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Nicholas Reicher

Bible Factoid - the Sovereignty of God

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For those who speak English as a second language, this word is pronounced Sov-er-en-tee.

The meaning is, God's right to do what He pleases and that God is in control of everything.

This is a hot button topic, and as I agreed with @lynnmosher  about such things, I'm going to present all sides with absolutely no comment whatsoever what my conviction is. I ask that if anyone on this board makes a statement that they're a 6 out of 5 (see below) or a "1" on this issue, that we acknowledge with no criticism or argument.

 

The sovereignty of God is a sliding scale with about 5 points to it, ranging from God has absolutely no say whatsoever in what happens in the universe (1) to God decrees everything that happens, good and evil both (5).

There's about 3 preset positions - Arminian (between 1 and 2) Baptist (between 3 and 4.5) and Calvinist (4 to 5). Despite my graph, Calvinists vary the most in their positions on this, as many Calvinists hold to a wide variety of interpretation such as reformed, dutch reformed, Pink Calvinists, MacArthur 4.5 point Calvinists, etc. And in any church, you're going to find people who hold to a wide variety of interpretations on this.

 

the only agreement on this subject is this - God has the absolute right to do whatever He pleases. Whether he will or will not, can or cannot is the subject of debate.

Another point that everyone agrees on  except for hyper-calvinists is this - if you are a 5 the definition of your stand is a "hyper-calvinist". Hyper-Calvinists despise the label, and call themselves only Calvinist or Reformed.

 

Most of us are going to stand somewhere between a 3.5 and a 5 on this issue.

 

So that you understand where this goes, a 5 believes that God pre-ordains some to salvation and many to eternal damnation - and the people so ordained can do nothing to change that fate. Not only that, but they don't WANT to. Those that hold this position claim it is God's absolute right to do this and if you disagree, you have a problem with God's sovereignty. This is why many Calvinist churches baptize infants - since you're saved before you're born again in their view, there's nothing to prevent you being baptized.

 

Others take a more moderate position - everyone is pre-ordained to Hell, but God calls to every man through the Holy Spirit who causes them to be born again. This is the John MacArthur position. He has a huge following of people who agree on this issue.

 

Here's where it gets tricky. Baptists traditionally believe that everyone chooses Hell, and that God pre-ordains those BY FOREKNOWLEDGE to salvation. In other words, God knows who will accept His offer of salvation and pre-ordains the office of salvation, which they elect to upon being born again.

 

And Arminianists believe that God does not pre-ordain whatsoever, everyone chooses salvation or damnation.

 

If you carefully read the above, you'll see why this is tricky. All three positions slide from one to another with a million variations in between. They're all saying what they believe, which is all similar once you put your nose up against what they believe. The differences begin to blur together. Instead of a black and white issue, it's an eggshell colored issue.

 

And everyone has proof texts to support their positions. So stating you believe what the Bible says on this issue is ducking the issue, not answering it. Be advised, this issue is the absolute second issue many Christians judge a writer by - first being the deity of Christ, and then this issue after it.

 

This is why many Christians can read a pastor with stated convictions or listen to a sermon and not understand there's a huge gulf of understanding between their positions!

When writing your statement of faith, at least a week should be spent on researching this issue and seeing how others understand this position.

Again, please do not criticize anyone who states a position opposite of yours.

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Wow, you're swinging for the fences today. ?

 

I'll just say that I believe that God is sovereign. ? 

 

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I guess that I am a five. No one is greater than God. God is in complete control of His creation. 

 

It was an interesting dissertation. 

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Posted (edited)

Don't be in a rush to state what you believe! Read the entire article slowly and see if the stated views of the Calvinists, baptists and Arminianists accurately reflect what you believe - such as predestination vs. free will vs. double predestination.

 

And this is just an oversimplification, because Calvinism then splits into decretive will vs. desirative will, and a host of other doctrines such as "Did God allow Adams sin vs. decree Adam's sin", etc.

 

Stating you're a five means you agree with the man who told William Carey "Sit down, young man! When God wants to convert the heathen he will do so without your help or mine!"

 

Not trying to dissuade. I just want to be sure you're aware of what you're stating you believe. 

 

If that's what you believe, then excellent! I congratulate your willingness to share your beliefs.

 

More on Calvinism from https://www.calvinistcorner.com/tulip.htm:

 

Quote

Total Depravity:

Sin has affected all parts of man. The heart, emotions, will, mind, and body are all affected by sin. We are completely sinful. We are not as sinful as we could be, but we are completely affected by sin.

The doctrine of Total Depravity is derived from scriptures that reveal human character: Man’s heart is evil (Mark 7:21-23) and sick Jer. 17:9). Man is a slave of sin (Rom. 6:20). He does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12). He cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14). He is at enmity with God (Eph. 2:15). And, is by nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3). The Calvinist asks the question, "In light of the scriptures that declare man’s true nature as being utterly lost and incapable, how is it possible for anyone to choose or desire God?" The answer is, "He cannot. Therefore God must predestine."

Calvinism also maintains that because of our fallen nature we are born again not by our own will but God’s will (John 1:12-13); God grants that we believe (Phil. 1:29); faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29); God appoints people to believe (Acts 13:48); and God predestines (Eph. 1:1-11; Rom. 8:29; 9:9-23).

Unconditional Election:
God does not base His election on anything He sees in the individual. He chooses the elect according to the kind intention of His will (Eph. 1:4-8; Rom. 9:11) without any consideration of merit within the individual. Nor does God look into the future to see who would pick Him. Also, as some are elected into salvation, others are not (Rom. 9:15, 21).

Limited Atonement:
Jesus died only for the elect. Though Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient for all, it was not efficacious for all. Jesus only bore the sins of the elect. Support for this position is drawn from such scriptures as Matt. 26:28 where Jesus died for ‘many'; John 10:11, 15 which say that Jesus died for the sheep (not the goats, per Matt. 25:32-33); John 17:9 where Jesus in prayer interceded for the ones given Him, not those of the entire world; Acts 20:28 and Eph. 5:25-27 which state that the Church was purchased by Christ, not all people; and Isaiah 53:12 which is a prophecy of Jesus’ crucifixion where he would bore the sins of many (not all).

Irresistible Grace:
When God calls his elect into salvation, they cannot resist. God offers to all people the gospel message. This is called the external call. But to the elect, God extends an internal call and it cannot be resisted. This call is by the Holy Spirit who works in the hearts and minds of the elect to bring them to repentance and regeneration whereby they willingly and freely come to God. Some of the verses used in support of this teaching are Romans 9:16 where it says that "it is not of him who wills nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy"; Philippians 2:12-13 where God is said to be the one working salvation in the individual; John 6:28-29 where faith is declared to be the work of God; Acts 13:48 where God appoints people to believe; and John 1:12-13 where being born again is not by man’s will, but by God’s. 
鄭ll that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out," (John 6:37).

Perseverance of the Saints:
You cannot lose your salvation. Because the Father has elected, the Son has redeemed, and the Holy Spirit has applied salvation, those thus saved are eternally secure. They are eternally secure in Christ. Some of the verses for this position are John 10:27-28 where Jesus said His sheep will never perish; John 6:47 where salvation is described as everlasting life; Romans 8:1 where it is said we have passed out of judgment; 1 Corinthians 10:13 where God promises to never let us be tempted beyond what we can handle; and Phil. 1:6 where God is the one being faithful to perfect us until the day of Jesus’ return.

 

Edited by Nicholas Reicher

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I'm not saying don't comment on this! And you're all welcome to chime in with your beliefs! I just don't want anyone skimming this and saying, "sounds logical - I'm a seven!"

 

If everyone wants, in the interest of fairness, I can post a quick summary of Baptist and Arminian beliefs too.

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7 hours ago, Nicholas Reicher said:

 

the only agreement on this subject is this - God has the absolute right to do whatever He pleases.

 

Wherever this is on the scale, that's where I am! ;)

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58 minutes ago, Bob Leone said:

I am a four-point Calvinist because I can’t swallow the doctrine of limited atonement.

I struggle with that one as well.  The other four, I'm good on.  :D

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5 hours ago, Nicholas Reicher said:

Stating you're a five means you agree with the man who told William Carey "Sit down, young man! When God wants to convert the heathen he will do so without your help or mine!"

I could never be a hyper-calvinist.  This goes directly against Scripture.  Matthew 28:19-20

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

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I just wanted to say thank you for the calm, balanced approach you took to explain this. 

 

 

 

Also, there is a typo in the quote: 

17 hours ago, Nicholas Reicher said:

ll that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out," (John 6:37).

Interesting how  "A"  turned into "zheng" ! ;) 

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2 hours ago, Laughing Rabbit said:

Interesting how  "A"  turned into "zheng" !

I have that problem when going through my Pimsleur lessons! In the Japanese lesson the other day, the narrator asked, "How do you say Excuse me in Japanese?"

My answer was "Entschuldigung Sie"!

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2 hours ago, Laughing Rabbit said:

I just wanted to say thank you for the calm, balanced approach you took to explain this. 

Your welcome. I'm trying not to be decisive in saying that anyone who doesn't agree with me is a cursed heretic!

 

So I keep my opinions out of it. Two of these factoids are designed to keep them from being passive reading, but actual exercises -What are your beliefs? Do they conform to the Bible? What are the options people believe out there?

Those are the exercises in the last one and this one.

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6 minutes ago, Nicholas Reicher said:

have that problem when going through my Pimsleur lessons! In the Japanese lesson

 

Wow! You're taking Japanese lessons? :oops:

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I think Nicholas is asking us to consider where we stand and why we stand there, and to honestly consider and diligently seek the truth that the Holy Spirit wishes to reveal through the body of Christ.

 

I'd call the "free will" side of the spectrum Wesleyan rather than Arminian, largely as a result of my experience under Assembly of God teaching.

 

Doctrine has a bad rap, but it affects our walk with Jesus every moment. I find myself astonished quite often from sources I never would have expected. And I argue seldom but strive to teach always.

 

 

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On 3/23/2019 at 6:56 PM, Nicholas Reicher said:

If everyone wants, in the interest of fairness, I can post a quick summary of Baptist and Arminian beliefs too.

 

Yes, please do.

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I heard a good illustration of Freewill vs. Predestination:

 

Imagine there is an arch way. You are on one side and written on the arch it says "Whosoever will may enter"

So you use your freewill and enter through the arch. Once on the other side you turn around and on the arch it says: "Chosen before the foundation of the world" 

 

Both statements are true. I guess we will find out more when we get to heaven.

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Posted (edited)

A lively, worthwhile discussion. 

 

There should be no difficulty defining Predestination. However, I would hazard the opinion that defining free-will is something altogether different. Therefore, one's approach to this particular matter must first be examined with extreme care.

 

To put it plainly, the definition of free-will is something that I feel we may not truly understand, and this is a significant cause, or source of the difficulties many have going forward with what has been postulated over the running centuries.

Edited by Anon Reel
Clarity.

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This deserves some thought, slow thought. It sounds like (simply) do you believe God is in control and then to what extent and direction. And then there's more. I'll get back to you. 

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Posted (edited)

In order to obtain a concise definition of free-will, one must understand it's mechanics and component parts. Upon examination one realizes a clear definition will remain elusive, hence the difficulties and conjecture in moving forward.

 

Many speak right in accordance with scripture, Deuteronomy 29:29. One may attempt to go as far as one can, however, our finite capabilities render us incapable of apprehending truth and understanding. The inscrutable wisdom and inimitable grace of our Holy Father is that in which we marvel.

Edited by Anon Reel
Clarity.

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Free will boils down to one word: choice.

 

God has given us the ability to choose Him or refuse Him. 

 

 

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