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Predestination in John 15:16

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  • Predestination in John 15:16

    I showed John 15:16 to a free will believing pastor, asking him how he doesn't see predestination in that verse. He answered, flippantly, "Oh, that's easy. Jesus was talking about the disciples only, not people in general. We are all given faith in certain measure according to God's purpose, but man still has the free will to choose not to take it, and therefore not choose salvation." I handed him my shortlist of verses for him to review anyway, and out of respect, kept my thoughts of his response to myself. But I'm thinking, "Where is that in the Bible?" Jesus clearly says, "You have not chosen me but I have chosen you" and the context did not indicate or imply that we freely accept or reject Jesus' choice. We can fight it if we are chosen, but cannot overpower God's choice.

    "Many are called but few are chosen." Any thoughts on this little discourse? Is the pastor merely giving me a cop-out reply or am I missing something? I am not holding my breath that if he reads my shortlist, it will cause him to change his view based on his attitude.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
    Jesus was talking about the disciples only, not people in general.

    Obviously he does not believe "regeneration precedes faith".

    You quoted John 15:16, and before it read John 15:13 which says- "greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friend". Was Jesus speaking to your pastor? I can't speak for him, but, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us when we were enemies, Romans 5:8, Romans 5:10. Why would your pastor apply only partial context to himself and reject others?

    Does your pastor seemingly think Jesus owes him for his wisdom and goodness in choosing Him as his Master? I figure you're right, attempting to "humble" someone to the point of understanding themselves as recipients of favor and grace in God having chosen "them" for his disciples may be too much, and result in humiliation. Jesus Christ has the right of choosing of his own ministers which He does by His providence and Spirit, though ministers make that Holy calling their "own choice." Christ's choice is prior to ours and directs and determines it. Of all that are chosen to grace and glory it may be said, they have not chosen Christ, but he had chosen them, Deuteronomy 7:7-8.

    Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
    He answered, flippantly, "... We are all given faith in certain measure according to God's purpose, but man still has the free will to choose not to take it, and therefore not choose salvation."
    Again, the problem is with your pastor's order of salvation. His remark also reminds me of Charles Spurgeon's Arminian prayer:


    I double dog dare you to send this video to your pastor!

    God bless,
    William
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    • #3
      I especially like what you started out with: "Regeneration precedes faith." Also, I have recently added to my book, the order of salvation. Once I hear back from this pastor, I may give him that part of my book, since he said he would read it months ago but hasn't even downloaded it to the best of my knowledge. I have found people in the church like myself, not Arminian. The video prayer sounds a lot like the publican's prayer in the Bible. The video is accurate, as I have thought the same points through that it presents. I do believe in regeneration preceding faith, as God is not going to first give faith to a dead person. First, He regenerates us with the Holy Ghost, quickening us. Then He goes to work on us from there, per the salvation order. It is all God, not man.

      Our salvation is by grace, which Arminians claim to believe, but they have an empty belief, since by their belief, grace ends where man's free will to salvation begins. They are essentially saying God's grace only begins when man determines his destiny by choosing Jesus. The Scriptures teach that God's grace begins with election from the foundation of the world. This means salvation by man's free will is impossible, a lie, false doctrine, heresy, blasphemy, and moreover, the doctrine stinks. It cuts into God's grace apart from where it really starts. Revelation 13:8 - "The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."
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      • #4
        John 3:8 - The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
        We kinda covered this before Strat through our debates, however implicit. It is probably worthwhile mentioning, especially because this is usually very apparent amongst Baptist which tend to emphasize some form of conversion testimony. With such emphasis placed on "responsive experience", you'd think that John 3:8 is an invisible text. Awareness of Regeneration may follow sometime after, with no apparent awareness immediately. While the text speaks of God's sovereignty in the act of Salvation, with emphasis placed on conversion testimony, there is a tendency to emphasize our own works rather than the Holy Spirit apart from ours (monergism).

        God bless,
        William
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        • #5
          Where did I mention I believe our own works determine anything with regards to salvation?
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          • #6
            Excellent video, short and powerful.

            People feel like they chose Jesus so they believe they chose Jesus. When you're dragged, then you feel forced, and in fact you are being being forced. When you are pushed, you feel like you're making the choice yourself, even though your're still being forced. By pushed, I mean you're being manipulated. but often aren't aware of it. This is done by magicians who trick you into taking the card of their choice, for our entertainment. This is done by advertisers, hopefully harmlessly, to get you to buy their products. This is done by Liberals who redefine words to shape our thinking, to corrupt us. This is also done out of love by our parents. And, it's done out of absolute love by God through the Holy Spirit.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
              Where did I mention I believe our own works determine anything with regards to salvation?
              All the good works which we possess are the fruit of regeneration. I merely reflected upon past debates when one seemingly had emphasized faith and a testimony thereof as though they were obtained by works (of man), or at least, the "new beginning" or "regeneration" follows after an initial act of faith resulting in conversion (order of salvation). I'm sure you agree Strat that there are no works by which we can merit salvation. Faith itself is man's act or work and is thereby excluded from being any part of his justifying righteousness. It is one thing to be justified by grace through faith merely as an instrument by which man receives the righteousness of Christ, and another to be justified FOR faith as an act or work of the law.

              Quick question, maybe you can answer as to whether it is pertinent to go so far as to ask if whether your pastor believes the error of the Ephesians? They believed they had obtained grace by faith rather than acknowledging God as the one who produces the response of faith in his elect.

              Ephesians 2:9 - Not of works. Instead of what he had said, that their salvation is of grace, he now affirms, that “it is the gift of God.” Instead of what he had said, “ Not of yourselves,” he now says, “ Not of works.” Hence we see, that the apostle leaves nothing to men in procuring salvation. In these three phrases, — not of yourselves, — it is the gift of God, — not of works, — he embraces the substance of his long argument in the Epistles to the Romans and to the Galatians, that righteousness comes to us from the mercy of God alone, — is offered to us in Christ by the gospel, — and is received by faith alone, without the merit of works. - John Calvin
              Salvation is entirely the work of God (monergism) and not a reward of mixed grace (synergism).

              God bless,
              William
              Comment>

              • #8
                Originally posted by William View Post
                Salvation is entirely the work of God (monergism) and not a reward of mixed grace (synergism).
                I totally agree with this statement. Myself and others at this Baptist church believe we are Christians, not Baptists, just going to an independent Baptist church to worship. We are judged by God as to being believers in Christ, not by denomination. I am not of a denomination. I am a Christian. Period. "We are saved by grace through faith, and that not of ourselves. It is a gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast." That is my belief, regardless of what anyone else says.
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                • #9
                  God's Word throughout clearly reveals certain ones were chosen elect as compared with the rest of the peoples. I'm a firm believer in predestination because it can be clearly documented in God's Word.

                  I enjoyed William's treatise on Apostle Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus, but one of the most important aspects of his conversion that I see, is how Paul did not come to Christ and believe, instead Jesus came to Paul and removed all... doubt, a Divine intervention, an event that does not occur for all believers. And that shows a definite predestination event.

                  But how does a pastor or evangelist answer a new believer when asked about these deeper things? I've spoken of some deeper things in God's Word with some pastors in private and discovered many of them understood, and even proclaimed that no man taught them the thing, that God showed them. But they admitted they didn't teach those deeper things to their congregations because they said the majority would not understand. I asked them what about those in the congregation that would understand. There was silence.

                  John 17 is another revelation about this matter of predestination, showing a difference between two groups, one being the Apostles as 'sent' by Christ, and even had already been pre-owned by The Father and then given to Christ. And then Christ's prayer to make those who come to Him through their word being the second group, with Christ praying that both groups would become one in Him and The Father.

                  Romans 8 by Apostle Paul also comes to mind.

                  Thus I've come to understand that like our Jesus said, "many are called" but "few are chosen" is exactly what He meant. And it makes a lot of sense actually. The LORD made sure His Church on earth would have an available leadership that would not, and could not fail, and thus the purpose for His chosen ones, with that still happening today (though those chosen today not specifically called Apostles anymore).

                  Of course pastors and evangelists don't want a new believer to start thinking, "Am I a chosen one? or just called?", especially before they've had a chance to get into deep Bible study for themselves, so I assume this is one of the reasons why it's not a major topic for discussion in many sermons. That makes sense too, up to a point, because when coming to Paul's conversion, just teaching that like The Scripture says as written is going to stir those kind of thoughts in the new believer.

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                  • #10
                    Many of your thoughts are my thoughts, Davy. However, I think that most pastors don't teach predestination is because they don't believe in it. I found it to be quite teachable even to the point of going through conversion, as what happened with me. The doctrine of election actually was a major part of my conversion experience. Beforehand, I used to believe in free will, but as I came to know Jesus, free will didn't make any sense if one is to believe in an omniscient God. Then when I saw that the Bible concurred, that really encouraged me, that God chose me, I can't lose my salvation, He did this in spite of what a sinner I am, and by His almighty will, not my changeable, weak will. Until that point, I resisted, but God's will be done, He did cause me to come to Him as stated in Psalm 65:4.
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                    • #11
                      Well Stratcat, to be honest with you there is more to this. I separate this into two categories like our Lord Jesus did, "... for many be called, but few chosen."(Matt.20:16).

                      That is also shown in Jesus' prayer to The Father in John 17 with two separate groups, the first being His elect chosen Apostles pre-owned by The Father and given to Christ, and Christ sending them into the world, and then those who come to believe by their 'word' (i.e., chosen Apostles preaching of The Gospel). The second group would be the 'called' only.

                      So the idea of free-will does come into play with those who are 'called' only, which also means they can turn away from Christ using their free will, which is why we see in the writings of Paul especially his many admonitions to be careful to work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Phil.2:12). His admonitions in that are mainly for those called, but not chosen.

                      John 17:18-21
                      18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
                      19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
                      20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
                      21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
                      KJV


                      So is the pastor you spoke to completely wrong? No, not really.

                      In 2 Thess.2:1-4, we see a prophecy from Apostle Paul which shows a culmination of this difference in the last days regarding those who will 'fall away', which is in conjunction with the event of the coming future pseudo-Christ to Jerusalem (Matt.24:23-26; Rev.13:11).

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                      • #12
                        As is stated in Romans 9, we have a will, but to do that which is good, we do not have of our own will. The good we do is from the Holy Spirit through us, not of ourselves. Our will is enslaved to sin until we are saved. Then it wars against the Holy Spirit within us. Without such war within us, we have a problem; no Holy Spirit in us to war against. For the believer, there is such a spiritual warfare, as well as that which is against Satan.

                        Psalm 65:4 should settle it. We don't come to God of any free will, rather God chooses us and causes us to come unto Him, whereby as stated by Jesus in John 6:37 KJV, He will in no wise cast us out. John 6 in general tells us in detail what Psalm 65:4 says. Also, John 15:16 is quite clear, even when reading the context of the statement by looking at the verses preceding it and after it. We have a will, but I resist calling it a free will because that implies we can choose salvation and we can't. Matthew 13 the parable of the wheat and the tares is also very good at explaining this. Jesus does the interpreting for us, too.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by davy View Post
                          Well Stratcat, to be honest with you there is more to this. I separate this into two categories like our Lord Jesus did, "... for many be called, but few chosen."(Matt.20:16).

                          That is also shown in Jesus' prayer to The Father in John 17 with two separate groups, the first being His elect chosen Apostles pre-owned by The Father and given to Christ, and Christ sending them into the world, and then those who come to believe by their 'word' (i.e., chosen Apostles preaching of The Gospel). The second group would be the 'called' only.

                          So the idea of free-will does come into play with those who are 'called' only, which also means they can turn away from Christ using their free will, which is why we see in the writings of Paul especially his many admonitions to be careful to work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Phil.2:12). His admonitions in that are mainly for those called, but not chosen.

                          John 17:18-21
                          18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
                          19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
                          20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
                          21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
                          KJV

                          So is the pastor you spoke to completely wrong? No, not really.

                          In 2 Thess.2:1-4, we see a prophecy from Apostle Paul which shows a culmination of this difference in the last days regarding those who will 'fall away', which is in conjunction with the event of the coming future pseudo-Christ to Jerusalem (Matt.24:23-26; Rev.13:11).
                          The only place to support your preconceived notion concerning Free or Autonomous will in Scripture comes from Genesis through the forked tongue of the serpent. I recommend reading: The Doctrine of Autonomous self-hidden idolatry.

                          You quoted John 17:18-21 and left out John 17:9 - "I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours."

                          The two groups are summed up through the simple “ordo salutis” which is as follows: the first event that had to take place for us to be saved is God's unconditional love and election of us in eternity past. Then, God sent us an outward call at some point in our lives, or in other words, he brought the message of the gospel across our paths, either through the reading or the hearing of the word. Next, he gave an inward call, through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, which regenerated, or brought to life our previously dead hearts.

                          Without Regeneration the seed falls upon stony ground Matthew 13, also see Ezekiel 36:25-27 and John 3 the conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus.

                          So is the pastor you spoke to completely wrong? No, not really.
                          False teachers have in common the mixing of truth with poison. A little poison with wholesome food is quite deadly.

                          God bless,
                          William
                          Comment>

                          • #14
                            Our Lord Jesus prayed that prior to His being delivered up to be crucified. Those He was first talking about regarding ownership began back at verse 6:

                            John 17:6-9
                            6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
                            7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.
                            8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
                            9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
                            KJV

                            So that can only apply to those who were first with Him before His being crucified, those that He chose. But He then mentions those who come to Him through the word of His chosen, which is another group of believers, and still on-going.


                            I'm not a Calvinist. I do not believe that only a certain pre-determined number of people are the only ones that are offered God's Salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. And I say that while being fully aware of the idea of God's election per Eph.4, etc. What Apostle Paul said in Scripture like Acts 20:27-31 reveals to us that it is possible for some believers to turn away from the Truth of their own will, which automatically disproves any Calvinist notion that free will is not in play. With those who are 'chosen', they cannot fall away, for Christ already owned those before, like you're saying. But that does not apply to all believers.

                            Nor do I adhere to the "Once Saved Always Saved" doctrine of men. One can fall away from Christ Jesus if they so choose, which there's already ample evidence of that in this world.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by davy View Post
                              Our Lord Jesus prayed that prior to His being delivered up to be crucified. Those He was first talking about regarding ownership began back at verse 6:

                              John 17:6-9
                              6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
                              7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.
                              8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
                              9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
                              KJV
                              The prayers which we offer for all are still limited to the elect of God. We ought to pray that this man, and that man, and every man, may be saved, and thus include the whole human race, because we cannot yet distinguish the elect from the reprobate; and yet, while we desire the coming of the kingdom of God, we likewise pray that God may destroy his enemies.

                              So that can only apply to those who were first with Him before His being crucified, those that He chose. But He then mentions those who come to Him through the word of His chosen, which is another group of believers, and still on-going.

                              I'm not a Calvinist. I do not believe that only a certain pre-determined number of people are the only ones that are offered God's Salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. And I say that while being fully aware of the idea of God's election per Eph.4, etc. What Apostle Paul said in Scripture like Acts 20:27-31 reveals to us that it is possible for some believers to turn away from the Truth of their own will, which automatically disproves any Calvinist notion that free will is not in play. With those who are 'chosen', they cannot fall away, for Christ already owned those before, like you're saying. But that does not apply to all believers.

                              Nor do I adhere to the "Once Saved Always Saved" doctrine of men. One can fall away from Christ Jesus if they so choose, which there's already ample evidence of that in this world.
                              As a Calvinist I do not believe God only offered a pre-determined number of people salvation. However, I think you underestimate the seriousness of man's sin and his condition.

                              The ordos salutis remains the same both throughout the OT and NT. Of course by believing in free will, it logically follows that man’s free will also determines who perseveres and who rejects the faith. Your charge towards Calvinism Soteriology rejects justification as a once-and-for-all act of God in favor of justification by a process that involves perseverance.

                              Your interpretation of the Calvinist’s position is actually totally off the mark. Following the Scriptures Calvinists teach that justification is a once-for-all judicial act of God which cannot be annulled and is never to be repeated. But once a person is justified, he immediately begins a lifelong process of sanctification. Sanctification and growth in holiness and perseverance do not contribute one iota to a person’s salvation. However, if a person claims to be a Christian yet is not sanctified and does not persevere, then that person was never really a Christian. He was never born again or justified. He was a hypocrite, a false professor who merely had a bare intellectual assent to certain propositions but who never truly trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation. “It is not enough to profess Christ. You must actually and really possess Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour in order to be truly saved.” The same Jesus who preached justification by faith alone (John. 5:24; Luke. 18:9-14; 23:43) also said “You shall know them by their fruits” (Mt. 7:16). Paul said, “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are his,’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity’” (2 Tim. 2:19).

                              God bless,
                              William

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