Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Predestination Debate - Eklektos

Sam and I were again debating, and I think there is some very interesting stuff here. I've been learning a lot, and I am beginning to see Calvinism as more incorrect than ever. Here is part of a message I sent to Sam. It is very long and rather in-depth, but I think it is interesting. Note especially the part about the possible mistranslation of the Greek word eklektos.

And what about the verse about the Holy Spirit being resisted? Can't that happen? What do people do when they listen to gospel messages, shake their heads, and switch off the radio? Don't they resist the Holy Spirit's urging? Were they predestined to do that? Were they unable to accept the message? What role does Satan play in that kind of encounter if it's already predestined? Why does Satan even care to try to distract us from the pure gospel if people's salvation is already predestined?

Oh, and what do you believe concerning infant baptism? Do you believe it is necessary?

Also, think about what you are saying when you say that election is unconditional. Jesus said that it is hard for a rich man to enter heaven. That means that the surroundings of a person can affect their eternal destination!

The Bible seems to very clearly say, to me, that "whosoever will" call on the name of the Lord will be saved. Therefore, whosoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved, not "whosoever has been elected". The verses on election and God's choice all seem to speak about the subject of salvation in a more muffled way, and I think that most of them are eisegesis, to be exact, reading Calvinism into the Bible. In other words, Calvinists take verses that are not really dealing with salvation and read Calvinism into them.

I looked up the verses you gave me, and they were pretty interesting.

I'll start with Romans 9:11-16. I looked at the entire context - Romans 9 itself. It talks about Jacob and Esau, and how God "hated" Esau and "loved" Jacob. I think this is an example of the Semitic monochromatic mindset. The Israelites believed things were either one way or another, and it seems to me they viewed things as additive. For instance, if you have a great love, and you add hate, the love becomes a little less. That's what Christ meant when He said that we have to hate our mother, sister, brother, father, and even our own life to be His disciple - we should love all those people less than Him, not hate them entirely! Or love Him so much that our love for everything else is like hate.

So I think God loved Jacob and Esau, He just loved Esau less.

In this passage, Paul is talking about physical stuff that happened to these people. In their lives on earth, we know Jacob received compassion from God, Esau did not. I don't believe we were ever even told in the OT whether Jacob and Esau were saved, but we were sure told about their lives, so that must be what Paul is referring to.

And as for Pharaoh's heart being hardened - his heart was already hard against God, God just increased the direction Pharaoh had already chosen.

Plus, it is absolutely true that nothing depends on man's desire or effort, but God's mercy. However, is this actually referring to salvation? The Bible seems to make it clear in other passages that in the case of salvation, God is merciful to and has offered a second chance to everyone. Titus 2:11 and Acts 17:30 both make it clear that Jesus died for all men. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God wishes for all people to repent.

If God desires every person to be saved as the Bible says, and as the Calvinists say, the only instrument required for salvation is God... then why is everyone not saved?

Also, this guy shines an awesome light on the Greek word eklektos and how it is used and perhaps mistranslated.
This could be where the whole "chosen" idea incorrectly receives its support. With this in mind, Ephesians also makes more sense.

As for 2 Timothy 1:9, yeah, God has saved us and called us to a holy life, not because of anything we've done but because of His compassion. (And having faith is not really doing, is it?) That's why He sent His son. And I do believe the plan of salvation was in place before time began. However, does it say that the individuals who inherited that grace were actually chosen? Not really.

On Romans 11:5, check the context. "And what was God's answer to him? "I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal." So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace."

This passage includes a use of the Greek word eklektos, which, as the article I noted above points out, can also and most likely does mean "special". If you read this verse again substituting the word "special" for "chosen", then Calvinism has significantly less hold on this verse.

This is an excellent article.
This one is also good, although the writer seems very furious with John Calvin.

Oh, and I found how to search the old Greek manuscripts of the Bible... does it. It's a division of However, I can't figure out how to search it, so I'll just give you a sample URL.
Just edit that URL to whatever verse you like. (Unfortunately, it can't do whole passages that I know of.) Just thought you might like that, I was excited when I found it.

Anyway, I am very much enjoying this debate. It has been helpful to get me to dig very deep into the Bible.

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