The Doctrines of Grace: A short Summary with verses

Since Tom (and others) continue to rail against (and mischaracterize) the biblical doctrine of God’s sovereign choice in election, thought I’d post a little synopsis of them here. That way they, (or anyone else) can refer to them before they ask a question that’s been asked and answered before we were ever born.

TOTAL DEPRAVITY

Man’s depravity, as a result of the Fall, is total. All men are born into this world spiritually dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; the sinner’s heart is desperately corrupt. His will is not free; it is in bondage to his evil nature. Therefore, he has lost his ability to choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. It takes more than the Spirit’s assistance to bring the sinner to Christ -it takes regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God’s gift of salvation – it is God’s gift to the sinner, not the sinner’s gift to God.

Psalm 51:5, 58:3; Isaiah 53:6, 64:6; Jeremiah 17:9; John 3:3, 8:44; Romans 3:10-12, 5:12; Ephesians 2:2-3; I Corinthians 2:14

UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION

God’s choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world rested solely in His own sovereign will. His choice of particular sinners was not based on any foreseen response or obedience on their part, such as faith, repentance, etc. On the contrary, God gives faith and repentance to each individual whom He selected. These acts are the result, not the cause, of God’s choice. Election, therefore, was not determined by or conditioned upon any virtuous quality or act foreseen in man. Those whom God sovereignly elected He brings through the power of the Spirit to a willing acceptance of Christ. Thus, God’s choice of the sinner, not the sinner’s choice of Christ, is the ultimate cause of salvation.

Deuteronomy 7:6-7; Isaiah 55:11; John 6:44, 15:16; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:28; 9:11-13; II Timothy 1:9

LIMITED ATONEMENT

Christ’s death was a substitutionary endurance of the penalty of sin in the place of certain specified sinners. Christ’s redeeming work was intended to save only the elect (those whom the Father had given him) and actually secured salvation for them. Christ’s redemption secured everything necessary for the elect’s salvation, including faith which unites them to Him. The elect are the sole object of God’s saving grace.

Matthew 1:21, 20:28; John 10:14-18, 17:9; Acts 20:28; Romans 5:8-9; Titus 2:14; Revelation 5:9

IRRESISTIBLE GRACE

In addition to the outward general call to salvation which is made to everyone who hears the gospel, the Holy Spirit extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation. The external call (made without distinction) can be and is often rejected; whereas the internal call (made only to the elect) cannot be rejected; it always results in conversion. By means of this special call, the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He is not limited by man’s will or dependent upon man’s cooperation for success. The Spirit graciously causes the elect sinners to cooperate, to believe, to repent, and to come freely and willingly to Christ. God’s grace, therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended.

Ezekiel 11:19-20; John 6:37; Romans 8:30; Colossians 2:13; James 1:18; Titus 3:5

PRESERVATION OF THE SAINTS

All who were chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and given faith by the Spirit are eternally saved. They are kept in faith by the power of Almighty God and, thus, persevere to the end. Therefore, salvation is wholly dependent upon the God who has willed to save those whom He gave to His dear Son. Their salvation can never be lost. The elect are kept by God’s power through faith, and nothing can separate them from His love. They have been sealed with the Holy Spirit who has been given as the guarantee of their salvation, and they are thus assured of an eternal inheritance. This doctrine does not maintain that all who profess the Christian faith are certain of heaven. Many who profess belief and then “fall away” do not fall from grace; they were never in grace. True believers fall into various temptations and commit grievous sins, but these sins do not cause them to lose their salvation or separate them from Christ.

Isaiah 43:1-3; Jeremiah 32:40; Romans 8:35-39; Ephesians 1:13-14; I Thessalonians 5:23-24; Jude 24-25

CONCLUSION

Salvation is accomplished by the almighty power of the Triune God. The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, and the Holy Spirit makes Christ’s death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the gospel. The entire process of election, redemption, and regeneration is the work of God and is by His grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation

John 1:12-13; John 15:16; Romans 9:14-16; Ephesians 1:2-14

Thanks goes to “The Highway” for this material. I suggest you check their site out…it’s got a lot of great stuff in it.

14 responses

21 04 2008
Noni

Of course salvation is accomplished by the almighty power of the Triune God. AND, you have proven that we can “prove” most anything by quoting scripture out of context.

You did not include Romans 10:9-13, which contains the words “…Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” ; II Peter 3:9″…He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”; I John 4:13-15″…If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God…” And there are many more that would argue against Election.

Why do we christians feel the need to argue & rant at each other about the doctrine of Election. Let’s look at Mark 16:15-16, “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Seems like our mission is pretty clear, TAKE CHRIST’S MESSAGE TO THE UNSAVED.

4 02 2010
Tess

Thank you! I was looking for a short explanation of this to share with my friends. Now I’ve found it!

21 04 2008
rpavich

Noni,
Welcome to my blog, I appreciate you taking the time to read this article.

Those are some very strong words you used;

“you have proven that we can “prove” most anything by quoting scripture out of context.

Would you care to DEMONSTRATE how I took scripture out of context?
Or are you saying that by not including your “Calvinism Killer” proof texts of Romans 10, 2 Peter 3:9, and 1st John 4:13, I’m somehow hiding the truth?

The fact is; you are assuming a lot when you read these texts. You have not looked at any of these in context, but merely assumed their meaning from your own presuppositions.
While I’m waiting for you to correctly exegete your proof texts…let me comment on these passages as they don’t provide a problem with the Doctrine of Particular Redemption at all:

First off: I would fully agree with you on Romans 10:9-13…everyone who calls on the name of the Lord WILL be saved.

The crux of the difference between the Doctrines of Grace, and Free Will Theology is the question of WHY one person would “call on the name” and another one reject the same message?

In fact Romans 8:28-9:30 is the tour de force of the Doctrines of Grace!

Paul himself takes the time to explain WHY they would believe…and uses an illustration from the Old Testament:

(speaking of Jacob and Esau)
Romans 9:11
…even before they were born or had done anything good or bad (so that God’s purpose in election would stand, not by works but by his calling) – it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger,” Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

So, Paul explains exactly WHY the person “who calls on the name of the Lord” would be saved…it’s God’s choice, and it’s so His purpose in election might remain. It would seem that you are reading something into Paul’s letter that isn’t there. Paul himself explains how it is that some are saved and some are not. He goes on to say:

Romans:9:14
What shall we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not! For he says to Moses: “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then, it does not depend on human desire or exertion, but on God who shows mercy.

(Now watch closely at what he says)

For the scripture says to Pharaoh: “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may demonstrate my power in you, and that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then, God has mercy on whom he chooses to have mercy, and he hardens whom he chooses to harden.

So, God says that He raised Pharaoh up for the express purpose of demonstrating His power in election!

God says that He mercies whom He wishes and He Hardens whom He wishes

Now…move on to your verse:

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”

A true statement; everyone who calls will be saved, and WHY they will be saved has been answered by the Apostle Paul in the previous verses.

It would seem that I looked at Romans 10 very much IN CONTEXT did I not?

Can you see how reading things in context from top to bottom really helps you understand what the author is saying?

As for 2nd Peter:
I’ve posted a video explaining that one…please come back and comment when you’ve looked at that video ok?

Noni, as far as your last comment, is anyone ranting? I’m simply laying out the Doctrines of Grace that are so mischaracterized by those who reject them…why do you call that ranting?

And why is the only other choice to preach the word to the unsaved? Did you not see the name of my blog? Did you not take the time to see my links on evangelism?

What’s wrong with wanting to get His word understood correctly AND evangelize?

22 04 2008
Tom

RP: I looked at your resources as you requested.

My statement: “A member of the elect can not fall away and lose their salvation”

You say: “All who were chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and given faith by the Spirit are eternally saved. They are kept in faith by the power of Almighty God and, thus, persevere to the end.”

My statement: “Someone who has not been elected by God to salvation do not have the capacity or ability to do anything about their own condition (i.e., God has not granted them saving faith).”

You say: “[T]he sinner’s heart is desperately corrupt. His will is not free; it is in bondage to his evil nature. Therefore, [man] has lost his ability to choose good over evil in the spiritual realm.”

I’d say I understand the doctrines pretty well, wouldn’t you?

I didn’t use the EXACT language and verbiage you did, but I’m assuming you don’t forbid the use of a synonym or a paraphrase. I’m not, after all, a mind reader.

Again, RP, how are my statements errant? What word or words did I use that express a falsehood?

22 04 2008
Robert

Tom,
You’re doing fine…now keep reading those documents and get the rest of your questions answered…

🙂

PS: As to your question “how did I express a falsehood?”

You were veering into the fatalist area…not representing what Calvinism says accurately. No Calvinist believes in fatalism.

example:
“Why do anything if the end is already set?”

And related statements like this do not represent Calvinism accurately…

bob

22 04 2008
Tom

“No Calvinist believes in fatalism”

Now you have me completely confused, I have to admit, Bob.

It is my understanding that the “un-elect” have no hope for redemption because they were chosen to not partake of God’s Kingdom before the beginnings of the world. Some consider this “double predestination”, but it is a commonly-held and popular belief among Calvinists (even if you do not hold it yourself). If God hasn’t chosen them and they have no ability to do anything about it, I don’t know how there’s any hope for them, then. If there is, you need to explain it to me because I’ve not seen it in any Calvinist theology (Spurgeon, Sproul, Calvin, etc.).

In fact, John Calvin himself stated:

“[I]t is an awful decree, I confess [horribile decretum, fateor], but none can deny that God foreknew the future final fate of man before He created him — and that He did foreknow it because it was appointed by His own ordinance”

Is this what you’re referring to when you speak of “fatalism”?

Again, this isn’t a dig. but I am trying to understand how someone can embrace this theology if they understand its implications as I see them to be.

22 04 2008
rpavich

Tom,
Fred answered your questions HERE.

23 04 2008
Tom

I must not have caught Fred’s response, so thanks for pointing that out, but his post was more in response to deception.

In terms of fatalism, however, you state:
“No Calvinist believes in fatalism”

Fatalism: “Acceptance of the belief that all events are predetermined and inevitable.”

In a sense, I think you’re correct. Most Calvinists aren’t pacifist in the sense that they just sit on a couch watching life pass by since “it’s all going to happen anyhow.” However, they “do” because God commanded it, that is all. They can preach, but preaching in itself will not gain any more souls than if they had not preached at all. Whom God draws, He draws and whom He does not elect, He does not elect.

In other words: if a man has not been elected by God to go to Heaven, no amount of preaching, cajoling or even begging and pleading could possibly have an impact on him in a positive manner. It would be like trying to teach calculus to a worm. It’s just a waste of time and will irritate the worm. There is, in essence, “no hope” for the worm, and there never was.

23 04 2008
rpavich

Tom,
since you didn’t go to the resources page and read this…I’m pasting it here.

objection: 1. THAT IT IS FATALISM

MUCH misunderstanding arises through confusing the Christian Doctrine of Predestination with the heathen doctrine of Fatalism. There is, in reality, only one point of agreement between the two, which is, that both assume the absolute certainty of all future events. The essential difference between them is that Fatalism has no place for a personal God. Predestination holds that events come to pass because an infinitely wise, powerful, and holy God has so appointed them. Fatalism holds that all events come to pass through the working of a blind, unintelligent, impersonal, non-moral force which cannot be distinguished from physical necessity, and which carries us helplessly within its grasp as a mighty river carries a piece of wood.

Predestination teaches that from eternity God has had one unified plan or purpose which He is bringing to perfection through this world order of events. It holds that all of His decrees are rational determinations founded on sufficient reason, and that He has fixed one great goal “toward which the whole creation moves.” Predestination holds that the ends designed in this plan are, first, the glory of God; and second, the good of His people. On the other hand Fatalism excludes the idea of final causes. It snatches the reins of universal empire from the hands of infinite wisdom and love, and gives them into the hands of a blind necessity. It attributes the course of nature and the experiences of mankind to an unknown, irresistible force, against which it is vain to struggle and childish to repine.

According to the doctrine of Predestination the freedom and responsibility of man are fully preserved. In the midst of certainty God has ordained human liberty. But Fatalism allows no power of choice, no self-determination. It makes the acts of man to be as utterly beyond his control as are the laws of nature. Fatalism, with its idea of irresistible, impersonal, abstract power, has no room for moral ideas, while Predestination makes these the rule of action for God and man. Fatalism has no place for and offers no incentives to religion, love, mercy, holiness, justice, or wisdom, while Predestination gives these the strongest conceivable basis. And lastly, Fatalism leads to skepticism and despair, while Predestination sets forth the glories of God and of His kingdom in all their splendor and gives an assurance which nothing can shake.

Predestination therefore differs from Fatalism as much as the acts of a man differ from those of a machine, or as much as the unfailing love of the heavenly Father differs from the force of gravitation. “It reveals to us,” says Smith, “the glorious truth that our lives and our sensitive hearts are held, not in the iron cog-wheels of a vast and pitiless Fate, nor in the whirling loom of a crazy Chance, but in the almighty hands of an infinitely good and wise God.”1

Calvin emphatically repudiated the charge that his doctrine was Fatalism. “Fate,” says he, “is a term given by the Stoics to their doctrine of necessity, which they had formed out of a labyrinth of contradictory reasonings; a doctrine calculated to call God Himself to order, and to set Him laws whereby to work. Predestination I define to be, according to the Holy Scriptures, that free and unfettered counsel of God by which He rules all mankind, and all men and things, and also all parts and particles of the world by His infinite wisdom and incomprehensible justice.” And again, “. . . had you but been willing to look into my books, you would have been convinced at once how offensive to me is the profane term fate; nay, you would have learned that this same abhorrent term was cast in the teeth of Augustine by his opponents.”2

Luther says that the doctrine of Fatalism among the heathen is a proof that “the knowledge of Predestination and of the prescience of God, was no less left in the world than the notion of divinity itself.” In the history of philosophy Materialism has proven itself essentially fatalistic. Pantheism also has been strongly tinged with it.

No man can be a consistent fatalist. For to be consistent be would have to reason something like this: “If I am to die today, it will do me no good to eat, for I shall die anyway. Nor do I need to eat if I am to live many years yet, for I shall live anyway. Therefore I will not eat.” Needless to say, if God has foreordained that a man shall live, He has also foreordained that he shall be kept from the suicidal folly of refusing to eat.

“This doctrine,” says Hamilton, “is only superficially like the pagan ‘fate.’ The Christian is in the hands not of a cold, immutable determinism, but of a warm, loving heavenly Father, who loved us and gave His Son to die for us on Calvary! The Christian knows that ‘all things work together for good to them that love God, even to them that are called according to His purpose.’ The Christian can trust God because he knows He is all-wise, loving, just and holy. He sees the end from the beginning, so that there is no reason to become panicky when things seem to be going against us.”3

Hence, only a person who has not examined this doctrine of Predestination, or one who is maliciously inclined, will rashly charge that it is Fatalism. There is no excuse for anyone making this mistake who knows what Predestination is and what Fatalism is.

Since the universe is one systematized unit we must choose between Fatalism, which ultimately does away with mind and purpose, and this biblical doctrine of Predestination, which holds that God created all things, that His providence extends to all His works, and that while free Himself He has also provided that we shall be free within the limits of our natures. Instead of our doctrine of Predestination being the same with the heathen doctrine of Fatalism, it is its absolute opposite and only alternative.

23 04 2008
Tom

Bob, I’m not suggesting that Calvinism is “impersonal” by any stretch. I’m not talking about karma or any other such nonsense.

I guess I quibble with your definition of “choice”. If man is a slave to sin, is “choice” a possibility? I don’t see how.

You write: “Fatalism leads to skepticism and despair, while Predestination sets forth the glories of God and of His kingdom in all their splendor and gives an assurance which nothing can shake.”

Yes, if you think you’re one of His elect. If you think or believe or have knowledge that you are not, I’d say that’s sufficient cause for despair. With the greatest power in the Universe willing that you suffer for all of eternity, I’d be worried.

Wouldn’t you?

23 04 2008
rpavich

Tom,
It’s not MY definition of choice that you’re quibbling with…man has a choice AND he’s a slave to sin…he will always choose his greatest desire at any given moment…and before he’s regenerated…the the thing he desires most in the world is sin…

It’s very simple to understand…and consistent throughout the bible I might add.

In answer to this accusation that you keep throwing around about “the elect being smugly secure in their salvation and seeing the Glory of God”, of course someone who’s saved sees the glory of God in His precepts…all saved people do!
How can they not?? God has taken them…from a slave to darkness and sin, and given them life!! How can they be anything but the most grateful person on the planet!!??

This is one of the results of properly understanding (in the biblical way of having “ears to hear”) the Doctrines of Grace…it magnifies the Glory of God!! I know that nothing in me had one iota to do with His choice for me…I realize that I’m a cesspool of festering sin…and that I deserve what He should give me and a thousand times over!!

YET…what did this incredibly merciful God do?

He saved me from what I deserved…how can I possibly NOT feel that way?

And because of what we know of unsaved peoples “greatest desire” …they do not feel that way….They don’t care a whit about hell, and about worshiping God…go ahead just ask them if they’ll bend the knee to Almighty God and see what reaction you get.

I think that there is where the problem lies; your starting point is that man is a morally “bent” creature, but not totally sinful...there is still a part of man that’s “ok” and you believe that man is “on the fence” so to speak as far as what he’s able to choose and do…It’s an incorrect presupposition that leads down an incorrect path.

Unsaved people DO NOT DESPAIR of their condition…trust me…I talk to A LOT OF THEM…and they really don’t care…they are interested in what their desires…sin…

Honestly…this is not hard stuff to understand…I thought I was pretty clear…and this should wrap up this line of questioning right?

You may not LIKE it…but you understand it…right?

And might I comment on something that I haven’t really brought up?

None of your opposing lines of reasoning has used the word at all…you haven’t “made a case from scripture” at all during any of your questions concerning these doctrines…why?

All you’ve basically said so far through three or four threads and numerous days is: I don’t like it!

Do you have any EXEGETICAL GROUNDS for thinking that the Doctrines of Grace are not biblical?

11 06 2013
nez

God from eternity past (before the foundation of the world) elected or chose a certain people who will inherit his kingdom and be with him into eternity. His election was not based on human good works or human will and decision but rather by his freedom to choose, in love, according with his own pleasure and will. He predestined the elected people to be conformed to the image of his Son by his infinite wisdom and sovereign will. Now, human in the state of their sin is dead in sin and therefore they cannot respond to the calling of God in terms of spiritual matter. Therefore, God by his sovereign Grace, shows mercy to them and make them Alive to respond to the spiritual things and given a gift of Faith that they may believe what the Spirit says and act according to it into perfection, by which the sacrificial death of Christ, they are cloth in righteousness of Christ and now they become holy and blameless in the sight of God.

4 05 2015
Thomas

I am familiar with the bible, and recognize its contents as copied from various peoples in accordance with their understanding of the world in their time.
The practice of christianity in america today is little more than membership in a fraternal club, where the greatest adversaries are other clubs that maintain differing disciplines. All claim rrighteousness, and disregard the sincerity of the others.
Almost no one that claims christain faith is remotely familiar with or interested in its origins, influential sources or history.
As a free-thinking modern, I am only motivated by Jesus’s message of non-violence and of caring for those less fortunate. The doctrine of grace is nonsensical – and I don’t understand why anyone would suppose that my freewill is evil by nature.
I don’t hold believers in contempt. I merely regard their faith as a theology that I have considered, and do not believe.
I think that god, and the desire to be close to god are beautiful concepts – and I am respectful of any true-believer that honestly maintains their faith. But, for all of the honest attempts to prove the existence of a supernatural deity, throughout all of academia, we can conclude that god is just a concept.
The posturing of one sect towards another, and the arrogance of the likes of ted haggard really give an outsider pause to be thankful for their intellectual faculties.
Respectfully,
Thomas

4 05 2015
rpavich

Thomas,
Are you omniscient?

You made quite a few truth claims in your comment that require omniscience…I was wondering how you could possibly know those things.

I’m particularly interested by this bit “But, for all of the honest attempts to prove the existence of a supernatural deity, throughout all of academia, we can conclude that god is just a concept.”

I disagree. God is the NECESSARY PRECONDITION for the intelligibility of anything; logic, morals, our universe, science, etc.

If you don’t start with “God” (the God of the bible) then you will be reduced to absurdity in your thinking at some point along the way.

The proof of God’s existence is that unless you start with God…you can’t prove anything.

If you want to respond to that, please explain (and succinctly) how you account for the existence of the logic that we are using while having this comment discussion (for just one example) within your own worldview. The short answer is that you cannot. You must borrow from the Christian worldview in order to even argue against it.

Your turn.

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