This has reference to Mr. Tom’s post dated 27 April 2014.
Mr. Tom’s statement: Those appointed to believe and chosen before the foundation of the world would be brought to eternal blessings by the sovereign power of God. (Acts 13:48; 18:10)
My comment: Acts 13:48 reads ‘When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed’. Appointing is only for eternal life, not for believing. If Mr. Tom’s interpretation is taken right, then the unbelievers cannot be condemned for their disbelief, because God has not appointed to believe and rejected them from believing. ‘Appointing to eternal life’ takes its root from God’s foreknowledge about who will believe and who will not. Believing is not instituted by God (‘Authoring and finishing faith’ has a different meaning).
There is one crucial verse in this same chapter which I bring to the notice of the readers. Read V 41:
‘ Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you’.
Readers have to pay a close attention to see that Paul warned the Jews who were hearing him in a synagogue. Paul warned them that they should not perish (spiritually) because of their like the OT unbelievers because of their disbelief. If we accept Mr. Tom’s Predestination doctrine, we can see that Paul’s warning is meaningless. When they are appointed to believe, why should Paul warn them? If they or some of them would not believe, they would not have heed to Paul’s warning. After all God only had rejected them from believing.
Another important verse 46 which reads: ‘Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles’
These Jews were unworthy of everlasting life, not because God rejected them from believing. In fact God sent Paul and Barnabas to them first as He found it necessary that the word of God should be spoken to them. If God was not willing to save them, it would not have been necessary for Him to send His servant to the Jews. These Jews willfully rejected God’s words and it was not God, but they for themselves made them unworthy of everlasting life. They were against God’s willing. Readers can find that Predestination theory could not take a rule over in this scene.
If we say that God selectively institutes faith in some, then we should say that Christ Jesus shed his blood only for those selected. Is it right?
If my explanation is accepted, one can understand what Acts 18:10 means.
Mr. Tom’s statement: No one can do anything to prevent the sovereign will of God from coming to fruition. My refusal to share the gospel to the people who God placed in my path would not result in them being lost eternally. My disobedience will not affect the sovereign plans of God. My bad attitude and quarrelsome behavior and lack of love and consideration for others would not prevent a person chosen by God from coming to Christ.
My comment: God’s sovereign plan in order to save the mankind had been to send His Son as a redeemer of them and this plan was fulfilled on the cross of Calvary. Whereas in individual’s cases, God wants everyone has to come to Him voluntarily. Re 22:17 says ‘And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely’. God wants that one should come to Him on his own will. God does not want a robot like believer. One individual believer’s refusal is not at all a hindrance to the unbelievers to accept Christ. Gospel is proclaimed throughout the world in many ways. Many unbelievers has heard the Good news several times
The ‘hindrence’ that cause stumbling to unbelievers to come to the Lord are the misconduct and misbehavior of the believers causing damage to Christian testimony. I will explain about this under the title ‘Mr. Tom’s right statement Vs. the wrong doctrine’.
Mr. Tom’s statement: John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” This is the sovereign declaration from God the Son.
My explanation: The Lord said these words to the unbelieving Jews, calling them they were not of His sheep. He called them that they were not His sheep, not because he did not choose them, but because they did not believe Him. Why should the Lord waste his time speaking to these un chosen? I realize that Christ had a concern for them. In His calling them they were not of His sheep, He pointed out their obstinancy to them and He wanted them to come to come back to Him. To understand and accept this, we have to read V 38: ‘But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him’. The Lord need not ask them to believe if he had assuredly said that they were not of His sheep.
There is a no compelling reason given in the book of Isaiah 53: 11-12 as a promise from God the Father to the Son that establishes Predestination doctrine. As I have written above, God’s sovereign plan in order to save the mankind had been to send His Son as a redeemer of them and this plan was fulfilled on the cross of Calvary. God knew that many will turn to Him through the Lord when this plan is fulfilled and because of this it has been written that the God the father promised His Son that He would divide Him (The Son) a portion with the great. There is one note worthy portion in Isaiah 53:11- ‘by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many’.
The knowledge mentioned is His foreknowledge.
A passage from Mr. Tom’s post: Paul had heard the gospel but purposed in his mind to persecute the ones who followed Jesus. God stopped him on the track with His miraculous intervention and made him His own [cf. Acts 9:4.] God prepared Philip to go close to the Chariot of the Eunuch and explain the gospel in a personal setting [cf. Acts 8:29.] God empowered Peter to preach to a crowd and brought 3000 to the kingdom of God [cf. Acts 2:41.] He is not confined to any one particular method.
My comment: Taking some peculiar incidents and building doctrine on them is not advisable always. We should take more care in doing so. In Acts 26:19m we read that Paul said that he was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, he did not say that God made him obedient which means obeying had been his own willing on realizing the purpose of God in choosing him. When we read that Paul has said ‘but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway’, we can understand that one should be diligent that he should not be cast away if his lifestyle becomes un Christian, even though he has been a chosen one.
When I read Acts 8, I could understand certain facts about the eunuch. He had come to Jerusalem for to worship. Basically he was a pious man. The portion of the scripture he was reading had been an important one and that was about Jesus and his mission of salvation. I can sense that knowing that the eunuch’s mind was a field ready to show the seed of scripture, God sent Philip to him. This selection of God was according to his foreknowledge. Acts 2:41 does not say anything about Predestination. ‘Gladly receiving the words’ does not mean predestination, it is a free willing to receive the words.
Mr. Tom’s right statement vs. the wrong doctrine:
Mr. Tom has rightly said ‘we are losing lot of souls as well = our evangelistic efforts have become ineffective; this man-made rule is hindering people coming to the Lord. This is how I read it’ (Thread: Jewelry prohibition – a KB heresy!!). Whether the man made rules or any other things, when the hinder people coming to the Lord, it means clearly that they are deprived of accepting Christ as their Savior. If we look at this hindering with Predestination perspective, this ‘hinders cannot stop the stop the chosen ones from coming to the Lord. So hinders are not to be bothered. For the not chosen people, they are not coming to the Lord and accept Him, not because of the effect of the hinders, but because God has not chosen them. Here too, hinders are not to be bothered. Then why should there be all this fuss about hinders?
Hinders cause spiritual damage, it is a fact. When the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles (unbelievers) through us because of our non Christian acts (Roman 2:24), the gentiles will despise our God in Christ. They will ignore gospel. And it is happening largely. Christians going to the court of the law of this world taking the dispute between the brothers, between the assemblies, between an assembly and an organization, all this makes the gentiles laughing at us. We cannot take the peace given by the gospel to them boldly. Even when the chosen one (I mean here the one who has accepted Christ) can be deceived by Satan to drift away from the truth (Mark 13:22, Matthew 24:24), Satan can deceive the unbelievers from coming to the Lord show casing the evil nature of the so called believers.
So we the chosen ones should not be hindering those who will have to become the chosen and also should be diligent to make sure that we remain chosen. This is the truth I have understood. Predestination doctrine enjoys no privilege here.