Saturday, August 18, 2007

J.C. Thibodaux on Election

A very interesting article indeed. I highly recommend that the Mafia read it!

It's always interesting to me when people will teach that God does indeed choose people to be saved (even if by mere prescience) and yet teach that the person can lose the Salvation that they were chosen to receive... I mean, don't they think God saw that coming too? Why did He choose them to be saved if He already knew they would eventually fall away? By this scheme, did those who forfeit salvation ever really receive the gift of "eternal life"?

Somebody help me out here...

22 comments:

Joshua A. Hitchcock said...

Rhett, I don't know if you read all of the article, but J.C. is advocating the doctrine of conditional election. We are elect before the foundation of the world, because God knew what we would choose. So, he is ascribing to the Arminian view of election here. Just thought I would point that out.

Rhett Kelley said...

Yeah, I read it all. A couple times actually...

Here's what I'm getting at:

Even if God conditionally elected us, based on prescience, would not He see also that the person would later fall away from the faith?

Why then would He "elect" someone He already knew would never actually be saved in the end??

Deviant Monk said...

One might equally ask why God would allow those who are unconditionally elected to ever fall into sin.

Joshua A. Hitchcock said...

Rhett...Ok, I get what you are saying...thats a good thought.

Deviant,
I am glad to see you back. anyway, I have often wondered that myself. If God has the power to restrain us, why doesn't he. Here is my answer, however, this is mere speculation at this point.

1. He doesn't want us to forget who we are. We are unholy beings. If he caused us to never sin again, we may forget what we once were and see ourselves as something we are not, which in a nutshell is idolatry...another sin.
2. Perhaps by allowing us to sin, he keeps us dependent upon Christ. While we stand positionally forgiven in Christ, when we sin, we are continually reminded of our unrighteousness and that the only way we stand righteous before God is by what Jesus did on the cross by dying in our place (Penal Substitution) I know you don't like that one.
3. He wants us to seek him in prayer. No amount of exertion on our part will ever help us stop sinning. By allowing sin, we continually go to God with a repentant heart, seeking his forgiveness and mercy, which by praying we are growing in our relationship to God.

Just a few thoughts...Not claiming this is authoritative...just speculation.

Deviant Monk said...

1. He doesn't want us to forget who we are. We are unholy beings. If he caused us to never sin again, we may forget what we once were and see ourselves as something we are not, which in a nutshell is idolatry...another sin.

Assuming God caused someone to never sin again, it would seem quite unlikely that they could commit the sin of idolatry, since God is causing them to never sin again.

I was thinking, in my original query, more primordially- why would God allow those who are unconditionally elected to ever fall into sin? Indeed, how could they, sin such a fall into sin would essentially be a negation of the original decree of unconditional election?

Assuming that God is indeed the causal mechanism behind such a fall into sin, then there is indeed no need for salvation, except perhaps from the sheer caprice of God.

2. Perhaps by allowing us to sin, he keeps us dependent upon Christ.

Whether or not there is sin or sinful persons, there is no ontological escape from dependence on Christ, since Christ is both creator and sustainer of all things. While you balk at understanding sin as privation, that is part and parcel of this understanding of the ontological relationship between Christ and creation- to assert independence from God is to sever oneself from the source of life and to plunge into non-being.

While we stand positionally forgiven in Christ, when we sin, we are continually reminded of our unrighteousness and that the only way we stand righteous before God is by what Jesus did on the cross by dying in our place (Penal Substitution) I know you don't like that one.

Positional forgiveness? What exactly does that mean? PSA would completely remove the need for forgiveness, since God's thirst for vengeance has been sated by Christ's blood.

3. He wants us to seek him in prayer. No amount of exertion on our part will ever help us stop sinning. By allowing sin, we continually go to God with a repentant heart, seeking his forgiveness and mercy, which by praying we are growing in our relationship to God.

Surely one could grow in one's relationship with God apart from having to go to God for mercy and forgiveness. Presumably, based upon the presumption of God's infinite nature, the saints will continue to grow in their relationship with God throughout eternity, without having to go to God for mercy or forgiveness.

I'm curious though, based upon the logic of Un. Election and PSA, whether there is really any need to either go to God for mercy or forgiveness since presumably all of the elects' sins have been borne and punished in Christ (thus negating any need for mercy) and since they are 'positionally' forgiven. (thus negating the need for forgiveness.) Since all of this is wrapped up in the eternal decree, to Go to God in prayer for mercy and forgiveness, it would seem to, at the very least, indicate a lack of faith in the efficacy of the divine decree, and at worst be blasphemy, since one is saying that even though God has, from all eternity, decreed that the elect have received mercy and forgiveness, still one is presuming to obtain it through prayer.

Joshua A. Hitchcock said...

Oh yes...more deconstructionism...oh how I have missed it...anyway, perhaps I will respond in due time...Or perhaps I won't waste my time with such useless bloviations.

Rhett said...

Thanks for hi-jacking the thread Deviant!

Deviant Monk said...

Thanks for hi-jacking the thread Deviant!

you're welcome. BTW, kudos on getting rid of the comment moderation. Now I can start using more profanity ;-)

anyway, perhaps I will respond in due time...Or perhaps I won't waste my time with such useless bloviations.

do what you must.

Oh yes...more deconstructionism...oh how I have missed it...

Are you speaking of my response to you, or Rhett's post? How is his post any less deconstructing than my comments?

Rhett said...

"BTW, kudos on getting rid of the comment moderation. Now I can start using more profanity ;-) "

Please don't... I'd hate to have to call in a few favors from my cousin in Kansas City!

J.C. Thibodaux said...

"...I mean, don't they think God saw that coming too?"

Of course, perfect omniscience would necessitate as much. It was even foretold,

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils..." 1 Timothy 4:1

"And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." Matthew 24:12

"Why did He choose them to be saved if He already knew they would eventually fall away?"

Why can't He? He also commands,

"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall" 2 Peter 1:10

Rhett said...

Your version of "election" makes God a spectator who -before the foundation of the world- was bound to make his plans according to the whims of man's freewill in which He foresaw the choices of, but was unable (or unwilling) to influence in any way!

Your view of God and salvation is very temporal.

Rhett said...

Btw J.C, my offer to send you that book (or DVD) still stands...

gordan said...

Not to mention, Rhett, there is also the logical fallacy that Arminianism somehow protects God from being charged with creating "vessels for destruction," or people destined for hell.

If God looks down through the corridors of time, sees a man refuse Christ all his life, and die and go to hell; and THEN, having foreseen that, God goes ahead and allows that man to be born, hasn't He just created the man for hell? And when God sends people to witness to this man, isn't it sort of an "empty" exercise, since He knows (and has from all eternity) that the gospel offers will be rejected?

Dusty McDust said...

That's a good point there.

Arminians (those who hold to the classical "God knows the future" view, anyway), despite their motivation to make God more likeable, have God acting just as coldly and irrationally as they claim Calvinists do.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

"Your version of "election" makes God a spectator who -before the foundation of the world- was bound to make his plans according to the whims of man's freewill in which He foresaw the choices of, but was unable (or unwilling) to influence in any way!"

That's a fairly quick jump to conclusions my friend. God is not 'bound' to save anyone, and could have justly condemned the entire human race had He so chosen, but according to both His divine purpose and foreknowledge has graciously chosen some. As far as God not influencing free will, I don't believe that, as a man cannot believe in Christ unless the Father draws him first (John 6:44), and it it only by grace that we can believe in the first place (Acts 18:27). That hardly qualifies Him as a mere spectator.

"Your view of God and salvation is very temporal."

Actually, it's probationary, for final salvation is not obtained till the race is finished.

"Receiving the end of your faith, [even] the salvation of [your] souls." (1 Peter 1:9)

"If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:11-12)

I have actually heard that argument before Gordan, I'm not sure what the consensus of most Wesleyans/Arminians on the subject is (kangaroodordt might know), but I for one do believe that for His own purposes, God creates vessels of destruction as is plainly written in Romans 9, which He knows will not receive the truth. As Christ spoke to the Pharisees,

"...I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come." (John 8:21)

gordan said...

JC, I am overjoyed to see you affirm the Biblical truth of vessels for destruction.

Now, in your view, when Peter says that God desires that all would repent, are those vessels included?

If so, what do you do with the divided will this seems to put on the Godhead (i.e. on the one hand, creating vessels on which to pour out His wrath; and on the other wishing that those vessels would escape that destiny somehow.)

Rhett said...

Wow J.C...

Do you ever consider the context of anything before you try to use to support your position? LOL!!

You quote 1 Pet 1:9 to support your "probationary" (aka temporal) view of salvation, but totally overlook the verses before it in which we see clearly that the reason why the elect will receive final salvation (glorification) is because the elect are those "who by God’s power are being guarded ("kept" in KJV) through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."

The Greek word for "guarded" is the word phroureō. It means to "to be a watcher in advance, that is, to mount guard as a sentinel (post spies at gates); figuratively to hem in, protect: - keep (with a garrison)." (Strongs)

The only reason why any of us will be glorified is because God is keeping (phroureō) us by His power!! It is He who keeps our faith intact. It is He who ensures none of His chosen sheep will perish. All the glory for our perseverance belongs to God!

J.C., if you or I either one prove to be genuine converts and thus finish the race, it will be because of what God did, not because of what we did on our own. Without Him, we can do nothing of ourselves and that includes "finishing the race."

Dusty McDust said...

(That's a perfect last paragraph, Rhett. Whatever our debates are, the bottom line for everyone is that salvation is all about God.)

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Gordan,
"Now, in your view, when Peter says that God desires that all would repent, are those vessels included?"

Yes, I do believe that God desires that all men be saved despite His knowledge that many He creates will not receive Him, and because they do not acknowledge their Creator or receive His word, He turns them over to wickedness and delusion (Romans 1:28, 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12), hence hardening their hearts and making them fit only for destruction. God's permitting them to wilfully reject Him and His desire that they do not are not mutually exclusive:

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen [doth gather] her brood under [her] wings, and ye would not!" (Luke 13:34)

And Rhett,
"You quote 1 Pet 1:9 to support your "probationary" (aka temporal) view of salvation, but totally overlook the verses before it in which we see clearly that the reason why the elect will receive final salvation (glorification) is because the elect are those "who by God’s power are being guarded ("kept" in KJV) through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. ...The only reason why any of us will be glorified is because God is keeping (phroureō) us by His power!! It is He who keeps our faith intact..."

Our being kept is through faith, which the scriptures do plainly warn against forsaking as some have,

"Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck" (1 Timothy 1:19)

I've looked through and through, nowhere in scripture does it indicate that it is impossible for a Christian to forsake the faith, that's to say nothing of the various warnings I've already cited against falling away...

"All the glory for our perseverance belongs to God! ...if you or I either one prove to be genuine converts and thus finish the race, it will be because of what God did, not because of what we did on our own. Without Him, we can do nothing of ourselves and that includes "finishing the race."

I agree with you there. There is no way that we can endure apart from Christ, for it's God who works in us to will and to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). I don't think anyone's arguing against the fact that it's God who gives us the strength and grace to endure. The question is if scripture indicates that His grace is irresistible; as far as I can tell it is not.

Rhett said...

J.C.

This passage proves nothing...

Have a look at v.20 and see whom Paul is saying is among those who have "made shipwreck of their faith" were Hymenaeus and Alexander both of whom Paul mentions again in II Timothy. (2 Tim 2:17 and 2 Tim 4:14)

These two were apostates. I don't doubt that at all. However, you need to remember that John explains what happens when such fall away and become false teachers and oppose the Gospel:

They went out from us, but they were not of us: for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued, with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (1 John 2:19 KJV)


"I don't think anyone's arguing against the fact that it's God who gives us the strength and grace to endure."

You only believe God "gives strength and grace to endure"???

That sounds real nice, but I reckon it's not enough to get the job done, eh? ;)

Joshua, there's a big difference between "giving strength and grace" and what Peter says God does in 1 Peter 1:5!! Look it up in the Greek and see for yourself.

Look, we can do this from now until the 2nd Coming and we probably won't influence each other one way or the other. You are well entrenched in your beliefs and so am I.

There's no point in my carrying this on any further. Perhaps we would better spend our time ganging up on an agnostic or something!! :-)

J.C. Thibodaux said...

I see, false Christians somehow negate the possibility of true Christians falling away, the faith that Paul tells Timothy to hold to isn't really faith, being kept through faith isn't conditioned on remaining in the faith, and grace isn't enough. Got it. Indeed, it is hard to see need for further reply. Pleasure as always brothers, may God richly bless you.

Rhett said...

"false Christians somehow negate the possibility of true Christians falling away"

That's right! Especially when Jesus says his sheep (true Christians) will NEVER perish! (Joh 10:28)

"the faith that Paul tells Timothy to hold to isn't really faith, being kept through faith isn't conditioned on remaining in the faith"

All Christians are to hold (and/or keep) the faith as it is essential to true salvation. However, we keep the faith only because we are being kept by the power of God through faith (1 Peter 1:5). This is not rocket science.

"and grace isn't enough"

It does appear that the entire framework of your theology hangs upon this idea.

"Got it."

I wish that were so...

"Indeed, it is hard to see need for further reply."

I'm glad we finally agree upon something. :)