bkmitchell — 2017-03-25T09:32:47-04:00 — #1
Do those who hold to the theory of Unconditional election believe that there is a need for missions?
In other words, if God has already foreordained which individuals will be saved and has already programmed them to accept him apart from for a free will/or a personal decision to accept GOD(or respond to GOD's offer) is there still a purpose for missions?
If yes, how do mission within that worldview?
dave_l — 2017-03-25T09:54:07-04:00 — #2
I believe we should preach the gospel to the whole world. But confusion develops around the idea of "offering the gospel". We offer medicine to those who are sick and they accept it willingly in hopes of getting better. But this does not illustrate the Preaching of the Gospel. The Gospel Preacher announces that all who believe what he is telling them about Christ, his death and resurrection already have eternal life. And if they believe, they need to repent and seek baptism. Further instruction might follow about holiness as a lifestyle.
gao_lu — 2017-03-25T10:18:20-04:00 — #3
What is the point in announcing it, if those who cannot be lost are already saved?
Actually none are saved because they were never lost since they were foreordained to be saved, but that is not the question here.
Some say mission work is purely an act of obedience for which there is no known reason. I wonder if anyone here would defend that position?
- Then too, one must wonder if "obedience" is a "work."
- And one might ponder if by hearing the "announcement" a "work" is performed somehow effecting salvation
- One might also wonder if one can be saved without "announcing" and if so, why bother with announcing. For that matter, if a saved person cannot be unsaved, then why bother with obedience at all. Note: I don't say this disrespectfully, I know a physician who lives a Bohemian life and says he is saved anyway--curiously, I think he believes it, and he ain't no stupe.
dave_l — 2017-03-25T10:21:29-04:00 — #4
Jesus tells us to preach the good news. So those who have eternal life can begin to see the Kingdom all around us, and lead Christian lives to his glory.
wolfgang_schneider — 2017-03-25T13:03:24-04:00 — #5
Those who I have seen over decades hear the gospel which was offered ( = preached, taught, shared with) them as "the power of God unto salvation" and receiving eternal life did definitely have a hope of God saving them through the power of the gospel they heard and into which they put their trust, in which they believed.
The preaching of the gospel is first making known the power of God UNTO salvation ... in addition the Scriptures / gospel preaching will of course then include teaching and making known how believers should behave and walk as followers of Christ (that is, not walk by the flesh but rather walk by the spirit)
This is NOT necessarily true .... see above, certainly, the gospel includes instruction for already saved believers and how they are to behave and walk in their daily lives ... but the gospel also - and especially the points you emphasized - are truths relevant to those who are NOT as of yet saved as by it they are shown the way to eternal life, which for them involves to trust in that gospel, to believe those points of the gospel
This pertains to the further instruction for already saved persons in order for them to walk as true followers of Christ. But this does not have anything to do with that purpose of preaching the gospel as mentioned in Rom 1:16 ("Röm 1,16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.")
In addition, consider the passage from Rom 10:9-17 ... being saved and made righteous hinges upon believing the gospel of Christ / the Word of God being preached by the one who is sent and heard/accepted/believed by the one who hears it!
lu1 — 2017-03-25T13:08:50-04:00 — #6
So in a statement such as this are we directing this conversation about Calvinism. If so what are the pros and cons of Calvinism?
Here is a list:
Pros For Calvinism:
Calvinism is not a sect. It is not a group within the church, seeking its own independent status. Rather, it is an affirmation of sola gratia in the history of the church of Jesus Christ. (182)
Reformed churches do not add any new doctrines to the Christian faith, but claim that they are merely recovering the clear teachings of Scripture that had become obscured in the medieval church. (257)
Pelagianism—the religion of self-salvation—is not a modern innovation, but the default setting of the fallen heart ever since the fall. No one has to be taught Pelagianism; rather, we have to be taught out of it — constantly, since we gravitate toward it. We find it even in the nineteenth-century American evangelist Charles Finney, and it remains a potent theology in practice even in many places where it is denied in theory. (777)
…whether the elect are chosen unto faith or in view of their faith. In other words, is election unconditional or conditional? Does God choose who will be saved, apart from their decision and effort, or does he choose those whom he knows will trust and obey? (836)
God is not arbitrarily choosing some and rejecting others. Rather, he is choosing some of his enemies for salvation and leaving the rest to the destiny that all of us would have chosen for ourselves. (911)
The Calvinist says that everything that happens is not only foreknown but determined by God, yet in some cases through his own action (such as working all things together for our good) and in other cases through his permission (such as allowing creatures to commit a particular sin). (956)
Is election fair? Hardly. But who wants fairness in this matter? After all, if God were to give everybody what is deserved, nobody would be saved. (1022)
All orthodox Christians maintain that the atonement is limited either in its extent or in its nature. Calvinists believe that it is limited (or definite) in its extent, but unlimited in its nature or efficacy: Christ’s death actually saved the elect. Arminians believe that it is unlimited in its extent, but limited in its nature or efficacy: Christ’s death makes possible the salvation of everyone, but does not actually save any. (1386)
If Christ’s death itself actually accomplished salvation for everyone for whom it was intended, then the only options are Calvinism and universalism. (1627)
These warning passages themselves target those who are visible members of the covenant community (professing believers and their children), in some sense benefiting from the Spirit’s ministry, who have nevertheless failed to embrace the gift of salvation. (2239)
Wesley seemed to be more worried that Calvinists were preaching antinomian heresy than that Arminians were preaching works-righteousness. (2718)
Note that no one in Scripture is told, “Christ died for you,” much less, “Christ died to make your salvation possible.” Christ’s sheep hear his voice and they come to him, and not one of them will perish (John 10:11, 15). (3216)
Jaroslav Pelikan famously said: Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. (3641)
Cons Against Calvinism:
This kind of Calvinism, which attributes everything to God’s will and control, makes it difficult (at least for me) to see the difference between God and the devil. (298)
It is even debatable whether what they are calling Calvinism was believed in its entirety by Calvin. (355)
Scottish Presbyterian theologian James Orr (1844–1913) criticized Calvin’s idea of God’s sovereignty because in it “love is subordinated to sovereignty, instead of sovereignty to love.” (446)
…Adrio König, retired professor of theology at UNISA (University of South Africa), whose Here Am I! A Believer’s Reflection on God attacked any deterministic version of God’s sovereignty and affirmed instead a self-limiting God, who suffers human rejection and evil and invites people into covenant partnership with himself without foreordaining or determining their choices. (475)
According to Piper, God has sincere compassion even for the non-elect so that he desires their salvation, even though he declines to provide for it on the cross. To paraphrase John Wesley, this seems to be such a love and compassion as makes the blood run cold. (827)
I agree with the Calvinists who say the typical Calvinist view of sovereignty requires confession of God as author of sin and evil. (1060)
Only a moral monster would refuse to save persons when salvation is absolutely unconditional and solely an act of God that does not depend on free will. (1113)
I am opposed to any idea that, as the old Calvinist saying goes, “those who find themselves suffering in hell can at least take comfort in the fact that they are there for the greater glory of God.” (1131)
…prevenient grace—the illuminating, convicting, calling, and enabling power of the Holy Spirit working on the sinner’s soul and making them free to choose saving grace (or reject it). This is the Arminian interpretation of the “drawings” of God mentioned by Jesus in the gospel of John. God does not draw irresistibly but persuasively, leaving human persons able to say no. (1206)
…the vicious calumnies raised against [Arminianism] by Calvinists over the years; most of what Calvinists say about it is simply untrue or at least only partially true. One of the worst offenders is Sproul, who equates Arminianism with the heresy of semi-Pelagianism. (1230)
All Calvinists say that God is not responsible for sin and evil even though he foreordains and renders them certain, and that creatures are responsible even though they could not do otherwise than they do. (1782)
Does Scripture require acceptance of the high Calvinist doctrine of divine determinism? It does not. (1872)
God allows his perfect will to be thwarted by his human creatures whom he loves and respects enough not to control them. (1901)
It is not God whom critics of Calvinism are calling into question. It is Calvinists’ beliefs about God that we are questioning! There is a difference. (2128)
This is exactly what non-Calvinists worry about with regard to Calvinism: that its deep, inner logic leads inexorably to exalting God’s glory over and even against his love. Apparently, God can (or must) limit his love, but he can’t limit his self-glorification. (2213)
Referring to the universal call to repentance and salvation and God’s expressed desire that all respond to it so as to be saved, Wesley poses an image to illustrate the problem: a jailor calling on prisoners to leave their cells without opening the doors. “Alas! My brethren, what kind of sincerity is this, which you ascribe to God our Saviour?” (2487)
Contrary to what many think, Wesley, as a classical Arminian, affirmed that salvation is all of grace and has nothing to do with man’s merit. (2530)
Isn’t God sovereign over his sovereignty? Can’t God limit himself to give free will to human persons? (2590)
J. I. Packer, who wrote: “The difference between them [Calvinist and Arminian views of the atonement] is not primarily one of emphasis, but of content. One proclaims a God who saves; the other speaks of a God who enables man to save himself.” This is perhaps the most vicious calumny against non-Calvinists. No Arminian or other informed evangelical Christian believes in self-salvation. (2797)
Monergism is the belief that salvation is all God’s doing from beginning to end without any cooperation from the person being saved other than what God instils in that person. The alternative is “synergism”—the belief that salvation is all of grace but requires free cooperation for it to be activated in a person’s life. (3067)
Calvinism necessarily implies, whether any Calvinist would say so or not, that God requires a better quality of love from us than he himself exercises! In Luke 6:35 and parallel passages Jesus commands us to love our enemies; there is no hint of any exception. But according to Calvinism, God doesn’t do that. (3286)
God’s grace is the effectual cause of salvation, but the human person’s faith as response to prevenient grace is the instrumental cause of salvation. What is that faith? simply trusting God; it is not a “good work” or anything meritorious of which the saved sinner could boast. (3370)
I would like to persuade fellow Christians to avoid Calvinism, not because I think it will kill their faith or Spirituality but because I want people to think better about God than Calvinism allows. (3543)
Calvinism makes it difficult to recognize the difference between God and the devil except that the devil wants everyone to go to hell and God wants many to go to hell. (3733)
Most critics of Calvinism, believe the character of God is perfectly revealed in Jesus Christ and that we must interpret other descriptions of God in that light. Jesus was genuinely grieved over sin and evil and clearly sought to alleviate suffering. Calvinists often accuse non-Calvinists of not taking Scripture seriously enough. What they mean is that they take old Testament “texts of terror” more seriously than they take Jesus! At least that is how most non-Calvinists see it. (4085)
For Calvinism by Michael S. Horton (Zondervan, 2011. ISBN 978-0-310-29655-3) and Against Calvinism by Robert E. Olson (Zondervan, 2011. ISBN 978-0-310-57595-5).
david_taylor_jr — 2017-03-25T13:53:27-04:00 — #7
Most of you know that I am a staunch Calvinist in my theology and YES we believe in missions and send out missionaries.
Unconditional Election/Efficacious or Irresistible Grace still demands evangelism. Why? Scripture demands it.The Gospel still must be shared and accepted for that person who is of the Elect. We don't see signs on people saying "Part of the Elect". We don't know who is or who is not elect and therefore must share the Gospel of Christ with everyone as we may very well be the agent God uses to initiate and fulfill that call.
dave_l — 2017-03-25T14:17:37-04:00 — #8
Offered = bribed And it gets worse, If they cannot be bribed they are then threatened to say uncle or else. This is not the God of the Bible.
bkmitchell — 2017-03-25T18:16:27-04:00 — #9
One: thank you for your very thorough post!
Two: On this thread I wasn't interested in Calvinism 'per se' but I do want to explore more fully the concepts of Efficacious grace and predestination as understood through those who believe it. I am curious how they read and make sense of the Biblical text.
Although, now as a Christian I take issue with a number of points/concepts in the Mishnah I continue to agree with the sentiment expressed by R. Akiba:
Everything is foreseen, and free choice is given.
Pirqe Abot 3:15
Neusner, Jacob. The Mishnah : A New Translation. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988. https://www.logos.com/product/297/the-mishnah-a-new-translation
wolfgang_schneider — 2017-03-26T01:04:04-04:00 — #10
So when you say, we "offer" medicine ... you are saying, we are actually bribing a sick person ??
Your definitions of terms become more and more strange ...
Who but you says anything threatened ? The Bible is rather clear on sinners being lost ... does the Bible threaten or not threaten or what ?
wolfgang_schneider — 2017-03-26T02:30:07-04:00 — #11
Ha ha .... but Scripture demands it because Scripture knows nothing like those things expressed in Calvinism's ideas The truth is this: IF indeed these Calvinistic ideas were true and Scriptural, then Scripture would not contain anything about evangelism and missionary activities to the unsaved.
Ah wow .... so then according to this idea, and to mix it with Dave_L's ideas about "salvation by works", this too would be "a salvation by works" ... only the work part is shifted to a fellow human without whose agency work there could not be any salvation to the unsaved either ...????
dave_l — 2017-03-26T04:58:46-04:00 — #12
I'm using medicine and sick people as an illustration free will preachers use to justify their position. But since people are very sinful and hate the God of scripture, the offer they make is instead a bribe. Or at best a business deal = salvation by works.
From BusinessDictionary website
Something given or taken with an intention to influence the conduct or judgment of the person receiving it. Unlike extortion, bribe is used specifically to obtain something to which one does not have a right.
Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/bribe.html
- Voluntary but conditional promise submitted by a buyer or seller (offeror) to another (offeree) for acceptance, and which becomes legally enforceable if accepted by the offeree. An offer (unlike a solicitation) is a clear indication of the offeror's willingness to enter into an agreement under specified terms, and is made in a manner that a reasonable person would understand its acceptance will result in a binding contract. Offers normally include a closing date, otherwise a period of 30 days after the date of offer is commonly assumed. See also bid and proposal.
- Terms and conditions under which an offer is made, such as quantity, price, discounts, delivery date, shipping costs, etc.
Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/offer.html
david_taylor_jr — 2017-03-26T09:09:09-04:00 — #13
Notice I did not say that at all....
wolfgang_schneider — 2017-03-26T16:10:07-04:00 — #14
But God does not promise or threaten something with the intention of influencing the conduct of a person !!!! God tells the facts concerning the case ... you believe on Christ, you will be saved; you reject Christ, you will be lost! The conduct of the person will always be according as the person choses !!! The person's intentions determine which way he/she will go.
But neither God nor a preacher of God's Word are making a conditional offer !!! The person is offered information concerning facts concerning two cases: (1) salvation --- fact is: salvation is the result of believing on Christ for all who so believe, (2) judgment and damnation is the consequence of not believing on Christ.
It's -- simply put - the same as putting 2 baskets in front of your face: one basket has apples in it, the other has bananas in it, and then stating the simple facts about people and the baskets => "he who picks from the apple basket will have apples, while he who picks from the banana basket will have bananas.
dave_l — 2017-03-26T16:13:30-04:00 — #15
So what happens if you do not respond?
wolfgang_schneider — 2017-03-26T16:40:41-04:00 — #16
BUT THERE ALWAYS IS A RESPONSE ... seeing that you either pick from one basket or the other basket, you do make one choice or the other choice of the two that you are given!!
What happens? you pick the fruit which is in the basket of your choice!
dave_l — 2017-03-26T16:52:00-04:00 — #17
This is what we're talking about. If salvation is an effect of your action, it is works. If works are an effect of salvation, it is grace.
bkmitchell — 2017-09-16T20:37:02-04:00 — #18
When put that way that seems a lot like:
你正在给唱诗班布道 "preaching to the Choir"
dave_l — 2017-09-17T05:52:33-04:00 — #19
A person must be born again before they can discern the true Christ and believe the true gospel. We see this in the NT where the Jews and Romans loved and accepted their own god. But hated and murdered the true God when he stood in front of them day after day. So no matter how presented, the unregenerate mind will always accept only a false Christ and hear a false gospel. Normally one based on self improvement (self-righteousness) that begins with accepting the version of the Christ being offered and jumping through the appropriate hoops.
But the gospel applies only to those already saved by grace who have the new birth. The new birth might happen long before hearing the gospel, or along with hearing the gospel. But it is not an "offer", it is an "announcement". The gospel saves the born again in more ways. Someone might be the heir of a vast fortune. But unless made aware, it is of little use. This is why we preach (announce) the gospel to all who believe. Saying whoever believes on Jesus' death, burial and resurrection has eternal life. Followed by instruction on repentance and baptism. And how to live the holy (set apart) life.
bkmitchell — 2017-09-17T08:40:09-04:00 — #20
I think I understand the above, and I get that it is Christ does that work.
What, I do not understand why missions would matter in such a paradigm (Efficacious grace/unconditional election)?
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