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#1 Barb Shaub

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 07:21 AM

Does scripture teach that God elects some to receive salvation and some to not receive salvation from creation? Isn't it a combination of both God's Sovereignty and man's free will (which is given by God)? This is hard to grasp how this can be but so is trinity. Man's finite wisdom can not grasp God's infinite wisdom. No matter how much I study, pray, ask God and others nothing answers this question absolutely. I know the answer (if it is God's will for me to know) has to come from HIM alone through prayer and scripture. While I continue to wait I confess this doctrine robs me of my peace with God, my ability to study without prejudice and is greatly discerning when I share the gospel with others. I want to hide this doctrine from love ones because I don't want them to be robbed of peace nor cause them the stress that this is causing me. In the finite mind I think scripture does teach election. The Israelities where God's elect to receive His laws. But it seems to me the NT scripture teach (Ro 10:13, Mk 16:15-16 etc.) whosoever will come may but also Jn 6:44 says, no one can come unless the Father draws him and Ep 1:4-6 speaks of predestination. But when we take all of scripture OT and NT and look at God's character His plan is redemption for all mankind. Wasn't Jesus predestined by God to die on the cross yet didn't Jesus reveal at Gethsemane His struggle to obey, His free will and His choosing the cross. Did God create all men with the faith to believe, free will, and then give all men the opportunity to exercise that free will? And isn't this God's Sovereignty? And isn't this because God is all knowing therefore even before He created man He knew who would accept faith, believe and His atoning work through Christ as their way to HIM. Isn't EVERY GOOD THING a gift from God - faith, believe and eternal life? When a doctrine weakends ones faith causes doubt isn't that an instrument of the devil?

#2 JimmyS

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 11:12 AM

It is interesting that you are bringing up this topic because I have been struggling with the same thing and notice that my peace is also disturbed all the time while trying to figure this out. I agree with your view that they coexist God's sovereignty and man's freewill. I do not think that one comes to the view of calvinism by just reading the bible, and that is why I believe that it is extrabiblical. ANyway, I could say a lot about this, but I don't really want to get into it. I agree with you though.

#3 Speilb

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:24 PM

A.W. Tozer starts out his book "The Pursuit of God" with this...
Christian theology teaches the doctrine of prevenient grace, which briefly stated means this, that before a man can seek God, God must first have sought the man.

Before a sinful man can think a right thought of God, there must have been a work of enlightenment done within him; imperfect it may be, but a true work nonetheless, and the secret cause of all desiring and seeking and praying which may follow.

We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit. “No man can come to me,” said our Lord, “except the Father which hath sent me draw him,” and it is by this very prevenient drawing that God takes from us every vestige of credit for the act of coming. The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after Him; and all the time we are pursuing Him we are already in His hand: “Thy right hand upholdeth me.”

In this divine “upholding” and human “following” there is no contradiction. All is of God, for as von Huegel teaches, God is always previous. In practice, however, (that is, where God’s previous working meets man’s present response) man must pursue God. On our part there must be positive reciprocation if this secret drawing of God is to eventuate in identifiable experience of the Divine. In the warm language of personal feeling this is stated in the Forty-second Psalm: “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” This is deep calling unto deep, and the longing heart will understand it.


Please do not get distracted by this debate. The fact is Scripture clearly teaches predestination. Secondly the scripture contains even more concerning our need to choose God. We are therefore to understand that we are predestined and that we must also choose.

On a practical level; Never ever ever say or allow yourself to think "I am so smart that I justified God in my own mind and therefore became a Christian" instead thank God that he chose you. Secondly, seek to make your calling an election sure, study to show yourself approved, come near to God, do what he says and therefore show you are His child. We all have very limited brains so lets not expect we will understand intersections of predestination and free-will as God does. Instead lets just rest in the fact God has given us everything we need on the practical level to both trust and obey.
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#4 JimmyS

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 07:30 PM

A.W. Tozer starts out his book "The Pursuit of God" with this...
Christian theology teaches the doctrine of prevenient grace, which briefly stated means this, that before a man can seek God, God must first have sought the man.

Before a sinful man can think a right thought of God, there must have been a work of enlightenment done within him; imperfect it may be, but a true work nonetheless, and the secret cause of all desiring and seeking and praying which may follow.

We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit. “No man can come to me,” said our Lord, “except the Father which hath sent me draw him,” and it is by this very prevenient drawing that God takes from us every vestige of credit for the act of coming. The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after Him; and all the time we are pursuing Him we are already in His hand: “Thy right hand upholdeth me.”

In this divine “upholding” and human “following” there is no contradiction. All is of God, for as von Huegel teaches, God is always previous. In practice, however, (that is, where God’s previous working meets man’s present response) man must pursue God. On our part there must be positive reciprocation if this secret drawing of God is to eventuate in identifiable experience of the Divine. In the warm language of personal feeling this is stated in the Forty-second Psalm: “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” This is deep calling unto deep, and the longing heart will understand it.


Please do not get distracted by this debate. The fact is Scripture clearly teaches predestination. Secondly the scripture contains even more concerning our need to choose God. We are therefore to understand that we are predestined and that we must also choose.

On a practical level; Never ever ever say or allow yourself to think "I am so smart that I justified God in my own mind and therefore became a Christian" instead thank God that he chose you. Secondly, seek to make your calling an election sure, study to show yourself approved, come near to God, do what he says and therefore show you are His child. We all have very limited brains so lets not expect we will understand intersections of predestination and free-will as God does. Instead lets just rest in the fact God has given us everything we need on the practical level to both trust and obey.

very well said

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:43 PM

For those of you struggling with election and free will, you have just received the best explanation that I have heard in laymen's terms so far. God has to move upon a persons heart in order for them to seek him, and that person has to respond out of their free will to accept the bidding of God for them to come to him. No man can know God, except through revelation. He has to reveal himself to them. Sin has put a veil of unbelief upon our spiritual eyes, that we may not see what is spiritual. We are natural men and women, until we become born anew by the Spirit of God, so we have no ability before then to know the things of God!

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#6 JoAnn M

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 02:54 PM

This is a great questions. To seek a better understanding of God and His ways is not only good but is a desire built into us by God. However we must at all times remember that we can not comprehend God. We can come to know Him better but we can not know Him fully because our finite minds can not grasp the infinite. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try - reaching to God and searching for answers helps us to grow. I too love Tozer's answer to the question of predestination and choice, but it is also important to remember that the answer does not have to be either/or. Are we saved by predestination or choice/free will? The answer to the question is YES. The human mind wants everything to be neat and tidy and doesn't deal well with seeming contradictions. But God is so much bigger than we are and what may seem a contradiction to us is not to God. If we could fully understand God and His ways, then He would not be worthy of our worship! There is another appropriate Tozer quote on this discussion, from Knowledge of the Holy. Though the quote is directed at the unfathomable Trinity it applies here as well. "The doctrine of the Trinity is truth for the heart. The spirit of man alone can enter through the veil and penetrate into that Holy of Holies. “Let me seek Thee in longing,” pleaded Anselm, “let me long for Thee in seeking; let me find Thee in love, and love Thee in finding.” Love and faith are at home in the mystery of the Godhead. Let reason kneel in reverence outside. This is something I return to again and again when I find myself trying to understand that which can not be understood. Sometimes we must surrender ourselves to God and remember that it is enough that God knows and all I need to do is trust God for what I don't understand. Ps 46:10 says it best "Be still and know that I AM God". It is good to 'contend' with God and seek to know His ways but in the end we must rest in the knowledge that God knows and that God loves us and not stress about the things we don't understand.

If this search for answers is causing you to lose your peace then it has become a problem for you. Perhaps you have gone from seeking God to seeking human understanding of the things of God. Seeking God should never cause you to lose your peace. True peace is of God - John 4: 27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
Remember that we are not meant to understand everything in this life. Sometimes we must come to God and say I don't understand and then be still and know that He is God. Take some time to dwell on WHO God is and questions will fade into the back ground in the glow of the glory of our God.

Are we saved by predestination? Yes- Eph 1:4,5 "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ"
Are we saved when we choose to come to God? Yes- John 3:16 "For God so love the world that He gave His only Son that WHOEVER believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life".

The answer to both is yes. The answer to both is God. Accept that God is beyond our understanding. Seek Him and then rest in the knowledge that He is in control and we don't have to comprehend all the mysteries of faith, simple believe in God. "Be still and know".

I am praying for God to bring His peace to you.

#7 Charles Miles

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 07:25 AM

I am new to the site and although a "Christan" for 59years, only recently arrived at a personal relationship with the Father because of a long fling with moral assent. Raised Baptist but now a Prebyterian elder, I have worked through the predestination discussion with several people. The Father would that none should perish, but all have everlasting life. Yes, God knows who will and who will not accept the wooing He presents to all, but as humans living on the earth, we do not. The Father loves us to a level we simply cannot appreciate....loves us so much and gave us free will to love Him or reject Him. Those of us who love the Lord( because He loved us first) need to understand that free will is very hard to handle, and is best dealt with by simply giving this powerful choice making ability back to the one who gave it to us originally( as best we can). I think all are wooed but not all accept, for many reason, none of which make sense to me now. The Father is quick to forgive a repentant heart and is full of grace and long suffering. Thank God for this long suffering part! The gospel is so simple that many simply miss it in all the rules and creeds we are exposed to these days. Predestination, election, yes...and also a call to Everyman to accept a sacrifice so precious, so beautiful, so complete, so unwarranted, that many just can't believe it.
In Christ's love,
Charles Miles MD

#8 Charles Miles

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 07:28 AM

I am new to the site and although a "Christan" for 59years, only recently arrived at a personal relationship with the Father because of a long fling with moral assent. Raised Baptist but now a Prebyterian elder, I have worked through the predestination discussion with several people. The Father would that none should perish, but all have everlasting life. Yes, God knows who will and who will not accept the wooing He presents to all, but as humans living on the earth, we do not. The Father loves us to a level we simply cannot appreciate....loves us so much and gave us free will to love Him or reject Him. Those of us who love the Lord( because He loved us first) need to understand that free will is very hard to handle, and is best dealt with by simply giving this powerful choice making ability back to the one who gave it to us originally( as best we can). I think all are wooed but not all accept, for many reasons, none of which make sense to me now. The Father is quick to forgive a repentant heart and is full of grace and long suffering. Thank God for this long suffering part! The gospel is so simple that many simply miss it in all the rules and creeds we are exposed to these days. Predestination, election, yes...and also a call to Everyman to accept a sacrifice so precious, so beautiful, so complete, so unwarranted, that many just can't believe it.
In Christ's love,
Charles Miles MD

#9 StevePage

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 06:26 AM

In my humble opinion an absolute doctrine of election/predestination can only be seen as being valid if the Bible is viewed exclusively through the eyes of the Reformers and those they have influenced. If viewed through the eyes of the Old Testament stories, the Old Testament prophets and the Old Testament main characters we won't see it as a viable doctrine.

Was Adam predestined to eat from the tree of life? Was Cain predestined to murder Abel? Did God foreordain that man would be so sinful that he would cause the flood? Were the ten tribes destined to be lost? In each of those cases we see that choices were made by people.
Abraham made a choice to stay in covenant with God. He stumbled, and the Lord showed grace, but Abraham always returned to covenant. God did call Abraham but Abraham had to chose to be party to the covenant and had to agree to the conditions of the covenant. Later Israel was told of the Mosaic covenant and they could choose to agree to it or not.

Certainly Israel was elected. But Israel was elected because God wanted a nation that would a light to all other nations, of course Israel failed in that role, never the less it was the role that Israel had so that all nations could turn to God. Remember that though Israel was God's chosen nation, God also made provision for any nation to join with Israel if they chose.

I think this may be true for the Church as well. Some were (are) predestined to be saved to get the ball rolling and jump start the church. That does not mean that every saved person was predestined. God does not meet every person as he did Paul, God is able and will take extraordinary measures to make the gospel accessible to all. We only need to think of the gift of tongues given at Pentecost to see that He took an extraordinary measure so the gospel would be shared in every language.

We see that God caused Pharaoh and other kings of the world to go against Israel, certainly that does not mean He causes every action in every person. Specific people have been raised up through time to cause God's will to happen (John the Baptist for example), but I see no reason in scripture to think that principle is to be applied to every person and every decision. We see many to many examples of free will, election and predetermines for any one of concepts to be absolute. 

Our covenant with Jesus is no different than any other Biblical covenant. Every person will have the opportunity to accept or reject the New Covenant. If they accept it they will need to decide daily if they will remain in it.

#10 Charles Miles

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 11:07 AM

Are some elected? Is there a difference between election and predestination? I do not know the answer to the question. I don`t even know who all these reformers were or are. I do know some facts that seem to answer some of this though. Who picked(elected) Gideon? Was David predestined(elected) to become King Of Israel?Was the fight between David and Golieth fixed? Of course there are elected people, who by edict of God are chosen to do certain things at a certain time, for a particular reason. Do I understand it? No. Did it happen? Yes. God does seem to use good people and bad people to accomplish His will and whether we call this election, predestination, or whatever, we must call it devine interevtion by the God of the universe in the affairs of His man that He loves. Anyone who thinks he has a firm understanding of all of God`s elective events should read the last several chapters of Job and take a shot at answering some of the questions God posed to Job. I simply accept the undeserved love of God and praise Hime every day that He actually knows my name and cares about me. Am I one of the elect? You bet. Predestined? Makes no difference to me, I just know who I am and whose I am.

#11 Travis Richey

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 03:49 PM

Amen Charles, Amen!! You know, I was raised in, and still attend a church that is Armenian in its theology. However, as I grow and read, and as God opens my mind to more and more of His Word, I find myself agreeing more with the Reformed theologies than the Armenian. I can't fully accept all that either one puts forth, so I continue to live my life by Faith in the One Who knows it all, and I find comfort in one day knowing that I will find out all the answers to all the questions I've come up with thru the years. I tend to avoid discussions such as these, because I believe that they are tools of the enemy used more to divide and conquer the church than they are anything else. I much prefer celebrating with other Christians our eternal life in Christ instead of arguing over our petty differences.


"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrectionfrom the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained."