Posts Tagged ‘election and predestination’

Liberal ‘optimistic figments’

September 12, 2009

The doctrines of predestination; of original sin; of the innate depravity of man and the evil fate of the greater part of the race; of the primacy of Satan in this world; of the essential vileness of matter; of a malevolent Demiurgus subordinate to a benevolent Almighty, who has only lately revealed himself, faulty as they are, appear to me to be vastly nearer the truth than the “liberal” popular illusions that babies are all born good and that the example of a corrupt society is responsible for their failure to remain so; that it is given to everybody to reach the ethical ideal if he will only try; that all partial evil is universal good; and other optimistic figments, such as that which represents “Providence” under the guise of a paternal philanthropist, and bids us believe that everything will come right (according to our notions) at last.

Thomas Huxley, Life and Letters, vol.3, p.220, ed. L.Huxley, Macmillan, 1903

online source

There is a reason why these ‘faulty’ doctrines ‘appear’ to comport so well with our experience of the real world, Mr Huxley. They (except the mistaken idea of the vileness of matter – had he read Genesis 1?) are not faulty.

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You asked me how I gave my heart to Christ

August 17, 2009

You asked me how I gave my heart to Christ,
I do not know;
There came a yearning for Him in my soul
So long ago;
I found earth’s flowers would fade and die,
I wept for something that would satisfy.
And then, and then, somehow I seemed
To dare
To lift my broken heart to God in prayer.
I do not know, I canot tell you how;
I only know He is my Saviour now.

Anonymous

Israel was elected

August 5, 2009

How odd of God to choose the Jews

Ogden Nash

Deuteronomy 7.6-8 …The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery…

So predestination and election are not New Testament concepts only. God is an electing God who always saves on the basis of election as Romans 9.11-13 (looking back to Genesis) makes clear.

Election – an encouragement to evangelism

August 5, 2009

He [Paul] knows that God has chosen some people to be saved, and he sees this as an encouragement to preach the gospel, even if it means enduring great suffering. Election is Paul’s guarantee that there will be some success for his evangelism, for he knows that some of the people he speaks to will be the elect, and they will believe the gospel and be saved. It is as if someone invited us to come fishing and said, “I guarantee that you will catch some fish – they are hungry and waiting.

Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, 1994, 674

Don’t dispute about your election

November 5, 2008

You begin at the wrong end if you first dispute about your election. Prove your conversion, and then never doubt your election. If you cannot yet prove it, set upon a present and thorough turning. Whatever God’s purposes be, which are secret, I am sure His promises are plain. How desperately do rebels argue! ‘If I am elected I shall be saved, do what I will. If not, I shall be damned, do what I can.’ Perverse sinner, will you begin where you should end? Is not the word before you? What says it? ‘Repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.’ ‘If you mortify the deeds of the body you shall live.’ ‘Believe and be saved’ (Acts 3:19; Rom 8:13; Acts 16:31). What can be plainer? Do not stand still disputing about your election—but set to repenting and believing. Cry to God for converting grace. Revealed things belong to you; in these busy yourself. It is just, as one well said, that they who will not feed on the plain food of the Word should be choked with the bones. Whatever God’s purposes may be, I am sure His promises are true. Whatever the decrees of heaven may be, I am sure that if I repent and believe, I shall be saved; and that if I do not repent, I shall be damned. Is not this plain ground for you; and will you yet run upon the rocks?

Joseph Alleine, Alarm to the Unconverted, 1671

Election

November 4, 2008

That eternal act of God whereby He, in His sovereign good pleasure, and on account of no foreseen merit in them, chooses a certain number of people to be the recipients of special grace and of eternal salvation in and by Jesus Christ.

The fact that God chooses some and passes by others does not warrant the charge that He is guilty of injustice. If God owed the forgiveness of sin and eternal life to all men, it would be an injustice if He saved only a limited number of them. But the sinner has absolutely no right or claim on the blessings which flow from divine election. As a matter of fact, he has forfeited these blessings. We must admit that God would have been perfectly just if He had not saved any (Mt. 20:14,15; Rom.9:14,15).

Because our election is “in Christ,” we should not search for it in ourselves. Those who cling to Christ can be assured that they are among God’s elect people.

(Adapted from Louis Berkhof’s Systematic Theology, pp. 114-115)

Election

October 30, 2008

I believe the doctrine of election, because I am quite certain that, if God had not chosen me, I should never have chosen Him; and I am sure He chose me before I was born, or else He never would have chosen me afterwards; and He must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why He should have looked upon me with special love… I recollect an Arminian brother telling me that he had read the Scriptures through a score or more times, and could never find the doctrine of election in them. He added that he was sure he would have done so if it had been there, for he read the Word on his knees. I said to him, “I think you read the Bible in a very uncomfortable posture, and if you had read it in your easy chair, you would have been more likely to understand it.

Pray, by all means, and the more, the better, but it is a piece of superstition to think there is anything in the posture in which a man puts himself for reading: and as to reading through the Bible twenty times without having found anything about the doctrine of election, the wonder is that you found anything at all: you must have galloped through it at such a rate that you were not likely to have any intelligible idea of the meaning of the Scriptures.”

Spurgeon, Defense of Calvinism

Christ died for us personally and individually not abstractly – Thomas Goodwin

October 16, 2008

Obs. 5.—Fifthly, I make this observation from hence likewise: That God in his love pitcheth upon persons. ‘For the great love wherewith he loved us,’ saith he. God doth not pitch upon propositions only; as to say, I will love him who believeth, and save him, as those of the Arminian opinion hold; no, he pitcheth upon persons. And Christ died not for propositions only, but for persons; he knows his sheep by their names: Jer. 31:3, ‘I have loved thee with an everlasting love;’ and, Rom. 11:7, ‘The election hath obtained it, and the rest were hardened.’ My brethren, God loved us distinctly, and he loved us nakedly; let me express it so in a word:—
He loved our persons distinctly; that is, singling out and designing whom. Not only so many, —I will love so many of mankind as shall fill up the places of the angels that fell, as some have imagined,—but he sees who they are distinctly. The Lord knows who are his; the text is express: ‘Jacob have I loved,’—he names him,—’and Esau have I hated.’ ‘Rejoice not,’ saith Christ, ‘that the spirits are made subject unto you, but that your names are written in heaven.’ In Exod. 33:19, where God saith, ‘I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,’ he speaks it upon occasion of having peculiar mercy to Moses; and therefore the Apostle pertinently quotes it in Rom. 9:15, for election of persons.
And, secondly, he loved us nakedly; he loved us, not ours. It was not for our faith, nor for anything in us; ‘not of works,’ saith the Apostle; no, nor of faith neither. No, he pitcheth upon naked persons; he loves you, not yours. Therefore here is the reason that his love never fails, because it is pitched upon the person, simply as such. I will love such a one, let his condition be what it will be; if he fall into sin, I will fetch sin out of him again, that I may delight in him. The covenant of grace is a covenant of persons, and God gives the person of Christ to us, and the person of the Holy Ghost to us; he chooseth our persons nakedly and simply as such.

http://www.puritansermons.com/goodwin/good02.htm

Election and the Assurance it brings

October 10, 2008

No, this [doctrine of election], according to the sentiments of our church, “greatly confirms and establishes a true Christian’s faith of eternal salvation through Christ,” and is an anchor of hope, both sure and steadfast, when he walks in darkness and sees no light; as certainly he may, even after he hath received the witness of the Spirit, whatever you or others may unadvisedly assert to the contrary.
Then, to have respect to God’s everlasting covenant, and to throw himself upon the free distinguishing love of that God who changeth not, will make him lift up the hands that hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.
But without the belief of the doctrine of election, and the immutability of the free love of God, I cannot see how it is possible that any should have a comfortable assurance of eternal salvation. What could it signify to a man whose conscience is thoroughly awakened, and who is warned in good earnest to seek deliverance from the wrath to come, though he should be assured that all his past sins be forgiven, and that he is now a child of God; if notwithstanding this, he may hereafter become a child of the devil, and be cast into hell at last? Could such an assurance yield any solid, lasting comfort to a person convinced of the corruption and treachery of his own heart, and of the malice, subtlety, and power of Satan? No! That which alone deserves the name of a full assurance of faith is such an assurance as emboldens the believer, under the sense of his interest in distinguishing love, to give the challenge to all his adversaries, whether men or devils, and that with regard to all their future, as well as present, attempts to destroy—saying with the Apostle,
Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect?

WHITEFIELD’S LETTER TO WESLEY
Bethesda in Georgia, Dec. 24, 1740
http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/wesley.htm