Friday, July 18, 2014

The Doctrine of Predestination ... Part I

The word predestination is not found in Scripture.  But books have been written about it.
If you break down this word, it has two parts.  Pre ... which means before, and destination which speaks of the place where you are going, the place where you hope to end up.  There are ultimately only two places in the term ... "predestination" ... and that is, Heaven or Hell.

As a doctrine in Christian theology ... predestination is the divine fore-ordaining of all that will happen, especially with regard to the salvation of some and not others.  It comes from the word predestinate ... "to pre-determine, ordain prior to, appoint, decree, or specify."
Predestination has to do with God's involvement in the ultimate outcome of our lives.

This subject matter has also been called ... "the doctrine of election" ... suggesting that God elects only certain people to be saved or born-again.  Those who believe this doctrine say that only people who God has pre-selected, and has already written their names in the Book of Life will be saved.  They reference mainly two verses ... Revelation 13:8 and 17:8.  Let's see what they have to say ...

Revelation 13:8 is speaking of non Christians during the Tribulation.  "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, (Anti-Christ) whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb (that was) slain from the foundation of the world."

In this verse ... "from the foundation of the world" ... is speaking of the planned death of Jesus on the cross even before creation ... not the names written in the book before creation.

Revelation 17:8 is also speaking of the beast, (Anti-Christ) after he ascends out of the pit and the non Christians that behold him.  The key phrase is ... "and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world ..."

This verse does say the names of those people who will worship the Anti-Christ ... "were not written" ... in the book.  Although not as clear as the first verse, this verse is simply stating that the book of life has been a reality that has existed "from the foundation of the world."  It is the book, not the names that has been from the foundation of the world.

I do not believe that either scripture suggests or alludes to, a "doctrine of election" for those who are going to be saved and redeemed, suggesting that their names were written in the book of life ... "from the foundation of the world."  The Word of God does not say that ... in my opinion.

 If it does say that ... I have two problems with this belief.  1.) That does away with the "free will" of those not selected by God to be saved.  2.) That would also mean that Jesus didn't die for "everyone" which is the main theme of the Word of God. 

If this doctrine of election is true, then what does it do to the most beloved verse in scripture? 

John 3:16 ... "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."  (Notice the word whosoever.)  

John 3:17 ... "For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved."  (Jesus died for the whole world.)

Jesus said this in John 12:32 ... "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."  (Why would Jesus want to draw all men to Himself, if not for salvation?)

Acts 16:30-31 ... "What must I do to be saved?  And they said, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."  (It doesn't say if you are one of the select few.)

Romans 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 ..."  (Who is salvation for?  Everyone.)

These scriptures clearly indicate that God sent Jesus to die for the world, all men everywhere, not just a select few.  If all men everywhere cannot be saved ... that would mean Jesus did not die for everyone ... and that cannot be.

Next I want to look at the scriptures many people use to suggest that God elects or chooses only certain people to be saved or born-again.

Matthew 22:14 ... "Many are called, but few are chosen."  (That is, few of the Jews, or few of God's chosen people.  This parable by Jesus tells the story of a wedding celebration as an example to the Jews, who were called first; but they rejected the bridegroom Jesus, so God went out and chose or invited the Gentiles to the wedding.)

Let me make it real simple, with no deep theological talk here.  The Holy Spirit has been sent to draw all men unto Christ.  The third person of the Trinity is here and "calling" all men unto repentance.  Yes it does say, "Many are called, but few are chosen," meaning ... comparatively few accept the invitation to be saved.  Those that do are "chosen" to become His children by their yielding to the call of the Spirit. 

There is scripture that some say alludes to the assumption that God foreknows those who He chooses to be saved.  If you look closer ... it does not say that.

To be continued ...