Interpretaion of Scriptures in the Soverignty debate

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by IfbReformer, Jun 30, 2004.

  1. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
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    All throughout this section of the board we can see Calvinists and Arminians throwing Scriptures at eachother. (By the way I lean heavily toward the soverign grace position, while I might define some points a little differently than some of my Calvinists friends).

    The point I mean is this, to the casual observer, and especially to the new Christian, there seems to be scriptures that would support both points of view.

    You have two choices:

    1. You can take the scriptures that seem to support conditional election and universal atonement and use those as the base from which you interpret passages that seem to support unconditional election and particular redemption.

    2. You can take the scriptures that seem to support unconditional election and particular redemption and use those as the base from which you interpret passages that seem to support conditional election and universal atonement.


    So the question really is, which set of scriptures interprets the other? This is the 50 million dollar question.

    I will explain here why I believe the election passages interpret the "whosover will" and "not willing that any should perish" passages.

    I was raised in Arminian churches my whole life. In fact when I came to believe in soverign grace doctrines I was still attending an Arminian church.

    No Calvinist won me over. For years I thought soverign Grace doctrines made God out to be a monster and could not possibly be right.

    Then one night when I was in my early 20s, I was reading Romans chapter 9. I had read it many times before but always with the understanding I had been taught that it did not really mean what it seemed to say at face value - after all it could not possibly mean what it seemed to say at face value or that would make God a monster - or so I had been taught.

    I finally let it say what it said, and no longer did I think it made God out to be a monster, but a loving redeemer, who could have left all mankind to their just punishment, but in his mercy and Grace snatched a few from the fires of hell.

    I realized the potter did have the right to do as he would and he was not bound by my sense of fairness or how I thought he should be.

    Now I could read all those passages throughout the New Testament about God choosing and predestining his elect and take them at face value - it was an awsome feeling.

    But not long after excepting Romans 9 for what it said, I was again confronted by passages which seemed to say the opposite. So how did I come to the conclusion that the election passages interpret these other passages? I will attempt to show this below.

    For the sake of brevity, I will take only two verses from both sides and then explain.

    Here are two passages that seem to support the Arminian view:

    2 Peter 3:9
    "9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

    John 3:16
    16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

    Here are two passages that seem to support the Soverign Grace(Calvinist) view point:

    Romans 8:29-30(NIV)
    "29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified."

    2 Timothy 1:8-10(NIV)
    "8So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9who has saved us and called us to a holy life--not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."

    Anyone of these 4 passages I have quoted could be reinterpreted by one side or the other.

    Like the Arminians would say "foreknew" really means "foreknew would believe on him" and we soverign grace advocates would say "any" who he does not want to perish is really "any of his elect" and "wants everyone of his elect" to come to a knowledge of repentance.

    So that is what has been going on for centuries.

    So how did I come to the point where I believed the election passages interpret these other passages?

    It really centers around two this:

    I have never seen, and have yet to see one Arminian commentator handle Romans 9 with any amount of contextual accuracy.

    The entire chapter is about the soverignty of God, the first part starts out about God soverignty towards Israel, then it moves into God's soverignty in regards to the indvidual, then it finally moves into God's soverignty toward the relationship of the Jews and Gentiles.

    There are some very straight foward statements in Romans 9, and Paul anticipates throught the Spirit of God man's reaction to God's soverign will and gives straight foward answers.

    Another thing which has solidly kept me believing Romans 9 at face value is that there is not once chapter in the entire Bible that goes on about how free man is. Not one. Here in Romans 9 we are told of how soverign God is, and he can do exactly what he wants. But we are never given a treatise in the entire Bible about the freedom of man.

    So when I read one verse(not an entire treatise on the subject of man's free will) and it seems to say God is not will that any should perish, I must read in that in light of the clear treatise that God has given us in the book of Romans.

    This is sort of like when people try and change the qualifications for Pastors that Paul clearly gives by pointing to other verses and trying to negate the clear treatise he gives on the qualifacations for bishops.

    My point in all of this is to say, that when Paul takes and entire chapter under the inspiration of God to write about God's soverignty in election and explain it very cleary to us, we cannot take one sentence he says in another epistle, or that another Apostle like Peter says, or a line from another Gospel, and reinterpret his very clear words on the subject.

    IFBReformer
     
  2. npetreley

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    You have made excellent points. I sincerely identify with the process you went through, because I went through the same kind of process. It is INCREDIBLY LIBERATING when God reveals to us that HE IS GOD, and He does as He pleases. Suddenly the entire Bible takes on new meaning. Passages that were once impossible to comprehend become amazingly clear.

    One simply has to get to the point where one realizes one's opinion of what God must say or do to be "righteous", "fair", "just", etc., is beyond arrogance. We have no right to define such things.

    The best we can do is allow His Spirit to reveal (from life and the Word) aspects of His nature. And where the Bible is concerned, the first rule is to accept what it says at face value unless the Bible itself gives us reason to think otherwise. Not our opinions. Not our theology. Not our logic. Not our dreams. These may be useful AFTER we let the Bible speak for itself, but never before.

    Neither have I, and I think you've proved your point entirely on Romans 9.

    But I have to disagree slightly if you are saying that, outside of Romans 9, it is possible for Arminians to build as strong a case for their favorite verses as Calvinists can for their favorite verses.

    Arminian soteriology, especially on this board, seems to revolve entirely on three words (or their equivalents): "whosoever", "any" and "all". I've never seen an Arminian argue these from a rational perspective, though.

    It should be self-evident that "whosoever believes" means just that -- "whosoever believes", or "those who believe". This says absolutely nothing about why they believe - whether it is by free will or by divine election. IMO, neither Arminians nor Calvinists should interpret this verse in their favor, because it says NOTHING about election or free will. Yet Arminians chant John 3:16 over and over again as if it's proof of their soteriology.

    Worse, wherever you see the words "all" and "any", the first question one should ask is "all of whom?" or "any of whom?" Yet Arminians never ask this question of the verses they use to support their soteriology. They insist that "all" means "all men who ever lived, lives or shall live". They insist that "any" means "any man who ever lived, lives or shall live".

    Yet present an Arminian with the following verse, and you'll see mental gymnastics unlike any you've dealt with before as they try to deal with the word "all" in context that doesn't fit their soteriology:

    39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.

    There you have a verse that says OF ALL HE HAS GIVEN ME. The qualification is RIGHT THERE in the text. We don't need to guess or speculate about who is included in "ALL of whom?" because the verse tells you the answer. All of those Whom the Father has given Jesus. Suddenly "all" doesn't mean "all men who ever lived, lives or shall live", does it?

    Or does it? If the Arminian attempts to argue for this interpretation, he is assaulted by the rest of the verse:

    And of all those the Father has given Jesus, what will happen? Jesus shall lose NOTHING. No debate possible here, either. It's not "nothing of whom", it's literally (in the Greek) NOTHING PERISH.

    In black and white, indisputable language, it says that OF ALL WHOM THE FATHER GIVES JESUS, NONE WILL PERISH. The Armininan is now stuck between universal salvation and election, with nowhere left to go. Yet he continues to quote 2 Peter 3:9 ad nauseum, insisting that when someone says "all", they must mean "all men whoever lived, lives or will live".

    So while Romans 9 is, indeed, a clincher, there are OTHER clinchers in the Bible that I do not think an Arminian can explain (rationally) to support his position.
     
  3. Eric B

    Eric B
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    I notice on one hand, you're telling us to throw all our ideas, logic, out (never mind whether some of them might be the conscience God gave us. plus by principle we read about in the scripture.), on the premise that we cannot "comprehend" God's ways, but then cite as proof of this "Passages that were once impossible to comprehend become amazingly clear". Maybe it's by your "logic" that you have made them easier to comprehend. This works two ways, so it is tiring seeing Arminianism always accused of being driven by logic, when the Calvinist is the one talking the most about how he has God's methods all figured out. (except for the scandalous "why's" of course :rolleyes: )
    I'm sorry, but a teaching being "hard" and hypothetical does not prove it is true.

    And several of us here have dealt with Romans 9 showing clearly its immediate context (goups, while individual salvation is the overal context this is apart of), and without simply throwing up some other passage speaking of "all". You think Rom.9 is some sort of clincher, but none of you have ever really proven your case on it, except to just reiterate your position and say that since the ultimate point being built up is individual salvation, then the refereces to "destruction" must be individual (unconditionally) as well. So don't be so fast to always be declaring "victory".
     
  4. IfbReformer

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    npetreley,

    I agree that we could build just as strong an argument from other "favorite verses" we have.

    My main point is, while there are many verses that individually prove the doctrine of unconditional election - the "clincher" is that we have a treatise by Paul devoted to entirely to the subject. We are not talking about a verse here or verse there, we are talking about an entire section of scripture devoted purely to the topic of Gods soverign election.

    The Arminians can point to no such treatise in their favor on the free will of man and how God decided to "limit his soverignty" when it comes to man. So while we may both have a pile of favorite verses, they don't have an entire chapter dealing with subject.

    And the amazing thing to me is how Paul anticipated their response, and ask them how they as a man could talk back to God! Go Paul!

    I know because those verses hit me smack in the face when I was an Arminian.

    IFBReformer
     
  5. Ray Berrian

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    Someone said, 'The Arminians can point to no such treatise in their favor on the free will of man and how God decided to "limit his soverignty" when it comes to man.'

    Ray: 'John 3:16 is to be taken at face value; there is your treatise. What you people fail to realize is that God has exercise His full and not limited sovereignty by opening the Gospel to all sinners. [II Peter 3:9] If He did not offer salvation to all, He would become prejudicial and His Divine justice would quickly dwindle His Divine Being. Either the Gospel was and is offered to all sinners [I John 2:2] or it was and is not now offered to anyone.

    I think nearly all of us will agree that the Apostle Paul longs for his Hebrew to be won into a personal union to Jesus. We have no problem that God chose Isaac [Romans 9:10-11] to be the lineage through which our Lord was born.

    Verse 12 merely says that the elder son of Isaac would serve Jacob, the younger brother. In 12-14 there is no hint of election as to personal salvation or retribution. God was not unrighteous or unjust by selecting Jacob over Esau in the matter of human lineage leading to the birth of the Promised Son. No human election in these verses.

    God chose Moses to lead the people of God toward the promised land; there is no human Divine election here in verse 15-16.

    God raised up Pharaoh to show the mighty power of the Almighty Lord; [vs. 17b,c,d] you recall that for a long time Pharaoh refused to let God's people freedom to return to Israel. Pharaoh could have accepted the Lord into his life, but he had power and his own religion.

    In this whole passage of Romans nine you find no definitive statement speaking to the issue of saving the few and damning the majority, for His own glory and praise.

    Vs. 22 is a hypothetical question no matter which way you slice up this concept. God speaking through Paul does not say that the Lord is going to act in this way, but He could if He so desired. Jesus could have even held off His judgment of sinners longer if He so desired, that He might contrast His mercy on those who will receive His glory, inheritance leading to eternal life. Still we find no explicit and conclusive statement as to autocratically sending some to Heaven and the rest to Hell.

    Verse 24---God calls not only Jews but has been inclusive in His plan to save non-Hebrew persons.

    Verse 25 Osee/Hosea has said that the Gentiles will also become the Lord's people, a people who were at one time not beloved. Thank the Lord that He has included us in His great plan of eternal salvation.

    Verse 27 indicates that only a remnant will be worthy of Heaven because of their faith in their Messiah/Jesus. Most of the children of Israel will remain in a lost state.

    Verse 28-We think it is a long time for 6,000 years to pass; but to the Lord it is a brief interlude.

    Verse 30---Anyone who gets to Heaven will have to have faith in Jesus, who is our righteousness. [Romans 4:24] Even to this point there is no illustrative verse or passage saying that God damns sinners through His own elective process. Sorry.

    Verse 31-The Hebrew people tried to get saved or be saved by human striving to keep the Laws and the Ten Commandments. They did not trust in the Lord, thereby circumventing Jesus and His imputed righteousness which comes by faith. [Romans 5:1]

    Verse 32-Salvation comes to human beings/sinners by faith and not through attempting to keep the Law perfectly. They stumbled in this because of their holding to their old ways as to religion.

    Verse 33---Whoever believes in Jesus will not be ashamed to stand before Almighty God.

    This concludes Romans chapter nine and there is not a hint as to God unconditionally selecting men and women for Heaven and Hell. This is the faulty error of two men called friar John Calvin and Martin Luther.

    It comes down to this; the Lord is either a God of justice [Romans 2:11] and does not have respect toward certain human sinners, or He does favor only some and becomes a liar.

    Dr. Berrian
     
  6. Ray Berrian

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    Dave Hunt has written a great explanation of the errors of Calvinism. They hate his book because he pounds to dust this most despised doctrine of unconditional election. The title is "What Love Is This?" And for some of you who are against an educated clergy you should find solace in this man's writing because I don't think he has a doctorate in theology, or may not even have been a pastor. I don't know his full background, but I personally, did not find anything that I disagreed with as to his interpretations. I recommend this book.
     
  7. npetreley

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    The following takes place BEFORE Moses even went back to Egypt, let alone approach Pharaoh:

    Exodus 4:21 And the LORD said to Moses, "When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.

    There you have, from the very words of God to Moses, that God intends IN ADVANCE to harden the heart of Pharaoh so that Pharaoh will not let His people go.

    God had a plan, and that was to make it so difficult for Pharaoh to let His people go that by the time Pharaoh gave in, he would have been pushed so far over the edge that he would not only let His people go, he would let them plunder Egypt as they left!

    If you want proof, just look EARLIER in the story...

    3:19 But I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand. 20 So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go. 21 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. 22 But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians."

    Now let's go over this again. What was God's purpose in raising up Pharaoh?

    16 But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.

    Pharaoh had no choice but to play the part appointed to him, and it was all for God's glory.
     
  8. Ray Berrian

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    npetreley,

    I am not surprised that you raised this verse out of the Bible for us to consider. Ultimately, God did harden Pharaoh's heart toward Himself.

    The Lord God foreknew [Romans 8:29] that Pharaoh would not believe in His salvation so He willed that Pharaoh would refuse to let God's people go. Therefore, he was used so that the Lord could show to us His mighty power to break down a human being, though an Egyptian king.

    These verses point out that Pharaoh hardened his own heart and life. Take time to mark them down in your Bible.

    Exodus 8:15, 19, 32
    Exodus 9:7, 34, 35
    I Samuel 6:6

    The whole issue is not whether God chose Pharaoh to be damned forever in Hell, but it is rather that Pharaoh thought he was mightier than the Lord our God. Since God is all powerful, He always demonstrates His will in the historicity of humankind. The Lord's providence is always going on before our very eyes.

    Dr. Berrian
     
  9. npetreley

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    Yes, they occur AFTER God had already told Moses that He would harden Pharaoh's heart.

    It was a done deal. God did not wait until Pharaoh hardened his own heart and then decide to harden it, as so many try to argue. God had decided to harden Pharaoh's heart before Moses had even entered Egypt, and it was all part of a master plan to not only free His people, but to free them EXACTLY according to plan -- that the Hebrews would plunder the Egyptians as they left.

    One can argue that God foreknew Pharaoh would harden his own heart, but that is academic and irrelevant. Once God said to Moses that He would harden Pharaoh's heart and how it would all turn out, Pharaoh no longer had a choice in the matter. If Pharaoh COULD have chosen otherwise at that point, it would have either surprised God (which is impossible) or made God a liar (which is also impossible).
     
  10. Skandelon

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    nick and Ifb,

    I had a similiar experience when I was nineteen, but since then I've come to understand Romans 9 in its context. Nick, you brought up Pharoah as if Arminians don't agree that God hardens people's hearts, but that is the very blindspot of your theology. God DOES hardened people. During the time Romans 9 was being written God was in the midst of hardening the Jewish nation making them unable to see, hear and understand the message of truth. He was hiding the gospel in parables when Jesus was on earth and was telling his followers to keep his miracles a secret.

    Shhhh, don't tell anyone but Arminians actually believe that Jesus didn't want to everyone to believe in him.

    Just like God used Pharoah's unbelief to bring redemption, he used the Jews unbelief to bring redemption. He hardened them in their unbelief to accomplish His purposes through them. Is He just in doing so? That is the question Paul answers for us in Romans 9.

    God can have mercy on dirty Gentiles and he can hardened his "elect" people. So why would God still blame Jews if indeed they were hardened? Well, that is not a question God has to answer but I think its clear from the context that God had held out his hand all day to the Jewish nation (Rom 10) and they rejected him by their own choosing (Matt. 23:37).

    Was their being hardened unto certain death and condemnation? NO. Read Romans 11. Even their being hardened was an act of mercy. Why? Because it allowed for the ingrafting of the Gentiles which would provoke some Jews to envy and salvation (vs. 14).

    Calvinists know all about Romans 9 and think they have it all figured out but they seem to disappear when it come to chapter 11. Revealing.
     
  11. ILUVLIGHT

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    Hi IFBreformer;
    Did you notice that the first two verses you said the Arminians use to support there view are by two seperate witnesses Peter and John. But the last two are by one witness Paul. Can you provide more than one witness?
    In Romans 8:29 where it says that "those he called, he also justified;" sort of knocks down the individual election Calvinism claims because it says in ;Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen. So is everyone called justified?. even though they are not elected.

    Actually the verses you've suggested do not support Sovereignty as described by most Calvinist at all. Neither one says man has no choice in his own Salvation. Man having a choice doesn't have anything to do with God's Sovereignty. Since it is His will that everyone be saved.
    Luk 6:47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like:
    Luk 6:48 He is like a man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.
    Luk 6:49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

    Is it possible to hear the gospel and understand it and yet not accept the Lord as Savior? If so how does this effect God's Sovereignty?
    May God Bless You;
    Mike [​IMG]
     
  12. Eric B

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    Here we go again :rolleyes:
    Yeah, it hit me in the face too, but then I read it in it's context, and saw that was not what it was talking about. It looks so at first glance, so Peter warns us that Paul's writings are easy to misunderstand. (2 Pet.3:15, 16)

    Once again:
    WHAT is really being asked here? "Yet" find "fault" for what? "Why would God unconditionally choose someone else and not me/[others], and save them by 'enabling' them to repent, yet leave me/[others] in this helpless state, dead in sin, unable to repent, yet still hold me/[them] responsible [i.e. 'find fault'] for my sin, and send me/[them] to Hell when I/[they] couldn't even 'resist His will' to place me/[them] in this state (before I[/they] were born, even) in the first place?". This is what people are asking Calvinists today, who then in turn simply project this into the text (as do many questioners who don't know any better!(. But is it in the context what the hypothetical person was asking Paul? It looks like it at first glance, and Calvinists assume so, so everytime someone questions or challenges "God holding helpless, 'totally unable' sinners responsible for their sin they couldn't repent of", the Calvinists just throw up the next verse as the quick magical answer. But "ability to repent" is not being discussed here. Neither is any inescapable state or fate.
    Paul had just mentioned Jacob, Esau and Pharaoh, These may be individuals, but what were they being used to illustrate? Step back another few verses: "not the children of the flesh are children of God; but the children of the promise are counted for a seed." (v.8) Paul argues that simply being "Abraham's children" does not make one a child of promise, because for one thing, Abraham had other children beside just the Jews. But God had declared that "In Isaac shall your Seed be called." (v.7) Being from Isaac also wasn't enough, because Esau also was his child. But God had still unconditionally chosen Jacob (v.12, 13), not because of any righteousness of his (Jews thought that their forefathers must have been chosen because of being more righteous, thus "works" rather than "Him that calleth"), for they were not even yet born when God made this decision.(v.11) So the whole point here is that it must be more than physical lineage from Abraham. The next step is that even being of Jacob's physical lineage is not enough.
    Before one jumps to the clay "vessels", let's for once look more at the second part of v.20 (the beginning of Paul's answer to this question): "Shall the thing formed say to Him who formed it, 'Why have you made me this way'?". Made them what way? Predestined to Hell? Sinners who "chose to sin in Adam" (legally charged with the choice of a 'federal head') and are "allowed to go the way their 'totally depraved' nature takes them"? Helplessly unable to repent, yet "held responsible" to repent and left in that state? Passed over for "saving grace" and therefore doomed to suffer the eternal "justice" for their sins? A reader would have no reason to even assume they were any of those things in the first place! So you just can't say "Paul was answering the objection to God's unconditional election and preterition process"!
    The focus is on "children of promise" as opposed to "children of the flesh".
    This should prove once and for all that the question and Paul's answer have nothing to do with Calvinistic reprobation or preterition. God has declared that there are two groups: Physical Israel (which is in the same spiritual status as the rest of humanity) and spiritual Israel (Romans 2:28, 29). "Why did God make us physical Israel only if that doesn't make us the true children of promise? As much as we try so hard to keep the Law He gave us, why is he still finding fault or not accepting us as we are? Didn't He create us as His people? Could we have resisted His will to create us this way, if this is not what He counts?" HERE is where Paul says "who are you to reply back to God?" He as "the Potter" sovereignly laid out a plan, involving two categories of people; the first had a purpose, but this purpose is not the salvation of the individuals in the group, but to pave the way for the second. It's this second group one must be apart of, and who are we to question this plan? (This still says nothing about a person's inability to cross from one group to the other. The people were stubborn and refused to give up their notion of inheritance, which they would have to do to become apart of the children of promise. This also would be analogous to modern unbelievers saying "Why are you saying one has to be a born-again Christian to be saved?". "Why does God find fault with me as I am? I'm a good person! I am a 'child' of his since he created me! He made me this way (by his own will), so he should understand!" But to them too, it's not "children of the flesh" who are counted, and not by our own self-justification!). All of this is apart of the theme or "long argument" Paul is making throughout the whole book of Romans.

    Calvinists claim that this interpretation removes the "sword" or "offense"of the Gospel, and the fact that Paul "anticipates objection" is the ultimate proof that their position is true. But their hypothesis is not the only doctrine in the world that is "offensive" to people. They also claim "If you haven't struggled with this passage, you don't understand it properly", but this "sword" was not intended for believers, who are the ones opposing the doctrine. Yet it is truly a sword and offense for those it was intended for. (It is certainly offensive to unbelievers, as in the above illustration!) And this was the way the Church had read the passage for the first four centuries before the idea of unconditional "reprobation" was first posed.

    So no, it is not a whole chapter supporting Calvinism.
     
  13. Skandelon

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    Amen Eric!

    When I was a Calvinist I thought the same way. I thought the "light" had come on and I finally had figured it out, but when I came to understand the context of Romans 9 a real light came on and all the pieces began to really fit together. Romans 11 actually makes since to me now but I remember always being confused by it before.

    If Romans 9 was about Calvinism that would mean that all those "being shown mercy" would be the elect and all those being "hardened" would be the non-elect, right?

    Someone please explain to me how a non-elect person might be saved? Because in Romans 11:14 Paul explains how those who have been hardened might be provoked to envy and be saved.
     
  14. Ray Berrian

    Ray Berrian
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    Anyone can be saved until their moment of death. Now is the time to prepare to meet Christ. All sinners will appear at the Great White Throne Judgment as stated in Revelation 20:11-15. The elect become the elect when they receive Jesus into their lives in a complete dependance on Him. Today is the day of salvation. [John 3:16]
     
  15. Eric B

    Eric B
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    I should add, it hit me in the face when I read it in light of the Calvinistic interpretation (In my case, a copy of the Westminster confession). Before that, I had never even thought that, and while I didn't understand everything, and thought God was being a bit hard on Pharaoh and Esau (still, there was never any question on that, since it is right from Genesis and Exodus), still that elementary understanding was closer to the truth. (Paul was illustrating salvation in terms of Israel versus the body of elect today). When you see the Calvinistic creeds and commentaries take it their way, it looks like it all fits, and then it "hits you inthe face", but such effect does not always prove a doctrine true.
     
  16. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    Eric,

    You are right on the money. I remember when I learned the Calvinistic dogma and I thought, "This must me true, how could anyone see it any other way?" It wasn't until I studied about the judicial hardening of the Jews and the issues Paul was dealing with as the Gentiles were just being revealed as being chosen by God all along.

    I guess in a sense there was debate on election going on. The Jews thought they were elected and all the other nations weren't and Paul was showing them that God can harden the so-called "elect" Jew and show mercy to a "non-elect" dirty rotten Gentile. That was a scandelous message in that day.

    Its just unfortunate that Calvinists pluck it from its context and prop it up to support their claims that God created a system where all men were born hardened and that he would only unhardened some of them without any regard to their response to Him.
     

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