Posted by: Craig | 28 January, 2008

Coffee and Theology – Sovereignty and Predestination…

Well this week at Coffee and Theology we discussed Gods sovereignty, predestination and our free will. Here is a quick overview with selected scripture reference :

  • Gods Sovereignty: 1 Kings 22:19, Isaiah 6:1, Exodus 15:18, Psalm 47, Proverbs 16:33, Matthew 10:29-31, psalm 139:7-10, Job 42:2, from these and many more scriptures we saw images of God on a throne, his dominion, his omnipresence, omnipotence and how he was sovereign over nations and kings.
  • Gods Foreknowledge: 1 Samuel 23:9-13, 2 Kings 13:19, psalm 81:14-15, Romans 8:29, after initially establishing the omniscience we saw that God knows all possibilities of the future and knows which one is the true one.

Now after this we discussed how these two aspects of God relate with free will and it was a very long discussion with many views so I shall not go into it here, so after that (and holding off labels for as long as possible) we introduced people to the two schools of thought Calvinism and Arminianism and discussed these in light of the previous discussion. This discussion went into questions such as Is God the Author of Sin? and Should we do missions? and particularly free will in salvation.

As this week covered so much material with not enough time and so many views i shall quickly use this post to point out where I stand on it all.

First of I will say my view on free will is that we have 100% free will and God is 100% sovereign over it, I do not understand exactly how this works together but I see the bible claiming both points. From that statement some people will be crying out calvinist and to those who labels are helpful I would say yes I am a calvinist with footnotes, but really I prefer to avoid labels and just say that I came to these views through reading the bible and mostly before I even really new what Calvinism or Arminianism was.

So to carry on, from that first point it seems natural to say that I believe that salvation is purely down to Gods decision and that without being Given new hearts to see God we will not choose Him, and so from that I have to say that those saved will only be those that God predestined and that once we have new hearts they will not change back to our old ones so if we are truly saved then we will always be.

Now for all that I have said so far here are some good articles/sermons scripturally going through these ideas : TULIP – John Piper, Are there two wills in God? – Matt Chandler, Predestination – Mark Driscoll

There is one area which I do have this large footnote for to the point where i would rename the point of Limited Atonement to Unlimited Limited Atonement. What I believe here is simply there are aspects of the cross where Jesus died for all and other aspects in which he died just for the elect, I believe Jesus only died for the sins of the elect (The question as to whether God would punish the same sins twice initiated this thought) as many scriptures seem to say but then I believe he died for all (as many scriptures also say) in that God is being merciful and holding His wrath for our sin at bay and that God continues to let believer and non believer alike to belittle his name because of Jesus’ death on the cross. Also there may be aspects of redeeming creation through the cross as all of creation was affected by the fall but primarily I say that the cross holds back Gods wrath on everyone who exists and continues to belittle his name.

I will point out that I am still figuring out this view on Limited and Unlimited Atonement and maybe I will fully go through with scripture some day when i am sure (well I am pretty sure but more than this) this is my stance, though it is encouraging to hear after I considered this idea that Matt Chandler and Mark Driscoll hold very similar if not the same views on this and through a Driscoll sermon I learnt that Spurgeon holds to a similar idea.

Well that is kind of a summary of the last session and my stance, next week we talk about other religions in particular islam.

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Responses

  1. Nice work Craig – if you do Relay you’ll get to do some more study on this.

    Re: atonement – I know what you mean, I sit uncomfortably on that one. Christ died for the church (and only for the church) as a propitiation. Technically, the eschatological church (those of the church who remain faithful to the end).

    But he also died for the whole world – that is people of every nation; but that’s because people from every nation will make up the eschatological church.

    And there’s also a sense in which he died for the whole world (including every human being ever)- but that is a conditional dying. It’s conditional upon belief and repentance. It is perfectly true to say “Jesus died for you, that you may believe in him and have eternal life.” to anyone. It would be a lie to say indiscriminately “Jesus died for you, taking away your sins, your judgment and punishment and to give you an inheritance of eternal life”, yet for the church, that’s exactly what he did.

    In conclusion: Affirm unlimited atonement (I believe the Bible does) but never at the expense of the limited atonement- that is the particular redemption of the church.

  2. Thankyou Paul, I see figuring this out is going to probably take years.

  3. Years..haha and the rest buddy!


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