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Is Election based on God’s foreknowledge of our faith?

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Presentation on theme: "Is Election based on God’s foreknowledge of our faith?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Is Election based on God’s foreknowledge of our faith?

2 I. A Review: Definition: I.This popular perspective that election is based upon foresight of those who would believe involves three essential components: A.God elects some to be saved by looking into the future and seeing who will believe in Christ and who will not.

3 I. A Review B.If he sees that this person is going to come to saving faith, then he will elect that person to be saved, based on God’s foreknowledge of that person’s faith. C.Thus, the ultimate reason why some people are elected unto salvation and others are not lies within the people themselves, not God.

4 I. A Review: Biblical Support: Biblical support for this view involve two essential passages: –Romans 8:29: “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” –1 Peter 1:2: “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.”

5 I. A Review: A Closer look into Foreknowledge: “foreknowledge” πρόγνωσις ( prognōsis) has two basis nuances in its noun form: 1.Knowledge beforehand (Acts 2:23); 2.What is known beforehand, the content of foreknowledge, prearrangement (1Peter 1:2).

6 I. A Review: Closer look into Foreknowledge: προγινώσκω ( proginōskō) has two nuances in the verb form: 1.know beforehand, foreknow as used in Acts 26:5 and 2Peter 3:17; 2. select in advance, choose beforehand such as Romans 8:29; 11:2; 1Peter 1:20.

7 I. A Review: Conclusion: Thus, the ultimate reason why some are saved and some are not lies within the people themselves, not within God. All that God does in his predestining work is to give confirmation to the decision he knows people will make on their own.

8 II. Critique: We Now Shall Proceed to Critique this View (part II): A.Commendable Aspects; B.Problematic Aspects.

9 A. Commendable Aspects: 1.This view is well-intended because it attempts to preserve the omni- benevolence of God in view of election. 2.It answers why some are chosen and and others are not. 3.It preserves human responsibility.

10 Problematic Aspects: 1.God’s Purpose is eternal. 2.Foreknowledge is based upon persons, not facts. 3.Weakens God’s sovereignty & omniscience. 4.No passage affirms foreknowledge of people’s faith for the basis of election. 5.Diminishes God’s Glory. 6.Foreknowledge of facts as basis for election is still deterministic. 7.Foreknowledge is circumstantial. 8.It is inconsistent with the full conception of grace. 9.It is inconsistent with Scripture that explicitly declares that God takes the first initiative in salvation. 10.Misinterpretation of 1 Peter 1:1-2:

11 Problem # 1: God’s Purpose is Eternal: A.In Ephesians 3:11 the apostle Paul speaks about God’s eternal purpose which he accomplished in Jesus Christ our Lord. The Greek word for purpose is “progesin” may be translated as “plan” or “resolve.” 1.It is in the singular tense which implies that God has an overarching purpose. 2.Paul describes this plan as eternal. Using this adjectival genitive demonstrates that there was never a moment when God had to consider, contemplate, or determine what to do. In other words, He never had to investigate or “make up His mind” about anything.

12 Problem # 2: Foreknowledge is of Persons, Not Facts: B.Criticism by Wayne Grudem, Millard Erickson, Earl Radmacher, and Charles C. Ryrie: Romans 8:29 contends that God did not base his election on foreknowledge of the fact that a person would believe. Rather, the passage states that God knew the person (“those whom he foreknew”), not that he new some fact about them, such as the fact that they would believe. Moreover, foreknow is not a neutral concept but involves some sort of intimacy, endearment, or relationship.

13 Criticism # 2: Foreknowledge is of Persons, Not Facts: “Clearly people are foreknown, not their faith (Roman 8:28-29). Clearly to foreknowledge as mere perception is not the basis of election, for 1 Peter 1:2 includes a decision on God’s part.” ~ Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology, 363.

14 Problem: # 3: Weakens God’s Sovereignty and Omniscience: C.Criticism by John F. Walvoord: 1. This view seems to make God subject to a plan in which He is not sovereign because his election rests upon people’s choice; if destinies are determined not by God; it makes him dependent on additional information. 2. This view seems to diminish God’s omniscience in the fact that He looks into the future and sees who would believe in Christ.

15 Problem # 4: No Explicit Passage Affirms Foreknowledge as the Basis for Election: D.When we examine the specific passage that declare foreknowledge and look at verses that discuss the reason God chose us, we observe that Scripture never explicitly declares that we are the elect because we would believe in Christ. On the other hand, passages like Ephesians 1:5-6 declares, “He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”

16 Problem # 4: No Explicit Passage Affirms Foreknowledge as the Basis for Election: If God’s grace is to be praised for election, and not human ability to believe or decision to believe, then it is consistent for Paul to mention nothing of human faith, but only to mention God’s electing activity, his purpose and will, and his freely given grace. Other passages include Romans 9:11-13; Rom 11:5-6; 2 Tim. 1:9.

17 Problem # 4: No Explicit Passage Affirms Foreknowledge as the Basis for Election: “We are not told what it was in God’s foreknowledge which moved Him to choose. It is going beyond what Scripture says to say it was His knowledge of the sinner’s faith which caused Him to make the choice.” ~ Robert P. Lightner, Sin, Savior, and Salvation

18 Problem # 5: Diminishes God’s Glory: E.Criticism by Wayne Grudem: If the ultimate determining factor in whether we will be saved or not is our decision to accept Christ, then we shall be more inclined to think that we deserve some credit for the fact that were saved…But once we begin to think this way then we seriously diminish the glory that is to be given to God for our salvation. We become uncomfortable speaking like Paul who says that God “destined us…according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace” (Eph. 1:5-6), and we begin to think that God “destined us…according to the fact that he knew that we would have enough tendencies toward goodness and faith within us that we would believe.”

19 Problem # 6: Foreknowledge is still deterministic: F.Criticism by Wayne Grudem: Election based on foreknowledge still does not give people free choice. Upon reflection, this system turns out to give no real freedom to man either for if God can look into the future and see that one person will come to faith in Christ and another will not, then those facts are already fixed; in other words, they are determined. Therefore, it is fair to say that their destinies are still determined, for they could not be otherwise. But by what are these destinies determined? If they are determined by God himself, then we no longer have election based ultimately on foreknowledge of faith, but rather on God’s sovereign will.

20 Problem # 7: Foreknowledge is circumstantial: G.Robert Reymond’s Criticism: To assert that He based election on faith introduces circumstances into salvation & counters Scriptures that state: Romans 9:11-13, that election is according to grace; Ephesians 1:4, that God chose us before the creation of the world ‘that we should be holy’ and not because he saw that we would be holy, & 2 Timothy 1:9, that he saved us and called us to a holy life, not because of what we have done but because of His own eternal purpose and grace.

21 Problem # 8: Foreknowledge is inconsistent with full conception of God’s Grace: H.W.H. Griffith Thomas’ Criticism: 1.The Bible is perfectly clear in regard to God’s election of Israel, that it was wholly independent of anything foreseen in Israel’s life and conduct. 2.Salvation cannot be a mere contingency, for if no one accepted it, then Christ would have died in vain. 3.Election contingent on foresight is really not election at all, since the choice in such a case would be solely man’s, and would leave no room for distinction due to a Divine foreordination. 4.As men are constituted, God must take the initiative in bringing about salvation….One thing is absolutely certain; the sinner cannot renew himself and needs the regenerating grace of God.

22 Problem # 9: Foreknowledge is inconsistent with Scripture that affirms God’s initiative in Salvation: H.Paul R. Shockley: 1.If difficult passages are to be interpreted in light of clear ones, then election is based upon the initiative of God, not on the basis of those who would believe. 2.Paul explicitly told the Thessalonian believers that God had chosen them “from the beginning to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (1 Thess. 1:4-5). 3. Romans 9:16 Paul writes that salvation by election “depends not upon man’s will or exertion, but upon God’s mercy.” 4. In Acts 13:48 Luke says, “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of God; and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”

23 Problem # 9: Foreknowledge is inconsistent with Scripture that affirms God’s initiative in Salvation: H.Paul R. Shockley: 5.2 Timothy 1:9 states, “who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not in virtue of our works but in virtue of his own purpose and the grace which he gave us in Christ Jesus ages ago.” 6.Revelation 13:7-8 states, “And authority was given it over every tribe and people and tongue and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain” (Rev. 13:7-8). 7.And if John 15:16a is applicable to believers, not just the disciples in the Upper Room, then this passage may yield support: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide.”

24 Problem # 9: Foreknowledge is inconsistent with Scripture that affirms God’s initiative in Salvation: H.Paul R. Shockley: Therefore, based upon these passages, understanding foreknowledge as that knowledge of who would believe, and basing election upon that notion, is found lacking in view of these passages that declare that God takes the initiative in salvation, not man.

25 Problem # 10: Misinterpretation of 1 Peter 1:1-2: I.Criticism by Dr. James Oliver Buswell: “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father” of 1 Peter 1:1-2 in no way indicate that the basis or ground or reason of election is the foreknowledge of God. The Arminian misconstrues the preposition “kata” as though it were “epi” with the dative, which means, “on the basis of,” or “dia” with the accusative, which means, “on the account of.”

26 Problem # 10: Misinterpretation of 1 Peter 1:1-2: I.Criticism by Dr. James Oliver Buswell: Instead: “the preposition employed here, kata with the accusative simply indicates the harmony of the items mentioned-election, and foreknowledge-and this text has nothing to say one way or the other as to the question whether election depends upon foreknowledge or whether foreknowledge depends on election. The text simply says that the two are harmonious and parallel….There is no disharmony between them and no dependence of one upon the other is indicated in the Scripture.” A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion, 2: 140-41.

27 Having defined the essential components of this view (part I) and examined both its commendable features and problematic aspects, (part II), I will now offer a conclusion (part III):

28 III. Conclusion: It is not unreasonable or unorthodox to embrace foreknowledge as the basis for election; it is just more difficult to support. No matter, which side one takes, surely we can affirm the following: 1.God did predestine those He foreknew (Rom. 8:29). 2.He did choose according to His foreknowledge (1 Peter 1:1-2). 3.We are not explicitly told what it was in God’s foreknowledge which moved Him to choose. 4.God’s plan is the result of His infinite wisdom and love and is in keeping with His absolute holiness, justice, mercy, and grace-for God will do nothing less than His infinite-perfect best.

29 “Therefore, the act of electing a people has to be compatible with all of His attributes. It is based on His omniscience, so that we may be assured that when He elected He did so knowing full well all of the alternative possibilities. It is related to the exercise of His sovereign will, so that He was in no way forced to do what He did. It was done by the God who is love, so that predestination was done in love (Eph. 1:4-5). It expressed His mercy, otherwise how could God have loved Jacob? (Romans 9:15). It demonstrates His matchless grace (Eph. 2:7-8). And the ultimate purpose of election is to display His glory (1:6, 12, 14). Usually we put the emphasis on the fact that God elects. We need to remember that it is God who elects, and He can do nothing unloving or unjust.” ~ Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology, 362-63.

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