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Predestination

 

For a long time I was satisfied with not understanding what the Bible taught on this subject. I saw the tension in the Bible between God's Sovereignty and our responsibility for our actions, but in my ignorance thought the tension was greater than it really is. I saw the tension as being between God's predestination of those who would be saved, and the free will of everyone to choose or reject God. This appeared to me as a contradiction ("How can God have control and yet we havefree choices?" I'd think), but I was willing to put this perception down to my lack of knowledge of the subject and leave it at that.

Last year (2000) was my first year of tertiary education. I have been attending the Christian Union at Melbourne University for all of that year. During the second half of that year a friend in my Bible Study Group approached me with a problem he had with what the speaker at the C.U. main meeting. We were studying Ephesians in these meetings and the problem was with how the speaker approached predestination while talking on chapter 1. I explained how I also thought the speaker had been too strong on predestination (I now disagree with that position) and I put forward my position on the issue (free will and yet also predestination) and said I was also a little confused over this issue. Well unsurprisingly he was very confused after we finished talking. My position was anyhting but a clear one. So he went down to the Coffee Lounge and talked with good'ol Wayne Schuller - he led our Bible Study and was doing a DipTheol.

I went down a bit later and over coffee listened to Wayne try and explain from the Bible his (Calvinist) view. After that I realised just how little I new on this important topic (it is after-all directly tied with the nature of God). That was Tuesday. I went back to College and for the next three days after my lectures I intensively studied the topic. I searched for passages on the topic, read sites by Calvinists and Arminians, studied Bible passages on various topics in the area and put it all together. As I went through each topic I typed up summaries of what I found and what conclusions for that topic I came to. It turned into some kind of discussion on predestination. Click here to read how I did. As I did not write this to be a proper essay on the topic I am guilty of PROOF-TEXTING in it. I studied in full the passages the verses I quote, but I only quote the primary verses to reasure myself my conclusions are correct. I should also note that my argumetns and knowledge of Scripture have got better since then (For example to show that faith is a gift from God I used Rom 12:3,6 and 1Cor 12:7-9 when the best I've now found is Rom 9:8).

The conclusion I drew was that true Calvinism (it has been distorted by Christians who don't know what Calvin taught) is biblically correct. After that I then went through some passages which Christians disagree over how to use and evaluated them myself.

I will note that although this section of my site is entirely devoted to the complex issue of Predestination, this doctrine is NOT essential to salvation and that those who disagree with me are not lost because of this. I have many friends who are my brothers in Christ who are Arminian, and this does not cause me to think any less of their faith, and I hope and pray it never will. I hope I accurately show how my understanding of this issue progressed from nothing to something and further. As it stands there is more I need to learn on this topic than I currently know. Any inconsistancies between my pages (I know of none but...) are due to my knowledge and understanding growing as I studied scripture and both sides of the debate equally. I recognise there are many Christians out there (both Arminian and Calvinist) who understand Predestination better than I do, and I have much to learn from them. I started this study originally because I was sick of not understanding this issue, but it quickly turned into a prayerful study of God Himself and His involvement in nature. As God's ways are above mine I will never completely understand this topic, and it is guaranteed that I will make many errors along the way. Having said that, I hope that those who may visit this site will learn something more from scripture through reading my studies, as I have learned a huge amount in making it.


You will notice when you read my third page 'Election by Foreknowledge' that the two main books I used are written by authors from two very different denominations. One: 'An Exposition of the Westminster Confession of Faith' is Presbyterian in origin; The other: 'Foundations of Pentecostal Theology' is clearly Pentecostal. Why do I own these two books? Well I have throghout my life (so far) been a member of three denominations. My family is Baptist, and I went to Baptist churches while I lived in Australia until I was 8. Then my family moved to Hong Kong and we went to an Evangelical Anglican church. We were still basically Baptists (I was more Baptist than Anglican). Our church in HK is not very Anglican - there have always been quite a few members who aren't Anglican, but it is part of the Anglican diocese there. So I was a Baptist, but some of my faith has been influenced by the Anglican church. Then I moved back to Australia in 2000 for Uni. There God put me into a Pentecostal church (which is predominately Asian). I fit in there very well. I was surprised God put me into a Pentecostal church! So now, after over a year in my new church in Melbourne (When I come home to HK I go to the Anglican church - which is slowly becoming charasmatic, bit by bit - Although I now attend a Pentecostal youth group in HK) I would call myself a Pentecostal, but I have been influenced by the other denominations I've been members of. I am sort of a Calvinist Pentecostal - and it seems the AOG's offical position on predestination is Arminian. I say that from seeing that it seems that most (but not all) members of my church in Melbourne are Arminian (to give them a label) and that my book 'Foundations of Pentecostal Theology' is Arminian.


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