The basis of God's predestination

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by trueliberty, Dec 9, 2001.

  1. trueliberty

    trueliberty
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    My understanding is that Calvinists believe God's predestination is based on the sovereign choice of an Almighty God completely independent of the will of the believer or any other criteria. and that Arminians believe that God's predestination is based on God's knowing who would be saved beforehand (or his foreknowledge). Is that the 2 positions relative to this doctrine in a nutshell, or am I misunderstanding something?

    If the Calvinist position is correct as I have hopefully correctly stated, then how does one explain 1 Peter 1:2, and Romans 8:29, especially the ideas of elect according to the foreknowledge of God and God's predestinating those he foreknew?

    If the Calvinist position is correct then why doesn't that conflict with God's promise that there will be no respect of persons with God (Romans 2:11)?
     
  2. TomVols

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    Well, there are other strains of Calvinism and Arminianism that vary in degree from the caricatures you have stated. Some calvinists would say that God's decree is the causative factor but not the only factor in salvation.
     
  3. Jeff Weaver

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    In a nutshell, my point on the foreknowledge thing is that God being God could have forknown some other version of events. The power of his knowledge is causative, IMO.

    Did that make sense?

    Jeff
     
  4. Pastor Larry

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by trueliberty:
    My understanding is that Calvinists believe God's predestination is based on the sovereign choice of an Almighty God completely independent of the will of the believer or any other criteria. and that Arminians believe that God's predestination is based on God's knowing who would be saved beforehand (or his foreknowledge). Is that the 2 positions relative to this doctrine in a nutshell, or am I misunderstanding something?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    IN a nutshell, yes you are right. There are some variations however.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>If the Calvinist position is correct as I have hopefully correctly stated, then how does one explain 1 Peter 1:2, and Romans 8:29, especially the ideas of elect according to the foreknowledge of God and God's predestinating those he foreknew? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Foreknowledge is causative; it always refers to a person not to a thing. In other words, foreseen faith is never the object of foreknowledge as some would have us believe.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>If the Calvinist position is correct then why doesn't that conflict with God's promise that there will be no respect of persons with God (Romans 2:11)?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The Arminian position is the one that would conflict with God being a respecter of persons. The Arminian idea has God giving salvation to those who choose him. Only in Calvinistic view of soteriology, does all man start at the same place -- hopeless and unable to do anything about it.
     
  5. trueliberty

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    only in Calvinistic view of soteriology, does all man start at the same place

    Well, Pastor Larry, Arminians believe man starts at the same place also---all have an opportunity and responsibility to accept the gospel of Christ. You say foreknowledge is causative and always refers to a person. You also agreed to the Calvinist's premise of an Almighty God making a sovereign choice independent of the will of the believer. I ask again, how does this not conflict with God's promise that he does not respect the person (Romans 2:11) Crossreference to Acts 10:34--he makes no difference with Jew or Gentile also with Ephesians 6:9--he makes no difference with bond or free. If my unsaved neighbor is not sovereignly chosen by God, doesn't that make a big difference with me and all the believers on this Board?

    If forseen faith is not the object, then what do the words "according to foreknowledge" of 1 Peter 1:2 mean to you? Calvinists would render the phrase "elect according to the sovereign decree of God the Father". the idea of sovereign grace teaching if I'm not mistaken.
     
  6. Chris Temple

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by trueliberty:
    Well, Pastor Larry, Arminians believe man starts at the same place also---all have an opportunity and responsibility to accept the gospel of Christ. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    And this is were they err. All do nto have the opportunity - as all men are spritually dead and unable to dscern anything spiritual, until they are regenerated (born again) - but all men are responsible to believe in Christ.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>You say foreknowledge is causative and always refers to a person. You also agreed to the Calvinist's premise of an Almighty God making a sovereign choice independent of the will of the believer.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Certianly God makes all choices independent of men. Thanks be to God He does! Can you imagine a world where God had to consult with fallen depraved men?? God is holy and righteous and glorious and perfect and every decision he makes - salvation and destruction - is holy and righteous and good. The problem with men is they want to impose their view of what is good and right upon God. God is the standard, not man. And although God chooses what he will apart from man's will, he does nto save man apart from his will. Man is made able to choose salvation.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I ask again, how does this not conflict with God's promise that he does not respect the person (Romans 2:11) Crossreference to Acts 10:34--he makes no difference with Jew or Gentile also with Ephesians 6:9--he makes no difference with bond or free. If my unsaved neighbor is not sovereignly chosen by God, doesn't that make a big difference with me and all the believers on this Board? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I'm not quite sure what you're asking here, but God has chosen to call to himself a people out fo every tribe and tongue and nation of the world for His greater glory. We as believers are commanded to participate in that mission.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>If forseen faith is not the object, then what do the words "according to foreknowledge" of 1 Peter 1:2 mean to you? Calvinists would render the phrase "elect according to the sovereign decree of God the Father". <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    As in Ephes. 1:3-9?
    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, [4] even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
    [5] he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, [6] to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. [7] In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, [8] which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight
    [9] making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ

    Although foreknowledge contains the idea of omniscience, of God "knowing" what will occur, it is not limited to that nor is it the primary meaning. Foreknowedge means primarily to forelove intimately, those who are his chosen. God does not merely know what will occur but has ordained all things that will occur.

    Isaiah 46:9-11 (ESV)
    remember the former things of old;
    for I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like me,
    [10] declaring the end from the beginning
    and from ancient times things not yet done,
    saying, 'My counsel shall stand,
    and I will accomplish all my purpose,'
    [11] calling a bird of prey from the east,
    the man of my counsel from a far country.
    I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
    I have purposed, and I will do it.

    Isaiah 45:5-9 (ESV)
    I am the Lord, and there is no other,
    besides me there is no God;
    I equip you, though you do not know me,
    [6] that people may know, from the rising of the sun
    and from the west, that there is none besides me;
    I am the Lord, and there is no other.
    [7] I form light and create darkness,
    I make well-being and create calamity,
    I am the Lord, who does all these things.
    [8] "Shower, O heavens, from above,
    and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
    let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
    let the earth cause them both to sprout;
    I the Lord have created it.
    [9] "Woe to him who strives with him who formed him,
    a pot among earthen pots!
    Does the clay say to him who forms it, 'What are you making?'
    or 'Your work has no handles'?
     
  7. Pastor Larry

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by trueliberty:
    Well, Pastor Larry, Arminians believe man starts at the same place also---all have an opportunity and responsibility to accept the gospel of Christ.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Arminianism must logically hold that smarter people, those who live in evangelical areas (e.g., as opposed to Muslim states), start with a better opportunity. Therefore, God would be respecting those with greater opportunity.

    Biblically, all man starts at the same position: dead in sin and totally unable to do anything about it (Eph 2:1-3; Rom 3:10-17).

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I ask again, how does this not conflict with God's promise that he does not respect the person (Romans 2:11) <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I think the burden of proof is on you to explain why certain people (based on intellect, opportunity, socio-economic condition, location, etc) do not constitute a violation of the principle you are claiming. In biblical soteriology, God chooses some for salvation without respect for anything whatsoever except his sovereign pleasure. In your view, God chooses those who are smart enough to choose him (leaving the dumb ones behind); he chooses those who are blessed enough to live in an evangelical societies (leaving those behind who had the unfortune to be born in a Muslim state); etc. God would be giving preference to those who are the beneficiary of something they could do nothing about.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>If forseen faith is not the object, then what do the words "according to foreknowledge" of 1 Peter 1:2 mean to you? Calvinists would render the phrase "elect according to the sovereign decree of God the Father". the idea of sovereign grace teaching if I'm not mistaken.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    No Calvnists would render it "according to the foreknowledge" because that is what the text says. The question is, What is foreknown? It is the person that is foreknown, not that someone might have faith. In Rom 8:29, it is a person that is foreknown, not faith.
     
  8. Chick Daniels

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    Another approach I frequently hear from Arminians I know is to divide Salvation from Sanctification and thereby pursue the interpretation that election, foreknowledge, and pre-destination has nothing at all to do with salvation, but everything to do with Christian growth. There are so many problems with this position it is hard to believe that folks hold it, but they do.

    Chick
     
  9. trueliberty

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    I don't deny the choice and election of God because indeed Eph 1:3-9 says so. But the foreknowledge comes before the choice, and the choice is dependent on the foreknowledge Sure, the election is also according to the good pleasure of his will (Eph 1:5)

    But what constitutes his will concerning this? Well--he wants everyone in the world to be saved (2 Peter 3:9, 1 Tim 2:4 etc). He wants all that are saved to be conformed to the image of Christ and to be adopted children by Jesus Christ unto himself( Romans 8:29,Eph1:5). OK---did he fail in the first point but succeed in the second? NO!! He didn't ordain that all be saved else all would be saved. But he did ordain that all who ARE saved will be eternally saved. Acts 13:48 is not a problem because the ordaining to eternal life WHEREVER it's stated is based on God's foreknowledge.
    In other words, there is more than one aspect of the outworking of God's will. The confusion with so many is the mixing up of God's will for the eternal salvation of the saved with the choosing of God concerning who would be saved.

    God does not merely know what will occur but has ordained all things that will occur
    Including Sept 11-pastor Larry?? (Just curious) Charles C. Ryrie concerning election states the matter well:
    "Election is more than just foreseeing who would eventually believe, it is the action of choosing those who would believe"
    I agree! But it doesn't mean choosing those who are to believe. There's a big difference.

    Pastor Larry:
    Explain why certain people.. etc etc.. do not constitute a violation of the principle you are claiming

    Didn't we have this discussion before? Maybe I'll start a new thread on it soon so I can respond to your examples point by point.
     
  10. Eric B

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Arminianism must logically hold that smarter people, those who live in evangelical areas (e.g., as opposed to Muslim states), start with a better opportunity. Therefore, God would be respecting those with greater opportunity.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Not necesarily. Many people born in Christian areas, including evangelical, or more closed to the Gospel than those who have never heard of it, or who have heard only about it through others (Like in Muslim lands). We all have our sins and hypocrisies, and many have been turned off by this, especially in this society, where we had such high ideals, but didn't live up to them with all the racism and abuse of the past. Much of my family seems to be totally unreachable, while those in Muslim lands who witness the sin and hypocrisy of that paradigm might be more open to the Gospel. So everyone has an equal opportunity to choose Christ. Even those who have never hear of them can still deduce a God (Romans 1) and cry out to Him.

    members.aol.com/etb700/predestination.html
     
  11. Pastor Larry

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by trueliberty:
    Acts 13:48 is not a problem because the ordaining to eternal life WHEREVER it's stated is based on God's foreknowledge.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Which text did you find that in? It is not in any text of Acts 13:48 that I can find.

    There are two aspects of God's will (most agree). His desired will and his decreed will.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> The confusion with so many is the mixing up of God's will for the eternal salvation of the saved with the choosing of God concerning who would be saved.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    You are still denying that God chose people to salvation such as 2 Thess 2:13 clearly states. God did choose those who would be saved. If he had not, there would be no one saved.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>God does not merely know what will occur but has ordained all things that will occur
    Including Sept 11-pastor Larry?? (Just curious)
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Yes

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Charles C. Ryrie concerning election states the matter well:
    "Election is more than just foreseeing who would eventually believe, it is the action of choosing those who would believe"
    I agree! But it doesn't mean choosing those who are to believe. There's a big difference.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    How can you agree with this based on what you previously said?
     
  12. Pastor Larry

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    Wrong on several counts:

    1. Those in an evangelical society, simply by virtue of the fact that they have a better opporutunity to hear, have a better opportunity to receive. Your conclusion however, strengthens my point, namely that people are simply hardened to the gospel and will not accept it no matter what the context, until God does something in the heart.

    2. So everyone has an equal opportunity to choose Christ. Even those who have never hear of them can still deduce a God (Romans 1) and cry out to Him.

    There is not enough information in general revelation to save. It is only sufficient to condemn. There is no "gospel in the stars." Everyone who looks only at general revelation suppresses the truth in unrighteousness. Furthermore, everyone does not have equal opportunity to choose Christ if for no other reason simply because they have not heard of Christ. You cannot believe with hearing (Rom 10:14).
     
  13. trueliberty

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    Quote: "Which text did you find that in
    I was only giving comments on Acts 13:48--last part of the verse. Being ordained to eternal life means being part of the elect, and I simply make the point that the statement the verse gives and any similar verses makes sense when you see this election is according to God's foreknowledge.
    By the way, God knows those who are his (2 Tim 2:19), and so God knows who will trust Christ. Obviously, it's a person that is foreknown, but why would one separate the person from the saving faith he/she has?

    Chris Temple is right, God is sovereign but in salvation he uses the will of man in the process. My quote from Charles Ryrie doesn't deny that. Do I detect a slight different of opinion between Chris and Pastor L concerning the role of man's will?

    :eek:

    Funny, I was going to quote 2 Thess 2:13 and hadn't yet. God chose, correct. God did it from the beginning, correct. Why did he choose? Doesn't say here, you look at other scriptures for that, as we've done. So why? Because of his foreknowledge. Because of his will. His will and decree does not operate apart from this fore-knowledge. And Pastor L, Foreknowledge is the first step in the process. As you compare all the scriptures we've all quoted so far, you can see that.

    What else do we learn from this Thess. verse? Well, this choice occurs via 2 ways. We are set apart or sanctified by the Holy Spirit, and we believe in the truth or agree with the conviction and message of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7)

    Eric---you're barking up the correct tree. Assuming those in Muslim countries have an unequal opportunity to trust Christ from those here in the US is just that, a human assumption. You don't know that! The Dalits of India ("the untouchables" as they are called) seemingly have a enormous opportunity to trust Christ. New Englanders have plenty of churches to choose from yet have the lowest percentage of people born-again, lowest percentage of Bible readers etc. Again, you just don't know.

    Comment more later

    Dave
     
  14. Pastor Larry

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by trueliberty:
    I was only giving comments on Acts 13:48--last part of the verse.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I guess my point is that the verse doesn't say anything other than that they believed because they were appointed to believe. Appointed (tithemi I believe) is the key word. It did not spontaneous arise from apart from the appointment.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I simply make the point that the statement the verse gives and any similar verses makes sense when you see this election is according to God's foreknowledge.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Yes but foreknowledge is causative, not reactive. God does not look through the proverbial corridors of time to see who will choose Him and then elect them. That would render election useless because if he sees that someone is going to choose him anyway, election serves no purpose.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Chris Temple is right, God is sovereign but in salvation he uses the will of man in the process. My quote from Charles Ryrie doesn't deny that. Do I detect a slight different of opinion between Chris and Pastor L concerning the role of man's will? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I agree with that. But what I have understood you to say is a long ways from what Chris, I, and the quote from Ryrie says. I do not believe that Chris and I differ on this point. Do you understand me to say that God works against man's will? I say no such thing. I say that God changes man's will so that man will willingly and freely choose him.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Foreknowledge is the first step in the process. As you compare all the scriptures we've all quoted so far, you can see that.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I agree with that. But we define foreknowledge differently.
     
  15. Mikayehu

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by true liberty:
    If forseen faith is not the object, then what do the words "according to foreknowledge" of 1 Peter 1:2 mean to you? Calvinists would render the phrase "elect according to the sovereign decree of God the Father". the idea of sovereign grace teaching if I'm not mistaken. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    If somebody already adressed this, I apologize, but I didn't see this directly dealt with. I don't think anyone disagrees with the fact that "to know" is used often in Scripture of much more than mere knowing facts beforehand. So when the prophet states "You only have I known of all the families of the earth," he obviously doesn't mean God was only aware of the nation of Israel. It means that only Israel was a member of God's covenant relationship. There are three main NT passages which strongly support this understanding of "foreknowledge" in respect to salvation. First, if the Granville Sharpe Rule is followed, then Acts 2:23 defines foreknowledge as "determinate counsel."

    Secondly, the word for "foreknowledge" in I Peter 1:2 is also used in I Peter 1:20. It is assumed that these words mean the same thing until proven otherwise. I Peter 1:20 states that Christ was "foreknown" (KJV - foreordained) from the foundation of the world. To take "foreknown" in 1:20 to mean mere previous knowledge is to deprive this passage of any real meaning. So, I Peter 1:20 defines foreknowledge as foreordination.

    Finally Rom. 11:2 says "God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew." This statement is followed by a description of Israel's unfaithfulness. Again, this passage explains that "foreknowing" involves a relationship and a covenant, not mere knowledge of facts.

    So, when Rom. 8 states that God foreknew people (not their faith), it seems most natural to take it in the same sense (a relationship and a covenant determined from the foundation of the world). He chose "to know" me.
     
  16. trueliberty

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    Quote: "if he sees that someone is going to choose him anyway, election serves no purpose"

    Disagree! Surprised? :rolleyes:
    Election serves the purpose stated at the end of Romans 8:28 and defined in verses 29-30, in other words eternal security or if you prefer the perseverance of the saints. Mikayehu's reference to a relationship or covenant I think shows this idea of election.

    Actually, Pastor L --I think we agree about a lot. I'm not surprised [​IMG]




    "Acts 2:23 defines foreknowledge as determinate counsel"
    Where in the verse does it define it as such? There are 2 different ideas listed. Foreordination, and foreknowledge. They aren't the same. Maybe you think the second idea is an expansion or clarification of the first--is that the Granville rule?, but that's not what's being said. Of course, if there was a bible verse that used those words concerning my election, then I would change my position.
     
  17. Chris Temple

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Mikayehu:


    Secondly, the word for "foreknowledge" in I Peter 1:2 is also used in I Peter 1:20. It is assumed that these words mean the same thing until proven otherwise. I Peter 1:20 states that Christ was "foreknown" (KJV - foreordained) from the foundation of the world. To take "foreknown" in 1:20 to mean mere previous knowledge is to deprive this passage of any real meaning. So, I Peter 1:20 defines foreknowledge as foreordination.

    Finally Rom. 11:2 says "God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew." This statement is followed by a description of Israel's unfaithfulness. Again, this passage explains that "foreknowing" involves a relationship and a covenant, not mere knowledge of facts.

    So, when Rom. 8 states that God foreknew people (not their faith), it seems most natural to take it in the same sense (a relationship and a covenant determined from the foundation of the world). He chose "to know" me.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Correct. Good post. And a Calvinist at BJU? Miracles DO still occur! ;)
     
  18. Pastor Larry

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by trueliberty:
    Election serves the purpose stated at the end of Romans 8:28 and defined in verses 29-30, in other words eternal security or if you prefer the perseverance of the saints. Mikayehu's reference to a relationship or covenant I think shows this idea of election.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    But if they are going to believe anyway, then election is unnecessary because the things mentioned will happen anyway. Eternal security is because of election but only because it is brings belief. Election secures belief; not responds to belief. I don't think a covenant per se has anything really to do with this issue. The Scriptural covenants refer to the ABrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic, and New.

    Chris, As for Calvinists at BJU, don't be too surprised.
     
  19. Chris Temple

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Pastor Larry:


    Chris, As for Calvinists at BJU, don't be too surprised.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Good news!! :D
     
  20. Mikayehu

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    Trueliberty,
    Let me clarify a little bit on Acts 2:23. I believe that this was the weakest of the three passages I mentioned. The reason being is that the Granville Sharp rule is somewhat debated; however, it is certainly the normal working of Greek. Perhaps this quote states it best. <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>The words boule (cousel) and prognosis (foreknowledge) are in a construction called Granville Sharp's rule, where two nouns are in the same case, connected by kai (and), the first noun preceded by the article, the second noun without the article. The rule states that in this construction, the second noun refers to the same thing to which the first noun does, and is a further description of it. That means that boule and prognosis refer to the same thing, the act of selecting the One out of the Persons of the Godhead who would be the Lamb slain as the Sacrifice for sin. The word prognosis, therefore means more here than mere previous knowledge, even though that knowledge be part of the omniscience of God. It partakes of the nature of boule, and is part and parcel of the same act. It means "foreordination." Wuest's Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, Vol 1, Romans, page 142. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> So, this is why a said that Acts 2:23 defines "foreknowledge" as "foreordination."

    Oh, and Chris and Pastor Larry, as for Calvinists at BJU, that really is somewhat of an interesting situation. Almost everyone I know in seminary and most of the Bible faculty are either heavily "Calvinistic" or flat-out 5-point Calvinists. The policy of the school, however, is that Calvinism is not to be promoted. So, I guess you could call us "closet Calvinists." [​IMG] So, right now we students do our best to teach the Biblical "doctrines of grace" without using the term "Calvinism," which you both know is often misunderstood more than it is understood.
     

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