Archive for February, 2018

Does Acts 13:48 Teach Unconditional Election?

February 22, 2018

Acts 13:48 reads “As many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” Are the Calvinists correct that this verse teaches salvation is not conditioned upon anything man does?

Whatever else we might say about this verse, it teaches election/salvation is conditional – it is conditioned upon belief as the text notes.

It is impossible to tell from the Greek here who did the ordaining – God (if in the passive voice) or the people themselves (if in the middle voice). Compare to “they have addicted (same Greek word #5021) themselves to the ministry of the saints” – I Cor 16:15.

Verse 46 says “Then Paul … said, It was necessary that the word of the God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” So these Jews made their own choice of rejecting the word of God; they “put it” from themselves; they judged themselves unworthy of everlasting life. God didn’t make the decision for them.

So in verse 48, the people were “ordained” to eternal life in the sense that God ordained that all good hearted men would obey and receive eternal life:

· Luke 8:15 – “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.”

· And it’s up to us to have a good heart (“make you a new heart” – Ezek 18:31).

So Acts 13:48 teaches all those with an honest and good heart believed the gospel. There is no Calvinism in that.

hear the latest Bible Crossfire on “The Five Points Of Calvinism” at:

http://www.bibledebates.info/BibleCrossfire/BibleCrossfire-180218.mp3

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How Does God “Give” People To Jesus (John 6)?

February 16, 2018

A favorite chapter sometimes used in an attempt to prove John Calvin’s Unconditional Election theory is John 6, verse 37a (“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me”) and 65 (“no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father”). But whatever else we might say about those two texts, they both state there is a condition to election/salvation – a sinner must “come” to Jesus.

So just how does God give people to Jesus? If we notice the similarity of our phrase “no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father” to a phrase in verse 44 of the same chapter “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him,” we see that the way God gives people to Jesus is by drawing them. And how does God draw them? The very next verse says “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” Verse 45 therefore shows how the Father draws people – thru teaching, hearing, and learning (Rom 10:17, 1:16), not by force. Notice again from John 12:32 (“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me”) that Jesus draws not by force but by motivation, for example, the thankfulness of knowing what Jesus did for us on the cross. It can’t be by force, because John 12:32 states God draws ALL men, but we know from other passages that not all will be drawn successfully (saved).

It is the same as how God gives repentance (Acts 11:18b); Rom 2:4 says God “leadeth thee to repentance”; it is not done by force. It is also the same as how God gives us our daily bread (Matt 6:11), through means – working a job to earn a living. The Bible says God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 7:13, 9:12, 10:1, 20, 27, 11:10, 14:8), but it also says Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Exodus 8:15, 8:32, 9:34). How can both of those facts be true? The answer?: God hardened Pharaoh’s heart through means, not against his will by force. And neither is the John 6 “coming” forced/unconditional. John 5:40 proves that – “But you are not willing to come to me that you may have life.” (NKJV).

The fact that God gives people to Jesus can’t prove salvation is unconditional as the Calvinists assert. That would contradict John 17:12 (“… those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition …”) which illustrates that some God gives will ultimately be lost.

Keep in mind there exists what is generally referred to as God’s successful call, but also a call of God that is not necessarily successful. Let me illustrate with the following two sentences: “Everybody I called came to dinner” and “Some I called didn’t answer, so they were left out.” The former sentence refers to a successful call (the call was completed on both sides), while the latter refers to a call that is not necessarily successful (the call may not have been completed). It is the same with God’s call: Rom 8:30 (“and whom He called, them He also justified”) refers to God’s successful/accepted call, while passages like Prov 1:24 (“Because I have called, and ye refused”) and Matt 22:14 (“many are called, but few are chosen”) refer to God’s call before it is accepted or rejected. John 6:37 obviously refers to the accepted call (completed on both sides) of those with an honest and good heart (Luke 8:15). Even then, verse 66 shows that many called by Jesus at that time ultimately rejected Him.

Conclusion: The John 6 election is clearly conditioned upon belief – verses 35, 40, 47.

Does John 6:39 Teach Once Saved Always Saved?

February 8, 2018

Last week I was talking to the host (Matt) of a radio program loyal to Calvinism. We were discussing on air the issue of Once Saved Always Saved, and Matt brought up what I think is his favorite verse in defense of the Once Saved Always Saved theory. Here is how that verse (John 6:39) reads “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing ….”

On the surface the verse might appear to teach what Matt was contending for, but Jesus’ prayer in John 17 shows it does not. John 17:12 reads “… those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition …” Matt cut me off two or three times to keep me from reading John 17:12 on the air, because he knew the verse would quickly and conclusively prove to all honest truth seekers that his use of John 6:39 was unsound. Finally I was able to blurt out and read the verse when Matt took a pause.

Matt’s use of John 6:39 ignores the difference (that even Calvinists recognize) in God’s predestined will and God prescribed will. “God’s predestined will is unconditional and therefore, unstoppable.” That is mentioned in passages like Acts 2:23. God’s prescribed will is what God wants, but does not necessarily force to happen. A good example of God’s prescribed will is found in passages like Mark 3:35 and I Thess 4:3 (“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye abstain from fornication” – ASV). I Thess 4:3 doesn’t mean it is impossible for Christians to commit fornication; instead it means God desires that Christians not commit fornication. It should be obvious John 6:39 is talking about God’s prescribed will since Judas is mentioned as an exception to the rule stated.

Which leads into my next point. Matt’s use of John 6:39 also ignores the fact that general rules often have stated exceptions. For example Luke 16:18a (“Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery”) expresses God’s general rule that all divorce and remarriage constitutes adultery, but Matt 19:9a (“…Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery”) states the only exception to that general rule. I am sure Matt would agree with this “general rules sometimes have exceptions” concept demonstrated by Luke 16:18 and Matt 19:9, so why can’t he see the same thing might be going on with John 6:39 and John 17:12?

There are hundreds of Bible verses that conclusively prove Once Saved Always Saved is a false doctrine. Drop me an email and I will send you a long list of them.

John Calvin Didn’t Know God Wants All To Be Saved

February 1, 2018

Of course God wants all to be saved …

II Peter 3:9 The Lord is … not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

I Timothy 2:3-4 … God … will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

This contradicts Calvin’s theory that God wants only some to be saved, that is, the elect.

Calvinism also puts the blame on God for those who are lost. God wants all to be saved, but Calvinism teaches God only forces belief on some so that only that some can be saved.

Absurdity on top of absurdity!