Honest questions about Calvinism's view of OT Election

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by William C, Feb 7, 2003.

  1. William C

    William C
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    Calvinism's view of OT election seems to contradict their view of NT election. Maybe I'm not understanding it properly, here are some questions that I'm seeking to understand:

    1) God was upset with Israel because they continually rebelled against Him, right? If God knows that Israel only has the ability to rebel, why would he grow angry with them for it? Would a man grow angry with His deaf son because he couldn’t hear His call? I don’t understand this concept. Could you please explain?

    2) The elect prophets of God did not fully rebel, they carried out God plan, sometimes even when they didn't want to (ie Jonah). So, the Calvinist would say that God's prophets were "elected" or "effectually called" Is that right?

    3) If God would have "effectually called" all Israelites they couldn't have rejected the prophets words. So, we know God didn't "effectually call" all Jews otherwise they wouldn't have continually rebelled and God wouldn't have grown angry with them in the first place. Is this correct?

    4) Can we conclude that the only ones who were Sovereignly Elected from Israel were the individuals who were "effectually called" to carry out God's Sovereign plan to bring redemption to the world (i.e. prophets, priests, kings, linage of Christ) while the rest of Israel rebelled, bringing God’s judgment upon them. Do I have this right?

    Please help me understand your viewpoint on this.

    Thanks for your time,
    Bro. Bill
     
  2. Primitive Baptist

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    "Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?" (Romans 9:18-21)

    Read Romans 9. Paul clearly addressed the issues of which you are inquiring. You are making a mistake by assuming that just because one is an Israelite by natural descent he is a child of God. However, this is not so. Paul illustrates that they are not all Israel which are of Israel (v. 6) by using Ishmael and Esau as prime examples. Even then, there was only a remnant according to the election of grace (Romans 11:5). The rest of the Israelites, Paul taught were blinded. The election obtained it (Romans 11:7) Of a truth, they are not all Israel which are of Israel (Romans 9:6). Therefore, God's salvivic plan was NEVER with all Israel without exception.

    "What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God." (Romans 9:22-26)
    Here is the answer to your question. Why did God endure with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction? The righteous judgments of God are more greatly manifested when their iniquity is full, and the grace of God is more greatly magnified when He rejects them and manifests His glorious grace toward the elect, in dealing far otherwise with them. You see, the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16) is comprised of those out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation (Revelation 5:9).
     
  3. William C

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    PB

    Thanks for the reply.

    Can I assume that points 2 and 3 are an accurate representation of your view since you didn't address them?

    With all due respect, you really didn't answer 4. I asked, "Is this right?" Any you quoted Romans again and restated yourself. I'm wanting to know, is my statement in #4 an accurate representation of Calvinism or not? If not, what's wrong with it? Thank you for you time.

    Bro. Bill
     
  4. Primitive Baptist

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    Statements 2, 3, and 4 are correct.
     
  5. William C

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    Ok, thank you.

    Now, if God only 'effectually called" those who were used for a divine purpose of bringing about redemption during OT times (ie prophets, priests, kings, lineage of Christ); then, we could assume that he also “effectually calls” His divinely appointed disciples who are entrusted to carry out His Sovereign plan of redemption through the implemenation of the New Covenant, just as He did in OT times? Right?
     
  6. Primitive Baptist

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    God not only effectually called the prophets and apostles, but all the elect. The same effectual power that made Paul an apostle by the will of God is the same power by which we believe, according to the New Testament. Are you implying that some only ministers are denied "free will" but everyone else possesses it?
     
  7. William C

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    Why would God's method's of election change? In the OT, you agreed that the ones who were "effectually called" were those who were appointed for a specific purpose in carrying out God's plan of redemption. He effectually called Jonah but not the Ninevahites. He left them to decide for themselves, they eventually rebelled and chose destruction. He elected Jeremiah but not those who listened to him for they too rejected his message.

    So, in the Old Testament God elected the prophets, but not their listeners. In the New Testament God elects the prophets (or apostles) and he elects their listeners?

    Why does He change his methods? Before he Sovereignly intervened in the lives of particular elect individuals who were instructed to take "the message of the Lord to the people." And He left those people to respond to that message however they wished to respond, did He not?

    Now your saying the same God Sovereignly elects and calls out the messengers and the ones receiving the message. Why did he change his methods? I thought God didn't change?

    Why didn't he just do that in the Old Testament times? If he would have elected Jeremiah and Jeremiah's audience then He wouldn't have gotten so peeved at them for their rebellion. It sounds like God shouldn't get mad at them, he should be mad at himself for not "effectually calling" them like he did Jeremiah.

    Your view is one big ol' paradox.

    Bro. Bill
     
  8. russell55

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    God effectually called all of the nation Israel who were faithful (and a few from outside the nation Israel--like Rahab). But by and large, the people were not effectually called. We know this because because for the most part they were unfaithful.

    This, BTW, is one of the big differences between the new covenant and the old. There was a problem with the people under the old covenant:

    For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says, "Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah--not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them says the Lord.

    There was a "fault" with the people under the old covenant--they were unfaithful. So God is instituting a new covenant, and this covenant solves that problem. How? Because under this covenant, every single person who is one of the people has God's laws put into their mind written on their heart.

    For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord; I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying "Know the Lord", for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.

    Under the new covenant, God performs an inner change in all who are His people, so that every single one of them knows Him in a saving way, and every single one will be faithful.

    I believe the "effectual call" (as you label it) is part of this inner work of the Spirit, this circumcision of the heart or writing on the heart that brings to all His people a saving knowledge of the Lord and keeps His people faithful.

    Why would God change His methods? I don't know. But scripture says He did. If you find it paradoxical, then so be it. If it's paradoxical, then it is a scriptural paradox. I don't know why we think we ought to be able to figure out everything God does without it seeming paradoxical to us. After all, our minds are finite--itty bitty pea brains, really, in comparison to the infinite understanding of our Heavenly Father.

    (Scripture quoted from Hebrews 8)

    [ February 08, 2003, 01:58 AM: Message edited by: russell55 ]
     
  9. William C

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    God called those in the nation because they were faithful? Or God called a some in the nation causing them to be faithful?

    If what you say is true, "by and large, the people were not effectually called...we know this because they were unfaithful." Then why did God send a prophet to call them to repentance? Was this just for show? According to you God must have been aware of the fact they weren't "effectually called", why would He waist the prophet's time "ineffectually calling" someone who can't respond? This is pure non-sense.

    "It's a paradox, His ways are higher than ours." Right!
     
  10. russell55

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    Deal with the scripture, Bill. If you think what I wrote is nonsense, then tell me why the scripture doesn't say what I say it says.....

    And why would you expect to have perfect understanding of everything God does? Why wouldn't we expect some of it to be "confusing" to us if now we only know in part?

    [ February 08, 2003, 02:12 AM: Message edited by: russell55 ]
     
  11. russell55

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    I'm sure that a few people were led by the Spirit to respond in repentance, and for those who didn't repent, the prophets words increased their guilt. God's word does not return void--it always accomplishes His purpose.
     
  12. sturgman

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    1) God was upset with Israel because they continually rebelled against Him, right? If God knows that Israel only has the ability to rebel, why would he grow angry with them for it? Would a man grow angry with His deaf son because he couldn?t hear His call? I don?t understand this concept. Could you please explain?

    _________________________________________________

    First, it is not written that Israel only had the ability to rebel. Second, God's sovereignty does not neuter him emotionally. He can fore ordain something and still greive over it. (i.e. the death of the wicked, or the crucifiction of His son)
     
  13. sturgman

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    I think your problem is that everyone of God's elect is not mentioned in scripture. Let me see if I can give you an illustration. Is Huck Finn the only boy that grew up on the bank of the Mississippi? Well by the text of Mark Twin you might assume that? Why? Because Mark Twain did not mention every jot and tittle that went on in His mind. That does not give us the right to assume that Huck Finn in the only boy that grew up there.

    Just because the bible gives stories of these mighty men, does not mean we can assume that only those mighty men were elect. It means that we can assume they were elect, but not that they were the only ones.

    I think you have to add a great assumption to say that this would be true.

    Does this make sense?
     
  14. Primitive Baptist

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    OLD TESTAMENT:

    "Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple." (Psalms 65:4)
     
  15. William C

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    posted February 08, 2003 02:02 AM                      
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    quote: by Russell55
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Deal with the scripture, Bill. If you think what I wrote is nonsense, then tell me why the scripture doesn't say what I say it says.....
    And why would you expect to have perfect understanding of everything God does? Why wouldn't we expect some of it to be "confusing" to us if now we only know in part?
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    I am dealing with the scripture. But the assumptions that I make about the text are easily reconciled within the whole counsel of the Word, your assumptions leave an unexceptable paradox that has caused years of Christian debate and disunity.

    Something not being perfectly clear is one thing. But to hold to a doctrine that creates a paradox that is non-sense to the majority of believers who come in contact with it, is another. God is not the author of confusion and even most Calvinist I've met admit to being confused by this teaching for some time before they learn all of the "pat answers" Calvinism teaches.

    Its a doctrine that no one would hold to unless it was introduced to them by another Calvinist. You all even say, "We are all born Arminian." Why is that? Could it be that the most basic understanding of the text is that the gospel presents a call for people to respond to.

    Yet, your teaching implies that the call of the gospel message is not really for everyone, just the elect, but the call to everyone is still geniune. THAT'S IS ABSURD! You've grown to accept it without challege because you've held to the system of belief for so long, but step back away from it and just take a look at what your belief system says:

    "God subjected the world to sin so as to destroy it and show His glory to those who were his objects of mercy. He made a plan in which He guarenteed that certain individuals in the world would avoid that destruction, while others would not have any hope of being saved from certain pain and torment for all of eternity.

    Calvinists continue...God does not take delight in the fact that most of His creation perishes, but the greater good, His own Glory, is the ulimate end. So, people must suffer for eternity without any opportunity or hope for salvation. Why? Because God can do what he pleases. This part of His plan doesn't please Him, mind you, but it is a necessary evil to accomplish His ultimate good--His own Glory. And everyone knows sending people, who have no control or ability over their actions, to an eternal place of torture brings Glory to the one who does it.

    But still it does not stop there....God also wanted to make sure those who had no geniune opportunity to be saved also were without excuse. So He fashioned within his plan appointed Prophets and later Apostles to go throughout the world and call all people to repentance and faith in God through Christ Jesus; they even leave a divinly inspired record of scripture for the world to read which also presents this universal call for the world to hear. This call is "geniune," though we are fully aware that only the few chosen of God are given the ability to respond. And those who don't have the ability to respond to that "geniune call" to come will be held responsible for something in which they have absolutly no control over. They, because they were created by God, born in a sinful world, and did not respond to a call they could not hear, will spend the rest of eternity in utter darkness and torment.

    Why? Because that makes us, the Elect, look skyward and proclaim, "Wow, what a glorious God you are! You torture people who never had a hope of being saved, some of them our mothers, brothers, and children, but you chose to save a wretch like me, so that makes it all ok. Yes, that plan of redemption does bring you glory. It shows us that you love yourself so much that your willing to create a plan in which the majority of your creation will most certainly suffer for an eternity to prove it to us. Oh, how loving and full of grace that is. To think of yourself first, while teaching us through Christ's example, to think of ourselves last.

    Jesus and the Father were one, but the attributes of the Father that Jesus failed to properly display were the attributes of divine selfishness and egocentrism. We deduce that from our paradoxes."


    What kind of "goodnews" do you call this? There is little "good" about that "news," at least for everyone but the "elect." Why present it to the world as being "goodnews." It should be called "I've got some 'goodnews' for some of you and 'badnews' for the rest."

    Just stop debating with me for a minute, and think about what it is you really believe about God. Stop looking at Him through your Calvinistic system and ask yourself, does this sound like my God whom I love and serve?

    Ask yourself, could I be bringing assumptions to the text of scripture that I shouldn't bring?

    I know you are all fuming at me and are going to tell me to ask myself those questions, but let me assure, I have--many times. I've struggled over these issues longer than you know and I can tell you, not with pride, but still with confidence, that the God presented to us in scripture is not the God presented to us in Calvinism. That is, of couse, IMHO.

    I know you are also going to say, "Where is your scripture!" With the exception of the Calvinistic proof texts that deal with "Predestination," or "election" or "effectual calling." The rest of the scripture presents the gospel in such a way that the average reader would assume their is a geniune call and a geniune response that is to follow. (Which is why people are "born Arminian" you don't have to explain this, it's not confusing).

    If not for those texts dealing with the Soveriegn intervention of God in the lives of particular people, Calvinism would not exist! Even Calvinist have admitted this. I've heard many say, "I fought against it" or "I hated it at first" or "The scripture finally convinced me." Thus proving that it is a "natural rendering" to believe that all people actually have the ability to respond to the gospel.

    So, if you want my scriptural support for my view read everything except your proof texts. Throughout the scriputure there is a obviously a geniune call to repentance and faith to all mankind, which implies that mankind actually has the ability to respond. You assume that all mankind doesn't have the ability to respond based upon texts that are misapplied to support your view. As I've presented in other posts, your proof text are based upon a hermeneutical assumption that cannot be proven. When the apostles spoke of "Predestination" such as in Eph. 1 they were speaking in reference to their own personal divinly UNIQUE calling. Why? To set themselves up as the authority to teach the truth (apostolic authority). Though it is an assumption to beleive that all of these passages didn't have all future believer in view, it is also an assumption to beleive that they did have them in view. Both assumptions are unrefutable, even by your own admission.

    Which assumption leads to clarity of the whole text? Which assumption produces paradox and confusion?

    You be the judge

    In search of the Truth,
    Bro. Bill
    (I'm still waiting for a reply to my comments on Eph 1. in the other post--I'm going there now to check it out)
     
  16. russell55

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    I meant deal with the Hebrews 8 scripture, which you haven't even touched. Why is that? If it doesn't teach that the people under the old covenant were somehow different than those under the new, then show me why it doesn't say that. And tell me what it does say. Don't just say it's an absurd idea because you find it confusing.....

    (It may be a bit before I get to the other thread--I really only have time to participate in one thread at a time--but I'm trying.....)
     
  17. Primitive Baptist

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    Not all Calvinists believe in the "offer of the gospel." I, for one, do not. The gospel is not an offer of anything. Look at the thread "Just what is Hyper-Calvinism?" That will give you some information. There are some Gospel Standard Strict Baptists and Primitive Baptists, including me, who have addressed this issue.
     
  18. William C

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    I meant deal with the Hebrews 8 scripture, which you haven't even touched. Why is that? If it doesn't teach that the people under the old covenant were somehow different than those under the new, then show me why it doesn't say that. And tell me what it does say. Don't just say it's an absurd idea because you find it confusing.....
    </font>[/QUOTE]I understand you time restraints, I'll wait for your response.

    As to Hebrews. You need to first understand that this post was started because Calvinist on this board were saying that God saved people in the same way in the OT as he did the NT. They were saying that my belief that God only "effectually calls" apostles is a change from the OT methods. I was providing proof that God did only appear to "effectually call" the prophets (generally speaking) because none of the rest of the Jews responded. I was showing that God's method of effectualling calling the prophets (or others used to accomplish His Sovereign plan) was consistant to his effectual calling of the apostles in the NT.

    The Hebrews passage could apply to those who are effectually called or those who believe through faith, so I don't see it as being relevant to the issue we are debating. Show me where I'm missing the debatable point in Hebrews 8? Thanks

    With Respect,
    Bro. Bill
     
  19. russell55

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    I also believe that God saved people in the same way in the OT and in NT: by grace through faith.

    I agree with you that God did not effectually call all of the Israelites. I would not agree that it was only the prophets, but I will agree that it was not even a majority of the Israelites, but rather a remnant of them: the remnant that remained faithful.

    Do you realize, though, that your logical argument here may prove more than you want it to? You use as evidence that not all the Jews were effectually called the fact that none of the rest of the Jews responded.

    So your logical argument goes like this:

    1. None of the Jews besides the prophets responded properly to God.

    2. Only those who are effectually called respond properly to God. (This premise is necessary in order to draw the conclusion you do from your first premise. You can't get from premise #1 to your conclusion without this statement being true.)

    Therefore: Only the prophets were effectually called.

    Can you see that if #2 is true, and only the prophets are effectually called under the new covenant, then we are all in deep doo-doo? Without the effectual call, we will be exactly like all the rest of the Jews in the OT: We will not respond to God!

    Anyway, let me explain what I believe. The Israelites under the old covenant were God's people by physical birth--every single one of them was elect to be part of God's "physical people"--one of the physical sons of Abraham.

    Not all of those physical sons of Abraham, however, were elect to salvation. Always, though, there was a remnant chosen by grace, a remnant that God reserved for himself, a remnant of true Jews (elect for salvation and effectually called) among the physical Jews (elect to be part of the nation Israel, but not elect to be part of the faithful remnant). (See Romans 11)

    And here's where the Hebrews 8 passage comes in--it explains the difference between the people under the old covenant and the people under the new. Under the new covenant, every single one of the people is faithful, and they are faithful because under the new covenant, God does a heart-changing, mind-altering work within every single one of his people. As a result of that inner work, every single one of them responds as they ought to to God--every single one of them knows Him as they ought to.

    Well, in your quote above, you tie proper response to God under the old covenant directly to the effectual call. If the effectual call is the key to proper response, doesn't it seem logical, then, that this new covenant inner work that ensures proper response is also the effectual call?

    [ February 11, 2003, 11:43 PM: Message edited by: russell55 ]
     
  20. William C

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    Just one thing you missed in my logic. The Holy Spirit had not yet been given and the gospel of grace, which is the power of God unto salvation, had not yet been revealed. With these two compontents at work influencing the defiled consciences of man, they could fulfill the only "work" of God, which was to simply to have faith in Christ, he would do the rest for them. OT Prophets preached the Law, not grace, for "God bound all men over to disobeidence so that he might have mercy on them all." Without the law their is no knowledge of sin, so the institution of the law was a necessary compontent to introducing the gosepel of Grace.

    Key point: The lack of response by the Jewish nation is not proof that they were unable to respond to the gospel of grace as it's presented in the NT, it only proves they were not able to fulfill the requirements of the law presented as a means to righteousness in the OT. The prophets, were apparently not held to the same standard, either that or they perfectly kept the law, which according to the scripture was impossible. Therefore, the prophets were, as you said saved by grace in their effectually calling as they were appointed to a divine task in salvific history.

    Therefore, my point stands.

    With Respect,
    Bro. Bill
     

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