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#1 Pastor Tex

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 07:32 PM

Do you believe in election? Also known as predestination?
Or, do you believe in free will when it comes to salvation?
~ Pastor Tex

#2 Julie Daube

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 07:02 AM

To be honest, I'm not completely sure. There are probably Scripture verses that can be used to support both doctrinal positions. When Paul told the jailer in Acts 16, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved," it sounds a lot like the jailer was free to choose to believe. In my own life, Jesus entered my heart one night while I was in my room praying (I was 16 at the time). I had heard the gospel in bits and pieces as part of my Catholic upbringing, but no one up to that point had ever told me that I needed to make a decision to receive Jesus. So it sounds a little like predestination. About 10 years later, God connected me with an evangelical Christian who shared the gospel with me through the EE presentation. The person led me through the sinner's prayer, but I sensed that I was already saved.
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#3 RuthAnn Nicholls

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 10:13 AM

Do you believe in election? Also known as predestination?
Or, do you believe in free will when it comes to salvation?
~ Pastor Tex


This is a difficult question.

Paul talks about the elect. There is much in the scriptures that seems to say the elect are predestined to salvation.

On the other hand Jesus tells us to believe, to abide, that our faith should be big!

From reading the Bible through about 3 times, I get the sense that we have decisions in our spiritual destiny. But the verses that argue this idea are there too.

This would be an interesting discussion for me.
“I want to live my life so that every morning
when I wake up Satan says, “Oh, no! She’s awake!”

#4 joe4jcnow

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 07:35 AM

Take a few minutes and think back to the day in which you actually "believed" in Christ. Was there something that you did to cause you to "believe" in Christ? Was it within your power to make yourself "believe" in Christ? If you are honest with yourself you will have to answer, "I don't know what caused me to actually "believe" in Christ, one day I just "believed". The answer to this question lies in John 6:29, Jesus answered and said unto them, "This the work of God, that you "believe" on him whom He hath sent." The word "work" in the Greek means,"to toil as an effort or occupation, an act, a labor, a work". If this is in fact true(you can look it up in Strong's concordance to verify) Jesus said, "This is the occupation of God, this is the labor of God, this is an act of God, that you believe on Him whom He has sent." Jesus said in John 7:16,"My doctrine(teaching)is not mine, but His that sent me." In John 8:28, Jesus said,"When you have lifted up the son of man, then shall you know that I am, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father has taught me, I speak these things." He also said in John 12:49-50,"For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment, what I should say and what I should speak(teach).And I know that His commandment is eternal life: whatsoever I speak therfore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak". Now read Acts 13. Pay close attention to vs.48. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad,and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained(to arrange in an orderly manner)to eternal life "believed". Therefore, who are the "Believers"? But those who have been ordained to eternal life. God speaking to David in 1 Chronicles 28:6, And He said unto me, Solomon thy son, he shall build My house and My courts: for I have chosen him to be My son and I will be his Father. Who therefore does the choosing of His sons, causing them to believe on Him ? Not at all hard to understand. I posted this in Deeper Life and in the Theological Roundtable. The scriptures are self explanatory about this subject, and God Himself proves it. Go to the One whos job it is to lead us and guide us to the Truth, The Holy Spirit. There are a tremendous amount scriptures that back this up, all we have to do is ask.

#5 David Love

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 09:02 AM

Interesting thread. I've joked in the past that I'm a freewill predestinationalist. I'd be hard pressed to answer any different today. Where scripture presents both sides of this issue, we should present both sides of this issue.

In Christ,

Dave

#6 Dan Morrow

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 10:01 PM

Seems to me the predestination/election conundrum is created by our attempts to impose our (artificial) notion of time on the discussion.

We see the river of time from the perspective of a leaf caught in the current. God sees the river of time as if viewing it from Space. What we see as past, present and future (where we have been, where we are, and where we are going), God sees as all at once. Gods present tense includes the past, present and future simultaneously. Simply put, God is not bound in time as we are. He was quite serious when he described himself as the "I AM" (present tense).

My take is that if we look at the predestination issue from GODs perspective, we could argue that we are both elected AND have free will.... The conundrum doesn't exist.

#7 joe4jcnow

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 05:07 AM

It seems to me that the "Scriptures" are very self explanatory on their own. They do not impose an (artificial notion) of anything on anyone. God Himself, sees "His" children, as "He" created them. Then He tells them who they are. The only conundrum that exists, exists only in the mind of those who refuse to believe the Truth of The Word of God. God Himself told Jeremiah,(Jer. 1:4&5) THEN "THE WORD OF THE LORD" came unto me, saying, "Before "I" formed you in the belly I knew you; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee(dedicated you,set you apart,regarded you as holy), and "I" ordained you(gave you,fastened you, appointed you) a prophet to the nations." Ephesians 1:4&5, According as "He" hath chosen us(selected us)in Him "BEFORE" the foundation(conception) of the world, that we be holy and without blame before Him in love. Having "predestinated" "us" unto the adoption of children(To be Placed as a Son) By Jesus Christ To Himself According to the good pleasure of His Will(His Purpose). WHAT PART OF "BEFORE" DO WE NOT UNDERSTAND??? WHAT DOES "BEFORE" MEAN??? Matthew 13:36-38; The "Parable of the tares." Then Jesus sent the multitudes away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto Him, saying, Declare(Make Plain) unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them(THIS IS "HIS" EXPLANATION-MAKING IT PLAIN FOR THEM TO UNDERSTAND) "He that soweth the "good seed"(the virtuous remnant)(you can look all these up in the Greek and Hebrew[Strong's concordance] is The Son of Man(who is the son of man?)(Jesus); the field is the world; the "good seed" "ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM"......... EITHER CHRIST LIED TO US, OR HE TOLD US THE TRUTH, AND HE, "I AM THE WAY,"THE TRUTH", AND THE LIGHT....IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM TO LIE.... CAN WE NOT JUST TAKE HIM AT HIS WORD ??? (John 10:27) JESUS SAID,"MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE AND I KNOW THEM".... "DO YOU HEAR HIS VOICE" ?

#8 RuthAnn Nicholls

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 08:50 AM

Take a few minutes and think back to the day in which you actually "believed" in Christ. Was there something that you did to cause you to "believe" in Christ? Was it within your power to make yourself "believe" in Christ? If you are honest with yourself you will have to answer, "I don't know what caused me to actually "believe" in Christ, one day I just "believed". The answer to this question lies in John 6:29, Jesus answered and said unto them, "This the work of God, that you "believe" on him whom He hath sent." The word "work" in the Greek means,"to toil as an effort or occupation, an act, a labor, a work". If this is in fact true(you can look it up in Strong's concordance to verify) Jesus said, "This is the occupation of God, this is the labor of God, this is an act of God, that you believe on Him whom He has sent." Jesus said in John 7:16,"My doctrine(teaching)is not mine, but His that sent me." In John 8:28, Jesus said,"When you have lifted up the son of man, then shall you know that I am, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father has taught me, I speak these things." He also said in John 12:49-50,"For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment, what I should say and what I should speak(teach).And I know that His commandment is eternal life: whatsoever I speak therfore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak". Now read Acts 13. Pay close attention to vs.48. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad,and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained(to arrange in an orderly manner)to eternal life "believed". Therefore, who are the "Believers"? But those who have been ordained to eternal life. God speaking to David in 1 Chronicles 28:6, And He said unto me, Solomon thy son, he shall build My house and My courts: for I have chosen him to be My son and I will be his Father. Who therefore does the choosing of His sons, causing them to believe on Him ? Not at all hard to understand. I posted this in Deeper Life and in the Theological Roundtable. The scriptures are self explanatory about this subject, and God Himself proves it. Go to the One whos job it is to lead us and guide us to the Truth, The Holy Spirit. There are a tremendous amount scriptures that back this up, all we have to do is ask.

I cannot remember when I did not believe. But I do remember when I was 7 and debating whether or not to commit myself to Jesus at junior church. That was when I did decide and I went forward and sealed it with Him.
“I want to live my life so that every morning
when I wake up Satan says, “Oh, no! She’s awake!”

#9 RuthAnn Nicholls

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 09:00 AM

Seems to me the predestination/election conundrum is created by our attempts to impose our (artificial) notion of time on the discussion.

We see the river of time from the perspective of a leaf caught in the current. God sees the river of time as if viewing it from Space. What we see as past, present and future (where we have been, where we are, and where we are going), God sees as all at once. Gods present tense includes the past, present and future simultaneously. Simply put, God is not bound in time as we are. He was quite serious when he described himself as the "I AM" (present tense).

My take is that if we look at the predestination issue from GODs perspective, we could argue that we are both elected AND have free will.... The conundrum doesn't exist.


These kinds of questions about doctrine are interesting. But I put them in perspective. They are not issues that make me accept of reject (or anyone else, I think) the Savior.

But I like understanding what scripture tells me. This one, I have prayed for wisdom about and it's still foggy. But don't we all like to think we can fully understand God and his abilities and His nature? Can we? I don't think we can fully grasp him. And this, I think, is a man made conundrum.

I think this answer from you best explains how I see it. Thanks, Dan.

There is a verse that I thought said this too.
Let me see if I can find it.
Rom. 8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

I think this fits with your post, Dan.
Of course I could be very wrong. But that's where I stand now.
“I want to live my life so that every morning
when I wake up Satan says, “Oh, no! She’s awake!”

#10 Bob Kjelland

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 02:27 PM

I am new to CMA and am curious if the denomination has an "official" position on this doctrine.

#11 Mark Wood

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 01:28 AM

No, its considered an "open" question.

#12 Marvin Harrell

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 07:00 AM

I grew up in the United Methodist tradition. then in college went to Allegheny Center Alliance Church. Was baptized in "Turnbull's Lake". After college left the UMC and went to a couple of charismatic churches. Now I am part of a "conservative remnant" in the PCUSA.

Armenian or Calvinistic theology? How about Calvi-menian?

I had a guy ask for a buck so he could buy a burger. I gave him a buck. He said "you a Christian?" I said, "Well I do love Jesus." I think I fall to the point of both have scripture to back it up, and neither conflict with the other. So I love Jesus because he chose me, and I love him because I choose to, and there are days I struggle with loving him with my actions to his other kids, and those that don't know him yet.
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#13 Nathan Lauffer

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Posted 25 September 2010 - 11:10 AM

You could also consider Molinism. AKA God's Middle Knowledge. This is not necessarily my view but this is a third option.

#14 Denes House

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 07:05 AM

Cal-minianism isn't really a workable position, because the central question of the debate is, "do people have any sort of say in whether or not they are saved?" Calvinism says no, Arminianism says yes. Neither one believes that the "say" that people have is determinative in salvation - both believe that salvation is by God's grace first and last, and that no one simply by choosing can be saved. But there's really no middle ground here between no and yes. Either people have some choice in the matter, or they don't. It's possible that neither one is correct, because they are both asking the wrong question. But they can't both be correct.

The best book I've read on the question is Roger Olson's "Arminian Theology", published by InterVarsity Press. Obviously, he argues the Arminian side of the debate, but the book is helpful to both sides, if for no other reason than that he frames the questions involved very clearly.
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#15 Marvin Harrell

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 08:29 PM

Cal-minianism isn't really a workable position, because the central question of the debate is, "do people have any sort of say in whether or not they are saved?" Calvinism says no, Arminianism says yes. Neither one believes that the "say" that people have is determinative in salvation - both believe that salvation is by God's grace first and last, and that no one simply by choosing can be saved. But there's really no middle ground here between no and yes. Either people have some choice in the matter, or they don't. It's possible that neither one is correct, because they are both asking the wrong question. But they can't both be correct.

The best book I've read on the question is Roger Olson's "Arminian Theology", published by InterVarsity Press. Obviously, he argues the Arminian side of the debate, but the book is helpful to both sides, if for no other reason than that he frames the questions involved very clearly.


Hi Denes! Glad to see you back! Love the graphics for the the alife article by the way--oh to have your mad skeels! I think they are looking to include it in the online version, though I do recall seeing that one of the articles can't be posted due to the subject matter. Anyhow...

I appreciate the recommendation of that book for sure. I'll need to check it out. I've not been one to intentionally and deliberately study the differences in the Calvinistic or Armenian positions--just lived in both worlds. I like your thought regarding both asking the wrong question, and have not considered that point that they can't both be correct until just this moment. Either one is right, the other is wrong, or both are wrong. But both can't be right. Really great way to communicate that. Guess that is why I love these forums. Do you or anyone else have additional books to consider regarding this often challenging issue?
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#16 joe4jcnow

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 04:18 AM

Why do the world's so called best "theologians" and "relgious" people have to put you into one of two categories, Calvanism or Armenianism? Why can you just not be someone's Son or Daughter??? Should we not believe what Christ taught? Matthew 13:36-43. Plain and simple...
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#17 Denes House

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 06:01 AM

Hi Denes! Glad to see you back! Love the graphics for the the alife article by the way--oh to have your mad skeels! I think they are looking to include it in the online version, though I do recall seeing that one of the articles can't be posted due to the subject matter. Anyhow...

I appreciate the recommendation of that book for sure. I'll need to check it out. I've not been one to intentionally and deliberately study the differences in the Calvinistic or Armenian positions--just lived in both worlds. I like your thought regarding both asking the wrong question, and have not considered that point that they can't both be correct until just this moment. Either one is right, the other is wrong, or both are wrong. But both can't be right. Really great way to communicate that. Guess that is why I love these forums. Do you or anyone else have additional books to consider regarding this often challenging issue?


Thanks, Marvin! I have pneumonia, so I am on doctor-ordered bed rest, giving me time to get back in to the forum. I'm glad to be back. And I'm glad you like the story in aLife! My first graphic story cannot be posted on the web, but I am pretty sure the one in this issue will be. They were fun to do, and it's wonderful to actually use my drawing skills toward a productive end.

I personally *don't* think they are asking the wrong question, but I do have to hold it as a possibility. I'll try to think of some other books on the topic, but Olson's is the best I've seen.


Why do the world's so called best "theologians" and "relgious" people have to put you into one of two categories, Calvanism or Armenianism? Why can you just not be someone's Son or Daughter??? Should we not believe what Christ taught? Matthew 13:36-43. Plain and simple...


Thanks for the reply, jcnow. I don't think that people have to be put into one of those two categories. I think people can live their lives as faithful Christians and not ever dig deeply into the theological debate on this issue. That said, the reason this debate endures is not because people just like to argue or categorize others. It's in part because we *do* want to believe what Christ taught (both in His words on this earth and in the rest of the Scriptures that His Spirit inspired) and in some places, it's *not* plain and simple. Or, perhaps a better way to put it is that there are two broad streams of interpretation, both seeking to be true to the Scriptures and to our Lord Jesus Christ, both seeking to glorify Him and proclaim the Good News, but on reading the Bible coming to two very different conclusions. They can't both be right, but both "sides" seem to have a significant portion of the Scriptures supporting their interpretation. Both sincerely see their interpretation as correct, and while they recognize that those in the other camp are brothers and sisters, they can't agree on this point while staying true to what they see the Bible saying.
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#18 joe4jcnow

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 01:11 PM

Hi Denes, Thank you for the kind reply. I have studied both sides of these beliefs and it is understandable to be confused about this subject. But God is not the author of confusion. What changed my theological belief was when in a tragic time in my life, I had ruined my marriage, destroyed my relationship with my two children, destroyed my health, my ability to even be able to work, could not even take care of myself. Everything in my life was dying because of sin in my life. Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death"... In other words, "your wages"(what you get paid) for your sin is death... Sin produces death, it cannot produce anything else... Thats a law. I was reaping what I had sowed... Nobody's fault but my own. God was showing me the truth of His Word... Showing me the absolute consistency of His Word... The faithfulness of His Word... It was at this time in my life, when all I was capable of doing was crying out to God, and hope that somehow, someway, He would hear my prayer and perhaps forgive me one more time. This was after walking with Him for 15 years. Not being perfect by any means, but knowing and experiencing more than most Christians do. Many miraculous things had God done in my life, and yet I still at times struggled with sin. Deep down inside I really didn't know, just like most Christians really do not know who they truly are. I was in prayer one day, lifting my children up to God asking Him to take care of them, because I was incapable of even taking care of myself. When it came to praying for my Son, a pain from within pressed on me greatly, I had never felt this kind of pain before, deep from within. I started telling the Lord how much I disappointed and hurt my Son, and how angry he was with me. The Holy Spirit just broke in on my conversation and said these words to me..."It doesn't matter what your Son says about you, it doesn't matter what your Son thinks about you, it doesn't even matter what your Son believes, about you... He can never change the fact, the truth, that you will always be his father, and he will always be your Son, and YOU JOE WILL ALWAYS BE MY SON". Your theology will change when God Himself tells you, "You will always be my Son". Over the last 9 years I have been on a mission, to let those Christians, that have been beaten down by the enemy, beaten down, condemned by the church,condemned by religion, who they truly are. Share with them what Jesus Himself told His disciples in Matthew 13:36-43. The scriptures are much easier to understand, when you understand Whos' you are...Build the foundation the right way before building the house... if not the house will fall... Sincerely, In Christ
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#19 Tina Shaff

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 09:11 AM

I believe in both election and predestination. Because He knew me before I was created, and knew me as He created me in my mother's womb and the decision I would feeely choose to make, when He would offer me His gift of grace 13 years later - so He predestined me at that time. He says in His Word,He chose me; His word also says, faith is a gift. I think I am thankful, and it is a 'hair' that I am not going to split.
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#20 Denes House

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 09:24 AM

Tina, thanks for your thoughtful post! The truth is, every Bible-believing Christian, whether Calvinistic in leaning or Arminian, believes in some form of predestination and election, and in some kind of human choice. The description you have given is one Arminian explanation of the interaction between predestination and human choice. I think it is an excellent one, but it is not a middle position between Calvinism and Arminianism. It's basic Arminianism.

Now, that's fine with me! And I'm glad it's fine with you, too. :)
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