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Theology 201 Guidelines

This is the forum to discuss the spectrum of views within Christianity on God's foreknowledge and election such as Calvinism, Arminianism, Molinism, Open Theism, Process Theism, Restrictivism, and Inclusivism, Christian Universalism and what these all are about anyway. Who is saved and when is/was their salvation certain? How does God exercise His sovereignty and how powerful is He? Is God timeless and immutable? Does a triune God help better understand God's love for mankind?

While this area is for the discussion of these doctrines within historic Christianity, all theists interested in discussing these areas within the presuppositions of and respect for the Christian framework are welcome to participate here. This is not the area for debate between nontheists and theists, additionally, there may be some topics that within the Moderator's discretion fall so outside the bounds of mainstream evangelical doctrine that may be more appropriately placed within Comparative Religions 101 Nontheists seeking only theistic participation only in a manner that does not seek to undermine the faith of others are also welcome - but we ask that Moderator approval be obtained beforehand.

Atheists are welcome to discuss and debate these issues in the Apologetics 301 or General Theistics 101 forum without such restrictions. Theists who wish to discuss these issues outside the parameters of orthodox Christian doctrine are invited to Unorthodox Theology 201.

Remember, our forum rules apply here as well. If you haven't read them now would be a good time.

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God's Love

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  • God's Love

    There are those who argue that to love someone means that you will do the greatest thing that you can do for that person. They say that if God really loves a sinner, He will predestine that person to be saved. If God has the power to predestine a person to be saved, but only gives that person physical blessings like food, water, and shelter, then that is not really love. Electing someone to salvation is far greater than giving someone physical blessings. What do you think about this?

    Acts 14:16-17 says, "In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” This is Paul preaching about God to the Gentiles.

    Let's say that God provides rain and fruitful seasons to those who will spend an eternity in hell. Would that be considered an act of love even though God had the power to elect them to salvation, but did not?

  • #2
    It isn't loving to force someone to accept a gift they don't want. I suppose I am a Molinist. Now, have fun talking to the tweb Calvinists!
    Last edited by Christianbookworm; 05-11-2020, 08:05 PM.
    If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Christianbookworm View Post
      It isn't loving to force someone to accept a gift they don't want. I suppose I am a Molinist. Now, have fun talking to the tweb Calvinists!
      It's true that it is not loving to force someone to accept a gift that he does not want, but when God predestines someone to be saved, He is not forcing someone to accept a gift. God changes a person's heart and that person has the genuine desire to believe in Christ.

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      • #4
        J.I. Packer writes:

        Source: Knowing God, p. 111

        'God is love' is the complete truth about God so far as the Christian is concerned.

        © Copyright Original Source


        But not, evidently, so far as the unbeliever is concerned. I would disagree, "God is love" is an unqualified statement, and "God so loved the world" we read in John 3:16.

        Blessings,
        Lee
        "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by lee_merrill View Post
          J.I. Packer writes:

          Source: Knowing God, p. 111

          'God is love' is the complete truth about God so far as the Christian is concerned.

          © Copyright Original Source


          But not, evidently, so far as the unbeliever is concerned. I would disagree, "God is love" is an unqualified statement, and "God so loved the world" we read in John 3:16.

          Blessings,
          Lee
          Let's say that God unconditionally chose who would be saved and who would be passed by. Can it still be called love if God gives physical blessings to a person, but not choose to save him?
          Last edited by Hornet; 05-17-2020, 11:19 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Hornet View Post
            Let's say that God unconditionally chose who would be saved and who would be passed by. Can it still be called love if God gives physical blessings to a person, but not choose to save him?
            "Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved." (Rom. 10:1) And this right after he said that they were not chosen! Then in quoting Psalm 69, Paul writes:

            "May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever.” Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all!" (Rom. 11:10-11)

            Backs bent forever, and yet there is hope. So I believe we are given reason to hope that God will choose everyone...

            "For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all." (Rom. 11:32)

            Blessings,
            Lee
            "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Hornet View Post
              Let's say that God unconditionally chose who would be saved and who would be passed by. Can it still be called love if God gives physical blessings to a person, but not choose to save him?
              In “The Last Battle” the Dwarves in the stable had worked themselves into a state of mind in which they could not receive the feast Aslan gave them, as the feast it was - they thought it was only the usual stuff one finds in a stable. So they did not like it, or want it.

              I think that can serve as a picture of how “passing by” operates; God gives blessings to those who reject Him, but not all recognise the blessings as the good things they genuinely are - those who don’t, are not able to recognise them as blessings, because they do not have eyes to see with, and their hearts are hardened. The lack is in them, who are the recipients - not in God the Giver of all good gifts. Love has to be accepted freely - it cannot be forced upon people. God’s Power to save cannot take the place of man’s response of love to God - without such a response, God loves them, but they do not love God. God’s Love for them is not the same as for God to be them - & they are human beings; they are not God. God can turn the most stubborn heart to Himself, so that God, from being passionately hated, is loved with an undivided heart. But for that to happen, there has to be a (grace-caused) response to Him, of love for Him. If we choose damnation instead of God, damnation will be what we receive. Not because damnation is what we desire, but because, without God Who is alone Good, all goods in this world eventually turn out to lead only to damnation. Each moral choice a man makes brings him further along the road to one or other destination. Only once the journey is ended will we know which we have really chosen.

              So, short answer: yes.

              Comment


              • #8
                Consider the rich young man who ended up rejecting Jesus (of course, we do not know for sure if he ever changed his mind). When Jesus looked at him, the text says he loved him. Jesus knew what in his heart was keeping him from a true relationship with God, but the man had to make that call on his own. This doesn't mean that he didn't love him.
                "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Hornet View Post
                  There are those who argue that to love someone means that you will do the greatest thing that you can do for that person. They say that if God really loves a sinner, He will predestine that person to be saved. If God has the power to predestine a person to be saved, but only gives that person physical blessings like food, water, and shelter, then that is not really love. Electing someone to salvation is far greater than giving someone physical blessings. What do you think about this?

                  Acts 14:16-17 says, "In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” This is Paul preaching about God to the Gentiles.

                  Let's say that God provides rain and fruitful seasons to those who will spend an eternity in hell. Would that be considered an act of love even though God had the power to elect them to salvation, but did not?
                  God cannot love evil. Man is by nature evil, it does not even differ to beasts. (Ecclesiastes 3:18-20) We are saved through grace.

                  There is an erroneous MINDSET of many that God should love man because man is in the image of God. But, rather, those whom God called, will be the ONLY ones who will attain to be in the image of God because God will predestinate them to be conformed to the image of Christ, which is in the image of God. The natural man is like a beast in nature. It is by the grace of God that he loved his elect by making his elect in his image. God loved us for his own purpose and will. Else, if there is any reason that God loved man because man has is worthy of it, then grace cannot be granted. If there is a reason that man is worth loving, then God, in fair sense of justice, is obliged to love. We cannot deny to love to those who are worth loving.

                  Love and grace do not exist together. The love of God towards us is of making us lovable, by making us in his image.

                  Perhaps we need to examine what kind of love are we really talking about.
                  Last edited by FarEastBird; 09-02-2020, 02:43 AM.
                  ...WISDOM giveth life to them that have it. (Ecclesiastes 7:12)
                  ...the ISLES shall wait for his law (Isaiah 42:4)
                  https://philippinesinprophecies.wordpress.com/

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