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An email came into the Credo House today containing this question:

I’m wrestling with Calvin right now and as a parent I have hit a wall…What if my kids aren’t elect? The idea sickens me but it has to be possible. I have a hard time just shrugging that off and saying that it is to God’s glory.

What follows is my response for the sake of processing the topic for yourself:

Thanks for contacting the Credo House. I have 3 precious children and I am personally a Calvinist so please know that I’m not responding to you from a purely intellectual standpoint.

Taking a step back from this particular issue, I think we would all agree with the popular saying that, “God has no grandchildren.” God only has children. No one gets into heaven because they were related to people who were Christians. Even the most ardent Calvinist and the most ardent Arminian would agree that each individual must come to Jesus on their own. So there cannot be any absolute guarantee that all children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, etc… of all Christians will go to heaven. If this were true then the entire world would probably be a Christian. The Bible is full of statements where every person must consciously believe in Jesus to have eternal life (John 3:16).

If someone tries to defend the “all children of Christians go to heaven” position there aren’t too many verses along these lines. One verse they could point to is the Proverb of training up a child and they won’t depart. This verse, however, needs to be kept in the Genre of Proverbs. Proverbs are statements to make us wise. Proverbs are generally true but shouldn’t be considered an absolute certainty.

For example, if I put 20% of my paycheck in savings and I’m careful to spend less than I make it is wise to think that I should be financially stable. It is a generally true statement. My car could break down, my house could flood in a way that insurance refuses to pay and I could have someone steal my identity and ruin my credit scores. The Proverb is still true. Although I perfectly followed the accurate Proverb, I can still be in financial shambles. So pointing to a proverb as a magical formula is violating the rules for interpreting the Genre. The Bible is made up of many Genres. Poetry is interpreted very differently from narrative (i.e., a woman’s neck being a mighty tower). We have to keep Proverbs inside it’s Genre.

Getting back to the issue at hand, how does a Calvinist cope with kids who might not love Jesus? First, I pray for them until I am blue in the face. Or at least that is my desire. I pray they would come to love Jesus as authentically and passionately as my wife and I do. My wife started praying for the salvation of our kids before they were even a twinkle in her eye.

For instance, when pastor Matt Chandler thought he was dying from a cancerous brain tumor, he realized the greatest thing he could do for his infant daughter is to devote the remaining energy he has to praying for her salvation and her future walk with Jesus.

Secondly, my wife and I are always trying to tell our kids about Jesus and hopefully build in them an authentic love for and desire for Jesus. Although Calvinists believe that no one comes to the Father unless they are drawn, Calvinists never know who those people are. Calvinists don’t have a copy of the book of Life. As Spurgeon said we pray knowing it depends fully on God, but we share as if it depends fully on us.

Ultimately, however, if a child (or parent, co-worker, etc…) rejects Jesus their entire life and dies in that rejection then we don’t commit suicide thinking that we didn’t share good enough so they are damned because of our failures to convince them of Jesus. We trust the loving heart of God that for whatever reason they would have hated a heaven where Jesus is the center of attention. We think we know better than God as it relates to saving people, it’s a lifetime for all of us to learn that He is more loving, more generous, more caring, more fair than we could ever imagine. I believe Paul clearly teaches people are elect for salvation yet he still pleads with all people, every one, to come to Jesus.

Even when people, like ardent atheist Christopher Hitchens, seemingly die as God haters I still many times hold out hope that in their last breath God opened their eyes and they came to Jesus. I reserve ultimate despair for later when we will truly know. Then God will console us and help us understand things we can’t know now.

In the meantime, however, I am pleading with all to love and be loved by the only One worth the worship.

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    211 replies to "What if My Children Are Not Elect?"

    • Jason

      Tim, you answered this as an Arminian would, that if your children continued in their sins (ie by their choice) and died therein you would grieve for them but accept their fate.

      That isn’t the Calvinist position (as espoused by Piper) though. God is the only one who elects, or doesn’t elect, someone for salvation. If your child dies in their sins it’s because God did not choose for them to receive salvation.

      What would you do if you genuinely believed that doctrine? You’d storm heaven, break into the throne room, hold onto God as best you were able, and demand he change his mind, and you’d keep doing that until the stars went out or he changed his mind. How do I know that? Because if I were a father and a Calvinist I’d do that too. (as an aside, his protestations aside, I’m convinced Piper would too)

      However I cannot imagine any circumstance where you can love your children more than God does. In this respect Calvinism is wrong. If your children die in their sins it will not be because God didn’t offer them every opportunity to repent, and certainly not because he didn’t choose to elect them.

    • Chancellor Roberts

      Excellent response, Tim. I especially agree with Spurgeon that we pray knowing it depends fully on God, but we share as if it depends fully on us.

      Salvation is indeed entirely God’s doing – as well as a decision He made even before He spoke Creation into existence. However, He has ordained the Church collectively (and Christians individually) to be the means whereby He communicates the call to be reconciled to Him.

      Those whom God elected to save from before the foundation of the world WILL be saved. (That doesn’t, however, absolve us of our responsibility to carry out the Great Commission). God will draw them, regenerate them, give them the faith necessary to believe, grant them repentance, and justify them. No one can do any of these things themselves. Jesus said about salvation “with man this is impossible.” Paul wrote that salvation is by grace alone and that even faith is the gift of God.

      We might indeed want to storm God’s throne room and beg and plead with Him to save our children, but it is when we go home to be with Him that we will understand God’s sovereign choice not to elect everyone, not to elect even our own dear children.

    • […] http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2013/10/what-if-my-children-are-not-elect/ A response to an e-mail sent to Credo House. The response is by Tim Kimberly on the Parchment & Pen blog. […]

    • Caleb Smith

      Good post. One thing I think we forget in this situation (and I don’t have children yet, so take my words only as valid as they seem to you) is that the situation in Calvinism here really is no less terrifying than the Arminian system. For in Arminianism, it is still 100% true that any given child either will accept Jesus or reject Him. No matter what you do, a day is coming when they will make their choice, and they were always going to make that choice. Because even for Arminians, God has always foreknown their destiny.
      So in both a Calvinist and an Arminian framework any given child has a chance of being either non-elect or freely unrepentant, and that has always been their destiny, regardless of God’s role. And to be frank, when I do have kids, if any of them are never saved (God forbid!), I would rather it be because of God’s wisdom than the arbitrary whim of their own will. At least if God’s choice is behind it then I can be assured He has planned it all for good, no matter how hard it may be now. If it’s not up to God, then damnation is hopeless arbitrary and meaningless, thus adding to its pain.
      Either way, I’ll pray for my kids’ salvation and teach them to trust in Christ as much as possible, and leave the rest to God. I can’t imagine the horror of losing a child, but from my position now, while it is still too easy, I will trust Him.

    • Mike O

      I have said this to people before, and they all look at me like I have two heads …

      Why does Calvinism and Arminianism have to be an either-or proposition? Why can’t there be some people who are “elect” (the Calvinist opinion on how salvation works) ans some people who are “free to choose” (the arminian opinion on how salvation works)?

      The spurgeon quote was awesome, and it still works … “As Spurgeon said we pray knowing it depends fully on God (for those “calvinistically saved”), but we share as if it depends fully on us (for those “arminianially saved”).

      We put God in one of two boxes (neither of which makes sense entirely), rather than let him do what he will with whom he will.

      Paul, obviously was saved through God’s choice, not his. The Thief on the cross, IMO, was saved by his own repentance (Calvinism doesn’t make sense, other than to say, we’ll understand later.)

      Why can’t it be both? God *does* save calvinistically, but upon what foundation is the doctrine that God *only* saves calvinistically built?

      Likewise (for the arminian camp), God *does* save arminianially, but upon what foundation is the doctrine that God *only* save arminianially built?

      Accepting both arminianism and calvinism fits Scripture best.

    • Caleb Smith

      @Mike O: That’s not really possible. Calvinism and Arminianism depend on some fundamental differences. To unite them in any way would be a contradiction.

    • Jay Saldana

      Tim, (great post, by the way) send them to the Methodists, we would be glad to help out that poor parent! As for you guys, I think you are all messing up your “Order of Salvation”. Both theological points accept that only through God’s grace are you drawn to Jesus. “No one comes to the Father…” So all the “things” you suggested to encourage the child may simply be the expression of that grace. The argument is at the “point of acceptance”. Can you do that as an act of your will or not? Wesley and others (me) believe you could. That grace (call it what you will) strengthens and points you to Christ and -as we (Methodists) believe – when you accept it…
      The interesting thing is that when – in God’s own time and grace – we get to heaven, then we shall know the actual answer; when it does not matter!
      What a sense of humor God has.

      Go with God’s grace,
      Your brother and student,

      Jay Saldana

    • Irene

      Tim’s response doesn’t really do anything to ease the anxiety of the parent. Yes, no one is saved because of their parents, but there still is an important difference!

      For the Calvinist, even though we don’t yet know what it is, the destiny is already set. There is nothing we can do to change it.
      For other Christians, there is always hope. We can pray our hearts out like St. Monica.
      Calvinism is false and cruel. It robs people even of hope. It teaches people that there is a possibility that God may love their child, but not the kind of love that actually saves them.

      This parent’s fears are warranted! They cannot be dismissed by saying, “Well, all Christians have that possibility…” because other Christians have HOPE in all cases. Calvinism has only the pitiful hope that the letter in the mailbox is good news instead of bad. Hoping that the letter addressed to your child is a good one not a bad one, is no comfort, and not the SURE hope of the gospel.

    • Caleb Smith

      @Irene: Even outside of Calvinism, it is eternally true that someone of their own will either will or will not accept Jesus. So the outcome is still the same. There is always hope on both sides. On the Calvinist side, there is hope because we don’t know who all God will save, so until their last breath we believe God might still save them. On the Arminian and similar system side, there is hope because we don’t know what someone will do with their free will until they die.
      The scariest part about Arminianism is that there is no hope for someone who would never use his free will for Christ.

    • Mike O

      @Caleb, that’s my point … don’t unite them. Why can’t they both operate independently of each other?

      I see nothing in scripture that limits God to only doing things one way. Let Calvinism work internally consistently like it does … for some. And let Arminianism work internally consistently like it does … for others.

      And lot God be consistent in all … if he does things two different ways … all the time … how is that inconsistent?

    • Mike O

      If it has to be all one, or all the other, and if it’s all Calvinism, then I’m with Irene – that makes for a very cruel God. Do the math …

      Let’s say there will be a total of 10 billion people who will have lived by the time this earth ends. If we only have “elect,” then there are about 8.5 BILLION souls that God created, destined for eternal torment. That assumes 15% of the world population fits all the requirements of salvation, like “really” being saved and “really” having a heart sold out to Jesus. And 15% is probably on the high side.

      The argument that God “really” loves those 8.5 billion souls created for eternal torment is an argument only those who already believe it would accept. That’s like saying you have 10 children. You “love” them all the same, but only 1 or 2 are in your will. It doesn’t mean you love the other 8 or 9 any less, they just, sorry, weren’t chosen. Really?!?

      Sure, Calvinism great for the 15% that he elected (and how grateful you would be!). But for the other 85%? I guess it sucks to be you if you’re one of them. But hey, at least Jesus loves you.

      I don’t mean to be snarky, but it just is contrary to the nature of God. It is no longer based on love, it’s based on … nothing.

      If Calvinism is the only right answer, then the most loving thing God could do is *not* create the 85% destined for hell. or at least annihilate them rather than punish them forever for something they had no say in.

    • Charles

      The real matter here would be is God right? If your child doesn’t make it to heaven is God right in condemning your child? Wheter it was a “free choice” or predestined, however when you read the bible at face value it makes clear the freedom of choice we do have is limited in the nature of our will. So over all whether someone is saved or not is God right in it? People hate God in their natural state until they are regenerated by His Grace they do deserve punishment for the dispostion of sin. Do we really believe men deserve punishment for sinning against a Holy God? To answer some questions about elect I defer to the scriptures Romans 9: 14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed [k]throughout the whole earth.” 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

      19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?

    • Irene

      @Caleb
      I think we are talking about “hope” in different ways. It seems the hope you are speaking of, I would call “desire”. But when you are desiring an impossibility, I wouldn’t call that hope.

      Back to the letters in the mailbox for a minute:

      I can desire that my child’s letter will be a good one, and I suppose you may call that “hoping”. But if I know there is a possibility he may receive bad news, then there is a possibility that my child’s case is hopeless. We could always desire good news while we wait for the mail to arrive, but that doesn’t change the possibility that the child whose hand you are holding may have a bad news letter addressed to him, which makes him a hopeless case.

      In other traditions, each little pair of hands will receive a good news letter in the mail. And it remains a real possibility for each one that they will open and read the letters. That is hope. We can hope they accept their good news because that possibility exists.

      A Calvinist cannot look into a child’s eyes and honestly say, “I am absolutely sure that God loves YOU and wants YOU to live with him forever in heaven.”

      The best a Calvinist can do is to avoid the real possibility that this child is predestined to hell. No prayer, no sacrifice, no hardship, no pleading, no tears of sorrow can have any effect. Hope in this case is futile. Futile hope is not real hope.

      Go ahead and tell someone–“Of course you have hope! We hope you are one of the elect!” Real comforting.
      Thank you, Thank you, Thank you precious Savior for loving, really loving, each and every miserable one of us.

    • Wow, what happened to the Covenant here? And the Reformed Creeds also? This has always been one of the weaknesses of Credo and P&P (in my opinion), where is the real Reformed and Reformational? We raise our children in the Covenant of Grace and Glory, and hope for their covenantal salvation in God In Christ! This is the essence of infant baptism btw. Note John Calvin’s Catechism 1538… “Since the covenant of the Lord with us is principally ratified by baptism, we rightly baptize our infants as sharers in the eternal covenant by which the Lord promises us he will be God not only of us but also of our descendants.” (cf. Gen. 17:7) (sec. 18). Calvin, along with other Reformers, points to such texts as Matthew 19: 13-15 and Acts 16: 15, 32; but his basic appeal is not to isolated texts but to the eternal covenant of grace (Gen. 17: 1-14; cf, Inst. IV.16.3). Calvin then reasons that “if the covenant still remains firm and steadfast, it applies no less today to the children of Christians than under the Old Testament it pertained to infants of the Jews” (Inst. IV.16.5). Note too, Paul in 2 Tim. 1: 3-5 ; 3: 14-15, etc.

    • Irene

      @Fr Robert

      Don’t you know that today’s evangelicals are brighter theologians than Calvin was? In fact, he could stand to take a few basic classes!

    • @Irene: I hope you are of course joking? 😉 The great ignorance today of so many “evangelicals” about the historical church, and the Reformation and the Reformers is simply massive!

    • Jay M.

      Caleb, yes the Arminian parent understands that God foreknows either the salvation or damnation of his/her child. But he/she also knows that foreknowledge is based on the free acceptance or rejection of Jesus Christ by the child — and thus not on the active and causal will of God.
      And therein lies the key difference. The Calvinist parent is forced by his theology to accept that his child’s damnation, if it occurs, does so not because they have freely rejected the salvation God has provided for and in good faith offered to them, but because God Himself actively and causally willed, fore-ordained and rendered it certain. They must accept that damnation was, in fact, the end for which that child was created (Which position Calvin himself accepted — “[T]he ruin of the wicked is not only foreseen by the Lord, but also ordained by his counsel and his will…not only the destruction of the wicked is foreknown, but that the wicked themselves have been created for this very end – that they may perish.”)
      How horrid a position to be forced into! For me, my rejection of Calvinism was to a great degree solidified by the birth of my first child eight years ago. The thought of looking at her and having to conclude that she may have been brought into existence for the purpose of being passed over by God’s grace so that she can ‘glorify’ God’s wrath and justice through her damnation, was too horrifying to bear. That was when the implications for God’s character of Calvinistic determinism slammed home to me.
      Also the Arminian parent can at least always present the gospel to his child as a well-meant offer ON GOD’S PART, something the Calvinist parent cannot do.

    • Charles

      The bottom line here is it’s not about looking into a child’s eyes and saying I am sure God loves you and wants you to be with him forever that is getting too man centered. Lets not use emotional ideologys to determine this here the scripture is clear that God does not repent or change, any appearence of that is God working that into His designs of redemption. If things rest entirely on the “hope” of the child repenting all on their own than there we’re entirely hopeless. Romans 3 is clear no one will repent on their own 2 Timothy 2:25 makes it clear God grants the work of repentance into a man’s heart. This is a matter of God saving people children or not, God must be the one who saves the Bible is clear about that. So who is being saved is what we’re talking about, God could come down right now and the natural man apart from God’s Grace would say I still hate you and walk to hell slamming the gate behind him. Nobody is in hell that did not want to be their some people even make boasts of the wickedness they indulge in. If God is not sovereign and cannot work repentance into men’s hearts why pray for a persons salvation? It’s just something to think about.

    • Irene

      @Charles
      The alternative to Calvinism is not that people save themselves.
      The alternative to Calvinism is that God offers saving grace to all people.

    • Irene

      Also, Charles,
      What do YOU tell a child?

    • Charles

      Please also don’t think I’m talking about a God who sits angry on His throne waiting to send someone to hell that is not what the God of the Bible that would be a god someone is manufacturing in their mind. Man is absolutely responsible for his actions and God grants many oppurtunitys as far as seen in scripture and in peoples lives to repent and believe. The people who are condemned are because they do not repent and believe, as best as I can understand concerning that Romans 9 as an example or anything else is God is still right whether He shows mercy or not, so it’s not a matter of is my child elect? We would be asking that question all day Spurgeon made a comment about the shirt lifting buisness if all elect had X’s on their backs. However that isn’t how this works you just have to preach them the Gospel and pray God does a mighty work of regeneration in the childs heart and know that regardless God is right. Who are we any way to say God not saving some just because he has chosen not to makes him a moral monster? The bottom line is he should condemn us all because He is that Glorious and Holy and we are that filthy before Him. Some of these posts would make you think salvation is choosing to get out of the line to hell for the line to heaven. When the truth of scripture makes it clear it is a supernatural act in which God creates a new creature by eliminating the corrupted creature. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, [a]he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

    • Charles

      @ Irene
      Well you tell them the Gospel. They aren’t going to get saved by you telling them about election lol. The thing here is the Bible is clear that election and predestination occur you cannot want to believe it but it’s there. So the question back at you is God still right whether he sends some one to hell or gives the gift of eternal life? Romans 9:14-19 is pretty clear. If God offers saving Grace to all people why aren’t all saved? Is God inneffectual in saving men? If your answer is yes he offers to all people but only some are being saved that contradicts if you say only some choose to be saved themselves than they are sovereign over salvation not God. You could go down lines of universialism or pelginaism with those mindsets. If God really is sovereign and really does move the kings heart like a river than the limit of our free choice is limited to our nature, I cannot will to fly like superman I can try it won’t happen not in my nature. The same with salvation if man is really dead in sin which the bible is clear about if no one is seeking God without his intervention that God is in control or we could just not pray than since God won’t intervene into a man’s “free will” that exists outside of God’s sovereignty. I am not meaning to be rude if it sounds that way I am just trying to dig to the root here.

    • Irene

      So, Charles would tell the parent in the original post, “You shouldn’t be sick over it. Be assured God knows what is best for himself.”
      Is that really Good News??

      I used to think that Protestantism in general held “better” news for the sinner than older traditions. But the more I learn about Calvinism, its implications, and its lack of real answers, and the more I learn about Catholicism, its message, and its view if the human person, the more and more I realize that Calvinism is surprisingly hopeless, with a weird love, and little if any meaning to human life. In Catholicism, I increasingly see the enormity of God’s love, along with endless mercy, real hope, present joy, and assurance of forgiveness that Calvinism cannot offer. I start to get a glimpse of what God being love means.
      I think Calvinists don’t know the freedom and joy they are missing!

    • Irene

      Charles,

      I think the root of it lies in whether or not man has a free will after sin, and how God relates to our will. We may not be able to choose God on our own, since we cannot by nature choose something supernatural, or above our nature, but we can in effect reject God when he offers himself, by choosing what belongs to the flesh, and our lower nature, instead.

      I think that is where the differences originate. Then you follow that river downstream and find all kinds of differences such as how to respond to the poor parent above.

    • Charles

      First I am not telling the parent not to be sick I am saying God is right regardless. The parents heartache leads to prayer and the desire to preach the Gospel to their children. When I see Catholicism I see Idolatry and Universalism like the Popes recent athesits keep doing good I will see you on the other side statement which he later said was misquoted. I am telling you flatly we All deserve hell you can disagree with me but the Bible says clearly all men Romans 3:23. So the issue here is what kind of strange love are you talking about where God is winking at sin? Like it is a small matter to him? It is so severe He crushed His Son on a cross. Does God know what is best you seem to want to bring God down and say you don’t know whats best save my child now. Once again Romans 9:19 God is right whether He saves or condemns He did not have to pour his wrath upon the Son. The problem is you are not seeing God’s love in light of how bad we are that He would save anyone is astounding. We are that bad that undesvering. I have done nothing but tell you that God is good and worthy of praise all the time and your not quite digging that, read 1 Kings 22:18-25 start to come to grasp God is in control of it all sending delusions to false prophets to accomplish His Judgements against wicked kings. God’s love would be someting I failed to define if I even tried but understand He is Just as well and cannot simply wink at sin. I am no one to tell Him who would and should be saved he makes that choice on His own merits and terms. Please also don’t make this emotional mud slinging just show me real scripture concerinng this matter. Emotional runaway leads to us putting what we want into the Bible not what God has revealed check Romans 9:14-19 Is it God willing to save or on the effort of him who runs? Is God unjust for not saving someone? God willing, and Certainly Not are the answers.

    • Chancellor Roberts

      God is not cruel and it is blasphemy to suggest that He is! Some of you make it sound as if God somehow owes people salvation (or at least owes them the opportunity to exercise some perverse notion of “free will” that they don’t actually have, since “free will” doesn’t mean the capacity to make choices but the right to make those choices, and the fact that God punishes the wicked is proof that no one has the right to choose sin, to choose against God).

      God doesn’t owe sinful man anything except eternity in the Lake of Fire. That God allows any one of us to even draw breath from one moment to the next is an act of kindness on His part. God doesn’t have to save anyone and He is free to choose not only whether He is going to save anyone, but also every specific individual that He is going to save. And, no, He doesn’t wait until He gets permission from you or me or anyone else to do it; He made the decision before He even spoke Creation into existence.

      God is the only truly free agent; the only being with free will, the RIGHT to choose. God can do whatever He pleases with His creation and there is nothing His creation can say about it. God is absolutely sovereign and no one has the right to presume to question anything He choose to do or not to do – including the choice to save specific individuals and not save others.

      No human being, on his own, will ever choose God. Man’s own sinful nature prevents him from doing so – there is none who does good, none who seeks after God… Jesus said about salvation that “with man this is impossible.” He said that there is no one good but God. Paul said that we were all dead in trespasses and sins. Well, guess what! Dead people can’t will themselves to life! Salvation is entirely the work of God.

    • Charles

      The confusing thing to me is you say we can just reject God brush Him off by choosing the flesh. Do you think Jesus walked up the hill carying that cross fingers crossed hoping someone would accept? I watched a baptist aqquaintaince out witnessing claim a 14 year old girl would have got saved at her preaching but, her friend held her back. LOL behold the power of your god he can’t save a 14 year old girl, that is ridiculous Jesus is Lord everywhere all the time not just over some people all authority is His whether they bless or curse His name. You assume because of this text format I am cold and uncaring that could not be further from the truth I would do my best to comfort this person and pray with them I pray for their family now. However the parent must it can wait a while doesn’t have to be now or your doomed lol relinquish right to child and self and recognize later that God is right regardless. The very first steps of Christianity are denying yourself taking up your cross and following him. Luke 14:26 The love for Christ should be so great that everything else looks like hate by comparison. I am not interperting to much there just kind of reading.

    • Charles

      @ Chancellor Roberts
      Amen Brother

    • Btw Irene, you might want to do some historical study of your own on the so-called Catholic Faith and Theology! It is very interesting that Thomas Aquinas called himself an Augustinian, and surely taught a form of Augustine’s doctrine of predestination & election, which taught a quite real doctrine of reprobation, for those God left or leaves in their sin! No, God is NOT going to save everyone, nor has He ever planned to!

    • Irene

      Charles and Chancellor Roberts,

      Of course God has every right to condemn to hell and no obligation to save anyone, but he is MORE merciful than you give him credit for, which must cause him much heartache.

      Charles said

      “The confusing thing to me is you say we can just reject God brush Him off by choosing the flesh.”

      Didn’t Eve choose the flesh over God, and this before original sin, while they walked in the garden with God? Yet now, under original sin, we are not free to choose the flesh over God?

      As for Scripture, take a step back and look at the NT altogether. What do we see? Jesus warning over and over about judgement and hell. The epistles brimming over with exhortations to Christians to run the race, fight the fight, don’t give up, do this not that. These types of things are not aimed at creatures who have no ability to choose good and reject evil.

      The point is that Calvinism has nothing with which to comfort that parent. Only to tell her that her sick feeling is justified.

    • Charles

      @ Irene
      The most comforting thing in God’s sovereignty and election is the Hope God will change that rebellious heart to one that loves Him. Ephesians 2:1-7. Once again you have used no scriptureal support what your not realizing is in the state adam and eve lived in they had the ability to make these choices they were in Glorifed bodys in full fellowship with God. We are not so that can not be used to reason out what you want the bible to say for you. So my point here are the words of the Lord Jesus you seem to have a problem with Luke 14:26 . The scripture your ripping out of context is aimed a Christians Christians- meaning those regeneated and capable of exercising faith not the dead in sin unbeliever.The parent should be comforted prayed with all of this it is our duty to take care of our brothers and sisters however, God is to be glorifed and is right regardless that parent must one day come to terms with Luke 14:26 does their love for God surpass love for their family?

    • Irene

      You said the parent should be comforted and prayed with. Ok, pretend I am that parent. What do you say to me?

      Tim basically said Calvinists are in no different boat than other Christians. I explained how that was not the case above, using the mailbox scenario.

    • Charles

      @ Irene
      You want to know what to the parent and child? Tthe Gospel, that’s it our entire life’s water should flow from that. Your saying I don’t give God credit for being merciful all I have done is talk about His extravagant mercy in saving ANYONE at all. But that is not what your looking for it seems like you want me to tell them something that would please their ears but be untrue to the scriptures. God is Sovereign He decides who is saved period He has the Rights Romans 9:14-20, We all must come to terms with the “hard” verses Luke 14:26 . They are just as relevant today as when speach like that drove away over 5,000 followers when the Lord spoke it. The Good news is that this child’s parents can look to God with faith that His Sovereign will can wrangle in a rebellious child and that God will always make the Right Decision. Whether we think it’s right or not is irrelavent that is much too man-centered. Please Irene don’t think I am angry or hateful I am just trying to tell you period to the Point God is always Right. He could have stopped the fall, He did not because it is with his glorious plan of Redemption, make no mistake here God was not surprised when Adam or Eve sinned. The cross was established before the foundations of the world. Revelation 13:8

    • As I have said before, surely the Parable of the Sower and Soils teaches the great reality that the only Soil that brings forth the lasting fruit of salvation, is the Soil that produces a real crop… “thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” (Mk. 4: 8) And this alone comes from God’s own “regeneration” or “life” in the/a sinner, who then by grace & glory – through faith – becomes a real Christian! This alone is, “He who has ears to hear..” (Mk. 4: 9). And this is the Pauline Gospel! (Rom. 4: 2-5, noting verses 6-7-8, etc. Both Old and NT verses!)

    • Charles

      @ Irene
      Also I feel as though you seem to think a reformed individual preaches a strange Gospel. We don’t I say reformed because I don’t quite agree with John Calvin here is a link it is a simple two minute presentation of the Gospel by a reformed man I like listening to occasionally.

    • Mike O

      I’m not catholic but @Irene, I’m with you. The Calvinistic arguments seem like double talk to me, and don’t really answer any questions.

      It’s interesting to hear how the scriptures “clearly say” one thing or another, yet we’ve had this generations-long discussion on Calvinism vs Arminianism. The Bible obviously isn’t “clear.” What happens is people find “clear” scripture that supports their view (on either side), and then explain away (that’s too negative, but not sure how else to say it) or excuse scriptures that would seem to contradict them.

      And when I read phrases like, “His extravagant mercy in saving ANYONE at all,” that sounds like a God trying to right a wrong that was not his doing in the first place.

      Really? God CREATED us!! And if pure Calvinism is really true, He’s the one that put us in the place of needing his extravagant mercy in the first place. That’s not mercy, it’s just planning. He did it on purpose.

      That’s like pushing someone out a window, and then grabbing them by the beltloop and pulling them back in and saying, “fine I’ll save you. because I’m merciful.” No they didn’t “deserve” to be save, but they didn’t “deserve” to get pushed out the window, either.

      I said it earlier … these arguments are arguments Calvinists would never accept if they didn’t already believe them. We need to be careful not to defend our THEOLOGY at the expense of reason.

    • Charles

      Mike your putting words into my mouth now. Either the bible says all men have fallen short and deserve to be punished or it doesn’t either God saves man or man is saving himself. Look all the way back to Noah. We know from Peter’s epistle that the ark represented the saving work of Christ. So everyone else that died in the flood they were unsaved, you can get into the specifics of why but the fact is God was entirely just in Flooding the world. He didn’t even have to save Noah. Noah found “favor, grace” completely unmerited. My man I am talking about God’s Glory and His right to give and take life period Exodus 4:11. It sounds like your just against anything I am saying rather than being for God’s glory and not trying to stick Him on trial with the how dare he not save or not offer salvation argument Romans 9:14-15 my man He is free to show mercy as He wills.

    • Mike O

      @Fr Robert, that’s not the only way the parable of the soils can be interpreted. you may be right, but it’s also entirely possible that soil can be worked and changed from one grade to another.

      Is the soil “good” because it was created good? Or is it good because someone has been evangelistically “working the soil” and preparing it so that it could “become” good and ready to receive seed?

      It’s entirely reasonable to read the parable of the soils from an Arminian perspective.

      Unless Arminians don’t look at the whole of scripture like Calvinists do.

      Just for fun, what does a Calvinst do with 2 peter 3:9-10 “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief …” Explain it away? Arminians would say the bible “clearly” says the door is open and the final tally is not set. Calvinism, by definition, states that God IS willing that MANY should perish. In fact, he chose them.

      You can say “he doesn’t want them to, but he knows they will.” But Calvinism states that they were destined to perish from the beginning. So God WAS willing that they perish.

      I said all of that to say this … the Bible is NOT clear that Calvinism is correct. The Bible supports Calvinism. And it supports Arminianism. A Biblical argument can be made for BOTH, both with questions and qualifications. But the Bible is NOT “clearly Calvinist.”

    • Charles

      Or have you never read Colossians 1:16 all of everything is created for Him He is the potter we the clay. The purpose of the entire universe is to reflect God’s Glory the entire purpose of mans existence is to Glorify God. The reason the Bible talks so much about us (believers) not generic term here, being conformed to the Image of His Son is that it is most pleasing for God’s Glory being His Son who is the Exact representation of His Glory to be Reflected in all His creation. Also Mike give Romans 9:16-22 a read. it should answer your question without answering about God made us he should do this or that. Paul does not dignify it with an answer.

    • Mike O

      @Charles I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth, I was just saying what it sounded like to me. By the way, the end of the post re: me was similar – you’re putting words in my mouth.

      Let’s not do that. All I am saying is, don’t be so sure you have God figured out. I didn’t put god on trial I simply said I don’t think he belongs in the box Calvin put him in. Not entirely anyway.

      God is sovereign. And like @Jay said way up in comment #7, we’ll find out when we get there how it really worked. Until then, all we can do is try to understand how we *think* God works (some think Calvinist, some think Arminian) and follow him with all you’ve got.

    • Irene

      Ok, Charles, what would the Reformed you say to me the sick at heart parent?

      “Let’s pray for the salvation of your child.”
      –Will that help her?
      “If she is elect, God uses our prayers to help accomplish her salvation.”
      –What if she is not elect?
      “Then it won’t change anything”
      –So, . . . . it IS hopeless!

      Tell me Charles, what do you say?

      Take good care of this child, bring her up well, love her more than yourself, so that God can, in his love, destroy her for his glory?

      Sounds like Allah, not the Father of Jesus.

    • Charles

      @ Mike and Irene
      Also to more clearly answer your question here God’s wrath does put us in the Need of His Mercy. It is not because of the Devil Christ had to save us it was the Wrath of His Father He bore on the cross. God does desire for all to come to knowledge of the Truth, however Romans 11:7-8 make clear God hardens some people as well it is not that God has two wills and He is bipolar it is that there are different weights to God’s decrees just as the Lord speaks of weighter matters of the law in Matthew 23:23 God has His purposes set in His orders.

    • Irene

      Ok, Charles, what would the Reformed you say to me the sick at heart parent?

      “Let’s pray for the salvation of your child.”
      –Will that help her?
      “If she is elect, God uses our prayers to help accomplish her salvation.”
      –What if she is not elect?
      “Then it won’t change anything”
      –So, . . . . it IS hopeless!

      Tell me Charles, what do you say?

      Take good care of this child, bring her up well, love her more than yourself, so that God can, in his love, destroy her for his glory?

      Sounds like Allah, not the Father of Jesus.

      What about you Fr Robert, what do you, as a chaplain, say to this mother?

    • Charles

      So what I am trying to tell you is I don’t have all the answers I am not going to preach election to you Irene I am going to preach the gospel, grace and the truth that we must rember Luke 14:26 . I would gladly pray with you but understand if man can reject God than why pray? God is unable to save that rejectful man anyway.

    • Brother Stumblefoot

      Oh Boy!! You just opened the gate with this post!! This is not just theory we’re talking about; it’s right in the gut of every caring dad and mom.

      The doctrine of an eternal hell (supported, I think, by poor translations and poor theology) paints our God into a corner, OR it paints all the theological dancing and acrobatics and “best hope you can offer” into a corner.

      Say whatever you want about Calvinism and Arminianism, say whatever you will about how God loves your children, even if He cannot, or chooses not, to save them. At the end of the day, If Universalism or Annihilation are both wrong then let’s just all get disfunctionally depressed and go on tranquilizers or something . The traditional teaching of Hell just has little to say for these concerned parents.

      Love that could provide a safety net, but doesn’t, in the final analysis it’s still a scare in the gut, and love that would, but can’t, provide a safety net–doesn’t do much to help either.

      Somebody please open your eyes and at least look into the
      greatest hope you can imagine–an ultimate reconciliation
      of all (possibly annihilation of some). There are a lot of Scriptures that sure seem to indicate a such reconciliation, and the ones that indicate an eternal Hell appear to be based on an erroneous translation.

      Did the God who created all this: Can’t you suppose that He had a better plan than the traditional Hell teaching presents? Eternal Hell is a Dark Ages doctrine, The Church and civil leaders adopted this from Paganism. God’s ways are not our ways, they are ABOVE our ways!

    • Mike O

      @Charles, I’m not sure how Col 1:16 fits here. But the Romans 9:16-22 is good support for Calvinism. What’s your point? The Bible does support Calvinism – that’s why so many Christians are Calvinists :).

      I don’t dispute anything the Bible says. But I do sometimes dispute THEOLOGIES that can be errantly built upon inerrant scripture. I believe Romans 9:16-22. I do not believe God operates strictly according to the rules of Calvinism.

    • theoldadam

      God has chosen to elect…in Baptism.

      Baptize your kids and teach them what Christ has done for them in their Baptisms.

      And when faith comes (by hearing), then Baptism is complete.

    • @Mike: This post is not exactly about “Calvinism” per se, but about the “election” of our children, but the Parable of the Sower and Soils, surely DOES represent the only “soil” that is “good”, and manifests the growing, increasing, and yielding of good fruit, which is only those that God DOES redeem!

      Second Peter 3: 9, is not at all about God “wishing” to save all (every man) from perishing! “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you.” Note, “to fulfill his promise”, and “toward you”. Both are only toward the “election of grace”, this and these God does not want to perish! Indeed the “promise” is only toward the “you”, i.e. the Christian Elect!

    • Chancellor Roberts

      Irene,

      Yes, God is merciful beyond measure. However, the mercy is in the fact that God has chosen to save even one person.

      There is nothing any of us can do to merit salvation and God is not so impotent that He must wait for you or I or anyone else to “accept Him” or give Him permission to save us (which makes us sovereign over God). God doesn’t merely offer people the opportunity to be saved, He does all the work of actually bringing to pass the salvation of those whom He has chosen even before He spoke Creation into existence. Again, God is not obligated to save anyone. He would be perfectly just to cast every last one of us into the Lake of Fire. Yet, because it serves His purpose and glorifies Him, He has elected to save some.

      What many people mistakenly call “free will” (the capacity to make choices) is simply “will.” In order for the will to be “free,” there must be the right to choose. The fact that God punishes sin is proof that we don’t have the right to choose sin, even though that is all our fallen nature will ever choose. We are, from the moment of conception, dead in trespasses and sins – and dead people cannot will themselves to life. Thus, if anyone is to be saved, God must – as Jesus did with a very dead Lazarus – bring that person to life (we call that “regeneration”).

      Revelation tells us that there will be an innumerable throng of people in heaven praising God in robes of white. However, let’s be clear that God did all the work of saving them all by Himself. He elected them before the foundation of the world. He sent Jesus to die for them (and only for them). He regenerated them. He gave them the faith necessary to believe. He brought them to repentance. He justified them. He will glorify them. However, He has ordained the Church to be the means by which He calls His elect, through the Great Commission. Even the fact that He has chosen to use the Church is itself a great act of mercy.

    • Charles

      @ Mike
      Colossians 1:16 has to do with why did God create us check my post # 41 and 43 . I do not believe God is a calvinist mike lol. I do believe firmly that He elects for His own reasons and it is not are place to say How dare God not save him or her.

    • Btw, note the biblical word “foreknowledge”! (1 Peter 1: 2), which is connected to the “elect exiles” (verse 1, the people themselves), with too “sanctification of the Spirit”… “for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood.” Baptism can only be a “sign” and “seal” of this the great providence and purpose in God In Christ. But not and never the “reality” itself! (See, John 3: 8) None of us are really born-again by baptism, but by Christ! As we can hear St. Paul say: “For Christ sent me not to baptize, (in and of itself): but to preach the gospel.” (1 Cor. 1: 17)

    • Irene

      But he did send the twelve to baptize!

    • Yes, Christian Baptism is a wonderful sign & seal of our salvation ‘In Christ’! Part and parcel of Christian discipleship and obedience.

    • Chancellor Roberts

      Brother Stumblefoot,

      You wrongly assume that God is under any obligation to provide a “safety net” for every human being. You also wrongly assume that God loves every person in the world. No, God loves every kind of person – Jew and Gentile, rich and poor, slave and free, male and female. Further, since Revelation tells us that Jesus was slain from before the foundation of the world, we know that the cross was part of God’s plan even before He spoke Creation into existence.

      God is the potter, we are the clay: He has every right to do with us as He pleases. He will indeed have mercy on whom He will have mercy and He will harden whom He will harden.

      Further, Jesus’ death on the cross purchased the actual salvation of specific individuals (the elect). It didn’t merely make salvation possible, but dependent on something that sinful man must bring to the table (making man sovereign over God because it makes man the final arbiter of his own salvation and not God). The crucifixion was an act of penal substitution, the innocent for the guilty. Jesus died in the place of the elect (and only in their place). He bore their punishment and, thereby, purchased their salvation.

      God is not under any obligation to save anyone and all of us are wholly deserving of eternity in the Lake of Fire. If He chooses to be merciful by saving even one person, that is His right. It is also His right not to save anyone at all.

    • Mike O

      I think one thing we would all agree on is, whoever is right, however it works, when all is said and done, God will have been right to do what he did! it’s not a question of whether God is right or wrong to do what he does, however he chooses to do it. It’s a question of whether WE are right or wrong about what we THINK God does and how he does it. But in order to grow from this discussion, one must at least *wonder* if the other guy could be right. He’s probably not, but … maybe he’s got a good point?!?

    • Chancellor Roberts

      Mike O,

      God IS right in everything He does. Whether He saves no one or saves everyone or only saves some, He will have been right to do it. He is the potter; we are the clay: He has the absolute right to do with us as He wills and we have no right to question is choices.

    • Charles

      @ mike
      Amen brother that is what I’ve been getting to all along God is right period. Those parents do need prayer and some consoling it would be cold and heartless not to. However they also need to come to the truth Luke 14:26 We need to keep God uppermost in our affections that doesn’t mean don’t love your wife and kids but Christ is and deserves to be Preemminet.

    • Irene

      Whether (modern) Calvinism is right or wrong is not really the point, either. The point is how Calvinism answers the parent in the original post. There is nothing it can offer to provide peace of mind or hope in the heart for a parent who is afraid her child may not be elect. It just reverts to claims why Calvinism is correct and true. But Calvinism offers no comfort, no hope, no joy.

    • Irene

      Charles said,

      “Those parents do need prayer and some consoling it would be cold and heartless not to. ”

      WHAT consoling?

      Again, I’m not looking for reasons Calvinism is indeed true. I’m looking for WHAT comfort Calvinism can offer such a parent.

      Again, WHAT consoling?

    • Chancellor Roberts

      Irene, you wrote: “The point is that Calvinism has nothing with which to comfort that parent. Only to tell her that her sick feeling is justified…Calvinism offers no comfort, no hope, no joy.”

      Would you want the parent to be offered a false hope, a false comfort? If the parent cannot find hope in God, if the parent cannot trust that God will do what is right (what He knows to be right, not what we think is right), if the parent cannot surrender his or her children to God to do with according to His sovereign will, then is the parent putting his or her children ahead of God, thereby committing idolatry?

    • Irene

      No, no false hope or delusions requested. Just an honest answer that Calvinism can not provide good news to this parent.

    • Mike O

      @Irene, the ability to give someone the answer they want is not a requirement of a theology. For example, I wish NOBODY would go to hell … not even child molesters and hitler. But my theology dictates that at least some will (I see NO scriptural basis to make a statement that nobody goes to hell). I don’t like that answer, but I think it’s true based on scripture.

      But with that said, I love what you’re doing here … sticking with the point. And I think you’re right … Calvinism can’t provide good news to that parent.

      Now, whether it *should* or not is a different question. But I think you’re right … it can’t. The child may go to hell and there’s not a darn thing you, as a loving parent, can do about it because it’s been pre-ordained.

      That doesn’t make it untrue (although I think it is untrue), it just makes it unable to provide a happy answer.

    • Charles

      @ Irene
      It can provide hope that God will do what is Right by His standard and the parent can put their hope in God’s sovereign plan saving. Because a rebellious heart cannot be reasoned with. It seems you are looking for false comfort Irene Read Luke 14:26 don’t nitpick here God must be first and our trust is to let go and believe God will do right by His standard not what we think he should. I am not trying to be confrontational Irene but it seems like your looking for us to find a magic scripture that says God will save people we want because we think its right. He saves not us we can’t choose him without His enabling. Even arminianists believe God must enable people to choose Him. It becomes pelginaism when people say they choose apart from God making man sovereign over salvation. God is neither arminianist or calvinist but the Scripture is clear He shows mercy to who He will, and we must put His decisions and righteousness before what we want.

    • Chancellor Roberts

      Irene, the “good news” is that God is sovereign, that He will accomplish all His purpose, and that everything He does is right. If a parent can’t take comfort in that, find hope in that, then I have to wonder if that parent isn’t putting his or her children ahead of God, thereby committing idolatry. We must surrender our children to Him (they’re His anyway) to do with as He sees fit, and find comfort in the fact that He will wipe the tears from our eyes when we go home to be with Him.

      What other hope and comfort do you want? Even the semi-pelagian (which most “Arminians” today are) can’t provide any guarantee that any parent’s children will be saved. Those who believe in the heresy of baptism being salvific or believing that children are saved because someone dipped them into the water as babies (paedobaptism) are offering a false hope because baptism saves no one and is only for those who have first put their trust in Christ (credobaptism).

    • Irene

      @Mike
      Exactly.

      Whether Calvinism is true is not the issue here.

      What I want is not on trial here.

      The question is whether Calvinism can offer consolation to a worried parent.
      It can’t.

      Providing hope and joy is not a requirement for a religion to be true. I’m not claiming it to be so.

      I AM claiming that Calvinism is a religion that lacks comfort and joy and cannot provide real hope to a worried parent, or to any person who loves another person.

      So the answer to the parent would be, I suppose, you have an inordinate love for your child. Get over it and learn to love her less.

    • Charles

      Irene you are putting your love for child above love for Christ. You are claiming so much right to self that is the disposition of the sin nature. I am not even talking about calvinism I am telling you that God is sovereign you need to realize He will make the Right Choice Pray and be content with His Mercys. You want a ear tickling answer that everything is allright if your child says a sinners prayer they are ok. But God saves on His timetable we cant know if someone is elect it is something you have to come to terms with election is all over the bible. 1 Peter 1:2 Peter is writing to “the elect” your out on a witchhunt against calvinism when the problem seems to be you want God to give answers now. It would be wrong and irresponsible to say he someday God is just gonna save your kid or condemn them. Instead we tell them keep praying keep preaching the Gospel to them and hope God does a work of repentance in their heart. However God is God Read Luke 14:26 again if you haven’t The Lord Jesus’ reply to men is yes you have too much love for your child it it surpassing your love for me you are commiting idolatry in that.

    • Charles

      So the answer to the parent would be, I suppose, you have an inordinate love for your child. Get over it and learn to love her less.

      That is a backwards statement it should be set your hope in Christ and Love Him more He will not fail no one who has trusted him is disappointed.

    • Delwyn Xavier Campbell

      As a Lutheran, my first action as a parent when my daughter was born was to baptize her, trusting God’s promise would apply to her just as it applied to me. From that day on, I have spoken the word of God over her, and, as she grows, I will teach that word to her, teaching her how to receive the forgiveness that God has freely offered for Christ’s sake.
      While doing that, I will also pray for her, that God would give her an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church, and that He would draw her to Himself, for that is the only way that she will come.
      When my son was born, I was not a Lutheran. I was a Pentecostal in the Church of God in Christ. While I did not practice infant baptism, I did dedicate my son to the Lord, and I taught him, as soon as I felt that he understood me, the Gospel. I raised him in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and I prayed to God concerning his soul.
      In the end, we just have to trust that God does not lie, that He truly desires all to be saved, and that the Gospel truly IS the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes. I will live in such a way that my children are not made to stumble, and I pray that the Word of God would have free course among them.

    • Charles

      @ Delwyn
      wellspoken brother.

    • Jeff Ayers

      #14 robert said “We raise our children in the Covenant of Grace and Glory, and hope for their covenantal salvation in God In Christ! This is the essence of infant baptism btw”.

      Am I reading this correctly?

      Covenental salvation in God= infant baptism?
      This IS THE ESSENCE!

      Is that a biblical HOPE (as in a “full expectancy and anticipation of a promise sure to come to fruition”)?

      Then the assurance you give to the anxious inquirer in the post is that ALL baptized children RAISED in the covenant of Grace and Glory WILL be saved (ergo children are one of the elect vis a vis the infant baptism).

      #47 the old adam agrees with you and says “God has chosen to elect…in Baptism. BAPTIZE YOUR KIDS and teach them what Christ has done for them in their Baptisms. And when faith comes (by hearing), then BAPTISM IS COMPLETE.”

      So forget crusades, missiology, evangelism etc…. let us set up infant baptizing stations and get all infants elect by baptizing them into the covenant… and if their parents refuse to raise them under this covenant, we take the kids and raise them ourselves… This is a moral necessity for their (children) election and eternal destiny are assured through the baptism and covenant.

    • Delwyn Xavier Campbell

      I just read that someone posted that “the good new is that God is sovereign.” Really? That was the Gospel that Paul preached, and that Luther confronted papal power over? WOW; here I am thinking that the Gospel is that God freely forgives our sins for Christ’s sake, and that we may confidently trust this promise, to the saving of our soul. “Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures,” is the message that I recall Paul proclaimed, and I believed, and do believe. Think about it saints….

    • Jeff Ayers

      The horrible decree raises its ugly head for all to see its disease filled putrefaction.

      Supralapsarian (or infra) results in God reprobating whom he will including infants, children of heathen and even children of the elect.

      Infant baptism is so essential to Reformed theology, Catholicism, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists and Calvinism in general. It is shocking that such a crucial doctrine of baptizing babies to remove original sin, enter them into a covenant, provide remission of sin and (to some) regenerate this child is TOTALLY ABSENT IN THE BIBLE!!!

      Why is there no example of ANYONE baptizing infants in scripture? Why is there NO text of scripture that even remotely teaches that baptism removes original sin or places into a covenant? Why is there no doctrine taught by Jesus or the apostles that teaches children of elect parents should baptized their children to place them in a covenant of grace, make them elect or assure their home in heaven?

    • Marc F

      I just figured Calvinists didn’t have children. Kidding aside, I think type of issues really boil down to how much one holds tight to their theology.
      I don’t think a extreme Calvinist would have children to the belief that it would simply be like playing the lottery.
      No different than a person truly believes that if you deny God you are no longer able to change that position because that would be crucifying Christ twice.
      Or if your theology interferes with your desires, then you create another doctrine as a trump card, such as infant baptism.

    • @Jeff: You sir, are not arguing correctly but only with straw-men! And of course arguing against Calvinism here is not the post subject fully! Not to mention Augustine and historical Augustinianism! And note, not all Anglicans believe in infant baptism as to the removal of Original Sin. For most of us Evangelical Anglicans baptism is a “sign & seal”, but not any baptismal regeneration. I can see you have not fully read my posts here! Again, please don’t misrepresent people and Reformed Theology!

      I would suggest that you read Calvin here, coolly & calmly, as to the Covenant of Grace & God’s Glory! Note my # 14 and Calvin’s Inst. IV.16.5.

      Thanks to listen! 🙂

      *Acts 2: 39

    • Sorry Irene, I am not going to engage in your ad hoc.

    • Mike O

      A joke: What did the Calvinist say when he fell down the stairs? Whew! I’m glad *that’s* over! 🙂

      Back to Irene’s excellent point, Calvinism has nothing to offer the parent wondering if their child is elect. The worried parent isn’t looking for a theology lesson, they are looking for COMFORT (right or wrong). And Calvinism has none to offer in this case. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t. If the child is not elect, the child is damned.

    • Btw, if Calvinism has nothing to offer, then surely Arminianism offers nothing but false ideas. I’ll take a Sovereign God myself! Note, this is already a theologically loaded question!

      *I know Irene, I bit down on your ad hoc some. But, I will say no more, promise! 😉

    • Porter

      the question I would want answered from the Armenian side is this: What is it that you are praying for? According to your beliefs God can not and indeed will not do anything to sway the will in an irresistible way. The only way for God to act in response to prayers for salvation would be in a way that violates human free will as you define it.

    • Indeed great points from Porter! Ya can’t have it both ways! Thank God the biblical doctrine of God is totally sovereign! The Arminian God is hampered!

    • Anastasios

      You wrote earlier:

      Taking a step back from this particular issue, I think we would all agree with the popular saying that, “God has no grandchildren.” God only has children. No one gets into heaven because they were related to people who were Christians. Even the most ardent Calvinist and the most ardent Arminian would agree that each individual must come to Jesus on their own.

      Actually that’s not true. Afrikaner Calvinists used to have a collective, rather than individual, view of election, by which they (the Afrikaners) were “elect” as an entire nation, set apart from the “non-elect” black Africans, etc. This policy, of course, was used to justify apartheid. It was a form of “salvation by grace through race”, you could say. That belief is still held today by many in the “Christian Identity” movement.

      Of course that’s disgusting racist bile and no one in their right mind would believe that today.

      Despite this, however, I do have mixed feelings. Individualism of ANY kind, whether in theology or elsewhere, has always made me uneasy (I guess I’m too much of an Easterner, or a Sobornost fan, at heart). Was the early church individualistic? Their culture certainly was not, and neither was Old Testament-era Judaism. The idea that everyone must “decide” on their own whether they want to be part of Israel or not would have been ridiculous to the Hebrews, wouldn’t it? So I’m not sure how to reconcile that reality with the individualistic view of salvation so many Christians (especially Protestants) hold. Did Jesus die billions of times, once for each individual? Or, did he die and resurrect once, for his Church?

    • Chancellor Roberts

      Delwyn Xavier Campbell, you might want to go back and read that post in its context. The “good news” being referred to there isn’t the “good news” we call “the gospel,” but good news for the parent who wonders whether his or her child is elect.

      Irene seems to want Calvinism to offer some false hope to parents that their children will be saved. At the very least, she seems to want Calvinism to be able to tell parents that there’s a way they can thwart God’s sovereign will and somehow force Him to save their children. In her demand is a presumption that parents are somehow entitled to be comforted in this present life regarding the eternal state of their children.

      So, yes, the “good news” (not referring to the gospel here) for the parents who wonder whether their children are elect is that God is sovereign, that He will do what He pleases with His creation, that He will wipe the tears from our eyes when we go home to be with Him, and that we will fully understand and accept the wisdom of His sovereign choice to elect or not elect particular individuals. God is not some impotent being that has to depend on man exercising so-called “free will” in order to save them; He is not thwarted by man’s sovereign “free will” – He doesn’t need your permission or mine or anyone else’s to save anyone.

    • Chancellor Roberts

      Jeff Ayers,

      I am a Calvinist; but, like John MacArthur, I don’t believe in baby-dipping (infant baptism).

      God doesn’t reprobate anyone. We’re all, from the moment of conception, reprobate – and it is because of Adam’s sin (the guilt of which is imputed, charged to, the whole of humanity according to Romans 5:12-21) that this is so. God has elected to save only some of these reprobates and made His choice before He even spoke Creation into existence – His choice being based not on mere foreknowledge, but on the counsel of His own will. Likewise, Christ was slain before the foundation of the world, meaning that the crucifixion was part of God’s eternal plan even before He said “Let there be light.”

      God is the potter, we are the clay: God has the sovereign right to do whatever He chooses to do with each and every one of us – and none of us have the right to question God’s choices!

    • Chancellor Roberts

      Mike O wrote: “Back to Irene’s excellent point, Calvinism has nothing to offer the parent wondering if their child is elect. The worried parent isn’t looking for a theology lesson, they are looking for COMFORT (right or wrong). And Calvinism has none to offer in this case. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t. If the child is not elect, the child is damned.”

      What comfort would you have us provide? The truth is what it is and it is not always comforting. The FACT of the matter is that, from the moment of conception, we’re all deserving of eternity in the Lake of Fire and we all bear the guilt of Adam’s sin. God is sovereign and He has chosen (elected) from before He even spoke Creation into existence those He will save and it is His absolute right as God – like the potter’s right over the clay – to save no one or save everyone or save only some.

      Parents are to surrender their children to the sovereignty of God and are to love Him more than they love their children – to do anything less is idolatry. Parents were allowed to procreate and, thereby, bring children into existence, but the children are God’s to do with as He pleases. Some people, like Irene, seem to think that God is somehow obligated to give her children or the children of Christians some sort of special treatment, that He is somehow obligated to save those children or, at the very least, give the parents comfort in this present life regarding those children. Well, it just doesn’t work that way. Our comfort must be in God doing what is right (what He knows to be right, not what we think is right, like the way these parents are secretly thinking their children somehow “deserve” to be elect). We must rest in His sovereign will and take comfort that He will accomplish all His purpose.

    • Mike O

      @Chancellor, we agree. If there is no comfort to offer, I’m not suggesting you offer false comfort, I’m suggesting you admit it. If election is the only “right answer” (I happen to believe some are elect and some can choose) God knows and whether I like it or not, that’s the answer. And I would not expect lies just to make me feel better.

      Just admit it – I think that is all Irene is saying. She seems to have left us on this one, but I see such accusations against her here – she wants this or that, or she expects this or that. But I will defend her and say I don’t think that’s the case (only Irene knows). I think she just wanted you to admit Calvinism provides no comfort to that parent.

      @Fr Robert, I didn’t mean to say Calvinism has nothing to offer – like Chancellor said earlier to Xavier – “you may want to go back and read that post in it’s context.” I said Calvinsim has no COMFORT to offer in that situation.

      I am taking the Arminian side on election in this conversation, but most people who know me would generally call me a calvinist, although not a 5-point Calvinist. I agree election happens. I just don’t see that the Bible supports “only” election on this question.

    • Mike O

      @Porter, you asked,

      “the question I would want answered from the Armenian side is this: What is it that you are praying for? According to your beliefs God can not and indeed will not do anything to sway the will in an irresistible way. The only way for God to act in response to prayers for salvation would be in a way that violates human free will as you define it.”

      I don’t know that I can answer from a purely Arminian angle because, just like I am not a 5-point Calvinist, I an not a 5-point arminian (or however many points they have – see? I don’t even know how many points they have 🙂 )

      Anyway, to your question. That’s not true. You paint God as a kid watching bugs in a jar, just to see what will happen, with no interaction at all. That’s not how I think it is at all … God LOVES us and WOOS us and does try to “get us to love him back.” He sent his son to die on the cross for us – how is that not wanting to sway an individual.

      But you used the word “irresistable,” and maybe there’s the rub. I believe God’s wooing *is* resistable. Look around you – Billions resist it, or are at least unaware of it. I believe everyone has the chance to either a) be elect (god’s choice) or b) choose (man’s response to God’s wooing).

      I may be wrong about this, but I don’t think there is a single person on the face of the planet who does not have eternity with Christ as a potential outcome.

      Calvinists do, and on that point I differ.

    • @Mike: Surely whatever you believe? It is not even four point Calvinism! But that’s fine, you also might want to read some of the debate between Augustine and Pelagius, to get a better historical context. Indeed both Calvin and Luther were closer to Augustine on this long and much debated subject! Were not the first Christian generation to struggle with such profound mysteries. 🙂

    • Mike O

      All I know is my wife thinks I am “pretty much a Calvinist,” but she is very liberal in her theology. And my closest Christian brothers are Calvinists and we tend to agree on most things (strict election not being one of them).

      So in the very least, I have a Calvinistic bent to my theology, but the way I see it, the people on both sides of most arguments are intelligent, God-honoring Christians who, somehow, have come to drastically different conclusions using the same source material and following the same Jesus, all while “using the good sense God gave them (as my mother used to say) :). That dynamic is interesting to me, and I am willing to consider differing opinions. And sometimes, IMO, Calvinism, as a “packaged theology” theology, has it wrong.

    • To really be a “Calvinist” one has to believe in the complete Sovereignty of God, and this is much more than a definition itself, but “the doctrine of God”… “Behold then the goodness-kindness and severity of God!” (Rom. 11: 22)…”For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” (Rom. 11: 36)

      Btw, though we are Brit’s, my wife likes the Tea-Party! She might be even more conservative than I am? 😉

      Btw too, what our wife’s may think, is thankfully secondary! Of course I say this about theology, for the “home” is theirs, just as we are theirs! So we walk softly, or should before them! 😉

    • cherylu

      Jesus said, And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 ESV

      And in Mark 9:43:48, Jesus speaks of the horrors of hell and the serious way we should approach staying out of that horrible place. He said, “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire, where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.] “If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell, where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.] “If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell, where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED. NASB

      Taking all of that into consideration, it is really hard for me to see how as parents or as neighbors/friends it is even possible for us to “love someone as ourselves” (surely we love ourselves enough to not want to go to that terrible place) and still be able to say it is right and good for God to make that decision–having passed over them with them having no opportunity for salvation. It leaves us with a huge dichotomy in our thinking–we surely do not want them to go there and endure that horror but it is quite right and good of God to make the decision before the creation of the earth that that is their destiny and there is no possibility of anything else taking place.

      Somehow, I don’t think I have expressed my thinking here very well.

    • Surely the doctrine of eternal-separation from God, is quite God’s mystery! And since it is HIS, we can only bow our knee here! (Matt. 25: 46) And St. Paul surely taught it, though even he does not define it fully, (2 Thess. 1:7-9). And btw, chapter 2 of 2 Thess. is quite sobering, even frightful, noting especially verses 11 & 12. And again surely verses 13-14 is quite so-called Calvinistic!

    • Of course the great question that is always before us, is that, do we believe…actually fully believe God’s Word and Revelation? And believe does not mean that we fully understand it intellectually, i.e. God’s Word & Revelation, but that we acknowledge that GOD alone is God, and we say, Amen! This is quite a lost attitude today however in modernity & postmodernity…again quite!

    • cherylu

      Fr Robert,

      I don’t think “mystery” is a word that is nearly adequate for this.

      To tell us on one hand of a place that is so horrible that we are to basically go to any extreme necessary to avoid it, and then in the next breath to tell us that we or our neighbors/friends/children whom we are to love as ourselves may very well be created with the unalterable destiny of going to that very place and then telling us that is right and good and we are to be comforted by that fact…..that is mind bending dichotomy.

      To be comforted by something with an unalterably horrible outcome is an interesting concept to say the least.

    • @cherylu: As I have said quite over and over, St. Paul uses this biblical word Mystery or literally “Musterion, Gk.” quite often! And perhaps the most comprehensive manner is in 1 Cor. 4: 1, “Let a man (person) regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” Though I am surely no apostle, I am a “presbyter” of God by His grace and choice, in this time of His Church and the historical dispensation of His “musterion”. So it is here I seek to state His grace & glory, in the very words of the NT Revelation! To God be the Glory! We are never going sound the depths of God’s great “mysteries”, but we can and must proclaim HIM therein! This is a least my desire! And btw, GOD is always quite HIS own dichotomy, for HE alone is God! Tertullian noted and preached the great Antitheses in God!

    • Delwyn Xavier Campbell

      I am a Lutheran surrounded by Calvinists and Arminians. Alone in a crowd…. In the end, I can only say that if my children are saved, “to God alone be the glory,” and if they are not, “to God be the glory.” For either way, whether they live or die, they are His. That may not comfort, at least, not in the short run, but if I did all that I can do, I have done all that I can do. The rest, as always, is in God’s hands. HE has ordained salvation such that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing from the Word of God.” There is no other way to salvation but through the Gospel, and if it is rejected, there is nothing else we can offer. I am confident that God will not let His word fall to the ground empty, but that it will accomplish the purpose for which it was sent. Therefore, I made disciples of my children, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things, whatever Jesus commanded. That is ALL that I can do. If, somehow, they end up enemies of God, it will not be because I failed to preach the Word, being ready in season and out of season, but because they rejected God’s will in Christ concerning us, our salvation through faith in His name. Unlike others, Lutherans do not attempt to explain this, we simply accept it as biblically true.

    • @Delwyn: In reality, we all Calvinist, Lutheran, etc. are surrounded by God’s great grace, glory & mystery! And this should always quite humble us! God alone is God! As Luther knew so well!

    • Btw, I wonder how many Lutherans have read Luther’s great piece, Bondage of the Will? Simply a must read really for all today’s Christians certainly!

    • Irene

      @Mike,

      I was occupied for a while yesterday; thanks for stating my case!

      Just as an aside, I have never heard anyone with your theory before, about some people predestined and some people accepting of their own will. It sounds like it couldn’t possibly be true, but I admit I don’t have a reason right now for it to be an impossibility.
      I like what I heard Peter Kreeft say once (paraphrasing): Fate and freedom seem so separate and distinct, but really they are like two rivers flowing down a mountain from the same source. By the time they get down to us, they are two separate things, but really they are one thing, because they have the same source. It’s just that we can’t see the top of the mountain. We’re down at the bottom.
      Maybe that fits well with what you have observed.

      Anyway, for any sick at heart parent out there, there are better answers out there, that still uphold the sovereignty of God! God need not, and does not, create people for condemnation in order to demonstrate his sovereignty, and there are millennia worth of very intelligent, very holy people who would back that up.

      God loves our children more than we do. God desires their salvation even more than we do. But God wants more than “people in heaven” for his glory. God wants to be loved freely by us, and gives us the power, spiritually, to make that possible. THAT is AWESOME news, for everyone!

    • cherylu

      To any and all Calvinists in this thread, what would you tell a Christian parent that was grieving the death of a child that to all appearances died not knowing and loving the Lord and was therefore evidently not a part of the elect?

      It would be hard enough to lose a child that you had every confidence was in the Lord’s presence. How much harder to lose one that you believe will be suffering unbelievable eternal torment.

      So do you tell them not to grieve that fact? If it is right and good that they be suffering that torment and it could of never been otherwise, can we really grieve the fact that they are?

      (And yes, I did read what Tim Kimberley said on the subject.)

    • Fate is simply more pagan than biblical revelation!

      Greek & Roman Mythology, the three goddesses who preside over the birth and life of humans. Each person’s destiny was thought of as a thread spun, measured, and cut by the three Fates, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos.

      And Irene, you are surely rejecting the position of Augustine and too Aquinas on the great doctrine of Predestination & Election! But sadly this has been quite the position of the so-called modern (really now postmodern) RCC, note the CCC is quite far from either Augustine or Aquinas here. But, this was not really the position taken when I was a young Irish lad! My Irish priest was a most certain Augustinian (educated from the order), and held close to both men. But this was in the 50’s.

      And btw, note God’s use of Pharaoh in Rom. 9: 17-18! Certainly flies in the face of what you state! Always scripture and revelation, and NOT what we think or how we feel! Indeed your whole ad hoc has been based upon “feelings”, and that of a mother and parent. I wonder what Aaron felt when God killed his two son’s (Nadad and Abihu) for presenting “strange fire” on the altar?

    • @cherylu: Certainly Arminian doctrine does not give any real hope here, either! Just poor and even false doctrine, rather!

    • cherylu

      Fr Robert,

      Did you see my question in #98?

    • Yes, this is simply an ad hoc position really! Actually, a non sequitur (Latin, it does not follow)… An argument in which the conclusion does not follow from the premises. At least from the position of a most Sovereign God! Note, it was Satan, that spoke: “has God said?” And of course, GOD has said!

    • Irene

      @Fr Robert,

      I guess I don’t understand what you mean when you say my claim is ad hoc.

    • @Irene: Ad hoc, means, and especially the way your using it here, for this specific purpose, in this special case, etc.

      Yes, I am an old philosophy teacher, but logic does have its place in human argumentation! But, God, sometimes transcends His own logic, i.e. metaphysics, and note here ontology, and the doctrine of being. It is here btw, that we get the existential, and existentialism!

    • cherylu

      Fr Robert,

      Is your # 102 directed to me or to Irene? You are confusing me. 🙂

    • @cherylu: It is to this whole matter and subject! Note, the focus is not upon a text of scripture, or even really a theological position straight-up, but upon a supposition. Suppositional dialogue will drive one crazy! 😉 But I will, like my Lutheran brethren to degree, and hopefully true Calvinist brethren.. stand upon the Holy Scripture in the great mystery/mysteries of God!

    • Delwyn Xavier Campbell

      “To a degree?” I think, if you reviewed the Lutheran Symbols, you would find that they agree with Scripture in every part. I would be honored if you could show a place where they are contrary to God’s Word. Take your time, I have until Jesus returns… 😉

    • @Delwyn: I have Luther’s WA, and I have the Fortress Press book: The Lutheran Confessions. Not to mention I just recently got the new Concordia book: Translated by Jacob Preus, of Melanchthon’s: Loci, etc. And I have preached several times at Lutheran Churches, of course as an Anglican presbyter. Note mate, I did my D. Phil. way back in the mid 90’s on Luther’s Ontology of the Cross. So I simply love the guy! (I too have many Luther books and bio’s!)

      But, I am one of those guys that sees Luther closer to Calvin on Predestination & Election, and they were both surely Augustinians! That is one of the reasons I mentioned Luther’s Bondage of the Will. But yes, there are some differences to degree between Luther and Calvin on Predestination. But, not large one’s in my opinion.

    • Jay Saldana

      It seems to me that in some of the missives we have strayed over the line. There are many sound arguments for Calvin and there are equally sound arguments for Arminianism. The same can be said for Saints big and small and for theologians big and small. It is not the kind of doctrine that is “necessary” for salvation.
      Calling out quotes from saints and theologians in an environment that is not prepared for it is a great polemical tools but it is not a guarantee of the soundness of your point of view or your argument especially while you ignore all the errors the same theologian or saint made but that only another schooled traditionally would know. Summa Theologica is not easy reading even for a scholar and peeling its errors away from its truths is a life time work.
      Again, I would remind everyone that we are irenic in our approach here. That is the first principal that Michael taught me and I have found it to be incredibly profound as I have gone on to other venues and education. There is room for both types of “Order of Salvation” in God’s world as we shall not know the “answer” till we arrive if God’s so grants.
      The real questions is not who is right about the mechanics but who has the best reply to grieving parents. This one, I think, calls for your humanity not your educational capacity. How do you touch a soul hurt and fearful in that moment of loss, when the thought of eternal loss is more than they can bear? How do you reach into your tenderness and your own fear of damnation and speak to the security of God’s mercy and grace. How do you bring Jesus like the servant telling you that the daughter is dead? Touch your fear and God’s love of you and then spill your grace?

      Go with God,
      Your brother,

      Jay Saldana

    • cherylu

      Fr Robert,

      Re # 106: It would seem to me that my question is not something ad hoc, but rather a question of applied theology. It hits at the very core of being “pastoral” it would seem to me. And how many times have you told all of us that you always try to be pastoral?

      So what do you tell the grieving parent whose child was just killed in a car accident or died of cancer, for example, when there was no evidence at all that he was one of the elect?

      If that parent is a true Arminian and they have faithfully told the child of Jesus, of course they will grieve if that child dies with no evidence of having received salvation in Jesus. But what do you tell the grieving Calvinist parent who believes that their much loved child is now in hell because they were destined for that very thing before the world began and it is what the Lord of all creation chose for them? How do you at that time of death tell that grieving parent to find their comfort in the fact that this was right and good? How can it possibly at that time seem right and good to a parent to realize their child is more then likely spending an eternal torment in hell because God saw that as good?

      Come on now and be pastoral! Please?? How would you deal with this parents grief and possible questioning of the Lord’s goodness in this instance?

      I echo Jay’s questions from the last comment: This one, I think, calls for your humanity not your educational capacity. How do you touch a soul hurt and fearful in that moment of loss, when the thought of eternal loss is more than they can bear? How do you reach into your tenderness and your own fear of damnation and speak to the security of God’s mercy and grace. How do you bring Jesus like the servant telling you that the daughter is dead? Touch your fear and God’s love of you and then spill your grace?

    • @cherylu: Forgive me, but this is exactly what I have said it would be, and nothing but a supposed what if, and quite an ad hoc, this was one of the main reasons I did not want to engage the question and subject in the first place. For it is actually based on a false theological premise, at least to my mind and belief. And again quite simply nothing but a non-sequitur mentally and philosophically, as I see and understand it! I could myself pull a what if, from my own theological presuppositions, which of course to me would be much more realistic, as based on my own theological belief’s, etc. The whole point is, we must argue biblically and somewhat systematically in theology, before we can even begin to apply the pastoral aspects here. And indeed truth is always itself the real issue, and not “what if’s”! But, that is how I see it myself. 🙂

    • William Huget

      Sounds like Calvinism in theory, but free will theism in practice. TULIP and double predestination are simply wrong views that offer little comfort or explanation. Instead of appealing to mystery, paradox, antimony, etc., it should be seen as incoherent, unbiblical, conundrum, contradiction, inconsistent. There is a more biblical, coherent explanation for why some are saved and others are lost.

    • @William: Indeed please enlighten us poor ignorant Calvinists, and especially this neo-Calvinist, who really likes the theology and work of John Calvin himself! 😉 And as an Anglican Reformed, I quite love biblical mystery and paradox myself, as I have shared here myself!

    • Robin

      I dont get why Christians have to be so devisive over something so mysterious. My personal take is that we should not try to understand God’s ways or blame Him for family members not being saved. It is all his and our peanut brains cannot really comprehend it. We see through a mirror darkly inthis life but someday we shall see him face-to-face.

    • Oh Amen there Robin! The essence here really IS the “mysterious” Doctrine of God, Himself! When we look at the Jewish People and Nation of “Israel”, we should get a real lesson of God’s great mystery and sovereign purposes in His “covenant”! (Rom. 11: 27-36)

    • Brother Stumblefoot

      Let the Calvinist wax eloquent about the great mystery of reprobation, and comfort himself in hoping he will “some day
      understand;” but (according to the traditional view), someone we love is still in an eternal Hell! An ultimate reconciliation of all is the only way you can comfort these grieving people. Our God must be better than all that.

      • C Michael Patton

        He is better than all that. There is no problem letting you conscience he a guide. Without it, we would never be able to interpret Gos in a way that parallels the morals we use to judge him. The problem is when we use the morals (which are only found in nim) to judge him wrongly, Boeing we are more righteous than he.

    • Robin

      It is a mystery and this leads me to doubt all the schemes we make to explain it, or try to ascertain who is elect or not. Not all will be saved but i know that God loves all (he said so). I know that He loves my daughter so much more than i do and his plan for her is his and i trust Him completely. I leave her in his hands. I know that he will do everything and has done everything to save her. I cannot even explain how i was called, it just happened. So im not going to stress about it!

    • Here is a piece I came across, that was part (back awhile) on this subject. It is not mine however, and I would only agree in part.

      ‘The interesting thing, as the writer points out, is that “God willed humanity’s fall”. Calvin actually goes a step further by stating in Book III Chp 23 that “at His own pleasure [God] arranged it”. In effect Calvin is saying that it was a deliberate act of God that made the fall of man possible.
      But why would God do that? Well, the answer is found in Hebrews 10:5. For Christ to have a body through which to put an end to corruption and evil (Daniel 9:24), man had to fall. No fall, no Christ and no end to the potentiality of evil (Hebrews 2:14) infecting creation.
      The evidence of God’s deliberate orchestration of the fall is found in 2 Timothy 1:9-10. He drew up the plan before the creation of time. And what is that plan? It is the eradication of evil, iniquity and all manner of corruption so that it will never infect the new creation. The old, temporal creation that we are (universe, matter, earth, mankind) will pass away and a new universe, a new man will replace it (2 Peter 3:10-13 and Revelation 21:1-4, 22-27).
      A wise God creates a temporal existence to annihilate evil, sin, disobedience, pain, suffering, tears, decay and wickedness. We have been called to put on the armor of God to fight this battle. When asked why we suffer, we can confidently respond that it is because Christ is in the process of destroying the cause of that suffering (1 John 3:8).’

    • Again, I really wonder today how many have really given Calvin’s Institutes an honest study? What passes today as “Calvinism”, was/is certainly not fully John Calvin!

    • Tim Kimberley

      Fr. Robert,

      I actually just finished a thorough 18 month study through the entirety of the Institutes. I’m not aware of anything I said in the original post that Calvin would find fault. I think Calvin would put a lot more emphasis on the importance of Christians to baptize their children. I don’t as strongly affirm the power of infant baptism as Calvin did, but I’m pretty sure he would affirm election and the necessity of a personal free-will salvation.

      I hope that helps,
      Tim

    • cherylu

      Fr Robert,

      I have a couple of questions. The first one is, I am wondering who made that statement that you quoted? Do you have a link for it?

      The next one is, if what that person said is true, does that still not just move the whole question back one more “notch”. Since God is the creator of all, and since He is sovereign over all, where did the potential for evil come from in the first place? Did He not have to will and decree it also in the Calvinist’s understanding of things?

    • @cherylu: The first question, I cannot answer.. as I don’t know the person wants to be known, at least here?

      As to the great questions of Predestination & Election, in reality these were surely issues that were also studied in the great Middle Ages, and the Church certainly before the Reformation. But especially in Scholasticism, you should also see Protestant and Reformed scholasticism since. THIS is simply a very profound theological subject, and here we simply must make some headway, before we can cast ourselves into the pastoral issues and questions. Note, quite again, the whole Reformed “ordo salutis”. Which I have quoted several times from Richard Muller’s Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms, etc. Indeed, God’s “calling & regeneration” are always first place, in HIS cause and effect. This really is quite the first place of Calvinism! But note, the Lutherans themselves have a different “ordo”. But note too, there is I believe a different ordo, between Luther and Melanchthon! The Lutheran Church and Lutheran Confessions appear to follow Melanchthon, more than Luther. Though of course some scholars disagree, and some just don’t know? I would as I have said, place Luther closer to Calvin on the subject, but that is my opinion.

    • @Tim: For me at least, your whole approach is much more “fundamentalist”, than covenantal, and thus not much at all with Calvin! And of course I speak theologically and historically, but I hope friendly! 🙂

    • cherylu

      Fr Robert,

      Thanks for a nice long answer that did absolutely nothing to answer the question I asked! 🙂

    • @cherylu: Before one can often answer questions, they must set something of the ground-work for it! And this is something that hardly happens for you it appears! History and the historical always! YOU it appear, just want black and white answers, and as I have said before this is one of the great problematic aspects of Fundamentalism!

    • cherylu

      Fr Robert,

      And getting you to answer anything directly is a lot like pulling the proverbial hen’s teeth! 🙂

      I maintain that there are many things things that are black and white that don’t need multiple pages of nuanced and dialectical discussion before an answer can be found.

      Obviously our approaches to life are vastly different, aren’t they?

    • @cherylu: I am a “theolog”, and have been for many years, but I hope too with something of a shepherds heart. But that heart can never deny the word and revelation of God foremost! And getting people to see the great ‘Doctrine of God’, is first a theological reality to me! Indeed the “biblical nuance” is itself the tone, color-shade and meaning of the doctrine of God, i.e. “the God Who is God” as Luther said. And indeed no need at all of man’s “anthropocentric” values!

    • And btw, you might want to check into just what is the dialectical approach to God! I believe it is closer to the mystical aspect, myself. Note here one Karl Barth for example! Perhaps one of the most misunderstood theologians in the 20th century, and certainly into the 21st. And note for Barth, there is only one source for ethics and for the political action that might follow, namely the command of the Word of God as found alone in the scriptures. God’s absolute sovereignty calls into question all human activities and projects, over and against which God stands in judgment; there can be no compromise between Christianity and the world, period! This is perhaps Barth’s best theological gift he has given to the Reformed Church and history. And here he is surely closer to our best Reformers themselves!

    • Thanks be to God, that the best black and white for us, is no doubt the great Trinity of God! But those lines surely run in many ways, as we have historically possessed them, in the great Creeds of the Nicene and the Athanasian! Sadly, it is rare to hear them in most evangelical churches today! The One in Three, and the Three in One!

      “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev. 1: 8)

      May WE dwell more on HIM, and this/His Triune Mystery!

    • Nelson Banuchi

      An honest question deserves a straightforward answer.

      First, Kimberly’s “step back” is not only irrelevant but also deflects from the real issue, which the question evokes, and is misleading.

      Although it is true that both Calvinist and Arminians agree that “each individual must come to Jesus on their own”, Kimberly fails to mention the Calvinist view portrays the individual as responding due solely to the divine predetermination regarding how this or that particular person will respond to the Gospel; that is, in reality, no response – positive or negative – is ultimately an act of one’s own free will but God’s predetermined act to effect the desired response from each individual based on nothing but God’s unrevealed will. This view is in stark contrast to Arminian soteriology and renders the similarity as Kimberly suggests as merely superficial

      Second, when “getting back to the issue at hand”, there remains an (unconscious? conscious?) attempt to evade the real answer which the inquirer seeks.

      The question is not, “What if my kids do not love Jesus?” but “What if my kids aren’t elect?” There is a big difference between the two questions and, as such, his answer does not at all deal directly to the query.

      The more accurate answer, logically following Calvinist teaching, is simply: if your child is not elect, there is nothing at all you can do about it. The only comfort that one may afford is that at present you do not know whether or not your child is elect. Praying will not change God’s mind if your child is not elect. As a Calvinist, all that seems left to do is cross your fingers and hope for the best; and, yes, the idea that one’s child is not of the elect should cause a parent to be sick and have “a hard time” – a very hard time – seeing it as conducive to God’s glory.

    • Jay Saldana

      I have to say that I am stunned. May I gently suggest you all get yourselves to the missionary field. (Redbird in Kentucky would be excellent) You need to see God’s grace at work. You have spent to much time in your books. We are talking about two THEORIES of how God saves and applying it like a weed wacker removes weeds amongst orchards. All this knowledge and presumption that everyone else is ignorant of the information you contain and not one real word of compassion for a parent who has lost a child, except a spiritual “get over it for the greater glory of God!” We are in the business of communicating the love of God. You are called to be a “theolog” to know and love God so you may communicate and bring that love to his children. If you are so “filled” with knowledge and facts how is there room for God’s grace to enter into your life? If it cannot enter how do you fulfill your calling? We learn/believe like Anselm said so that we may understand. I see very little “understanding”. Seriously, stop being a theolog or a Calvinist or an Arminian and go a spend a day in a children’s cancer ward. Remind yourself what the Love on the Cross was like. How it sacrificed and humiliated itself for the likes of us.

      Go with God,
      Your Brother,

      Jay Saldana

    • Delwyn Xavier Campbell

      I do know that God will never reject those who come to Him by faith, and faith comes by hearing, and hearing from the Word of God. I would tell her to trust in God’s promises to convey to us the forgiveness of sins via the means of grace (Word and Sacrament), and train up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. I am persuaded that He is able to keep what we’ve committed to Him until that day. – THAT is what I would tell that parent!

    • Chancellor Roberts

      Mike O,

      How’s this for an admission: “Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands – remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:11-12 ESV). Note the phrase “having no hope and without God in the world.” This applies to everyone who is unregenerate, who is not saved. Unless God specifically chose, from before the foundation of the world, to save a particular individual, that person is – and will always be- “[without] hope and without God in the world.” That’s not just what Calvinism says, that quote is directly from God’s word.

      Keep in mind, of course, that the “Arminians” (actually semi-Pelagians) can’t offer any real hope to parents either. They can offer no guarantees that any Christian’s child is definitely going to be saved, especially since they believe man is the final arbiter of his own salvation (making man sovereign over God) and give God permission to save him (through “accepting Jesus” as his very own personal Lord and Savior, though “Lord” is supposedly something that He becomes to them over time as so-called “Lordship salvation,” where Jesus becomes your Lord the moment you put your trust in Him, is derided as heresy). Thus, even the semi-Pelagian (most of evangelical Christianity) cannot give parents real hope. Parents can pray that God will maybe do something in their children’s hearts, but in their theology the ultimate decision is still the child’s (again, making man sovereign over God).

      God will save those who are His. He will save all those whom He specifically gave to Christ. That’s a guarantee. The semi-Pelagians don’t even have that.

    • Chancellor Roberts

      Jay Saldana,

      Are you saying we can’t see God’s grace at work in our home communities?

      I’m all for people going to the mission field (however we might define that), particularly Christians in the US. However, why is it that there seems to be a greater concentration of missionaries in places like Western Europe than in places like Latin America, Africa or Central Asia – in first world nations instead of the second or third world? Also, I think we need to take a much closer look at how we do missions. As more and more countries close their doors to what I call “professional missionaries” (essentially people who go to the mission field through a missions agency wholly supported by donations from churches and individual Christians back home), opportunities increase for tentmakers (like the Apostle Paul), people who work in-country to support themselves and engage in mission through being a living witness on the job, involving themselves in the work of local (not expat) churches, etc. (For the record, I live, work and am involved in a local church in Kazakhstan, where something as simple as praying over your meal in a restaurant can get you arrested for “unregistered religious activity”).

      However, sometimes Calvinist parents do ask the valid question “What if my children aren’t elect?” So, what do we tell them? Should we offer them hope that isn’t there? Should we tell them that if they pray hard enough they might get God to change His mind? All unbelievers are without “hope and without God in the world.” Unless God has elected a particular individual, that person will never have hope – and there’s no use in us trying to give parents false hope. Parents must surrender their children to God and accept His absolute sovereignty over them, His right to do with them as He pleases. Them doing anything less is idolatry.

    • Mike O

      I am re-reading Romans cover-to-cover from the perspective that “Paul believed in strict election.” I am doing this to see if a person who believed in election would write what he wrote.

      Day 1: Romans 1-4 – It is pretty clear that Paul, himself, was elect. He was chosen, turned, and sent by the miraculous hand of God. But with that said, the words he writes in Romans 1-4 do not seem to be the words of an electionist.

      We’ll see what chapters 5-16 bring.

      I find it VERY helpful when in the midst of an argument about debatable things, to read pertinent BOOKS of scripture cover to cover twice, once from each perspective.

      If Paul believed in election, would he write what he wrote in Romans?

      Then I’ll do it from the perspective of free will, would Paul write what he wrote if he believed every person had the ability to choose Christ.

      So far, if Paul were an electionist, IMO Romans 1-4 would have been written differently. Because he sure doesn’t sound like one.

    • @Jay: Hey mate, you don’t even seem to read all of the blog posts here? I am a semi-retired Anglican priest/presbyter, and work now daily as a hospital chaplain. (And I see plenty of life & death there!) And I used to live and teach theology in Israel, back in the latter 90’s. And as most know here, I am too a retired Royal Marine Commando (with Gulf War 1 my last, but not first combat). So be very careful throwing around your subjective judgment! YOU don’t have a clue to who people are here, based upon so little comments & statements.

      And btw, try witnessing to Muslim’s in Israel! And for that matter, the only witness also for Israeli’s (at least in the daily life mode) is one’s own life!

      Finally, this is a very deep subject, i.e. Predestination & Election, it really should be handled with much care, respect and awe, for it’s centre is the Doctrine of GOD Himself, In Christ! Sometimes we forget that Predestination and Election are ‘In Christ’! (Eph. 1: 3-4-5-6, etc.) See too, Jude 1: 1 ; 24-25!

    • I quite wonder here how many here believe in the “eternal covenant, of Jesus our Lord” (Heb. 13: 20). Note too verse 21! (See also, Phil. 1: 6) The point is Jesus Christ, or “Christ Jesus” is the place we are to focus God’s eternality! See too, John 17: 2-3! And here, too, as we note: Jesus had an both ‘a glory and work’ from this eternity and “covenant” place, “which I had with You before the world was.” (John 17: 5)

    • And btw, I (really we) have two sons myself, both born in my 40’s! And we are to raise them ‘In Christ’, who is Himself the “Elect” – “chosen-one”, (Isa. 42: 1).

    • Mike O

      @Chancellor – The way I read that, “had no hope” implies that election was *not* the process. Otherwise they would still have no hope. They *had* no hope, but now they are His. Perhaps I’m missing your point?

      Also, I don’t think anyone here is arguing that giving a happy answer is the goal. if a child is not a child of Jesus Christ, they are not a follower of Jesus Christ and there is no hope. I think we all agree on that.

      The issue with Calvinism, more specifically election is, there’s not a thing anyone can do about it. The child may be damned with no possibility of salvation. THAT’S the issue, not giving a parent a happy answer.

      And to the “man is the final arbiter” argument, I’m not saying that either. God is the final arbiter. But I am saying that by my simple reading of Romans 1-4 (5-16 still to come), God seems to respond to man’s action. If he didn’t, most of the Bible would be worded completely differently than it is.

      I think it’s a cause/effect problem. The Bible is written as if God responds to man. Calvinism is written as if he doesn’t. Or if he does, it is only for show since he ordained the outcome he “responded” to.

      Again, I think there’s an odd mix of both. I can’t say God doesn’t sovereignly elect some. But I see scripture leaning more towards God responding to, or waiting for man (in the sense of ‘giving him time HOPING he will repent’), than I do man riding out the pre-ordained storm called life.

    • Here is a piece even today, from R.C. Sproul on Original Sin…

      http://crossquotes.com/2013/10/22/r-c-sproul-is-original-sin-unfair/

      We all simply MUST see ourselves as In Adam (the first)…sinners and sinful-beings, but thank God for the Second Adam, Jesus Christ! We too are in Him, if we believe and find ourselves in “regeneration” and life, and this life ‘In Christ’ is “eternal”!

      Are we teaching our children the doctrine of the “eternal covenant” in Jesus Christ? Jesus, Himself Who is the Elect-One!

    • Mike O

      @Fr Robert that is an interesting article, but I think it breaks your point more than makes it. Election would say God put the pit there and sovereignly ordained that the gardener would jump in. The RC Sproule article makes it sound like God put the pit there, hoped (and expected??) that the gardener wouldn’t jump in, but he did.

    • @Mike: Of course your over-pressing the illustration! 🙂 Note, this is not a parable. Yes, God knew and somewhat ordained.. or better for human purposes “allowed” the Fall, but of course directly HE is not the author. Yes, surely great mystery here! There is no escape from the Sovereignty and purposes of God!

    • Btw, Mike what do you make of Romans 9: 10-11-12? And note verses 14-15 & 16! These are eternal choices IN/by God! As the example of Pharaoh, 17-18!

    • Mike O

      I would say they point to election. Again, I am not arguing against election for the bible clearly contains examples of it. I give you Pharaoh, Joseph, Paul, JESUS. I give you examples in Acts (which I am reading now) where Paul wanted to go here or there, but was hindered by the spirit. ELECTION. I am arguing against *only* election. I refer back to my comment #5, where I wonder why it must be one or the other.

      My reading of Romans 1-4 seems to lean towards free will. Chapter 9:10-16 seems to point to election. I’ve found it’s best to be comfortable in the paradox.

    • Note, both Pharaoh and Judas were quite “reprobate” and lost! For Judas, see John 17: 12. There surely is a “Reprobation” of the lost! Note, too the great difference between a Peter and Judas after their sins! Peter of course cries out for forgiveness, but Judas can only seek to destroy himself. SIN, quite destroys the lost! And how really can we blame God? Btw, not free-will, but only responsible will, such are men in the First Adam!

    • I’ll take the GOD of “the paradox” myself! 😉

    • Mike O

      😉

    • Chancellor Roberts

      Mike O,

      The idea that God elects some to be saved, while others get to be saved by their own “free will” doesn’t make sense. Further, Revelation says that Jesus was slain from the foundation of the world, indicating that the cross was part of God’s plan even before He spoke Creation into existed. Remember, there’s a progression: foreknowledge (which is more than just knowing beforehand as you’ll see in the John Gill quote later), predestination, call, justification, glorification (see Romans 8:29-30).

      I agree with John Gill in his commentary on Romans 8:29, “The foreknowledge of God here, does not intend his prescience of all things future; by which he foreknows and foretells things to come, and which distinguishes him from all other gods; and is so called, not with respect to himself, with whom all things are present, but with respect to us, and which is eternal, universal, certain, and infallible; for in this sense he foreknows all men, and if this was the meaning here, then all men would be predestinated, conformed to the image of Christ, called by grace, justified and glorified; whereas they are a special people, whom God has foreknown: nor is this foreknowledge to be understood of any provision or foresight of the good works, holiness, faith, and perseverance of men therein, upon which God predestinates them to happiness; since this would make something out of God, and not his good pleasure, the cause of predestination; which was done before, and without any consideration of good or evil, and is entirely owing to the free grace of God, and is the ground and foundation of good works, faith, holiness, and perseverance in them: but this regards the everlasting love of God to his own people, his delight in them, and approbation of them; in this sense he knew them, he foreknew them from everlasting, affectionately loved them, and took infinite delight and pleasure in them; and this is the foundation of their predestination and election…”

    • Mike O

      Continuing my simple reading of Romans to see what Paul *wrote* and not to lay upon it what I THINK Paul *meant* (doing my best to ignore my preconceived notions), I see this in Romans 5-9

      Day 2: Romans 5-9 – I see in chapters 5-7 the words of a man that still leans towards free will. However in Chapter 8, the tone does begin to change towards election. Beginning in Romans 8:18 the tone begins to take on a flair of “God ordained it.” Particularly in chapter 9 (as Fr Robert pointed out yesterday, and is why I read through chapter 9 today) I see a definite support for election.

      In all fairness, in chapters 1-7, I asked myself the question “would a man who believed in strict election write these words?” that is, a man who believed ALL souls are predestined either “in” or “out.” I find it hard to believe that to be the case. I would need to read chapters 1-7 “in a clever way” to get pure election to fit.

      Likewise, when I read chapters 8 and 9 (10-16 still to come) I ask myself the question, “would a man who believed there was NO election write these words?” that is, a man who believed NO souls are predestined “in” or “out.” Again, I find it hard to believe that to be the case. I would need to read chapters 8-9 “in a clever way” to discount election entirely.

      Which leaves me with my paradoxical conclusion that a biblical case can be made for both. And because of that, I personally accept that “both” may be the biblical case.

      I admit I have my preconceived bent towards free will. In my reading of the whole of scripture, I see both, but if we were to put it in a balance, I find the weightier side to on the side of free will. But there is also election because God is, after all, Sovereign. 🙂

      In none of this do I discount the sovereignty of our God. IN HIS SOVEREIGNTY, he generally gives us freedom to choose him or not. And within that framework, some are predestined one way (Paul) or the other (Pharoah).

    • Mike O

      @Chancellor, the idea that God would create someone he “loves” predestined to eternal torture in hell doesn’t make sense. But Calvinists believe that. The idea that God can be sovereign and yet allow free will doesn’t make sense, but non-Calvinists believe that. The idea that God would do ANY of this in any way for people who are as much trouble as we are doesn’t make sense. But He did.

      It may not make sense, but the Bible does seem to support both views.

      Paradox.

    • Mike O

      @Chancellor, one other comment regarding your mention of the Cross from the foundation of the world … how does the fact that God knew we would ALL need a sacrificial savior even hint that his sacrifice was, by election, applied to so few? It seems quite a waste, wouldn’t you agree, to sacrifice your only son for so few when you could have sacrificed him for them all?

      I wonder if we aren’t getting hung up on “God chose” who was in and out (election) versus “God knew what we would choose” (my view). And while I know these both resolve down to the same final outcome – God created people he knew would go to hell – at least all people had the opportunity to spend eternity with Christ, which is what scripture seems to say by my reading of it. Otherwise what was the point of creating them?

      A lot of things don’t make sense 🙂

    • @Mike: This is a friendly observation. 🙂 But in my opinion, you simply don’t have the biblical presuppositions of Calvinism! As I have sought to show, Calvinism historically and theologically comes or follows from Augustine and Augustinianism. And of course foremost from St. Paul! Though it is surely seen too in St. John and the Johannine. As too from 1st. Peter 1: 2. But, to fully get the Pauline and biblical backdrop, we simply must see the great reality of God’s Federal Headship, in Adam.. as well In Christ! Without the Federal Headship and the Federal Vision of God, we will never quite get the whole doctrine of God! And most surely Augustinianism, as Calvinism are very theologically modeled! And again this especially goes back to Paul and “Romans”, as too the Letter of “Galatians”, and even also the Letters of the “Corinthians”; and finally the great pinnacle of “Ephesians” 1: 5-11, etc. Again, without this foundation we will quite simply be adrift biblically & theologically, as to who God is (the doctrine of God), and what God has done, theologically…Creation, Redemption, etc., as ‘In Christ’! Surely, we must place Christ at the centre of all and everything God does, but always in the great Federal Vision of God! And here properly speaking is the great doctrine of Predestination & Election! And this doctrine quite separates humanism, from God’s Revelation! The human mind alone, will never arrive Here!

    • Btw, here in John (the Johannine) we can hear the words of Christ Himself… John 16:9-15!

      “All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.” (John 16: 15) And note too the Johannine in Matt. 11: 27! “Surely these are the one’s that “Come to me..”(verse 28, “..and learn from Me”, verse 29, etc.)

    • If we want our children to know Christ, we must teach the Christ of the Bible, and here seek to stand beneath God’s revelation therein, and live..’In Christ’! And as I have said before, the great doctrine of God’s “Reprobation” is not just the flip side of the God’s “election of grace”. Indeed we must allow God’s great mystery here! And this includes not pressing mere human questions! God is simply not going to answer these!

    • Brother Stumblefoot

      Guys! I hear some of you crying out for a Universal atonement, but you don’t realize it yet. We could do a meltdown on all this Calvinist/Arminian debate if we just recognized what the atonement did–it atoned! We’ve read the Bible all these years wearing those dark glasses, and they have blurred the view.

      The gospel does not come as cool waters in one hand, but
      bitter waters in the other, or more to the point, He doesn’t say, “You can have the joy of sins forgiven, but maybe I chose that your children spend eternity away from in Hell.”

      I realize the Non-Universalist sees some Scriptures as teaching an eternal Hell, but I would insist there are better translations and better interpretations of these Scriptures.

      Romans 9, I think does teach an election, but it says nothing about an eternal Hell. We’ve just been trained in such a way, that when we see any judgment of God, we automatically assume that to mean “eternal Hell.”

      Even in verse 22, the word “destruction” is not required to translate (or be interpreted) as “eternal Hell.” The word in the original is used frequently for physical death, and in Luke 15, it is used of the one sheep that was lost, which the shepherd would seek UNTIL he find it.

      Also, in the same verse, the word “prepared,” or “fitted” is not “predestined,” we just tend to lump too many different words into one line of thinking.

      It is granted here that Stumblefoot does not speak from
      “inspiration,” and that he is a fallible human being (You
      would have never guessed, huh?). But the road signs seem to strongly point in that direction. And it is all based on the atoning, or reconciling, death of our Lord Christ.
      Check it out!

    • @Stumblefoot: Let’s see you re-work John 17: 12, and old Judas, John 6: 70-71! 😉

    • Chancellor Roberts

      Mike O,

      God didn’t merely know beforehand, He loved beforehand (there’s more to foreknowledge than mere knowledge). Christ’s death on the cross actually purchased the salvation of those whom God chose (before He even spoke Creation into existence) to save, which is why Christ’s death was a penal substitution and not just a made-salvation-possible-but-something-more-is-needed-from-man event.

      God created Adam and Eve: everyone else came into existence through the procreative process.

      The “so few,” according to Revelation, will be an innumerable throng from every people group.

      God does not love every human being, He loves every kind of human being: Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female, rich and poor, etc. Remember, He said that He loved Jacob, but hated Esau.

      There is no such thing as “free will” in humans. What many wrongly call “free will” (the capacity to make choices) is merely “will.” In order for the will to be free, there must be the right to make those choices and humans have NEVER had the right to choose sin, to choose against God. Further, no one can be punished for exercising a right; otherwise, it isn’t a right.

    • Chancellor Roberts

      Yes, Mike O, someone who taught election and predestination did, in fact, write Romans 1-4 (and the rest of the letter). Those first four chapters explain the basis for man’s total depravity, man’s inherent guilt, etc.

      When you get to Romans 8, particularly Romans 8:29-30, notice the progression: foreknowledge (which is more than knowing beforehand), predestination, call, justification, and glorification. If God foreknew (merely knowing beforehand) everyone, and not everyone will be saved, then there’s no basis for the progression. Those whom God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ. Those whom He predestined He also called (an effectual call, meaning that those who are called would obey the call). Those whom He called, He justified (granted salvation). Those whom He justified, He glorified (their position in Christ now, which will be completed when we go home to be with Him). If “foreknew” means that God merely knows beforehand, you either have to say that God doesn’t foreknow those who won’t be saved or that everyone will be saved (the universal salvation heresy).

    • […] named Tim Kimberley wrote a post at Credo House asking, “What if my Children are not Elect?”   The post is a response to an inquisitor who is struggling with the horrific implications of […]

    • Brother Stumblefoot

      Chaplain Roberts:
      Before we get started, let me just ask you, wouldn’t you actually be most happy if Evangelical Universalism were true? I can’t imagine any rational person wishing it to be otherwise, even if said person didn’t really believe it. Now I know that Jonathan Edwards and Tertullian and John Gerstner thought it would be great sport to watch people suffer in Hell’s fires, but I’m thinking of you as a man of the 21st century.

      But now for John chs. 6 and 17 regarding Judas: I,
      of course, would not use the word “rework” but I might make a few comments.

      It’s interesting that Judas was “chosen” (elect) but to be a disciple, not chosen to be among the elect, the believers of that day. When God chooses, it is according to context, not automatically to salvation.

      But yes, I believe God has His elect in this present day, but that He will ultimately reconcile all, or at least generally all, as I have frequently stated on P&P comments. I think that often, the word “all” means
      “generally all,” though I get a terrible coughing spell when someone suggests it means “all kinds of men.” I retain a bit of ambivalence on the use of the word “all,” but I believe that if any human is not finally reconciled, such will be annihilated, eternal Hell just doesn’t fit with who our God really is.

      It is also interesting, that Our Lord referred to Judas as
      “a demon.” I’m not sure if He meant that in a literal sense, or figuratively; at any rate, I don’t think Judas is the proper pattern or illustration for us to build a doctrine of repprobation or Universalism on, he may be a special case.

      Having said that, I move to the issue of Judas being lost that the Scriptures might be fulfilled. Are we here supposed to understand that God “made” Judas betray the Lord, and then sent him to an eternal Hell for doing it?
      I don’t think so, there are too many nerve endings in my emotional make-up to get my head around that…

    • Brother Stumblefoot

      I have to emphasize again, I am an Evangelical Universalist,
      not Unitarian. And I recognize that you guys are not Muslim, even if your doctrine of eternal Hell coincides with Islam.

    • @Stumblefoot: After, reading your posts, especially your crack about our doctrine of hell – of us here Evangelicals – being the same as Islam, I am not going to further dialogue with you! YOUR simply “spun” on doctrine it so appears! So I will leave you in your own desires, and “stumblefoot” rather covers it well! 😉

      And btw, “chaplain” is my job and duties, Robert, singular, is my first name (not sir name), and I am an Anglican priest or presbyter.

    • Brother Stumblefoot

      I had no idea my comment would be so offensive, really, I would not have made it, had I realized how it would be received. I was attempting to draw out a parallel that we should not be identified with heretical groups who might hold a LIMITED agreement with us in some area of belief.

      But I must apologize, perhaps it was in bad taste. How do you think I got my name in the first place?

    • Chancellor Roberts

      Fr. Robert and Brother Stumblefoot,

      Christianity, as you are both well aware, existed for several hundred years before Islam came along. So, it just doesn’t make sense to compare what came before to something that came after. Further, there’s no reason to believe Mohammed didn’t take a little from the Christian and Jewish scriptures when he came up with his religion (after all, the followers of the three religions are called “the people of the book”).

      The Christian Bible views Jesus as, among other things, a prophet: are we to abandon those parts of scripture because Islam considers Jesus to be a prophet? No. Likewise, an eternal Lake of Fire is taught in the New Testament and there’s no reason to abandon that doctrine simply because Islam adopted it (or a variation of it). The New Testament teaches that women are to dress modestly: should Christian women dress immodestly just because Islam also teaches that women are to dress modestly (even if Islam does have a different idea of what that means)? No.

      For the record, Brother Stumblefoot, Chancellor is my first name and Roberts is my surname. Maybe you were confusing Fr. Robert with me when you referred to him as Chaplain Roberts?

    • Jay Saldana

      Brother Stumblefoot,
      We are Irenic here despite the arrogance of some who wish to bring back the Acts of Uniformity and the penal laws. Your remarks are neither upsetting or without precedent. Thank you for offering them and you are, of course, welcome. Sometimes when you lose a “commenter” you should take your blessings where you find them.

      And to my friend Robert, I have no idea why you think your military background is a part of this discussion, but since you injected it allow me to add my own. Lt. in the Marine Corps special operations, 105 Hi-Lo Jumps and missions, 3 Purple Hearts, Bronze Star with Cluster among many others. And, as you can see it means nothing and adds nothing to the conversation except a willingness to polemically dominate a conversation by adding bland facts meant to put down the opposition. So I apologize for my part in that.
      I have no idea who you are and how wrong I could be (and I am willing to do penance for it if called for) but based on my observation here, your tactics are divisive and more resemble the tactics of Titus Oats then a irenic discussion. Your lack of pastoral sensitivity is mystifying given your overly stated credentials. Your intellectual capacity, although enormous, does not reflect God’s good grace, in my opinion. And finally, you willingness to speak “Ex Cathedra” about matters that are not of doctrinal necessity for salvation is needlessly combative.
      In simple English, you want to win and be right no matter what the cost. As best as I understand it, that is not what we do here. Frankly, I am tired of it, Please stop.

      Have a God Filled Day,
      your brother,

      Jay Saldana

    • Tobie

      The Bible nowhere states that we are drawn to the Father. What it does say is that the Father draws us to Christ (John 6:44), and that we then go to Father through Christ (John 14:6). This does not imply an “indirect” drawing as one may assume, but a process of unfolding grace that is initiated apart from the Father’s “drawing to Christ”. The “drawing” in John 6:44 is clearly preceded by the process described in verse 43, where we read “It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’d Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.” And so the process in John looks as follows:
      1. All are taught by God (that includes all children)
      2. Those who “hear” and “learn” from this teaching of the Father then comes to Christ.
      3. This they can do because the Father enables them by drawing them (note: not randomly, but based on the pre-condition in 2 above).
      4. Those who are drawn then “comes” to the Father through Christ.
      Note the three types of knowing in this scenario (which is John’s, not mine):
      A. We first know God as the “Teacher of all”, which suggests a general revelation that is not dependent on doctrinal specifics, and that can be “heard” and “learned” by anyone who is willing. (Such “hearing” and “learning” is not salvation, however, but merely a first step towards it.)
      B. We then know Jesus as the Christ, which is a divine and sovereign revelation given to the “hearers” and “learners,” by God. In our knowing of Christ, we also begin to know him as our teacher. His teaching is a continuation of God’s (in A above), and leads us to the last phase (C below).
      C. Through Christ, we now know God as the Father, which is the intended conclusion and climax of the process started by His very own teaching to “all”.
      So here’s the thing: Children should be assisted to “learn” from the Father”, so that the Father can continue his good work in them. There is absolutely no hint of determinism here,…

    • Mike O

      Day 3: Romans 10-13

      Again, I primarily see non-election. Chapter 11 does talk about election, how some were elect, etc. But it also talks about how some branches were broken off the vine, so the Gentiles could be grafted in. And for the Gentiles not to be proud because if God was willing to break off original branches (Jews), how much more would he be willing to break off a grafted wild shoot? And if a wild shoot can be grafted in, how much more quickly an original branch.

      It all reads as if God RESPONDS to man. Yes, I see election for some. Who couldn’t, in Romans 11. But the general undercurrent is that ALL men have a chance. Branches were broken off SO THAT Gentiles could be grafted in.

      Could it be a small subset of elect that Paul is talking about? Sure, but he doesn’t doesn’t say that. He doesn’t even hint at it. He doesn’t say anything to indicate that “there are elect and there are the doomed.”

      I don’t know how to read Romans 1-13 and walk away with the idea that God intended for almost everyone to go to hell, except for a few. Because if strict election is true, that’s what will happen.

      I just can’t read scripture and wrap my head around strict election at the same time. I can listen to THEOLOGY and understand how election is built from scripture, but I just can’t get it from the straight reading of scripture with no preconcieved notion. When I read scripture, I see God’s grace available to all people (each person, not all people groups). Changing it to mean “all people groups” is IMO a clever manipulation of scripture, whose only purpose is to manufacture support for election. I’m sorry if that’s too strong, but I just think it’s wrong.

      I just don’t see it.

    • Delwyn Xavier Campbell

      If his remarks are not upsetting, perhaps it is because you, Mr. Saldano, are not certain of what you believe. At any rate, the fact that his words do not upset you, do not authorize you to declare that they should upset no one else. His beliefs regarding the ultimate destiny of the reprobate are contrary to the historic Christian faith, and should be treated as any other such statements. As far as I know, you are not our bishop, either. Mr. Stumblefoot presented his opinion as if it were an Article of Faith, and anyone who believes otherwise regarding eternal punishment is as he put it, following the teachings of Islam.
      Your response to Fr. Roberts displays the same spirit of which you condemn him. Since I am neither the host of this page, nor its enforcer, I will refrain from making any demands upon you, other than that you think about what you are doing, since it has now been pointed out to you that someone can take your words with the same offense that you took someone else’s.

    • Chancellor Roberts says,

      Keep in mind, of course, that the “Arminians” (actually semi-Pelagians) can’t offer any real hope to parents either

      It is too bad that you misrepresent Arminians by calling them semi-Pelagian. I can only hope that it is simply a result of ignorance on your part. Arminianism is in no way semi-pelagian. Even Calvinist scholars like Peterson and Williams admit this:

      Does the antipathy between Calvinism and Arminianism suggest that Pelagius, the arch-opposite of Augustine, is the proper ancestor of Arminianism? Calvinists have often sought to paint Arminianism in Pelagian colors. Associating your opponent with a position that the historic faith has repeatedly judged heretical can only help one’s cause. However, the allegation that Arminianism is Pelagian is unfortunate and indeed unwarranted. From Jacob Arminius and the ‘Remonstrance Articles’ on, the Arminian tradition has affirmed the corruption of the will by sin and the necessity of grace for redemption. Arminianism is not Pelagianism….The Semi-Pelagians thought of salvation as beginning with human beings. We must first seek God; and his grace is a response to that seeking. The Arminians of the seventeenth century, however, held that the human will has been so corrupted by sin that a person cannot seek God without the enablement of grace. They therefore affirmed the necessity and priority of grace in redemption. Grace must go before a person’s response to the gospel. This suggests that Arminianism is closer to Semi-Augustinianism than it is to Semi-Pelagianism or Pelagianism. (Why I Am Not An Arminian, pg. 39)

    • I recommend you read this article as well:

      http://evangelicalarminians.org/are-arminians-semi-pelagian/?/

    • Chancellor Roberts writes,

      Parents can pray that God will maybe do something in their children’s hearts, but in their theology the ultimate decision is still the child’s (again, making man sovereign over God).

      Another horrible misrepresentation. Arminians in no way believe that man is “sovereign over God.” I always find it interesting that Calvinists insist that God is wholly sovereign and free and yet deny Him the sovereign right or freedom to create free moral agents and hold them accountable for their choices and actions. It seems to me that it is Calvinists who are limiting God’s sovereignty by dictating the limits to His sovereignty and freedom. That’s too bad.

    • Chancellor Roberts writes,

      God will save those who are His. He will save all those whom He specifically gave to Christ. That’s a guarantee. The semi-Pelagians don’t even have that.

      So is this your answer to the parents that would ask, “What if my children are not elect?” Just say, “God saves all those who are his, that’s a guarantee.” In other words, when a parent asks you “What if my children are not elect?”, you say, “God will save all His elect, that’s a guarantee.” That doesn’t seem very helpful to me, just another non-answer.

    • Mike O.,

      I highly recommend you investigate the corporate election view. I think you will find it helpful and Biblically compelling. Here is a good place to start:

      http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/corporate-election-quotes/

    • First, thanks “Delwyn”, you put the matter rather well! We all might disagree on the mystery of Election to some degree, but indeed there is absolutely no place for any doctrine of “Apocatastasis”, or any modern idea of Universalism In true Christianity! In 543 AD, at the Council of Chalcedon this was condemned, in the first anathema against Origenism. In so called modern times, F.D.F. Schleiermacher taught it, and btw it is the creed of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

      As to our friend Jay, I have never met an American Marine who held his Marine Corps service meant “nothing” to almost any discussion! That’s the way of it with all “Marines” I suspect! (We call it pride, as RMC “bootnecks”!) And note as I have said, I was attached to the American Marine 3rd Force Recon Co., out of Pu Bai, in the Nam in 1968, of course as an RMC (Royal Marine Commando) I too was wounded in the Nam. And then later too in British engagements. I would list my combat medals, but they are several after over 20 years, with broken time. And I was a “mustang” (that’s enlisted to officer). And I am a retired Captain. And my parachute jumps are in the hundreds now (with a few combat jumps back when). Btw, I come from an Irish Brit family.. that my father, great uncles, uncles were all WW II Vets! Yes, so pride does run deep where I come from! And as I have said, my scientist father, owned and flew a P-51 Mustang for fun and racing into his 60’s! Indeed trying to follow his image, RIP! (an WW II Spit pilot, RAF) was not easy! But I tried! 😉

      Finally, I am one that is a real conservative, both politically and biblically! And bible and theology can, and should be done in great seriousness, surely St. Paul was not a mere “irenic” spirit here! Its time for the Church of God to wake-up! And stand for the Truth & Christ! As I have said several times here, I am a “presuppostionalist” as to Holy Scripture! And no apologies here!

      Just a note, but I am 64…

    • That’s 64 today! So Semper Fi! 🙂

    • Just a note, and a true story I have told a few times… But my father got to meet the great American NASA astronaut, Neil Armstrong once. (Note again my father was a scientist and physicist), but when they met later as older men, as my father told me, they both spoke together about flying and airplanes. Armstrong was a Naval pilot in the Korean War. Indeed that breed is gone now! RIP!

    • cherylu

      Fr Robert,

      I of course can not speak for Jay and would not think of trying.

      But maybe you could explain to us why it is that you believe your Marine Corp service has so much bearing on your theological stance today? I have never understood that either. How does your Marine history, for instance, affect the fact that you are a Calvinist today?

      I certainly know a lot of folks that are Calvinists that do not have your military history. So, what about that history is it that you think is so important to where you are today theologically?

      Frankly, I have always wondered about that. Can you clarify it for us?

    • The Corporate view of Election is only part of the great doctrine! I have H.H. Rowley’s book: The Biblical Doctrine Of Election, (Lutterworth Press, Lodon, 1950). And in it he has a full chapter on ‘The Election Of Individuals’ (chap. 4).

    • @cherylu: Sure, that’s quite easy, I am Irish (an Anglo-Irish now actually, and British!), and with this I place that great reality of God’s Providence! And again, its quite a “Marine” thing, especially for us who served in Her Majesty’s service, of the RMC’s! One would think that most American Marines would get this too? Especially those who lived through combat! It changes you, and in some sense you are never the same! Note King David spoke somewhat of his military experiences! And there GOD was quite his Sovereign!

    • And btw, why does one man live through war or combat, and another man die, especially when you are shoulder to shoulder? Surely and profoundly because of the will and purpose of God alone! I have found that THIS is the only real reason! Indeed GOD alone is Sovereign!

    • cherylu

      Fr Robert,

      Thanks. I am sure no one would ever deny or think that being a Marine does not change you. Especially if you have been in actual combat.

      So, if I understand what you are saying correctly, it was being in the Marines that really helped you form your view of God’s sovereignty? Am I getting even close?

      PS I posted my last comment before I saw the last one of yours. I think you have probably answered my question. At least in large degree.

    • Mike O

      @FR Robert, have you read Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s search for meaning?” Not a Christian work, but as a Holocaust survivor he asks and answers the same philosophical question.

      Very good book from a psychology standpoint – I am not recommending it as theology; just a good read from a Holocaust Jew.

      Not a direct quote, but Frankl makes the statement, “The question is not how come so many died in the holocaust, but rather how any survived.”

    • “Naked I came from my mothers womb, And naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1: 21)

    • Chancellor Roberts

      Arminianperspectives,

      Most of those who might call themselves “Arminian” today (the bulk of evangelical Christianity in North America) are not Arminians (in the sense of the followers of Jacobus Arminius) but semi-Pelagians whose doctrine is a mix of Arminianism and Pelagianism a la Charles Finney. I put the word “Arminians” in quotes in my earlier post for a reason.

      God did not create “free moral agents!” There has NEVER been a right to choose sin, a right to choose against God.

      “Arminianism” makes man sovereign over God because it teaches that man is the final arbiter of his own salvation (even if it doesn’t use those words) in that God cannot save anyone unless that person gives Him permission and somehow magically comes up with the faith to believe all by himself and then “decides” to let God save him. For the “Arminian” (actually, Semi-Pelagian a la Charles Finney), Jesus’ death wasn’t sufficient to actually purchase the salvation of any specific individual, but was only sufficient to make salvation “possible” for those who bring something more to the table – their sovereign free will exercised in deciding to “accept” Jesus.

    • @cherylu: Actually I count it my most blessed reality that I have somehow known and believed that God’s sovereign hand and grace has been on my life, even before the RMC’s. I see this as God’s great “existential” reality and purpose. My creation, existence, and redemption is alone in the hand of the Lord! But most surely being an RMC has been one of my most major providences in the lessons of life!

      As a wee boy, six or seven? I asked my Irish priest, who is this man on the Cross or Crucifix? And he said, the essence of which I have never forgotten: This is Jesus, God-Incarnate (the God-Man) who died for your soul!

    • The Corporate view of Election is only part of the great doctrine! I have H.H. Rowley’s book: The Biblical Doctrine Of Election, (Lutterworth Press, Lodon, 1950). And in it he has a full chapter on ‘The Election Of Individuals’ (chap. 4).

      The corporate election view does not deny that individuals are elect, only that their election is subordinate to the election of the group. Have you read any of the articles on corporate election I referred Mike to? I know I have referred you to them before and also explained quite a bit about the corporate view to you and others who do not seem to understand it. It would be good for you to read these articles so you can better understand the view.

      God Bless,
      Ben

    • cherylu

      Thanks Fr Robert.

      I understand a whole lot better where you are personally coming from when you make those statements about your military service now.

      And understanding is a good thing!

    • Chancellor Roberts writes,

      Most of those who might call themselves “Arminian” today (the bulk of evangelical Christianity in North America) are not Arminians (in the sense of the followers of Jacobus Arminius) but semi-Pelagians whose doctrine is a mix of Arminianism and Pelagianism a la Charles Finney. I put the word “Arminians” in quotes in my earlier post for a reason.

      Thanks for clearing that up. However, I would suggest that you make such distinctions a little more clear while posting. Just putting Arminians in quotes doesn’t necessarily mean that you are not talking about true Arminians. It can mean that you simply view “Arminian” as a label that hides its true theological nature- semi-Pelaginaism. That was the impression your comments seemed to give, but I am glad you now admit that Arminiainism is not semi-Pelagian.

      God did not create “free moral agents!” There has NEVER been a right to choose sin, a right to choose against God.

      First, to say that God did not create free moral agents is nothing more than an assertion on your part. I will just counter assert that He did.

      Second, nobody said anything about a “right” to choose anything. That is something you just came up with on your own.

      “Arminianism” makes man sovereign over God because it teaches that man is the final arbiter of his own salvation (even if it doesn’t use those words) in that God cannot save anyone unless that person gives Him permission and somehow magically comes up with the faith to believe all by himself and then “decides” to let God save him.

      This comment is riddled with problems, but I will just point out that if God sovereignly decides to make faith the condition for receiving His salvation and enables His creatures to trust in Him and receive salvation, that in no way makes man sovereign over God. Meeting a God ordained condition doesn’t make one “soevereign” over the one who sovereignly decided to make salvation conditional on faith…

    • Chancellor Roberts writes,

      Jesus’ death wasn’t sufficient to actually purchase the salvation of any specific individual,

      Of course it was. It was sufficient for all and is applied to all those who receive it by faith (Romans 3:25).

      but was only sufficient to make salvation “possible” for those who bring something more to the table – their sovereign free will exercised in deciding to “accept” Jesus.

      What “table” are you referring to here? Who said anything about “sovereign free will” (besides you)? If God wants to make the application of His atonement conditioned on faith, who are you to talk back to God?

      God Bless,
      Ben

    • @Ben: Yes I have read what you speak of in your idea of corporate election, but I only see the corporate reality alone in the Elect-One Himself, of course Christ Jesus! God In Christ has chosen all of those individuals who come to Christ, but they are chosen each one according to God’s Sovereign Grace alone ‘In Christ’! And this even before the “foundation” of the world! (Eph. 1: 3-6 ) The Lamb’s Book of Life! (Rev. 21: 27) The final essence of Predestination & Election is rather simple really! (1 Peter 1: 2) And the believer does not come to Christ corporately, but each of us individually, as HE calls us to Himself, and by name! Only then, do we have a corporate place in the Church of Christ! I am speaking simply here!

    • My comment 187 got cut off, here is the rest:

      …Meeting a God ordained condition doesn’t make one “soevereign” over the one who sovereignly decided to make salvation conditional on faith…That’s just another assertion on your part.

      For the “Arminian” (actually, Semi-Pelagian a la Charles Finney),

      And here you go again. Since you know that I am not a semi-Pelagian, but an Arminian, why not engage me directly, unless you are indeed equating Arminiansim with semi-Pelagianism.

    • Fr. Roberts,

      Which articles did you read exactly? You write,

      And the believer does not come to Christ corporately, but each of us individually

      Not sure why you would say that since the corporate view in no way suggests that believers come to Christ “corporately.”

    • @AP: It singular “Robert” (my first name), my sir name btw is Darby!

      You would be surprised how many Arminian’s, or just people I have met who believe that coming to Christ, in a Church in a certain church, is a corporate experience! I.e. the altar call!

    • @cherlyu: 🙂

    • Fr. Robert,

      My apologies on the name. I think it is because I am also having a discussion with Chancellor Roberts.

      I don’t see how the alter call is relevant. People might come to the alter together, but each one also comes individually and responds individually. Just because more than one person responds doesn’t make the response a corporate response rather than an individual one.

      But you seemed to be using it as a description of the corporate view of election, and that was what I was addressing. That is not what the corporate view says at all. That was my point.

      I am still wondering which of the articles you read on corporate election.

      Thanks,
      Ben

    • @Ben: That was sometime back, I don’t remember? But I did read them!

      My point, about the corporate, was just peoples general ideas here, and the use of the Altar Call. I heard a woman say, the Altar Call, and the speaker were part of her election to Christ! Obviously she did not understand Election!

    • Chancellor Roberts

      Arminianperspectives,

      I make it a point to differentiate between real Arminians (those who follow the teachings of Arminius, though I haven’t encountered many of them) and most of evangelical Christianity (which could more accurately be described as “Semi-Pelagian” because they, at least in part, deny original sin or at least partly deny it). It is because of that differentiation that I put “Arminians” in quotes.

      In order for moral agents to be free, they must have the right to choose sin (because freedom, by its very nature, necessitates rights). That’s also why I said in earlier posts (in response to others) that what most people mistakenly call “free will” (the capacity to make choices) is simply “will.” Again, freedom necessitates having the right to choose, and God didn’t give anyone (including Adam) the right to choose sin. Punishing sin is proof that there is no right to choose it.

      The logical result of the “Semi-Pelagian” doctrine that God can’t save anyone unless they give Him permission, and that man must bring to the salvation table something he produces within himself on his own (faith, which Calvinists believe is given by God, not produced by sinners who are “dead in trespasses and sins”) is that man is sovereign over God. Synergistic (or, perhaps, sinnergistic) salvation has man making the final decision over whether or not he will be saved and, thus, sovereign over God because God is prevented from saving anyone if that person doesn’t cooperate. I would suggest that no one can ever choose to be saved on his own, but that God must first regenerate the person, give that person the faith to believe, and then grant repentance. Dead people cannot will themselves to life.

    • Indeed most all Arminian’s (so-called) today are Semi-Pelagian! And actually in the Reformed ordo salutis, regeneration follows calling. God “calls” the elect sinner, then he is regenerated!

    • Chancellor Roberts writes,

      In order for moral agents to be free, they must have the right to choose sin (because freedom, by its very nature, necessitates rights).

      That doesn’t follow at all. Freedom has reference to ability and not necessarily rights. If you are free to do something, you either have the ability to do that thing or not, but that doesn’t mean you have a “right” to do that thing or not.

      That’s also why I said in earlier posts (in response to others) that what most people mistakenly call “free will” (the capacity to make choices) is simply “will.”

      I actually agree with this since the concept of “will” really requires the idea of freedom. Without freedom, the word “will” loses a lot of meaning (if not all meaning).

      Again, freedom necessitates having the right to choose

      But this is just another assertion on your part. There is no reason to define freedom as necessitating a “right” and that is not how it has been historically understood. Now you may feel that defining it that way gives you some sort of rhetorical advantage, but that doesn’t mean it is accurate. Freedom of will can simply have reference to the “ability” to choose.

      and God didn’t give anyone (including Adam) the right to choose sin. Punishing sin is proof that there is no right to choose it.

      But none of this even makes sense against the backdrop of Calvinist sovereignty (exhaustive decretal determinism). I can just as well say that punishing sin is proof that God created us free moral agents, which you deny, and that the concept of “punishment” is wholly incompatible with exhaustive determinism. So now what?

      God Bless,
      Ben

    • Chancellor Roberts writes,

      The logical result of the “Semi-Pelagian” doctrine that God can’t save anyone unless they give Him permission,

      Do you want me to address this? It’s hard to know since you keep speaking about semi-Pelagians and I am not a semi-Pelagian. As an Arminian I would never say God can’t save anyone unless they give Him permission. I would say that God “won’t” save anyone unless they receive salvation through faith in accordance with His sovereign decision to make salvation conditional on a faith response. God has the “right” to make salvation conditional if He so pleases and you do not have the “right” to say He can’t.

      and that man must bring to the salvation table something he produces within himself on his own (faith, which Calvinists believe is given by God, not produced by sinners who are “dead in trespasses and sins”) is that man is sovereign over God.

      Clearly you must not be talking about Arminianism because Arminianism plainly denies that anyone can exercise faith “on his own.” And I still am puzzled by this “salvation table” language. Feel free to explain. But allow me to run with it a bit. Suppose God prepared feast and invited people to come (Matthew 22:1-14). Some accept the invitation and come to the feast. Now would they say that they “brought something to the table” or contributed to the feast by simply accepting the invitation? Of course not. If you freely receive a gift from someone, does that mean you “contributed” to the gift? Does it mean you earned or merited the gift? Does it mean you had a “right” to the gift? Does it mean you gave the gift to yourself? Not at all. That’s absurd. But your argument is based on just this sort of absurdity.

      That’s why Arminians like me find Calvinist arguments like yours to be far from compelling.

    • Chancellor Roberts writes,

      Synergistic (or, perhaps, sinnergistic) salvation has man making the final decision over whether or not he will be saved and, thus, sovereign over God because God is prevented from saving anyone if that person doesn’t cooperate.

      Your comments are riddled with problems. So if someone decides to give me a gift and I freely receive that gift, does that make me “sovereign” over the giver? What if I refuse to receive the gift? Does that make me sovereign over the giver? Not at all. That is a bizarre way to understand sovereignty.

      And of course God is not “prevented” from saving that person, but freely, of His own sovereign will, refuses to save those who will not receive the gift of salvation on His terms. Why is this? Because God Himself has sovereignly decided that His free gift of salvation shall only be received on the condition of faith. That was entirely up to Him. Nobody forced Him to do anything. God has the “sovereign right” to do things the way that He sees fit. Don’t you agree?

    • Chancellor Roberts writes,

      I would suggest that no one can ever choose to be saved on his own, but that God must first regenerate the person, give that person the faith to believe, and then grant repentance.

      I agree that we cannot choose to be saved on our won and that, due to our depravity, we must be graciously enabled by God to put faith in Him. But there is no reason to see that enablement as irresistible, nor is there any reason to see it as regeneration, especially since the Bible everywhere places faith before spiritual life in Scripture.

      Dead people cannot will themselves to life.

      Spiritual death in Scripture has reference to separation from God and the source of spiritual life. It doesn’t have anything to do with the inability of a physical corpse.

      May God Bless you as you continue to seek Him.

      Ben

    • Btw, Ben share with us, your idea of an Arminian “ordo”, if you please?

      Indeed a spiritually dead man or person cannot choose anything! And in Common grace man is responsible (John 1:9), but without God’s election of grace, man will not come, even as the Jewish people who were God’s own so-called possession, as a so-called people (John 1: 11 / Rom. 9: 6-13), but only those Jews who were chosen to be His people in the “election of grace” (By the Gospel)…”who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1: 12-13).

    • Nelson Banuchi

      I’m disappointed that this conversation continues wide of the mark of the specific point that the question addresses. Here’s a blog that addresses the specific issue with, from my perspective, greater relevancy than either Kimerly’s reponse or everyone’s comments thus far. I would ask the Calvinist to please take time (it is not long at all) to read it:

      http://classicalarminian.blogspot.com/2013/10/what-if-my-children-are-not-elect-love.html

    • TIMA

      I respond with a different perspective than anyone else in this post. I believe that God has different ways of protecting elect-parents from the anguish of having non-elect children. I believe at this point that I am non-elect and this was recently revealed to me through scripture. My parents at this point are near the ends of their life and will never think I was non-elect. I have been in Church all my life and until recently considered myself elect and I’m sure that my parents did also. I believe God only recently revealed this to me in order to protect my parents. I believe my siblings to all be elect due to their perseverance in the faith and the fruits they have produced. In saying this I still torment myself daily with “why am I not elect” and “how does it glorify God for me not to be elect”. I worked with a Pastor who out of his 3 children, he believes none to be elect (they all rejected the faith). But he still worships and serves with as much joy as any elect Christian that I have witnessed. I think each situation is different and God will protect and comfort his elect in his own way. Do I wish it were different? More than you can know. What I would like to ask each of you is that you pray for my son that he be of the elect and that his faith is genuine.

    • Surely Arminianism always hates an Unconditional Election and Predestination of a Sovereign God! But as Luther said, ‘Let God be God’! This is simply always the issue!

    • Nelson Banuchi

      Respectfully, the phrase, “Let God be God,” really says nothing. The Arminian can say the same thing. It is really devoid of any meaning and does not help further any conversation or lend any understanding to whom is God.

      Nor does such a phrase adequately in any way address the question posed by the Calvinist parent.

    • Of course it means “nothing” to you! As does the doctrine of God’s most Unconditional Election! But your statements betray your loss of the doctrine God’s most total otherness! A God you cannot control, nor indeed it appears fear! (James 1: 16-18)

    • Chancellor Roberts

      Fr. Robert, you wrote, “Indeed most all Arminian’s (so-called) today are Semi-Pelagian! And actually in the Reformed ordo salutis, regeneration follows calling. God ‘calls’ the elect sinner, then he is regenerated!”

      And it’s those “Semi-Pelagians” that I’ve been referring to, not the rare person who is an actual Arminian (of the Jacobus Arminius and the Remonstrants variety). I don’t think I’ve ever even encountered a real Arminian outside of the person here who goes by Arminianperspectives.

      As for the Ordo Salutis, the orthodox version is the Reformed version and it mirrors Romans 8:29-30.

      Arminianperspectives, you wrote: “Spiritual death in Scripture has reference to separation from God and the source of spiritual life. It doesn’t have anything to do with the inability of a physical corpse.”

      I didn’t say it had anything to do with a physical corpse. It has to do with being “dead in trespasses and sins” – being spiritually dead. And, again, (spiritually) dead people cannot will themselves to life.

      Arminianperspectives, you are the only actual Arminian (of the Jacobus Arminius and the Remonstrants variety) I’ve encountered. What is often called “Arminian” today is, as I said earlier, Semi-Pelagian. That is what I’m addressing (today’s so-called “Arminianism” does have its roots in Arminius, however). Your version of Arminianism was answered by the Synod of Dort and I will defer to that Synod.

      Freedom is ALWAYS about rights, not ability. You might have the ability to lie, cheat and steal, but you aren’t FREE to lie, cheat and steal.

      You wrote: “the concept of ‘punishment’ is wholly incompatible with exhaustive determinism.”

      That you would say this makes it clear you don’t understand the co-existence of divine sovereignty and human responsibility.

    • Chancellor Roberts

      Nelson Banuchi,

      We’re well aware of the issue in the original article. However, discussions do tend to go naturally in one direction or another. In this case, some things were said about Calvinism having nothing to offer the parent in the article (as if to suggest today’s so-called “Arminianism,” which is actually Semi-Pelagianism, does). That’s the direction the discussion went.

      Unbelievers are without “hope and without God in the world” (according to the Apostle Paul). What is the response to the parent who asks “What if my children aren’t elect?” The question itself goes deeper than that and is really asking for some way of getting God to make an exception and “elect” their children.

      Truth isn’t always comforting and, in this case, it definitely is not. Again unbelievers are without hope, without God. Parents can only surrender their children to the sovereignty of God and accept that whatever He has chosen to do with those children is right and glorifies Him – to do anything less is idolatry because it is putting those children ahead of God.

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