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Free will or Election?
We choose
64%
 64%  [ 11 ]
God chooses
23%
 23%  [ 4 ]
huh?
11%
 11%  [ 2 ]
Total Votes : 17

Author Message
Riley W





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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2007 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep when my mom was a little girl in the 50s they had female ministers.
urbanmonk





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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I Ďam friends with a number of Christians who follow John Calvinís teachings. This is the first time Iíve ever known of someone who went from believing God has given us Ďfree willí to the misguided teachings of Calvinism though.
The doctrine has been studied and examined for years, there are countless essays and studies on the web regarding the topic (explaining things far better than I could). The five main points of Calvinism have been refuted over and over yet it still has many adherents.
I understand why non believers would rather believe in Darwin than Gods word, but Iíve never been able to understand how Christians using the same Bible as me can come to such confused conclusions. Notions like, perseverance of the saints,
irresistible grace, limited atonement and unconditional election. Those teachings disregard the spirit and teachings of the Bible, they make so many of the scriptures irrelevant, like the following for instance.
(James 5:19,20) Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
20 Let him know, that he which converted the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
(John 12:32)
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
(Romans 10:13) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
(1 John 2:2) And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

John 6:44 is used to support the idea of election however the very next verse that tells you how they are drawn. "Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to MeĒ
Romans 7 has a lot of meaning to me and I agree that it is an example of mans depravity but it has nothing to do with predetermination.
Iíve learned that itís difficult, if not impossible for my friends who have been raised in this doctrine to see it for what it is, they will always claim that I donít understand Calvinism.
I no longer try to convince them nor they me, and wellÖ..weíre still friends :~)
Ruth





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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

urbanmonk wrote:
I Ďam friends with a number of Christians who follow John Calvinís teachings. This is the first time Iíve ever known of someone who went from believing God has given us Ďfree willí to the misguided teachings of Calvinism though.

I have seen some of these arguments. As I stated at the beginning, I actually do come from an Arminian background so I know what the teachings are. However, I think a lot of them are based on wrong understandings of how salvation works and how it is that God calls us.
Quote:
The doctrine has been studied and examined for years,

Yep. The argument actually predates Calvin. It started at least as far back as Augustine.
Quote:
I understand why non believers would rather believe in Darwin than Gods word, but Iíve never been able to understand how Christians using the same Bible as me can come to such confused conclusions. Notions like, perseverance of the saints,

I'd be interested to know what you think perseverance of the saints means. A lot of people have a wrong view and think it means that once you are saved, you can do whatever you want.
Quote:
irresistible grace, limited atonement and unconditional election. Those teachings disregard the spirit and teachings of the Bible, they make so many of the scriptures irrelevant, like the following for instance.
(James 5:19,20) Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
20 Let him know, that he which converted the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
(John 12:32)
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
(Romans 10:13) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
(1 John 2:2) And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

None of these argue against any of the points you mention.

Quote:
John 6:44 is used to support the idea of election however the very next verse that tells you how they are drawn. "Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to MeĒ

Check that verse again. It says "Everyone who has learned from the Father comes to Me." This argues for election, not against. You have to learn from the Father first. Then you come to Christ. This is the same point I already made. You have to be enabled by God.
Quote:
Romans 7 has a lot of meaning to me and I agree that it is an example of mans depravity but it has nothing to do with predetermination.

Romans 6, 7 and part of 9 sets out our depravity. Paul is building his argument don't forget. He gets to predestination at the end of chapter 8, verses 28-30 specifically
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Now, most people, when they quote verse 28 stop after "the good of those who love him." They ignore the rest of the passage altogether.
Anyways, Paul keeps going in chapter 9 and eventually goes so far as to say in verses 14-16 that 14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy.

Quote:
Iíve learned that itís difficult, if not impossible for my friends who have been raised in this doctrine to see it for what it is, they will always claim that I donít understand Calvinism.

And they are probably right actually. However, I will say that the doctrine of reprobation (which necessarily arises when we discuss election) is probably the most difficult and unappealing aspect of Calvinism. We have to address the fact that God does not save everybody. I admit, my first reaction was emotional. I thought it was the most insane thing I ever heard. But, we'll come to that in a bit.

I guess the biggest thing that I see is that man is in sin and cannot save himself. You can't argue from Scripture that man willingly leaves his life of sin, or that we do anything righteous. So, if we never truly do anything righteous, then it must be God who does the ENTIRE work of salvation. There can be nothing that relies on us, or we are sure to screw it up.

-Ruth
PS: westmanguy, it occurred to me this morning (mostly b/c I am missing the morning service and not going till the afternoon) that my church just happened to be right next door to a Calvary Baptist church. Wouldn't it be wild if it was yours?
Riley W





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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lol, not unless you live in Southwest Manitoba! :)
Ruth





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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sadly no. I am in Ontario.
Still, what are the odds eh?
don muntean





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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When approaching this question of free will vs. pre-ordained circumstances and how the world around us unfolds as each of us act [and react] - we have to look at a few important texts in the bible:

I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I am the LORD, that doeth all these things. [Isaiah 45.7]

So it also says in the scriptures:

For the LORD God is a sun and a shield; {N} the LORD giveth grace and glory; {N} no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly. [Psalms 84.12]

Of course we read in Galatians 6.7:

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

This idea in Galatians is also reflected in other places in the bible.

So from the Isaiah quote we see God is talking about His creation that is very much a duality - that He creates light and darkness peace and evil - He creates opposites. He says that he is in charge of everything - including the evil.

In the Psalms quote we see - "the LORD giveth grace and glory; {N } no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly" - we then contrast Galatians "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows"

Earlier I quoted Genesis 8.21 "The impulse of man's heart was evil from the time he was expelled from his mother's womb."

That implies choice - we see from the other quotes that while God is not responsible for our choices - He is responsible for the meting out of the various results.

The bible speaks in many places about the humble and the wicked choosing to accept God's authority or not and the following of His instructions ["All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3.16"] or not - that God interacts with all through this process of reward and punishment is a given.

In understanding pre-ordination we have to see how God unfolds everything - obviously some things may appear 'ordained' as they appear to arise without cause in our lives - we seem to suffer without cause - sometimes we have circumstances problems and challenges that cannot be overcome despite all efforts - why are babies born one to a good family and others to horrible families - what makes that fair - well that is where this comes to the next question - is there such a thing as more than one life?

First let's look at Hebrews 9.27:

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment

That is saying that one is judged with death - once man dies then comes judgment - it isn't discounting the idea of transmigration.

We see elsewhere: [James 1.5]

Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

In the Hebrew tradition there is the teaching of transmigration. In Talmud it teaches that Abraham introduced this teaching;

The whole world once believed that the souls of men were perishable, and that man had no pre-eminence above a beast, till Abraham came and preached the doctrine of immortality and transmigration. [Nishmath Chayim, chap. 29. fol. 171, col. 1.]

One is born reaping things he could not have sown and - one dies sometimes having not reaped for a particular action - thus we can see the logic of how God may send us into multiple lives - which are a form of punishment and of course - with the opportunity for purification.

We can see in life that often God gives several possible choices for us. We never just have one or two choices in life - yet - in a way it does come down to that - 'i will do or i will not do' - once we make a choice then - God's system adjusts and - it does this on a personal and a collective level - each day the possibilities are there for reward or punishment - on a personal and a collective level.

The Psalmist says: "no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly" - thus - our sins may be dealt with judiciously by God - if we walk uprightly.

Jesus says that we are to follow the will of the Father - what does that mean? It means that we are to find a way to delight in the law of God - we have to make the effort to learn the law of God - the actual laws and commandments that He has given as well as the 'system' through which He manages to coordinate everything.

If our choices were pre-ordained then why wouldn't God pre-ordain everyone to follow?

So while our future choices are not pre-ordained by God they are pre-ordained by us - simultaneously the unfolding of our lives appears to be 'arranged' and without a doubt God calls some to understanding and - not others - all according to our choices.

I hope that sort of opens this topic further.


Last edited by don muntean on Tue Sep 18, 2007 7:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
urbanmonk





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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I am the LORD, that doeth all these things. [Isaiah 45.7]

The NIV correctly translates "I create evil" as "I create disaster".
It was common to use 'evil' to refer to things like calamity, misfortune, or judgment.
The Hebrew word ra' has a wide range of meanings and must be considered in the context of the chapter it's used in. In Isaiah it's dealing with the calamities that have afflicted the people/nation. God is letting them know that he is behind it not Cyrus (whose actions are controlled by God).
In the context it's used it does not have the same meaning as the 'moral evil' associated with satan or sin. God did not create moral evil, the bible is clear on that.

Quote:
If our choices were pre-ordained then why wouldn't God pre-ordain everyone to follow?

Thats a really good point!
don muntean





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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

urbanmonk wrote:
Quote:
I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I am the LORD, that doeth all these things. [Isaiah 45.7]

The NIV correctly translates "I create evil" as "I create disaster".
It was common to use 'evil' to refer to things like calamity, misfortune, or judgment.
The Hebrew word ra' has a wide range of meanings and must be considered in the context of the chapter it's used in. In Isaiah it's dealing with the calamities that have afflicted the people/nation. God is letting them know that he is behind it not Cyrus (whose actions are controlled by God).
In the context it's used it does not have the same meaning as the 'moral evil' associated with satan or sin. God did not create moral evil, the bible is clear on that.

Quote:
If our choices were pre-ordained then why wouldn't God pre-ordain everyone to follow?


Thats a really good point!


On the question of moral evil - I think that my post explained that God is not responsible for human moral shortcomings and - the question of the origin of moral evil is explained in the Genesis quote - it's in the heart from birth - it's a condition we are born with as manifest by our previous actions.

In my posting it was discussed that God only creates the material reality - the results of what we choose.

With this quote i would say that the NIV translation could be an extension of what we see reflected in the Hebrew translation.

My translation of that text is from the authorized Jewish bible and they translate the word as evil - however - they translate another part differently than the NIV:

I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things. [NIV]

I make peace and create evil contrasted with I bring prosperity and create disaster - prosperity and disaster are merely variations of dualities - that is why He says I form the light and create darkness - 'form the light' - there is the first mention of the broad nature of this 'duality' - the opposites.

In both renderings the word create is used 'create evil create disaster' so He creates the 'negatives' - yet - He isn't the causative origin of the negatives which He creates. It should be noted the contrast He uses through the word 'form' when speaking of "the light" - or the good the peace etc., form sounds more personal and constructive and the use of the word create - in the negative and the destructive bespeaks something of an impersonal interaction.

In order for us to live our choices - the results of our choices - there needs to be this duality and - God is it's creator and conductor.

Here is something nice from Talmud:

Rabbi Yochanan and Rabbi Yonathan traveled one day together; they came to two roads, one of which led by the door of a place devoted to the worship of idols, and the other by a place of ill fame. Upon which one said to the other, "Let us go by the former, because our inclination to the evil that waylays us there is already extinguished." "Nay, rather," said the other, "let us go by the latter, and curb our desires; so shall we receive a reward in recompense." In this resolution they went on, and as they passed the place the women humbled themselves before them and withdrew ashamed into their chambers. Then Yochanan asked the other, "How didst thou know that this would occur to us?" He made answer, "From what is written (in Prov. ii. 2), 'Discretion (in the law) shall preserve thee.'" [Avodah Zarah, fol. 17, cols. 1, 2.]

He who possesses these three virtues is a disciple of Abraham our father, and he who possesses the three contrary vices is a son of Balaam the wicked. The disciples of our father Abraham have a kindly eye, a loyal spirit, and a lowly mind. The disciples of Balaam the wicked have an evil eye, a proud spirit, and a grasping soul. [Avoth, chap. 5.]

Over these three does God weep every day:--Over him who is able to study the law but neglects it; over him who studies it amid difficulties hard to overcome; and over the ruler who behaves arrogantly toward the community he should protect. [Chaggigah, fol. 5, col. 2.]

God, when charged by Moses as being the cause of Israel's idolatry, confesseth the justice of that accusation by saying (Num. xiv. 20), "I have pardoned according to thy word." [Berachoth, fol. 32, col. 1.]



:)


Last edited by don muntean on Mon Sep 17, 2007 11:19 pm; edited 4 times in total
urbanmonk





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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Don. I think I understand what you're saying but I'll have to think about it a little more :~)
btw I watched the movie (gog/magog sp?) you posted, very interesting.
don muntean





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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

urbanmonk wrote:
Thanks Don. I think I understand what you're saying but I'll have to think about it a little more :~)
btw I watched the movie (gog/magog sp?) you posted, very interesting.


:)
truth4freedom





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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Free will. God gives us the will and facilitates the descision we make.

Titus 3:8-10 (King James Version)

8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.

10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;
Ruth





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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

truth4freedom,
I am not sure what your verse has to do with the discussion, as it has nothing to do with either free will or election.
truth4freedom





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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ruth wrote:
truth4freedom,
I am not sure what your verse has to do with the discussion, as it has nothing to do with either free will or election.


My apologies, I should have highlighted verse 9 and 10...

I didn't think I would have to explain.

9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.

10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;

Basically, there's no point in going into endless debate with those who love Satan and his doctrine. It appalls me that well meaning Christians will go on and on with debates about theology. If someone does not respond after several admonitions then they are to be left to Satan to do with as he pleases until they decide they want the truth. This is stated several times in the Bible. Would you like a few more references?
Ruth





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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow.
That is probably the most warped interpretation of that verse I have ever heard. You have selected a single verse without reference to the context at all.
1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. 3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. 9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. 11 You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.
The context of the passage is doing good, obedience to authority and our sin nature. The controversies to which Paul is referring are not theological in nature at all. When it comes to theological discussions we are, as Jude puts it to contend for the faith, to see that it is not destroyed by those in error.
3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. 4 For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
Incidentally, it is more than a little self-serving of you to state your position and declare all others as following Satan and his doctrine b/c their position is not yours. The discussion of free will verses election is a crucial one, not even remotely foolish, since it has profound implications for how we as Christians understand our position. It is no accident that it has been going on for many hundreds of years.
SFrank85





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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

God sets a path for us, but we choose to follow that patch if we want.
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Free Will vs Election

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