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Predestination


Franko47
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I've noticed this issue for quite some time now; it often is the end result of lengthy "rap sessions" with various types of Christians; as I make more and more points concerning why people leave the church, deconvert, or just plain go atheist, there often arrives that point where they shrug and say something along the lines that it may well be that "that" person was never "destined" for salvation.

 

In other words, at the bottom line, it hinges largely on whether they were truly "chosen" at a time much previous to when they were even born. A kind of ethereal, "before the foundation of the world was made" type thing.

 

I've often found this notion to be interesting as an argument put forth by Xtians, but at the same time there seems something hopeless about it when you consider that if true, what is the point of trying to evangelize anybody ? What's the point of trying to convert, or worrying about "church attendance" ?

 

Since the entire process is already pre-programmed and "rigged", what does free-will or spreading the gospel accomplish ?

 

Of course, many Christians have trouble balancing these two notions, or make up rationalizations, but I'd be interested in hearing from those who have experience in this area, or are more acquainted with that brand of theological thinking.

 

Is it just Calvinism ? Or does this idea pretty well spread through the major Bible Christian arena ? It's an area of Christian theology I'm rather rusty on, but I sometimes secretly suspect that it's an interesting "bottom line" for those who can't understand why so many "nice" people don't convert to their religion.

 

Comment is invited.

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My branch of theology explain it as such. Before you become a Christian it whoever so wills can be saved. After you become a Christian you look behind you and see all the things behind which led to your salvation and it's chosen before the foundation of the world. Now I look at it as such. It's predestined before the foundation of the world so you can be clear that God is all-powerful and all knowing. It's whoever so wills so that in the Christians mind it's the non predestined person fault for not be predestined.

 

As for the preaching the gospel thing I believe the Gospel of John implies in chapter 15 that one of the requirements for salvation is to preach the gospel to many people and bear much fruit (of course this depends on how you interpret fruit). So that would be a potential fire under peoples asses.

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I've noticed this issue for quite some time now; it often is the end result of lengthy "rap sessions" with various types of Christians; as I make more and more points concerning why people leave the church, deconvert, or just plain go atheist, there often arrives that point where they shrug and say something along the lines that it may well be that "that" person was never "destined" for salvation.

 

In other words, at the bottom line, it hinges largely on whether they were truly "chosen" at a time much previous to when they were even born. A kind of ethereal, "before the foundation of the world was made" type thing.

 

I've often found this notion to be interesting as an argument put forth by Xtians, but at the same time there seems something hopeless about it when you consider that if true, what is the point of trying to evangelize anybody ? What's the point of trying to convert, or worrying about "church attendance" ?

 

Since the entire process is already pre-programmed and "rigged", what does free-will or spreading the gospel accomplish ?

 

Of course, many Christians have trouble balancing these two notions, or make up rationalizations, but I'd be interested in hearing from those who have experience in this area, or are more acquainted with that brand of theological thinking.

 

Is it just Calvinism ? Or does this idea pretty well spread through the major Bible Christian arena ? It's an area of Christian theology I'm rather rusty on, but I sometimes secretly suspect that it's an interesting "bottom line" for those who can't understand why so many "nice" people don't convert to their religion.

 

Comment is invited.

I'd go even further. Predestination makes life and religion pointless if true. If some people are predestined to heaven, others to hell, then fuck it - skip the life part and go straight to the heaven or hell part without pretending that life had anything to do with it. Get on with eternity.

 

Most Christians leave some wiggle room and equate free will with a wild card for heaven (or hell), but they may bristle if that implies that God didn't know it would happen - but if He knew, then there wasn't any point in waiting to see if it would happen, so back to life being pointless.

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You have different beliefs. Most Christians believe God has a hand in salvation, but the Calvinists set up this "Cosmic salvation roulette" (Oh yes, wheel of fortune music and all) which is sort of the opposite of what people say to non-believers. I think their easy-doctrine thing (TULIP) helps explain it.

-Total Depravity ( = people are spiritually worthless/can't do good towards God)

-Unconditional Election ( = People are chosen before the foundation of the earth as someone said)

-Limited Atonement ( = That Jesus' death was only for the elect..not all Calvinists believe this)

-Irresistible Grace ( = The "chosen" can't avoid becoming the chosen, thus why many will say you were not Xian before)

-Perseverance of the Saints ( = Those who are chosen will persevere.)

 

Funnily enough the Calvinists don't use these as an excuse to be Lazy, but are more active than the free will camp.

Hope I helped.

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You have different beliefs. Most Christians believe God has a hand in salvation, but the Calvinists set up this "Cosmic salvation roulette" (Oh yes, wheel of fortune music and all) which is sort of the opposite of what people say to non-believers. I think their easy-doctrine thing (TULIP) helps explain it.

-Total Depravity ( = people are spiritually worthless/can't do good towards God)

-Unconditional Election ( = People are chosen before the foundation of the earth as someone said)

-Limited Atonement ( = That Jesus' death was only for the elect..not all Calvinists believe this)

-Irresistible Grace ( = The "chosen" can't avoid becoming the chosen, thus why many will say you were not Xian before)

-Perseverance of the Saints ( = Those who are chosen will persevere.)

 

Funnily enough the Calvinists don't use these as an excuse to be Lazy, but are more active than the free will camp.

Hope I helped.

Do you know the scriptural basis for this belief in predestination? What is the scriptural reason for rejecting it?

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Here's my presdestination proof text of choice:

 

10Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. 11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger."[d] 13Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."[e]

 

14What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15For he says to Moses,

"I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,

and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."[f] 16It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."[g] 18Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

 

19One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" 20But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' "[h] 21Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

 

22What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

 

I was part of a non-predestination tradition and can vividly remember the first time I read this passage. I couldn't accept that God would be so horrid, but I also couldn't see a way around the verses meaning exactly what they seemed to. Ah, the cognitive dissonance!

 

I can also remember thinking, back when I was trying very hard to remain a Christian, that if I had been a Calvinist I would've been really worried that I was predestined for hell because I had such a very hard time believing.

 

This passage still rather irritates me, but by all rights I should be thanking it, because it was an early step on the road out.

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Your document quoted these scriptures.

 

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own LOVE for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

1John 3:16a “This is how we know what LOVE is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us...”

1John 4:9-10 “This is HOW God showed His LOVE among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live

through Him. This is LOVE: not that we loved God, but that He LOVED us and sent His Son as an atoning

sacrifice for our sins.”

 

Yet as fiddling around already quoted

 

Romans 6:10Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. 11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger."[d] 13Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."[e]

 

14What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15For he says to Moses,

"I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,

and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."[f] 16It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."[g] 18Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

 

19One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" 20But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' "[h] 21Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

 

22What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

 

That's the thing with bible god. He's allowed to love his elect while hating his non elect. Our concepts of love don't have to apply to him he's allowed to be as horrible as he likes, and still be considered all loving. Your pastor can say as much as he likes that Calvinism is versus God's attribute of love, but the fact of the matter is that as laid out in the bible God does not have to love Esau, he doesn't have to love me, and he doesn't have to love you. What's more it states that he picked out some before the creation of the world and said you I have predestinated for a divine can o' whoop-ass.

 

Arguing against predestination is simply to state that you don't believe that God as laid out in the bible is a actually a kind and loving God.

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I was raised in a very Arminian background. I remember as a child thinking that it would be horrible if someone got saved and followed Jesus for years, only to be in a car wreck and let a swear word slip right before dying, and thus spend eternity in hell. As I grew older, I didn't believe that God was that harsh, but as a child that was a freaky thing to think about.

 

Through my Bible studies and later online discussions with other Christians, I became more and more Calvinistic, though I never became what they call a "5 point Calvinist." I could see that Calvinists had scriptural backing, but I could also see that Arminians had scriptural backing. Both sides accepted certain scriptures and had to reinterpret others in order to make them fit with the scriptures they accepted. As a firm believer in the whole Bible, I tried to accept both sides in some "paradoxical" hodgepodge.

 

It wasn't long after this that I started questioning Christianity. Though this issue wasn't the direct reason, I think it definitely played a role, since it was something that I had to try to think critically about. Now I realize that the Bible is nothing more than writings of men who often didn't agree on details, and those who blindly accept "inerrancy" have to jump through hoops to try to piece together a puzzle that just doesn't fit together.

 

Coincidentally, I'm selling off a good bit of my Christian books on eBay, and just yesterday I listed a 4-book lot that tackles this issue from different perspectives. (I hope posting that link doesn't violate any rules.)

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