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    Christian Theology - Thread: Election

    1. #1
      MennoSota is offline Expert Member
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      Election

      I noticed this response to the question of election provided by the pastor for CH. I will quote it here and then address the idea of double-predestination implied by the person asking about election.
      The Lord be with you

      First, your question asks for my perspective on the issue of election and not a specific response to any position expressed in the discussion cited, so that is what I’m going to give. Second, the topic is so large that I could type for twenty-eight pages and not reference exactly what the concern is, or whatever passage you might want me to comment on. I will try to be brief.

      In Lutheran circles, “predestination” deals only with salvation. What clothing we wear, what job we have, who we marry, etc., are not predestined. “Eternal election,” that is, God electing someone for salvation before the foundation of the world, is part of the hidden will of God and is not open to human investigation. Because God issues his call through means (word and sacrament), his call is resistible. (If God did not use these means, but issued his call directly with his omnipotent power, no one could resist.) God desires all people to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). Why some come to faith in Jesus and are saved while others do not believe in Christ and are damned, is a mystery. If we are saved, all credit goes to Jesus. If we are damned, we shoulder the blame completely.

      If God planned to damn select people from before creation, then it seems he would have made provisions for them. He did not. In the beginning, there was no provision for humans who reject God’s mercy in Christ Jesus, only for the spirits who rebelled (Matthew 25:41).

      If a person is concerned about their election, a Lutheran pastor will point the person to the cross of Jesus, not their election, not their works, not their confidence, etc. (Ephesians 1:3-6). Do you want to know if God loves you? Look to Jesus. Do you want to know if your sins are covered? Look to Jesus. Election is intended to comfort troubled hearts. If a person’s understanding of this doctrine makes them smug, then they do not understand it correctly. If a person’s understanding of this doctrine takes their eyes off of Jesus, then they do not understand it correctly.

      Finally, we recognize that, according to human logic, the following positions are not reconcilable: 1) “If we are saved it is due completely to the mercy and grace of God in Christ Jesus, we have no grounds to boast,” 2) “God desires all to be saved by grace through faith in Christ,” and 3) “Those who are damned have no one to blame but themselves because God has done everything possible to save them but they rejected God’s work.” God is not bound by human logic.

      Blessings in Christ,

      Pastor

    2. #2
      MennoSota is offline Expert Member
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      Election, from a Particular Baptist, perspective, is discussed in the Bible to express God's choice for whom He will pardon sin. Nowhere does God share the process by which He decides. This is for Him, alone, to know and decide.
      What God shares is that He chose before the foundation of the world. His election is predetermined and the Bible shares that the elect are predestined.
      Some have brought up, with disdain, the idea that "double predestination" expresses a hateful God who has enslaved humanity to a deterministic fate. But, double predestination is never presented in scripture. The term is coined by humans.
      How does this coined term come about?
      The Bible tells us that all have sinned and fall short of God's glory. It tells us that humans are desperately wicked. It expresses that no one can merit God's favor. The result is that all humans are guilty.
      This being true, if God were to remove Himself from interaction with humans until their judgment day, all humans would be declared guilty. Not some. All. 100% of humanity would be eternally removed from God's presence. It is the fate, the destiny of all humans...if God stayed silent.
      But, God is not silent. God has elected to pardon whom He chose to pardon before the foundation of the world. This election expresses God's grace in pardoning those who do not deserve a pardon. This election is an amazing grace that should strike anyone who is pardoned with a genuine love for God.
      Election, then, is not double-predestination. It is an act of grace.

    3. #3
      Lämmchen's Avatar
      Lämmchen is offline God's Lil Lamb
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      There are a great many people who believe in double-predestination. Lutherans believe that man is damned because they refuse the faith and do not benefit from the forgiveness at the cross because they reject the Savior and His work there.

      What do you believe concerning those who are not elect? You wrote about the elect but not about the non-elect.
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "A Christian's life is not defined by what the Christian does. It is defined by Christ and what He has done for us." Pr. Rolf David Preus

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    5. #4
      MennoSota is offline Expert Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by Lämmchen View Post
      There are a great many people who believe in double-predestination. Lutherans believe that man is damned because they refuse the faith and do not benefit from the forgiveness at the cross because they reject the Savior and His work there.

      What do you believe concerning those who are not elect? You wrote about the elect but not about the non-elect.
      All people are born in sin. The wages of sin is death...falling short of the glory of God. All means all in this case.
      If God does not elect to pardon, the human will die in their sins.
      As the pastor rightly states...that election is a mystery. We can guess at it. We can surmise at it. We can come up with special ceremonies to try ensure it. But, in the end, God's election is a mystery. Why does God elect some, but not all? How does grace fit into this election? Is election merit based? Is election secure? Those are many of the additional questions that follow from the clear statement in scripture that God elects.
      As I stated in my original comment:; If God remained silent, all humans would be declared guilty. Their fate would be eternal separation from God. That is the non-elect.

    6. #5
      Lämmchen's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by MennoSota View Post
      All people are born in sin. The wages of sin is death...falling short of the glory of God. All means all in this case.
      If God does not elect to pardon, the human will die in their sins.
      As the pastor rightly states...that election is a mystery. We can guess at it. We can surmise at it. We can come up with special ceremonies to try ensure it. But, in the end, God's election is a mystery. Why does God elect some, but not all? How does grace fit into this election? Is election merit based? Is election secure? Those are many of the additional questions that follow from the clear statement in scripture that God elects.
      As I stated in my original comment:; If God remained silent, all humans would be declared guilty. Their fate would be eternal separation from God. That is the non-elect.
      Are you saying that it is not God's fault but man's for his damnation?
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "A Christian's life is not defined by what the Christian does. It is defined by Christ and what He has done for us." Pr. Rolf David Preus

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    8. #6
      MennoSota is offline Expert Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by Lämmchen View Post
      Are you saying that it is not God's fault but man's for his damnation?
      I am saying:
      21*For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22*For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23*But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:21-23
      This passage points out the process.
      1) All (universal) die in Adam. (Man's guilt)
      2) All (the elect) are made alive in Christ.
      How do we know it's the elect? Verse 23 says "all those who belong to Christ." Paul clarifies who the "all" are. We also see that Paul uses the same concept of being made alive in Ephesians 2:4-5. So, we know Paul's second use of the word "all" is not universal, but refers to the elect.

    9. #7
      atpollard is offline Prodigy Member
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      “The distortion of double predestination looks like this: There is a symmetry that exists between election and reprobation. God works in the same way and same manner with respect to the elect and to the reprobate. That is to say, from all eternity God decreed some to election and by divine initiative works faith in their hearts and brings them actively to salvation. By the same token, from all eternity God decrees some to sin and damnation (destinare ad peccatum) and actively intervenes to work sin in their lives, bringing them to damnation by divine initiative. In the case of the elect, regeneration is the monergistic work of God. In the case of the reprobate, sin and degeneration are the monergistic work of God. Stated another way, we can establish a parallelism of foreordination and predestination by means of a positive symmetry. We can call this a positive-positive view of predestination. This is, God positively and actively intervenes in the lives of the elect to bring them to salvation. In the same way God positively and actively intervenes in the life of the reprobate to bring him to sin.

      This distortion of positive-positive predestination clearly makes God the author of sin who punishes a person for doing what God monergistically and irresistibly coerces man to do. Such a view is indeed a monstrous assault on the integrity of God. This is not the Reformed view of predestination, but a gross and inexcusable caricature of the doctrine. Such a view may be identified with what is often loosely described as hyper-Calvinism and involves a radical form of supralapsarianism. Such a view of predestination has been virtually universally and monolithically rejected by Reformed thinkers.”
      - R.C. Sproul

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    11. #8
      atpollard is offline Prodigy Member
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      “In sharp contrast to the caricature of double predestination seen in the positive-positive schema is the classic position of Reformed theology on predestination. In this view predestination is double in that it involves both election and reprobation but is not symmetrical with respect to the mode of divine activity. A strict parallelism of operation is denied. Rather we view predestination in terms of a positive-negative relationship.

      In the Reformed view God from all eternity decrees some to election and positively intervenes in their lives to work regeneration and faith by a monergistic work of grace. To the non-elect God withholds this monergistic work of grace, passing them by and leaving them to themselves. He does not monergistically work sin or unbelief in their lives. Even in the case of the “hardening” of the sinners’ already recalcitrant hearts, God does not, as Luther stated, “work evil in us (for hardening is working evil) by creating fresh evil in us.”2 Luther continued:

      When men hear us say that God works both good and evil in us, and that we are subject to God’s working by mere passive necessity, they seem to imagine a man who is in himself good, and not evil, having an evil work wrought in him by God; for they do not sufficiently bear in mind how incessantly active God is in all His creatures, allowing none of them to keep holiday. He who would understand these matters, however, should think thus: God works evil in us (that is, by means of us) not through God’s own fault, but by reason of our own defect. We being evil by nature, and God being good, when He impels us to act by His own acting upon us according to the nature of His omnipotence, good though He is in Himself, He cannot but do evil by our evil instrumentality; although, according to His wisdom, He makes good use of this evil for His own glory and for our salvation.2

      Thus, the mode of operation in the lives of the elect is not parallel with that operation in the lives of the reprobate. God works regeneration monergistically but never sin. Sin falls within the category of providential concurrence.

      Another significant difference between the activity of God with respect to the elect and the reprobate concerns God’s justice. The decree and fulfillment of election provide mercy for the elect while the efficacy of reprobation provides justice for the reprobate. God shows mercy sovereignly and unconditionally to some, and gives justice to those passed over in election. That is to say, God grants the mercy of election to some and justice to others. No one is the victim of injustice. To fail to receive mercy is not to be treated unjustly. God is under no obligation to grant mercy to all—in fact He is under no obligation to grant mercy to any. He says, “I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy” (Rom. 9). The divine prerogative to grant mercy voluntarily cannot be faulted. If God is required by some cosmic law apart from Himself to be merciful to all men, then we would have to conclude that justice demands mercy. If that is so, then mercy is no longer voluntary, but required. If mercy is required, it is no longer mercy, but justice. What God does not do is sin by visiting injustice upon the reprobate. Only by considering election and reprobation as being asymmetrical in terms of a positive-negative schema can God be exonerated from injustice.”
      - R.C. Sproul

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    13. #9
      atpollard is offline Prodigy Member
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      Single Predestination:

      Theoretically there are four possible kinds of consistent single predestination

      (1) Universal predestination to election (God elects all)
      (2) universal predestination to reprobation (God chooses all for damnation)
      (3) particular predestination to election (God elects some with a chance for the non-elect to earn salvation)
      (4) particular predestination to reprobation (God chooses some for damnation with a chance for the rest to earn salvation)

    14. #10
      MennoSota is offline Expert Member
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      While I like Sproul and the effort he puts in to not be misunderstood, in this case he may have inadvertently muddied up the waters with words that don't assist a common person.
      For those who wonder what Sproul was saying.
      Sproul said that God never wills sinners to sin so God can judge them guilty. Sinners sin because sin reigns in them from the fall. God correctly judges sin with justice.
      God chose to pardon some by the atoning work of Christ. God was not required by any means to pardon. He does so by his kind mercy and grace.
      It's quite simple and amazing.

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