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Featured The Biblical Doctrine of Election

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Van, Apr 12, 2023.

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  1. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Daniel B. Wallace has posted “My Understanding of the Biblical Doctrine of Election” and the following presents a discussion of the merits of that view. In Doctor Wallace’s words, “having a good conscious about the text does not require agreement with others; it requires being faithful to pursue truth at all costs to the best of your abilities.” Amen to that!

    Daniel is a man of integrity and honesty and has provided the world much clarity concerning the Word of God. Nothing that follows should be construed to suggest his views were not carefully developed and soundly reasoned. He is a renowned bible scholar and knows vastly more about what the bible says and how it says it then a great many others, of which I may well be the least.

    Having buttered him up, lets move on to smacking some of his views around. Here is the link to his article:
    My Understanding of the Biblical Doctrine of Election

    His first point asserts that if God chooses those who have chosen to believe in Jesus, then He is not choosing us, but we are choosing Him. This view is unwarranted; just because we profess to believe in Jesus does not require God to accept our faith, as demonstrated in Matthew 7 where folks say “Lord, Lord” but Jesus says, “depart, I never knew you.”

    His next point is that it is the consistent testimony of scripture that it is God who is doing the choosing not us. This too falls wide of the mark, for Romans 9:16 says it does not depend upon the man who wills, therefore teaching folks can choose to will to be saved and pursue it by various means, such as the works of the Law, or by faith in Christ. So the consistent testimony of scripture is that we can choose to seek God and trust in Christ, but it is God who has the decisive say, for God is the One who credits or rejects our faith and chooses to put us in Christ or not.

    The next point postulates a separation between when a person is individually elected to salvation and when their salvation is effected, thus he quotes Dr. Ryrie saying, “there are unsaved people alive today, who though elect, are now lost and will not be saved until they believe.” Ephesians 2:3 is cited as supporting this view, but all this verse says is everyone was lost before they were saved and does not directly address the timing of election. Rather Wallace’s view presupposes election to salvation occurred before the person was (1) physically alive and (2) existed in a lost state. However 1 Peter 2:9-10 does address this issue directly and says once we were not a people (part of God’s chosen people) but now we are a people, and once we had not received mercy and now we have received mercy. This puts God’s choice of us individually after we are alive and does not suggest any delay between election and salvation.

    Dr. Wallace’s next assertion is that since we are “totally depraved” that means we suffer from total spiritual inability and are unable to come to God unless spiritually altered by irresistible grace. To support this view, Romans 3:10 to 23 is cited and Ephesians 4:17-19 is cited.

    The Romans 3 passage does not say we do not ever understand the gospel, but rather his audience did not understand they were under sin and therefore the works of the Law justifies no flesh. None of us seek God when we are sinning and we all sin, therefore no one seeks God (when sinning). And if you take a look at Ephesians 4:17-19, it refutes rather than supports the assertion. First it says saved folks no longer walk in the futility of mind of the unsaved, and as the Gentiles continue to walk. Now have these unsaved folks that include non-Jews been darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of total spiritual inability? No, it says (1) because of the ignorance that is in them, (2) because the hardness of their heart, (3) they having become callous, and (4) have given themselves over to sinful behavior. Were they born depraved, made sinners by the disobedience of the one? Yes. But in this “depraved” state, they were not callous nor had they turned themselves over to sinful behavior. They became, by the practice of sin, hardened and callous such that they could not be reached with the gospel. Just as the first soil of Matthew 13 is represented as trampled down and unable to receive the gospel.

    The next assertion is that Ephesians 2:1-3 supports the idea that the lost are “unresponsive” to anything outside the realm of sin. The passage simply does not address the mechanism of responding to God’s revelation; rather it says before we were saved, we were “dead in our trespasses and sins” and Dr. Wallace’s understanding adds that being “dead” means unable to respond. But the passage does not address that presupposition. If we substitute another presupposition, being spiritually dead means being not “in Christ” and being spiritually alive means being “in Christ”, see Ephesians 1:5, then being dead does not convey a lack of spiritual ability.

    His next point is valid, we did not make ourselves alive, being dead aptly modeling our inability to save ourselves especially by the works of the Law, but again this truth does not say we could not want to be saved, to will to be saved, to seek God in a variety of ways. Ephesians 2:8-9 does support the idea that salvation is accomplished by God and not our efforts or works; God puts us in Christ where we are made alive together with Christ.

    Daniel’s next point refers to “the process of election” which seeks to convey the idea that we were chosen to be saved before we were born, then at the time of God’s choosing, we are altered by irresistible grace such that we can respond to the gospel, and then He calls us out of darkness and puts us in Christ. Only one tiny problem with all that, and that is everything! 2 Thessalonians 2:13 says God chose us through sanctification by the Spirit, which I believe refers to the Holy Spirit putting us spiritually “in Christ” and through belief in the truth, God choosing to put us in Christ because He credits our faith as righteousness – if our faith passes His muster based on His knowledge of our thoughts, motives and attitudes.
     
  2. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Continued from prior post:

    Next, Dr. Wallace returns to the idea of total spiritual inability and refers to 2 Corinthians 4:4 for support. But does Paul say, “Unless we are altered by irresistible grace, none of the lost can “see” the gospel and respond appropriately? No. “ The devil has blinded the minds of the unbelieving” might mean that those who do not even see the attraction of the gospel message are the type of person described by Jesus as the first soil of Matthew 13. Paul is saying keep preaching even to those who are hard to reach and even if some are impossible to reach. Notice that in Romans 11 where hearts non-believing hearts were hardened by God to preclude lost folks from believing, teaches the same thing, the lost have the capacity to respond appropriately to the gospel unless their hearts have been hardened by God or the practice of sin or both.

    Next Daniel says the “means of election” is always through human agency. It appears to me that Dr. Wallace meant to say the part of his process of election concerning hearing the gospel is through human agency. I would reject that and say having God credit our faith, obtained through human agency, as righteousness is the means of election because those whose faith He credits as righteousness He places in Christ, and this is how He chooses us individually, 2 Thessalonians 2:13.

    God’s conditional election of us, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, does not contradict any of God’s attributes.

    Conditional election to salvation through faith results in receiving justification, receiving reconciliation, and results in not only positional sanctification where God puts us spiritually in Christ, but also progressive sanctification under influence of the Holy Spirit. Additionally, God starts a good work in us upon being placed “in Christ” and continues to complete a good work in us for the rest of our life, and then we will receive at His second coming, our predestined inheritance as children of God, which refers to our adoption, our bodily resurrection.

    This view of election is fair; those who never hear or understand the gospel get perfect justice in the afterlife, no more and no less. Those whose faith God credits as righteousness get mercy. And mercy perfects justice.

    The 2 Thessalonians 2:13 view of individual election demonstrates God is fair, it does not make us robots, and provides more impetus for evangelism.

    God is sovereign over our wills, He can allow us to make plans, or not, and He can allow us to make choices or not. If His will is to choose those who choose Him from the heart, no one is overriding His will that all men be saved, once you add the understanding that His desire is that all men be saved according to His purpose and plan.

    We are persuaded to believe, we love Him because He first loved us and His love for us not only gave us His Son, but also His Son’s revelation, the gospel of Christ.

    Summary, the biblical doctrine of election is not Doctor Wallace’s doctrine of election, it is conditional, it occurs during our lifetime; God chose us individually out of this world, not before the foundation of the world, when He chose Christ. The only way I see to reconcile Ephesians 1:4, He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, with 2 Thessalonians 2:13, and John 15:19 and 1 Peter 2:9-10 and James 2:5 is to understand the phrase “He chose us in Him” as meaning He chose Christ to be His Redeemer, His Lamb of God (1 Peter 1:20) before the foundation of the world, and since you do not choose a Redeemer without a plan to redeem, God’s choice of Christ chose us corporately as a target group of His Redemption plan but not individually. Thus Paul is speaking to those who have been redeemed during their lives, and is letting them know of the many blessings they have received, the first one being the blessing that was directed toward them when God chose Christ.
     
  3. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. But according Acts 7:51 and Hebrews 10:29 individuals can resist the sanctification in the Spirit.
     
  4. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    @Van So, you have created your theology from reading Wallace and then try to force scripture to fit what Wallace has taught you?

    I wondered where you got your strange understanding of God choosing based upon the quality of faith a man exhibits.

    Since Wallace starts with a faulty presupposition, it is not surprising to see him misunderstand election.
     
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  5. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    I have no idea what you are talking about. Sanctification has two meanings, to make holy, and to set apart. No one resists being set apart.
     
  6. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    1) First this post makes a material false statement that I created my own theology. I kid you not.
    2) I rebutted Dr. Wallace's view of Calvinism.
    3) I did not say God chooses individuals for salvation based on the quality of their faith. So yet another material false statement.

    How long is this travesty going to be allowed where posters claim the opposite of reality?
     
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  7. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    But as per Hebrews 10:29 one can be sanctificated and then lost.
     
  8. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    Here is where you may not grasp the Speakers Covenant Theology that he is expressing.

    *Hebrews 10:26-31*
    For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

    This passage is directly pointing to those who were going to church and living in the covenant community of believers, but had not responded in faith. The Speaker is telling them that if they reject the covenant, under which they are being taught, they will be "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." They should be living in fear.

    The persons being addressed are not saved, but they are living in the covenant community of believers.
     
  9. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    And he was lost. Not refuted.
     
  10. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    That is precisely what you do say. According to you, our faith, 'obtained through human agency' is then examined by God to see if it is 'righteous.' If it passes the test, God then places the individual in (into?) Christ. So it seems to me that @AustinC is correct. Of course this is based on your misunderstanding of Romans 4:3-5 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13.
    So long as you keep posting the opposite of reality, I suppose.:Rolleyes
     
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  11. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Pure fiction.

    Here sanctified means set apart, but does not mean set apart into Christ, but rather set apart under the New Covenant.

    Note one action of the Holy Spirit are to provide God's message to humanity, via the inspired Word of God. This can be rejected, resisted, partially accepted or fully embraced. Not at issue.

    However, the Holy Spirit also leads those indwelt on the paths of righteousness, and we can follow or disregard that guidance.

    But when the Holy Spirit spiritually relocates us out of the domain of darkness into the Kingdom of Christ, we have no say in the matter, and no ability to resist such a divine action.
     
  12. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Yet another obviously false claim. God credits our faith as righteousness. That action in no way requires God to find our faith righteous, or meriting His grace. He takes our faith, which scripture says He sees as a filthy rag, and by His sovereign grace either credits it as righteousness or not. We know from other verses that we must believe God raised Christ from the dead, and we must love God. But the idea that a person must correctly understand all of God's revelation is obviously false. God alone decides who He will save.
     
  13. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    What are you referring to? From what comment did you snip and then respond. There is no context for me to refer back to.
     
  14. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    He is quoting a part of the scripture passage you posted, mistakenly claiming " the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified," refers to something other than being set apart under the New Covenant.
     
  15. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Summary, the biblical doctrine of election is not Doctor Wallace’s doctrine of election, but the biblical doctrine of election for salvation is conditional, it occurs during our lifetime; God chooses us individually out of this world, not before the foundation of the world, when He chose Christ. The only way I see to reconcile Ephesians 1:4, He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, with 2 Thessalonians 2:13, and John 15:19 and 1 Peter 2:9-10 and James 2:5 is to understand the phrase “He chose us in Him” as meaning He chose Christ to be His Redeemer, His Lamb of God (1 Peter 1:20) before the foundation of the world, and since you do not choose a Redeemer without a plan to redeem, God’s choice of Christ chose us corporately as a target group of His Redemption plan but not individually. Thus Paul is speaking to those who have been redeemed during their lives, and is letting them know of the many blessings they have received, the first one being the blessing that was directed toward them when God chose Christ.

    How can anyone claim we were "children of wrath" if we had received mercy before we existed? Once we are set apart in Christ we are children of God, a new creation.
     
  16. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    We have gone over this on multiple occasions. You hold an unorthodox view of election that is not biblically sound. Moreso, when this issue is addressed, you will not accept your error. So, you become a pounding drum and crashing cymbal of a doctrine not taught by God.
     
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  17. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    Where does Scripture say our faith is 'as a filthy rag'?
     
  18. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Hebrews 10;29, "Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?"
     
  19. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    As I have said before, 'He was sanctified' refers to the 'Son of God,' the nearest antecedent. C.f. John 17:19; Hebrews 13:20.
     
  20. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Show me one conservative translation where pronouns of Deity are capitalized does so.

    NASB, "How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, . . ."
     
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