|Summary and Conclusions from our Studies of:
Biblical Soteriology and Five-Point
Much of the content of this position paper has
been taken directly or indirectly from the following three sources: Grace
by Clark H. Pinnock, Vernon C. Grounds, I. Howard Marshall, and others;
by Roger T. Forster and V. Paul Marston; and Elect
by Robert L. Shank. For a complete listing of resources used, please
see the bibliography at the end.
The goal of this paper is to articulate the
doctrine of grace in the most biblical and coherent way possible. The
conviction that God is good in an unqualified manner and that He
desires the salvation of all sinners is the theological presupposition
on which we have based our position. In the cross of Christ we
see the will of God for the salvation of all sinners perfectly
exemplified. As Paul says, “The love of Christ compels us,
because we are convinced that one has died for all” (2 Cor. 5:14). In
Romans 5:18 the apostle writes, “As one man’s trespass led to the
condemnation of all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to the
acquittal and life for all men.” According to John, Jesus “is the
expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of
the whole world” (1 Jn. 2:2). To each human being God offers
forgiveness in Jesus Christ and the gift of sonship. As Jesus says, “It
is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little
ones should perish” (Mt. 18:14). We consent to Paul’s judgment that God
“desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”
and to Peter’s conviction that God is “not wishing that any should
perish, but that all should reach repentance” (1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9).
Therefore, we believe that the universal salvific will of the Father
has become objectified in the atoning work of the Son according to
these, and many other texts, so that no sinner can ever doubt that God
loves him and desires to save him.
We believe that the biblical doctrine of election
presents no threat to and exists in no tension with the scriptural
doctrine of universal grace. Likewise, there is no paradox or “mystery”
involved when the doctrine of election is properly understood. As Pinnock
writes regarding D.A. Carson’s Divine
“Carson needs to distinguish contradiction from mystery. A circle is
not and cannot be at the same time a square. An action is not and
cannot be at the same time determined by God and freely chosen in a
significant sense. To say it can be is not mysterious but
self-contradictory. Trusting the Bible is not the issue--the
issue is whether or not we wish to attribute nonsense to Scripture in
our interpretation of it.”
It is our understanding that election is corporate
(i.e. “in Christ”) and not particular. We do not believe that certain
people are predestined to eternal life and the remainder predestined to
eternal damnation. In Scripture predestination is a “setting out of a
horizon” for believers, not a decree as to who should believe. We
believe the Bible teaches in the Old Testament that Israel was God’s
“elect” people (plural) and that in the New Testament it is the Church;
which is made up of individuals who by their faith are now in Christ,
with Him being the very Elect of God. Likewise, in the Old Testament
true Israel was made up of those who responded in faith and obedience
to God’s revelation at that time.
It is also our understanding that
“election,” as taught by Reformed theologians, was not the
teaching of the Early Church. And that in the first 375 years after
Christ, no mention is made of it by any writer, great or small, in any
part of the Christian church; with Augustine (354 - 430) being the
first to teach this new and unorthodox doctrine. To the contrary, the
early church fathers clearly taught that the genuine ability to accept
or reject the Gospel was a gift given by God to every person.
Oftentimes the Biblical view of “free-will” is misrepresented and
confused with Pelagianism, which is 100 percent “self-effort.”
- 420) strongly attacked the Pelagians and wanted to distinguish the
Pelagian concept of free-will from the orthodox and Biblical one: “It
is true that freedom of the will brings with it freedom of decision.”
calls Origen (185 -
254) “the greatest
scholar and thinker of the church in the first three centuries.” Origen
wrote, “Now it ought to be known that the holy apostles, in preaching
the faith of Christ, delivered themselves with the utmost clearness on
certain points which they believed to be necessary to everyone
. . . This also is
clearly defined in the teaching of the church that every rational soul
is possessed of free-will and volition. There are, indeed, innumerable
passages in the Scriptures which establish with exceeding clearness the
existence of freedom of will.”
(100 - 165) wrote, “So if they repent all who wish for it can obtain
mercy from God.”
Irenaeus of Gaul
(130 - 200) was a disciple of Polycarp of Smyrna who was a disciple of
the Apostle John. Irenaeus wrote, “And therefore does He give good
counsel to all. And in man as well as in angels, He has placed the
power of choice. If then it were not in our power to do these things,
what reason had the apostle, and much more the Lord Himself, to give us
counsel to do some things and to abstain from others? This expression,
‘How often would I have gathered thy children together, and thou
wouldst not,’ set forth the ancient law of human liberty, because God
made man a free agent from the beginning, possessing his own soul to
obey the behests of God voluntarily, and not by compulsion of God.”
Interestingly, Irenaeus wrote this in his work Against
F.F. Bruce writes, “In the east there is none to
match John Chrysostom of Constantinople.” John
Chrysostom (347 - 407) is clear on this topic as
well: “All is in God’s power, but so that our free-will is not
lost . . . It depends therefore on us and on Him.”
Again, the Pelagian view (i.e. “works”) and the
Biblical and early church view need to be properly distinguished. In
the Bible Paul always sets faith and works in antithesis. Paul does not
say that unless faith comes by way of “irresistible grace” it would be
“works.” Rather, he contrasts grace and works, but never faith and
grace, for faith is never a work. There is no thought of “salvation by
works” here; for repentance and faith are not works, but rather soul
adjustments to God’s plan and will, and cannot be accomplished without
the help of the Holy Spirit. (See God’s
pp. 243 - 248.)
Lastly, we think there is a distinct possibility
that a Christian’s motivation to pray for and evangelize the lost can
be greatly undermined, either consciously or subconsciously, by
believing that some are “chosen” and some are not, as predetermined by
God from eternity past. We will proceed by going through each of the
five points (T-U-L-I-P) of Calvinism. The definitions for these five
points have been taken from a paper by Dave Harvey. Also, we have used
many of his expressions and the quotes he used for the fifth and final
point. The five points of Calvinism are so interwoven, that
if just one point is found to be unbiblical, the whole system
completely unravels. We believe the Scriptures are replete
with passages supporting the position we have taken on these five
And don’t you listen to any of these “interpreters
of truth,” who say God has chosen some and not chosen others, and the
ones that He has chosen will be, and the ones that He hasn’t chosen are
no good; they’re vessels of wrath fitted to destruction and God created
them to have the fun of damning them. Don’t you listen to such, what
Wesley called “a horrible decree.” There isn’t anybody like that in the
universe, sir. I don’t say there’s good in everybody, but I say there’s
Somebody who likes them whether they’re good or not. I say there’s
Somebody who’s emotionally
about them. Everybody
matters. (A.W. Tozer, Each
One of the main reasons Wesley was so opposed to
the doctrine of predestination was that he thought it destroyed any
meaningful attribution of love and justice to God. Indeed, Wesley
thought the doctrine represented “God as worse than the devil; more
false, more cruel, and more unjust.” (The
Vol. 7; p. 382.)
[Point 1 - Total Depravity / Total
This doctrine teaches that the fall of man
affected every part of man, that the whole of man’s being is corrupted
by sin and that man is unable to choose good over evil in the spiritual
realm and incapable of choosing to believe the gospel.
In contrast, we believe that man’s corruption has
not affected the sinner’s creational God-given freedom to choose life
or death; to believe in Christ or reject Him. Before regeneration, man
is spiritually dead but not physically, intellectually, emotionally, or
volitionally dead. This freedom and ability to be convicted by the Holy
Spirit of sin, to be made aware of God’s existence and will, and to
respond to the gospel is sometimes called “prevenient grace;” as it is
a gift of God given to every person.
“It is inherent in the nature of man that
his will must be free. Made in the image of God who is completely free,
man must enjoy a measure of freedom. This enables him to select his
companions for this world and the next; it enables him to yield his
soul to whom he will, to give allegiance to God or the devil, to remain
a sinner or become a saint.” (A.W. Tozer, That
It would be disingenuous and totally lacking in
integrity, and therefore impossible, for God to command or invite
someone to do something that He did not make it possible for that
person to do (Acts 17:30; Mt. 6:33 and 11:28-30).
“Note Peter’s words to Cornelius, ‘Truly I
perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who
fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him’ (Acts 10:34).
The many appeals to men to seek God often are dismissed by Calvinists
as merely symbolic rather than authentic, on the plea that man’s
depravity makes it impossible for him to comply with God’s commands and
appeals. Failure to recognize hyperbole, a frequent device in
Biblical literature, has involved many an erroneous definition of human
depravity that makes God’s appeals and exhortations ludicrous, if not
shamefully insincere.” (Robert Shank, Elect
Eph. 2:1-2 and 5:14; Mt. 8:22; Rev. 5:16 (i.e.
Prov. 8:1-10, 17-23, and 30-36 (Wisdom Personified
Heb. 11:6; Jn. 16:8; Acts 17:27 and 30; Rom.
Rom. 2:6-16 and 10:9-13; Rom. 10:21; 1 Tim. 4:2;
“Alongside the fact that man is ‘dead in
trespasses and sins’ (Eph. 2:1) must be set the prevenient grace given
No man sins because he has not grace, but because he does not use the
grace which he hath.” (The
Vol. 6; p. 512.)
[Point 2 - Unconditional Election]
This doctrine states that God, before the
foundation of the world, chose certain individuals from among the
fallen members of Adam’s race to be objects of His undeserved favor and
salvation. These and these only He purposed to save, by His
own eternal decree. It teaches that this election cannot be
conditioned upon anything good in those chosen, even foreseen faith.
As stated earlier, we believe that soteriological
election is corporate and not particular. [For two thorough studies on
this see The
Jesus Christ and those “in Christ” (i.e. the Church) are the elect.
Also, in the Bible, God’s foreknowledge always precedes His choosing.
We think that exegetically this means exactly what it says, to know
before the fact (i.e. foreseen faith). It never signifies,
intrinsically, to predetermine, or to love, or to favor beforehand; but
always to foreknow or prerecognize. [See the word study on
this and other key words in God’s
And to know something either in advance or after the fact is clearly
not the cause of its happening (i.e. believing in or rejecting Christ).
In Romans 8:28-30, it is not the purpose of the apostle to show or
declare the surety of any particular individual’s passing through the
stages of this scheme, but to show the indestructible and absolute
surety of the scheme itself. The ark in Noah’s day was unconditionally
predestined to outride the deluge, but it depended upon each person’s
choosing to enter and remain within the ark as to whether he or she
would be saved.
We agree with the following definition taken from
Chapter 9 of Grace
Believers are elect or predestined to a life of holiness and conformity
to the Son. This salvific choice is cocomitant with foreknowledge and
does not amount to an ineffable call to a chosen few but rather is the
accompanying force with man’s faith-decision. To be sure, it is God who
is the Great Initiator. (He sent Jesus, who suffered, died, and was
raised to life. He sent the Holy Spirit to convict the world
of sin and their need of a Savior. He gave us the Bible, the Church,
“Election is not God’s choice of a restricted
number of individuals whom He wills to save, but the description of
that corporate body which, in Christ, He is saving.” (The
“Scripture does not teach that God has
foreordained which individuals will become believers. All biblical
statements about predestination make reference to predestination as a
collective reality. God has decided that there will be a community of
faith, but he has not chosen the individuals who will be part of it.
This choice is left to ‘whosoever will.’ God makes salvation
available; it is up to individual people to accept it or reject it.
God does not choose individuals for salvation, for He wants all to
accept His invitation and be saved. But He does choose some individuals
to perform specific tasks. Such individuals may or may not be saved.
Even when they are not believers, they can be used to advance the
purpose of God without being part of those purposes (i.e. Cyrus and
Judas; Isa. 44:28 and Jn. 6:70).” (Christianity
pp. 153 - 154.) God is no less “sovereign” via the non-Calvinistic
position, because He is the One who has decided and chosen that the
salvation process be the way it is (i.e. a universal gospel call given
to free moral agents).
Both Paul’s and Jesus’ emotional responses and
statements in Romans 9:1-3 and Luke 13:34 and 19:41 would not make
sense if they understood ‘unconditional election’ to be the case. “In
Romans 9:1-3 Paul stands in God’s presence as a believing seed of
Abraham under excruciating agony for his people, like Moses (Ex.
32:32). If Paul believed that God arbitrarily chooses ‘some to life’
and ‘others to condemnation,’ his emotional state is hardly
appropriate, even as their biologico-historico kinsman.” (Grace
There is a clearly conditional Scripture in
relation to election found in 2 Peter 1:10: “Therefore, my brothers, be
all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you
do these things, you will never fall.”
“It is apparent from his frequent and extensive
appeals to Romans 9:6-29 that Calvin considered it the cardinal and
definitive passage on election. His misconstruction of the passage
furnished him with three false premises on which he
erected his doctrine of election and to which he accommodated all
contrary passages of Scripture: (1) that the will of God is monothetic,
having but one aspect; (2) that the unconditional election and
reprobation of particular men is an inevitable corollary of the
sovereignty of God; and (3) that in the impartation of salvation to
individual men, God takes account of nothing in men (monergism).
Calvin’s erroneous assumptions so completely conditioned his approach
to the Scriptures that he found no place for the candid acceptance of
the many affirmations of Scripture positing faith as a factor in man of
which God takes account in salvation. It is evident from
Scripture that the will of man is free and his responsibility in the
matters of faith and repentance is real rather than hypothetical and
symbolic. Calvin’s interpretation of Romans 9:6-29 ignores
the significance of the rest of Romans 9 - 11, a misconstruction that
collapses in the face of Romans 11:7, 14, 17-24, 32. The thesis of
monothetism-determinism-monergism is refuted by many explicit passages
of Scripture which posit human responsibility and agency and faith as a
condition of salvation. However, as we have observed, Calvin
evades the obvious import of such passages--by ingenious
“interpretation” whenever possible or by burying the point of the
passage beneath an avalanche of theological verbalsmog dealing with
peripheral and tangential considerations far removed from the essential
issue of the passage or by candidly asserting the existence of a
‘hidden purpose of God’ supposedly assumed by the
Biblical writer, making the passage merely rhetorical rather
than categorical. Reading from his theological heirs, one must conclude
that they learned well the hermeneutical methods of their mentor. But
there are certain passages which forbid such wonderfully ingenious
treatment, as we shall observe . . . .” (Elect
pp. 113 and 145.)
“The ‘hardness’ of this text (from Chapter 9 of
Romans) arises at least in part from assumptions which we tend to bring
to it and our neglect regarding the flow and content of the
surrounding text. . . . we tend to hear this text in terms of
predestination and eternal destiny. This theological tradition holds
that our eternal destiny has been predetermined. The inevitable
question to such a view is the one which Paul’s hypothetical reader
asks: ‘Then why does God still blame us? For who resists His will?’
(vs. 19) This question, when it comes from us, only has
Paul is in fact concerned here with the matter of individual’s eternal
destiny. On close reading, however, it becomes
clear that he is not speaking about salvation and eternal destiny, but
about God’s calling of individuals to service, and
God’s use of events and persons in the accomplishment of His redemptive
purposes, namely the salvation of both Jews and Gentiles . .
. ‘The older will serve the younger’ (vs. 9 taken from Gen. 25:23) is
not so much a statement of predestination as of prophetic foreknowledge
. . . The strong expression ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated’ must be
understood in this historic context. [Since God is using Israel to
accomplish His purposes--Edom’s (Esau’s descendants; whereas Israel is
Jacob’s descendants) enmity sets it squarely against the purposes of
God.] In contrast with God’s obvious love for Israel, the situation of
Edom could only be interpreted as evidence of God’s lesser regard for
it. The strong expression ‘Esau I hated’ must be seen as a typical
example of oriental hyperbole, which expresses things in
terms of extremes . . . (Rom. 9:13 / Mal. 1: 2-3) Neither in Malachi,
nor in Paul’s use of it is there any warrant for the idea
that God has determined in advance the eternal
destinies of either Israel or Edom. Their historical
situations, their “election” or “rejection,” are but temporary
evidences of God’s sovereign freedom with which He moves history toward
His redemptive purposes: ‘God so loved the world
. . . .’ (Jn. 3:16), including Jacob and
Esau, Israel and Edom, Jew and Gentile. [Hard
I. Howard Marshall writes,
“Predestinarian language safeguards the truth that in every case it is
God who takes the initiative in salvation and calls men to Him and
works in their hearts by His Spirit. Salvation is never the result of
human merit, nor can anybody be saved without first being called by
God. Men cannot in any sense save themselves. It must be
declared quite emphatically that the non-Calvinist affirms this as
heartily as the Calvinist and repudiates the Pelagianism which is
often, but wrongly, thought to be inherent in his position .
. . God wants the wicked man to turn from his wickedness and live; He
has no delight in the death of the sinner, and that is His last
word on the matter. We have no right to go beyond Scripture
and assert that He determines otherwise in the secret counsel of His
heart (i.e. ‘hidden purpose’). He is not willing that any should perish
but that all should come to a knowledge of the truth and be saved (1
Tim. 2:4). ‘Whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of
life’ (Rev. 22:17). That is God’s final word on the
pp. 140 - 142.)
“But by far the strongest objections to Calvinism
are found in the phenomena of sin and moral evil. How can we say that
God desires for all
to be saved, when He has eternally decreed that some be lost? Some
Calvinists, to be sure, wish to say that God predestined the elect for
salvation but did not specifically predestine others for damnation;
rather, He simply ‘passed over’ them and they are damned as a result of
their own sins. This way of putting it has a softer sound, but it
really does not make the situation any better. The sins they commit are
the sins that God decreed they should commit, and He failed to choose
them for salvation knowing that, in the absence of His choice, they
will inevitably be damned. Whether or not this is described as a
‘decree of reprobation’ is merely a verbal matter.”
“Any view of divine sovereignty that implies
arbitrariness on the part of the divine will, is not only contrary
to Scripture, but is revolting to reason,
and blasphemous. God cannot act arbitrarily, in the
sense of unreasonably, without infinite wickedness. For Him to be
arbitrary would be a wickedness as much greater than any creature is
capable of committing, as His reason or knowledge is greater than
theirs. This must be self-evident. God should therefore never
be represented as a “sovereign,” in the sense that
implies that He is actuated by self or arbitrary will . . .
.” (Charles Finney’s Systematic
He (God) mocks proud mockers and resists the
proud, but gives grace to the humble. (Prov. 5:34 and Jas. 4:6) God
gives; the humble do not earn. Nonetheless, there clearly is a
“qualifier,” which is humility.
Ps. 105:43-45 along with Heb. 3;16-19; Lk. 8:11-15
(esp. vs. 15); Col. 1:15-23
Regarding Martin Luther’s view on election, Emil
Brunner writes on page 342 of his The
(Vol. 1): “This predestinarian determinism was later contradicted by
his new understanding of Election, gained from a fresh insight into the
New Testament . . . from 1525 onwards his teaching was different. He
had freed himself from the Augustinian statement of the problem, and
from the causal thinking of Augustine. He saw that this doctrine of
predestination was speculative, natural theology, and he understood the
Biblical idea of Election in and through Jesus Christ.”
[Point 3 - Limited Atonement]
This teaches that the redemptive work of
Jesus Christ and His atonement for sin was not meant for every person,
but only for the “elect.” And because of this atonement, it
guarantees the salvation of the elect; salvation with the gifts
of repentance and faith was purchased in the atonement for only the
We take vigorous exception to this theology that denies
that Jesus, the bread of heaven, means life for the world
(Jn. 6:46-51) or that He has tasted death for every
(Heb 2:9). We believe that Christ’s atonement is made available for all
and that God genuinely
desires that none would perish, but that all would be saved. We believe
that the atonement is universal and available to every person, and is
limited only by a person’s failure to respond in faith.
Regarding these Scriptures (i.e. Jn. 1:29; Jn.
3:16; Rom. 5:17-21; Rom. 11:32; 1 Tim. 2:6; Heb. 2:9; 2 Pet. 3:9; and 1
Jn. 2:22) Vernon C. Grounds writes, “It takes an
exegetical ingenuity which is something other than a learned virtuosity
to evacuate these texts of their obvious meaning: it takes an
exegetical ingenuity verging on sophistry to deny
their explicit universality.” (Grace
“The classic text, used by Calvinists, to support
the assertion that even faith must be given to men by God is Ephesians
2:8. But in the Greek text of this passage there is only one pronoun,
not two; and that pronoun does not agree grammatically with the word
‘faith.’ The pronoun is neuter in gender, while the word ‘faith’ is
feminine. According to all
grammatical rules, the
What is referred to in this passage is God’s gracious gift of
salvation, which none can merit.” (Grace
“Among passages cited as affirming that faith is a
gift of God are Romans 12:3, 1 Corinthians 12:9, and Galatians 5:22.
With respect to these passages, however, context implies that the faith
in view is not for salvation, but faith for Christian living and
service. Ephesians 2:8 is sometimes cited, but . . . . The fact that
touto is neuter and pisteos feminine forbids faith
to be the antecedent of that. Many exegetes are
agreed on this point, including Calvin.” (Elect
“The Bible says Christ takes away the sin of the
world and is Savior of the world. A study of the word
‘world’--especially in John,
where it is used seventy-eight times--shows that the world is
God-hating, Christ-rejecting, and Satan-dominated. Yet this is the
world for which Christ died. There is not one place in the entire New
Testament where ‘world’ means ‘church’ or ‘the elect,’ as many
Calvinists insist. Considering the unequivocal force of such evidence,
there is absolutely no logical reason to deny that when the text says
‘world’ it means
‘world,’ and everybody in it.” (Grace
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us
has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him (Jesus) the
iniquity of us all. [Isa. 53:6]
Jesus said, “Just as Moses lifted up
the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,
that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.” [Jn. 3:14]
Jesus said, “I, when I am lifted up, will
all men to Myself.” [Jn. 12:32]
Col. 1:15-21; Jn. 1:29, 3:16-17, and 12:47; 2 Cor.
5:14-19; 1 Jn. 4:14; Ezek. 33:11; 1 Tim. 2:4-6; and 2 Pet. 3:9
[Point 4 - Irresistible Grace]
This doctrine states simply that when
God visits the elect with the grace of regeneration, that person will
be regenerated . . . any resistance on the part of
the elect person is overpowered
by God, so that it is impossible
to resist the grace of regeneration. It teaches that God
elects, then He redeems, then He regenerates (i.e. “effectual
calling”). Only then
is an individual able to respond in repentance and faith.
We agree with the following definition, taken from
Chapter 9 of Grace
The call of God’s grace is not irresistible and limited to the elect;
rather the “drawing” power of God is universally applied but effective
only for those who accept it by faith. God’s grace and man’s faith are
separate aspects of the same salvific act. (Jn. 3:14; 12:32)
Regarding the doctrine of ‘effectual calling,’ I.
Howard Marshall writes, “The terminology is not Scriptural,
and is due to an attempt to find an explanation why some respond to the
call of God and others do not respond in the nature of the call itself.
Rather, the effect of the call of God is to place man in a position
where he can say ‘Yes’ or ‘No,’ which he could not do before God called
him; till then he was in a continuous attitude of ‘No.’ (Of course,
Marshall affirms that this call is given to all.) . . . The Bible has
the picture of a God deciding fresh measures in history and interacting
alongside the picture of a God planning things in eternity past, and both
pictures are equally valid . . . The predestinarian language is meant
to affirm that God’s plan has all along been one of salvation, and that
He created the universe in order to have fellowship with man.” Grace
“God is infinitely greater and freer than the cold
abstractions of medievally minded reductionist theologians make Him to
be.” (Gilbert Bilezikian, professor emeritus, Wheaton College.) For
more on this see Chapter 8, “God as Personal,” in Grace
A.W. Tozer writes, “So highly
does God regard His handiwork that He will not for any reason violate
it. For God to override man’s freedom and force him to act contrary to
his own will (i.e. ‘irresistible grace’) would be to make a mockery of
the image of God in man. This God will never do. God will take nine
steps toward us, but He will not take the tenth. He will incline us to
repent, but He cannot do our repenting for us. It is the
essence of repentance that it can be done only by the one who committed
the act to be repented of. He will not force a man to
repent. To do this would be to violate man’s freedom, void the gift of
God in him, and be unworthy of both God and man.” (That
“The doctrine of the irresistibility of grace is
an essential corollary of the doctrine of unconditional particular
election . . . Such concepts of grace as quantitive entity
(i.e. only so many to be ‘elect’) and mechanical apparatus (i.e. mere
puppets or pre-programmed robots being acted upon) are in radical
conflict with the Biblical concept of grace as an attribute of God
intrinsic in His being . . . With respect to God and His
saving purpose, grace is not at all something extrinsic to His being
which He arbitrarily manipulates or which He distributes quantitively
from some sort of inventory. Contrary to many of Calvin’s explicit
affirmations and the obvious implications of many others, the grace of
God is infinite because God is infinite, and ‘the grace of God has
appeared for the salvation of all men’ (Tit. 2:11) . . . With respect
to Calvin’s hypothesis of irresistible grace, it is noteworthy that
Hebrews 10:29 warns against ‘doing despite to the Spirit of grace.’
That the designation ‘Spirit of grace’ appears in the context of
Hebrews 10:19 - 12:29, the longest of the five hortatory sections of
the Epistle to the Hebrews which treats the peril of apostasy with such
profound urgency, strongly forbids any assumption of the
irresistibility of grace . . . The doctrine of ‘irresistible
grace’ is a theological fiction.” (Elect
Jesus Christ came to reveal God, and thus revealed
Him as Father (Heb. 1:13; Jn. 14:6-7). Reformed theologians teach that
every person receives an outward call to repentance and faith, but only
some receive an inward (or “effectual”) call, which equals
“irresistible” grace. Imagine an
earthly father, when he realizes that his home is on fire and about to
be engulfed in flames, calls out (i.e. “screams”) loudly and clearly to
two of his children to get out of the house; but calls in such a way
(i.e. “very soft whisper”) to his other three children that there is no
possible way for them to hear their father and thus escape a horrible
dying in the flames. With the
seriousness of damnation and salvation involved, such caprice ascribed
to God would make Him the basest hypocrite in His own universe.
Therefore, the question remains: Did God unconditionally elect some to
be saved and some to be lost? If He did, then all of the
universal invitations God gives in His Holy Word are hypocritical and
criminal mockery, and the Bible is a strange contradiction. Surely an
all-wise, good, and loving God would not do such a thing.
As Shank writes, “‘My Spirit
shall not always strive with man,’ declared God in the days of Noah
(Gen. 6:3). If the men of Noah’s generation were foreordained to
damnation, as Calvin believed, in what sense did the Spirit strive with
them, since they were but fulfilling their foreordained role in
refusing the testimony of Noah? If no man, either elect or
reprobate (or ‘passed over’) can resist the will of God, against whom
or what is the Spirit striving when He ‘strives with man’? .
. . ‘You always resist the Holy Spirit!’ was Stephen’s charge against
his persecutors (Acts 7:51). If Calvin’s hypothesis of irresistible
grace were true, how could this be? If they were reprobates
by God’s eternal decree, in what sense could they be resisting the Holy
Spirit by fulfilling their foreordained role in opposing the Gospel?
Only as potential objects of election (i.e. salvation) could it be
possible for them to resist the Holy Spirit; and the record stands that
they did indeed resist the Spirit of Grace.” (Elect
Regarding the time and order
of when a person receives the gift of salvation and becomes elect,
consider the following two Scriptures: Take hold of the eternal life to
which you were called when
you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses (1 Tim.
6:12). And you also were included in Christ when
you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having
believed, you were marked in Him . . . . (Eph. 1:13).
For it is with your
heart that you
believe and are (then) justified, and it is with your
mouth that you
confess and are (then) saved . . . . for ‘Everyone who calls on the
Name of the Lord will (then) be saved. (Rom. 10:10-13)
Then Jesus said to her, “Your
sins are forgiven” and “Your
faith has saved you, go in peace.” (Lk. 7:48-50) Note that it was her
faith; not irresistible grace.
But concerning Israel He says, “All day long I
have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.” (Rom.
10:21 / Isa. 65:1) Where is the “irresistible” grace here?
Ps. 107:6, 7, 13, 14, 19, 20
“Yea, I am persuaded, every person has, at some
time, ‘life and death set before him,’ eternal life and eternal death;
and has in
the casting voice.” (John Wesley’s Sermon LXIII,
“The General Spread of the Gospel”)
[Point 5 - Perseverance of the Saints
This doctrine states that those whom God
has called (i.e. regenerated) can neither totally
or completely fall away, but will persevere to the end and will be
eternally saved. Another name for this is “eternal
security” or “once saved, always saved.”
Our understanding of Scripture is quite the
opposite. Once again, we are in agreement with the definition written
by theologian Grant R. Osborne in Chapter 9 of Grace
Perseverance is a necessity rather than a guaranteed, final promise. It
relates to man’s need rather than God’s protection. Security is the
other side of that need, for God does promise His protecting power.
However, the believer must avail himself to that strength, lest he slip
away and apostatize from the faith. (For two superb studies on this,
see I. Howard Marshall’s Kept
and Robert Shank’s Life
We are also in agreement with J.
Rodman Williams: “A doctrine of perseverance of the saints
that does not affirm its occurrence through faith is foreign to
Scripture, a serious theological misunderstanding, and a liability to
Christian existence.” Williams firmly denies any unconditional
preservation of the Christian and is convincing in his exegetical
arguments, which were extensive. His critique of Calvin’s treatment of
Hebrews 6 was penetrating and pointed. He says, “This is eisegesis and
badly in error.” It appears that way to us as well. His arguments for
the possibility of apostasy are numerous. A few are noted below:
Quoting I. Howard Marshall: “.
. . in the New Testament the believer is not
told that he is one of the elect and cannot fall away . . . He is
simply told to continue in obedience and faith and to trust God who
will keep him from falling.”
“It is sometimes suggested that the warnings of
Scripture [against apostasy] refer only to a hypothetical possibility.
This is said from the perspective that no true believer could actually
‘fall away’ from God. Such, however, is contrary to the most obvious
meaning of the passages and the immediate context. Moreover, such an
interpretation dilutes the seriousness of the warning.”
“‘In later times some will depart [apostatize]
from the faith by giving heed to doctrines of demons . . . .’ (1 Tim.
4:1). This is no light matter, no suggestion of a temporary or partial
falling away: this is apostasy--the departure from and abandonment of
“It is sometimes said that apostasy refers only to
those who are not true believers. If persons fall away, this shows that
they were not believers in the first place . . . Apostasy, as
earlier observed, means ‘falling away’ in the sense of ‘departure,’
‘abandonment,’ hence a forsaking of what one originally had, not what
one did not have! Thus there is already linguistic self-contradiction
in the statement above.”
“One of the mistakes made by those who affirm the
invariable continuance of salvation is the viewing of salvation too
much as a ‘state’ . . . hence if a person begins to ‘drift away,’ it is
not from some static condition or ‘state’ but from a Person. It is a
personal relationship that thereby is betrayed, broken, forfeited; this
is the tragic meaning of apostasy.” [Yes, and so is the entire
salvation process, from beginning to end, a “personal relationship” . .
. And it takes two separate people (i.e. synergism) to genuinely
Reformed theologians, like R.C. Sproul and Anthony
Hoekema, say that God uses such stern warnings of apostasy (Hebrews 6)
as a means to bring about the perseverance of the saints, but that in
fact, the possibility of ultimately falling away--for the
Christian--does not exist. This position has serious problems. That God
would motivate His people to persevere by threatening judgment for an
apostasy which is both contrary to His promise, and impossible, raises
questions of God’s sincerity and integrity and is therefore rejected. [The
very same should, and therefore does, apply to His commanding all
people everywhere to repent, etc--God’s very character is at stake
(i.e. His love, goodness, truthfulness, sincerity, justice, fairness,
and integrity). He would clearly not
be these things if He made it impossible for some people to respond
affirmatively to the very thing He commands or offers!!!]
We conclude that, without a doubt, Five-Point
Calvinism is not Biblical and therefore to be rejected.
This is regarding Romans 3:10-12, where it says
hyperbolically, that “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is
no one who understands, no one who seeks God . . . there is no one who
does good, not even one.”:
Gen. 6:9 -- Noah was a righteous man, blameless .
. . .
Gen. 18:23 -- Will you sweep away the righteous .
. . .
Ps. 5:12 -- O LORD, you bless the righteous . . . .
Ps. 37:16 -- Better the little the righteous . . .
Prov. 10:28 -- The prospect of the righteous is
joy . . . .
Mt. 5:45 -- (Jesus said) He sends the rain on the
righteous and the unrighteous . . . .
Lk. 1:6 -- Both (Zechariah and Elizabeth) were
upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and
Lk. 2:25 -- Now there was a man in Jerusalem
called Simeon, who was righteous and devout.
Acts 10:2 -- He (Cornelius) and all his family
were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and
prayed to God regularly.
2 Pet. 2:7 -- He rescued Lot, a righteous man . .
. for that righteous man . . . was tormented in his righteous soul . .
. . [Note: The vast majority of Scripture says that we can be and
should be righteous.]
Mt. 6:33 -- but seek first His kingdom and His
righteousness . . . .
Mt. 7:7-11 -- seek and you will find . . . .
Acts 17:27 -- God did this so that men would seek
Him and perhaps find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.
Heb. 11:5-6 -- He rewards those who diligently
Isa. 55:1-7 (esp. vs. 6) -- Seek the LORD while He
may be found . . . Let the wicked forsake his way . . . Let him turn to
the LORD, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, and He will
Amos 5:4 -- This is what the LORD says . . . “Seek
Me and live; . . . .
Prov. 8:17 -- I love those who love Me and those
who seek Me find Me.
Jer. 29:13 -- You will seek
Me and find
Me when you seek Me with all your heart.
Ps. 119:2 -- Blessed are they who . . . seek Him
with all their heart.
1 Ch. 28:9 -- If you seek
Him, He will be found.
Ps. 34:10 -- those who seek the LORD lack no good
Ps. 105:3 -- let the hearts of those who seek the
Zeph. 2:3 -- Seek the LORD, all you humble of the
land, you who do what He commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; .
. . .
[Note: The vast majority of Scripture says that we
can and should seek the LORD.]
As stated before, God doesn’t, couldn’t and
wouldn’t command those He created to do something that it would not
be possible for them to do. Otherwise, He would be cruel, insincere,
and hypocritical; and He would be guilty of criminal mockery.
Ps. 34:14 -- Turn from evil and do good; . . . .
Ps. 37:3 -- Trust in the LORD and do good; . . . .
Prov. 13:22 -- A good man leaves an inheritance .
. . .
Prov. 15:3 -- The eyes of the LORD are everywhere,
keeping watch on the wicked and the good.
Mt. 5:45 -- (Jesus said) He causes His sun to rise
on the evil and the good, . . . .
It is wrong and dangerous to build an
entire doctrine (i.e. “Total Depravity / Total Inability”) around one
or a few small sections of Scripture that apparently are used in a
Acts 20:21 -- I have declared to both Jews and
Greeks alike that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in
Also, regarding our being “dead” in our trespasses
(Eph. 2:5)--Before we repent and put our faith in Jesus Christ (yes, by
His initiative and prevenient grace) we are dead spiritually, but not
volitionally (i.e. mind / soul). This is obviously true.
Mt. 8:22 -- (Jesus said) Follow Me, and let the
dead bury their own dead.
Eph. 5:13-14 -- But everything exposed by the
light becomes visible, for it is the light that makes everything
visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the
dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (It’s a choice to be made by the
subject “You” understood.)
Rev. 3:1-3 -- (Jesus said) I know your deeds; you
have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! (Again,
the subject “You” understood.)
Jas. 4:4-8 -- Anyone who chooses to be a friend of
the world becomes an enemy of God . . . Submit yourselves, then, to
God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and
He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your
hearts, you double minded.
Jas. 3:9 -- With the tongue we praise our Lord and
Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness
Rom. 10:9-13 -- (It’s a person’s choice) . . . If
you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart
that God raised Him form the dead, (then) you will be saved . . .
“Anyone who trusts Him will never be put to shame . . . “Everyone who
calls upon the Name of the Lord will (then) be saved.”
Prov. 8:1-10, 17-23, 30-36 -- Does not wisdom call
out? Does not understanding raise her voice? . . . she cries aloud: “To
you, O men, I call out; I raise my voice to all
You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, gain
understanding . . . My mouth speaks what is true, . . . All the words
of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse . . . Choose
instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold . . .
I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me . . . The LORD
brought me forth as the first of His works (or - at the beginning of
His work), before His deeds of old; I was appointed from eternity, from
the beginning, before the world began . . . before He made the earth or
its fields or any of the dust of the world. I was there when He set the
heavens in place, when He marked out the horizon on the face of the
deep . . . and when He marked out the foundations of the earth. Then I
was the craftsman at His side. I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in His presence, rejoicing in His whole world and
delighting in mankind. Now then, my sons, listen to me; . . . For
whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD. But
whoever fails (human volition and responsibility clearly implied) to
find me harms
all who hate me love death. [This is wisdom “Personified” (i.e. Jesus
Prov. 3:34 / Jas. 4:6 -- He mocks proud mockers,
grace to the humble. (God “gives; ” they do not “earn.” But there seems
to be a qualifier, which is humility.)
Ps. 105:43-45 and Heb. 3:16-19 -- He brought out
His people with rejoicing, His chosen ones with shouts of joy . . .
that they might keep His precepts and observe His laws. Who were they
who heard and rebelled? Were they not all that Moses had led out of
Egypt? . . . And to whom did God swear that they would never enter His
rest if not to those (i.e. chosen ones) who disobeyed? So we see that
they were not able to enter because of their
Ps. 107:6, 7, 13, 14, 19, 20 -- Then they cried
out to the LORD in their trouble, and He delivered them. He led them by
a straight way to a city where they could settle . . Then they cried
out to the LORD . . . and He saved them. He brought them out of
darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains . . . Then
they cried out to the LORD . . . and He saved them. He sent forth His
word and healed them.
Col. 1:15-23 -- He is the image of the invisible
God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were
created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible . . . all
things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in
Him all things hold together . . . For God was pleased to have all His
fullness dwell in Him and through Him to reconcile to Himself all
things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace
through His blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God
. . . but now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through
death to present you holy in His sight . . . if you continue in your
established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.
that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every
creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
Jas. 2:1, 9 and 3:17 -- My brothers, as believers
in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism
. . . but if you do show favoritism,
and are convicted by the law as a lawbreaker. But the wisdom that comes
from heaven (i.e. Godlike wisdom) is first of all pure; then peace
loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial
Jn. 1:14 -- We have seen His (Jesus’) glory, the
glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full
of grace and truth.
Jn. 16:8 -- When He (the Holy Spirit) comes, He
will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and
judgment: . . . .
Rom. 1:18-20 -- The wrath of God is being revealed
. . . since what may be known about God is plain to them, because
to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible
qualities--His eternal power and divine nature-- have been clearly
from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Acts 17:27 and 30 -- God did this so that men
would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is
not far from each one of us . . . Now He commands all people everywhere
Rom. 2:6-16 -- God ‘will give to each person
according to what he has done.’ To those who by persistence in doing
He will give
eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject
the truth (i.e. free-will choices) and follow evil, there will be wrath
and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who
does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor
and peace for everyone who does good (again, doing “good” is possible):
first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show
favoritism. (God does not
show favoritism!!!) All who sin apart from the law will also perish
apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the
law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s
sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.
(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things
required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do
not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are
written on their hearts, their
also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even
defending them.) This will take place on the day when God will judge
men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
1 Tim 4:1-2 -- The Spirit clearly says that in
later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits
and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical
liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. [It is
obvious from this that only those people, Christian or non-Christian,
who continually sin and reject the Lord (i.e. His Word, Gospel, Grace,
and Truth) have their consciences seared, etc.]
Lk. 8:11 and 15 -- (Jesus said) This is the
meaning of the parable: . . . But the seed on good soil stands for
those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by
persevering produce a crop. (The first one lets the devil come in and
steal the word from his heart. The second one believes for awhile, but
in the time of testing he falls away. The third one also believes for
awhile, but as he goes on his way he is choked by life’s worries,
riches and pleasures.)
UNDERSTANDING AND APPRECIATING GOD’S SOVEREIGN
According to Calvinism or “Reformed” theology, it
is God’s will and His sovereign choosing that certain people continue
to sin (i.e. rape, murder, lie, steal, blaspheme, assault, get drunk,
etc. etc.). It’s His will that they do not repent and believe, as He
has chosen from eternity past, in His sovereign love,
not to give them “grace.” Because of God’s sovereign choice not to give
certain people, whom He lovingly created, this
“irresistible grace,” He made it impossible
for them to repent and believe. God sovereignly and lovingly
chose to do this, even though in His Holy Word (the Bible) He “commands
all people everywhere to repent” [Acts 17:30] and said that He “did not
want anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” [2 Pet.
3:9]. This is a “mystery.” Also, because God chose to withhold this
special “grace” from certain people, they are doomed and damned to
suffer excruciating pain forever in hell, by this all-loving
and perfectly just and fair
heavenly Father. This is God’s sovereign choice according to His good
purpose and pleasure and to His honor, glory, and praise.
However, it was very kind of God, concerning
certain other people, that He chose them and gave them “irresistible
grace.” This means that it would have been impossible for them not to
believe and repent. He thus sovereignly chooses to give them eternal
happiness in heaven, whereas He sovereignly chooses to doom all others
to eternal suffering in hell. Again, this is the case, even though God
says in His Word that Christ Jesus “came into the world to save sinners
(and all have sinned)” [1 Tim. 1:15 and Rom. 3:23]; “gave Himself as a
ransom for all men” [1 Tim. 2:6]; and “came from the Father full of
grace and truth” [Jn. 1:14]. God is certainly good! And He is
definitely loving, just, upright, impartial, reasonable, honorable,
fair, gracious, faithful, and true! Is He not?
In summary, Calvinism is a predestinarian,
deterministic, and totally fixed view of both God and history (past,
present, and future). It is a horribly and hopelessly flawed
doctrine and a gross misinterpretation of Scripture.
Again, it teaches that certain people cannot possibly choose to repent
and put their faith in Jesus Christ, because God
given them a “grace” that is “irresistible.” (They can only reject the
Gospel, which is supposed to be “good news”!) And for no reason other
than His sovereign choosing, God has decided to give this special
“grace” only to certain other people. This makes each person nothing
more than a “puppet” or “pre-programmed robot,” which can do only what
God, in His great love, has so chosen
for them to do. Doesn’t this doctrine seem to be pathetically preposterous,
monstrous, totally irrational,
and utterly absurd????
OTHER PERTINENT SCRIPTURES:
This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who
wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. [1
For the grace of God that brings salvation has
appeared to all men. [Tit. 2:11]
This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full
acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our
hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of
those who believe. [1 Tim 4:9-10]
Consequently, just as the result of one trespass
(Adam’s) was condemnation for all men, so the result of one act of
righteousness (Jesus’) was justification that brings life (potentially)
for all men. [Rom. 5:18]
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than
the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death,
that He might taste death for everyone.
He (Jesus) is the atoning sacrifice for our sins,
and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. [1 Jn.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us
has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him (Jesus) the
iniquity of us all. [Isa. 53:6]
Jesus said, “Come to Me all you who are weary and
burdened, and I will give you rest.” [Mt. 11:28}
Jesus said to the people of Jerusalem, “how I have
to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her
wings, but you
were not willing.” [Mt 23:37 and Lk 13:34]
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven”
faith has saved you; go in peace.” [Lk 7:48-50]
Jesus said, “Just as Moses lifted up
the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,
that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.” [Jn. 3:14]
Jesus said, “I, when I am lifted up,
will draw all
men to Myself.” [Jn. 12:32]
IS TRUE AND SAVING FAITH?
According to Vine’s
The main elements in the noun translated faith
(Greek - PISTIS) and the corresponding verb translated believe (Greek -
PISTEUO), in their relation to the invisible God, are (1) a firm
conviction, producing a full acknowledgment of God’s truth; (2) a
personal surrender to Him; and (3) a conduct
inspired by such surrender.
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to
have faith but has no deeds? Can such a faith save him? Faith by
itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. You foolish man,
do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our
ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered
his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were
working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. You
see that a person is justified
In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous
for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off
in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so
faith without deeds is dead. [Jas. 2:14, 17, 20-26]
We know that we have come to know Him if we obey
His commands. The man who says, “I know Him,” but does not do what He
commands is a liar and the truth is not in him. [1 Jn. 2:3-4]
Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray.
He who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who
does what is sinful is of the devil. This is how we know who the
children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who
does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does
not love his brother. [1 Jn. 3:7, 8, 10]
They claim to know God, but by their actions they
deny Him. [Tit. 1:16]
Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm,
sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those that are His,” and
“Everyone who confesses the Name of the Lord must
turn from wickedness.” [2 Tim. 2:19]
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of
evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and
pierced themselves with many griefs. [1 Tim. 6:10]
Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing
ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed
and in so doing have wandered from the faith. [1 Tim. 6:21]
My brothers, if one of you should wander from the
truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a
sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover
over a multitude of sins. [Jas. 5:19-20]
They have left the straight way and wandered off
to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of
wickedness. [2 Pet. 2:15]
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to
test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must
to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied, “What is written in the Law?
How do you read it?” He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all
your heart and all your soul and all your strength and all your mind’
and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Jesus replied, “You have
answered correctly. Do this and you will live.” [Lk. 10:25-28]
You, however, did not come to know Christ that
way. Surely you heard of Him and were taught in Him in accordance with
that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of
life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its
deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to
put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and
speak truthfully to his neighbor. He who has been stealing must steal
no longer. [Eph. 4:25,28]
Make every effort to live in peace with all men
and to be
no one will see the Lord. [Heb. 12:14]
Then the righteous will answer Him, “Lord, when
did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something
to drink . . . ?” The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever
you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for
Me.” Then He will say to those on His left, “Depart from Me, you who
are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his
angels.” They also will answer, “Lord, when did we see You hungry or
thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did
not help You?” He will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did
not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.” Then they
will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.
[Mt. 25:37, 40, 41, 44-46]
Jesus said, “At that time many will turn away from
the faith and will betray and hate each other. Because of the increase
of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm
to the end will be saved.” [Mt. 24:10, 12, 13]
Jesus said, “All men will hate you because of Me,
but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” [Mt. 10:22 and Mk.
Jesus said, “Anyone who does not take up his cross
and follow Me is not worthy of Me.” [Mt. 10:38]
Jesus said, “But those who are considered worthy
of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will
neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for
they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are
children of the resurrection.” [Lk. 20:35-36]
Jesus said, “I have not found your deeds complete
in the sight of My God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and
heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not, I will come like a
thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. Yet you
have a few people who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk
with Me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will,
like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot his name
from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before
My Father and His angels.” [Rev. 3:2-5]
He will punish those who do not know God and do
not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with
everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and
from the majesty of His power on the day He comes to be glorified in
His holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have
believed. With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God
may count you worthy of His calling, and that by His power He may
fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your
faith. [1 Thes. 1:8-11]
Jesus said, “Whoever acknowledges Me before men, I
will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven. But whoever
disowns Me before men, I will disown him before My Father in heaven.”
Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with Him,
we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him.
If we disown Him, He will disown us; if we are faithless, He will
remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself. [2 Tim 2:11-13]
Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and My Father is
the gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while
every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even
more fruitful. If anyone does not remain
in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such
branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” [Jn. 15:1, 2,
John the Baptist said, “Produce fruit in keeping
with repentance. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every
tree that does not produce fruit will be cut down and thrown into the
fire.” And speaking of Jesus, he said, “His winnowing fork is in His
hand, and He will clear His threshing floor, gathering His wheat
into His barn and burning up the chaff
with unquenchable fire.” [Mt. 3:8, 10, 12]
Land that drinks in rain often falling on it and
that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the
blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is
worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be
burned. [Heb. 6:7, 8]
Jesus said, “Every tree that does not bear good
fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you
will recognize them. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will
enter the kingdom of heaven, but only
he who does
who is in heaven.” [Mt. 7:19-21]
Jesus said, “If you obey My commands, you will
remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commands and
remain in His love.” [Jn. 15:10]
Jesus said, “This is the meaning
of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are
the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word
from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on
the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it,
but they have no root. They believe
for a while, but in the time of testing they fall
For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or
greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the
kingdom of Christ and of God. Let
with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those
who are disobedient. [Eph. 5:5-6]
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual
immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred,
discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions,
factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like. I warn you, as I
did before, that those who live like this will not
inherit the kingdom of God. [Gal. 5:19-21]
be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one
who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap
destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit will reap eternal
life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we
will reap a harvest. [Gal. 6:7-9]
Do you not know that the wicked
inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually
immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor
homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor
swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And this is what some of you
were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in
the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. [1 Cor.
How much more severely do you think a man deserves
to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has
treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified
him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who
said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will
judge His people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the
living God. [Heb. 10:29-31]
He who overcomes will inherit all this (i.e.
eternal life / heaven). But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile,
the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the
idolaters and all liars--their place is in the lake of burning sulfur.
This is the second death. [Rev. 21:7-8]
If they have escaped the corruption of the world
by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in
it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the
beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way
of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on
the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are
true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and “A sow that is washed goes back
to wallowing in the mud.” [2 Pet. 2:20-22]
It is impossible for those who have once been
enlightened, who have tasted of the heavenly gift, who have shared in
the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and
the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to
repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God
all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace. [Heb. 6:4-6]
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have
received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but
only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will
consume the enemies of God. [Heb. 10:26-27]
If a righteous man turns from his righteousness
and does evil, he will die for it. And if a wicked man turns away from
his wickedness and does what is right and just, he will live by doing
so. I will judge each of you according to his own ways. [Ezek. 33:18-20]
Some have in fact turned away to follow Satan. [1
Therefore, dear friends, since you already know
this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error
of lawless men and fall from your secure position. [2 Pet. 3:17]
And to whom did God swear that they would never
enter His rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were
not able to enter, because of their unbelief. [Heb. 3:18-19]
For we also have had the Gospel preached to us,
just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them,
because those who heard did not share in the faith of those who obeyed.
Those who formerly had the Gospel preached to them did not go in,
because of their disobedience. [Heb. 4:2, 6]
He (Jesus) became the source of eternal salvation
for all who obey Him. [Heb. 5:9]
See to it, brothers, that none of you has a
sinful, unbelieving heart that turns
from the living God. We have come to share in Christ if
we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. [Heb. 3:12,
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to
salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow (no repentance)
brings death. [2 Cor. 7:10]
He (the Lord) is patient with you, not wanting
anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. [2 Pet. 3:9]
He (Jesus) said, repent and believe the good news!
They (the apostles) went out and preached that
people should repent. [Mk. 6:12]
Jesus said, “I have come to call sinners to
repentance.” [Lk. 5:32]
Jesus said, “There is rejoicing in the presence of
the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” [Lk. 15:10]
Jesus said, “This is what is written: The Christ
will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and
the forgiveness of sins will be preached in His Name . . . .” [Lk.
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, everyone
of you, in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.”
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins
may be wiped out . . . . [Acts 3:19]
He (God) commands all people everywhere to repent.
First to those in Damascus, then to those in
Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I (Paul) preached
that they should repent
and turn to God and prove
by their deeds.
Through Him (Jesus) and for His Name’s sake, we
received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the
Gentiles to the obedience
that comes from faith.
Now to Him who is able to establish you by my
gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the
revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed
and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the
eternal God, so that all
nations might believe
Him--to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.
Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel
I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your
stand. By this gospel you are saved, if
you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise,
you have believed in
[1 Cor. 15:1-2]
Bilezikian, Gilbert. Christianity 101.
Grand Rapids, Zondervan Publishing House, 1993.
Boettner, Loraine. The Reformed Doctrine
of Predestination. Phillipsburg, NJ, Presbyterian and
Reformed Publishing Co., 1932.
Brauch, Manfred T. Hard Sayings of Paul.
Downers Grove, IL, InterVarsity Press, 1989. Calvin, John. Institutes
of the Christian Religion. Vol. 1 and 2. Philadelphia, The
Westminster Press, 1960.
Feinberg, John; Geisler, Norman; Reichenbach,
Bruce and Pinnock, Clark. Predestination and Free Will: Four
Views of Divine Sovereignty and Human Freedom. Downers Grove,
IL, InterVarsity Press, 1986.
Finney, Charles G. Systematic Theology.
Minneapolis, Bethany House Publishing House, 1984.
Fisk, Samuel. Divine Sovereignty and
Human Freedom. Neptune, NJ, Loizeaux Brothers, 1973.
Forster, Roger T. and Marston, V. Paul. God’s
Strategy in Human History. Wheaton, IL,
Hoekema, Anthony A. Saved by Grace.
Grand Rapids, Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1989.
Klein, William W. The New Chosen People:
A Corporate View of Election. Grand Rapids, Academie Books
Marshall, I. Howard. Kept by the Power
of God. Minneapolis, Bethany House, 1975.
McKinley, O. Glenn. Where Two Creeds
Meet: A Biblical Evaluation of Calvinism and
Arminianism. Kansas City, MO,
Beacon Hill Press, 1959.
Miley, John. Systematic Theology.
Vol. 1 and 2. New York, Hunt and Eaton, 1893.
Pinnock, Clark H., ed. The Grace of God,
The Will of Man: A Case for Arminianism. Grand
Rapids, Academie Books (Zondervan), 1989.
_________, ed. Grace Unlimited.
Minneapolis, Bethany House Publishers, 1975.
_________, ed. The Openness of God.
Downers Grove, IL, InterVarsity, 1994.
Pope, William B. A Compendium of
Christian Theology. New York, Phillips and Hunt, 1881.
Rice, Richard. God’s Foreknowledge and
Man’s Free Will. Minneapolis, Bethany House, 1980.
The Salvation Army. Doctrines as Set
Forth in Deed Poll of 1878. London, Campfield Press, 1969.
Shank, Robert. Elect in the Son: A Study
of the Doctrine of Election. Minneapolis, Bethany House, 1970.
_________. Life in the Son: A Study of
the Doctrine of Perseverance. Minneapolis, Bethany House,
Sheldon, Henry C. System of Christian
Doctrine. Boston, MA, Methodist Book Concern, 1912.
Sproul, R.C. Chosen by God.
Wheaton, IL, Tyndale House Publishers, 1986.
Taylor, Richard Shelly. A Right
Conception of Sin. Kansas, MO, Nazarene Publishing House,
Tozer, A.W. That Incredible Christian.
Harrisburg, PA, Christian Publications, 1964.
Wakefield, Samuel. A Complete System of
Christian Theology. Cincinnati, Walden and Stowe, 1869.
Watson, Richard. Theological Institutes.
Vol. 1 and 2. New York, Hunt and Eaton, 1823.
Wesley, John. The Works of John Wesley.
Vol. 6, 7 and 10. Grand Rapids, Baker Book House, 1984.
Whedon, D.D. Commentary on the New
Testament. Vol. 3, “Acts - Romans.” New York, Nelson and
__________. The Freedom of the Will: As
a Basis of Human Responsibility and a Divine Government. New
York, Nelson and Phillips, 1874.
Wiley, H. Orton. Christian Theology.
Vol. 1, 2, and 3. Kansas City, MO, Beacon Hill Press, 1941.
Williams, J. Rodman. Renewal Theology.
Vol. 2. Grand Rapids, Academie Books (Zondervan), 1989.