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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Choose Life

"I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:"
It is both frustrating and exciting at times to think how close we sometimes are in both our understanding and our interpretation. As I said previously if we could clearly define what we mean when we use words like salvation, sanctification, regeneration, and sovereignty then I think we might find that we're much closer than we might think. I thank God there is no ambivalence in the term "eternal life".

Can it be seen that God has determined that we must choose to trust in His word? I totally agree that the authority, power and ability to do so are in God alone. The thing is, He can do either one. He can bless or He can curse. His question to us is not, "which will you do?" but "which would you have me to do?" and He clearly requires that we decide. It is not as though there is no choice, there clearly is. It is not as though man did determine to have life. It is of God. Death is appointed to all men and is the cost of sin but death is appointed only once. The second death awaits all who do not choose life. We choose life the moment that we decide, not understand, that the testimony of the Holy Spirit is true and that the man Jesus really is the Christ, the Son of God. Those who fail to choose are condemned already. Those who choose to blaspheme the Holy Spirit and call God a liar have made their choice and we can no longer hope for them but those who choose life are those who have decided to place their confidence in the integrity, ability and character of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Nothing short of God's marvelous grace can afford us this choice and nothing short of His ability, power and authority can accomplish it. It is only by His unmerited, unwarranted favor that we are even given this option and only through our trust and confidence that His word is true can we hope for it. That is His grace working through our faith, alone. Many of us agree that no one will come to this choice by his own effort, reasoning or desire. It is only by God's grace that any man does and we might also agree that we do not choose for God to grant us this grace but He alone makes that determination. Where many of us part is in our understanding of who He determines has been, is being or will be granted this grace.

We each read John 3:16 but our interpretation varies with our philosophy. If we reject that God has determined that man must choose to believe Him and insist that God has already determined those who will believe Him then we have a most inconsistent God in that while He so loves the world He has arbitrarily elected to destroy some portion of it for “His good pleasure”. We can point out how He says, "Esau have I hated" and ignore the fact that Esau chose to sell his birthright and brought condemnation on himself. Or could it be that God is not all powerful in that while He so loves the world He is able only to save a portion. Or must we claim that the world in this verse means something other than the world and that God is ambiguous, unable to clearly communicate His word to His creation.

On the other hand if we accept that God has determined we must choose to believe Him then the consistency in His nature and character become clear and we see our truly omnipotent God who through His omniscient foreknowledge is capable of accommodating for the consequence of every decision that He has appointed that men should make and being omnipresent is able to relate with all of His creation; a God who so loves the world and has consistently provided the means of life for any and all who choose to believe Him. Can we say then the choice is ever present? Not by any means. We are assured that His Spirit will not always strive with us. It is critical that when He presents us with this option that we do not delay in choosing. We cannot know if it will come again but this one assurance we can have. If after hearing His word, by any means we become concerned in our present standing before Him and can see the man Jesus is His chosen one, His very Son, the savior of the world, then it is nothing less than His marvelous grace for we know that no man seeks God. If we then take this truth to heart and place our hope and our confidence in His Christ then we are assured by His word that He gives us new life and we will escape the second death.

Given the necessity that any man, once convicted, must determine to choose life in Christ, or that death is certain, we can clearly understand the work of the evangelist and God's charge to us all. We find meaning in the Gospel message and can begin to understand Paul when he said, "To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some" and we can clearly see why “he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks” and why they accused him, “Saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.” ” Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God”.

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34 Comments:

Blogger Ryan S. said...

That's pretty thought-provoking.

I need to learn to trust more that I might grow in faith.

5/21/2006 05:59:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Me too Ryan. ;-)

May God bless you dear brother.

5/21/2006 06:11:00 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I do not see belief as volitional, so I am not sure one can choose eternal life. On can certainly choose to reject it, however.

The life in the Old Testament verse you quote refers to physical life, not eternal life.

God Bless

Matthew

5/21/2006 06:35:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Matthew thanks for your thoughts. I did not intend that this verse be understood as the Gospel call but offered it as evidence that God has determined that men make choices in order to prove it is not out of His character to do so. The understanding of choice is in the definition of pisteuo - to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in. To believe is to make a value based selection to accept or reject a thing as true or false given the evidence presented and in the case of belief in Christ the evidence is the testimony of the Trinity. (1st John 5)

5/21/2006 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Kc, my friend, I saw a few things I need help on:

'we might also agree that we do not choose for God to grant us this grace but He alone makes that determination.'

Are you saying that you do not believe that man chooses to be granted grace?

'If we reject that God has determined that man must choose to believe Him and insist that God has already determined those who will believe Him then we have a most inconsistent God in that while He so loves the world He has arbitrarily elected to destroy some portion of it for “His good pleasure”.'

Be fair my friend. Just because the Calvinist cannot claim the specific reasons for God's election, and just because Scripture does not give any specific reason, saying only that God elects according to His good favor and will (Eph. 1:5), this doesn't mean that His choice is arbitrary.

I really thought you'd be above such cheap insults. It seems that people think if God elects according to anything besides man's choice, then this election is arbitrary. But I had assumed that arbitrary meant that it was for no reason.

We have been given a reason, His election is according to God's favor and will. Just because this is not explained more fully, and just because the Calvinist is comfortable in leaving this reason a mystery, this doesn't mean you can call it 'arbitrary'.

'We can point out how He says, "Esau have I hated" and ignore the fact that Esau chose to sell his birthright and brought condemnation on himself.'

True we could ignore that Esau chose to do that. But if we did ignore the actions of Esau, we would be doing exactly as Paul told us to do. Or what do you think Paul meant when he said, 'for though they had not been born yet or done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to election might stand, not from works but from the One who calls'.

Paul says that before Jacob and Esau had been born and before they had done anything good or bad, God elected that Esau would serve Isaac. He says His choice was not according to works, but according to God.

It seems mightly clear that God's hatred for Esau was based upon something within God, not something that Esau had done.

'Or could it be that God is not all powerful in that while He so loves the world He is able only to save a portion.

Once again my friend I am baffled this morning. I never assumed you would sink so low. Why are you misrepresenting the opposing camp. You really are capable of conquering arguments without sinking to the level of the sophist. Why have you resorted to those tactics?

NO Calvinist would say that God cannot save the whole world, only that He doesn't. We claiming that He came only to save a portion does not make God more impotent than your God who comes and wants to save the whole world. Both our images of God have Him coming and saving only a portion. How then is your God more powerful than our picture?

Wouldn't it seem that the Calvinist God is more powerful? He comes to do the job He wanted to do and succeeds quite beautifully in completing that. Whereas the opposing interpretation is that He comes trying to save the whole world but is not able to do the job? THAT sounds like impotence. Perhaps you could claim that the Calvinist God is unloving or uncaring (in that He doesn't want to save all humanity), but you could never claim that He is impotent. He actually completes the job He set out to do, can you claim the same?

I will address your argument for 'choice' by using this verse later. Right now I am just sad at these low tactics...

5/21/2006 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Adam, I think you know me better than to think I would ever attempt to demean anyone but especially not you or any of my Calvinist brethren. I can understand that if all I had said were what you found to be offensive that you could think so but please consider all of my words, as this is a logical argument and not a personal attack on any individual belief. I will attempt to address each of your concerns.

”Are you saying that you do not believe that man chooses to be granted grace?

Yes and I think you agree in spirit if not in definition. We are not inclined toward God in any way and it is only His unmerited love that allows us to be able to perceive the truth.

”Be fair my friend. Just because the Calvinist cannot claim the specific reasons for God's election, and just because Scripture does not give any specific reason, saying only that God elects according to His good favor and will (Eph. 1:5), this doesn't mean that His choice is arbitrary.”

First please know this argument is in no way intended as an insult and only illustrates the concept that God’s love is inconsistent if for any reason He would only provide for a portion of those He loves. The remaining portion of the argument is offered in order to preclude any notion that either God does not so love the world or that the world could mean anything less than the whole. I am truly sorry if that offended your sensibilities in any way and I assure you that is not my intent.

”We have been given a reason, His election is according to God's favor and will. Just because this is not explained more fully, and just because the Calvinist is comfortable in leaving this reason a mystery, this doesn't mean you can call it 'arbitrary'.”

This statement is circular and assumes that election is individual, in that God chooses. The argument here is that election is corporate, in that all who chose life are elect in Christ Jesus by virtue of God’s word.

”True we could ignore that Esau chose to do that. But if we did ignore the actions of Esau, we would be doing exactly as Paul told us to do. Or what do you think Paul meant when he said, 'for though they had not been born yet or done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to election might stand, not from works but from the One who calls'.”

Again I see no conflict here. This only confirms that God’s determination that all elect would be those in Christ Jesus was made even before any man were born so that no favor is warranted by even the most virtuous man.

”Paul says that before Jacob and Esau had been born and before they had done anything good or bad, God elected that Esau would serve Isaac. He says His choice was not according to works, but according to God.

It seems mightly clear that God's hatred for Esau was based upon something within God, not something that Esau had done.”


I think we will need to examine the verses that lead you to this conclusion but I am fairly certain that you have ignored foreknowledge here again.

The remainder of your concern seems to be centered in the belief that I have accused Calvinist of serving a lesser God. I took great pains to avoid making any implication other than that this is a difference in our perception of God in an effort to show that my view is quite consistent with God’s nature as revealed in the scripture and not an emotionally charged response.

I have gone to great pains to understand the Calvinist perception and to try and determine what would cause one of us to seek to find consistency in His love and the other to seek to find consistency in His control. I have offered my understanding, not to rebuke you and especially not to insult you, but for your critique alone. Please grant me the trust I have earned from you and know that my love for you prevents any desire or intent on my part to belittle you in any way.

5/21/2006 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

"to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in."

You cannot actually choose to do those things.

Being persuaded of something is passive. You cannot choose to think something true- you receive the truth. One canot choose to place confidence in something, either. Confidence comes from discovery of trustworthiness.

Take giant Sea Serpents. One could never choose to believe in them. One could objectively examine the evidence. If the evidence for the existence of giant sea serpents is persuasive, then one will believe in them. If the evidence is not persuasive, one cannot force oneself to beleive in their existence. That would be self-deception.

Belief is passive.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

5/21/2006 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Most people are unaware of their choices concerning what they believe to be true. Not all people value reason and in some cases even dismiss their visual perception because of their certainty in their own emotions but this does not negate the fact they alone have chosen what they accept as true and what they reject as false.

A belief begins as a suspicion of truth and this suspicion, once triggered is either reinforced or rebutted by either/all experience, reason and emotion as applied to the evidence. Many people choose to believe in unicorns simply because of their aesthetic appeal. Sound reasoning and good values measured by emotional consequence are often the best basis for evaluating a suspicion but no belief should be formed prior to adequate evidence to its veracity. It should only remain a suspicion until reasonable evidence is available to justify a belief.

Given the sea serpent a suspicion of their existence might be triggered by personal testimony, either first or second hand. If pressed, a person might choose to believe in their existence by virtue of the value they place on the witness testimony. Others might refuse to believe even after having seen one and offer themselves an alternative to what they themselves have seen simply because of their fear of the unknown. Someone else might feel like they exist and place full trust in their emotion.

I agree that while being persuaded we are passive, often even submissive depending on the source, but we all still choose to either accept or reject the proposition ourselves. We alone are responsible for what we choose to believe.

5/21/2006 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Kc, I thought you would never intentionally try to demean Calvinism. I interpreted your words as a demeaning of Calvinism. Hence my sadness...

'Yes and I think you agree in spirit if not in definition. We are not inclined toward God in any way and it is only His unmerited love that allows us to be able to perceive the truth.'

No, I would agree completely. I would agree that man does not choose to be granted grace. But I had assumed you would not agree with this. I thought your whole thing was 'choice'. If man hasn't the choice to choose to be graced or not, how then can he be held responsible? If I were to say that man was sent to hell against his choice, I would be immediately scolded. But how then can you say the opposite, that man is graced against his choice, and yet not suffer the charge of making man a robot?

'
First please know this argument is in no way intended as an insult and only illustrates the concept that God’s love is inconsistent if for any reason He would only provide for a portion of those He loves. The remaining portion of the argument is offered in order to preclude any notion that either God does not so love the world or that the world could mean anything less than the whole. I am truly sorry if that offended your sensibilities in any way and I assure you that is not my intent.'


It is just the word 'arbitrary'. I may have jumped to conclusions. It does seem that a usual charge against Calvinism is that they view God's election as arbitrary. They believe that God elects based upon His foreknowledge of who will come to Him or not. Calvinist say no, He elects based solely upon His favor and will. The non-Calvinist then falsely charges that since we don't know 'His favor and will', and since this is elusive and something we cannot define specifically, then it is arbitrary.

'This statement is circular and assumes that election is individual, in that God chooses. The argument here is that election is corporate, in that all who chose life are elect in Christ Jesus by virtue of God’s word.'

It wasn't circular. And yes, it does assume individual election. But doesn't your understanding of election assume corporate?

Paul tells us in Ephesians that we (Christians) are predestined according to the favor and will of God.

He doesn't say according to the foreknowledge of God. He doesn't say according to who will come to Him or not. Simply according to the favor and will of God.

The Calvinist then says, ok. We are elected/predestined according to the will of God. Not according to what human action or will or effort (Romans 9:16). Just solely upon the will of God does His election depend.

I'm having a difficulty understanding how that is circular.

'Again I see no conflict here. This only confirms that God’s determination that all elect would be those in Christ Jesus was made even before any man were born so that no favor is warranted by even the most virtuous man.'

I had assumed that our disagreement may boil down to individual vs. corporate election. I truly (honestly) cannot see proof for either in Scripture. I'm being honest, I don't think individual election can be proven anymore than corporate can. I think it one of those things that we must understand that we will have our disagreements...

But I have never discussed this issue with you. So you may suprise me with some passage that speaks of the corporate election of God. Who knows? I'm up for a change.

'I think we will need to examine the verses that lead you to this conclusion but I am fairly certain that you have ignored foreknowledge here again.'

Nah. I see no mention of foreknowledge. We just have God telling Rebekah that one of her children will serve the other, the younger will be served by the older. Telling her this before either were born, before they had done anything good or bad. Paul saying that this choice was based not upon anything they had done, but only so that God's purpose according to election might stand. She was told that the older will serve the younger. Why? Becuase it is written, Jacob I loved, Esau I hated...

'The remainder of your concern seems to be centered in the belief that I have accused Calvinist of serving a lesser God. I took great pains to avoid making any implication other than that this is a difference in our perception of God in an effort to show that my view is quite consistent with God’s nature as revealed in the scripture and not an emotionally charged response.'

My concern was based upon this: 'Or could it be that God is not all powerful in that while He so loves the world He is able only to save a portion.'

You seem to suggest that an interpretation of a God who saves only a portion of people is an interpretation of a less than allpowerful God. The Calvinist interpretation is one of a God that saves only a portion of people, and hence I concluded that you believe the Calvinist interpretation to be of a less than allpowerful God.

A further question. You said this,

'Or must we claim that the world in this verse means something other than the world and that God is ambiguous, unable to clearly communicate His word to His creation.'

Are you seriously thinking this a charge against those who claim 'world' is not every single person? My friend, if you can claim that you understand completely all of Jesus' parables alone, then I will drop my interpretations and simply ask you to vanquish the cloud of mystery that is so prevalent over the entire Scriptures.

I think the Dispy craze has gotten to you. Their thirst for 'literal' translation makes them think that the whole of the Scriptures can be understood without some seriously mind numbing exercise taking place...

'Please grant me the trust I have earned from you and know that my love for you prevents any desire or intent on my part to belittle you in any way.'

You have always had my trust. Today you just triggered my unsteady emotions.

5/21/2006 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Indeed we are responsible for whether we have belived in Christm, but the condemnation is for not believing which is an active choice, while the blessing of eternal life is a free gift for passve trust.

If a person chose to believe in unicorns (I actually think they probably did exist some time ago) for aesthetic reasons, I would question whether they really did believe in them.

Factors such as the weight of particular testimonies are often dependant upon passive experience of trustworthiness.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

5/22/2006 02:35:00 AM  
Blogger Kitty said...

Kc, I totally agree with you that the work of the evangelist and God's charge to us is based on the fact that we have to choose life in Christ. This is surely a very thought provoking post.

Also for some reason blogger still hasn't fixed my problem of not being able to post. I've sent them the request to fix my problem, but it seems I can't get through to them. Kc I wonder if you can help me with that, knowing that you are very proficient in all the functions of blogger ;)

5/22/2006 04:24:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Adam, I’m sorry my thoughts set off the alarms. These are my own considerations on the subject and I’m seeking understanding, not judgment. ;-)

We agree that any understanding of election is interpretive and cannot be based on the passages that refer to it. I think that understanding is critical before any positive discourse on the subject can occur and I think that’s probably why we’ve avoided the topic specifically over the past year. I hope the taboo has been lifted now and we can discuss our reasoning on this as well. I really would appreciate your critique of my understanding.

My use of the word arbitrary stems from the fact that while there is nothing about the individual that makes him a candidate for election, and I agree there is not, that for some unknown reason God selects some and not others. If grace is selective then I would be prone to agree with your perspective. My contention is that His grace is collective and that the choice is not to be graced, but once graced to believe. The election would then be all believers and we agree this would be equally consistent with the verses pertaining to election and predestination.

We do agree concerning the inability of man to choose. My contention is that God enables us to choose and further requires that we do. I think your argument is He chooses for us. Have I framed this right yet?

I will gladly entertain your arguments on John 3 and any reasoning you can offer for your exegesis. ;-)



Matthew, the state of man is unbelief. Grace enables us to choose. “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard…”. The gift is truly freely given to all who choose to believe. ;-)



Kitty, I’m glad we agree in our understanding and I will do all I can to help. ;-)

5/22/2006 06:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Danny Kaye said...

This is really great stuff.
I mean, it's a bummer about it being taken in a bad light and all. But I am printing this out for some further study. I have been trying to figure out the difference between C-ism & A-ism and have been pretty perplexed by the agruments for each.

This thread will, eventually, help me to understand the difference.

Thanks.
BTW: Sofyst, you say you thought Kc was above being insulting. I am going to make a leap here, but you probably had reasons to think that based on past interactions between you two. I recommend that you put things like this in context with what you know about a person and go from there. At least by doing that you would have been more inclined to ask the intent before being offended.
It's just text, man. It has no emotions, no proper inflection, and no facial expression. Never trust that how you hear it in your head is how it was spoken in the originator's head. It must be put in context of the man you know.

5/22/2006 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Jeff, It's an honor to have you here and I hope you'll always feel free to join in the discussion. Adam loves to debate but, just as we all do, has some tender places and I can completely sympathize. We both agree, however, that pink is his color and his hair is kewl. That keeps our relationship solid (hehe). That plus the fact that he's willing to take the time to debate with hard-headed old pagans. ;-)

5/22/2006 10:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Danny Kaye said...

Kc and Sophys,

You guys got me thinking about something and I want to get your perspective. (Don't worry, it's on topic...)

You two are in separate camps and I have not yet chosen a camp; although I freely admit I lean a little toward A-ism.
So here is the question:

God chose Isreal out of all the nations of the world to be the nation He would call "His people" and through whom He would bring about the coming of the Messiah. The scriptures teach us only a few things about the reasonings. How does each of your views on predestination/election fit into God chosing Isreal for no obvious reason to be His people over all the other nations? Is the concept the same as how we as individuals are elected/predestined?

I have some thoughts...but they are certainly not based upon study, but instead just my vague insights on the question.

I you have time...

5/22/2006 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Jeff you’ll have a difficult time placing me in either camp. I have sympathies toward both but fully accept neither. To be honest, as most who know me know, I hate systematic theology for the division it causes but I do appreciate the effort. I find both Arminianism and Calvinism to be the extremes in a rather narrow theology based on grace and I like to think myself right in the middle. ;-) I think that’s why there is so much debate between the two because they are so closely related.

Regarding Abram, I think you could make an argument for either election through foreknowledge or preference. For foreknowledge; Hebrews 11 states that without faith it is impossible to please Him and immediately describes how that Abram believed God, who certainly knew beforehand Abram’s choices, and secured His blessings.

5/22/2006 04:10:00 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Pop-up windows for comments now, huh?
KC, you are on my wave-length.

It is only by His unmerited, unwarranted favor that we are even given this option and only through our trust and confidence that His word is true can we hope for it.

This is such a good statement. I love you brother! I wish you and your wife were at my church!

5/22/2006 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger Gordon Cloud said...

KC, this is a good article. I agree with you. If you and your wife are ever in our neck of the woods, be sure and look us up. Cairo is only about three hours or so from Mobile.

5/22/2006 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Sis you know I love you too and I can't think of a bigger blessing in this life than to worship, study and serve together with you and John. ;-) I am so thankful we can pray together and discuss things here but it seems you and I will have to dig pretty deep to find any point of contention between us! May God bless you and your wonderful family.

Preacher I've got to make a trip to Aiken one Sunday soon and I'd really love to schedule a Sunday service in Cairo too. I've been blessed to hear one of Pastor Timothy's powerful sermons and I'd love to be able to hear you bring the message one Sunday morning and if you and yours ever get south there's a steak with your name on it waiting for my grill. Maybe we can even get some of the other pub'ers to join us sometime. ;-)

5/22/2006 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

KC-
Let us know when you're coming to Aiken. We'd love to see you!

I do have some questions. The preponderance of Scriputral evidence seems to point to predestination, in man not having a "choice." What Scriptural proof do you have that proves that salvation is by man's choice, not God's action or inaction upon a person's heart? Isn't that what this essentially boils down to?
The more and more Scrpiture I read and the more commentaries I see, it points to God choosing, not man. If so, then we could boast, as the Bible says we can't with regards to works. And wouldn't "choosing God" be a work?

This in what I believe, and many other Calvinists. As the Westminster Confession of Faith states (written by men much wiser and learned in Scripture than I):
"3. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying slavation: so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strenfth, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto."

Scriputral support: Rom. 5:6, Rom. 8:7, John 15:5, Rom. 3:10,12, Eph. 2:1,5,Col. 2:13, John 6:44,65Eph. 2:2-5, 1 Cor. 2:14, Titus 3:3-5

"4. When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, He freeth him from his natural bondage under sin; and, by His grace alone, enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good; yet so, that by reason f his remaining corruption, he doth not perfectly, nor only, will that which is good, but doth also will that which is evil."
Scriptural support: Col. 1:13, John 8:34, 36, Phil. 2:13, Rom. 6:18, 22, Gal. 5:17, Rom. 7:15, 18-19, 21, 23

"5. The will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to do good alone in the state of glory only."
Scriputral support: Eph. 4:13, Heb. 12:23, 1 John 3:2, Jude 24

I've been also reading the section on Effectual Calling, Chap. X.
"1. All those whom God hat predestined unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed and accepted time, effectuall to call, by His word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which that are by nature to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ; enlightenening their minds spiritually and savinglyn to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them as heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by His almighty power, determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace."
Scriputral support:Rom. 8:30, Rom. 11:7, Eph. 1:10-11, 2 Thess. 2:13-14, 2 Cor. 3:3,6, Rom. 8:2, Eph. 2:1-5, 2 Tim. 1:9-10, Acts 26:18, 1Cor. 2:10,12, Eph. 1:17-18, Ezek. 36:26, Ezek. 11:19 Phil. 2:13, Deut.30:6, Ezek. 36:27, Eph. 1:19, John 6:44-45, Cant. 1.4, Ps. 110:3, John 6:37, Rom. 6:16-18

"2. This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not fomr any thing at all forseen in man, who is altogether passive therein, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it."
Scriptural support:
2 Tim. 1:9, Tit. 3:4-5, Eph. 2:4-5, 8-9, Rom. 9:11, 1 Cor. 2:14, Rom 8:7, Eph. 2:5, John 6:37, Ezek. 36:27 John 5:25
(The Scriptural support is taken from the footnotes.)

http://www.reformed.org/documents/wcf_with_proofs/index.html

I guess I could agree with free will if it ran something like this:
"Ok, Elisa, You are going to get the most marvelous birthday present. You cannot refuse to recieve it. You cannot give it back. It cannot be exchanged for something else. You won't want to. I'm going to make you really want it and no other gift. You can choose it, it being your only choice."
KC, I really like this post...I guess you can't tell that! Thanks for letting us be able to discuss these things. It is truly edifying.

5/23/2006 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Kc, sorry for the delay. You know how I'll just disappear for days on end...I apologize. No excuses.

I would need you to clarify your view of choosing to believe after graced, rather than choosing to be graced. I 'think' I understand you, but I don't want to jump to conclusions.

I think you would be mistaken in saying that God 'chooses' for us. My view is that there is no choice at all. Choice is an illusion. Choice is something that humans think exists. It does not exist. Therefore, neither God nor we choose (in the most simplest definition of the word).

God does will that we will to be saved. God does not enable man to choose to be saved, but rather enables man to will to be saved. God does not do the willing of the man to be saved, but rather wills that man would then will himself to be saved. (A lot of 'wills' hopefully sense is being made).

My entire disagreement with 'choice' is that it assumed that one can either will this or will that, I think that given the knowledge of God, the immutability of God, and the definateness of time, one can only will one thing at any given time. Right now, I cannot either will to finish typing this or will to go get a burrito (that would mean I had a choice to finish or go get the burrito), the only thing I can do is to will that which God knows I am to do.

If you imagined a story being played out, you'd get the picture. If you thought of a play where actors were reading a script and could follow the script or do their own little thing, you'd be mistaken as to my view. But if you were picturing a movie in which the people were living their lives, and the lives that they were living was exactly as the script was, then you'd get a better picture.

Also if you can understand the distinction between 'choice' and 'will' then you'd understand me better too.

We will to do everything that we do. Right now I am willing myself to type this response. After that I will will myself to get out of the chair and go to bed. Everything I do, I will to do.

Choice is the belief that right now I can either will myself to finish this or will myself to get up and go to bed without finishing it. It involves two 'wills' I can 'choose' to do either. I can 'choose' to will one thing or another.

Do you understand?

A choice is made up of two wills. Two paths if you would.

I believe that only one thing is possible. I do not believe the future to be open. I believe it to be set in stone. What will happen, will happen. There is not may happens, or counterfactuals. The future is already as static as the past. Just as we cannot change the past, neither can we change the future.

Therefore, if speaking of 'choice' is as useless as speaking of pink unicorns. I could will myself to get up and get a burrito (assuming this is not what I will do, it is not what the future holds), just as much as there could be pink unicorns.

There are not pink unicorns, therefore speaking of them is pointless. It is speaking of fantasy, what is not. Just as I will not do what the future does not have set for me to do. Speaking of what I could do, rather than just focusing on what I will do, is pointless. It is speaking of what is not (or if it is easier, what will not be).

I'm just kind of rambling, but I hope it helps you to understand me better...

5/23/2006 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Danny Kaye,

I was not 'insulted' per se, by Kc's words. I was more hurt by him saying what I did not think he would say. If any other person had said those words, I would have thought nothing of it. I would have just assumed that they did believe the Calvinistic view of God's election was capricious or abritrary. I would have disagreed with them, and corrected their misunderstanding, but I would have thought nothing more of it.

However, I know that Kc knows that God's election is not arbitrary. And I know that he doesn't think the Calvinist view posits that God's election is arbitrary. Therefore, when I heard him say that the Calvinist view of God's election is arbitrary, I was disappointed and somewhat hurt.

Truthfully, it was not me just misreading text, it had more depth to it than simply text. True, text has no emotion, no inflection, no facial expression, but text between long friends does have more background than text between strangers. Hence I CAN read Kc's text and derive more conclusions from it than I could from your words.

Regarding the understanding of Israel.

I think that if you said God chose Israel (collective) to be the nation through whom He would call His people, you'd be somewhat mistaken. God chose Abraham, and all those in Abraham. It is not as though there was a nation, like the USA or Mexico, and God chose one over the other, it is rather that God chose a specific person and then all those that would be within him. This goes back to Kc and my disagreement over personal or collective election.

You must also consider my view that 'Israel' is not always the physical descendents of Abraham. I believe that more times than not, 'Israel' is the spiritual descendents of Abraham. Meaning not Ishmael, but Isaac. Ishmael was of Abraham's flesh, he was Abraham's descendent. But he was not of the nation that God called his people. Likewise, I haven't any fleshly connections to Abraham, but I have been baptized into Christ, I am Abraham's seed (Gal. 3:29), I am an Israelite.

So I don't think you could say that God chose Israel for no reason. He chose Abraham because Abraham was a man of faith. He then chose Abraham's descendents according to faith to be His people. He then further chose Abraham's descendents according to flesh, but not according to faith, to be blessed because of their forefather and because of their physical kinship to those descendents of Abraham according to faith. So God chose Abraham (specific person) and the collective Israel (descendents of Abraham who have faith) to be His people. He then chose Israel (descendents of Abraham according to the flesh) to be the people throughwhich His Messiah would come.

5/23/2006 01:00:00 PM  
Anonymous mjl said...

kc

i agree with beth. i would also like to request that you provide scriptural evidence that supports your case.


mjl

5/23/2006 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Sis Elisa (it’s nice to be able to call you by name hehe),

I can appreciate your perspective. I think Adam and I are both of the opinion that the scripture does not offer proof as to the specific means of election but that each of us interpret those passages based on our own philosophical and theological perspective. Given an understanding of each view, the scripture that addresses predestination and election fit equally well with both and even serve to reinforce either belief.

While a confession may clearly state your understanding, it presupposes that the interpretation of its author(s) is correct and therefore becomes circular in any argument concerning interpretation. With regard to confessions they are numerous with each being written by very learned men though in all honesty I sincerely question their historical use and intent.

I hope you can see from Adam’s response and the previous comments that an individual perspective on the nature of God and a philosophy of time presupposes any understanding of election, hence, the great debate.

Please know that I’m aching to get to Aiken (no groans please!). ;-)

5/23/2006 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Adam any discussion with you is worth the wait. No apology necessary, ever. ;-)

I better understand your offense and my error concerning the use of the word “arbitrary”. I can see that my implication was ambiguous and given the history of its use, had I been you, I would have done the same. My intended implication was not in what the Calvinist believes concerning election but of the logical necessity that election be arbitrary in light of certain scriptures. Given that God is no respecter of persons and that the elect is not so by any virtue in him self then the election of one and not the other is by necessity, arbitrary. You are correct I do know better than to say that “Calvinist believe God arbitrarily elected some and not others”. I hope you can see now my intent was a logical argument but that my implication was ambiguous. Again I apologize.

I do think you have a good grasp on my perspective but I know, given time, we will get very detailed. I think you’ve done very well, as always, at explaining your perspective as well and I had already gathered as much from our previous discussions on time and I made mention of the stage analogy. The movie analogy will give us much more to discuss and I suspect that the sock-puppet accusation is defensible within that framework whereas the stage analogy clearly leaves the door open. ;-)

I see what seems to me to be our first hurtle and I think it critical to our discussion. The word choice has meaning even if choice is imaginary. Could you offer your definition? I have offered mine as being a value-based selection. I somehow think your definition much more extensive. If possible I would like for us to agree on a definition that agrees with the truth of the verse I quoted which stated that God required a choice to be made.

If after we agree in definition then I will be more apt to consider the possibility that I am mistaken.

As always I look forward to your response. ;-)

5/23/2006 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Mjl welcome. I hope my reply to sis Elisa will suffice for the moment and that you'll stick with us and contribute where you can. ;-)

5/23/2006 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Just so you'll know, I had so much trouble choosing wether or not to make a comment that I chose not to comment.......no wait I just did comment.

Also just so you'll know, the Governor of the great state of Oklahoma appointed me to the Mining Commission last month and the OK Senate confirmed my appointment today. So from now on I will need be addressed by Commissioner Kris.............I hope I still have time to converse with mere peasants of this country even though the job pays absoultely nothing :) hehehe

Thank you, thank you very much.

5/23/2006 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

KC,
I understand what you're saying about confessions, though I tend to disagree in some ways. But that's another whole subject. :)

I picked the WCF because it described so eloquently what I believed and was well researched and documented. But, the major reason that I used it was that it used Scripture to back up what it said. It's that Scripture that I wanted to put forth as the basis for Irresistable Grace, Effectual Calling. I respectfully disagree and do believe that Scrpiture does address this issue rather directly.

Timothy and I will email you about your upcoming trip. We're so excited!

5/23/2006 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Kris sincerly, congratulations! I think it a great honor to have been appointed and a reflection of your ability and integrity within your chosed field. I'm truly thankful for your blessing and I pray God will guide you in all your judgements.

You'll need to update the Commission web site ASAP! ;-)

Sis. Elisa I'm not able to plan for a trip at present but as soon as a few things are settled here I hope to plan a trip out your way. I have a close cousin in Wilmington and I've wanted to show Corry some of the southeast coastline too. ;-)

To get right to what I consider to be the heart of the discussion here I'd like to ask you what makes you believe that the scripture directly addresses whether election is corporate or singular?

5/24/2006 06:41:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

BTW sis I believe grace is irresistable as well. When God choses to reveal the truth to us He will do so. Where we contend is in the notion that once revealed, He imposes belief. I say once revealed He requires it. Likewise I belive His call effectual in that His word will not return without accomplishing its intended purpose. To them that belive it is the power of salvation but to them that believe not it is foolishness and their unbelief will cause them to perish.

5/24/2006 06:50:00 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

KC,
I've been trying to figure out where the difference is. And am really confused. :) There seems to be no difference...other than choice...which I don't understand either. After your last response, it looks like we all agree.

Please don't think I was trying to be contentious. I was trying to figure things out. I'm sorry if it came out that way. I really enjoyed the dialogue. I had to go look things up...and ask Timothy more questions.

5/24/2006 10:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Jeff (aka: Danny Kaye) said...

Keep goin' folks! I be a learnin' fool, over here!

Thanks.

And thanks for your humility, Sofyst. Some might have become defensive about my comment.

Thanks also for your answer to my question. I am giving it my all to digest it as best as I can.

5/24/2006 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Sis. Elisa I never thought you contentious at all. ;-)

We can't have a debate unless we both think we're right and they don't call them arguments for nothing! (hehe) The only thing that is necessary is that we all have the goal of truth and my confidence is very high in that for all who've contributed here.

I think you can see now why I said it's both frustrating and exciting that when we get down to the particulars we're all so close in our understanding. The greatest differences seem to stem from an extension of those particulars. For Arminians the concept of choice can be extended to a point where even God's sovereignty is brought into question and I see Determinism arising out of Calvinism. I tend to think of it as Christian Nihilism and this is what I’m arguing against here but I think both extensions are dangerous and lead to a form of Sacramental Theology.

Jeff your enthusiasm is very encouraging and as I read your post I can’t help but suspect that God is blessing you right now. I’m so thankful you find these discussions helpful and I pray we’ll always be able to be a blessing to each other. ;-)

5/25/2006 10:05:00 AM  
Anonymous mjl said...

jeff
i just found this blog i thought that it might help cramp your brain a little more :) (lots of scripture).
http://dougwils.com/index.asp?Action=Anchor&CategoryID=1&BlogID=2169
it has helped me understand the two positions better.
mjl

5/27/2006 05:54:00 PM  

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