Reformed Theology

ElderDad's picture

There may have previously been a thread on this subject, but I don't find it high enough in the list to see it. Therefore, I will start a thread and let it take its course. The purpose of this topic is to provide a place other than the Study of the Gospel of John, where it has become a side issue with considerable activity. Unfortunately, it is off-track there, so here it is in the open forum. The purpose is to give a place to post items dealing with traditional Reformed Theology. Because CCEL comes out of the Reformed community, there are many books dealing with Reformed Theology and Preaching in the CCEL library. However, in keeping with the ecumenical effort of the founders and supporters of this site, there are also books in the CCEL library that disagree with Reformed Theology. Sooooo, let me remind all participants in this forum, "Keep it loving, or keep it at home."

Randy Seiver's picture

Consistent with the Scriptures

Tom,

We are not called on to be consistent with Calvin, but we are called on to be consistent with the Scriptures.

First, I would suggest that predestination is not in itself causative. By that I mean, God does not cause everything he predestines. At times, he merely leaves sinners to pursue their own perverse desires. For example, those who crucified our Lord, did so because they wanted to do it. Judas followed his own wicked and greedy heart in betraying Jesus. Yet, Jesus said, "The Son of Man goes as it has been predestined of him. . . ." That doesn't mean God caused Judas to do what he did, but he did predestine the act. Then, he holds Judas responsible for what he has done. ". . . .but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed."

That God purposes the damnation of the non elect, does not mean he actively causes them to reject the gospel. They reject the gospel because they "wish not to come to him [me] that they might have life." Still, since everything that happens in time has been purposed in eternity (Eph 1:11), even this falls within God's predestined decree.

Re: "all" and "world" it is my view that we need to remember the distinction between all without exception and all without distinction. Often the word "world" refers not to every person without exception but to Jews and Gentiles alike. The prevailing view of the Jews in Jesus' day was that when the Messiah came, he would save the covenant people, Israel, and condemn the Gentiles. Jesus used the word, "World" to combat this Jewish exclusivism. God loved not only Israel but also the world, i.e., the World.

The same principle seems to apply in 1 Tim. 2:4 and other passages. In the context, Paul writes about different kinds and classes of people. Thus, all refers to all without distinction, not all without exception.

Additionally, I believe we need to distinguish between God's published desire and his decreed will. One concerns God's character. Since God is holy, he cannot but wish that all his creatures be holy. This desire could only be fulfilled in their spiritual salvation. The other deals with his decree.

Above everything else that God desires, he intends to manifest his own glory. His "glory" is the sum of his glorious attributes. He could not fully manifest his glory if he decreed the salvation of all without exception. Thus, he saves some for the manifestation of his glorious grace and passes over others for the manifestation of his glorious justice. There is a great deal more to be said about this subject. For now, I would like to suggest that you read an article by John Piper, entitled "Are there Two Wills in God, " Or something to that effect. I am fairly sure you can find the article online. I hope this is helpful. I am sure others will wish to weigh in on some of these issues.

Randy




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