The Protestant theological system of John Calvin and his successors, which develops Luther's doctrine of justification by faith alone and emphasizes the grace of God and the doctrine of predestination.

Is There Really No Biblical Support for Unconditional Election?

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  • Is There Really No Biblical Support for Unconditional Election?

    Christians have often disagreed over the exact nature of the biblical doctrine of election. Reasonable believers are willing to state their arguments for their views while acknowledging that others, who disagree, have their own, different, arguments. Making a case for and listening to critiques of one’s views while showing perceived deficiencies in opposing views are great ways to strengthen one’s understanding of the Word of God. That is simply the Christian way of engaging brothers who disagree.

    Consequently, when a person claims that “the Reformed idea that God chooses some individuals and not others for salvation has no, I repeat, no biblical support,” it is hard to take him seriously. Gratuitous, dismissive assertions have no place in serious theological conversations. Unfortunately, when a respected person makes such a claim some will be tempted to take him at his word.

    In order to help those so tempted and to expose the foolishness of such a claim, here are a few of the Bible’s many teachings that highlight God’s sovereign grace in election. I put the key words in bold simply to highlight the precise way that the Bible teaches that God chooses some individuals and not others to salvation.

    Matthew 11:25–27
    25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
    If no one knows the Father (isn’t that salvation?) except those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him, doesn’t that mean that some are chosen and not others?

    John 6:37
    37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
    Since all do not come to Christ and yet all that the Father gives to Christ will come to Him, doesn’t that mean the Father gave some to Christ and didn’t give others to Christ?

    John 17:1–9
    1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.…

    6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.
    Evidently Jesus believed that the Father had given Him people to whom He in turn would give eternal life. Unless you believe that Jesus has given or will give eternal life to every person then you must conclude that God gave Jesus (or we could say “chose”) some people and not others for salvation.

    Acts 13:48
    48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.
    How many believed? Only as many as were appointed to eternal life.

    Romans 9:9–13
    9 For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
    Surely even those who reject personal, unconditional election must admit that God made some sort of distinction between Jacob (whom He “loved”) and Esau (whom He “hated”).

    2 Thessalonians 2:13–14
    13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    It was the Thessalonian Christians, not all those living in Thessalonica, whom God chose.

    Ephesians 1:4–5
    4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.
    Who is “us”? Paul and his Christian readers. Those are the ones God chose and predestined to be holy, blameless and adopted.

    In light of these clear statements of Scripture it is no wonder the Abstract of Principles of 1858 (the first confession of faith produced by Southern Baptists) affirms unconditional election in Article 5:
    Election is God’s eternal choice of some persons unto everlasting life—not because of foreseen merit in them, but of His mere mercy in Christ—in consequence of which choice they are called, justified and glorified.
    This is simply a reflection of what the Bible teaches and of what was widely believed among traditional Southern Baptists at the beginning of the SBC.

    Source: Is There Really No Biblical Support for Unconditional Election? : Founders Ministries

  • #2
    Originally posted by William View Post
    This is simply a reflection of what the Bible teaches and of what was widely believed among traditional Southern Baptists at the beginning of the SBC.
    Probably not much of a debate, but as a Reformed Baptist (theologically) and a former Southern Baptist ... I say abso-friggin-lutely! Yes, and You bechha.

    Now those verses are not "Free Grace" (say a prayer, go on living a reprobate life style and 'one saved always saved' God can't change his mind so he has to let your putrid self into heaven) nor is it "Hyper-Calvinism" (God, the monster, taking equal delight in choosing some to bless and others to torture). What they are is acknowledgement that God's arm is not short. God is still in charge and knows what He is doing.
    Comment>

    • #3
      Originally posted by William View Post
      Matthew 11:25-27
      25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
      If no one knows the Father (isn’t that salvation?) except those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him, doesn’t that mean that some are chosen and not others?
      Just to push back, until a die hard Arminian arrives to accept the challenge, the author has read some personal assumptions into these quoted verses. What they clearly and explicitly say is that there is no 'back door' to God the Father. Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to get to know God. While it is a reasonable and sound logical argument to state "except those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him", the author actually goes beyond what these scriptures actually state in drawing the conclusion "and not others". These verses cannot rule out the possibility that Jesus chooses to reveal the Father to all and there is some other obstacle to their coming to know God.

      I offer as Arminian clarification of these verse (and not scripture pong) that it is God's will that none would perish. 2 Peter 3:9
      Comment>

      • #4
        Originally posted by atpollard View Post
        Just to push back, until a die hard Arminian arrives to accept the challenge, the author has read some personal assumptions into these quoted verses. What they clearly and explicitly say is that there is no 'back door' to God the Father. Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to get to know God. While it is a reasonable and sound logical argument to state "except those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him", the author actually goes beyond what these scriptures actually state in drawing the conclusion "and not others". These verses cannot rule out the possibility that Jesus chooses to reveal the Father to all and there is some other obstacle to their coming to know God.

        I offer as Arminian clarification of these verse (and not scripture pong) that it is God's will that none would perish. 2 Peter 3:9
        I personally welcome your view, and have to admit that I too raised an eyebrow here and there in the article.

        Lemme get this straight though.

        Lets take for example, John 6:44 which says "No one can come to me less the father draws them to me STOP. Then I will raise them up on the last day.

        Pretty clear, I will not insult you by elaborating on this verse but only offer an Arminian response which comes out from the immediate context.
        • 43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 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. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

        Notice the bold, it seems that what you're suggesting is at first glance supporting what you're saying. Correct me if wrong, but this is what you mean?

        God bless,
        William
        Comment>

        • #5
          Originally posted by atpollard View Post
          I offer as Arminian clarification of these verse (and not scripture pong) that it is God's will that none would perish. 2 Peter 3:9
          For some context:
          • 3 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.
          • 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”
          • 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God,
          • 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.
          • 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
          • 8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
          • 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,[a] not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

          Lets address the immediate context. Do you see that there are two groups (beloved with pure minds and the ungoldly headed for perdition) being contrasted here?

          Originally posted by atpollard View Post
          If no one knows the Father (isn’t that salvation?) except those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him, doesn’t that mean that some are chosen and not others?
          The Arminian verse, now faced with context has to decide whether the verse about God being patient not wishing that any should perish is towards: everyone without exception, all of group A (beloved, the recipient of the letter), or all of group B (Scoffers that will come 'in the last day' following their own sinful desires)?

          God bless,
          William
          Comment>

          • #6
            Originally posted by William View Post
            Consequently, when a person claims that “the Reformed idea that God chooses some individuals and not others for salvation has no, I repeat, no biblical support,” it is hard to take him seriously.
            Well the reason it is hard to take him seriously is because no one is willing to approach this matter WITHOUT ANY PRECONCEIVED IDEAS. So what every Christian needs to do is examine the words "elect (-ed,-ion), "chosen", predestined (-ation, -ated), "foreknowledge" in the contexts in which they have been used in Scripture, and only then draw a valid conclusion. We cannot simply rely on what Augustine, Luther, Calvin etc. believed about this, since they have been mistaken from time to time in spiritual matters.

            1. Is Divine election a Bible truth? Absolutely. What it means is that God specifically chooses individuals, and that His choices were determined before He created anyone. This is most clearly brought out in relation to Jesus of Nazareth. According to Acts 2:23, Christ was delivered into the hands of wicked men to be slain by the PREDETERMINATE COUNSEL AND FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD. In other words, as Scripture says, the Lamb of God was slain because He was FOREORDAINED from before the foundation of the world (1 Pet 1:19,20).

            2. Has the word "elect" or its cognates been used with reference to (1) Hebrew individuals, (2) nations, (3) believers, and does it automatically mean the same thing in each case? Yes it has, and the meaning depends on the context.

            For example the nation of Israel (the 12 tribes of Israel) were elected by God to become a holy nation and a royal priesthood, yet this could not possibly apply to each and every individual Hebrew, since the majority of them transgressed the Law and were also found in unbelief at the first coming of Christ. Only a handful were justified by grace through faith, and thus elected to be saints (see Hebrews 11 for details). So this makes it crystal clear that unless a sinner has genuine faith in God and in Christ, there is no way that there will be any election.

            3. If "predestination" is applied to Christians, in what sense is it applied? Is it predestination for SALVATION or is it predestination for ultimate GLORIFICATION and all for the praise of the glory of God's grace?

            4. What is the relationship between Divine foreknowledge, election, and predestination, and is this related to salvation or something else?

            The best passage of Scripture to begin with is Romans 8:28-30, since it connects all this concepts.

            28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

            29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

            30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.


            1. So what is the PURPOSE of predestination? This is the critical issue which gets overlooked again and again.

            2. Does the Bible says "He also did predestinate to be justified" or doe it say "He also did predestinate TO BE CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON? If it were the former, then election would be for salvation. But if it the latter, then election is for the glorification of those who were justified. This makes all the difference, since it means that God chooses none for salvation or damnation, but He does choose the saved (the justified ones) for ultimate glorification.

            3. So what does it mean "to be conformed to the image of His Son"? Well the apostle John gives us the answer in 1 John 3:1-3:

            1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

            2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

            3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.


            WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM, FOR WE SHALL SEE HIM AS HE IS. The Man Christ Jesus is now in a glorious and glorified immortal body at the right Hand of the Father. Since He is God, all perfection is in Him. We shall be like Him when we shall be perfected and glorified (at the Resurrection/Rapture).
            Comment>

            • #7
              Originally posted by William View Post

              For some context:
              • 3 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.
              • 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”
              • 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God,
              • 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.
              • 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
              • 8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
              • 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,[a] not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.


              Lets address the immediate context. Do you see that there are two groups (beloved with pure minds and the ungoldly headed for perdition) being contrasted here?

              The Arminian verse, now faced with context has to decide whether the verse about God being patient not wishing that any should perish is towards: everyone without exception, all of group A (beloved, the recipient of the letter), or all of group B (Scoffers that will come 'in the last day' following their own sinful desires)?

              God bless,
              William
              OK, If "I am not an Arminian, but I play one on internet discussions", I will have to pick my verses more carefully because I just got my clock cleaned with that 'off the cuff' example. :)
              Yeah, 2 Peter 3:9 was a bad choice on my part because, as you pointed out, the context is CLEARLY God's patience towards all whom he would gather into His flock between the moment Peter wrote those words and Jesus second coming. It really isn't "everyone in the whole wide world" in that context. There are probably other verses that supports God wanting every last person to repent, but that wasn't one of them.
              Comment>

              • #8
                Originally posted by William View Post
                I personally welcome your view, and have to admit that I too raised an eyebrow here and there in the article.

                Lemme get this straight though.

                Lets take for example, John 6:44 which says "No one can come to me less the father draws them to me STOP. Then I will raise them up on the last day.

                Pretty clear, I will not insult you by elaborating on this verse but only offer an Arminian response which comes out from the immediate context.
                • 43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 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. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”



                Notice the bold, it seems that what you're suggesting is at first glance supporting what you're saying. Correct me if wrong, but this is what you mean?

                God bless,
                William
                Yes, that is a better example.
                The OP made the assumption that God would not 'choose all' and that those who were not saved were unsaved because they were 'not chosen'. However Matthew 11:25-27 does not actually say THAT. It stops with saying "no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him" ... begging the question "Does the Son reveal the Father to all?" I mean, even as a Calvinist, there is a sense in which I could agree with a statement like "Jesus had revealed God the Father to all mankind." Jesus words and example are recorded and translated into virtually every language. Few people on the face of the earth have never even heard of Jesus. Jesus said "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father." I mean, Romans starts out that all men are without excuse ... How much less excuse does this generation have than that of 2200 years ago?

                From an Arminian perspective, the strength comes from simple verses expressing God's intent. John 3:16 NASB "For God so loved the world, that He gave His [fn]only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." ... it says 'THE WORLD'. John 12:32 NASB "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” ... it says 'ALL MEN'. So it does not seem unreasonable to ask if, indeed, Jesus did come, does desire, and will indeed offer to make the introduction between each and every man woman and child who has or will ever live, and God the Father.

                Then you offer John 6:45 NASB "It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me" and, yes, the question to ask is will 'THEY ALL' really be taught of God ... which is what Wesley proposed with his 'general grace' that overcomes our fallen nature enough to allow all men the ability (by the grace of God rather than the strength of men) to choose. Placing the credit for salvation in the faith and grace and cross all a gift from God, and the 'blame' for damnation in the hands of the stiff necked people who sit under God's instruction and refuse to listen ... the heart of stone that will allow no seed to take root.
                Last edited by atpollard; 07-10-2017, 02:20 PM.
                Comment>

                • #9
                  Originally posted by atpollard View Post
                  From an Arminian perspective, the strength comes from simple verses expressing God's intent. John 3:16 NASB "For God so loved the world, that He gave His [fn]only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." ... it says 'THE WORLD'. John 12:32 NASB "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” ... it says 'ALL MEN'. So it does not seem unreasonable to ask if, indeed, Jesus did come, does desire, and will indeed offer to make the introduction between each and every man woman and child who has or will ever live, and God the Father.
                  Just sharing a previous response that was compiled from a couple years ago on this board:

                  The plain reading of John 6:44 is that no one can come to Christ unless first drawn to Him by the Father. Non-Calvinists will often concede this if pressed. It's the rest of the verse that causes problems for them as the verse goes on to state that those who are drawn (represented by "him") are also raised to life by the Son. What non-Calvinists are essentially doing then, is accepting the first half of the verse but denying the second half. This is done by going to John 12:32 and insisting that all men are drawn to Christ. Now, the problem should be obvious. If 6:44 states that all those that are drawn are then raised, and if all men without exception are drawn to Christ per 12:32, then you have an affirmation of Universalism. Since both sides reject Universalism, another explanation must be sought. For the non-Calvinist, this usually means an immediate switch to "all these other verses over here". For the Calvinist, it means dealing with these verses on their own and in their immediate contexts.

                  Now, when John 12:32 is brought forward by non-Calvinists, there is never any mention about the context in which Jesus makes His statements. The only thing that seems to interest those using this verse against Calvinists is the appearance of the term "all". The assumption is that "all" always means all men everywhere. This assumption remains even when the Calvinist points out that the term "all" is often times limited by contextual considerations. So obviously, the question is what did Jesus mean when He said that He will "draw all men" to Himself? Did He mean all men everywhere, or all *kinds* of men?

                  The important thing to note about the non-Calvinist's use of this verse is that "all men everywhere" are not in fact drawn to Christ. We know this to be true by both Biblical and experiential considerations. The Pharisees for instance, were not drawn to Christ unless one wishes to count their attempts at killing Him. Further, each of us knows or have known people who have never had an interest in Christianity outside of trying to disprove it. There is also the issue of those who have never heard of Jesus Christ. So, either Jesus was mistaken in what He said, or He did not mean "all men everywhere" but rather, all kinds of men. In support of this, we find in John 12:20 that there were Gentiles who were wishing to see Jesus. When Jesus got word of this, He began to address a crowd that now comprised both Jew and Gentile. It is to this mixed crowd that Jesus made His comments about "drawing all men". And it is this consideration that makes the Calvinist's interpretation of this verse not only plausible, but probable. That is, the Calvinist believes this verse is limited by this contextual consideration coupled with the above mentioned issues. If the non-Calvinist's interpretation clashes with other texts, and makes no sense of the verse when considered on it's own, then the Calvinist's interpretation becomes the most probable. Indeed, it would seem that these considerations would make the Calvinist's interpretation the only one *possible*.

                  Undoubtebly, the non-Calvinist will object with something like, "but you're changing *all* men into *some* men just to make it fit your doctrine!". But I would point out that this isn't a response to the argument offered. In fact, I haven't heard a non-Calvinist address the Calvinist's interpretation of 12:32 with anything other than comments like this. Indeed, in order to refute the Calvinist interpretation of John 12:32, the non-Calvinist will first need to:
                  • Harmonize this verse with John 6:44
                  • Show that all men since the time of Christ have in fact been drawn to Him
                  • Refute the contextual argument derived from John 12:20 with the appearance of Gentiles seeking Jesus

                  Without addressing these issues, the non-Calvinist will be obliged to hand over one of their primary prooftexts to Calvinism.

                  Source: Is the atonement of Christ unlimited? -Christforums
                  And to quote you:

                  Originally posted by atpollard View Post
                  Then you offer John 6:45 NASB "It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me" and, yes, the question to ask is will 'THEY ALL' really be taught of God ... which is what Wesley proposed with his 'general grace' that overcomes our fallen nature enough to allow all men the ability (by the grace of God rather than the strength of men) to choose. Placing the credit for salvation in the faith and grace and cross all a gift from God, and the 'blame' for damnation in the hands of the stiff necked people who sit under God's instruction and refuse to listen ... the heart of stone that will allow no seed to take root.
                  Lemme share Calvin which addresses the Allusion made from the context:

                  It is written in the Prophets. Christ confirms by the testimony of Isaiah what he said, that no man can come to him, unless he be drawn by the Father He uses the word prophets in the plural number, because all their prophecies had been collected into one volume, so that all the prophets might justly be accounted one book. The passage which is here quoted is to be found in Isa 54:13, where, speaking of the restoration of the Church, he promises to her, sons taught by the instruction of God Hence it may easily be inferred, that the Church cannot be restored in any other way than by God undertaking the office of a Teacher, and bringing believers to himself. The way of teaching, of which the prophet speaks, does not consist merely in the external voice, but likewise in the secret operation of the Holy Spirit. In short, this teaching of God is the inward illumination of the heart.

                  And they shall be all taught by God. As to the word all, it must be limited to the elect, who alone are the true children of the Church. Now it is not difficult to see in what manner Christ applies this prediction to the present subject. Isaiah shows that then only is the Church truly edified, when she has her children taught by God Christ, therefore, justly concludes that men have not eyes to behold the light of life, until God has opened them. But at the same time, he fastens on the general phrase,all; because he argues from it, that all who are taught by God are effectually drawn, so as to come; and to this relates what he immediately adds,

                  Whosoever therefore hath heard my Father. The amount of what is said is, that all who do not believe are reprobate and doomed to destruction; because all the sons of the Church and heirs of life are made by God to be his obedient disciples. Hence it follows, that there is not one of all the elect of God who shall not be a partaker of faith in Christ. (154) Again, as Christ formerly affirmed that men are not fitted for believing, until they have been drawn, so he now declares that the grace of Christ, by which they are drawn, is efficacious, so that they necessarily believe.

                  These two clauses utterly overturn the whole power of free will, of which the Papists dream. For if it be only when the Father has drawn us that we begin to come to Christ, there is not in us any commencement of faith, or any preparation for it. On the other hand, if all come whom the Father hath taught, He gives to them not only the choice of believing, but faith itself. When, therefore, we willingly yield to the guidance of the Spirit, this is a part, and, as it were, a sealing of grace; because God would not draw us, if He were only to stretch out his hand, and leave our will in a state of suspense. But in strict propriety of language He is said to draw us, when He extends the power of his Spirit to the full effect of faith. They are said to hear God, who willingly assent to God speaking to them within, because the Holy Spirit reigns in their hearts.

                  Cometh to me. He shows the inseparable connection that exists between him and the Father. For the meaning is, that it is impossible that any who are God’s disciples shall not obey Christ, and that they who reject Christ refuse to betaught by God; because the only wisdom that all the elect learn in the school of God is, to come to Christ; for the Father, who sent him, cannot deny himself.
                  Just emphasizing the underlined portion above: John 1:12 "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God"

                  I offer this because it immediately struck me as some want to claim "All" men are children of God, but I think they mistaken "made in the image" with "children of God".

                  But our writer once again joins the long line of "I want to try to deal with John 6 but I simply refuse to start at the beginning and follow Jesus through His teaching" would-be exegetes. John 6:45 is a follow-up to John 6:44, which, likewise, must be defined in light of what prompted the Lord to speak these words, etc. The "hop-skip-jump" method of interpretation may work for those who are not overly serious about the issue, but for those who realize you cannot hack the text up in that fashion, following a thought through from its introduction to its application is sort of important. - James White
                  • No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him (them). And I will raise him up on the last day.

                  Context tells us: the preceding verse speaks of the one who is drawn by the Father and who, as a result of being drawn, comes to the Son (and is raised up by Him).
                  • It is written in the Prophets, 'And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me--

                  First, who is "they"? The "all" is all of "them (6:44)," whoever they are. Context defines the "ALL".

                  First, there is no question that an unregenerate man can read the words of the Bible and even come to a correct understanding of its contextual reading. But there is an 18 inch separation between the heart and the head, and mere knowledge has never saved anyone.

                  The being "taught by God" is not some general revelation, some peanut-butter activity that is devoid of connection with the preceding context. No, this is a restatement, an expansion, explanation, of what it means for the Father to "draw." The drawing of the Father leads those drawn to the Son. Why? Well, part of it has to do with imparting knowledge, teaching. God does the teaching. And just as the drawing of the Father brings all who are drawn to the Son (and hence to eternal life), so too He never fails in imparting the knowledge that leads to life. All who are taught "hear" (aorist) and "learn" (aorist), and as a result of this action, come to Christ (just as v. 37 and 44). Here all truly does mean all, because it has a specific delimiter in the context: all drawn, all given, all taught, all hearing, etc. In v. 45 the emphasis remains upon the Father, not upon those taught, those who, as a result, hear and learn. I may comment just in passing that in reality, man looks rather desperate when he tries to find in passages such as this the much vaunted free will of man. - James White
                  A point of interest and worthwhile mention, notice how both Calvin and White focus in on the Father? And not man? Notice how knowledge of the heavenly truth is the gift and work of God not resting in any power of man?
                  For example:
                  • "God...made us alive together with Christ." Eph 2:5
                  • "He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus." Phil 1:6

                  God bless,
                  William
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                  • #10
                    Regarding post #8 -- the Matthew 11: 25-27 -- vs 28 says "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

                    And John 3:16 says 'who so ever believeth on me will not perish but have everlasting life."

                    Then again -- on another Forum -- there are a couple of people who I've shared with Several times -- the plan of God's salvation. The entire conversation -- and one of them especially scoffs, makes fun of, etc. -- he is a steadfast atheist. A denier of the miraculous being possible. He's said he'd Like to have proof of God's existence but so far he never has. His problem is that he's not willing to accept that which Has been presented to him. The man is totally science. He's determined that a person cannot be both a Christian And a scientist. And I've shared a number of people who Are both. And he says that apparently they aren't really true scientists. Hopefully God will choose to work in this man's heart and bring him to Himself. He did with Paul / Saul.

                    God has given us His Word and the free will to do with it as we see fit to. God is the Only one who knows who will or will not accept Him as Personal Savior. A person Can fight the Holy Spirit all his life, but if he's one of God's chosen, he Will at some point, even if it's on his death bed -- accept Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. And then again, another person can spend his entire life doing all kinds Of good works -- wonderful things , but for the wrong reason, no one approaches him about his spiritual condition because he looks really good and they don't want to get a bad reaction - - and that's the person who ends up in hell.

                    And there's a passage that says that Jesus Christ won't return until every single person has had a chance to hear God's Word / salvation and either accept or reject Him. Or maybe it's simply a theologeon's opinion. And we'd be amazed at how far the internet reaches. And how far missionaries walk to share the Gospel of salvation with interior groups of people.
                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      Originally posted by William View Post
                      John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.
                      Just a small point, but technically, Jesus does raise ALL (saved and damned) on the last day to face Judgement and Eternal life or punishment. (Not called the 'second death' for nothing.) ;)
                      Matthew 25:31-33
                      Matthew 25:46


                      31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

                      46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

                      Comment>

                      • #12
                        It has occurred to me that there are Scriptures supporting both sides. So - what are we supposed to be doing with them? What is the purpose Of debate? What is the function of high school debate teams? To learn critical thinking skills? To find out what a person believes and Why? Doctrinal apologetics?

                        Just thinking out loud.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sue D. View Post
                          It has occurred to me that there are Scriptures supporting both sides. So - what are we supposed to be doing with them? What is the purpose Of debate? What is the function of high school debate teams? To learn critical thinking skills? To find out what a person believes and Why? Doctrinal apologetics?

                          Just thinking out loud.
                          For me, one of the most important goals is to acknowledge that there are scriptures that appear to support both sides. This means that those who hold both views are entitled to the respect due a brother or sister in Christ. Too many individuals approach subjects about which reasonable people can honestly disagree as if the opposition is worthy of contempt, rejects the bible or is not really saved. That attitude quickly leads nowhere.

                          There seem to be three possible answers:
                          1. View 'A' is correct and view 'B' is wrong.
                          2. View 'B' is correct and view 'A' is wrong.
                          3. View 'C' is correct and view 'A' and 'B' are both incomplete in some way (but partially correct).

                          One benefit that I draw from these discussions is to be forced to examine scriptures in context and often to view them from other than my comfortable starting assumptions. Sometimes this strengthens my confidence that I have 'rightly divided' some particular verse and the often popular view of that verse ignores the scriptural context or is very 'translation dependent'. Other times I am forced to admit that my pet verse is less cut and dry when viewed in the larger context than I had been applying it when ripping it out of context. What excites me most is when a verse turns out to actually be saying something much richer than I had been aware when I was just skimming over parts of it to support a preheld point.

                          As an example, both the 'Free Grace' (raise your hand, say a prayer and go about your life as normal) and the 'I am 100% in charge of my choice to believe' positions are pale and ... well pathetic ... compared to the amazing Truth of God's plan for salvation ... dead hearts of stone removed and replaced with a living heart of flesh; seeds finding different quality of soil and taking root and bearing fruit; saved by grace, through faith, not of ourselves; works prepared by God in advance just for us to walk in; safety positioned between the hand of the Father and the hand of the Son; sealed with the Holy Spirit as a pledge for our redemption, the list goes on. All of that can be discovered by digging into the verses that we like to pong back and forth.

                          Comment>

                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sue D. View Post
                            It has occurred to me that there are Scriptures supporting both sides. So - what are we supposed to be doing with them? What is the purpose Of debate? What is the function of high school debate teams? To learn critical thinking skills? To find out what a person believes and Why? Doctrinal apologetics?

                            Just thinking out loud.
                            Well the Bible is quite clear that endless debate is not edifying and should be avoided. So the purpose of "debate" (I would call it Bible discussion) is to arrive at the truth, since God will have all men to be saved AND to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:4). In order to arrive at a knowledge of the truth we must have a biblical understanding of (a) the character of God, (b) the finished redemptive work of Christ, and (c) the relevant Scriptures pertaining to a specific subject.

                            Taking the example of the Calvinistic view of election unto salvation, it becomes immediately clear that is goes against the character of God, the finished work of Christ, and the relevant Scriptures. On the authority of the above verse from 1 Timothy alone (which is God-breathed) we can say without the shadow of a doubt that God DOES NOT elect some to salvation and others to damnation. Why? Because He says that He will have ALL men to be saved, and this is corroborated by numerous other Scriptures. The very fact that Christ took the sins of the world upon Himself is sufficient proof.
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                            • #15
                              @ Lucas --- I would agree with everything you've shared -- God's 'will' is that All men would come to Christ, but His foreknowledge tells Him who will and who won't. If -- because of the cross -- everyone Will eventually come to Christ -- that is called Universalism - right? And I don't believe that Scripture teaches that. And I Think it's true -- maybe it somebodies' wishfull thinking that Christ won't return until everyone has had a chance to hear the Gospel unto salvation and make a choice to either accept or reject Him.

                              And there is the passage in Romans 8: 29 and 30. An understanding of Those verses - especially vs. 30.

                              And there is also prophesy that needs to be fulfilled before Christ returns. It would appear that NOW is the time to make sure of our salvation. And that Is Scriptural.

                              And, yes, endless debate should be avoided. Discussion is great -- but the goal Should be to share the Gospel unto salvation.
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