowledge is an attribute to His unchanging nature. To say God has to “do” in order to “know”, then this would constitute a lacking in His nature to be filled by doing something, because God would only know by doing.

            That is unacceptable, because God has the freedom to not do anything (like decreeing), and still be completely God lacking nothing, including knowledge appropriate to being God, which is all knowledge. .

Ron F. Hale

John H.,
Thanks for your kind words — please share it and many blessings in sharing the glorious Gospel!

wingedfooted1

Mary,

(First, I apologize for the length of this post)

Bless you heart. What a refreshing and honest comment.

You said “God isn’t just omniscient, He is also omnipresent.”

Amen.

You said…. “I think that people who believe God can only know that which He causes to bring about shows a very low view of God’s Sovereignty.”

This, of course, is the calvinistic view and I agree with you.

You said…. “I see people make the mistake of treating God as if He’s all-knowing because He’s like a fortune teller who reads the future.”

This seems to be the alternate view and, again, I agree with you.

I currently don’t subscribe to either (at least until I see some biblical evidence to the contrary).

My view, contrary to both the calvinistic and traditionalist view, is that predestination, foreknowledge, and election have to do specifically with the Jews.

Consider Romans 8:29-30…..

“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Now compare that with Romans 11:1-2…..

“I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.”

“Foreknew”, to me, means a prior intimate relationship, which our Lord clearly had with the people of Israel when He was a husband to them (Jeremiah 31:32).

1 Peter 1:1-2….
To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.

Contrary to popular belief, Peter is addressing only Jews here. Peter was an apostle to the Jews (Galatians 2:7-9).

Now look at Romans 11:28 taken from the amplified bible for clarity…

“From the point of view of the Gospel (good news), they [the Jews, at present] are enemies [of God], which is for your advantage and benefit. But from the point of view of God’s choice (of election, of divine selection), they are still the beloved (dear to Him) for the sake of their forefathers.”

I think it is important to point out here that this was referring to non-believing Jews, since the early church was made up primarily of believing Jews.

So we can see that “the elect” from 1 Peter 1:1-2 was referring to believing Jews and from Romans 11:28 election is referring to non-believing Jews. Both were within elect/election regardless of their position with Christ.

Now consider what Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2:10…

Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that THEY ALSO may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

I lean heavily towards the elect in 2 Timothy 2:10 as being the Jews only and here’s why.

Romans 9:1-3….
“I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites…”

Romans 10:1…
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.”

Romans 11:13-14….
“For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them.”

Acts 28:20….
“For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.”

Regarding 2 Timothy 2:10 “the elect” is referring to the Jews, which is consistent to both the context and phrase, “they also”. Although Paul is an apostle to the Gentiles, he is also concerned for the salvation of the Jews as well. Paul is not speaking of the elect in terms of “believers in Christ”, but of the Jews, (in fact unbelieving Jews) who are referred to as an elect people, or the Chosen People, so that they might also obtain the salvation that the Gentiles were experiencing.

Also consider the following…

“…for salvation is from the Jews.” (John 4:22)

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew FIRST and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16)

“…but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew FIRST and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew FIRST and also to the Greek.” (Romans 2:8-10)

As Gentiles, we are “wild by nature” (Romans 11:24) and get grafted in (Romans 11:19) and become co-citizens with God’s people (Ephesians 2:19), but we are never, nor will we ever be, the “natural branches” (Romans 11:24).

Now obviously I don’t expect the reformed folks to accept this (in fact, I would be shocked if they did), however, this is something that the non-calvinist should at least consider as a possibility. But it seems that everybody wants to be the elect.

“Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the non-elect, and they will listen! After he said this, the Calvinists left, arguing vigorously among themselves.”

God bless.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    The problem with your view is that “election” and its cognates are used of Gentiles also (Romans 8:33 for instance). The Bible speaks of several “elections”. so to speak. The use is more diverse.

    Another problem is that you think because Paul uses a word in Romans 11:1-2 to refer back to Israel. this must also be the referent in Romans 8:29 despite no contextual warrant in that chapter, which concludes a section that began in Romans 3:21 (and before then) about Jew plus Gentile under condemnation and Jew plus Gentile making up the people of faith. As such, this is exegeting backwards, and commits several exegetical fallacies.

    We’ve already discussed 2 Timothy 2:10 and 1 Peter 1:1-2, so no need to rehash it here.Even if the “elect” in these cases, with the 2 Timothy argument being way more convincing in that context than the 1 Peter one (again, where because James writes to Jews and uses the term dispersion, then every time that word is used, the audience is strictly a Jewish one), are the Jews (elected for service Paul hopes to see saved), that does nothing to make this a universal use of the term elect (another exegetical fallacy).

    As a non-Calvinist who has considered it, I don’t find it likely in light of the Biblical and historical data surrounding all the texts you marshal from the various books.

    This heads into the direction that Malina and Bruce go in that for Christianity, Jesus only came to the Jews, and Paul didn’t go to the “Gentiles” as we understand the term at all, but rather he went for the Hellenized Jews (the “tribes/nations”…i.e. same word as “gentile”) scattered throughout the empire, and that we make a anachronistic mistake in thinking that there is much to do with anyone at all outside of “Israel” when we see the word “Gentile”, and that all the “proper” (non-Jews) Gentiles getting into the religion mentioned in Scripture along the way is simply a proselyte thing and mostly an error or aberration, and that the largely non-Jewish orientation of Christian affiliation after the first century is largely a fluke.

    While your view, like their view, is interesting, neither hold up when going text by text, and not by a long shot in my opinion.

      Johnathan Pritchett

      Oops…er…I meant Bruce Malina…

      wingedfooted1

      Blessings, Brother.

      As always I appreciate your feedback.

      I freely admit this notion is outside the mainstream and I could be wrong.
      You said….. “While your view, like their view, is interesting, neither hold up when going text by text, and not by a long shot in my opinion.”

      But, respectfully, the same could be said for the mainstream view as well. Saying “the elect” in 2 Timothy 2:10 refers to “the church”, or those “in Christ”, or “believers”, is laughable since only believers in Christ can obtain salvation.

      You said…. “Another problem is that you think because Paul uses a word in Romans 11:1-2 to refer back to Israel. this must also be the referent in Romans 8:29 despite no contextual warrant in that chapter, which concludes a section that began in Romans 3:21 (and before then) about Jew plus Gentile under condemnation and Jew plus Gentile making up the people of faith.”

      However, in Romans 7:1 Paul writes…

      “Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?”

      Clearly, here Paul is addressing the Jews, to whom the Law was given. And while there is obviously some application for Gentiles as well, it appears Paul’s audience is the Jews until we come to Romans 11 (“For I speak to you Gentiles”).

      Dear brother, my point is simple. I have no doubt that when Paul used the phrase “the elect”, his audience knew full well exactly to whom he was referring to.

      Isaiah 45:4…. “For Jacob My servant’s sake, And Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.”

      Isaiah 65:9… “I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, And from Judah an heir of My mountains; My elect shall inherit it, And My servants shall dwell there.”

      Isaiah 65:22… “They shall not build and another inhabit; They shall not plant and another eat; For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, And My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.”

      Matthew 23:22…. “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”

      Matthew 24:24…. “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”

      Matthew 24:31… “And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

      If one believes in a pre-tribulation rapture of the church, then the elect in Matthew 23 and 24 is speaking of the Jews when it will be a time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7).

      Grace

        Johnathan Pritchett

        I’d imagine your view is is extremely plausible for any dispensationalist with a pre-trib view of the rapture. In fact, now that I think about it, I don’t know why all dispensationalists of whatever variety take that view as the correct one. Seems like the natural outworking of that paradigm. I mean, insistence is one way of insuring that “elect” in the Bible always refers to Israel.

        Since I don’t think any dispensationalism, rapture, pre-trib or otherwise etc, is very plausible, how much more so I can’t seem to find your view plausible. I agree that in Matthew 23-24 Jesus is speaking to the Jews about coming tribulation, but I take that as a referent to 70 A.D.and the destruction of the temple as the coming judgment Jesus went on about during his ministry.

        Ben Witherington’s introduction in his commentary on Romans is a good read for historical information on why most of Paul’s audience in the letter of Romans is Gentile, and subsequently how this plays out in the text. There is a lot going on with the various peoples whom Paul addresses, and the socio-rhetorical approach helps clarify much of how Romans works. His case is much better than most cases for predominately Gentile audience, because he doesn’t simply presume it and add paltry evidence to support it in passing, but makes the case. Now, his exegesis of the texts’ meanings are off here and there, but overall a very helpful commentary.

        Of course, in any OT text, and Jesus’ ministry as well, the elect primarily refers to Israel, but again, only primarily.

        Like I said, the view is interesting, but I don’t find it convincing personally. That’s okay though. You don’t find my responses capable of convincing you otherwise. No harm, no foul.

        Cheers brother!

          wingedfooted1

          Brother Johnathan,

          Again, I appreciate your time. I will definitely take your stance into consideration. As I have stated before, this view is how I currently lean. I am not bound by it. I am willing to accept anything if I can see it applied consistently throughout the scriptures.

          God bless

    Mary

    wingedfoot, thank you for your reply! I’m glad we agree on some points. I do disagree with you on your view of election. I would have to say that I agree with Ron Hale, but I’m learning much from your interaction with Johnathan. I appreciate your spirit. I’ve read your comments here previously and I often find they make think a little deeper. Thank you.

John H. Gregory

Brother Pritchett! Please forgive me for misspelling your Last name! I am sorry.
God bless all,
John G.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    LOL…I take no offense. No problem. Misspelling my name is the least of my worries regarding my last name. You can imagine, with all the words that rhyme with “Pritch”, the fun other kids at school had with my name when I was growing up.

volfan007

Well, I’ll confess. You dont OWE me a steak dinner. BUT, a good, steak dinner is always deeply appreciated. :)

David

volfan007

I’m not sure why my response to the steak dinner shot down to the end of the comment stream, but Ron, I was talking about the steak dinner…you’ll see it below, unless this comment shoots down to the bottom, as well. But anyway, if any of you want to buy me a steak dinner, that’d be great!!!

David :)

Robert Vaughn

Bill Mac, your reply caught my attention because of your mentioning foreseen faith. Over the past week or more I been mulling over the idea of “Traditional” soteriology. Where I live and grew up there were a few Free Will Baptists on one end of the spectrum and a few Primitive Baptists on the other end of the spectrum. In between was a large pot of missionary Baptists — SBC, ABA, BMA, BBF, IFB and maybe a few others — disagreeing on all sorts of organizational matters, but never, so far as I knew, disagreeing on their soteriology. This was the traditional soteriology of our area:

Conditional Election (Based on foreseen faith)
Hereditary depravity (All men are born sinners, regardless of details about original guilt, federal headship and so forth, which they probably didn’t discuss)
Eternal Security (More often spoken of as “once saved, always saved” back in the day)
General Atonement (More often called “universal”, but they meant it made it possible for all men to be saved)
Gospel rejection (Just made this up; folks could accept or reject the gospel, as opposed to irresistible grace)
(I couldn’t come up with a pretty flower, but just got the online textbook rental company, Chegg.)

I obviously don’t know what everyone everywhere believed, but this was very consistent where I grew up. I agree with both you and Jonathan against the foreseen faith and that a corporate view fits the texts better than that. But I take notice also that the current more vocal espoused “Traditional view” diverges on two points from what I was traditionally taught.

Max

Ron,

Thank you for clearly articulating the only form of predestination I have ever known. Long before the theological chaos hit our ranks, I always viewed (and continue to do so) that believers are saved for a purpose … that we were predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29), to be holy and blameless in His sight (Eph. 1:4), to walk in a manner worthy of our calling (Eph. 4:1), etc. I realize this is not complex enough for some systematic theologians, but I believe I have been called and predestined in His foreknowledge to be Christlike … pure and simple. As He is, so am I to be in this world (1 John 4:17). Some in our ranks would take those same verses and clutter them with intellectual interpretation, but I’ll lean toward what I know in my knower – convinced by the Holy Spirit to believe, trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

    Ron F. Hale

    Max,
    Thanks, I appreciate your good word! I like your phrase … I’ll lean toward what I know in my knower.

      Max

      Ron,
      What I see, I can’t unsee … what’s deposited in my knower, I can’t unknow. I realize that’s not good grammar, but it’s the way the Holy Spirit has dealt with me over the years. It’s the stuff learned over a long journey with the Lord – revealed Truth. Education doesn’t produce much revelation. Lord knows we’ve got too much intellect and not enough revelation in SBC ranks these days! Most of what is in my “knower” I’ve learned by being pulled through the knotholes of life via alternating periods of wilderness and refreshing. I wouldn’t recommend that process for just anyone … obedience is an easier row to hoe.

John H. Gregory

Brother Max, AMEN! The Gospel is profound Not complex. To agree with the Calling of the Holy Spirit and believe the Gospel, or not to believe after being called is up to the individual. Pure & simple. John 3:36 HE THAT BELIEVES ON THE SON HAS EVERLASTING LIFE: AND HE THAT DISOBEYS THE SON SHALL NOT SEE LIFE; BUT THE WRATH OF GOD ABIDES ON HIM.” To hear the Gospel, be called, wooed, & convicted, by the Holy Spirit, & & still refuse OBEY the summons of the Gospel is is to remain under the wrath of God. The sad aspect is to realize that the individual does resist God’s call & remains lost of his or her own free will.
God bless,
John G.

John H. Gregory.

Brother Max, You make a statement ” Education doesn’t produce much revelation, & that we do not
have enough revelation in SBC ranks these days.” My question is what kind of revelation are you
refering too? I think that you are refering to the leading & illuminating of the Holy Spirit, but I am not
sure that is what you mean.Would you be so kind to inform us specificly?
Also, I would not be so quick to put Biblical Education on the back burner. Biblical revelation
is finished. But Holy Spirit guidance is available now & forever! Praise God!
God bless,
John G.

    Max

    John – Yes, I’m referring to leading and illuminating of the Holy Spirit. I believe that “revelation” is hindered when we grieve and quench the Holy Spirit. Jesus said He would send the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. Revealed truth, to me, is when the Truth (the Word) and the Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit) connect. It can certainly be through Biblical education as the learner leans to the Holy Spirit for instruction, rather than human intellect. But education alone does not produce revelation. I sincerely believe that debate and disunity in SBC ranks hinder Holy Spirit-guided Truth from getting through; and thus we rest largely on the wisdom of mere men, which ultimately fails.

John H. Gregory.

Thanks for answering my question Brother Max. And I do agree with you concerning debate & disunity in our ranks hinder the Holy Spirit. We should be able to work for the commom goal in Christ. But the one side seems to bring the argument/debate with them where ever they go. I think that it is the debate that causes the disunity. If those that do not agree with Biblicistic & Traditionalistic Theology would stop trying to debate this issue & just all work together for the main objectives of the SBC there would be no disunity.
God bless all, John G.

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available