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Predestination and Calvinism

brother Paul

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I would like to add something that might clarify a common misunderstanding and that is that Calvinism represents the Augustinian view that opposed Pelegius. I will have to give it in two parts, In the end one should see that Augustine actually held to what we today would call an early church orthodox view NOT a Calvinist view (which is the opposite extreme from Pelegianism). When Calvinists find out the total teaching of Augustine they usually accuse him of what they call "semi-pelegianism" which is not true. It is the doctrine taught from the Apostles to the first and early second Bishops they trained or appointed. Here is part 1 of the balanced view Augustine held to be true (all parentheses mine)...

From Augustine, On Grace and Free Will

Chapter 1

With reference to those persons who so preach and defend man's free will, as boldly to deny, and endeavor to do away with, the grace of God which calls us to Him (like Pelagius), and delivers us from our evil deserts, and by which we obtain the good deserts which lead to everlasting life: we have already said a good deal in discussion, and committed it to writing, so far as the Lord has vouchsafed to enable us.

But since there are some persons who so defend God's grace as to deny man's free will, or who suppose that free will is denied when grace is defended
(like Calvin), I have determined to write somewhat on this point…

Chapter 2

Now He has revealed to us, through His Holy Scriptures, that there is in a man a free choice of will. But how He has revealed this I do not recount in human language, but in divine
(meaning through scripture). There is, to begin with, the fact that God's precepts themselves would be of no use to a man unless he had free choice of will, so that by performing them he might obtain the promised rewards. For they are given that no one might be able to plead the excuse of ignorance, as the Lord says concerning the Jews in the gospel: If I had not come and spoken unto them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin

Chapter 3

There are, however, people who attempt to find excuse for themselves even from God
(saying all they do or did is/was willed by God). The Apostle James says to such: Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts He any man. But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then, when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death. James 1:13-15 Solomon, too, in his book of Proverbs, has this answer for such as wish to find an excuse for themselves from God Himself: The folly of a man spoils his ways; but he blames God in his heart (we see this in militant Islam where even if they kill and torture or rape they say it was the will of Allah). Proverbs 19:3 And in the book of Ecclesiasticus we read: Say not, It is through the Lord that I fell away; for you ought not to do the things that He hates: nor say, He has caused me to err; for He has no need of the sinful man… The Lord hates all abomination, and they that fear God love it not. He Himself made man from the beginning, and left him in the hand of His counsel. If you be willing, you shall keep His commandments, and perform true fidelity. He has set fire and water before you: stretch forth your hand unto whether you will….
 
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brother Paul

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Part II

Chapter 4

What is the import of the fact that in so many passages God requires all His commandments to be kept and fulfilled? How does He make this requisition, if there is no free will? What means the happy man, of whom the Psalmist says that his will has been the law of the Lord? Does he not clearly enough show that a man by his own will takes his stand in the law of God?

Then again, there are so many commandments which in some way are expressly adapted to the human will; for instance, there is, Be not overcome of evil, Romans 12:1 and others of similar import, such as, Be not like a horse or a mule, which have no understanding; and, Reject not the counsels of your mother; Proverbs 1:8 and, Be not wise in your own conceit; Proverbs 3:7 and, Despise not the chastening of the Lord; Proverbs 3:11 and, Forget not my law; Proverbs 3:1 and, Forbear not to do good to the poor; Proverbs 3:27 and, Devise notevil against your friend; Proverbs 3:29 and, Give no heed to a worthless woman; Proverbs 5:2 and, He is not inclined to understand how to do good; and, They refused to attend to my counsel; Proverbs 1:30 with numberless other passages of the inspired Scriptures of theOld Testament. And what do they all show us but the free choice of the human will?

So, again, in the evangelical and apostolic books of the New Testament what other lesson is taught us? As when it is said, Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth; Matthew 6:19 and, Fear not them which kill the body; Matthew 10:28 and, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself; Matthew 16:24 and again, Peace on earth to men of good will. Luke 2:14 So also that the Apostle Paul says: Let him do what he wills; he sins not if he marry. Nevertheless, he that stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well. 1 Corinthians 7:36-37 And so again, If I do this willingly, I have a reward; 1 Corinthians 9:17 while in another passage he says, Be sober and righteous, and sin not; 1 Corinthians 15:34 and again, As you have a readiness to will, so also let there be a prompt performance; 2 Corinthians 8:11 then he remarks to Timothy about the younger widows, When they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they choose to marry. So in another passage, All that will to live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution;2 Timothy 3:12 while to Timothy himself he says, Neglect not the gift that is in you. 1 Timothy 4:14 Then to Philemon he addresses this explanation: That your benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but of your own will. Servants also he advises to obey their masters with a good will. Ephesians 6:7 In strict accordance with this, James says: Do not err, my beloved brethren . . . and have not the faith ofour Lord Jesus Christ with respect to persons; and, Do not speak evil one of another. James 4:11 So also John in his Epistle writes, Do notlove the world, 1 John 2:15 and other things of the same import.

Now wherever it is said, Do not do this, and Do not do that, and wherever there is any requirement in the divine admonitions for the work of the will to do anything, or to refrain from doing anything, there is at once a sufficient proof of free will. No man, therefore, when he sins, can in his heart blame God for it
(believing every action and choice was pre-programmed by God's will), but every man must impute the fault to himself.

Nor does it detract at all from a man's own will when he performs any act in accordance with God. Indeed, a work is then to be pronounced a good one when a person does it willingly; then, too, may the reward of a good work be hoped for from Him concerning whom it is written, He shall reward every man according to his works. Matthew 16:27


_____________

So what we see here when we read all the matter of Augustine's view so misrepresented by John Calvin is that Augustine with the exception of a Judicial view of the original sin was more in line with the theology of Jacob Arminius believing that following a prevenient grace (the Lord speaking to the individual by some means like audibly, or by the Spirit, or the word, or a Prophet etc,) man is held responsible (and is capable) to respond appropriately at which point God acts further unto salvation or not (the power to save always resting with Him since He owes no man anything all having sinned)...

Therefore accusing Arminius of being a Pelegian is as blind and inaccurate as claiming Augustine taught the doctrine of John Calvin. Augustine held the same view of Predestination and free will that was always taught since the beginning of the church mirrored in the writings of all the earliest writers in Apostolic succession (not referring to the doctrine of A S but to the source of the understanding).
 
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Cygnus

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Brother Paul, nice post.

I think we should break apart the meaning of free-will.
1) Free-will concerning day to day activities and choices.
2) Free-will concerning our salvation.

In the above I would say "yes" to number 1 and "no" to number 2....with a slight nuance to salvation and free-will. It is my belief that God has to "enable" us, so to speak, so that we can now freely choose Jesus.
 

wondering

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I thought I answered that above....but, here goes again. God chooses to have you hear the gospel through a sister, brother, friend, preacher...who ever.

John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

John 15:19 If you were of the world, it would love you as its own. Instead, the world hates you, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.
Okay. So you're on the predestination side.

I'm afraid WIP is 100% right.

Maybe the next verse, 17 says that we're to love one another, and much of what he told the apostles could be also for each and every one of us, however, in John 15:16 and in John 15:19 Jesus was speaking specifically to the Apostles. He knew that the world would hate them when they went out to preach.

If you remember Jesus even told them to shake the dust off their feet as they go out of a house where they are not welcomed.
Mathew 10:14 Amongst much other advice, like being as wise as serpents and gentle as doves.

If you move on down to John 15:27
you'll see that Jesus even tells the Apostles he's speaking to that they will bear witness because they have been with Him from the beginning.

WE were not with Jesus from the beginning.

Wondering
 

reba

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2Ti_3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Should we pick and choose which we follow?
 

reba

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Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
Would man ever choose God with his 'freewill' ?
This 'thread' is a question/topic/discussion, that has bounced around in my head for pushing 20 years now...
 

wondering

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Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
Would man ever choose God with his 'freewill' ?
This 'thread' is a question/topic/discussion, that has bounced around in my head for pushing 20 years now...
Well Reba,
We agree on practically everything and I don't see why you have a problem with this.

Why WOULDN'T man choose God with his free will?
Does man have free will or not?

Have you stopped to consider what it means if man DOES NOT have free will?

It means all the problems you have have been given to you and created especially for you by the God you love and serve.

It means that every bad thing that happens is courtesy of the God you serve.

It means that if your daughter or son or husband, is not saved, you can blame it on the God you serve because HE and HE alone has decided NOT to save them.

It means that God created hell so He could send the people He doesn't like and didn't choose to be left there for eternity.

Nice God, what do you think?
Is THIS the God you wish to serve and have made sacrifices for?

Could you bounce that around and then come to a definite decision?
The Holy Spirit who guides us to all truth, and Jesus who loves each and every person alive and wishes them to be saved of their own free choice, will help you.

And because I'm becoming a little bit afraid of the written word, just so there's no misunderstanding as to the spirit with which I speak, here's a :) for you!

Wondering
 

reba

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Why WOULDN'T man choose God with his free will?
Does man have free will or not?
Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
Paul was quoting Scripture ... it says there is none that seek God.. is God's Word correct as penned by Paul..
this is a real quandary to me
 

brother Paul

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Brother Paul, nice post.

I think we should break apart the meaning of free-will.
1) Free-will concerning day to day activities and choices.
2) Free-will concerning our salvation.

In the above I would say "yes" to number 1 and "no" to number 2....with a slight nuance to salvation and free-will. It is my belief that God has to "enable" us, so to speak, so that we can now freely choose Jesus.

Of course you are FREE to disagree with Augustine

Based solely on scripture when someone asks "Do you believe in free will?" I answer "I have no choice!"
 

Cygnus

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Well Reba,
We agree on practically everything and I don't see why you have a problem with this.

Why WOULDN'T man choose God with his free will?
Does man have free will or not?

Have you stopped to consider what it means if man DOES NOT have free will?

It means all the problems you have have been given to you and created especially for you by the God you love and serve.

It means that every bad thing that happens is courtesy of the God you serve.

It means that if your daughter or son or husband, is not saved, you can blame it on the God you serve because HE and HE alone has decided NOT to save them.

It means that God created hell so He could send the people He doesn't like and didn't choose to be left there for eternity.

Nice God, what do you think?
Is THIS the God you wish to serve and have made sacrifices for?

Could you bounce that around and then come to a definite decision?
The Holy Spirit who guides us to all truth, and Jesus who loves each and every person alive and wishes them to be saved of their own free choice, will help you.

And because I'm becoming a little bit afraid of the written word, just so there's no misunderstanding as to the spirit with which I speak, here's a :) for you!

Wondering

Wondering, let me ask you this seemingly simple question...

Lets assume you have free-will and you choose Jesus..or you don't choose Jesus. What is your acceptance or rejection of Jesus based upon?

Might I suggest your choice is based upon life's experiences?
 

Cygnus

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Okay. So you're on the predestination side.

I'm afraid WIP is 100% right.

Maybe the next verse, 17 says that we're to love one another, and much of what he told the apostles could be also for each and every one of us, however, in John 15:16 and in John 15:19 Jesus was speaking specifically to the Apostles. He knew that the world would hate them when they went out to preach.

If you remember Jesus even told them to shake the dust off their feet as they go out of a house where they are not welcomed.
Mathew 10:14 Amongst much other advice, like being as wise as serpents and gentle as doves.

If you move on down to John 15:27
you'll see that Jesus even tells the Apostles he's speaking to that they will bear witness because they have been with Him from the beginning.

WE were not with Jesus from the beginning.

Wondering

You can believe Jesus' words were meant for the apostles if you want to...you have free-will to do so...but Jesus also said:
John 6:65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

John 6:44
"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:37
All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never turn away.

Seems like you have to be granted, drawn and given.
 

JohnDB

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Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
Paul was quoting Scripture ... it says there is none that seek God.. is God's Word correct as penned by Paul..
this is a real quandary to me
Yes...of course.

We all like sheep have gone astray.
And when we bleet trying to find our Shepherd, He comes and finds us...because we went looking for Him.

Man is forever looking for the God of their own making. And most find that god. But a few look for the real God...and are open to the real thing. Those are the sealed and healed.

"Do you wish to be healed?"
One of Jesus' questions. And one that has more weight than often granted credit. The obvious answer isn't the truth for many. Because those that are healthy have responsibility. And some never recognize their own poor condition and claim they are not sick.

Blind and soul sick was the condition that Jesus claimed that the Pharisees were in. But the Pharisees claimed that they, as everyone said, did the right things in the right manner...just as God said to do. That they weren't rebellious children... They had scriptures and good intentions.

So...
Where I'm not stating that either side of this two sided debate is right...there is a third option. The road less traveled. Try it. Once upon it you won't want another. Because healthy is better than blind and sick. But from the outside looking in it will seem just like yet another confusing choice that makes only some sense.
 

wondering

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Wondering, let me ask you this seemingly simple question...

Lets assume you have free-will and you choose Jesus..or you don't choose Jesus. What is your acceptance or rejection of Jesus based upon?

Might I suggest your choice is based upon life's experiences?
Cygnus,
I love Brother Paul's answer too. It's simple and proves the point.

My acceptance of Jesus is based on:

1) Deciding whether or not God exists
2) Understanding that He has something to do with our lives
3) Accepting that satan also exists
4) knowing that I will then have to decide with which of the two I wish to side.

I'm not sure what you mean by life's experiences.

Wondering
 

wondering

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You can believe Jesus' words were meant for the apostles if you want to...you have free-will to do so...but Jesus also said:
John 6:65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

John 6:44
"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:37
All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never turn away.

Seems like you have to be granted, drawn and given.
Cygnus,
How did we get from John 15 to John 6?
I said John 15 was speaking to the apostles.
Could we finish with that first?
Are you saying Jesus WASN'T speaking to the Apostles??

W
 

brother Paul

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Why WOULDN'T man choose God with his free will?

because ever since partaking of the fruit of the wrong tree (Genesis 3:5) man loves to be lord of his own life like a god deciding good and evil for their self in disregard for what God has said...each one loves to lord it over each situation and others...the man loves to rule over the woman, each group loves to lord it over the others, each party, each nation...and so it has been since the fall. So it is not that he is incapable but unwilling. He can receive or reject so that man is without excuse.

It is not even that God enables some and not others as an act of His will (though perhaps on occasion here or there for His just purpose). For God to make some people receive Christ and others to not receive Him still makes God a grand puppet master and thus responsible for each persons choice (thus He becomes the Tempter who caused the tempted to be tempted in just that way in which they and fail....and it would be He who makes them fail....God forbid!). God then becomes the author of sin and the cause of all sinner's sinning, even though the Bible says the Devil introduced sin, sickness, and death and that God tempts no man...

No! Everything is not God's will...God wills that all men everywhere repent yet most will never do so....He does not will them to in the sense of an irresistable will nor will them to resist the move of the Spirit in their midst (Acts 7:51) but "prefers" they repent and will help them do so when they strive (forgiving their failed efforts till they succeed) but they reject Him and all He would do and worship the creature above the creator
 

Malachi

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Why do you think Calvinism and predestination verse freewill and a persons ability to choose has caused such problems?
The issue boils down to whether God -- who made provision for the salvation of all men -- would turn around and choose (predestine) some for Heaven and others for Hell.
 
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