That ‘Insidious’ Doctrine of Election

Wes Kenney shares that Dick Lincoln, pastor of Shandon Baptist Church, Columbia, South Carolina, was the first to preach last night at the SBC Pastor’s Conference. It looks like he is setting the tone for some of the preaching. In his message Dick referenced a doctrine that “teaches that the number of the elect cannot be changed.” Kenney goes on to quote Dick who then said, “It’s too bad Paul never got the message,” when referring to 1 Corinthians 9:19 and Paul’s expressed desire to “win more people.” Kenney adds that Dick went on to call the doctrine “insidious.”
This preaching, much like Ergun Caner’s on Romans 9, has left me scratching my head. Where in the world do people come up with this? I am not trying to be funny here. I want to know what basis, what foundation, what exegesis, what teaching supports such a statement that would conclude one to think that the doctrine of election is “insidious.”
The only thing I can think of is that Dick believes that when a sinner puts their faith in Jesus Christ (hence “won” to Christ), they become elected at the point of their conversion. They were not elected by God’s eternal decree; rather the basis for their election is their faith in Jesus Christ, a faith I presume Dick believes is sourced in himself and not a gift from God. As a result, a person’s election is not God’s election. It is man’s election determined by man’s libertarian free will which exercises a faith inherent within the ability of man to choose Christ on his own. If this is the case, then election according to the Scripture is rejected so that the sovereign in salvation is not God but man, and the real election that takes place is the present decision in which one determines to choose Christ.
To say that the number of the elect can be changed when someone is saved is to dichotomize the doctrine of election from evangelism and attempts to pit the doctrine of election against evangelism as though it is an either/or proposition. It also argues that God does not know the elect and does not really save the elect; instead, he just tallies up the people who are saved who have recently become elect. Thirdly, this idea confuses the chain of grace in predestination, regeneration, and conversion and lumps it all when a person becomes a Christian. Yet one does not need to look far in the Bible to see the folly of this statement made by Dick. Paul tells us that those whom he foreknew he also predestined, and those whom he predestined he called, and those whom he called he justified . . . (Romans 8:29-30). Notice that all the action is past tense. Paul again says that God chose us in him before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). When? Before the foundation of the world. If in God’s eternal decree, God has predestined those whom he would save, then the number is fixed and cannot be changed. Where Dick gets the idea that the elect is some flexible number which can change assumes that God does not know who the elect are, and that the causal effect of one’s salvation is deterministically the work of man, not God. But the Scripture clearly tells us that those who received Christ and believed in his name were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor the will of man, but of God (John 1:12-14).
The truth of the matter is that election is foundational to evangelism. Paul became all things to all men so that all might possibly be saved precisely because he believed in the doctrine of election according to Scripture. Paul was encouraged to go to Corinth by the Lord because Jesus told him that he “had many in this city who are my people” (Acts 18:9-10). Indeed, Paul did everything “for the sake of the elect” so that they may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:10). Paul sums up that everything he did was for the sake of the elect. Election was foundational to Paul’s evangelism, because when you face wild beasts at Ephesus (1 Corinthians 15:32), beatings, imprisonments, stonings, shipwrecks, you must believe that in these places there are some who are the elect whom God has chosen. Paul was not adding to the elect by winning people to Christ. He was simply evangelizing because he believed in God’s sovereign working in salvation and evidenced the elect by being a God-ordained means of bringing people to Jesus.
I submit to you and to Dick Lincoln that it is insidious to preach about something that is not in Scripture. Our sole authority is the Word of God alone. If you have a problem with election, don’t take it up with Calvinists, take it up with God. After all, it was his choice that you have a problem, not the Reformed community. Paul got the message all right, for “the Lord knows those who are his” (2 Timothy 2:19). Indeed, what a firm foundation in God’s eternal decree!

Advertisements
Explore posts in the same categories: Doctrinal Issues, Evangelism, Southern Baptist Convention

31 Comments on “That ‘Insidious’ Doctrine of Election”

  1. 4ever4given Says:

    The Doctrine of Election is so hard to comprehend. Thus, is considered a spreading, insidious disease. But then, try as they might, dead men have nothing to bargain with.

    “I’m so glad that God chose me before the foundation of the world, because he never would have chosen me after I was born!” Charles Haddon Spurgeon

    What floors me is the view:
    “If he’s elect, God’s going to save him anyway. He doesn’t need me share the Gospel.”
    Shouldn’t the doctrine of election motivate us to share the gospel–not out of ungodly fear but because we want to be used by God to do his will?

    If God were really fair, wouldn’t we all go straight to hell?
    Is God fair? (Rom 11)
    Are we but robots? (Rom 9)
    Why should we evangelize? (Rom 10)

    Where in the Bible does it say that God is not sovereign over my will?
    Where does it teach that the thing created has an equal will to the Creator?

    I am merely a finite creature that cannot comprehend the grandeur of God’s plan. Isaiah 55:8-9 says: “My ways are not your ways, and my thoughts are not your thoughts; but just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

    There is no contradiction in God, but there is finite understanding in us. This is the only explanation for anyone thinking that the Doctrine of Election is insidious.

    “That he might increase and I might decrease.”

  2. Gayla Says:

    Great post, and Lisa, I couldn’t have said it better myself. It is indeed difficult to comprehend; and I’m still learning!

    This is what I don’t get. Non-Calvinists will credit God with all kinds of sovereignty…up to the point of sovereignty over salvation. Then of course, it’s all up to man and his ‘decision.’

    I am so very thankful that God opened my eyes to what He is really all about!

  3. Timmy Says:

    Granted, there are several elements in Christian theology that are difficult to understand. However, there are also several places where God has clearly spoken on the issue. What makes it difficult for us often is the lens through which we view Scripture. Everyone comes to the Scripture with aprior considerations (knowledge or beliefs beforehand). When people have “control beliefs” which are contrary to Scripture, then many will come across those passages where God has spoken and simply say that “It is a mystery – we can’t understand it.”

    I agree that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and that because of our finite understanding and influence of human depravity, we often get things wrong. However, God has given us His Spirit who illuminates His Word and the renewing of the image of God in Christ in us, including the reason through which we can understand the thoughts of God revealed to us in cognitive human language.

    Ironically, for those who argue against theology and “put the cookies on the bottom shelf” challenge the perspecuity of Scripture by simply not studying the Scripture without the lenses of philosophical presuppositions which often violate or contradict God’s Word. I believe God wants us to understand Him better and has given us the means through which to do so (of course we cannot know God exhaustively, but we can know him truly). In our study of theology, when we have grown in our knowledge of God and realize the places where we are wrong, we should change our positions and not stubbornly hold onto them because of our pride.

    With the SBC, and in particular the Pastor’s Convention, there are conferences where pastors and preachers are doggedly attacking the doctrine of election with rhetorical sound bytes but offering no real explanation or exegesis of the doctrine itself. I found this to be true when I actually approached some pastors about their sermons they preached in their pulpits against election. The last one, when I approached him about certain questions about his belief in the doctrine of election, ended up calling me a Pharisee, modern-day Gnostic, and an elitist. Instead of answering any of my questions, he ended up attacking me.

    I really look forward to the day when Pastor’s Conferences can really be for Pastors and not for personal agendas. May that day come sooner than later.

  4. Floyd Jones Says:

    First I want to thank all of you who run this site. There is always so much to think about after reading articles here and the posts that follow. I was raised as a Baptist from the time I was born. My family was not enchanted with the Southern Baptists or the Independent Baptists, and as a result during my childhood and through my years of college I attended the Baptist church. While I am not a pastor, I have taught kindergarteners to the elderly in various Sunday school classes and loved each and every experience I have had.
    Sadly, all, and I mean all, of the Baptist churches taught nothing regarding the doctrine of election. They did not teach it as “insidious” or “blessed” or anything. The doctrine was just completely ignored in the church. “Election” and “predestination” were discussed as those doctrines that the Presbyterians believed…”and we are not Presbyterian, are we?” I was eventually “elected” (no pun intended) to go to the Georgia Baptist Convention in Columbus around 2003 and during one lunch hour I read a sermon from Charles Spurgeon regarding “election”. I made it my goal to prove Spurgeon wrong, because if he were right then I would have to admit that I was wrong and that I was still just a babe in Christ. Despite my best effort, I could not prove him wrong. Election is everywhere in the Bible. Israel was a nation elected by God among nations. However, there are plenty of accounts regarding personal election of people unto salvation. There is simply no getting around it.
    My change of judgment, based off of the Bible and based off of study brought me into conflict at my church and to a lesser degree at my seminary. As adult Sunday School teacher, I was told that I was only teaching “theories”. I should be clear that I did not go into the classroom and state that I had become a convinced five-point Calvinist. However, as I taught at times I would use words that the church members had never heard before such as “election” and “predestination”. Even this was enough to cause trouble. Eventually, so that I would not split the church (in contrast to what we hear from some who say that Calvinists are concerned with splitting congregations) I left my church and the Southern Baptist Convention both under friendly conditions and by conviction. I now attend a church that is “baptistic” in nature and very much Reformed.
    The seminary I attended had a mixture of Reformed and non-Reformed professors, but the general attitude at the seminary is non-Reformed. I began attending the Student Theological Fellowship where my Calvinism soon became evident. There I was informed that election takes place when God looks down the corridor of time and elects those who He sees will chose to place their faith in Him. Thus, God “elects” those who first “elect” Him. However, the problem become obvious as God no longer actually “elects” anyone but rather “ratifies” decisions. God just places His “stamp of approval” on people who already “approve of God” and demonstrate that approval by placing faith in Him. This is backward thinking and utterly unsupported in Scripture.
    The problems with this kind of teaching are manifold. I do not need to state that this limits God, and gives mankind far more credit that he deserves. Those realities are obvious to anyone who has studied the issue. Other problems that exist in this type of “election” however, is that evangelism is not a guaranteed endeavor. People will accept or reject the gospel not based on the power of the Holy Spirit alone and the inward calling that only He can and will give to Christ’s own, but rather people accept or reject the gospel invitation based on the personal persuasiveness of the one giving the message. This, incidently, opens the door wide to so-called “seeker-friendly” methods or churches as all are considered seekers of God, in direct contradiction to David and Paul who explicitly state that “no one seeks God”. Thus, evangelism becomes a man-driven endeavor instead of a God-directed experience.
    This teaching also interprets Scripture by experience instead of interpreting experience by Scripture. By that sort of teaching, biblical interpretation is turned on its head and at that point anything can be ultimately permitted. I experienced salvation, but Scripture interprets that salvation experience. It tells me who I was before I was saved, what was required for salvation, my inability to be saved by my own means, ect. If I only look back to what happened and try to interpret Scripture through my experience, then I am left with questions that will continually haunt me. Did I pray enough or have faith enough? Did I really believe what I thought I believed? Was I really saved to begin with? These questions are always important, but with a clear understanding of Scripture they do not have to be constant hounds that bay at us morning, noon and night.
    There are many areas I could explore, but I will close this point by stating that during my time in the Student Theological Fellowship, one fellow student wrote me stating that he could never be a Calvinist because that would enslave him. I have found just the opposite to be the truth, as it is the truth, and the truth is liberating (ref. John 8.32). Election is not “insidious” in the least. Instead, it is “sweet” doctrine that once tasted is addictive.
    Thank you for running a good site that is respectful to all- whether they agree or disagree. May God be please to use it and you to further the message of His grace.
    Floyd Jones

  5. Eric Says:

    Why would a “fixed number of saved” be so horrid to the non reformed. Do they not believe that God Knows all, past, present and future? Assume for arguments sake that they are correct; man decides who will be saved. If God Knows who those will be, isn’t the number still fixed?

  6. Timmy Says:

    Floyd,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, testimony, and encouragement. I believe there are many who share many of the same experiences about the lack of doctrinal teaching (including myself as I had never heard of it until college). I am glad that you have found SBF and enjoy reading our posts. However, what makes SBF worthwhile (IMO) is the comments and interaction we receive from people like you. Initially, this was to respond to BaptistFire, but within less than two weeks from the opening of SBF, they took everything off the website and shut it down. Nevertheless, there is much to discuss and write about these days, and I/we hope to see you around!

  7. Timmy Says:

    Eric,

    You mentioned the problem here, which Open Theists, many of whom were staunch defenders of Arminian theology, have realized. To say that God foreknows those who are saved, that knowledge is binding; therefore, libertarian free will cannot really exist (in full autonomy) because God’s knowledge assumes at least in part some determinism apart from the will of man. Freewill theism espoused by Arminians and this sermon will argue that God foresees and foreknows their faith. However, this argument is untenable in light of Scripture. The only way for man to be totally free, autonomous, and self-determining is to say that God cannot foreknow the future, especially those would be saved. Therefore the logic of the Open Theists is much more consistent than Arminians.

  8. 4ever4given Says:

    Yes, election is everywhere in the Bible.
    You are right.
    You wrote: “when we have grown in our knowledge of God and realize the places where we are wrong, we should change our positions and not stubbornly hold onto them because of our pride.”
    What is difficult for this finite mind of mine to comprehend even though the Doctrine of Election is clearly written in the Word of God, is … why me?
    For those that fight it and consider it insidious… I was there. I can understand. It seemed SO ARROGANT!!!
    … but it is just the opposite…
    it is pride-stripping
    humbling
    why me?

  9. 4ever4given Says:

    I know I am typing to a bunch of very learned men. Forgive me for my ignorance and instrusion. But i do hope that this blog continues.

  10. Timmy Says:

    Lisa,

    Let me assure you that we are not learned men but learning men! You will not find any initiails before or after our names, nor are our curriculam vitaes worth noting! Like you, we have asked the question, “Why me?”

    Everything we have, everything we are is because of sovereign grace. We are debtors to the mercy of God, and as grateful recipients of such love demonstrated by our Father, we want to represent him well and love him with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength.

    While we want to rightly divide the word of truth and faithfully defend the gospel, we in no way want to come across as “know it all’s!” If anything, we are “know-it-little’s” and are ashamed of how little of our magnificent God we know!

    So please, by all means, join us as we pursue our Savior, grow in grace and knowledge of Him, and exult in his cross. I am staggered by the excellencies of Him who called me out of darkness into His marvellous – a staggering that provokes humility and persecutes pride.

  11. RustyR Says:

    From a Reformed Baptist in a small WV SBC church,

    Please, keep up the good work!!! It is very encouraging to read this blog!

    Thanks! Grace Alone!

  12. 4ever4given Says:

    I do not think you all comprehend not only how refreshing your blog is, but how much people are learning from it.
    To God be all the glory and honor and praise.

  13. Allan Says:

    You know it is sad to hear, when brothers and sisters in Christ (encourage)each other to slam another. We are pretty much the only religion (not relationship, which we should be) that eat our wounded. Did it ever cross your minds that both views in this teaching may actually be correct! but you both hold to [absolutes] (that neither scricturally have on the subject) that you WILL NOT see beyond YOUR understanding. Here is what I mean by “your” (both sides) – any doctrine or teaching that causes division amoung the body of believers is sin in the eyes of God, and given by the enemy. This (so called theology) is NOT a main tenent of our FAITH and therefore should not be so zelousily fought for to change others minds to your understanding. This teaching has divided many churches and is being used to continue dividing others in the name of “truth” rather than Jesus.

    Who cares about whether one believes absolute soverinty or free choice if both are fulfilling the commands of Christ Jesus to the glory of God the Father. Our hearts have become side tracked and we are majoring on the minors when it comes to eternity. It should not be a staggering thing to those who understand God absolute soverinty that man and angels must choose. In the begining (where very few start from anyway) Satan chose to rebel, Adam “chose” to LEAVE a pre-destined positional relationship to the Father, because Eve was decieved into leaving that relationship (Here we see ALL mankind was destined to be in a relationship with God but..). We (all of us Rom 3:23) are according to scripture are NOW destined for hell at our birth (no hope, we’re done for) but, God who is able to make all things obey His will (soverinty) allows us to chosse Him, who chose us in the begining. This does not place your will equel with God but it shows that in Gods soverinty to make all things work to His will “allows” us to chose Him. Without God’s allowance (here again is soverinty in action) We will still be headed for the place we chose in Adam to be, Hell

    (John 1:12 recieved Him -they chose AFTER being invited by the Holy Spirit, soverinty at it’s best) NO one can come to God unless the Spirit draw him, but they are not obligated to chose because (God) would that none should perish but that ALL would come to repentence (and no contextually it is not refering to the redeemed) IF God made some for righteousness and some for unrighteousness would He not have made 4 rather than 2 in the Garden since the first set was ordained to a relationship.

    I hold to both veiws because without Genesis we lose the foundation of Gods charactor. God made Adam and Eve to be IN fellowship with Him. God did not make man fall into sin, that would be an utterly pointless event as we are already in fellowship with Him, but you MUST remember that in Adam all men were, so in the begining “all mankind” were in fellowship with God according to how HE created it to be. Then Man CHOSE to fall, this does not invalidate soverinty nor election, because He already knew the end before the begining and prepared the way of salvation before the foundation of the world. Now the question begs to be asked, if God has such fore-knowledge and is sovriegn why could He not keep them in a releationship with Him. Answer- because He wants willing worshipers, those who chose Him. Soveriegnty is not slighted but exalted due to God being able to have His way no matter what your choice.

    Both the angels and man according to scripture chose seperation from the God. What kind of a God would create you in fellowship with Him, cast you out of fellowship, only to say come back. Completely against His character of … [I]will [never] leave you nor forsake you… (Genesis creation) This is not soverinty this is nutz. But God does something very unique, as beleivers He calls you Holy, righteous, seated with Him, and none of these statements are technically true, yet. He sees the future and calls what will be as though it is now. Same for the lost, vessels of dishonor made, not becuase He wants to make some for heaven and some for hell but becasue He sees their future choice and calls them also now what they will be due to their rejection in the future.

    God is soveriegn and if He is in absolute control which I beleive, then your freedom to choose niether makes you like God nor negates His soveriegnty but allows you and all others to see He is in complete control even in the midst of your chioces. Don’t forget those He fore-knew (whom did He not fore-know? now whom does He know will choose) He did pre-destinate (according to scripture all in Adam had the same in the begining – relationship with God (pre) then man fell and all in Adam fell into damnation (we are destined for) When it is speaking of predestination it is refering to the way God created it in the begining, His Fore-knowledge knows not all will come, but His desire is that any who call on Him will be… Many instances of this in scripture, 1. Adam and Eve 2. God [wanted] to be King of Israel but [knew] they would not submit 3. God {wanted} the Kings of Israel and Juda to be God fearing and hold to His word but Knew they would not all do so. Does this mean that God’s soveriegnty is not all powerful becuase they did not do what we KNOW God wanted? Of course not. His soveriegnty proved itself by God having already prepared the way of escape or provision even before their choice was made. (what is cool is that is a mind boggler, what if they chose the other way. It would have been a added blessing rather than help. -shrugg- fun questions

    Oops sorry I just realized How long this is? I just feel we have made a mountain out of a mole hill and it is being used to divide Gods church. God will judge all who do so to His Church, be careful not to commit the sin unto death committed by believers only. Anyhoo, I believe both are not valid views but two halves of the same whole. Unfortunaltey, we hold to points of view that are not Faith altering as absolutes, I haven’t seen God judge anyone over this issue yet, but let us keep splitting His church and we will see we are all in the wrong. DO NOT put down you brother or sister in Christ. It is a shame to even be spoken of amoung your brethren that corrupt communication comes from you (us) I appluade you, if you be for Christ, you are not agianst him. remember this. And let us find the lost sheep of the 99. God Bless.

  14. Allan Says:

    I should say it this way, do not let it be said of you, you are known for puting down the brethren. Not specifically that you are, but I have been to many of these types of sites and they are littered with non-Christ honoring wording toward and of the brethren. Love in Christ

  15. eric Says:

    Allen,
    So you are not misled on who is causing division, browse several websites and compare the words used by leaders in both camps.

  16. Timmy Says:

    @ Rusty,

    Glad to know you are out there! WV eh? The only time I was in WV was went I rafted the Gauley River with some friends of mine. Beautiful country. May the Lord continue to use SBF to encourage you in the days ahead.

    @ Lisa,

    Yes, from Him through Him and to Him are all things. Thank you being such an encouragement!

  17. Timmy Says:

    @ Allen,

    I am sorry that you see this post and the subsequent comments as a slam on a brother. I think you have made a wrong equivocation when you state that pointing out a person’s error in what he says is somehow a slam on the person. If this is the case, then no one can test, critique, or evaluate what anyone is saying which is absurd.

    You said that “This (so called theology) is NOT a main tenent of our FAITH and therefore should not be so zelousily fought for to change others minds to your understanding. This teaching has divided many churches and is being used to continue dividing others in the name of “truth” rather than Jesus.”

    The doctrine of election is a main tenet of our salvation and spoken of throughout Scripture. The division in the churches is not so much a result of the doctrine of election but due to a failure to biblically and clearly explain it. Those who are against God’s sovereignty in salvation will go to great lengths to reason away or reformulate the doctrine of unconditional election, and if you look at those who are on the offensive in the SBC, you will see the attack dogs on the other side of the camp.

    Something you might want to consider is the response of the crowds when Jesus made the following statement:

    It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” (John 6:63-65)

    Here is the next verse which reveals the response of the crowds and the response of the twelve:

    After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:66-69).

    There were many who no longer walked with Jesus precisely because of what Jesus said about the reality that no one can come to Him [Jesus] unless it has been granted by the Father. To divide “in the name of truth” versus “the name of Jesus” is a false dichotomy. Jesus is the Truth.

    You said, “Who cares about whether one believes absolute soverinty or free choice if both are fulfilling the commands of Christ Jesus to the glory of God the Father. Our hearts have become side tracked and we are majoring on the minors when it comes to eternity.”

    Well, if you look at church history, a lot of people have cared about God’s sovereignty (Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Edwards, not to mention the Founders of the SBC viz., Boyce, Broadus, Mell, Johnson, etc.) In light of history, theology, biblical evidence and the serious implications to this issue, I would argue that this is no minor matter. If you think this matter is so minor, I would encourage you to read such works as Luther’s Bondage of the Will, Calvin’s Freedom of the Will, Augustine’s On the Predestination of the Saints, Mell’s Doctrine on Predestination just to name a few.

    No Calvinist is arguing that man is not morally responsible and must place their faith in Christ. However, we do argue that a person’s free will apart from the rengerating work of the Spirit and effectual calling is incapable of choosing God. Furthermore, God is sovereign over the will of man, inclining men’s hearts to seek him and others not. What turns a sinners desires, ambitions, goals away from himself and the world to Jesus Christ? Is it not the efficacious working of the Holy Spirit?

    You said, “IF God made some for righteousness and some for unrighteousness would He not have made 4 rather than 2 in the Garden since the first set was ordained to a relationship.”

    I honestly have no idea what point you are trying to make here. Concerning the previous statements above this quote, I agree that God does not cooerce or force men to become a Christian. You always do what you want to do. Calvinists believe in a whosoever gospel wholeheartedly, so much so we believe God knows who the whosoever is and is able to bring him to Himself. When a person becomes a Christian, he does so because he wants to. He desires are directly connected to his decision. The fact that anyone desires to seek God want to be saved is due to God putting that desire in his/her heart. Again, no coercion, yet sovereingty still.

    The freedom expressed by Adam and Eve before the Fall and the freedom we have after the Fall are in no way the same. I believe you have failed to take into account orginal sin and its efect on us which makes us totally depraved. Having inherited Adam’s sin, we are dead in our transgressions and unable to come to God on our own. Before the Fall, Adam and Eve indeed had free will that was not affected by sin, but note that it was their own free will which they used wrongly which caused them to sin which resulted in the Fall. If ever there is a warning about the stressing of man’s libertarian free will, let it be in the example of Adam.

    You said, “Now the question begs to be asked, if God has such fore-knowledge and is sovriegn why could He not keep them in a releationship with Him. Answer- because He wants willing worshipers, those who chose Him.”

    Allan, God does not need worshippers, nor does he need your or me. God is perfectly full and self-satisfying in Himself. God is in no way contingent upon us, and His providential plan of redemption through the allowance of the Fall and sin was to bring glory to himself by the exaltation of His Son. God, in his abosolute perfections and infinitude is gloriously contented in his aseity.

    I feel like I have addressed most of your questions and concerns. I will not respond any further to your statements. If you have any other specific questions, please share them. Your concerns and questions are totally welcomed here at SBF. 🙂

    However, I have one question for you. You told me to be careful to not commit the sin unto death committed by believers only. Can you explain to me what exactly you are talking about? Are you stating that I am comitting this sin? You said that we are known for putting down our brothers. How so? Who? When? How? Examples please. I believe what you will see is that we have attempted to deal biblically, painstakingly, and carefullly the issues being stated. We have no desire to attack anyone or cause division. We simply want to uphold God’s Word by rightly dividing it, not the Church. Unfortunately, the price tag of truth has been on a wholesale discount for a long time, so to seek to appraise it as valuable today would undoubtedly don’t want to mine the treasures provided in the whole counself of God’s Word. For some, a trace of truth will do. Me – I don’t want a trace of truth . . . I want to face the truth.

    Allan, thank you for commenting. I assure you that your questions and comments are taken seriously. No one hear has any agenda to attack you or put you down in any way. We will, of course, disagree on matters, but a healthy discussion and due consideration of each other’s position should be profitable for all of us. I know it has been for me. Again, I appreciate you stopping by SBF, and may the Lord continue to grow you in the grace and the konwledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (a prayer I ask that you pray for me as well)!

  18. Josh Buice Says:

    How do preachers stand and preach against the marvelous doctrine of God’s eternal election? When sermons and statements like these are proclaimed, one is left thinking – has he read Ephesians?

    May we all turn back to a biblical view of God and that should prompt us to be more biblical in our evangelism. Paul knew of God’s election and Paul witnessed for God! Who knows who the elect are? God alone!

    The implication that the number of the elect could be changed is interesting. Would that imply that one would be able to experience post-mortem redemption?

    All for the glory of God!

    Rev. Josh Buice
    Practical Theology Discussions
    http://www.joshbuice.blogspot.com

  19. Gene Says:

    Allan, let me ask you this. Do you believe in the Trinity? If so, then consider that free willism is anti-Trinitarian. Men must respond to the gospel in faith in order for the Father to elect them. They must believe before they receive a new heart. So you have taken the Holy Spirit’s work and the Father’s work out of the equation. You have only the cross in view. This is functionally Unitarian. If the Father elects by His own freedom, Christ atones for sins, and the Holy Spirit gives life to whom He wishes, you have Trinitarian salvation.

    You said, “Our hearts have become side tracked and we are majoring on the minors when it comes to eternity.” Paul wrote 3 chapters on election, Romans 8,9, and 10. Election underwrites evangelism and missions. It gives us, among other things confidence when we preach the gospel. It is no minor issue. Election results in justification by faith in the OT. Abraham was justified by faith. Why did he believe God? Why did God choose Him? He was a pig eating savage when called. Election humbles us before God. That’s the point of Deut. 7, when God tells Israel why He chose them.

    If you think this isn’t a big deal, then I ask you to read this: http://www.all-of-grace.org/pub/others/deathofdeath.html

    You said, “What kind of a God would create you in fellowship with Him, cast you out of fellowship, only to say come back. Completely against His character of … [I]will [never] leave you nor forsake you… (Genesis creation)” The answer is a holy God that wanted to manifest His glory. He is just, right? How could we know of that, if God did not permit sin to enter the world? If it did not enter by His decree, then (a) how is it that Christ is the Lamb slain BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, and (b) how is it that we were chosen for salvation in Christ BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD. A merciful and just God that knew that, in order to show Himself to His people as both merciful and just God He would be obligated to Himself to create the world in which we live, and that includes the evil things that happen. “Shall we accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10)

    You wrote: Now the question begs to be asked, if God has such fore-knowledge and is sovriegn why could He not keep them in a releationship with Him. Answer- because He wants willing worshipers, those who chose Him.

    What text of Scripture, Allan teaches this? Nobody denies that God wants willing worshippers, but the question you must answer is why is one man willing and not the other? People are not forced to believe, they are given a new heart, and they consequently believe most willingly.

  20. Allan Says:

    Well… where to start 🙂
    I will say this, I copied what I wrote here on about 11 other sites (cause I believe what I believe) but also to see the responces. I can honestly say this is the ONLY site that did not chide, berate, condisend, or put down and that is the approximate order. Thank you.

    Eric you stated…
    So you are not misled on who is causing division, browse several websites and compare the words used by leaders in both camps.

    I agree… which is why you will see me stating (…both sides) As I stated earlier: I believe both are correct but unwilling to hear each other.

    Timmy… I want to thank you for your post. It was the ONLY one that spoke kindness, love, and respect for other brothers. (regarding it’s length)
    This to me I have found a rarity, and that is what I ment by it being sad. Critique, questioning, and evalutation are not the same as belittling, putting down, and questioning their love and loyalty to OUR Saviour Jesus Christ and I am sure you will agree. Let an aposte or false teacher be named such but be careful whom you name. God is able to make stand or fall any servent of His. Let God be true and every man lier. And for my sake please don’t call yourselves Calvanists, I believe you are born again, blood bought, spirit filled, God honoring believers, who are followers of Christ not John Calvin. Your not believers of the TULIP but the Word of God. Anyhoo…about your post

    I stand by my statement on “it is not a main tenent” because of this: Does believing or not believing in election determine your salvation? Of course not, we are save because of what Chirst did for us not our understanding of election. WHo Jesus is, His divinity, virgin birth, death, burial and reserrection, the one true and living God in three persons, His great love and ultimate judgement are some those tenents. Election is a sub group of these in understanding God, no different than the depths of His Love, the extent of His mercy, the grace of His election. Don’t forget I do believe in election just differently than you. Just like there are to sides to a coin (and I know we are not talking about coins) but Every aspect of God has a seperate and equal side. Not Good and evil, so don’t get me wrong. His Love and wrath, mercy and judgment, kindness and disciple, blessing and cursing, (mine view onward) soverienty and free will, election and damnation. I do however agree about those who are against soverienty will go to great lengths, but I believe like I stated previously is not about whether the majory (cause there are some nuts on both sides)believer soverienty but how the beleive it functions. I have never been under a preacher who believes God calls (convicts) you and you recieve His grace that did not teach Gods absolute soverienty. I have even attended TTU and SEBTS (one independent and the other Southern Baptist) But soverienty as [I] see it, is God will accomplish His will no matter our choices. Not that He dictates our choices. To ME, this shows God great soverienty in spite of our fallen nature and attacks of the demonic host and still be thousands of steps ahead, so to speak.

    I do disagree with your assesment of Joh 6:63-69, mainly due to the fact that context of what you are refering to is much different when you read the preceding vss 41-69 Where Jesus does state no one can even come to Jesus unless the Father (via the Holy Spirit as we know) draws you (We see God drawing and I agree) Then Jesus states in vs 47 He that believes has eternal life. Believes what that the scriptures spokes of Him but there is a qualification for eternal life, you must FIRST believe. God draws to the point of choice, and you make the call to believe or not. Really it is not different that Adam and Eve. They only had one choice to make and so do we. That is God’s soverienty He controls everything but your free will decision to love Him back. Jesus then goes on to say He is the bread of life …eat of his flesh … drink of his blood …eat and drink and you shall live forever. Then it talks about (vs 63) Spirit quickeneth but the flesh (speaking of works) is worthless. Remember it is refering to salvation and He is trying to help them understand He is speaking spiritually. It states He knew from the beginning who did not believe and who would betray Him. We find in Luk 24:29 and in Mar 16:14 that even after the resurrection some of the disciples still did not believe and we know who betrayed Him.
    You stated … “There were many who no longer walked with Jesus [precisely because of what Jesus said about the reality that no one can come to Him [Jesus] unless it has been granted by the Father.] This in context in inaccurate as they left Him because the saying eating of His flesh and drinking of His blood is the only way to have life. Also The scripture that states that MANY shall come to me in that day (judgment) saying Lord, Lord, have we not done…And I will say depart from me you worker of inquity into everlasting fire. These are people who believe themselves saved (the claim him to be the Lord they served) yet they are cast out. Would this mean that some who believe themselves saved even in the election camp may be cast out because we will not really know until we stand before him. The parable of the ten virgins. They all believed themselve to be the bride but only those who chose to be ready were real. Maybe that was reading a little much, and I will even admit that possibility. but how can you be sure of your election when scripture shows many who think they are, are actually bound for Hell. You can be sure of your election if you know God reached out and convicted you, offered you the opportunity to know him, and you willingly gave your ALL to Him (i’m a firm believer in that – Once saved ALWAYS changed -paraphrase of II Cor 5:15) I am persuaded that He is able to keep ALL that I have COMMITTED unto Him against that day.

    I will agree on the “name of truth” and name of Jesus. It was more a word play on others words but Idea understand and I concent.

    As for the sin unto death comment, I was IMing someone who was stating a vehemently strong position of absolute soverinty and that no one has a choice but we are all created for God use some for glory some not but all for His pleasure and those in heaven, His pleasure, and those in hell for His pleasure. I wrote some of that on here and it was not intended as it sounds. I appologize for it. I applaude you was supposed to be the conclusion. I have to go now but will finish later

  21. Allan Says:

    Let me put MY beliefs this way.

    I believe that man can not and will not seek after God due to his fallen and absolute depravity. But God must be the one to initiate, reveal, and draw us to himself so when we stand in the glory of His presence and in understanding all He has shown us (this I believe is the sovereinty of God) we have at that moment an oppotunity to chose. If we let it pass us by with silent rejection, we still can not come to Him at ANY time to be converted, but only IF His spirit will reach out again to them. I beleive (personaly) every person has this opportunity (God so loved the world, to as many as recieved him, would that none should perish but all come to repentence, ect, ect, ect.) Therefore allowing Him to show himself Just before all creation, giving everyone the same chance but knowing many will not believe. John 3 we see Jesus stating nothing we do will get us to heaven… (the famous you must be Born Again -I love that-) But you eternity is decided upon what YOU do with the Christ you know see. Remember Jesus chose twelve, but only 11 decided to believe, and one chose to deny him, or not to believe.

    Free will I do not believe is the same as we choose when, where, and how we will be believers. I beleive it means just this: We have the opportunity to chose to believe only once the Father has drawn us to Christ. One thing I noticed in the OT was God did chose Abram to make a chosen people (elect as the scriptures state very clearly) who were to be follower of the Lord God becuase as a people they were chosen, good or bad in their devotion. They were elected becasue of birth. However, we find many were also of this election who chose to leave their old lives and become Jewish in belief, so we know they obviously not born jews (one example is Rahab) but became Jewish by choice and partakers of the promises. We see Gods soverienty at work showing them that He is the One True and Living God, and their choice to come out from amoung the world and be united with Him at His request. God did this with Abram did He not. This is my view and the point I was trying to make, not to turn you but to better understand me, and to let you know I encourage you in your walk with the Lord God and to be found faithful to God alone. Understand as we people you CAN NOT lump each person you talk to into camps of Armai-whoywhatits, nor into Calv-istydos, or any other. Many people have never studied those and so to say you must be a… is a minomer. Do not seek to exalt yourself by putting them into catigories (either side) becasue to make certain camps says quite clearly one is automatically more superior than the other and you all will agree Chirst Jesus is that alone. talk we us as though we are believers and not adherants to a camp. People who study the Word of God and what to know truth. IF they wont hear (including you) with the attitude you may be wrong will listen (not judge) and search out what they say and THEY DO THE SAME, to find truth. To quote Timmy: Jesus is truth. and scripture: Let God be true but every man a liar. Hold fast but love the brethren, for we are your brothers 🙂 even if we appear to some as the uncle that we would like to stay away.

  22. scripturesearcher Says:

    These mini-sermons are interesting and, for the most part, spiritually edifying.

    The god some people claim to worship and serve is a pathetic person of their own pagan imagination – this includes all the so-called Open Theists like those who pastor some SBC churches and preach at the annual pastors’ conference.

    Apparently the true God of the Bible did not attend some of our Baptist universities and seminaries!

    Surely He would be much smarter if He had sat at the feet of some Baptist professors and pastors!

    This is called sanctified sarcasm!!!

  23. Gene Says:

    Allen, you wrote, “I beleive (personaly) every person has this opportunity (God so loved the world, to as many as recieved him, would that none should perish but all come to repentence, ect, ect, ect.)Therefore allowing Him to show himself Just before all creation, giving everyone the same chance but knowing many will not believe.”

    But Allen, this simply is not true. To begin with it is flatly denied by Scripture itself. Read Isa.6 and John 10, where God hardens these people through the presentations of Isaiah and later Jesus. In Romans 9, we find Paul stating plainly that Pharaoh was raised up in order for God to harden him. In Acts 2, they thank God that he predestined Judas to betray Christ. In addition, what about all those who were living in places like North America, China, or Australia, or South America, during the first century itself? They had NO CHANCE AT ALL. Are you seriously going to say that they have received the SAME chance as everybody else? If so, then how could they be saved if there is salvation in no other than Christ? No, Allen, such things tell us that God presumptively judges the sins of persons. No, Allen all men without exception do NOT have “the same chance.” Where does Scripture teach such a thing? To say this is to infer that there is more than one way to be saved and it logically leads to anti-missions. Why send missionaries if men can be saved by God’s common grace?

    Do not seek to exalt yourself by putting them into catigories (either side) becasue to make certain camps says quite clearly one is automatically more superior than the other and you all will agree Chirst Jesus is that alone.

    No, Allen, we simply look at what these persons affirm and what they disaffirm. Election based on foreseen faith is (a) the beginning of salvation by merit and (b) the doctrine of Arminians and Romanists. This is a historical definition. Ditto with general atonement. Ditto with resistible grace. These are historical ideas with historical meanings, that Allen is why we speak in those terms.

    You wrote: I agree… which is why you will see me stating (…both sides) As I stated earlier: I believe both are correct but unwilling to hear each other.

    But you have not demonstrated that both are correct. Let’s take this a step at a time. Did God elect a number of persons from eternity past, from our perspective as timebound creatures, to eternal life based on nothing in them, not foreseen faith, not foreseen demerit, but according to His own mercy? Yes or no.

    Or

    Did God elect a number of persons from eternity past, from our perspective as timebound persons, based on their foreseen faith and/or perseverance in said faith?

    You cannot say both. There is a law called “excluded middle” A is not B and B is not A. A and B are mutually exclusive. There is no middle ground between these two propositions. Scripture NEVER says that men are elected to salvation based on foreseen faith.

    You wrote: I do disagree with your assesment of Joh 6:63-69, mainly due to the fact that context of what you are refering to is much different when you read the preceding vss 41-69 Where Jesus does state no one can even come to Jesus unless the Father (via the Holy Spirit as we know) draws you (We see God drawing and I agree) Then Jesus states in vs 47 He that believes has eternal life. Believes what that the scriptures spokes of Him but there is a qualification for eternal life, you must FIRST believe. God draws to the point of choice, and you make the call to believe or not. Really it is not different that Adam and Eve. They only had one choice to make and so do we. That is God’s soverienty He controls everything but your free will decision to love Him back.

    Allen, John 6:44 states that “No man can come to me unless He is drawn by the Father, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

    If God does not draw us effectually, Allen, then why does Jesus say that the ones drawn by the Father WILL be raised on the last day. He should have stated “some of those” drawn by the Father will be raised on the last day.

    In the very next verse, He is even more clear, “It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me. ” So everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Christ, and Christ says also in this text, “”I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst….All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”

    So the ones given come, because they are drawn, and NONE are cast out and ALL who are drawn by the Father come, and ALL of them are raised on the last day.

    What’s more, Allen, this text is Jesus’ explanation of unbelief. They said, “Lord, give us this bread,” and he tells them. 35Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.

    36″But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.

    37″All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.

    38″For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

    39″This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.

    40″For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

    How does your interpretation fit with this being a response to their unbelief? Jesus is telling them the reason they do not believe…they are not drawn by the Father. Who is drawn? Those given. What happens to them when drawn? They come to Christ. What is the result of coming to Christ: never again hungering or thirsting and being raised on the last day. Now, I know you’re not a universalist, but I don’t see how you can get what you get from this Scripture, because it plainly states that all who are drawn come and all who come are “saved” (to paraphrase).

    You’ve inserted “free choice,” but define free choice briefly for us. What I specifically am after is the answer to this question: Why does one man believe and turn to Christ and not another? Also, how does the Bible define freedom? Is it freedom to do otherwise or is it freedom from sin? If it is freedom from sin, then how can a man who is a slave to sin and unable to come to Christ, believe in Christ and fulfil the command, for “this is His commandment, that we believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son.” If you answer with “God’s grace,” then what does John 6:44 say about that? All who are drawn come, and all who come are raised on the last day, but this contradicts your assertion otherwise.

  24. Timmy Says:

    Allan,

    As I have had a few moments to scan what you have said, I will try to respond soon. I have to go to work (3rd shift), but I hope to reply within the next day or so. I would, however, encourage you to consider what Gene has said in his last post. Back soon . . .

  25. Allan Says:

    Just a few comments Gene.

    Rom 9 and Isa – God did harden their hearts but not because they wanted to yeild thier lives to him. God heardened their hearts becuase they were going to do what they should but He needed them to delay that so He could completely glorify Himself (pharoh wanted to let them go but God hardened his heart, THEN He allowed pharoh to let them go, which is what he wanted to do in the first place.) By the way, the term rose up means to allow him to be born or come into existance. Another thing to: Paul who is supposed to understand election is found stating in 10:1 that His hearts desire and prayer is that Israel will be saved. vs 21 states He was reaching out to them (drawing them) and they refused. 11:1-2 (paraphrased) Did God cast them away which He foreknew, God forbid. Hew forknew them ALL but as vs 7 points out Israel did not obtain but the ection did. BUT he goes on to say in vs 11 have they stumbled that they should fall. (who – those not elected, as there is a clear distinction between them in preceeding verses) Then we see Paul saying the Gospel went to the Gentiles to provoke them to jelousy. What good would that do if they are not elected. vs 14 Paul states If by any means I may provoke them to emulations (who are Jews) and might save some. Paul is quite clearly saying that they were not elected but that they through would come to a place of repentence because THEY did not believe. Look at vs 32 For God hath concluded them ALL in unbelief that He might have mercy on ALL.
    And yes I do believe that everyone has the opportunity to know God. Creation itself bares wittness not to mention that before the law and in countries no where near afterward, they to had an understanding of God and according to Rom are not bound to the law but the law of conscience. I am not going inot to that right now because it is of no consiquence and to much time and space to write. We can differ here, like in other places.

    ACT 2 – They did not rejoice because God predestined Judas to betry Jesus (that is reading alot into it) God knew He would not be a true disciple – could it be that God who created him with love knew he would not repent -which by the way is an interesting word, it implies you must turn. Jesus said unless YOU repent you will all likewise perish. Other scriptures state you must repent. Why would you need to repent if God has elected you to be His, wouldn’t you just need to start following instead of having to personally repent. Because it ALWAYS comes BEFORE salvation. oops a little off the subject 🙂 ) Judus – was He not of the 12 Jesus chose and the Father gave Him (like scripture states) then why did Jesus say of the twelve one is a devil and another time not one of us. This is to much to get into … but suffice to say the Father gave them to Jesus, and Jesus even said He chose them but one was not of them. Do you think it could be what Jesus spoke of when He said “Many are called but few are chosen.” But they were not rejoicing in this but stating a fact that God knew it was something Judas would do, and it went perfectly in line with what the Father fore-saw and planned it’s outcome.

    Regarding John 10 – Jesus being the door and shepard He said in vs 9 that if any man enter in (by Him) shall be saved, going in and out finding pasture (became one of the fold) So a person must enter in through Christ, and it states ANY man indicating whomever, not a specified people. It is fairly clear that a chioce is made to enter and is made clearer when Jesus states to the Jews who did not know who He was that unless you choose to believe He is and who He says He is, you are not of His sheep. Rom 10:21 show that God reached out to ALL of Israel and they REJECTED His Christ. Jesus states they are not His sheep because they do not believe, again something they have not choosen to do. vs 38 sums it up.

    Regarding the “all men without exception do NOT have “the same chance.” Where does Scripture teach such a thing?”
    GOD WOULD THAT NONE SHOULD PERISH BUT THAT ALL SHOULD COME TO REPENTENCE. Just one of many. And yes this answer does follow the rules for exegesis, so it is not out of context.

    You said “To say this is to infer that there is more than one way to be saved…” That is a silly statement. It can only mean that if I stated all religions were true, or any view ect. Either God lied when He had the author pen that and others or He ment what He said. I never said said grace is common however there are not multiple types of Grace. God must do everything to draw you, enlighten you, and present you to Himself, I simply said from that point (where we would never go ourselves) we must either repent and believe or reject.

    IF grace was irrestiable then why does Paul pray for the salvation of his all his brethren (Jews) since they have rejected Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the one inspirring him to write his epistle and HE (Holy Spirit) had him write this after he just penned things concerning election. Could it be there may be more to it than either side wants to admit? Just a thought

    You said
    “You wrote: I agree… which is why you will see me stating (…both sides) As I stated earlier: I believe both are correct but unwilling to hear each other.

    But you have not demonstrated that both are correct.”
    Actually I have over and over but you must take off you glasses of absolute sovereinty and election (from your persective) and see it from where I an coming from. I did not say blindly through you understanding out the window, but listen. I will simply refer to what I have writen in each article.

    You said “If God does not draw us effectually, Allen, then why does Jesus say that the ones drawn by the Father WILL be raised on the last day. He should have stated “some of those” drawn by the Father will be raised on the last day.”

    Vs 40 This is the will of the Father, that everyone that seeth the Son,
    AND beleiveth on Him may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up on the last day. Jesus paraphrased what He said just a few verses before. Everyone that seeth the Son (is an obvious statement of His drawing by which we of our own would never do) but the AND believe is harder to swallow if you hold to irresistable grace because this statement of itself is one by definition shows choice. He reiterates this with His teaching of the flesh and blood needing to be partaken of. He choice of wording showing it is something you must partake of, again it is something you must chose to do. Otherwise Jesus would has said something like: those whom the Father gave me will share of my flesh and blood, or will be partakers of… thus showing it was election and not a choice. Again though… I DO NOT believe we pick and choose when, where, or how we are saved. It is ONLY when the Father via the Holy Spirit draws us, enlightens us, and reveals Himself to us that we have at that moment an eternal choice.

    Concerning your closing I will state again, reread.(not being sarcastic but I have stated over and over the answer to your question) Free choice is when God has done all to draw, enlighten, and reveal, where in our sin nature we would never seek. but once there through the mercy of God (since He did the drawing) I can accept or reject His offer. Yes grace is resistable – examples majoity of the OT concerning Israel and it’s rejection of God who chose them, Judas (Jesus – Have I not chosen you and one of you is (of) the devil. Paul praying for the Jews to be save that rejected Jesus. and others.) I do answer with God’s grace because it states you must believe 🙂 Got to go Work calls – third shift too. 10pm – 6 am. Yes I am at work but (thank God) my boss does not mind in the slow times that I get on and read and study God’s Word. I love my Saviour not because of what I done nor who I am, but because of what He did and who He is – to paraphrase a song. To God be ALL glory and honor – Amen.

  26. Kirk Says:

    As a former SBCer and nearly 20 year member of Dick Lincoln’s church in SC before moving out of state, I would bet that he probably had not thought through the theological implications of claiming that the number of the elect can be changed. I doubt he’s ever read anything about open theism to have intended to embrace it, and many times, between his attacks on Calvinism (which usually consisted of slanderous and historically flawed attacks on John Calvin himself), have heard him affirm God’s sovereignty (of course he empties it of meaning, but he doesn’t see that) and say that how God is sovereign and man has “free will” is a mystery, which would put him in the (poorly reasoned) Norm Geisler camp. This latest attack of his seems to be a new one, but many of his closest friends are solid presbyterian pastors who I’m sure have talked to him about Calvinism. After being in his church for almost 20 years, I can tell you that the man is an enigma. A gifted preacher who has built a theologically conservative church that is passionate about evangelism, and yet he makes some of the most easily avoided blunders like you see here.

    All I can say is that I’m not sorry to have left the SBC. And I’ll drink to that!

  27. Allan Says:

    I love you all… To best sum up my personal stance and beleif I will allow C.H. Spurgon speak for me (a well know Prince of Preachers and Calvanist if you will)

    It has been quoted on this site from Spurgeon:
    —I wish to be called nothing but a Christian; but if you ask me, do I hold the doctrinal views which were held by John Calvin, I reply, I do in the main hold them, and rejoice to avow it.

    But if you will finish reading his sermon you will see what He preaches is the same as what I beieve concerning Gods soverienty and man responcibility (I do think the word choice is a bad word, but man choosing submission) Read on:

    But far be it from me even to imagine that Zion contains none but Calvinistic Christians within her walls, or that there are none saved who do not hold our views. Most atrocious things have been spoken about the character and spiritual condition of John Wesley, the modern prince of Arminians. I can only say concerning him that, while I detest many of the doctrines which he preached, yet for the man himself I have a reverence second to no Wesleyan; and if there were wanted two apostles to be added to the number of the twelve, I do not believe that there could be found two men more fit to be so added than George Whitefield and John Wesley. The character of John Wesley stands beyond all imputation for self-sacrifice, zeal, holiness, and communion with God; he lived far above the ordinary level of common Christians, and was one “of whom the world was not worthy.” I believe there are multitudes of men who cannot see these truths, or, at least, cannot see them in the way in which we put them, who nevertheless have received Christ as their Saviour, and are as dear to the heart of the God of grace as the soundest Calvinist in or out of Heaven.
    I do not think I differ from any of my Hyper-Calvinistic brethren in what I do believe, but I differ from them in what they do not believe. I do not hold any less than they do, but I hold a little more, and, I think, a little more of the truth revealed in the Scriptures. Not only are there a few cardinal doctrines, by which we can steer our ship North, South, East, or West, but as we study the Word, we shall begin to learn something about the North-west and North-east, and all else that lies between the four cardinal points. The system of truth revealed in the Scriptures is not simply one straight line, but two; and no man will ever get a right view of the gospel until he knows how to look at the two lines at once. For instance, I read in one Book of the Bible, “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Yet I am taught, in another part of the same inspired Word, that “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” I see, in one place, God in providence presiding over all, and yet I see, and I cannot help seeing, that man acts as he pleases, and that God has left his actions, in a great measure, to his own free-will. Now, if I were to declare that man was so free to act that there was no control of God over his actions, I should be driven very near to atheism; and if, on the other hand, I should declare that God so over-rules all things that man is not free enough to be responsible, I should be driven at once into Antinomianism or fatalism. That God predestines, and yet that man is responsible, are two facts that few can see clearly. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory to each other. If, then, I find taught in one part of the Bible that everything is fore-ordained, that is true; and if I find, in another Scripture, that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is only my folly that leads me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each other. I do not believe they can ever be welded into one upon any earthly anvil, but they certainly shall be one in eternity. They are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the human mind which pursues them farthest will never discover that they converge, but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring.

    Copied from Spurgeon sermon on Calvanism.

  28. Timmy Says:

    Allan,

    I appreciate your contribution to the discussion. Spurgeon has a wealth of wisdom and insight for all of us today. Thanks for that great excerpt.

    I apologize for not getting back to your latest comments. I simply have not had the time to think through everthing you said while at the same time considering what others had already said in response to your comments (in particular Gene’s comment). Since the SBC annual meeting, my mind has been pressed heavily on some issues that have concerned me. Thanks again for your comments, and I hope you have found SBF a helpful and edifying place to discuss theology for the purpose of knowing God better and thus glorifying Him in our thoughts and actions.

  29. Allan Says:

    Timmy

    Love ya brother,
    I was not intending to try to sway anyone or (to be honest) actually have anyone “speak” with me. I am not here for the debate (but I do love good ones) I only wished to say that I encourage you in your faith and stance in the Word, even though I don’t hold exactly to the form you do.

    We can beleive and be the brothers we are, so the Kingdom work may be finished before the night falls. You may comment on mine if you wish but and would love to hear it, but you don’t have to.

    Remember this please, everyone
    Just because some are not with you does not mean they are not of you.

    God bless, and to Him be all honor, glory, power, and praise!

  30. J W MAJORS Says:

    Of course God orders and controls all human deeds just as he orders and controls all else in his universe. It is only human perversity that denies this . Men resent the prerogatives of Deity. Calvinism is spreading because it is God’s remedy for a mostly corrupt church. However,the main enemy of the Baptist Churches is not Calvinism. It is the Pelegian mega-churches that are treading on the territory of the Arminian churches. You can expect more dog and pony shows and circuses for the Baptist and other Arminian churches as they strive to keep up with the competition.

  31. Allan Says:

    Again JW, if that is true (everyone in their own camp theologies, one right all others wrong— this to me is folly) then great men of God like C.H. Spurgeon who were scholars, educated, and biblical men would not work well in many present day calvanist circles. I will reduce Spurgeons sermon to this point on this from his sermon on calvanism.

    …That God predestines, and yet that man is responsible, are two facts that few can see clearly. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory to each other. If, then, I find taught in one part of the Bible that everything is fore-ordained, that is true; and if I find, in another Scripture, that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is only my folly that leads me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each other…


Comments are closed.


%d bloggers like this: