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Pre destination VS Evangelism
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Could I suggest you look up the following passages and have a read: Romans 8v29, Ephesians 1v5 and Ephesians 1v11. I'm not suggesting I understand this, if I could then I would be God. Also having personally been on the recieving end of both approaches to evangelism, the social action route and the gospel being clearly presented. I can confidently say that being presented with the gospel is how God really taught me about Himself. After 12 years it took only 20 mins to hear the true gospel, and for me to really understand God's saving grace. It was not easy to hear but I am truly grateful that it was explained to me.
Philip, just at the moment I don't have the brainpower or bible references to hand to support my point of view, but I must say that I couldn't disagree more with you! But for a kick off, the Father drawing people to Him doesn't support pre-destination at all. Because surely God wants to draw ALL people to Himself? And I'm not at all sure about God hardening the hearts of some (in this age). The bottom line is this: if we have a genuine free will (and Calvinism finds it difficult to support that) then why would God choose to withold the information about who is chosen and who isn't from us? And again, I'm sure a lot of the confusion comes from a misinterpretation of the word 'pre-destined'. Sooner or later, you get into the fascinating realm of wondering whether God acts in real time (I think He does), knows exactly what you're going to do in every situation (I think He doesn't) and whether He can change His mind in the light of petition from His people (I think He can). It's all good healthy debate - much better than talking about Macs v PCs!
Hey Matt, Great to hear. No matter if you believe in Election or not we still have the same God and lead to the same Gospel. You said "Free Will". Yes, we do have free will but Romans 3:11 makes it clear NO ONE seeks after God even with our own free will. Yes, It's true God wants all men to be saved but at the same time the Bible says He chooses people according to His own purposes - Romans 11:9-12 But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God. (This message shows that God chooses people according to his own purposes; He calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.) She was told, “Your older son will serve your younger son.” Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being PREDESTINED according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: Let's keep this healthy :D
Jesus is Lord
I don't see any connection between free will and seeking after God, Philip. Free will means that I do as a choose: there is no higher blueprint plan to which I'm unknowingly working towards robot-style whilst THINKING I have free will. Simply put: I have as much propensity to do good as to do bad. I don't see how that connects with seeking after God, except that whilst God draws all to Him, it is my choice whether I accept. And your Romans passage merely supports the (correct) assertion that God choses people for different jobs, messages and roles. It doesn't have much to do with choosing people to be with Him or not. In terms of the Ephesians passage, I've said before that I believe this is a misunderstanding of the context of pre-destination. It is ALL our destiny (God created) to be with Him, but a destiny shouldn't be confused with a certainty. Some choose not to follow that path with the free will that God has given them. Perfect love is not love at all unless it can be accepted or rejected freely. God wants relationship with His people, and a genuine love for another person is one of the few things in this world you can't force on anyone.
Philip, The exegesis you provide could be picked apart from an Arminian perspective quite happily, providing capital letters doesn't mean it's right or wrong. I'm sure you know the arguments which might be taken from the other perspective also, so I shan't repeat them here unless you particularly want me to. Suffice it to say, you could probably save me the effort by looking up some Arminian sites! The verses traditionally used to support predestination could equally be read in light of God's omniscience, which is to say that he knows the decision we will take as He sits outside of time, and hence some are predestined to believe, and others damned. SBG, good for you. I also know friends who heard the message and then believed, so praise God. All i'm saying is that your experience is in the minority. There are a huge amount of people who process based on feelings and experience, not on cold hard facts. It's one reason why Eastern cultures are so different from Western ones, and we in the West are often both cursed and blessed by the Enlightenment age which told people to be rational and didn't understand when they weren't. I'm not suggesting for a moment that you do away with the gospel message - we're quite clearly commanded to preach it. However, I do suggest it is mixed in with a healthy dose of 'love your neighbour', and not added in as a, "you must listen to my gospel presentation if we serve you in some way." At the end of Matthew's gospel, the great commandment commands us to make disciples by teaching people to obey all Jesus' commandments, not just by preaching the kingdom. By all means carry on preaching, just don't imagine it's the only way to open someone's eyes to what Jesus did for them.
Joe "One, two, three, here we go..." ... follow me on Twitter @JJBHargreaves
Isn't that what the ephesians verse is saying though, that those who God has chosen is able to reject or recieve Him. God would never make us believe, but has given all those predestined the free will to choose.
"God would never make us believe, but has given all those predestined the free will to choose." Exactly, SBG, but in my opinion that's everyone!
Exactly, SBG, but in my opinion that's everyone's name who is written in the Lamb's Book of Life before the world began (The people that God knew and chosen before the world was created) Matt, What makes you think that Romans was talking about different jobs etc. Paul then later gives an example of Jacob and Esau. In Hebrews it says that Esau threw away his right for food. Many would say that it was Esau's own free will to do that just like us choosing to believe God but we need to understand it's not, I know it sounds a bit hardbut Romans says it was God who rejected Esau. "We Love Him because He FIRST loved us". Irish, C'mon let's admit it, at the end of the day we could both provide evidence to back up our views. Only God knows which one is Eisegesis or Exegesis. But you're right let's just continue to tell the Gospel to ALL. Only at the end we will know. A mate said to me "It doesn't really matter if you're Arminian or Calvinist, both lead to the same Gospel". I'm NOT gonna put myself under the name CALVINist. Yes, I accept the label calvnist but im not gonna put myself under it, did Calvin die for me? No. Let's all put ourselves under the name CHRISTian. ONE GOD...ONE BODY.
Jesus is Lord
Yeah I know mate, just providing the counter-argument. To often I hear people from the Calvinist tradition dismiss people from the Arminian tradition as having weak theology, mainly as they tend to give some focus to other things aside from pure scripture in church... and it's simply not the case. There's a peculiar form of theological elitism about it. The reason why Arminianism has not gone away is that there is a decent scriptural backing for it and I just like to see it argued as otherwise Arminians tend to be stereotyped.
Joe "One, two, three, here we go..." ... follow me on Twitter @JJBHargreaves
Just to be controversial, is this an argument worth having? Jesus' life and teachings make it clear that the Kingdom of God is available to all who turn to follow Him. I personally struggle to believe in predestination in the human understanding of the word, particularly in relation to our personal salvation. If predestination means God choosing who to save and who to condemn from birth, then I can't come to terms with that. It doesn't tie in with anything I've read in the Bible. God so loved "THE WORLD" that He sent His only Son, that WHOEVER believe in Him will not perish... The best known verse in the Bible does not say "God so loved THE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD THAT HE HAS CHOSEN..." If, however, by predestination we mean that God knows the path we are going to take, before we take it, then yes, that's understandable. It doesn't mean we save ourselves, only that through accepting God's message, we allow Him to save us... I do believe, however, that God has a chosen plan for each one of us, a "pre-destination" as such. Nothing to do with our Salvation, but more a plan for our lives. However, due to free will, we have the choice and the right to move away from the path God has pre-destined for us. God, being a kind and loving God, will always provide us with a way back to the path He has chosen for us, however, it is still up to us to follow. I love God. Yes, because He first loved me, but also because He loves everyone else. Just thought I'd add my twopence to the conversation... Alex