Were the Twins Foreknown?

It is interesting when you have several on going discussions with Calvinists over various passages. It allows you to see how an argument over one passage sometimes contradicts their argument in another.  For instance, consider the typical arguments made with regard to these two verses:

“For those God foreknew he also predestined…” (Rom. 8:29)

“Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad…” (Rom. 9:11)

When discussing Romans 8:29 Calvinist’s will typically argue that a personal intimacy is in view.  For instance, John Piper writes:

Genesis 4:1 says, “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain.” That is, he made her his, and knew her intimately and loved her.

Because of all those texts I think John Stott and John Murray are exactly right when both of them say, “”Know’ . . . is used in a sense practically synonymous with “love’ . . . “Whom he foreknow’ . . . is therefore virtually equivalent to “whom he foreloved.'” Foreknowledge, is “sovereign , distinguishing love” (John Stott, quoting Murray, Romans, p. 249). It’s virtually the same as set your affection on and choose for your own. – John Piper

Yet, when it comes to Romans 9:11 the discussion become strangely “non-intimate,” in that the very personhood of the one being loved is not even in view.  For example, Piper states,

God chose [foreloved] Jacob over Esau before they were born or had done anything good or bad. It was not their behavior or their attitude or their faith or their parents that moved God to choose [forelove] Jacob and not Esau. The choice [foreloving] was unconditional. It was rooted in God alone and not in man. –John Piper

Questions:

  • Why do Calvinists spend so much time emphasizing the intimacy of God’s “knowledge” in 8:29, saying it means that God “foreloved” or “forechose” individuals before the world began, only to interpret 9:11 to mean that God made his choice without taking any of His intimate knowledge of those individual’s into consideration?  How intimate is choosing a person without taking into account anything about that person? How do you love a person without consideration of their personhood?  How would that be different from choosing to love an unseen rock or some inanimate object of which you know nothing? More on this HERE.

Furthermore…

  • What is the significance of God choosing Jacob over Esau prior to their doing any thing good or bad if God is the one who determines the good or bad they end up doing?  The biblical qualification itself seems to imply that the twins free behavior (“unfaithfulness”) in this world is independent of God’s plan for their posterity (i.e. Rom. 3:1-5).

John Piper affirms God’s exhaustive determinism of all things, which would presumably include the “good and bad” choices of these twins. Piper says,

“But when a person settles it Biblically, intellectually and emotionally, that God has ultimate control of all things, including evil, and that this is gracious and precious beyond words, then a marvelous stability and depth come into that person’s life and they develop a “God-entranced world view.” When a person believes, with the Heidelberg Catechism (Question 27), that “The almighty and everywhere present power of God . . . upholds heaven and earth, with all creatures, and so governs them that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, yea, all things, come not by chance, but by his fatherly hand” – when a person believes and cherishes that truth, they have the key to a God-entranced world view. So my aim in this second message is to commend to you this absolute sovereign control of God over all things, including evil, because it is Biblical, and because it will help you become stable and deep and God-entranced and God-glorifying in all you think and feel and do.” –John Piper

So, what is the Apostle’s point according to the Calvinist? God intimately knew everything about Jacob, because He determined everything there is to know about Jacob, but for some reason He doesn’t take that into consideration when choosing to love Jacob?  Is Paul’s point to teach that God determined to love or hate people before He determined what they would become? I suppose that is why the lapsarian controversy became so heated back when Calvinistic theologians grappled more deeply with these troublesome issues?

Maybe I can serve to spark a “revival” of such discussions among my Calvinistic friends? 🙂

Now, to be fair, if we are going to criticize the interpretation of Calvinists on these text we should be willing to offer one of our own.

What do you know?!  I happen to have a copy of one here…

Click Here to get your Copy



 

 

75 thoughts on “Were the Twins Foreknown?

  1. This is a good thought—whether election is based on something God foresees in us. Now the Calvinist will knee-jerk cry “Pelagian heretic” but they view Scripture with the constant corrective lens of determinism. Consider a verse like this:

    12 “As for you, get up and go to your house. When your feet enter the city, the boy will die. 13 All Israel will mourn for him and bury him. He alone out of Jeroboam’s house will be put in the family tomb, because out of the house of Jeroboam the Lord God of Israel found something good only in him.

    Combined again with this:

    7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

    Could God knowing Jeremiah or Paul or Esau or Jacob in the womb be a reference to God knowing their character as it formed even then? I’m not sure we can insist otherwise. Our character is formed before we take an action as is shown in several Scriptures.

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    1. Dizerner,

      This concluding paragraph here is really off base, this is just wrong:

      “Could God knowing Jeremiah or Paul or Esau or Jacob in the womb be a reference to God knowing their character as it formed even then? I’m not sure we can insist otherwise. Our character is formed before we take an action as is shown in several Scriptures.”

      God knew what their character would be in the womb because God has this ability called foreknowledge in which he knows all future events before they occur. I thought you believed that God had foreknowledge of all future events, apparently you completely forgot this when writing your post here.

      But your last line here is just ridiculously off: our character is NOT formed before we take an action, it IS formed by the actions we take.

      Good habits and actions leads to good character and bad habits and actions leads to bad character.

      There is no such thing as character in a vacuum developed without actions. This is one of the reasons that the Bible makes such a point about trials, trials develop godly character by the way you choose to respond to them. I cannot believe you said what you said here, no good Bible teacher in the world would say such a thing. No good coach would say such a thing. No parent would say such a thing. Just the opposite of what is true.

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      1. Robert I think the fact that I spoke about God knowing something in time was not an attempt to contradict omniscience, but rather speaking idiomatically about God just like the Bible does. Since God lives in the Eternal Now but we live in linear time, we can speak of God punctiliar-ly doing something without betraying his omniscience. This is why Scripture says about God “Now, I know such and such.” It was logically anterior to the autonomous causation but known from the eternal now (that’s how I see it, anyway).

        I don’t really understand your great angst about character preceding actions. Are you thinking that merely fighting or struggling with a feeling to do something wrong is not a sin in itself? I don’t think that contradicts that the real battle takes place inside before an action is performed. How can a man look at a women to lust for her—without already succumbing at some point prior to the action to the plan and malice aforethought of taking this action. It can’t be that without any thought or plan we simply have to find out what we are going to do, because we do not know—and look to how Christ said “has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” The deed is as good as doned. Now that man can turn to Christ and say “But I’m innocent! I never committed the actual action of adultery so you cannot charge me for it!” But apparently Jesus has no problem with thought crimes. I’m puzzled though at your great offense at this basic teaching. Perhaps you could help me understand more why you see it as a great error.

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      2. Dizerner,

        Let’s go back to your two lines that were problematic, the first line read:

        “Could God knowing Jeremiah or Paul or Esau or Jacob in the womb be a reference to God knowing their character as it formed even then?”

        In these passages God declares that He knows their character before they are born, before they do any actions outside the womb. Those are clear passages alluding to God’s omniscience (i.e. He knows what their character will be before they are born, before they do any of the actions that develop and eventuate in their character).

        The second line was:

        “Our character is formed before we take an action as is shown in several Scriptures.”

        If you mean our character is present before we take a particular action, that is true. If on the other hand you mean our character is FORMED BEFORE we take an action, that is not true at all as our actions done consistently is what develops our character. Our character develops as we do the same kinds of actions over and over, so that someone could say we are that kind of person because they know that we consistently and repeatedly do those kinds of actions.

        “This is why I said in response to this claim that character is formed before we take an action: “There is no such thing as character in a vacuum developed without actions. This is one of the reasons that the Bible makes such a point about trials, trials develop godly character by the way you choose to respond to them. I cannot believe you said what you said here, no good Bible teacher in the world would say such a thing. No good coach would say such a thing. No parent would say such a thing. Just the opposite of what is true.”

        Bible teachers, coaches, parents are into developing character so they are into getting people to practice good habits, develop good habits, do the same things over and over, do the things the right way, etc. etc. All premised on the idea that character results from doing actions over and over.

        You responded with:

        “Robert I think the fact that I spoke about God knowing something in time was not an attempt to contradict omniscience, but rather speaking idiomatically about God just like the Bible does. Since God lives in the Eternal Now but we live in linear time, we can speak of God punctiliar-ly doing something without betraying his omniscience.
        This is why Scripture says about God “Now, I know such and such.” It was logically anterior to the autonomous causation but known from the eternal now (that’s how I see it, anyway)”

        In those passages God was not talking about being in time, rather, He was speaking from the perspective of His omniscience because He speaks of knowing their character before they are born, before they do any actions on this earth, while they are in the womb. If God said I know that David will call himself dizerner when posting at sites, and God says this is true while David is still in the womb this is foreknowledge, God knowing what will occur before it occurs. It has nothing to do with “speaking idiomatically about God just like the Bible does” or speaking of God “punctiliar-ly”.

        “I don’t really understand your great angst about character preceding actions.”

        My “angst” is not about character preceding actions it is about your claim that ““Our character is formed before we take an action as is shown in several Scriptures.” Which suggests that character is developed apart from actions.

        “Are you thinking that merely fighting or struggling with a feeling to do something wrong is not a sin in itself?”

        You are changing the subject now, I was talking about the fact that character is developed by the actions that we do.

        “I don’t think that contradicts that the real battle takes place inside before an action is performed.”

        That battle only occurs if you have character and so part of you wants to do the right thing, but then temptation comes leading you to contemplate doing another thing.

        “How can a man look at a women to lust for her—without already succumbing at some point prior to the action to the plan and malice aforethought of taking this action.”

        Again you are changing the topic, I was not talking about the internal struggle to do the right thing to think the right thing, I was talking about your original claim that character is developed before actions are done.

        “But apparently Jesus has no problem with thought crimes.”

        Again, I was not talking about “thought crimes” or the internal struggle that people have when dealing with sin and temptation. I was talking about your claim that character exists before it is developed through doing actions.

        “I’m puzzled though at your great offense at this basic teaching. Perhaps you could help me understand more why you see it as a great error.”

        Seems to me that your language is imprecise, is English your second language? I have seen this before where you mean one thing but your language suggests another thing. You made the claim that character exists prior to doing actions (when character is in fact developed through the actions that a person does): now you switch it to the internal struggle that people have with sin and temptation). These are two very different subjects.

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      3. Robert, people often talk past each other a bit due to different presuppositions about how they define words; I don’t think the most logical explanation for that I’m an ESL student. I’ll admit I’ve not had the privilege of much higher learning, but I’ve worked hard with what God gave me. Communication is always two sided as well, and even small children can get their message across many times.

        Yet you have a “problem” with my reply that I gave a lot of thought to and carefully worded. Let’s see what it is. Well, it seems to me you’ve presupposed your definition of “character” and read it into my entire post. All I hear over and over is “You are illogical because you are talking about something that doesn’t fit my own definition of character.” Yes, well, that’s common for people to not stretch themselves a bit mentally to actually see the point the other is trying to make.

        I know you don’t agree on my definition of character, but taking my definition as “what type and kind of person you are internally, the value system you have adopted by which you decide what choices to make,” and taking that definition go back an read my post. It will suddenly make a lot of sense that everything I argue is about internals not externals, won’t it? Well, it should.

        I can get into more detail why it makes more sense to me to evaluate character by internal things rather than external, but maybe that truth is so stark to me because a lot of my life experience; other people have often “looked” good and I, bad, yet our motivations and our character were markedly differing.

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      4. Robert writes, “God knew what their character would be in the womb because God has this ability called foreknowledge in which he knows all future events before they occur.”

        Man’s character was fixed when Adam sinned. Adam’s progeny are sinners from the womb. God doesn’t need foreknowledge to know this – the Scriptures tell us so – which means that God tells us so.

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  2. You so crazy, Leighton, lol. Just “happen to have” a positive case, lol 😛

    I’ve seen you tweet that comment before and didn’t understand it, so I’m glad you wrote this article. But, there’s something about it that gives me pause, though.

    The Calvinist could easily say Rom 9:11 and 8:29 are both about unconditional “love,” couldn’t they? Obnoxious as it is, Calvies think God was in love with them before He even created them, and they ALSO think He chooses and forcibly drags people to Him regardless of what they want or believe (i.e., unconditional “Calvinistic love”). From where I’m sittin’ the two don’t seem mutually exclusive, especially if the Calvinist says Rom 8:29 is about “intimacy” and Rom 9:11 is about “merit.” And we would also agree that we have intimacy with God (through Christ, when we get IN Him) even though our salvation isn’t about merit, yeah?

    Can I also say I LOVE what you do with logic and practicality? The question of why Paul would even mention Jacob and Esau’s moral fiber when God is the one who predetermined it is an important point that I think should be explored further and more in depth. You’re definitely onto something there. I sense yet another question that Calvies would struggle to answer.

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    1. amyrabatya writes, “The question of why Paul would even mention Jacob and Esau’s moral fiber when God is the one who predetermined it is an important point that I think should be explored further and more in depth.”

      The moral fiber of Jacob and Esau is derived from Adam’s sin: all born to Adam are morally corrupt. We can say that God predetermined this outcome because God could have prevented Adam from sinning and chose not to do so thus ensuring the outcome. Some say that God caused this by creating the universe in the first place and then by setting up the whole situation – putting Adam in a garden, making it a sin to eat the fruit, and then standing aside so Satan could enter the garden all the time knowing what would transpire.

      Paul mentions this to show that God’s choice of whom to save had nothing to do with the merit of the individual as even you note, “…we would also agree that we have intimacy with God (through Christ, when we get IN Him) even though our salvation isn’t about merit,…”

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      1. dizerner asks, “Do you equate merit with choice in all possible instances?”

        No. Do you know any reason why I should?

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      2. It’s the typical Calvinist position in my experience. If you reject it you can no longer claim the difference a choice makes is automatically a meritorious work (Calvinists most often are this bizzare mix of lordship salvation and hyper grace).

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      3. dizerner writes, “If you reject it you can no longer claim the difference a choice makes is automatically a meritorious work (Calvinists most often are this bizzare mix of lordship salvation and hyper grace).”

        Calvinism says that a person’s choice that arises from a work of God in them makes salvation entirely a work of God and of grace. A person’s choice that arises from an ability inherent to them whereby salvation is a cooperative effort between God and the man and rests on the merit of the man without which salvation is not possible.

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      4. The way I read your 2nd sentence is that choice is never in any way compatible with grace (that is, if a choice plays a factor at any point, it is by necessity meritorious). This is what I mean by “equating merit with choice.” That means that no matter the size and weight of the gift, if you ever have to say “yes” in any way, somehow that “yes” partly earns the gift.

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      5. dizerner writes, ‘The way I read your 2nd sentence is that choice is never in any way compatible with grace (that is, if a choice plays a factor at any point, it is by necessity meritorious). This is what I mean by “equating merit with choice.” That means that no matter the size and weight of the gift, if you ever have to say “yes” in any way, somehow that “yes” partly earns the gift.”

        That may be right under the non-Calvinist system as described in the 2nd sentence. The distinction is that faith is a gift from God under the Calvinist system – salvation is all of grace – and not a gift from God under a non-Calvinist system – salvation is partly grace and partly man cooperating out of his own inherent faith.

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      6. I fail to see how saying yes to a gift means that I have somehow earned that gift. It seems that these discussions are so often far removed from the reality of what happens in people’s lives. How often do we see someone on fire for God who later rejects Him and falls into deep sin? Under Calvinism, you would have to believe that that person was only being fooled by God, that the Holy Spirit somehow plays games with us, while I’m free to believe that the person really was filled with the Spirit, but later said “No” to God’s leading.

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      7. wildswanderer writes, “I fail to see how saying yes to a gift means that I have somehow earned that gift. It seems that these discussions are so often far removed from the reality of what happens in people’s lives.”

        I think you need to show that a person has an ability to refuse a gift from God without first being influenced by that gift. In Hebrews, we read of those who have “who have tasted the heavenly gift (let’s presume that this refers to faith),” who then rejected the gospel, but I wonder if there actually are such people. Obviously,those who come to salvation could only do so by means of the gift of faith. If a person on;y appears to come to faith for a short time, did they really have faith in the first place? Would God give a gift unless its purpose could not be annulled? Your thinking on this issue seems superficial to me and needs more work.

        Then, “How often do we see someone on fire for God who later rejects Him and falls into deep sin? Under Calvinism, you would have to believe that that person was only being fooled by God, that the Holy Spirit somehow plays games with us, while I’m free to believe that the person really was filled with the Spirit, but later said “No” to God’s leading.”

        I think we have to follow Jesus’ teaching in the Parable of the Seed. I understand Jesus to teach that people are attracted to the gospel for reasons other than a work of the Holy Spirit and later fall away. I don’t see Jesus intimating that the Holy Spirit is playing games with people. John also writes of those who went out from us concluding that they were never part of us. Again, there is no intimation of the Holy Spirit being involved. This is one more instance where you have let your imagination run loose in an attempt to argue against Calvinism.

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      8. Sure, and all those dozens of times that I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit and rejected Him were just my imagination.
        There are many verses about believers falling away. 2 Peter 2:20-22 ESV

        For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”
        Matthew 24:10-13, and so on…
        A gift by it’s nature can be received or rejected. What kind of gift has to be received by force? And why is it that Calvinists insist that salvation is irresistible, but that sanctification is something we have to grow into? Calvin himself talked of God enlightening people for a time and making them think they were saved when they were not, as if God was into playing mind games.
        Calvin says, “I am aware it seems unaccountable to some how faith is attributed to the reprobate, seeing that it is declared by Paul to be one of the fruits of election; and yet the difficulty is easily solved: for though none are enlightened into faith, and truly feel the efficacy of the Gospel, with the exception of those who are fore-ordained to salvation, yet experience shows that the reprobate are sometimes affected in a way so similar to the elect, that even in their own judgment there is no difference between them.”
        and: Calvin said, “Hence it is not strange, that by the Apostle a taste of heavenly gifts, and by Christ himself a temporary faith is ascribed to them. Not that they truly perceive the power of spiritual grace and the sure light of faith; but the Lord, the better to convict them, and leave them without excuse, instills into their minds such a sense of his goodness as can be felt without the Spirit of adoption.”
        This is absurd. How does God go about temporarily enlightening someone?

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      9. wildswanderer writes, “Sure, and all those dozens of times that I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit and rejected Him were just my imagination.”

        How did you determine that it was the Holy Spirit and not just a guilty conscience or something else? Should we trust “feelings”?

        Then, “There are many verses about believers falling away. 2 Peter 2:20-22 ESV ”

        Context:
        9 …the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.
        10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings;
        11 yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord.
        12 But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.
        13 They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, revelling in their pleasures while they feast with you.
        14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed–an accursed brood!
        15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness.
        16 But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey–a beast without speech–who spoke with a man’s voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
        17 These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.
        18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.
        19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity–for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.
        20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.
        21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.
        22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.”

        Context suggests that they are not believers but they claim to be so: “…revelling in their pleasures while they feast with you…They have left the straight way…These men are springs without water…If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness.”

        Many are attracted to Christ for selfish purposes and may reside in the church for many years, becoming pastors, deacons, teachers, and the like. Peter’s point here is that they were not believers. I think you have misunderstood that which Peter has written.

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      10. “How did you determine that it was the Holy Spirit and not just a guilty conscience or something else? Should we trust “feelings”?”

        How would we every be converted if we didn’t trust our “feeling” that we were guilty in the eyes of God an needed to repent? The man who is not being convicted by the Holy Spirit doesn’t feel guilt for his wrong doing. And yes, I know well what His conviction feels like. Even as a believer we can reject the feelings that He sends to direct us to do what He wants us to. I sure would like to experience some of this irresistible grace ya’ll talk about, it would make obedience a lot easier.

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      11. wildswanderewr writes, “How would we every be converted if we didn’t trust our “feeling” that we were guilty in the eyes of God an needed to repent?”

        The Scriptures very, very plainly lay out our guilt and need for repentance. This is factual knowledge, and no person need rely on their “feelings” to understand this – We merely need to trust God to have told us the truth.

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      12. It’s not only the scriptures that bring people to understanding of their guilt, but also God’s convicting power. This can happen to someone who refuses to ever read the Bible. Sadly, many chose to harden their hearts against it, and reach a point where they no longer feel the Holy Spirit’s prompting.
        Reducing salvation to a mental transaction just doesn’t reflect the reality of someone going from death to life and the emotions that accompany that change.

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      13. wildswanderer writes, “It’s not only the scriptures that bring people to understanding of their guilt, but also God’s convicting power. This can happen to someone who refuses to ever read the Bible.”

        But it is the word whether spoken to them or read by themselves through which the spirit convicts. Paul said, “Faith comes by hearing.” The word is necessary.

        Then, “Sadly, many chose to harden their hearts against it, and reach a point where they no longer feel the Holy Spirit’s prompting.
        Reducing salvation to a mental transaction just doesn’t reflect the reality of someone going from death to life and the emotions that accompany that change.”

        Pastor Flowers has written that the gospel is so powerful that it is God’s judicial hardening that prevents it bringing salvation. Thus, Jesus spoke in parables, “Jesus told them (Mark 4), “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, “‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’” Then Paul writes, “…if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Even as God allowed Satan to torment Job, so He allows Satan to blind those who are perishing. The result, “…the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing…” No one can be lost except God judicially harden them.

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      14. You are warping what Flowers has said, he was talking about specific jews in a specific time period. Your claim that no one can be lost except God hardens them-first off, why would God have to harden someone who he pre-destined to never receive the Word? Yes, it is Satan who deceives, but not because it’s God’s will for men to be deceived. God isn’t willing that any should perish.

        Saying that God “allowed” anything is inconsistent with Reformed theology. Job thought God was tormented him, but he was wrong. Job was wrong about a lot of things.

        Yes, God “allows” but does not cause Satan to blind those who refuse to see. No one can be lost except they refuse to have the eyes to see, or they refuse to put forth the effort to respond. Jesus said that whoever seeks Him will find Him.

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      15. wildswanderer writes, “You are warping what Flowers has said, he was talking about specific jews in a specific time period.”

        Pastor Flowers also referenced Mark 4 where Christ spoke in parables. The purpose was to prevent those hearing him from coming to salvation. Pastor Flowers has also noted the power of the gospel to effect change in those who are Totally Depraved. The only way for the gospel to be restrained is for God to restrain it – thus judicial hardening. I don’t think you have grasped the significance of Pastor Flowers argument.

        Then, “Saying that God “allowed” anything is inconsistent with Reformed theology.”

        Only in the passive sense. Reformed theology says that God actively allows – God makes the final decision that says it should happen.

        Then, “Yes, God “allows” but does not cause Satan to blind those who refuse to see.”

        God allows things to happen by removing His restraints on the activities of Satan as He does with depraved people. Of course, God does not cause Satan to do anything even though God exerts complete control over all that Satan does.

        Then, “No one can be lost except they refuse to have the eyes to see, or they refuse to put forth the effort to respond. Jesus said that whoever seeks Him will find Him.”

        Paul said that no one seeks Christ so no one will find Him. That is why Christians go to the lost with Christ – because the lost are not seeking Christ. People start out lost as that is their original state – they need to be saved. You have things backwards.

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      16. No, you have it backwards when you say that God has to restrain His own Good News. This is so absurd, it makes one wonder how anyone could come to that conclusion, as if God is regularly in the habit of playing both sides of the board. “I want them to believe, but I don’t really want them to believe.” It’s the old God with two wills thing again that Calvinism is so fond of. People have to hear, but that hearing can come in many forms. There are people coming to God through visions. Paul for example, who didn’t even have the gospels to read, was converted by direct revelation. It always blows my mind how the reformed make such a big deal about God’s sovereignty, then proceed to put all kinds of strict limits on the way they believe God has to reach people. God reveals himself in many different ways. Unscrupulous, I believe Chesterton called Him. He’s not concerned about how He gives you that first glimmer of understanding that there might be something out there worth seeking. At that point, the lost sinner decides whether to quit seeking and plunge back into his distractions (that Satan is only to happy to provide) or to continue to open his heart. This is what I mean about putting forth the effort to respond to God’s leading. Was Paul seeking Christ before he met him on the road? Hardly! But God reached out to him anyway and gave Paul the ultimate choice, with an ironic twist. He even blinded Paul, as if to show him his real condition by illustration.

        “Of course, God does not cause Satan to do anything even though God exerts complete control over all that Satan does.”

        What a convoluted concept. That is not the picture of Satan I get from either Job where Satan gives God a wise guy reply about roaming to and fro or from Peter speaking of him as a roaring lion looking to devour us. Complete control means that God would be causing Satan’s every move, again working against Himself.

        Liked by 1 person

      17. wildswanderer writes, “No, you have it backwards when you say that God has to restrain His own Good News.”

        If you say God does not restrain His Good News then you are an universalist or you must say that the gospel is not powerful enough, by itself, to save. Pastor Flowers’ point was that the gospel is powerful enough, by itself, to save, so that God must restrain it or all would be saved (thus God releases Satan to blind the reprobate so that they will not be saved). So how do you see the gospel: powerful or not so powerful?

        Then “Complete control means that God would be causing Satan’s every move, again working against Himself. ”

        No. Complete control means complete control – not cause. You still cannot grasp that control does not have to entail cause.

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      18. “So how do you see the gospel: powerful or not so powerful?”
        The Good News by itself doesn’t save anyone, only God saves, through the Holy Spirit, and only by the cooperation of the human will. So, I’m not even sure that whether the gospel is powerful is the right question here. The real question is the same old one: whether man truly has a free will to choose Good or evil, or if God chooses for him. And my answer is that part of being made in God’s image is being creatures who can truly choose.
        God often will even use Satan’s own actions against him, but that is far different then God controlling what actions Satan can take.

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      19. wildswanderer writes, “The Good News by itself doesn’t save anyone, only God saves,…and only by the cooperation of the human will.”

        “…cooperation of the human will…” is unique to Catholic philosophy. Are you sure that you don’t have a Catholic background?

        It is true that God saves through the Holy Spirit and this through the preaching of the gospel. So, God plus the Holy Spirit operating through the preaching of the gospel seems to be a powerful combination. Unless God takes His foot off the gas, it would seem reasonable to conclude that all who hear the gospel would be saved. I think Pastor Flowers makes a good point. Otherwise, you are arguing incompetency by God and the Holy Spirit.

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      20. My background is Wesleyan. I’ve never attended a Catholic church. I think you’ll find that Wesleyan theology would also confirm the cooperation of the will being necessary for salvation.
        I’ve heard this argument before and the obvious answer is that God does not over ride the will, because He wants true followers, not slaves who have no other choice. If I could make my wife love me by giving her no other choice, would it really be love?

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      21. wildswanderer writes, “If I could make my wife love me by giving her no other choice, would it really be love? ”

        Can we not both agree that Christ is lovely in every aspect that we might consider if only we can see it. If God opens our eyes when we are blind whereby we could not but behold Christ’s loveliness, would we not love Him – yet it would still be true that God forced Christ on us by removing the blindness from our eyes and then putting Christ before us so that we could see none other. If God chooses not to remove the blindness of some so that they are never able to see Christ, can He not do that; do we not know people who have never seen Christ and His loveliness and do not find Him lovely?

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      22. The trouble with your scenario, is that version of Christ can only be lovely to those who He chose to love before they were born.How could I love a Saviour who would choose to love me and to hate my child or vice versa? Would you consider me a loving father if I pampered one of my children and tortured the other? I’m not a universalist, and there are plenty who will choose eternal death, but not because God wills it.

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      23. wildswanderer writes, “…there are plenty who will choose eternal death, but not because God wills it.”

        That depends on the validity of “judicial hardening.” Certainly the gospel is powerful and we have to wonder why people reject the gospel. The reasonable person presented with the choice between eternal life and eternal death would choose eternal life. We marvel at the person who chooses eternal death. How do we explain that decision. Calvinists concluded that people are totally depraved and it is because of that depravity that people reject the gospel. Pastor Flowers has argued that the gospel is so powerful that all who hear it would choose eternal life if God did not judicially harden those who reject it – meaning that people reject the gospel because God wills it. It’s an interesting point.

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      24. wildswanderer asks, “How could I love a Saviour who would choose to love me and to hate my child or vice versa?”

        Don’t know how you are going to resolve that issue. Obviously God has the ability to save anyone He wants including all people, and as the example of Paul shows, God can do it against the desires of the person. Thus, if God has the ability to save your child and does not do so (even after you have pleaded for the life of your child), I guess you have a problem loving Him. The Calvinist says that God does as He wills and He will always do right even if we do not understand it.

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      25. wildswanderer writes, “Unscrupulous, I believe Chesterton called Him. ”

        Given your reference to Chesterton, are you currently Catholic, or do you come from a Catholic background?

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      26. wildswanderer writes, “A gift by it’s nature can be received or rejected.”

        So what? It is still a gift either way.

        A gift is something given by one person to another and designated as such by the giver. That designation cannot be changed by the recipient of the gift. The person to whom something is gifted need not take physical possession of the gift nor even know that the gift exists. The person to whom the gift is intended can take possession of the gift (receive it), or refuse to take possession of it (reject it) as it is his property to treat in any manner he desires. A gift might be rejected – unused – by the person receiving but how the receiver of the gift treats the gift does not change its character – it is still a gift.

        Then, “And why is it that Calvinists insist that salvation is irresistible,…”

        Is it not your experience – presuming that you are a believer – that salvation is irresistible? What aspect of salvation do you find not to be irresistible? Certainly, it is the testimony of every believer that they found salvation irresistible and have given up everything to gain it.

        Calvinists also speak of God’s irresistible grace to which some object. Did you mean grace and not salvation?

        Finally, “Calvin himself talked of God enlightening people for a time and making them think they were saved when they were not, as if God was into playing mind games….This is absurd. How does God go about temporarily enlightening someone?”

        OK. You don’t like Calvin’s explanation. Fine. Do you have a better explanation for those attracted by the preaching of the gospel – who may enter the church and even attain prominence in the church – but who were never attracted to Christ preferring instead their works. Of such people, Christ said, “I never knew you.” How about giving us your take on this.

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      27. If salvation was irresistible, everyone who heard the gospel would be a Christian.
        “Do you have a better explanation for those attracted by the preaching of the gospel – who may enter the church and even attain prominence in the church..”
        Of course there are those who are total frauds. I don’t believe those people are enlightened at all, but only in it for their own glory. Those are the tares Jesus speaks of. I’m not necessarily even referring to anyone of prominence in the church, but to people who joyfully and truly receive the gospel, but then later fall away.

        20 And he that was sown upon the rocky places, this is he that heareth the word, and straightway with joy receiveth it;

        21 yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while; and when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, straightway he stumbleth.

        22 And he that was sown among the thorns, this is he that heareth the word; and the care of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

        “He had not root in himself.” does not sound to me as if God is to blame for his failure to endure.

        No, I did not find salvation irresistible. I admit to being a stubborn, willful person, and more so when I was an unbeliever. On the night that I gave in, I was certainty under powerful conviction but I just as certainly could have resisted and remained in my miserable state. There is one thing we do in salvation, and that is to give over our stubborn will.

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      28. wildswanderer writes, “Of course there are those who are total frauds. I don’t believe those people are enlightened at all, but only in it for their own glory. Those are the tares Jesus speaks of.” and then this, ” I’m not necessarily even referring to anyone of prominence in the church, but to people who joyfully and truly receive the gospel, but then later fall away.”

        They are the same people. The frauds did joyfully receive the gospel. That is how we figured out that they were frauds when they left.

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      29. A fraud or charlatan is someone who has never received the gospel at all. Jesus gives plenty or warning against those people. The fakes could not ever be said to joyfully receive the gospel. And note that Jesus says the devil sows the tares, not that God sows them for His own purposes.

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      30. wildswanderer writes, “A fraud or charlatan is someone who has never received the gospel at all.”

        Yet they are in the church.

        Jude describes such people:

        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 licence for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord…
        8 In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings…
        10 Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals–these are the very things that destroy them…
        12 These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm–shepherds who feed only themselves…
        13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved for ever…
        16 These men are grumblers and fault-finders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.
        17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold.
        18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.”
        19 These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

        A key part, “These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm–shepherds who feed only themselves.”

        Peter uses similar language in 2 Peter 2:

        1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves.
        2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.
        3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up…
        9 the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.
        10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority…
        13 They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, revelling in their pleasures while they feast with you.
        14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed–an accursed brood!..
        17 These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.
        18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.
        19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity–for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.
        20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.

        A key part, “…there will be false teachers among you…They are blots and blemishes, revelling in their pleasures while they feast with you.”

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      31. dizerner writes, “So the requirement of saying “yes” makes something not a gift.”

        Something is not a gift if it is inherent to the person and not given to them from an outside source (like God).

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  3. Pastor Flowers writes, “Why do Calvinists spend so much time emphasizing the intimacy of God’s “knowledge” in 8:29, saying it means that God “foreloved” or “forechose” individuals before the world began, only to interpret 9:11 to mean that God made his choice without taking any of His intimate knowledge of those individual’s into consideration?”

    Romans 8:29 has as its object God’s elect – God has already chosen (or identified) His elect and is now explaining more about His relationship with them: “those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son,..”

    Romans 9:11 speaks of God’s choice from fallen man of whom to elect – “before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad.” God’s election of one person to one purpose and a second person to a different purpose has nothing to do with the people themselves. Thus, you are correct when you say, “The biblical qualification itself seems to imply that the twins free behavior (“unfaithfulness”) in this world is independent of God’s plan for their posterity…”

    As to God’s knowledge of His elect, we contrast 8:29, “those God foreknew,” with Matthew 7:23, where Christ says of certain persons, “I never knew you.” In each case, God has a basic knowledge of both groups – God knows information about each: date of birth, parents, number of hairs on their head, occupation, etc. To say, “I never knew you,” must mean something other than general knowledge. Calvinists conclude that “know” in this context refers to a personal relationship – God has a personal relationship with His elect that He does not have with the reprobate. Most would agree with this; you call it “intimate knowledge.” Calvinists say that God’s relationship with His elect is one of love for them. Others disagree. I am not aware of what relationship others find compelling that does not include God’s love for His elect.

    In choosing His elect, God identifies those with whom He will establish an intimate relationship. Could God have an intimate knowledge of His elect without having chosen them first. I see nothing wrong with that. The rationale would be based on Romans 9:21, “Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?” Thus, God creates some people (His elect) with whom He intends to have an intimate relationship, and God creates others with whom He has no intent to have an intimate relationship,

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  4. Pastor Flowers asks, “What is the significance of God choosing Jacob over Esau prior to their doing any thing good or bad if God is the one who determines the good or bad they end up doing?”

    First, note that determine does not mean cause. God determines the good and bad that we do but does not cause us to do bad (I think we have to conclude that God causes a person to do good). The significance here is that both Jacob and Esau do bad. Neither does good. That is Paul’s point. God chooses Jacob over Esau even though both are equally bad. Thus, Paul writes, “God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy.”

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  5. If I can make an observation: Theologians tend to over complicate these issues. God’s choosing of someone obviously does not make the person he chooses perfect. There are many cases in scripture where God chooses someone and they screw up royally, and in some cases, God regrets choosing them for the job. All this should cancel out any pride we have in being God’s chosen people. Because He chose Judas too, and Judas became a son of the devil. So, choice here is not unto guaranteed salvation.

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  6. In other words, before time God already loved those He predestined for adoption in Jesus Christ. Even prior to creating us God set his great affection upon us, for his own glory. This is what the Scripture teaches not some system or idea outside the Text.

    You appear to be saying that the Reformed tradition subordinates the love of God to the will of God … But this is not what distinguishes our tradition from other traditions. The distinction is between intensive and extensive love, between an intensive love that saves its loved ones, and an extensive love that loves everyone in general and saves no one in particular.

    http://www.reformationtheology.com/2009/01/jacob_i_loved_but_esau_i_hated.php

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  7. Paul’s point is ‘they are not all Israel who are Israel’. Paul’s framework is eschatological and covenantal. He is describing the story of the people of God. His love of Jacob over Esau is part of the story which involves ongoing selectivity. Why is Esau not part of Israel even though he was Abraham’s grandson? Paul is saying that unbelieving Israel has become like Esau i.e.of Abraham’s natural seed but no longer in the covenant which is now by faith (as it always was). Yes this is by God’s election but also by their choice.

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    1. Brian Midmore writes, “Paul’s point is ‘they are not all Israel who are Israel’.”

      Pastor Flowers actually follows your analysis in “The Potter’s Freedom” (if I read him correctly). However, he concludes that God has selected/elected people in Israel to carry the gospel to other countries. I was disappointed that Pastor Flowers did not explain his conclusions in context with Galatians 3 and then Ephesians 3 where Paul speaks of the mystery of God to send the gospel to the gentiles having been hidden and only revealed to him at that time with God specifically using Paul initiate that effort. Perhaps in a later, expanded edition.

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    2. Being merely a physical descendant of Abraham does not mean you automatically inherit the promises to Abraham’s offspring whom God reckoned as distinct from Abraham’s other physical descendants (Romans 9:3-7). I would say that, yes, Paul distinguishes between Israel as a whole (unbelieving and believing) and the Israel within Israel (believing only) – and that the remnant of Israel who believe by faith in Jesus are partakers of the new covenant (Jerermiah 31:31). However, I think there will be a massive turning of Jews to Jesus around the time of (or in conjunction with) His return, because of what Romans 11:26 says. So I think a large in-grafting of Israelites will occur as a result of their faith which I assume will make them partakers of the new covenant. Also, hardened/unbelieving Israel is still loved based on God’s election of them in the past (Romans 11:28).

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  8. Molinism grants God sovereignty while positing that he brings about his sovereign will without directly determining the actions of free moral agents.
    There are several problems with this view, but the primary one is that it cannot be built on God’s Word, and must add to the things God has revealed about himself.

    God’s Election involves an individual being ‘born again’ to be able to make that choice.

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    1. Arminians argue that when Paul refers to those whom God “foreknew” Paul is referring to divine foreknowledge. In other words, Paul is referring to God’s factual knowledge ahead of time as to who would and who would not believe. It is on the basis of this foreknowledge, argues the Arminian, that God then predestines. For example, Jack Cottrell affirms, “Through his foreknowledge God sees who will believe upon Jesus Christ . . . then even before the creation of the world he predestines these believers to share the glory of the risen Christ.” It is evident that in the Arminian view, the ultimate basis upon which a person is saved is to be found within the person himself, for God’s election is finally determined on whether or not he will believe. However, such an interpretation is faulty. To begin with, the Arminian view turns election into mere confirmation. We make the final decision and God simply sees ahead of time and confirms our choice.
      Additionally, the Arminian has read his view of foreknowledge into Paul’s use of “foreknew.” As S. M. Baugh has demonstrated, while foreknew can at times mean knowing facts ahead of time, in Romans 8:29 and in a host of other passages it does not. While it is always true that God knows all things ahead of time, foreknew in Romans 8:29 refers to God foreloving certain persons in a saving way. In other words, Paul speaks of God foreknowing persons, not facts. Before the foundation of the world, God set his saving love on us, and thought of us in relationship to him.
      http://www.credomag.com/2012/06/page/2/

      To read “whom He did foreknow would repent and believe” is to commit two grievous sins. They are: reading into the passage what is wholly without warrant in the context; contradicting Pauline teaching that we are called “not according to our works but according to His Own purpose and grace” 2 Tim. 1:9.
      We repeat: To condition foreknowledge on foreseen repentance and faith is to ground it on character and subvert the whole and chief contention of Romans. Shedd, “God’s electing love is His compassion and not His complacent delight in spiritual excellence and holiness.” Stifler, “What His prescience saw in all men was enmity and helplessness in sin because of a love of it.” Plainly, He foresaw that none would repent and believe and graciously provided in “His purpose” (verse 28) for this. The following links in the chain of His purpose secure what man had not and could not produce, that is, repentance and faith. Had not the acts of predestination, calling and justification procured these to a numberless multitude, all men would still be seen as inpenitent and unbelieving.
      http://founders.org/fj40/whom-he-did-foreknow-observations-on-romans-829/

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    2. This is Thomas R. Edgar’s Conclusion
      Again, proginwskw means “to know beforehand.” Biblical
      interpreters need to deal with the passages involved and with theological issues such as “Free-will theism” by utilizing this meaning for this verb.

      If ‘to know’ means who would believe in the future,
      We have a predestination based on merit.

      If ‘to know’ means predestination is feelings toward, the we have a predestination by grace.

      It is evident that in the Arminian view, the ultimate basis upon which a person is saved is to be found within the person himself, for God’s election is finally determined on whether or not he will believe.
      However, such an interpretation is faulty. To begin with, the Arminian view turns election into mere confirmation. We make the final decision and God simply sees ahead of time and confirms our choice. http://www.credomag.com/2012/06/page/2/

      To read “whom He did foreknow would repent and believe” is to commit two grievous sins. They are: reading into the passage what is wholly without warrant in the context; contradicting Pauline teaching that we are called “not according to our works but according to His Own purpose and grace”
      2 Tim. 1:9.
      http://founders.org/fj40/whom-he-did-foreknow-observations-on-romans-829/

      Like

  9. This is Thomas R. Edgar’s Conclusion
    Again, proginwskw means “to know beforehand.” Biblical
    interpreters need to deal with the passages involved and with theological issues such as “Free-will theism” by utilizing this meaning for this verb.

    If ‘to know’ means who would believe in the future,
    We have a predestination based on merit.
    If ‘to know’ means predestination is feelings toward, the we have a predestination by grace.

    It is evident that in the Arminian view, the ultimate basis upon which a person is saved is to be found within the person himself, for God’s election is finally determined on whether or not he will believe.
    However, such an interpretation is faulty. To begin with, the Arminian view turns election into mere confirmation. We make the final decision and God simply sees ahead of time and confirms our choice. http://www.credomag.com/2012/06/page/2/

    To read “whom He did foreknow would repent and believe” is to commit two grievous sins. They are: reading into the passage what is wholly without warrant in the context; contradicting Pauline teaching that we are called “not according to our works but according to His Own purpose and grace” 2 Tim. 1:9.
    http://founders.org/fj40/whom-he-did-foreknow-observations-on-romans-829/

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    1. Steven you make a common mistake that Calvinists make.

      A mistake that demonstrates that some calvinists such as yourself, reject what the Bible says in order to hold to their false theological system.

      The Bible explicitly says that faith excludes boasting, meaning that saving faith by its nature does not lead to boasting but excludes boasting. Now THAT is what the Bible says.

      Calvinists come along and try to argue that if a person chooses to have a faith response to the gospel that THAT is somehow meritorious. Faith is not meritorious according to scripture, while according to calvinists such as you it is.

      You state this when you write:

      “If ‘to know’ means who would believe in the future,
      We have a predestination based on merit.”

      And what is it that God knows before?

      Who will have FAITH. And yet you then argue that faith is meritorious (“We have a predestination based on merit”).

      You make faith equivalent to merit.

      That is a major mistake and shows you ignore what the Bible says about the nature of saving faith and instead put your own calvinistic theology in instead so faith becomes a meritorious act.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Robert writes, “Calvinists come along and try to argue that if a person chooses to have a faith response to the gospel that THAT is somehow meritorious. ”

        Not exactly. Calvinists say that faith is a gift from God and the influence of that faith to affect one’s choice to confess Christ as Lord is not meritorious; not a work. However, some argue that people are born with faith and they exercise this inherent faith to cooperate with God the Holy Spirit to choose salvation – it is this view of faith that is said to be a work as it is independent of God’s work in the lost and adds to God’s work to produce salvation.

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  10. This is Thomas R. Edgar’s Conclusion
    Again, proginwskw means “to know beforehand.” Biblical
    interpreters need to deal with the passages involved and with theological issues such as “Free-will theism” by utilizing this meaning for this verb.

    If ‘to know’ means who would believe in the future,
    We have a predestination based on merit.
    If ‘to know’ means predestination is feelings toward, the we have a predestination by grace.

    It is evident that in the Arminian view, the ultimate basis upon which a person is saved is to be found within the person himself, for God’s election is finally determined on whether or not he will believe.
    However, such an interpretation is faulty. To begin with, the Arminian view turns election into mere confirmation. We make the final decision and God simply sees ahead of time and confirms our choice. http://www.credomag.com/2012/06/page/2/

    To read “whom He did foreknow would repent and believe” is to commit two grievous sins. They are: reading into the passage what is wholly without warrant in the context; contradicting Pauline teaching that we are called “not according to our works but according to His Own purpose and grace”
    2 Tim. 1:9.
    http://founders.org/fj40/whom-he-did-foreknow-observations-on-romans-829/

    Like

  11. This is Thomas R. Edgar’s Conclusion
    Again, proginwskw means “to know beforehand.” Biblical
    interpreters need to deal with the passages involved and with theological issues such as “Free-will theism” by utilizing this meaning for this verb.

    If ‘to know’ means who would believe in the future,
    We have a predestination based on merit.

    If ‘to know’ means predestination is feelings toward, the we have a predestination by grace.

    It is evident that in the Arminian view, the ultimate basis upon which a person is saved is to be found within the person himself, for God’s election is finally determined on whether or not he will believe.
    However, such an interpretation is faulty. To begin with, the Arminian view turns election into mere confirmation. We make the final decision and God simply sees ahead of time and confirms our choice. http://www.credomag.com/2012/06/page/2/

    To read “whom He did foreknow would repent and believe” is to commit two grievous sins. They are: reading into the passage what is wholly without warrant in the context; contradicting Pauline teaching that we are called “not according to our works but according to His Own purpose and grace” 2 Tim. 1:9.
    http://founders.org/fj40/whom-he-did-foreknow-observations-on-romans-829/

    Like

    1. Same mistake Calvinists always make. A choice to accept grace in the Bible is not a meritorious work.Saying “God lift for me what I cannot lift” is not ever actually lifting what you cannot lift (righteousness by works).

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    2. Hi Steven/Stefano! I see you pasted your input on foreknowledge from the previous post on this one also, a few times . I answered on the previous post, but will offer my answer again on this one for your enjoyment (and the enjoyment of others) 🙂 !

      So Steven, The Arminian is wrong for thinking God makes His choice based foreseeing what individuals do, but the Calvinist is also wrong for thinking God makes His choice ignoring everything He foresees what individuals will do. Both, in my opinion, are ignoring that, in their sense of omniscience, His foresight must include all His interaction in all the completed lives of everyone, including His regeneration of some.

      So how does His choice even exist in light of such foresight… is it before He takes a peek at His foresight? Then He wouldn’t have anyone to pick. Is His choice during His review of who exists, without His interaction. That would be impossible, for His foresight of any human history would have to include all His interaction in it.

      So the Calvinist has to redefine choice to mean create… God, for the Calvinist has to create the elect just the way He wants them to be, including a moment of changing their will, giving them faith, and saving their souls from sin. It only looks like a choice from our human perspective, and God told us it was a choice because He didn’t want His Scriptures to be clear on this matter, it seems. But He graciously raised up Calvinists (facetiously speaking) to explain it better than His apostles and prophets did by the Holy Spirit!

      What’s also true for the Calvinist, is that God’s will has been locked-in to this one creation for all eternity past. He had to create it this way! And He has never been free, nor ever will be free, to actually make a true choice within His mind! For that would be a change in His thinking, from something known as unchosen to known as chosen, and a Calvinist’s loyalty to philosophic perfection, simplicity, and immutability cannot allow for such a change, no matter what the Scripture might say!

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    1. Edgar’s conclusion is that it means “to know before”. And his study is an exegetical one in which he goes through each verse that includes this Greek word. That is why I recommended it, rather than speaking from the seat of their pants as some are doing, Edgar actually goes to the texts that contain the word.

      It does not mean “to love before” as no Greek word for love is present (as most know the Greek language even had multiple words for love, none of which is used in proginosko). It consists of “Pre” and “know”, hence it means “to know before”. To inject other meanings is merely to inject your theology into the Greek, something that we are supposed to avoid. We should start with the meaning of “know before” and go from there.

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      1. Robert writes, “Edgar’s conclusion is that it means “to know before”. And his study is an exegetical one in which he goes through each verse that includes this Greek word. That is why I recommended it, rather than speaking from the seat of their pants as some are doing, Edgar actually goes to the texts that contain the word.”

        Actually, Edgar only deals with the word, “foreknow” (proginwskw) and he specifically focuses on the the sense of “pro” to conclude that God knows beforehand (which is not an erroneous conclusion). Thus, Edgar says:

        “God’s foreknowledge is the initial element that separates a specific individual from mankind in general…Prescience fits well in this passage. Due to his omniscience, God certainly knows beforehand who will believe; therefore, the meaning “to know beforehand” will fit logically, semantically, and theologically in this verse…the syntax of the Greek verb show, this specifies that he knew something about the person, rather than asserting that he knows his own plans. ” (p60-61, last par)

        The problem is that he does not deal with the word, “know” ginwskw and with the issue of what God knows beforehand. He dismisses this approach:

        “It is erroneous to say, as Baugh does, that we can legitimately interpret proginwskw by “studying the verb without the prefix pro-(‘fore-’).” It is not true that one should study a word without its prefix…It is an elementary principle of interpretation that one derives the meaning of a word, including a compound word, not from its etymology but from its usage…Although in some cases the word’s usage may be generally the same as the usage of its root word, we know that this is not the case here. “Foreknow” does not mean “know” in Greek any more than in English. There is definite evidence that proginwskw means “know beforehand,” but no evidence exists to show that it merely means “to know.”” and concludes, ” The entire semantic range of the root verb ginwskw is not carried over to the compounded form.” (p63, 1st par)

        Yet, he is comfortable doing this in one instance:

        “This also occurs with the verb ginwskw (“know”). “The tree is known (ginwsketai) by its fruit” (Matthew 12: 33) does not mean there is an intimate relationship or electing love of the person for the tree. The tree is known as to its character; something about the tree is known by its fruit.” (p50, 1st par)

        Edgar ignores Matthew 7:22, “I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” It seems obvious (to some) that the “evildoers” of Matthew 7:22 can be contrasted with “those God foreknew” in Romans 8:29. Does Matthew 7 refer to a factual knowledge that Christ has of evildoers? If so, one can make that argument. However, it seems legitimate to conclude that Christ is speaking of a relationship that He did not have with the evildoers. Taking this sense into Romans 8, we can conclude that God foreknew certain people in terms of a relationship that He had with them and not simple factual knowledge of them. The argument then is what this relationship entailed. Calvinists argue that this relationship encompasses God love for those He foreknew. One may disagree; so offer an alternative.

        Edgar does not deal with all the issues – obviously ignoring a very critical one. Robert’s recommendation of the article seems more an attempt to deflect attention from a full discussion of the issues presumably to buttress his personal opinions. My advice is not to take this paper too seriously (even though it is very good as far as it goes – a discussion of Matthew 7 is necessary given the thesis of the paper and its omission is a major faux pas).

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      2. Rhutchin the Calvinist troll writes:

        “Robert’s recommendation of the article seems more an attempt to deflect attention from a full discussion of the issues presumably to buttress his personal opinions.”

        Actually my personal opinions mean very little when the goal is to properly interpret the meaning of a Greek word. That is true because Greek terms mean what they mean regardless of our personal opinions.

        Edgar is a good conservative scholar ****who knows Greek**** and has produced a very good paper on the term proginoskw. That is why I recommended it, it is a good paper by someone that knows Greek and examines each instance of proginoskw.

        Rhtuchin is a calvinist troll ****who does not know Greek**** and enjoys posting his personal opinions.

        “My advice is not to take this paper too seriously“

        My advice is not to take anything said by rhutchin the calvinist troll too seriously.

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      3. Robert writes, “Edgar is a good conservative scholar ****who knows Greek**** and has produced a very good paper on the term proginoskw. ”

        Given the importance of Matthew 7 to the discussion of Romans 8, can you explain what influenced Edgar to ignore it? Would not a “very good paper” cover all the bases?

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  12. Steven
    you quote 2 Tim 1.9. When Paul says ‘not according to our works’ might not Paul be saying that both Jew and Gentile are called on an equal basis. The works here then would be the works of the law that the Jews were performing and the Gentiles were not. I dont believe that he is arguing that salvation is now utterly nonmeritorious (Brian Wagner please note that I dont believe that salvation is meritorious) rather that Jews and Gentiles are now in the covenant on the basis of faith in the Messiah and the works of the law are of no import. For Paul the works of the law are not a means of merit whereby salvation is earned but rather the erga nomou are performed by the Jews to affirm their covenant status and also exclude the Gentiles. In other words his argument is covenantally and not meritorious framed.

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  13. Great follow up post, Leighton! I think it is logically impossible to have an intimate relationship between two parties, as designated by the term “foreknew” as Paul uses it in Rom 8:29, when one of the two parties does not yet even exist, or only exists in one person’s mind!

    I don’t think “foreknew” as used by Paul, means God had a fantasy love for the elect before He created them. Since Paul uses this term in the present tense in Acts 26:5, it indicates it truly is relational, that began at some point (when they got to know him in Jerusalem) and continued on to the day Paul speaks to Agrippa.

    I believe the point of beginning of such “foreknowledge” for each individual represented in Rom 8:29 can reasonably be seen to be the moment of their individual new birth! That is when the intimate knowledge, by His indwelling Spirit being joined to their spirit, between God and a real person, truly begins.

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    1. If we let the Word of God speak for itself, we can understand the relationship God has for THOSE WHOM HE FOREKNEW

      To all THOSE LOVED BY GOD in Rome, CALLED to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Romans 1:7

      And we know that all things work together for good for THOSE WHO LOVE GOD, who are CALLED according to his purpose, Romans 8:28

      For those whom HE FOREKNEW, He also PREDESTINED to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; Romans 8:29

      and these whom He PREDESTINED, He also CALLED; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. Romans 8:30

      For HE CHOSE US in Christ BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love. Ephesians 1:4

      The arminian/traditionalist/molinist/open thesist must suppress the truth by utilizing contextual gymnastics. Pulling from unrelated texts a context that is foreign to what the Apostle Paul has clearly written, as he is carried along by the Holy Spirit.
      This is God’s Word.
      Soli Deo Gloria

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      1. Keep reading Steve the biblical responses already given for your chosen interpretations of those passages! God does not have a fantasy love for someone before they exist. And the “called” designation is not “to be” in the future (“to be” was added by Anglo-Catholic translators) but what they already were in Christ, the moment He placed His love on them (came to “know” them in a special way) when they were saved. Once saved they are from that point on – foreknown, predestined, called, justified, glorified (seated in the heavenlies in Christ).

        There is no “contextual gymnastics” utilized when seeing that one of the “spiritual blessings” in Ephesians 1 that Paul is talking about is not “elect to be in Christ” but “elect in Christ to be holy and blameless.” I have used this following illustrations before, but I put them here again for you.

        Any Messianic Jew today can say – “We were chosen in Abraham before Israel became a nation to possess the land of Canaan in the Millennium.” He would not be emphasizing being chosen as an individual back when Abraham lived. He would just be recognizing that as an individual, being now in Christ, he would enjoy that future benefit of possessing the land, because of the promise made to Abraham.

        Or I could say, I was chosen before I was born, or even thought of as a possibility by my father, to receive an inheritance of my father’s riches when he made out his will just after he got married! No “contextual gymnastics”, but a clear parallel to how Paul was speaking in Ephesians 1. There were no other individuals to choose from and to love, before creation, then the members of the Godhead! It takes contextual gymnastics, in my opinion, to try to force those ideas into the contexts of Rom 8 and Eph 1.

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  14. Here is Dr. Wagner’s opinion,
    There were no other individuals to choose from and to love, before creation, then the members of the Godhead! It takes contextual gymnastics, in my opinion, to try to force those ideas into the contexts of Rom 8 and Eph 1.

    Here is what the Word of God says,
    Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, CALLED AN APOSTLE and SET APART for the gospel of God— Romans 1:1
    to all who are BELOVED OF GOD in Rome, CALLED AS SAINTS: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1:7

    Paul describes being called in the context of predestination,
    But when the One who SET ME APART IN THE WOMB and CALLED ME BY HIS GRACE was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus. Galatians 1:15-17

    When Apostle Paul uses the words kaleo (29 times), klesis (8 times) and kletos (7 times), it is almost always used with the sense of divine calling.
    Apostle Paul understands that the calling is the process by which God calls those who are elected before the foundation of the world. And He does that for the elect in order to justify them and sanctify them.

    Paul writes granted to us in Christ Jesus before eternal times

    He is the one who SAVED US AND CALLED US WITH A HOLY CALLING, not based on our works but on his own purpose and grace, GRANTED TO US in Christ Jesus BEFORE ETERNAL TIMES, but NOW HAS BEEN REVEALED by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. 2 Timothy 1:9-11

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