Category Archives: Calvinism

Ben Mandrell and Predestination

I have noticed that I get hits from searches for Ben Mandrell and Calvinism. Since it seems to be something many people are looking for I thought I would point them in a direction that would allow him to tell them what he thinks. So if you will follow this link to a post on predestination he wrote in response to a college student. For anyone that doesn’t know Ben Mandrell is the pastor at Englewood in Jackson, TN.

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Amy & Freewill

free_willIsaac was forty years old when Abraham sent his servant out to find a wife for Isaac. The servant went to Mesopotamia and asked God to send a wife for Isaac. Rebekah showed up just as he finished his prayer. She agreed to go and become Isaac’s wife. In Genesis 24:63-67 we read of Isaac meeting his wife for the first time. The thing I want us to notice is that Isaac and Rebekah had never met, they were just Godly people that chose to love each other.

In today’s society we can’t imagine marrying someone we have never met. The idea of meeting a random stranger and choosing to love them seems foreign to us. We seem to have developed a mindset that love is a feeling or force that comes over us and we have no power over it. The TV shows and movies today encourage this view, but is that how love really happens?

I still remember the first time I met my wife. I was a bus boy in a restaurant and she came in to eat with a friend of hers. I remember looking over at her and as she talked, she smiled. It was at that moment I chose to love her. I must say that she did not choose to love me at that moment though, so I pursued her and became her friend. I became someone she could talk to and someone she enjoyed to be around. Then she chose to love me. Before she could love me though I had to reveal myself to her and draw her to me. Once she realized the overwhelming love I showed for her, then she was able to choose to love me. What I’m trying to point out here is that I had to seek her out. I had to make myself irresistible to her so that she would choose to love me. I made myself irresistible to her so that she would love me, but I did not make her love me in the sense of putting some power over her so that she had some robotic love for me.

This is how it is with us and Jesus. Jesus seeks us out. He reveals Himself to us (Matthew 16:17) and then draws us to him (John 6:44). Then we choose to love Him. This does not take away the sovereignty of God anymore than my wife choosing to love me takes away any of the effort I put into pursuing her. Had I not went up and said hi to her at that restaurant she would have walked out of my life forever. If I wouldn’t have asked a mutual friend to invite her around so that she could get to know me better, she wouldn’t be my wife today. I was the exact opposite of any thing my wife would have thought she would marry. If it was not for a mutual friend she probably would have never even said hi. Amy could have said I don’t like his long hair. I don’t like the clothes he wears. Maybe she liked my personality, but It wasn’t the appearance she wanted people to see her with.

We do not seek God out (Romans 3:11). Our sinful nature flees from God. When God seeks us out he will reveal who He is. He will become irresistible to us and draw us to Him. Then we decide do I want to give my life to this Man (2 Thessalonians 2:10). Do I want people to perceive me as being someone that would be attracted to this Jesus. Look at the story in Matthew 19:16-22. It tells of a rich young man who Jesus revealed Himself to. This young man was drawn to Jesus, but he did not want to give the appearance of someone that loved Jesus and therefore chose to turn away. This man knew who Jesus was. The father had revealed this to him. He did know that this was the way to heaven, yet he chose to turn away.

Someone may say that I stated, I chose to love my wife, and I pursued her, and that proves that God chooses to save some but not all. No, that proves that sinful man is attracted to sinful woman based on appearance, personality, or some other worldly characteristics. A Holy God does not choose people on worldly characteristics. Freewill does not lessen God’s sovereignty or the biblical truth that salvation belongs to God, it only serves to show us the grace that God extended to us.

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One In A Sea Of Faces

To see the analogies I am talking about, you need to read Tim’s Post that I have linked to below.

Back on December 15, Tim Challies posted a beautiful piece entitled One in a Sea of Faces. It is about the healing of the invalid from the book of John 5:1-15. The end of the post relates this to Calvinism. I realize in the blogosphere Calvinism reigns, and I read many Calvinistic bloggers but I cannot buy into the theology they use on Election.
I started to post on his blog but decided I would rather take a little more space and speak here instead. I do not believe that anyone should use the theology of Calvinism vs Arminianism as a reason to attack each other personally. It really is a small point as long as you don’t believe that because of Calvinism you should not go out and witness. Jesus makes it perfectly clear in the great commission (Matthew 28:16-20) that we are to go out and try to bring souls to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 1:10-13 Paul makes it clear that we should be united in Christ and not different views of religious leaders.
If you read in Calvin: Commentaries Chapter VII, Calvin resorts to name calling to prove his point. “Some Theologians would make foreknowledge the mother of election and that very foolishly and childishly.” When someone has a legitimate argument name calling is not necessary. I guess I go with the foolish and Childish theologian Peter. an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:( 1 Peter 1:1-2 ESV) (emphasis is mine).I also believe the great theologian Paul when in Romans 3:22, he said “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:” Or John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. Notice all and whoever in these verses. These words are used because God offers salvation to all that believe.
God saw my life from the very beginning. He knew every mistake I would make. He knew every sin I would commit. He knew the exact date that I would be saved by the knowledge of God’s mercy through the death of Jesus Christ. He knew when I would answer His calling on my life. Nothing I have done or could do will get me into heaven. When God spoke I answered. Did I have a choice? I had the same choice Adam had when Eve offered him that apple. I could follow death or follow eternal life through Jesus Christ. God does not make any follow Him. There are many that know of Jesus that will perish in Hell because they do not know Him.(Matthew 7:22-23)
I have heard the “what do you make of Romans 9?” argument before. If you interpret Romans 9 with the rest of the book of Romans, you will see a pattern of Paul teaching that salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ. In Chapter 9 he is referring to the Jews who believe that they can be saved by following the law. (Romans 9:3-4) (Romans 9:30-31) He is speaking of the Jews that do not feel it is fair for God to grant mercy to the gentiles who did not seek mercy.
As for the shipwreck analogy that Jessica pointed out, yes it would be like God sitting on a raft saving those who ask for help. Do I have to deal with the hell issue in defending my belief? No, God tells us in 1 Timothy 2:3 He wants all to be saved by coming to the knowledge of the truth. Sometimes my kids are struggling with something and I offer to help and they refuse. Does it hurt me to see them struggle? Yes! Do I want to help them? Yes! Should I force them to let me? Not if it is something they need to do.
Curtis I love your analogy of the courtroom. It is the perfect picture of God’s Grace. The only problem is God doesn’t just go in and pay the fine because He has the money. He received the money through His insurance policy on His Son. If the guilty people will believe that His son gave His life so that Dad would have the cash to pay their fines He will pay them. Yes, God and the Son still get the glory.
I have done nothing to deserve grace. I deserve to burn in Hell for all eternity. I thank God that He loved me so much that He gave me a way to be with Him.

I did not write this post to insult anyone or to criticize their beliefs and theology. Calvinism gets the largest share of Blogs and for those who are struggling with the truth they need to see both sides. I would love comments on this post but I do not want to see anyone attacking anyone just explaining beliefs.

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