Tag Archives: doctrine
The first order says that a person, of their own volition (though through the preaching of the Gospel), decides to have faith in Christ. This faith that a person decides to exercise is the catalyst for the entire salvation process. Once a person decides for him/herself to exercise this faith, repentance and regeneration follow and the salvation process commences and is completed.
The problem with this view is…
In these verses we come to understand that the will of man is bent on evil and rejection of God. There is no one that will, of his own free will, choose God (Rom. 3:10-19). In fact, the human will is so captive to sin that no man has any desire for God and prefers the darkness over the light (John 3:19). This means that the idea of free will is true. But it also means that if given a choice man will always choose sin, the darkness, and always choose to reject Christ.
When given the choice between sin and Christ, man will always choose sin.
Regarding salvation God’s sovereignty is a critical aspect that is misunderstood by many Christians. Some choose to reject the biblical doctrine of election because, in their words, “it’s not fair.” But, as we will see, the doctrine of election and God’s sovereignty cannot be divorced.
Concerning election and God’s sovereignty, we understand that God freely elects some to saving faith in Jesus while others are destined for eternal destruction. Paul writes in his letter to the Romans this way:
Some would say that if we only make our churches cool enough, make them “inclusive,” or “approachable,” that people will come and will find Jesus. But this understanding of the Gospel and the purpose of the church is wrong. The Bible makes it clear that “no one seeks God.” (Rom. 3:11) Even more blunt than that is the truth that Jesus spoke when He told us “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” (John 6:44) In these verses we have clear teaching that no one is seeking God, no one is looking for salvation in Jesus. In fact, no one has the ability to “find Jesus” unless the Father first draws that person. And Judas is a perfect example of this truth.
Judas was a devil.
Many misconceptions about salvation exist today. Misconceptions such as “everyone can be saved” pave the way for massive evangelistic efforts that leave churches wondering, “what went wrong?” Other misconceptions, such as “man has no part in salvation” make it seem as though anyone that is saved is saved against their will. These misconceptions and others are creating confusion as to the nature of salvation and the part that God and man play in the process.
An article by John Reisinger at Monergism does an excellent job of explaining the process of salvation, including God’s part and man’s part in the process. I want to share it with you in the hopes of clearing up misconceptions and laying out the biblical process for salvation. The article starts by stating:
“God and man must both do something before a man can be saved. Hyper-Calvinism denies the necessity of human action, and Arminianism denies the true nature of the Divine action. The Bible clearly sets forth both the divine and human as essential in God’s plan of salvation. This is not to say, as Arminianism does, God’s part is to freely provide salvation for all men, and man’s part is to become willing to accept it. This is not what we said above, nor is it what the Bible teaches.”
You see the doctrines of election and predestination don’t eliminate the preaching of the Gospel or evangelism because those are the only means by which any person can be saved. And since, as Keller points out, no one knows who is and who is not part of the elect, we have a responsibility to preach the Gospel to “all men.” It is not surprising that the Bible calls “all men” to repentance on many occasions. We see the Apostles in the New Testament often preaching to large groups of people and calling them to repent and be saved. And on many occasions Jesus preached to large crowds. More than once we read of many people being saved, but not all. But at every opportunity all were called to repentance and no one was singled out as part of the elect.
I will be the first to say that the doctrine of election and predestination is one that will require much wrestling. It is not a doctrine that you will one day wake up and fully accept. It is a doctrine that will take time, prayer, study, wrestling, and conversation. And, chances are, you will need to ask God some very difficult questions along the way. That’s ok, God doesn’t mind.
Let me first commend to you this article by Tim Keller. Pastor Keller is a highly respected pastor, theologian, and Bible teacher. Dr. Keller has written a short commentary on three of the most asked questions regarding the doctrine of election and predestination. I highly recommend you read the entire article. The questions Keller addresses are:
If you believe in election, doesn’t that leave you with the problem of why God doesn’t choose to save everyone?
But if everything is fixed and certain, why pray, evangelize, or do anything at all?
I believe the Bible and I see all the teaching about election, but why do I still dislike it?
Finally, the secret to growing a church has been discovered, and revealed.
Like me, if you have spent time in leadership at your church you have wondered, and discussed, ways to grow the church. You’ve tried to figure out what the “secret” is and how you can see church growth in your church. You’ve looked at programs, discussed strategies, and planned campaigns designed to see exponential and permanent growth. And you are still wondering: what is the key?
Personally, I’ve been concerned that the secret to church growth is having a full head of hair and a Ph.D.; because I have neither. I’ve also been concerned that the secret to quick growth is in cool glasses and skinny jeans and soy-non-fat-mocha-vegan-gluten-free-useless warm brown water. Because, if that’s it…I’m in trouble.
Recently, LifeWay Research and Ligonier Ministries surveyed 3000 adults concerning the state of theology in America. The results are a glaring red flag that proves how uninformed and uneducated Americans are concerning theological issues. The researchers only identified about 20% of those they surveyed as evangelicals; many other respondents identified themselves as evangelical. That in itself is a problem.
(See the chart below to view the top 12 questions and answers from the survey.)