Predestination Topical Study

<p><strong><span class="heading-lg">Predestination in Scripture</span></strong></p><ul><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Romans 8:29-30</a>, those whom he predestined he also called</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Romans 8:33</a>, it is God who justifies</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Romans 9:11-24</a>, God shows mercy</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Ephesians 1:5, 9, 11</a>, destined for adoption</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Ephesians 2:8-9</a>, for by grace you have been saved</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">1 Thessalonians 1:4-5</a>, chosen by word and by Holy Spirit</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="">2 Timothy 1:8-9</a>, not according to our works</span></li></ul><p><strong style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="heading-lg">Reflections about Predestination</span></strong></p><p><span class="body-copy">On<span class="body-copy">e of the most controversial of classic Christian doctrines, the doctrine of predestination is also one of the most widespread &mdash; held in one version or another by Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin and numerous others. Always accompanied by a strong doctrine of human sinfulness, the doctrine of predestination answers this question: How do people, dead in their sins and misery, nonetheless come to life and believe in Jesus Christ? Their original and actual sin conspire against regeneration and faith. And yet, in a move &quot;not inferior in power to that of creation or of raising the dead&quot; God regenerates dead sinners and gifts them with saving faith (The Canons of Dort, Third and Fourth Main Points of Doctrine, Art. 12). He then nourishes and guides them all the way to their heavenly home. And God does this because God had eternally decided to do it. According to usual thinking, &quot;the golden chain of salvation&quot; in Romans 8:29 - 30 offers Paul&#39;s account of the process.</span></span></p><p><span class="body-copy">In important variants of the classic doctrine, certain Catholic statements lay more stress on human cooperation with regeneration and various Arminian statements lay more stress on God&#39;s foreknowledge of human faith. These moves ease the starkest statement of the doctrine.</span></p><p><span class="body-copy">Some important twentieth century authors such as C. S. Lewis show ambivalence. Lewis was fond of saying that nobody is in hell who doesn&#39;t want to be there, and that the doors to hell are therefore locked on the inside. In such statements Lewis appears to say that human free will is essential in the process of separating the sheep from the goats. On the other hand, when describing his own conversion in 1929, Lewis sounds like the Augustinian he was: &quot;The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? . . . The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and his compulsion is our liberation.&quot; <span class="body-copy-sm">(C. S. Lewis, <em>Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life</em> [Harcourt, Brace &amp; World, 1955], 229)</span></span></p><p><span class="body-copy">Salvation by compulsion! Here human free will seems to exist only to be overpowered.</span></p><p><span class="body-copy">But the real controversy over traditional predestination doctrine lies in its favoritism. Despite the fact that the main New Testament novelty is the revelation of God&#39;s wondrous impartiality (no longer Jew or Greek, male or female, slave or free) the doctrine of predestination teaches that into the whole ocean of equally sinful and drowning persons, God reaches to save just some. God lets the others drown &mdash; this despite God&#39;s possessing plenty of power to save all. Usually the statement is accompanied by an attempt at explanation: God needed to show both his justice (by letting some have the punishment they deserve) and his mercy (by saving others from the punishment they deserve).</span></p><p><span class="body-copy">But haven&#39;t God&#39;s justice and mercy been once-for-all demonstrated in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Why all these other justice and mercy exhibits?</span></p><p><span class="body-copy">The cl<span class="body-copy">assic doctrine of predestination is, in many contexts, addressed in teaching sessions or in theological treatises rather than in sermons. Preachers who do address the doctrine need to be extremel</span>y cautious about sounding smug or fatalistic.</span></p><p><span class="body-copy">In recent years, the eminent biblical scholar N. T. Wright has cast doubt on the biblical justification of the classic doctrine. <span class="body-copy-sm">(Selvin, Samuel, <em>&quot;Dr. N. T. Wright on predestination.&quot;</em> Filmed March 2014 at Oklahoma Christian University, March 2014. Posted December 2014.</span> According to Wright, in Romans 8-11 and Ephesians 1:3-14, Paul is not talking about the election or reprobation of individual human beings. He&#39;s talking about Israel as an instrument for God&#39;s having mercy on all, a key to God&#39;s eventual healing of the whole creation.</span></p>