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The Predestination debate

A review of Romans 8-9, Eph 1 and John 10

Philip Williamson

on 5 February 2018

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Transcript of The Predestination debate

Jacobus Arminius
John Calvin
Time begins.

The Fall
who would be saved
and who would go to hell.
(Calvinist view)
(not decided!)
who would choose Him
and who would not.
(Arminian view)
All whose Faith is in Jesus are the elect
(Calvinist and Arminians agree)
You were born again!
Romans written
Ephesians written
John written
John Calvin

Jacob Arminius

Why was Romans written?
Conflict between Jews and Gentiles
Because Paul wanted help and support for his planned missionary trip to Spain (Rom 15:24, 28)
To explain justification by faith
As a personal calling card or summary of
what Paul preached so the church there would know he was legit. (When Paul wrote this letter he had never been to Rome)
To explain the Gospel
Why was John written?
" Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."
(Jn. 20:30-31 ESV)
Why was Ephesians written?
It's hard to pin down one overarching theme, however it's clear that Jew / Gentile relations are in view, and that the readers were predominantly Gentile:
"Therefore remember that at one time
you Gentiles
in the flesh, called "the uncircumcision" by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands-- remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
(Eph. 2:11-13 ESV)
Jews, Gentiles and Salvation in Romans
Romans 1:
Intro, purpose, Salvation by Faith alone.
God's wrath on all who reject Him
Jews who do not obey the law are also under God's wrath, and circumcision is no help
Romans 2:1-3:8
No one is righteous in God's sight
Romans 3:9-20
Romans 3:21 - 31
Justification by faith is only found in Jesus Christ, for both Jews and Gentiles
Romans 4
Abraham as a prime example of Justification by Faith.
Arguing through implications of Justification
How the law relates to those who are justified
Romans 5-7
Romans 8, 9-11
>> this is what we will look at in this study.
Questions on Romans 8
8:17-27 (Suffering)

8:31-39 (Suffering)
Why is it like this?
how do they relate?
What does "conformed to the image of his Son" (Rom. 8:29 ESV) mean?
is this talking about predestination to Salvation or Sanctification?
What is God's plan and purpose which Paul has been writing about all through Romans?
What does "conformed to the image of his Son" (Rom. 8:29 ESV) mean?
is this talking about Salvation or Sanctification?
This is referring to Sanctification: becoming like Jesus.
What is God's plan and purpose which Paul has been writing about all through Romans?
God's purpose and plan is that Justification is only by faith in Jesus Christ - not by works - for both Jews and Gentiles.

The point is not WHO is predestined, but WHAT those who believe have been predestined to: becoming like Jesus.

There is no mention that those who are not saved are lost because they are not predestined.

The point of the text is not that only the elect are predestined and saved.
8:17-27 (Suffering)

8:31-39 (Suffering)
Why is it like this?
how do they relate?
Part of being like Jesus is to suffer. Suffering does not mean you are not saved, because we are predestined to be like Jesus, who suffered.
We share in His sufferings (8:17)
All creation suffers (8:18-22)
Suffering cannot separate us from God's love (8:31-39)
(see John 15: 18-16:4)
Does this solve the Calvinist / Arminian debate?
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Romans 9: three illustrations in dispute
Jacob and Esau
Calvinist view:

God's foreknowledge = God's choosing of who will be saved and who will not, based on God's secret plan.
Arminian view:
God's foreknowledge = God's knowledge beforehand (not choice) of who would be saved and who would not
"For those whom he
he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, "in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers."
(Rom. 8:29 ESV)
God's foreknowlege = God's choice that all those who trust in Him will be saved and conformed to the image of His Son, based on His plan of Salvation by grace not works.
" And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he
he also glorified." (Rom. 8:30 ESV)
" Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad--in order that God's purpose in
might stand: not by works but by him who calls--she was told, "The older will serve the younger." Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."" (Rom. 9:9-13 NIV)
Calvinist view:
God's choice of Jacob over Esau shows that He chooses (Elects) some to be saved and others not - even before they are born.
Arminian view:
Jacob and Esau represent God's choice of Israel over Edom, and can't represent individuals today.
(see Obadiah 1:18, Malachi 1:2)
Jacob and Esau are representatives of Israel and Edom, as they were the people whose family lines grew into those nations. More than this though, Paul is showing that merely being a descendant of Jacob does not mean one is saved, and that even though they are not circumcised, Gentile Christians are also saved.
Paul's recurring theme: Salvation is only through Jesus for both Jews and Gentiles.
Does this solve the Calvinist / Arminian debate?
(Rom 9:6-13)
What do Jacob and Esau represent?

Are they good examples or representatives of the way God works with us today?

How does this passage fit within the purposes and themes of Romans? What does it mean in light of the Jew / Gentile conflict?
(Romans 9:14-18)
"...in order that God's purpose of election might continue,

because of works
but because of him who calls-- 12 she was told, "The older will serve the younger."" (Rom. 9:11-12 ESV)
What does "works" refer to?
Calvinist view:
"Works" means any action (including choosing to put faith in Jesus) on people's part in being justified and saved. this verse means / illustrates that God chooses who will be saved.
Arminian view:
Works refers to doing things for one's
salvation, and does not include responding to God in faith, because faith is not a work (they are juxtaposed in Eph 2:8-10). This verse simply means that God chose the Nation of Israel before the babies were born.
Throughout Romans, "works" refers to "the works of the law", and their role in justifying one before God. This is particularly hammered out in Romans 2-3, and the same is evident here as the Salvation of Jews is the topic Paul is writing on. Paul is saying that the Salvation of the Jews does not depend on the law or their lineage, but instead is by God's mercy through Jesus Christ.
Read Exodus 9:15-17.
Did God want Pharaoh's repentance or His destruction?
Was God showing mercy or predestination?
Is Pharaoh a good representative or example of people today and how God treats us?
ESV Exodus 7:5
The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD
, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them."

ESV Exodus 7:17 Thus says the LORD, "
By this you shall know that I am the LORD
: behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall turn into blood.

ESV Exodus 8:10 And he said, "Tomorrow." Moses said, "Be it as you say,
so that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God

ESV Exodus 8:22 But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people dwell, so that no swarms of flies shall be there,
that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth

ESV Exodus 9:14 For this time I will send all my plagues on you yourself, and on your servants and your people,
so that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth

ESV Exodus 9:29 Moses said to him, "As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will stretch out my hands to the LORD. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail,
so that you may know that the earth is the LORD's

ESV Exodus 10:2 and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them
, that you may know that I am the LORD."

ESV Exodus 11:7 But not a dog shall growl against any of the people of Israel, either man or beast
, that you may know that the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel
"But Pharaoh said, "Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go?
I do not know the LORD
, and moreover, I will not let Israel go."" (Exod. 5:2 ESV)
NIV Exodus 4:21 The LORD said to Moses, "When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But
I will harden his heart
so that he will not let the people go.

NIV Exodus 7:3 But
I will harden Pharaoh's heart
, and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt,

NIV Exodus 7:13 Yet
Pharaoh's heart became hard
and he would not listen to them, just as the LORD had said.

NIV Exodus 7:14 Then the LORD said to Moses, "
Pharaoh's heart is unyielding
; he refuses to let the people go.

NIV Exodus 7:22 But the Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts, and
Pharaoh's heart became hard
; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said.

NIV Exodus 8:15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief,
he hardened his heart
and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said.

NIV Exodus 8:19 The magicians said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God." But
Pharaoh's heart was hard
and he would not listen, just as the LORD had said.

NIV Exodus 8:32 But this time also
Pharaoh hardened his heart
and would not let the people go.

NIV Exodus 9:7 Pharaoh sent men to investigate and found that not even one of the animals of the Israelites had died. Yet
his heart was unyielding
and he would not let the people go.

NIV Exodus 9:12 But the
LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart
and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses.

NIV Exodus 9:34 When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again:
He and his officials hardened their hearts.

NIV Exodus 9:35 So
Pharaoh's heart was hard
and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the LORD had said through Moses.

NIV Exodus 10:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh, for
I have hardened his heart
and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among them

NIV Exodus 10:20 But the
LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart,
and he would not let the Israelites go.

NIV Exodus 10:27 But the
LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart
, and he was not willing to let them go.

NIV Exodus 11:10 Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but
the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart
, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country.
Calvinist View:

Pharaoh is an example of how God chooses some to be saved and others to go to hell (or at least not be saved). Like Pharaoh, some people today have their hearts hardened by God and will not accept Him. God is perfectly just in doing this.
Arminian view:
Pharaoh hardened his own heart first,
and then God hardened it once he had made
his decision. People today can choose God or
not choose God, and God will eventually harden
the hearts of those who continue to reject Him.
Romans 9:
Paul is discussing why not all Israel will be saved:
Not everyone descended from Abraham are Israel: Those descended from Esau are not saved, so physical descendance does not guarantee salvation for those descended from Jacob either.

Salvation does not depend on the works of the law or circumcision, but on God's mercy. God had mercy on Pharaoh so that the whole earth would know Him (see
Ex 9:15-17, Joshua 2:10-11
), and God hardened Pharaoh's heart (note also
Ex 18

"So then it depends not on human
but on God, who has mercy" (Rom. 9:16 ESV)
"will" and "exertion" (lit. "runs"), should be interpreted in line with Paul's discussion throughout Romans on Justification by doing the law vs Justification by faith - especially where Jews are concerned.
The Potter and the Clay
(Rom 9:19-29)
What do the potter and clay represent?
What does "prepared for destruction" mean?
How does this fit into the argument Paul is making?
Calvinist view:
The potter is God and the clay is people. God predestines and prepares some people specifically for destruction, and others specifically for Salvation.
Arminian view:
The Potter is God and the clay is people, however those prepared for destruction are those who have rejected Jesus continually to the point that they have worn out God's patience.
Paul's main argument is to say that God has the right to show mercy on those who deserve judgment, even Gentiles! (hence the quote from Hosea) and those who are not true Israel (justification by faith) but are Jews, they will be destroyed with the rest.
Note: "prepared for destruction" and other parts of 9:22-23 are hotly debated. however it is clear that God is bearing the objects of His wrath with patience, that the vessels of mercy are from both Jews and Gentiles, and that only a remnant of those descended from Abraham are true Israel and will be saved.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us
in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
4 even as he chose us
in him
before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless
before him
. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons
through Jesus Christ
, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

In him
we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth
in Christ
10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things
in him,
things in heaven and things on earth.

In him
we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose
of him
who works all things according to the counsel of
his will,
12 so that we who were the first to hope
in Christ
might be to the praise of his glory.

In him
you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed
in him,
were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory."
(Eph. 1:3-14 ESV)
"even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ
, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved."
(Eph. 1:4-6 ESV)
" In him we have obtained an inheritance,
having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will
, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory."
(Eph. 1:11-12 ESV)
What have the Believers' been predestined to?

How does this fit with the predominantly Gentile context of the Church Ephesus?

Who is the object of the election?
Calvinist view:
God chose who would be saved before the world began, and He chose this on the basis of His secret purpose and counsel. This shows that God's choice is not based on who would choose Him.
Arminian view:
God elects Christians to spiritual blessing, not sinners to Salvation.
The purpose of Ephesians is to teach the (mostly Gentile) Christians there that although they are Gentiles, they are indeed elected FOR sanctification ("
to be Holy and blameless before Him
" 1:4 ESV), and more importantly BY Jesus Christ.

This is evident in the sheer number of times Paul writes "In HIM, by HIM, through HIM, for HIM".

This makes sense in the context of a culture where the Jews consider themselves as uniquely chosen by God because He chose Abraham. The Gentile Christians are encouraged here that they are equally chosen by God in Christ, who was the method of adoption chosen from before the foundation of the world.

is elected and predestined as the means of adoption, the method of Salvation.
"...he predestined us for adoption as sons
through Jesus Christ
..." (Eph. 1:5 ESV)

This also makes sense in light of the wider literary context of Ephesians:
Eph 1:
The largely Gentile Church is reassured that though Christ they are chosen, redeemed, blessed, predestined for sanctification and indwelt with an eternal seal: the Holy Spirit.

Eph 2:
They used to be dead but now they are saved through faith in Jesus, who has broken the dividing wall of hostility between Israel (the chosen), and the Gentiles, so now the Gentiles are also God's people

Eph 3:
God has an amazing purpose for the Church: to show His wisdom to the heavenly authorities! So Paul prays they will be able to understand the extent of God's love, and God is able to equip them.

Eph 4:1-6:9
Because of this they need to live up to the calling they have in Christ.

Eph 6:10-24
They need to take their stand their ground with prayer and in God's armour which He provides! Final greetings are given.
Note that this is written to the Church at Ephesus. it was not written to tell the Ephesian Church that she was chosen while others were rejected.
(not advocating replacement theology :-)
" I am the good shepherd.
I know my own and my own know me,
15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16
And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.
17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father."

19 There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them said, "He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?" 21 Others said, "These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?" 22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."

25 Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me,
26 but
you do not believe because you are not part of my flock.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand
. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one.""
(Jn. 10:14-30 ESV)
The Shepherd and Sheep
How does this relate to Jesus' audience?
Who are the sheep in another pen?
Calvinist view:
Jesus knows His sheep, and People are already part of Christ's sheep before he calls them. ("you do not believe because you are not part of my flock..." 10:26 ESV). Jesus' sheep listen to his voice because He already knows them and they are already His sheep. (10:27)
This means that those who are not chosen beforehand to be Jesus' sheep simply will not and cannot respond to God.
Arminian view:
Those who listen to Jesus' voice become His sheep, and the people in Jesus' audience didn't listen to him because at that time they were not his sheep.
The sheep in the other pen are Gentiles. The Jews believed only they were God's sheep, God's chosen people, but Jesus was telling them that He also has people who are Gentiles, and contrary to popular opinion at the time, being a Jew did not automatically make one a member of His flock.

This was a reassurance to Gentile believers, and a shock to Jesus' Jewish opponents.
"In John, the Jews charge that they do not need to follow Christ, because they are the elect. Jesus responds to say that they are not the elect, Those who respond to Him are the elect". - David Lang.
"[These four passages teach that] those who claim they are the elect and yet do not believe in Christ, are in fact not the elect even though they may be descendants of Abraham. These passages do not teach that those who are not the elect cannot be saved, but that those who believe in Christ are indeed the elect of God." - David Lang.
Basic Summary of Calvinism:
Total Depravity:
People are utterly, totally, dead and sinful. They cannot respond to God. The only way they can be saved is if the Spirit makes them a new person.

Unconditional Election:
God chooses certain individuals to make into new people. Faith and repentance are gifts are the result, not the cause, of God's choice.

Limited Atonement:
Jesus only died for those who will become Christians, and His death was effective for them right from the start, guaranteeing their Salvation even for those who had not yet been born.

Irresistable Grace:
The Holy Spirit irresistably calls the elect to Salvation, gifting them awareness of God, faith, and repentance so that their coming to faith is inexorable and inevitable.

Perseverance of the saints:
All who are chosen and redeemed will never turn away from God. They will persevere to the end.
Basic summary of Arminianism
Free will:
Although people are totally sinful and depraved, God enables every person to respond to Him in faith by using their free will. This is something that God does not do for people, but people do for God.

Conditional Election:
God chose certain individuals for Salvation, but He only chose those whom He knew would freely choose Him of thier own free will.

General Atonement:
Jesus death was enough to atone for everyone's sin, but only those who choose to respond to Him in faith will have their sin atoned for.

Resistable Grace:
everyone is called to Salvation by the Holy Spirit, but people are able to resist that call and choose to not follow Jesus.

Falling from grace:
those who trust in Christ are able to lose their salvation if they don't keep up their faith in Christ.
A ~400 Year-old Debate
A Nasty Debate
Accusations aganist Calvinists
Accusations against Arminians
(in Phil's experience)
(in Phil's experience)
You malign the sovereignty of God
You teach Salvation by works,
because people have to respond to God
in order to be saved.
You twist the Word of God by explaining
predestination etc. away, Calvinists just read the plain meaning out.
You malign the love of God
You have confused works and faith. Responding to God by faith is not a work, since faith and works are contrasted.
You teach Salvation by works,
because you teach that unless people are obeying God on the day they die, they won't be saved (no perseverance).
You twist the Word of God by reading predestination into every passage, we read the plain meaning out.
You think that Jesus' sacrifice is not enough to save you because you have to add to it by you responding in faith.
witnessing stops
endless debate
poor testimony to unbelievers
(in Phil's experience)
There are different versions of Calvinism and Arminianism, and not all of them are represented in this prezi.

There are also differing degrees of Calvinism and Arminianism (C/A). Strangely enough, everyone I've talked with (including me) thinks that they are the moderate ones and others are extreme. The differing degrees of C/A are not presented here, as only the main passages relating to one facet of the C/A debate are being investigated in this prezi (not the debate itself, just the main passages involved).
While these studies neither prove nor disprove predestination as argued about in either side of the Calvinism / Arminianism debate, they do help us to see that the intent of the original writers was to address Salvation in regards to Jews and Gentiles rather than address the question of individual predestination as we know it.
Learning outcomes:
Praise to the LORD for the Salvation we have in Him!
we can be more loving and understanding to each other, now we understand this debate better
Let's be careful not to idolise Calvin or Arminius.
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Source: Class notes
"Systematic Theology 1: Revelation, Scripture, God, Humanity & Sin" By Mr David Lang.
" For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, "I follow Paul," or "I follow Apollos," or "I follow Cephas," or "I follow Christ."
Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?"
A Danger to Avoid
Full transcript