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Soteriological conclusions

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Van, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Mar 4, 2011
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    God’s purpose in creation was to make man for the glory of God (Isaiah 43:7). To glorify means to acknowledge or ascribe dignity or worth or majesty to God or a person. Based on this premise, it is probable that God, when He created mankind, gave mankind the capacity to choose what is good and righteous over what does not fill a need as well. We certainly seem to have that capacity; it is the very essence of thought. Therefore, the first conclusion is that people, even in our fallen state, have the capacity to choose what we believe is good or not so good; selfless action or selfish action; integrity or what ever the market will bear.

    Since God established his plan for salvation before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-5) He knew beforehand that Adam would choose to disregard God’s word, and create a separation (spiritual death) between God who is Holy, and mankind who is sinful both because of being born of Adam and by his or her choices.

    The paradox of God choosing us, in Him, before the foundation of the world, and God saying that whoever believes in His Son shall not perish, but have eternal life, has been resolved by various theologians. Calvin solved it by his invention of unconditional, individual pre-selection, ascribing to God the capacity and desire to control events such that those pre-selected would be compelled by irresistible grace to love God. If this was the only viable solution, we would be stuck with it, but since several alternate election doctrines resolves the paradox with greater support from scripture, the solution by John Calvin becomes both unnecessary and discardable.

    Jacob Arminius solved the paradox by ascribing to God the capacity and desire to foresee the freewill choices of all who hear the gospel, and individually elect them. Thus, believers make a free will choice, which is consistent with glorifying God, but fundamentally the solution is flawed, the fruit of a false premise, that being chosen “in Him” refers to individual election rather than the corporate election of the target group of God’s salvation plan.

    The concept of God choosing His Redeemer before creation, which as a consequence chose corporately anyone subsequently redeemed, includes our individual election when God redeems us by spiritually placing us in Christ. Therefore He not only chose us corporately in Him before the foundation of the world, but He also chooses us individually when He credits our faith as righteousness, 2 Thessalonians 2:13. When we place our heart felt trust in Jesus, and God chooses us after crediting our faith as righteousness and sets us apart in Christ, the combination of the corporate and then individual election solves the paradox without the need for perplexing doctrine. This biblical election doctrine is simple, straightforward, and addresses each point that has divided the Church for 400 years.

    The “our choice to trust in Christ equals works” argument fails because God chooses us, based on His criteria, which includes an assessment of our faith, as depraved as it might be, and it also fails because our choice is credited as righteousness and therefore is not a work of merit. The “pre-selection excludes faith” argument, which drives the blindfolded pre-selection concept, is resolved by individual election subsequent to placing our faith in Christ. The Gift of Faith argument fails exegetically as does Spiritual Inability and Irresistible Grace. Additionally, none are necessary to the doctrine of Biblical Election. The atonement issue seems to be a non-problem, clearly Christ died for all mankind, but God graciously grants justification only to those He chooses to place in Christ.

    Loss of salvation similarly is a false teaching, because God keeps His pledges. We can lose our rewards, or fail to earn them, which is part of God’s salvation package, but once God puts us in Christ, God keeps us in Christ and nothing can snatch us our of His hand. This solution recognizes that because God chooses us, our initial sincere faith does not guarantee salvation, thus salvation does not depend on the person who wills to be saved. The doctrine of individual election during our lifetime, teaches that if we continue in our faith, and we bear fruit of the Spirit, we can be confident of our salvation. If we fall away from our faith, we can be confident we were never saved, because although God does not protect our walk, He does protect our core devotion to Jesus, 1 Peter 1:3-5.

    In summary, the minimalist view of soteriology provides a straightforward understanding of scripture, without the perplexities of the other solutions, and should not be as divisive to the unity in the body of Christ as the other widely held views. This new doctrine provides a new simplicity and a new opportunity to present the whole gospel with clarity and conviction