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Unread 01-24-2017, 10:35 PM   #1
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Ahhh, predestination. . .

So I wrote a short essay today about what I believed about predestination, and I wanted to know what you guys think and what your views on the topic are. (I'm not sure if this has been discussed yet or not, but it was on my mind.)

https://www.dropbox.com/s/cnr28y54kx...0God.docx?dl=0

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Unread 01-25-2017, 03:42 AM   #2
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Wow, long time no talked about topic. I am a classical Arminian.

If you want to read up on it, I would suggest reading the five points of Arminianism which the 5 points of Calvinism were written to counter. Kind of dense, but well worth the read. The 5 points of Calvinism, are much better known.


Article I — That God, by an eternal, unchangeable purpose in Jesus Christ, his Son, before the foundation of the world, hath determined, out of the fallen, sinful race of men, to save in Christ, for Christ's sake, and through Christ, those who, through the grace of the Holy Ghost, shall believe on this his Son Jesus, and shall persevere in this faith and obedience of faith, through this grace, even to the end; and, on the other hand, to leave the incorrigible and unbelieving in sin and under wrath, and to condemn them as alienate from Christ, according to the word of the Gospel in John iii. 36: "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him," and according to other passages of Scripture also.
Article II — That, agreeably thereto, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, died for all men and for every man, so that he has obtained for them all, by his death on the cross, redemption, and the forgiveness of sins; yet that no one actually enjoys this forgiveness of sins, except the believer, according to the word of the Gospel of John iii. 16: "God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life"; and in the First Epistle of John ii. 2: "And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
Article III — That man has not saving grace of himself, nor of the energy of his free will, inasmuch as he, in the state of apostasy and sin, can of and by himself neither think, will, nor do anything that is truly good (such as having faith eminently is); but that it is needful that he be born again of God in Christ, through his Holy Spirit, and renewed in understanding, inclination, or will, and all his powers, in order that he may rightly understand, think, will, and effect what is truly good, according to the word of Christ, John xv. 5: "Without me ye can do nothing."
Article IV — That this grace of God is the beginning, continuance, and accomplishment of a good, even to this extent, that the regenerate man himself, without that prevenient or assisting, awakening, following, and co-operative grace, can neither think, will, nor do good, nor withstand any temptations to evil; so that all good deeds or movements, that can be conceived, must be ascribed to the grace of God in Christ. But, as respects the mode of the operation of this grace, it is not irresistible, in as much as it is written concerning many that they have resisted the Holy Ghost,—Acts vii, and elsewhere in many places.
Article V — That those who are incorporated into Christ by a true faith, and have thereby become partakers of his life-giving Spirit, have thereby full power to strive against Satan, sin, the world, and their own flesh, and to win the victory, it being well understood that it is ever through the assisting grace of the Holy Ghost; and that Jesus Christ assists them through his Spirit in all temptations, extends to them his hand, and if only they are ready for the conflict, and desire his help, and are not inactive, keeps them from falling, so that they, by no craft or power of Satan, can be misled, nor plucked out of Christ's hands, according to the word of Christ, John x. 28: "Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." But whether they are capable, through negligence, of forsaking again the first beginnings of their life in Christ, of again returning to this present evil world, of turning away from the holy doctrine which was delivered them, of losing a good conscience, of becoming devoid of grace, that must be more particularly determined out of the Holy Scriptures before they can teach it with the full persuasion of their minds.[1]
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Unread 01-25-2017, 06:51 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by BillSPrestonEsq View Post
Wow, long time no talked about topic. I am a classical Arminian.

If you want to read up on it, I would suggest reading the five points of Arminianism which the 5 points of Calvinism were written to counter. Kind of dense, but well worth the read. The 5 points of Calvinism, are much better known.


Article I — That God, by an eternal, unchangeable purpose in Jesus Christ, his Son, before the foundation of the world, hath determined, out of the fallen, sinful race of men, to save in Christ, for Christ's sake, and through Christ, those who, through the grace of the Holy Ghost, shall believe on this his Son Jesus, and shall persevere in this faith and obedience of faith, through this grace, even to the end; and, on the other hand, to leave the incorrigible and unbelieving in sin and under wrath, and to condemn them as alienate from Christ, according to the word of the Gospel in John iii. 36: "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him," and according to other passages of Scripture also.
Article II — That, agreeably thereto, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, died for all men and for every man, so that he has obtained for them all, by his death on the cross, redemption, and the forgiveness of sins; yet that no one actually enjoys this forgiveness of sins, except the believer, according to the word of the Gospel of John iii. 16: "God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life"; and in the First Epistle of John ii. 2: "And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
Article III — That man has not saving grace of himself, nor of the energy of his free will, inasmuch as he, in the state of apostasy and sin, can of and by himself neither think, will, nor do anything that is truly good (such as having faith eminently is); but that it is needful that he be born again of God in Christ, through his Holy Spirit, and renewed in understanding, inclination, or will, and all his powers, in order that he may rightly understand, think, will, and effect what is truly good, according to the word of Christ, John xv. 5: "Without me ye can do nothing."
Article IV — That this grace of God is the beginning, continuance, and accomplishment of a good, even to this extent, that the regenerate man himself, without that prevenient or assisting, awakening, following, and co-operative grace, can neither think, will, nor do good, nor withstand any temptations to evil; so that all good deeds or movements, that can be conceived, must be ascribed to the grace of God in Christ. But, as respects the mode of the operation of this grace, it is not irresistible, in as much as it is written concerning many that they have resisted the Holy Ghost,—Acts vii, and elsewhere in many places.
Article V — That those who are incorporated into Christ by a true faith, and have thereby become partakers of his life-giving Spirit, have thereby full power to strive against Satan, sin, the world, and their own flesh, and to win the victory, it being well understood that it is ever through the assisting grace of the Holy Ghost; and that Jesus Christ assists them through his Spirit in all temptations, extends to them his hand, and if only they are ready for the conflict, and desire his help, and are not inactive, keeps them from falling, so that they, by no craft or power of Satan, can be misled, nor plucked out of Christ's hands, according to the word of Christ, John x. 28: "Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." But whether they are capable, through negligence, of forsaking again the first beginnings of their life in Christ, of again returning to this present evil world, of turning away from the holy doctrine which was delivered them, of losing a good conscience, of becoming devoid of grace, that must be more particularly determined out of the Holy Scriptures before they can teach it with the full persuasion of their minds.[1]
I am also an Arminian. I probably will write another essay going in depth with each point, but this one was just a quick overview of my beliefs on the subject.
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Unread 01-25-2017, 07:27 AM   #4
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Interesting analogy to Christ being fully human and fully man. Does this analogy work for other things of which Calvinists and Arminianism disagree? Like, God chose that we would have faith and we have faith, God determines the steps that we walk, etc.?

Related: Calvin and others would make a distinction between primary and secondary cause, or of ultimate and proximate cause. The idea is God decrees that someone has a grey dreary day and all my actions in it (ultimately and primarily, the grey day and my actions in it depend on God's decree), but secondarily and proximately we can talk of the clouds gathering and rolling in, of me choosing to go to Biggby coffee and order a mocha carmel, etc. In that case, all my actions depend on God's decree, but just as clouds genuinely roll I also genuinely order a coffee. Free will, whatever it is, may be compatible with that. Responsibility may be fine on that view.
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Unread 01-25-2017, 08:10 AM   #5
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Interesting analogy to Christ being fully human and fully man. Does this analogy work for other things of which Calvinists and Arminianism disagree? Like, God chose that we would have faith and we have faith, God determines the steps that we walk, etc.?

Related: Calvin and others would make a distinction between primary and secondary cause, or of ultimate and proximate cause. The idea is God decrees that someone has a grey dreary day and all my actions in it (ultimately and primarily, the grey day and my actions in it depend on God's decree), but secondarily and proximately we can talk of the clouds gathering and rolling in, of me choosing to go to Biggby coffee and order a mocha carmel, etc. In that case, all my actions depend on God's decree, but just as clouds genuinely roll I also genuinely order a coffee. Free will, whatever it is, may be compatible with that. Responsibility may be fine on that view.
I believe that God does control every aspect of life even the minor details, but at the same time we control these things according to what God has decreed. 100% Soveriegnty of God. 100% Free Will of Man. It makes no logical sense, but I believe it's Biblical.
God has a habit of uniting things that in our finite minds don't mix. He mixed God and man when Christ took on flesh, which I mentioned in the essay, also the Trinity, but another example is the church. It is a group of completely different people from different places and ethnic origins all uniting to become one body. Marriage is two different people becoming one flesh. None of these makes sense to us humans, but God can unite these things.
This question, I believe, is another instance when God mixed two things that we think are either/or, and he made them both at full gravity.
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Unread 01-25-2017, 09:17 PM   #6
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I am also an Arminian. I probably will write another essay going in depth with each point, but this one was just a quick overview of my beliefs on the subject.
Let me rephrase that. I hold to most of the beliefs of the Arminian, that is why I would refer to myself as an Arminian, but I do disagree with others (like the conditional Soveriegnty of God). I guess I'm more in the middle of both.
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Unread 01-26-2017, 04:28 PM   #7
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Let me rephrase that. I hold to most of the beliefs of the Arminian, that is why I would refer to myself as an Arminian, but I do disagree with others (like the conditional Soveriegnty of God). I guess I'm more in the middle of both.
conditional sovereignty of God is NOT an Arminian position. Its not even in the same zip code.

There also really isn't a middle ground that is internally consistent because a lot of the issues are binary. Either grace is resistible or it is not.
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Unread 01-26-2017, 05:12 PM   #8
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conditional sovereignty of God is NOT an Arminian position. Its not even in the same zip code.

There also really isn't a middle ground that is internally consistent because a lot of the issues are binary. Either grace is resistible or it is not.
For those who don't know what conditional sovereignty is, could you (or Austinn) explain?
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Unread 01-26-2017, 05:56 PM   #9
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Conditional Sovereignty of implies that God's choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world was based upon His foreseeing that they would respond to His call. He selected only those whom He knew would of themselves freely believe the gospel. Election therefore was determined by or conditioned upon what man would do. The faith which God foresaw and upon which He based His choice was not given to the sinner by God (it was not created by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit) but resulted solely from man's will. It was left entirely up to man as to who would believe and therefore as to who would be elected unto salvation.
Or in other words, God is sovereign in every way, except that he cannot control us or our choice to come to him. His election is by foreknowledge instead of predestination.
And i'm sorry that I thought this was an Arminian view.

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There also really isn't a middle ground that is internally consistent because a lot of the issues are binary. Either grace is resistible or it is not.
Maybe you should reread my essay, because I tried to make it clear how I believed the issue is not binary. I believe that God elects, and it will always pan out how he predestines, but at the same time (supernaturally) it is our decisions that will lead to what He has predestined.
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Unread 01-26-2017, 08:32 PM   #10
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Conditional sovereignty is a really awful term to use and clearly implies numerous heresies. It is not a reasonable substitute for election through foreknowledge. Made up terms are not useful here. And Arminianism confirms the absolute sovereignty of God. I did read your essay and it does nothing to convince me that there is middle ground between binary conditions

Also, denial that the faith is an act of His and a gift is a heresy. Arianism. If you state that faith is solely a work of man you have left a door which is outside of the pale of Orthodoxy. This is far more extreme than an Arminian or a Calvinist would hold. and a denial of many, many scriptures.


Also clearly God controls wills in scripture.

There are lots of binaries in the Arminianism/Calvinism dichotomy.

Grace is either resistible or not.
People can either fall away or not, (though classically Arminians took the true third option, of "We don't know.")
Christ died for all, or he died for some. There are no middle options here.

I don't know is always a valid option, but there can't be a middle ground here.
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Unread 01-27-2017, 08:47 AM   #11
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Conditional sovereignty is a really awful term to use and clearly implies numerous heresies. It is not a reasonable substitute for election through foreknowledge. Made up terms are not useful here. And Arminianism confirms the absolute sovereignty of God. I did read your essay and it does nothing to convince me that there is middle ground between binary conditions

Also, denial that the faith is an act of His and a gift is a heresy. Arianism. If you state that faith is solely a work of man you have left a door which is outside of the pale of Orthodoxy. This is far more extreme than an Arminian or a Calvinist would hold. and a denial of many, many scriptures.


Also clearly God controls wills in scripture.

There are lots of binaries in the Arminianism/Calvinism dichotomy.

Grace is either resistible or not.
People can either fall away or not, (though classically Arminians took the true third option, of "We don't know.")
Christ died for all, or he died for some. There are no middle options here.
K
I don't know is always a valid option, but there can't be a middle ground here.
I'm sorry that you feel that way, but even though we disagree on whether or not the issue is binary, this does not mean that I am not allowed to say I believe I'm found in the middle. I'm sorry if this statement offends you.
As for Conditional Soveriegnty of God, this was not just a "made up term" created by me. This was based on many studies i've done of both sides of the spectrum. Yes, Arminians would not openly say they believe in the conditional Soveriegnty of God, but most Calvinist would look over to the other side and say that this is obviously what they believe (and use this term to describe it).
Also, I do not believe that faith is only of man, but I do know many Arminians who hold to this belief. I've read Arminian books who say that God left us humans to a complete free will, and that our faith is a choice. I do not believe this, but I know Arminians who do, and the articles seem to imply this to me.
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Unread 01-27-2017, 09:05 AM   #12
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Also, can you please refrain from using words like "heresy"? This forum is built of many different people with different religious/denominational backgrounds, and we can have a decent conversation about our beliefs without accusing each other of being heretical.
I thought we could have a decent, civilized discussion about this issue, but if we cannot, I will not think twice about disabling this thread. My relationships on the forum are more important to me than a different view on predestination.
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Unread 01-27-2017, 09:05 AM   #13
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Perhaps this is a problem with semantics. I can honestly say I've never met (or talked) with anyone who claimed to be a Christian and denied that God is totally, completely Sovereign.

That doesn't mean there aren't people out there making such a claim but to say anything other than God IS Sovereign pretty much knocks you out of the realm of "orthodox" Christian belief.

The only time I have even heard the phrase "conditional sovereignty" is in regards to government.
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Unread 01-27-2017, 09:13 AM   #14
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Also, can you please refrain from using words like "heresy"? This forum is built of many different people with different religious/denominational backgrounds, and we can have a decent conversation about our beliefs without accusing each other of being heretical.
I thought we could have a decent, civilized discussion about this issue, but if we cannot, I will not think twice about disabling this thread. My relationships on the forum are more important to me than a different view on predestination.
What other word should you use when discussing something that falls outside of the "orthodox" position? It isn't a slur, it's a description of something that doesn't line up with what is accepted. If I come up here and make a case the the Trinity isn't true, then I am promoting heresy.

Now, if someone calls you a dirty, filthy, hell-bound heretic...then that's a slur.
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Unread 01-27-2017, 09:18 AM   #15
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What other word should you use when discussing something that falls outside of the "orthodox" position? It isn't a slur, it's a description of something that doesn't line up with what is accepted. If I come up here and make a case the the Trinity isn't true, then I am promoting heresy.

Now, if someone calls you a dirty, filthy, hell-bound heretic...then that's a slur.
I think we can all tell each other our beliefs without others accusing us of anything. If someone came on to the forum not believing in the trinity, I would allow them to express what they believe then I would express what I believe without saying theirs is heretical, even if I may think it is.
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