Wednesday, April 12, 2017

My Response to a Post I Recently Read

            Lastly (as I wrap up April's posts on "predestination vs. free-will"), I want to share my response to a post I read.  The person who wrote the post quoted Acts 2:23: “This man [Jesus] was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to a cross.”
            The writer’s point is that God pre-planned Jesus’ death and chose to use wicked men to accomplish this.  I can agree with this.  However, the underlying point of his post is that God basically caused the men to be wicked (that He planned for them to do evil), to accomplish His purposes.  And that God – even though He planned for these men to be wicked – cannot be accused of doing evil or wrong.   
            He also goes on to say that God planned for Adam and Eve to rebel, to fall.  That it is for His glory that they fell.  The implication is, once again, that God caused them to fall, for His purposes.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Some Problems with Predestination (And What I Think The Bible Really Says)

            Those who believe in predestination – the we don’t have a real choice about salvation – say that we have to evangelize and pray because God told us to and because God knew that this is how the lost would be saved.  This is a pretty flimsy reason for evangelizing, given that (according to predestination) no one really has a choice in where their souls end up anyway.
            If evangelizing didn’t really make a difference, then doing it just because God told us to do it would just be “going through the motions,” acting out a part just for the sake of acting it out.  We would just be “pretending” to evangelize because it wouldn’t really be needed or have an effect anyway.  This really waters down the Christian message and the urgency to reach the lost.  And I think it can cause believers and unbelievers alike to not take seriously God’s call to salvation and Jesus’ sacrifice for them.  What does it really matter what you think about these things anyway if it doesn’t really matter what you think and if you are just going to end up where God assigned you?  It kind of makes a mockery of thinking and of faith and of sharing the Good News. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Pre-chosen People? Is God's Call Irresistible?

            John 6:37:  “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”
            This one confused me for awhile.  It sounded like Jesus is saying that all the people that God has pre-chosen to be believers are destined to come to faith in Him.  And that only those who are chosen by God will come to faith.
            But I’m not sure if that’s what this is really saying. 

The Holy Spirit and "Dead People"

            Maybe you've wondered this, "Isn’t it the Holy Spirit’s job to convict people and draw them to God?  Aren’t we “dead people” before the Spirit wakes us up, unable to even think about or seek God because “dead people” can’t do anything?  And so we need the Spirit to make us become believers?  Isn’t there a verse about Him opening people’s minds so that they can understand God’s truth?  So if He doesn’t draw someone and doesn’t open their minds, then they cannot become saved?  Isn’t it His job to save people?
            I would answer this way:  Yes and no.
            I used to think this was the case - that if the Holy Spirit didn’t open your eyes, you would not be able to come to God.  That basically, the Holy Spirit decided who to “enlighten” and who to leave ignorant of God.  And I guess, then, that if you wanted someone to become a Christian, you would have to pray, “Lord, make so-and-so become a Christian.”  Because it’s all up to Him, right?  He decides who to let into heaven and who to keep out. 
            But as I have learned more over the years, I now see it just a touch differently.