Conditional Election

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Van, Jun 4, 2013.

  1. Van

    Van
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    Calvinists deny the validity of conditional election on these grounds:
    (1) Because of the Calvinist’s acceptance of their doctrine of Total Spiritual Inability, they say man is incapable of the faith needed for God to use it as satisfying His conditional for election to salvation.
    (2) Saving faith, faith satisfying God’s supposed conditional, is a gift God gives to the previously chosen person.
    (3) Faith is a work and therefore cannot be a conditional for a salvation not of works.​

    But let’s see if there is any merit whatsoever in any of these so-called problems with conditional election.

    Total Spiritual Inability is demonstrated to be false doctrine by Matthew 13:20-22, where unregenerate men, in their natural fallen state, receive the gospel with joy. This demonstrates they have some spiritual ability, and therefore the doctrine of total spiritual inability is unbiblical. Further, what level of faith is required? Only a faith that God accepts and credits as righteousness, it need not have any merit of or by itself. Paul teaches that our faith in Christ provides our access to the grace in which we stand, Romans 5:2, clearly supporting that we are saved by grace through faith, and not of works.

    Ephesians 2:8-9 does not say nor suggest that faith is a gift; the idea is that salvation is the gift. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”. The pronoun “that” is not in the same gender as faith, so according to Greek grammar, “that” does not point to faith or grace, but to the resultant salvation.

    And while it is true that placing ones faith in Christ is a “work” it is not “works” whereby salvation is earned by doing works over time. Jesus makes this distinction between works and the work of believing in Christ, in John 6:29. The meaning of the phrase, “work of God” is not something God does, but rather something God requires, because Jesus is answering the question, what “work” shall we do.

    Bottom line, the so-called problems are based on misunderstanding selected verses, rather than anything of merit.

    Now the Arminians assert that God’s election unto salvation occurred before the foundation of the world, based on Ephesians 1:4, with God foreseeing individuals who would trust in Christ. But this puts election (whether Calvinist’s unconditional view, or the Arminian conditional election view) before anyone has lived without mercy. And since 1 Peter 2:9-10 puts our election after we live without mercy, our individual election must occur during our physical lives. And this is precisely what James 2:5 says, God chooses the poor of the world, rich in faith, and heirs to the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him.

    Consider 2 Thessalonians 2:13, which says, we are chosen for salvation through…faith in the truth. The phrase “for salvation” describes the purpose of the choice, and the phrases “through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth” describes “how” we were chosen so it is an adverbial clause modifying the verb chose and not the noun “salvation.”

    Matthew 13:20-22 provides insight into this faith or trust in Christ; the conviction must be firm, heart-felt, and not rootless such that it is abandoned when difficulties arise. And the faith and devotion to Christ cannot be “half-hearted” with other worldly treasures, either possessions or relationships, sharing a place in our heart’s devotion. We are to love God and our Lord Jesus with all our heart, all our mind and all our understanding. Or as a modern phrase from Texas Hold-em would say, we must go “all in” with all our chips for Christ.
     
  2. DrJamesAch

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    I disagree that faith is a work of any kind. You are correct about Ephesians 2:8, that salvation is the gift, not faith, but consider the implications if faith is a work.

    Eph 2:8 says we are saved THROUGH FAITH. If faith is a work, and the 2 are synonymous, then that essentially argues that we are SAVED THROUGH WORKS.

    "And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." Romans 11:6

    "Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone" Romans 9:32

    You can argue that faith is dead WITHOUT works, that faith cooperates with works (AFTER salvation), and that works is a by-product of faith, but the 2 are definitely not synonymous, and thus we can not say that faith is work in any sense of the words. I understand you made a distinction between work and works, but that merely clarifies the quantitative form of the word (plural or singular) not the qualitative essence of the word (faith is not work and work is not faith).
     
    #2 DrJamesAch, Jun 4, 2013
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  3. Van

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    Lets agree to disagree on this one. I base my view on John 6:28-30, where Jesus was asked what work a person must do, and was told the work God requires is to believe in Him. Paul makes it clear that putting our faith in Christ is not works (plural). I am not making the case for works equating with dynamic faith. All I am saying is Jesus called believing in Him a work (singular) in John 6:28-30. This view is shared by several commentators, including Leon Morris.

    The questioners were looking for something they could do, like doing the works required by the Law, and Jesus told them the work God required was singular, to believe (not a one time event but a continuing faith) in Him. Morris also agrees the "work of God" refers to the work God requires of us, contrary to the mistaken claims of Calvinism.
     
  4. Dale-c

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    Van, the example in that verse is of people who appear to saved but fall away. Why? Because they were in their own strength. This is no way contradicts the doctrine of total depravity or total inability. In fact it re-enforces it.
     
  5. DrJamesAch

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    This wasn't said by Jesus to show that faith is a work, but Jesus was answering their question according to the way they asked it. A similar usage of such is where the rich young ruler asked Jesus "what good thing must I do to inherit eternal life". Jesus didn't tell him that he needed to believe, but gave him a list of commandments. Jesus was not telling him to follow the law, but was answering him according to the way he asked the question. If you think that works of the law save, then this is what you need to do. He answered to prove that the law COULDN'T save him

    This passage is the same. Jesus is proving to them that faith is NOT a work. This is typical Jewish rhetoric where a Jew often answers a question with a question or refutes a premise by using the same premise as the opponent. He is saying "if you think that you can work the works of God, this is how you really do God's work, by believing." Remember the question was how they could perform miracles (v 26) that's what they were looking for. So Jesus response is not only correcting their view of faith and works, but showing them that if they want to produce the kind of works that Christ is performing, that belief is required to produce the work of God and that those works themselves are the work of God, not because they can work to produce works.

    And the moral of the story as well was that Jesus was looking at the bigger picture while they were merely focused on the miracles.
     
    #5 DrJamesAch, Jun 4, 2013
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  6. DrJamesAch

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    There is nothing in that text that even remotely suggests this is an example of someone who appears to be saved and then falls away. Jews always had an interest and fascination with signs and miracles. 1 Cor 1:22. That is what this text shows and Jesus is correcting their views.

    Good night these were new listeners. At least give Jesus a chance to preach to them first before you write them off as "fallen". You can't fall from something you haven't had yet, and when you have it you can't fall from it. That assessment is totally non sequitur to his point.
     
  7. Aaron

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    Conditional election is what a man practices every day. He chooses this or that and rejects the other on the basis their merits. And men are required to do so, because it is not in the power of a man to create. He cannot make that which is corrupt, whole again. Noncalvinists tend to think of God as they think of men, so it follows that conditional election is something that they attribute to God.

    Jacob and Esau were equal. God chose one and rejected the other. The condition? His will.
     
  8. DrJamesAch

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    God chose Jacob and rejected Esau because Esau willingly gave away his birthright to be the primary heir of their father. Furthermore, God chose Jacob after he wrestled with the angel of the LORD. It wasn't just a random lottery pick.
     
  9. Van

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    Hi Dale-c, you appear to be a Calvinism attempting to claim folks can seek God by their own power and therefore are not really seeking God. Kinda like climate change, if its colder, why C02 did it, if its warmer, C02 did it. Thus something that cannot be proved is claimed to be true.

    Total Spiritual Inability is shown to be false three different ways.
    (1) First, men seek God all the time in scripture. Thus they can hear and understand God's revelation, at least the milk, the fundamentals of the gospel. So strike one.

    (2) Then we have Matthew 23:13 where men are "entering heaven" demonstrating that whatever faith they had before it was corrupted was sufficient. So, strike two, against total spiritual inability.

    (3) Then we have people hardening their own hearts through the practice of sin, and God hardening hearts for His purpose, i.e. Romans 11. In every case of hardening, we have the spiritual ability to understand and respond affirmatively being taken away. So strike three and Total Spiritual Inability is outta here.​

    The Biblical Case against Calvinism, at least the TULI of the Tulip, is overwhelming. That it gets little traction on this forum is simply due to denial, not sound alternatives actually supported in scripture. BTW, ever wonder why Jesus taught in parables to preclude understanding and affirmation if they really suffered from total spiritual inability?
     
    #9 Van, Jun 4, 2013
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  10. Van

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    Hi Aaron, Calvinism cannot be defended rationally. Here you claim that God does not make conditional choices. God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble reflects conditional choices. So strike on, the argument is unbiblical.

    God tells us He made the choice so the older would serve the younger, so the very passage you cite demonstrates the opposite. Strike two.

    Does God only make conditional choices, or choices based on fulfilling His purpose and plan, whether conditional or unconditional? He makes choices based on fulfilling His purpose and plan. Calvinists like to put God in a box, saying He is only able to do as Calvinism declares. Strike three, Calvinism is outta here.
     
  11. DrJamesAch

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    Nothin' but net :)
     
  12. Iconoclast

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    You and Dale C have posted correctly and it is like an oasis in a barren wasteland.
    The highlighted portion of your post is the key to 85 % of the error.
     
  13. Iconoclast

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    Ach;
    "
    Romans 11:6 does not contrast....faith/works....but rather grace works.
     
  14. Iconoclast

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    One shot ...two kills...

    None of Van"s pitches have anything to do with a conditional..choice. The text in Romans 9 is clear to those who can see.
     
  15. webdog

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    So God doesn't oppose the proud and give grace to the humble? Humility and pride are not conditions?
     
  16. Iconoclast

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    WD,

    Clearly God opposes the proud.That verse has nothing to do with individual election unto salvation. God does not elect based on any forseen conditions in the sinner.We are all guilty before God before He saves us. His choice was not based on anything in us.
    Ach completely misses the purpose of Romans 9

    11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

    12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

    The passage cannot be clearer,can it?

    2._____ This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, nor from any power or agency in the creature, being wholly passive therein, being dead in sins and trespasses, until being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit; he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it, and that by no less power than that which raised up Christ from the dead.
    ( 2 Timothy 1:9; Ephesians 2:8; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:5; John 5:25; Ephesians 1:19, 20 )
     
    #16 Iconoclast, Jun 4, 2013
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  17. webdog

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    The OP was setting the grounds for conditional election to be true. Even that passage you provided shows there is a condition, but the condition did not include Jacob or Esau doing good or bad. Its a huge leap to conclude from that election is unconditional.
     
  18. preacher4truth

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    The context of wd's 'proof text' is to believers, or, even in a tighter context, the 'elect' (which is by the way synonymous terminology) and this is to whom the passage is written.

    It has absolutely nothing to do with conditions of salvation, nor does it support 'conditional' election. Funny how anti-cals believe in and use the doctrine of election when it's 'conditional', isn't it? :applause:

    Anyhow, to use it (1 Peter 5:5) as such is to misuse Scripture, is not rightly handling the word of truth, and is divorcing it from its intended context. :thumbs:

    - Blessings
     
    #18 preacher4truth, Jun 4, 2013
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  19. Iconoclast

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    The only base for election is what Aaron posted.Even when God singled out Israel as a nation he basically said this:

    6 For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.

    7 The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:

    8 But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt


    His will expressed in the covenant of redemption ...based solely on God's loyal love...His oath... His purpose was the only reason given,
     
  20. preacher4truth

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    Israel: A brand plucked from the fire.

    Wonder what that means?

    Hmmm. It's not that hard. It's called unconditional election. :thumbsup:

    - Blessings
     

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