On the other hand those who believe in conditional election are unfairly accused as “semi-pelegians: a belief in decisional regeneration” It means one is saved because one is decided to be saved without God’s grace enabling him or her to repent (as far as I know and I know a lot of them do not believe like that). This charge, too, is uninformed even thought there are some who hold to this and are condemned rightly so. People who believe in conditional election, believe that no one apart from the gospel is able to respond to Christ in faith. That is why they integrate a doctrine known as Prevenient grace, a belief in God’s grace that elevates the willfully sinful state of our will to respond to Christ on our own.
Adapting A Godly Perspective
As you can see there are several reasons why I do not focus on such controversial matters as first and foremost. This discussion is one step removed from the central meaning of the Gospel and as such requires thoughtful reflection and biblical understanding of salvation.My view of salvation is presented here: To know Him is to have eternal Life and I recommend that salvation should be viewed as present reality and not as something you and I received only when we first believed. This is a common misconception that causes unnecessary strife. If salvation is working in our lives today, that means there is no room for discussion that people who are saved once could live like the world, the devil and the flesh today in a willful continual disobedience to Christ. How is that possible? Salvation is living for the Lordship of Christ yesterday when we first believe, today as we live our lives daily and tomorrow until Christ returns. The bible says we know that we have come to know him not because we were saved once longtime ago, but because we are in uninterrupted relationship with God through His Holy Spirit until Christ returns.
Even though this needs a little bit of nuancing. Again there is room for Christians who for a little while sin and return with contrite spirit to the feet of their king Jesus because they are truly his (have we not experienced this?). We have to accommodate people like the Apostle Peter who denied Christ three times but because he is truly a believer in Christ returned with sorrow, compare this with Judas Iscariot who denied and did not return. Peter who has repented also struggle throughout his life with the sin of fear of men and prejudiced. The guy who feared people and denied Christ also refused to eat with gentiles in the house of Cornelius, and we see his struggle again in Antioch. He was once again receiving correction from Paul about his hypocrisy because of his fear of those who came from Judea. In Galatians 2:11–14, Peter not only compromised, but he forsook the ministry to the Gentiles to which God had called him (see Acts 10) because he was afraid of “the circumcision party.” Paul’s critique was that Peter’s conduct “was not in step with the truth of the gospel,” so he confronted Peter. Therefore salvation is a redemptive project and it is not a mere event. You find an extensive treatment of this on the blogsite.
Where from Here?
In the video I do not support or give a defense of any of these positions On divine election, other than to describe and present it to you so that you would know what it is all about. In addition, I also discuss in the video at least two reasons as to why this has been contested for more than 1600 years through out the church history. The reason for this is at least because of two profound questions:
- First, how does God, who inhabits eternity and is eternal in his essence, relates with us who are bound up in time?
- Second, how God’s divine, transcendent and sovereign Will relates to our free will?
These are difficult questions that beg careful reading and study of holy scripture. As such therefore, I conclude with three remarks that would advance the discussion in a God honoring and church edifying manner.
First, I strongly advise believers to be courteous toward one another as brothers and sisters, especially in such complex issues. If our love is to be done with prudence in knowledge and understanding (Phil. 1), how much more our disagreements on certain views to be done even more? Thus we must strive to know and understand what the other person believes before offering our solutions or condemnations there of. Remember God distaste the seventh sin mentioned in Pr 6:16-19.
Second, I also strongly advise Christians not to domesticate the Word of God and His holy doctrines by cheap shots and thoughtless words (Job 38:2) so that in everything we may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior (Tt 2:9–10) even though we disagree on the how of election, nonetheless we all agree on doctrine of election. This should be noted. In our desire to win the argument, I am afraid we sometimes throw the baby with the bath water. Caution is in order.
Third, and above all, let us hold the Gospel in such high regard for there is so much that all Christians and churches from all walks and denominations agree than they do disagree. The gospel is the organizing principle for all doctrines thought in Christian teachings. Otherwise the prayer of unity that our Lord Jesus, the Son of God, prayed for us did not come true (John 17)! No, our high priest’s prayer have always been true. Our unity is not based on a certain view of election, but on the gospel that unites Jew and Gentiles in one body transcending: Social, Economic, Racial and yes even Doctrinal differences and barriers. The church is built upon the confession that: “[Jesus is]….the Christ, the son of the living God…. who suffered many things…and killed, and on the third day raised…” And upon this rock Christ has built his church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Our differences emerge from the fact that we are trying to make sense of God’s revelation in Christ. Therefore, the church must be built upon this foundation. There are truths in scripture all of us with out exception should believe with the same rigor. This is the non-negotiable aspect of our faith, that Presbyterians or Baptists,or Pentecostals, or Anglicans or Lutherans, young or old, black or white, man or woman, rich or poor…all must believe it and built up on it the same way.
Here is a helpful quote often attributed to Augustine.
Let us be charitable to each other, even when we disagree.
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