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2018. Spring. Wk 7
Transcript of 2018. Spring. Wk 7
First Point of Doctrine:
Divine Election & Reprobation
the doctrine that, just as God predestines some, but not all, to eternal salvation, so he predestines others to eternal punishment
Golden Chain of Salvation
For those whom he
to be conformed to the image of his Son ... And those whom he predestined he also
; and those whom he called he also
; and those whom he justified he also
. What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us? (Rom. 8: 29-31)
Arminian Concerns with Predestination
Concern that absolute unconditional predestination was inconsistent with the character of God: justice, love, and goodness.
Concerns that Christians would become complacent (antinomianism)
Canons of Dort
I. God elects or reproves on the basis of foreseen faith or unbelief.
II. Christ died for all human beings, although only believers are saved.
III. Man is so depraved that divine grace is necessary unto faith or any good deed.
IV. This grace may be resisted.
V. Whether all who are truly regenerate will certainly persevere in the faith is a point which needs further investigation
Roger Nicole, "Arminianism,"
Baker's Dictionary of Theology, 64
The Synod of Dort
[Nov. 13, 1618-Apr. 23, 1619]
Synod closely examined the 'five points' advanced by the Remonstrants in light of scriptural teachings.
Synod rejected the 'five points' and set forth the Calvinistic position in five chapters, later known as the 'five points of Calvinism.'
Synod proposed their 'five points of Calvinism': total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints.
God's saving grace
Responses to the Recent Convert
: "Congratulations! You did it"
: "Thank God! You have been saved by grace"
: "Thank God - and congratulations! This was a cooperative effort. Praise is due all around."
Art 1-4: Drama of Salvation
Divine sovereignty vs. human freedom:
How far have we fallen?
CD: Totally depraved: "all men ... lie under the curse, and are deserving of eternal death."
Art. 5-11, 15: Explanation
Why do some believe and others do not?
God Causes Belief but not Unbelief
God "pervades ... opens ... circumcises ... infuses ... quickens ... actuates." He "sweetly and powerfully bends" the will (Chap III-IV, Art. 16). In fact, God himself "produces ... the act of believing."
"Election is the fountain and cause of faith and good works."
Election is not on account of faith, but rather for faith. We are elected not because God foresees that we shall believe, but in order that we might believe. Election is not caused by foreseen faith; rather, faith is caused by election (Plantinga, Place, 140)
Such assurance comes ... by noticing within themselves, with spiritual joy and holy delight, the unmistakable fruits of election pointed out in God's Word - such as a true faith in Christ, a childlike fear of God, a godly sorrow for their sins, a hunger and thirst for righteousness, and so on (Article 12; cf. Q&A 86 of the HC)
Comfort from Unconditional Election
The knowledge of election induces humility, love, and moral cleanliness in believers. They are free from anxiety about their salvation and therefore free to serve their Savior. They are moreover heartily motivated by gratitude to do so (Plantinga, Place, 140)
What would you say to a church member who doubts his or her salvation?
1) Those who do not actively experience Christ's assurance within them:
Do not be alarmed; continue to diligently use the means of grace (sacraments); wait in reverence and humility
2) Those who seriously desire to turn to God ... but are unable to make progress along godliness and faith:
Do not be afraid of reprobation; God is merciful
3) Those who have forgotten God and their Savior Jesus Christ and have abandoned themselves to worldly cares:
Be afraid, be very afraid!
Issues at Dort
Problem of Reconciliation
God wants all to be saved. He wants everybody told that he wants them saved. Yet they cannot be saved without his powerful work in them. He can provide this for all, but he does not. He does not even intend to do so. God wants all saved, but intends to save only some, and nobody knows why (Plantinga, Place, 145)
What role does the human will play in salvation?
God has decreed to give the gift of faith to those who believe. He is also determined to save those who believe.
God has decreed not to give the gift of faith to those who do not believe. He is also determined not to save those who do not believe
"Salvation is accomplished through the combined efforts of God (who takes the initiative) and man (who must respond) - man's response being the determining factor. God has provided salvation for everyone, but His provision becomes effective only for those who, of their own free will, "choose" to cooperate with Him and accept His offer of grace. At the crucial point, man's will plays a decisive role; thus man, not God, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation" (Boettner, "Predestination," 436).
... attempts to explain the relationship between God's sovereignty and mankind's free will, especially in relation to salvation.
Sovereignty of God: the absolute supremacy of God in all things.
Canons of Dort:
First Main Point of Doctrine
Divine Election and Reprobation
Second Main Point of Doctrine
Christ's Death and Human Redemption Through It
Third & Fourth Main Points of Doctrine
Human Corruption, Conversion to God, and the Way It Occurs
Fifth Main Point of Doctrine
The Perseverance of the Saints
the doctrine that God foreknows, and ordains, from all eternity, who will be saved.
Addressing Arminian Concerns
(1560 – 1609)
1582 - Studied with Theodore Beza
1950s - Disagreed with Beza's doctrine of Predestination (God causes the elect to believe or, causes the reprobate to disbelieve)
1603 - Began teaching at Leiden University
1609 - Arminius died
Arminian "Remonstrance" (1610):
Five articles on election ...
Response to Arminianism
Theological Implications of Arminianism
What comfort can a Christian derive from Romans 8: 29-39?
How would you respond to someone who says, "Unconditional predestination would encourage complacency"?
Art. 16: Three Categories of People
Second Point of Doctrine: Christ's Death &
God fixes it so that every person for whom Christ died is securely saved. God makes sure. He does what is necessary to bring such a person into a state of grace and keep him or her there. Yet he does not save all sinners. He does not even intend to save all of them. And we do not know why (Plantinga, Place, 143)
The Three Claims of Chapter II:
The Three Claims:
1) the atoning work of Christ is infinitely valuable; sufficient to save all sinners (Art.1-4);
2) the summons to believe in Christ, issued to all sinners, is (by God's grace) accepted by the elect and is (by their own fault) rejected by all others (Art. 5-7);
3) those who accept are forever guarded and supported by the "golden chain of salvation" so that they cannot be lost again (Art. 8, 9)
If God has already decided on those who would believe, why do we still have to preach the gospel?
The proclamation of the Word is a mighty tool, a primary means, in God's work of building his people and making known his will to the world. Election in no way compromises preaching. Indeed, the two are most intimately related. Conversion typically happens by means of both Word and Spirit (Plantinga, Place, 145)
Did Christ come to save all?
Did Christ die for all?
Was Christ's atonement intended for all?
God intends to save all. He graciously frees the will of all sinners so that they can believe if they will. The only thing that stands in the way of God realizing his intention is the actual exercise of human free will
(Plantinga, Place, 145)
God wants all his sons and daughters back. But he does not intend to bring them all back. The atonement of Christ is limited both in its intention and effectiveness to those who were "from eternity chosen to salvation" [Art. 8] (Plantinga, Place, 145)
Perseverance of the Saints
Just as God is most wise, unchangeable, all-knowing, and almighty, so the election made by him can neither be suspended nor altered, revoked, or annulled; neither can God's chosen ones be cast off, nor their number reduced (Art. 11)
historical drama of salvation (the fall: the human predicament)
Art. 5-11, 15:
explanation of belief and unbelief: The eternal decrees (why some believe and others don't)
Art. 12-14, 16-18:
pastoral advice (salvation is shown by its fruits)