googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Predestination: A Series on Election, Part 1

Friday, January 23, 2015

Predestination: A Series on Election, Part 1

God is sovereign. He controls everything – big and small. Proverbs 16:33 says, “The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the Lord.” A bird does not fly, a leaf does not fall, and a man does not take a step except that it should be the will of God. However, this begs the question: if our every action is subject to God's will, how then can we be held accountable for our sins? Does that mean a lost person was ordained to be lost or a saved person ordained to be saved? This is not a new question but one that has raged for centuries. I guess there are a lot of different nuances concerning the idea of predestination but there are basically two schools of thought: Calvinism and Arminianism.

Calvinism is named for John Calvin, a 16th century, French theologian. He argued that people are “pre-destined” to be either saved or lost. Actually, the idea of predestination preceded Calvin by centuries but he codified the idea into five, succinct points, often referred to by the acronym, “TULIP.” He argued so successfully that his name has become synonymous with predestination.

Almost immediately after Calvin lived, a Dutch theologian named Jacob Arminius began arguing that man, though sinful, still has a free will and can choose to accept or reject Christ. His idea of “free will” is identified by the term, Arminianism. His views became very popular but still remained the minority view in the church until the time of John Wesley in the 18th century. Today, most protestant churches would identify themselves as believing in free will or Arminianism.

There are certain matters of doctrine that are critical to orthodoxy. For example, I do not believe anyone can be a Christian unless he believes in a literal, physical resurrection. Other matters are trivial, like whether or not the wine Jesus made at the wedding in Cana (John, chapter 2) was alcoholic or not. In my opinion, the difference between Calvinism or Arminianism falls into the trivial category. If a person confesses Jesus as his Savior, what difference does it truly make if he did it of his own free will or if he had been predestined to do it? I'm certainly not going to challenge his profession of faith over it. Unfortunately, many churches do argue over it.

I thought it would be interesting to have a short series discussing the issue. I don't intend to endorse one view over the other (though I do have my personal opinions). Instead, I want to simply present the Scriptural arguments for and against the five points of Calvinism. I want it to be more informative in nature rather than persuasive. Perhaps the only thing I would like to persuade people of is that they may see the issue in the same, non-constroversial light that I see it.

Please check back.

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