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Friday, December 08, 2006

Why do you believe...?

The debate over determinism is still going strong so please feel free to continue with last weeks question. I know I will! ;-)

This weeks question is at Ron’s request and fits well with our previous discussions. Ron said;

”"The decision was between two men, they casts lots to see who the decision would go to Act 1:26 Then they cast lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias. So he was numbered with the 11 apostles. Here we see that God's ordaining hand was involved in this. (For a future question, Kc, you might ask why we don't use such tactics as this in church ministry. Why would we never even dream of casting lots to see who the next deacon or elder should be??? It is biblical.)"

I’ve tried to phrase this to address Ron’s specific concern but feel free to address this as you see fit.

Why do you believe that we, as believers, should never “cast lots” to make a selection?

Labels: , ,

47 Comments:

Blogger Kc said...

I don't believe the Apostles "rolled the dice" but rather each voted for their preference.

I would say that if Determinism is true then it should make no difference what method we use for making selections because it's already set in stone! ;-)

12/08/2006 05:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done! Problem solved. Drinks are on me.

12/08/2006 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

I would say that if Determinism is true then it should make no difference what method we use for making selections because it's already set in stone! ;-)

cough...biteme....cough

I would probably argue with you Kc (on a lot of things), but mainly on your interpretation of 'casting lots' as 'voting for their preference'.

Come man, how do you derive such an interpretation? Surely it is found within that text, surely you are not reading 'casting lots' as something other than the clear literal reading of 'casting lots'.

I'm having flashbacks of being criticised for reading 'world' as anything other than 'world'. Painful memories of being forced to read 'world' as 'world' by fear of death is within my mind!!!!

You've got some splainin to do friend.

My opinion on the question is that we could cast lots. As a determinist, I trust God that much. I know that He has it all worked out and that we cannot be foolish enough to mess things up so that God is no longer in control. Good thing I'm not a freewill theist.

12/08/2006 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger señor jefe said...

Unless God 'predestined' you to cast lots so your 'depraved' mind could comprehend His 'predetermined' will...

Seriously though, I think there is a balance here. I mean, God has a will, right? He's all-powerful, right? Yet He tells us to "ask".

Ultimately, it appears that this is the economy He has set up. We may not understand why, but it is apparent that God, in His sovereignty chooses to act according to the prayers of man.

Or maybe He predestined us to ask so His predetermined will could be established through preconceived means. oh wait, I'm getting a headache...

Bottom line: Could it be that the apostle's "casting of lots" was actually how they missed God's will? I mean, the dude they chose?? We never hear about him again. Does the Bible say that God was pleased with their choice?

Had they exercised patience, and used the newly-outpoured Holy Spirit's guidance, they may have eventually settled on a little guy named Saul/Paul...

food for thought.

12/08/2006 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12/08/2006 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

I don't think Paul would have been a candidate for the office of twelve. Yes, he saw Christ, but His was not in the same manner that Mathais' or the other's were...

And I think it presumptuous to assume that the decision made by the casting of lots was an erroneous one. The Scripture neither confirms nor discourages the outcome, therefore! we cannot either.

All we can do is note the behavior of the early disciples/apostles, much as we do the behavior of the early church and of Paul and the early Christians. They did not have qualms with casting lots to make decisions, why should we?

I think they may have had this little obscure Old Testament passage in mind:

Pro 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.

Perhaps they trusted more the Scriptures, or Solomon, rather than the superstition that there is such thing as 'chance' that we shouldn't trust it...

12/08/2006 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

Kc,

Did I say that? Speaking of rolling the dice, I am in Reno at a National League of Cities conference right now!

It is interesting, but I really do not see the casting of lots as it was done in the Bible as chance. The key to it lies in our faith. Lots were cast with Jonah; was it chance that the lot fell upon him? I think not. Again, it lies in the purpose and intent.

I believe I heard this saying from Myles Munroe:

If you do not know the purpose of a thing, you will abuse it. If I did not know the purpose of casting lots, I would certainly abuse it.

I like Nathaniel's response in Prov. 16:33. The greatest enemy to the power of God is our reason or logic. I am confident that this is why are not able to experience the miracles that we saw in the New Testament.

Will look forward to comments when I get back home!

12/08/2006 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

I like the proposal of the Jonah story. Surely that was God controlling the outcomes.

But I think the problem is that people, although they confess not to, do believe in chance. They think that if you roll the die, then chance will take over and there is no telling what will occur.

God knows, and God is in control. Rest in the power of God and fear not my silly little friends...

12/08/2006 12:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Danny Kaye said...

I'm with Nathaniel (except for the unfortunate coughing spell!). I would like to know how Kc is getting his interpretation.

Lot (or "kleros") is used several times in the NT. I think the one that most clearly shows us what casting lots meant was when the soldiers were gambling for Jesus' blood-stained undergarment.

The soldiers had already agreed who would get what part of Jesus' other clothing. But the undergarment they would cast lots for. How can this be interpretted as voting? These were some pretty mean and nasty guys. What makes anyone think that any one of them would "vote" for someone else to get the underwear!!? Besides, the word "kleros" means "using bits of wood" for "drawing chances." Even in the OT the word for "lot" (gowral) was referring to drawing small pebbles in order to make a determination.

New Test. or Old Test., the casting lots meant to draw "something" in order to come to a determination.

Regarding the question, though, I would say that what method of casting lots means nothing to God. If we wanted to decide something by having a rock-skipping contest, God would be able to make sure that the rock thrown by the person who was on the "winning" side of His will skipped the most times. I don't think method matters; only faith matters. With faith, God can work through any of our cute little "deciding games."

12/08/2006 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

One time me and two friends met these three girls and one was not very pretty. So we decided to roll dice to see who.............................










No not really.
But Kc, my dear friend and brother, I have to go along with the consensus on this one. I believe casting lots is biblical, in fact I brought this up once in a pastor search committee about a year ago and was looked down on as totally crazy. That is true, no joke. I used the same proverb that Adam quoted to offer my suggestion as biblical, but there was no way the others would have anything to do with it.

I believe fully that real lots were cast to pick Judas's replacement.

12/08/2006 02:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe if one is really attempting to follow God's will, almost any method of choosing could be effective.

I would also venture to say that casting lots, depending on one's heart, could be the most cowardly way to choose or the way with the most inspirational faith in God.

12/08/2006 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

I would also venture to say that casting lots, depending on one's heart, could be the most cowardly way to choose or the way with the most inspirational faith in God.

Oh yah. That is beautiful. You will find this mindset a lot in determinist and Calvinist (no seriously). When any group of people focus so much on the Sovereignty of God and the full power of God in all things, then they are necessarily (if they listen to their theology) going to worry less.

I mean, if I know that God is in complete control, then even though my wife and kids just died, and my house just burnt down, and everything is against me, I still know that the sovereign LORD is upon His throne and He is in utmost control.

AHHH!!! I love the complete sovereignty of God. Keep your wimpy theologies. Give me the hard stuff!!!

12/08/2006 05:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I mean, if I know that God is in complete control, then even though my wife and kids just died, and my house just burnt down, and everything is against me, I still know that the sovereign LORD is upon His throne and He is in utmost control."

I hope you're not deluded into thinking only determinist's believe that. Free willies totally believe that God has ultimate control. We just don't buy the notion that He micromanages every action as determinism seems to require.

12/08/2006 09:53:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

But if I have the choice to do this or that, how can God have 'ultimate control'?

If I choose to walk outside, rather than remain sitted here, are you going to tell me that when I do walk outside, God controls this? Wouldn't that be some manner of manipulation? To say I freely chose and freely acted, but that God likewise controlled my actions? GASP!

:D

And yes, I am 'deluded' by reason and logic and Scripture that only a determinist or at least a sovereigntist can believe that God is in complete control and therefore rest without worry. No doubt a freewilly can rest without worry, but their nonworrisome attitude is not based upon their beliefs, they are being inconsistent with their beliefs. ;)

12/09/2006 12:10:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Everyone,

Thanks for the great responses and I'm honored to be challenged by such wonderful thinkers and great brethren. I will offer my reasoning on my opinion for the lot but please know my mind remains open to the possibility my belief in this is untrue, even so that has no effect on my position regarding the value based selections that God requires of us.

"And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. " Acts 1:26

While I appreciate Jeff's word study I find that kleros is likely rooted in the verb klao which means "to break". In addition to "lot", the noun kleros translates into "part", "inheritance" and "heritage". The transliterated verb "Lagchano" and not kleros is used in the NT to indicate the act of obtaining a divine allotment as commanded by God in the OT. Given this understanding along with the fact that these "lots" were "gave forth" the verse above can easily be seen as indicating that each of the Apostles gave their "part" and the "part" that was Judas' went to Matthias. Given Proverbs 16:33 It seems this understanding would fit well for those of us who believe that God chose Paul to be the "Apostle to the Gentiles". This should also satisfy any question concerning God's power and authority. While the Apostles chose Matthias, God chose Paul.

12/09/2006 01:42:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Adam, as usual my sharpest contention is with you. ;-)

"But if I have the choice to do this or that, how can God have 'ultimate control'?"

Through intimate foreknowledge as we previously discussed.

"If I choose to walk outside, rather than remain sitted here, are you going to tell me that when I do walk outside, God controls this?"

Not at all. Our Father has all power and authority so that He could determine that but that does not mean that He must determine it. If in fact He must then He does not have all control for He cannot control anything He must do.

"Wouldn't that be some manner of manipulation? To say I freely chose and freely acted, but that God likewise controlled my actions? GASP!"

I think I will avoid this rabbit trail for the moment though one day we really must discuss the freedom we have in Christ.

"And yes, I am 'deluded' by reason and logic and Scripture that only a determinist or at least a sovereigntist can believe that God is in complete control ..."

Again, to have all control does not necessitate controlling all.

"...and therefore rest without worry."

This is where your logic fails me. I think there is a great difference between being careless and being care-free. It would be quite careless for a believer not to concern themselves with seeking God's will in the scripture and doing His command having already believed their lot is cast (grin). Those who do can live free from the cares of this world.

"No doubt a freewilly can rest without worry, but their nonworrisome attitude is not based upon their beliefs, they are being inconsistent with their beliefs. "

We who have had our will set free can rest in the certainty of His word with no fear that we haven't been "picked". ;-)

12/09/2006 01:45:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Not at all. Our Father has all power and authority so that He could determine that but that does not mean that He must determine it. If in fact He must then He does not have all control for He cannot control anything He must do.

This is involved in this statement:

Again, to have all control does not necessitate controlling all.

Help me out here friend, for you are making no sense. How can you say having all control does not necessitate controlling all? Wouldn't that be just as silly as saying being all knowing does not necessity knowing all? If one has all control, then they have all control.

You attempt to bypass this truth by saying that He could have control, but He doesn't. But if He only could control, yet doesn't, we can't say He does have control.

If I could be a preacher, and yet I am not, you cannot call me a preacher, for I am not. It doesn't matter if I could be a preacher or not, or I could be a waiter or not. If I am not a preacher, and I am not a waiter, then you cannot call me a preacher or waiter.

Likewise, perhaps God could control all, or He could have control over all, but if He does not control all, and does not have control over all, you cannot say He controls all or has control over all, you cannot say He is all controlling.

So let us go back to this statement:

Not at all. Our Father has all power and authority so that He could determine that but that does not mean that He must determine it. If in fact He must then He does not have all control for He cannot control anything He must do.

You muddy the issue a little with the introduction of 'determine'. If you are using this synonymously with 'control' then that is fine, but if not, if you are using it as perhaps 'ordained' or 'preordained' or 'predetermined', then I am confused.

God has all power and authority and control. We would both agree on this.

But what I think you misunderstand is that 'control' is not in the same area as 'power' or 'authority'.

If I have the power to lift myself from this seat, I needn't actually lift myself from this seat to have that power. I have it whether I use it or not.

Likewise, if I have authority over my brothers, I needn't actually tell them what to do to exercise this authority. I have the authority whether I exercise it or not.

We see this in the idea that all power and authority has been given Jesus, but He hasn't yet used these. He hasn't used His power over evil to eliminate it, and He hasn't exercised His authority 'with a rod of iron'.

But control is very different. It cannot be passive as the other's can.

I mean the very first definition of 'control' is:

To exercise authoritative or dominating influence over; direct

And here is where I just had an epiphany and I see better what you are saying.

If we take the idea of a little child running about the room. I could say that I 'have control' of the child, in that I don't let it run into the kitchen, or run outside, or run into the wall (I actually would let it just because I would find it humorous). In this sense I would have a limited control over the child in that I am not letting it go too far.

But it cannot be said that I have complete control over the child. For the child is still controlling its own actions. It is still controlling its feet and hands and mouth. I am not controlling these things. I have given it freedom in this regard. It is free to do certain things within the boundaries I have set.

I am not going to let it go too far, and hence I have some control, but I am letting it go within the boundaries, it controls its life in that regard.

This would be your opinion on the whole choice idea. But you are not seeing that keeping the child within the room, not allowing it to go certain places, is not exercising complete control over the child. It is only a limited control.

To exercise complete control over the child would be to move its hands and feet as you yourself do. You move your own hands and feet, therefore you control your own body.

If it is said that the child controls its own body, moving its own hands and feet, then this means necessarily that you do not control its body. And if you do not control something, you do not exercise complete control over the child.

Understand?

12/09/2006 02:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think our differences rest in your sadly stunted apprehension of what it means to be in control. You clearly favor absolute control, in which God, the Almighty Puppetmaster pulls every string. It's too bad that you have to either ignore scriptures about freedom or twist them into semantic gymnastics in order to appear biblical on this matter.

On the other hand, distinguish absolute control from ultimate control. You may not be the one moving the child's arms and legs, but do not mistake that you are in ultimate control over that child. However, in God's case, He has the ability and option to step in and move the child's legs if He wishes. THAT is control, whether exercised or not.

Adam, why do you kick against the goads? Scripture speaks of both destiny and choice. Why cannot you simply accept that the two can coexist, as scripture seems to indicate. I fear that God has turned you over to this reprobate french-ness. Come to your senses, Adam. Fly! Be free!

12/09/2006 06:42:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

On the other hand, distinguish absolute control from ultimate control. You may not be the one moving the child's arms and legs, but do not mistake that you are in ultimate control over that child. However, in God's case, He has the ability and option to step in and move the child's legs if He wishes. THAT is control, whether exercised or not.

Here is the key, Dorsey.

In the analogy, the person would have ultimate control.

But do you deny that he hasn't absolute control?

And you say that God could step in and move the child's legs if He wishes, if God did so, would you say this would be wrong of God to do?

And the ability to step in and move the child's leg may be control over oneself (controlling whether you will step in and move the child's legs or not), but it is NOT control over the child.

The child is controlling the child's legs, therefore the child is controlling the child's legs. I am not. If I am not, I am not controlling the child's legs. Therefore I do not have control in this situation.

Adam, why do you kick against the goads? Scripture speaks of both destiny and choice. Why cannot you simply accept that the two can coexist, as scripture seems to indicate. I fear that God has turned you over to this reprobate french-ness. Come to your senses, Adam. Fly! Be free!

Dorsey, why do you kick against the goad? Scriptures speaks of both destiny and freedom. Why cannot you simply accept that the two can coexist without positing the man-made fabrication of 'choice'? I fear God may trun you over to this reprobate french-ness (by your own your of course). Come to you senses, Dorsey. Fly! Be-free!

I think our differences rest in your sadly stunted apprehension of what it means to be in control. You clearly favor absolute control, in which God, the Almighty Puppetmaster pulls every string. It's too bad that you have to either ignore scriptures about freedom or twist them into semantic gymnastics in order to appear biblical on this matter.

I do favor absolute control, because I favor a God that is absolutely in control. :D

Ok, here's your chance my friend. You are in the light.

Could you show me the passage, or at least the group of passages, that speaks of freedom and defines it (even if so remotely as hardly recongizeable) as only existing if 'choice' exists?

12/09/2006 07:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am running into some trouble here with the existing debate over God's control.

I cannot find a single instance where the Bible refers to God's "control" of us, or even his "authority" over us. Only that he gave Jesus authority.

I am still delving into it, but I could use some help.

I did, however find frequent reference to control and authority of men over other men. I think we could agree a man can only have minimal control over another man, realistically.

12/09/2006 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Missy, I am speaking rashly here, but I don't think you will find much Scriptural example of God 'controlling' us. I think it is an implicite thought from other beliefs.

We always say God has everything under control, or that God is in control of it all; therefore do not worry...

As far as 'authority'. If God gave Jesus all authority, what authority did God have to give Jesus the authority that God did not have?

12/09/2006 09:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am still looking and I have found some interesting things, but need some time to compile.

But for now, Adam, that was my point. We are talking about "control" and I am wondering if this is the term we should be using - at least as you define it.

I did, however, find a verse that addresses God's authority...

"He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority." Acts 1:7 (NIV)

In the KJV, authority was translated as "power". It is translated from the Greek word, "exousia" meaning the liberty of doing as one pleases or the right to exercise power.

"As far as 'authority'. If God gave Jesus all authority, what authority did God have to give Jesus the authority that God did not have?"

I do not believe anyone has made any implication or has come to the conclusion that God does not have authority - including yourself. I think your argument is that He exerts His authority in all manners, whereas most of your contenders believe He chooses not to. But I may be wrong.

The meaning of authority is to have the ability to exert power - not that you are doing so. This is also my understanding of the word "control." But if we cannot come to agreement on that meaning, I propose that we use the Biblical term "authority."

12/09/2006 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

"This should also satisfy any question concerning God's power and authority. While the Apostles chose Matthias, God chose Paul."

God chose Paul, but not to be one of the Twelve. Paul never identified Himself as one of that number.

Some people have pointed out that we are not told of any great works done by Matthias; but the same is true of most of the Twelve.

The Twelve Apostles failed in their commission; therefore God chose Paul to be a distinctive 'Apostle of the Gentiles'.

His ministry was radically different from that of the Twelve.

It was Paul, who saw Christ in His heavenly glory who was entrusted with the truth of the heavenly nature of the Church.

If we confuse Paul with the Twelve, we risk confusing the Church with Israel.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

12/09/2006 12:48:00 PM  
Anonymous luthsem said...

If God is not in control then salvation is uncertain. If you believe it's up to your own free will(which is not free until God frees it)then all is hopeless.
Salvation is either all of grace or not.

12/09/2006 02:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Ok, here's your chance my friend. You are in the light.

Could you show me the passage, or at least the group of passages, that speaks of freedom and defines it (even if so remotely as hardly recongizeable) as only existing if 'choice' exists?"


Take your pick. No freedom, whether freedom "from" or freedom "to," exists without choice. Try as I might (and I have), I cannot make myself see it any other way. But I don't think that's what we're arguing here. The question at hand is whether choice can exist and God still be in control. I say yes.

12/09/2006 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Dorsey,

Take your pick.

I think your belief in 'choice' has made you a little loopy. How am I to 'take my pick' (i.e. choose) when I don't know what my options are? I asked you to show me some passages that speak of freedom and define it as only existing if choice exists. I ask again, do you have those passages??

The question at hand is whether choice can exist and God still be in control. I say yes.

Again, consider the analogy. If I give the child choice, to choose which toy they wanna play with, or how they wanna play with it, then I may be in ultimate control (not allowing them to roam outside of the room, or play with knives), but I am not in absolute control.

Would you agree with me here?

I am willing to concede that if IF IF IF IF choice does exist, then God does still have control. But it is not absolute control, it is only ultimate control.

12/10/2006 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

I do not believe anyone has made any implication or has come to the conclusion that God does not have authority - including yourself. I think your argument is that He exerts His authority in all manners, whereas most of your contenders believe He chooses not to. But I may be wrong.

Yes, here you are wrong. I have never argued that God exercises absolute authority in all manners, but rather that He exercises absolute control in all manners.

If you would read above, don't remember which comment exactly, but I said that absolute authority can be had without exercising it, President Bush has absolute authority, but he doesn't exercise it in every manner possible.

However, I contended that absolute control cannot be had without exercising it. Control is not the same as authority as control needs to be exercised to be had.

This is where the contention is. I do believe everyone here would agree that God has absolute authority, but that He doesn't exercise it (YET! Maranatha!). He still allows Satan to roam about a little.

Where the contention is though is whether God has ultimate control only, or absolute control.

Most here would say God only has ultimate control, as in my analogy, I only had ultimate control over the child.

I however, given my disagreement with 'choice', woudl say that God likewise must have absolute control.

Does that clear it up a little.

The meaning of authority is to have the ability to exert power - not that you are doing so. This is also my understanding of the word "control." But if we cannot come to agreement on that meaning, I propose that we use the Biblical term "authority."

Here again I think you may have brought something good into the conversation (not that you don't always!!!).

But I think authority may be the ability to exert power or control, but not necessarily doing so. If you have ultimate or absolute authority, then you have the ability to ultimately and absolute exert control and power. But you needn't exert absolute control or power to have absolute authority to do so.

YOU MUST HOWEVER exert absolute control to be said to have absolute control.

12/10/2006 09:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I think your belief in 'choice' has made you a little loopy. How am I to 'take my pick' (i.e. choose) when I don't know what my options are? I asked you to show me some passages that speak of freedom and define it as only existing if choice exists. I ask again, do you have those passages??"

When I said, "Take your pick," I meant that you may choose any passage that refers to freedom. I think you know that. In fact, you may select any passage that contains even an imperative statement, like Colossians 2:6-7, "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."

Why would the Lord expect me to waste my time reading an exhortation to "continue to live with him," unless there was somehow an option NOT to continue?

Likewise, any passage that says "do this" or "be that" only makes sense if there is the choice to do or be the opposite.

"YOU MUST HOWEVER exert absolute control to be said to have absolute control."

I just don't think that's true. However, let's say that it could be. In your mind, would that absolute control need to be exercised continually? Why couldn't God demonstrate absolute control a few times just to show you that He has it? He could, say, flood the earth, make a donkey talk, override the laws of physics, raise the dead, etc. This would accomodate choice/freedom without diminishing the control you need Him to have.

12/10/2006 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Why would the Lord expect me to waste my time reading an exhortation to "continue to live with him," unless there was somehow an option NOT to continue?

Because the LORD is not concerned with what you could do. He is not telling you to make a choice. He is telling you to obey Him. Do this Dorsey.

If you were to then argue, or even just question, 'well do I have an option', or 'well could I do this instead'. You would get smacked in the head and given the reply, 'it doesn't matter silly little Dorsey, all that matters is that I told you to do something, now do it.'

The same is true for your children, do you tell your children to clean their room, or do their homework, only because you know they could go outside or play a video game instead? Or does it even cross your mind what they could do instead? All that matters is that you want them to do action a, and therefore you tell them to do action a.

Likewise, any passage that says "do this" or "be that" only makes sense if there is the choice to do or be the opposite.

Again, it makes perfect sense. A command can stand alone. You needn't have another option for the command to stand. If you are told to 'do this', then DO IT! You are not told to do that because you could do something else, your ability or inability to do something else is completely superfluous to the equation, all that matters is that you are commanded, now obey.

And you still have not given me specific passage that speaks of freedom and defines it as only existing if choice exists. I don't want a passage that needs a specific interpretation. I want a passage that speaks of freedom and defines it as existing only if choice likewise exists.

Perhaps a passage that says, 'you are free to do this, you would not be free to do this unless you could likewise choose to not do this'. That would be splendid. Anything like that in your repetoir?

I just don't think that's true.

Well then give me an example of having absolute control over something, and yet not exercising it. In the example I gave you, I don't see how you had absolute control over the child, for once again, you did not move the child, you were not controlling the child's movements or thoughts. The child controlled those thoughts, and where the child controls something, you do not.

You seem to think that I can control my thoughts or hands or feet, and God can likewise. Or the same control can be attributed to God and me. Is this true?

In your mind, would that absolute control need to be exercised continually?

It would need to be exercised continually to be absolute control. If He stopped exercising absolute control, then the time He stopped doing so, He did not have absolute control. He gave up His control, someone else had control. Perhaps He still had ultimate control in this situation, but He did not have absolute control.

Why couldn't God demonstrate absolute control a few times just to show you that He has it? He could, say, flood the earth, make a donkey talk, override the laws of physics, raise the dead, etc. This would accomodate choice/freedom without diminishing the control you need Him to have.

Question: at the times God did demostrate absolute control, like when He made the donkey talk or whatever, do you think the donkey had control over whether it could talk or not? Or perhaps the flood. When God demostrated control and flooded the earth, do you think nature had control to function as normal, or did God take over control and make nature act different than normal?

And I don't 'need' God to have this control, I only recognize the truth that He does. :D

12/10/2006 04:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, well, good luck with that.

Since choice doesn't exist, it seems that God wants me to watch some TV and have a beer rather than continue discussing this, 'cause that's what's about to happen...

...God willing.

12/10/2006 08:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adam, I can't even begin to answer all that. You tell me two, almost identical, phrases couldn't possibly mean the same, and then basically tell me they do??

Back to the subject...

"Why do you believe that we, as believers, should never “cast lots” to make a selection?"

I am not sure that I would say, "Never." However, if this is how we made our decisions as a church, I think we might stop studying scripture and teaching our children about scripture because we might stop relying on scripture for answers. We might stop communicating with God in spirit - our prayer lives would die. It seems a lazy way out to me. I think God wants us to come to Him. How long before we would bronze the die and build a temple around it?

12/10/2006 10:15:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Matthew I appreciate your position on this but it begs the question that I'll ask on next Friday! ;-)

Luthsem all here would agree with your statement. Our main difference is primarily centered around the method that God has determined this grace would be administered. Some here, myself included, would say through faith while others would say through election with faith being a foregone conclusion.

Adam I don't mean to ignore a single one of your thoughts. I value each one. If I seem to overlook any point you've made please correct me. I am only trying to keep my comments current in the discussion but I'll be happy to go back to any thought you feel I failed to adresss properly.

"But what I think you misunderstand is that 'control' is not in the same area as 'power' or 'authority'."

I must admit that I have struggled to find terms that we could agree on over the past year. Given your understanding of control as being "To exercise authoritative or dominating influence over; direct", I would have to say I don't believe God has all control. I would say He has something much more in that He could actually determine the placement of everything or anything or nothing at anytime rather than simply having influence over everything. I find it ironic that I now see myself as more of a Determinist than you for I fully believe that God determined men must choose rather than just influencing them to do so.

I am very much encouraged by your epiphany though I think you altered your own definition of control in your child analogy. I think you could easily say I exercised complete authoritative and dominating influence over my child in this circumstance though I do not think I could say I determined each of her actions.

12/11/2006 05:18:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

I really appreciate everyone’s effort in discussing this topic.

señor jefe you always seem to bring such a clear and uncluttered perspective to these round tables. You da man!

Dorsey you often impress me with your knowledge but I always appreciate your heart on these matters.

Missy it’s easy to see why you’re a regular NITU contributor. You seem to have the same devotion and abilities exhibited by most of Jeff’s readers.

Jeff I love your sweet spirit and always look forward to reading your thoughts.

Ron I’m anxious for your safe return as well as your thoughts on how the discussion has progressed.

Kris how can I express the love we share? If I say nothing more than this I know you understand what I’m saying completely.

Matthew I'm hoping and praying for you on your trip. Please everyone keep up with Matthew at his site and remember Him in your prayers.

Luthsem welcome! Thanks for joining in and though it seems we’re at odds here at times you’ll find there’s a real love between these dissenters.;-)

Adam I am so glad you choose to discuss this with me and that I was determined to be the one to discuss this with you! ;-) I love you dear brother.

12/11/2006 05:20:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Kc, our discussion on determinism and choice and freewill can wait, or it can be suspended for now (it seems to be an ongoing discussion for...um....LIKE A YEAR!). But we needn't cloud the question asked here.

I may be speaking for myself, but I find your interpretation unconvincing. You know I am not one to always use the copout 'well the literal, plain meaning is' (especially with John's 'world'), but I am going to use it here. The idea of 'lots' as used here within Acts, I think, is describing the act of 'chance' whereby men draw lots and it depends not upon human will or effort, but upon the luck of the draw, or chance, (but given the author of Prover's claim, the luck of the draw, or chance, is really GOD!!!).

So, my opinion, as it stands, is that the early disciples used this method, and God shaped the outcome. The men upon the boat with Jonah used this method, and God shaped the outcome. The author of the Proverb said the outcome is determined by God. All of these things taken together would lead me to believe that it is a viable method that can be used.

That and my opinion about the sovereignty of God, or God's determinism. Naturally I would be one to know that what happens is what God wants to happen, therefore I would not be afraid of running the risk of 'stepping outside of God's will' by relying upon some crazy means of determinism.

12/11/2006 07:39:00 AM  
Anonymous luthsem said...

I'm uncomfortable with the words fate or determinism. I do not think they are scriptural at all. You can say the Koran teaches fate or determinism but the God revealed in Jesus is not fatalistic.

John 1:18 18 No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

12/11/2006 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Adam, I apologize if I seem to be trying to convince you concerning casting lots. I only hoped to explain my position and I think you've given me a fair hearing on it.

Luthsem I would agree with you concerning fate and, as I've argued here, I don't believe that God has determined all things but I am persuaded His will encompasses all things. I would say we have scriptural evidence that , along with their boundaries, He has determined that men must die once then face judgment but that is a far cry from Determinism. ;-)

12/11/2006 11:16:00 AM  
Anonymous luthsem said...

Yes agree with your statement that God is sovereign and God's will encompasses all things.
Do you think those who are in Christ will face judgment? Did not Jesus pay the price for our sins and there is now no condemnation for those in Christ?
I know we will all die and those who reject the Truth will face judgment.

12/11/2006 11:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry for not posting sooner, but I think it is important to mention that in the case of the selection of the replacement apostle, those who cast lots would probably been okay with either outcome. My point is that they exercised god-given reason and wisdom to come to a conclusion about who was fit to be the replacement, and then incorporated a 'chace' method in making the final decision. It's not as though they said, "Let's cast lots to determine if the new apostle is Matthias or Pilate." No, they had narrowed it down to two brothers who likely had been with Jesus and were pillars in the community of faith. They simply let god have the final say in the matter... since they apparently believed he was in precise and direct control of even the most mundane details of reality.

12/11/2006 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Luthsem, I believe the death and judgment in Hebrews 9:27 applies to all men. I also believe 1st Corinthians 3:13-15 applies equally to believers.

Brandon, better late than never!

I will offer an article on the Holy Spirit work in the Church for your critique. I think the scripture indicates that God works in the Church through His indwelling Spirit.

12/11/2006 01:22:00 PM  
Anonymous luthsem said...

Well the judgment believers will recieve will be different than unbelievers right?
I'm trying to follow you

12/11/2006 02:08:00 PM  
Anonymous luthsem said...

Yeah I believe Hebrews 9:27 but if we are in Christ not judgment but salvation. God has not appointed us to wrath.

oh okay 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 is talking about our works not salvation. Our works will be judged but this is not a salvation issue

12/11/2006 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Luthsem I can appreciate your effort here. Let me assure you that I believe eternal life is a gift from God that we cannot earn and do not merit but is given to those who believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I believe it begins with the spirit birth and will never end.

12/11/2006 02:52:00 PM  
Anonymous luthsem said...

Thanks KC
great blog.

Hey Adam,
What's happening to the Pub?

12/11/2006 04:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kc, now we are almost even! (re: your comment on my blog) I risk jealousy everytime I visit your blog, but it is worth it. You have an incredible ability to open up a discussion, fairly consider each comment, and dialogue concerning your beliefs - all without trying to convince everyone that you are right or they are wrong. I have set a goal to learn to imitate that, but it will be a life-time goal I am sure! Thanks.

12/12/2006 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

Kc,

WOW! I have to go away for a couple of days and look what happens! First, let me agree with Missy - I appreciate your wisdom and economy with words. Some people have the rare gift of saying a lot without saying much, and you are one of those people. Now, with everything having been said, I would like to offer some observations. I agree with luthsem. Placing people into one group or another is analgous to to saying "I am of Paul" or "I am of Apollos." Kc, I do not want to speak for you, but from what I know of you, I think your intent is to provide a forum where we can come together for understanding, rather staking claims to pronounce our differences. The direction of the discussion seemed to turn when Kc brought up the issue of control. Personally, I agree with Kc. God can be totally in control (a place of position or power) without being controlling (exercising force or influence over another.) God never controlled Jesus - He most certainly had free will to do whatever He desired. The key is submission. The only way Jesus could have accomplished what He did was by being totally and completely submitted to the Father. This is the only way that God can accomplish His will through us. Which brings me back to the original purpose of this discussion. I do believe that if we have a group of people whose hearts are submitted to the Father, and they are unable to make a decision, then I believe that by use of lots, God can speak to them. Again, let me return to a principle I stated earlier. The key is intent. If it is the intent of the people to hear what the Lord is saying, then I believe it can be done by casting lots. There is a danger in applying too much knowledge or philosophy to a situation. Faith is not based on knowledge. Faith has its foundations in belief and is built on actions.

12/12/2006 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Thanks again all. ;-)

Luthsem I think I just figured out who you are! Rich, right? (and handsome too I'm sure hehe) Thanks for the kind words and especially for participating here.

Missy you're so kind and encouraging. I am a Dorsiest (grin) and one of the fundamental teachings of Dorseism says, "Follow me as I follow Christ but you might get there quicker if you don't." ;-)

Ron once more I'd say we're in the 99% range of agreement. You've hit home with my primary concern regarding Determinism and I know Adam and I will be arguing that soon at the soon to be announced new and improved Pub forum!

12/15/2006 03:37:00 AM  
Anonymous luthsem said...

Yes that's me Luthsem or Rich

12/18/2006 10:48:00 AM  

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