I have been asked on many occasions what my views are on the doctrine of "predestination". This blog is a response I wrote to a sincere question on the subject.
The subject of predestination or election is a branch of theology that has its origins with the beliefs of Calvin. From his doctrine which supposed that God chooses some to be saved and others to be doomed to hell came such atrocities as apartheid and the holocaust of Hitler. These policies were sanctioned by pastors, ministers and priests because they embraced Calvinism as a true doctrine of the Bible.
If God deems that some are bound for hell no matter how much they might desire salvation then it is acceptable for us to exterminate these whom God finds so deplorable. It is very sad that this wicked doctrine is again gaining popularity in certain denominations but let me now answer your question.
I have read the scriptures you sent me and if we take some of them (many of them do not even suggest or hint at predestination) out of context with the rest of the passage or book that they find themselves in, it would appear that this is indeed a Biblical doctrine. But these verses do not hold up when we expose them to the basics of doctrinal scrutiny.
To make a claim that something is Biblically true one needs to subject your doctrine to 4 tests:
- Firstly, am I understanding what I am reading in context with the entire passage, chapter and theme of the Book.
- Secondly, is what I believe supported by more than one scripture.
- Thirdly, does what I believe line up with the nature and character of God.
- Fourthly, does what I believe contradict other Scripture.
The doctrine of Predestination contradicts both the nature and character of God who desires all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4; Titus 2:11; 2 Peter 3:9; Ezekiel 18:23-32; John 1:12; John 3:14-17; 1 Timothy 4 :10 and 1 John 2:2) and the rest of the New Testament that declares "whoever calls upon the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13; John 3:15-17).
So far it fails 2 of the 4 tests.
The Scripture that these people use most often to support their heresy is Romans chapter 9 but they do not quote further than verse 21. Up until verse 21 it seems as though the apostle Paul is making a very strong case for predestination until you read verse 22. Before I explain verse 22, it is important to note the typically rabbinical style of Pauls teaching. He would often ask a question or make a statement that seemed to contradict sound doctrine then he would answer his own question and expound doctrine (Romans 6:1 is one example). This is what he was doing in Romans chapter 9. In typical Jewish academic style, he begins to teach something that seems to contradict the Gospel and the nature of God.
Can God really show partiality even though there are many Scriptures that teach that God is not partial and loves all men equally? Paul then responds with verse 22, "What if God...endured with much long suffering the vessels of wrath..." Paul now tells the reader that those who God "hates" are those who refused to bow the knee and repent and so God will use them and their destruction for His purposes.
God did not withhold salvation from these people, they chose to turn their back on God.
The Scriptures are emphatic regarding God's impartiality. Here are just a few verses that contradict the Calvinist view of a "God of partiality", Acts 10:34-35; Romans 2:11; Deuteronomy 10:17-18. What these people do not understand is that God dwells outside of time. Because he is not limited to time, He can be present at any time in history whether past, present or future. As such He already knows who will believe on Christ and who will not. He desires all to be saved but He knows who will reject His love. Does this knowledge then cause God to hate some and embrace others? Certainly not. He still will seek for them to repent and be saved.
The fact is that the Bible tells us that it is not God who hardens men's hard against Him but rather men choose to harden their hearts against God (Isaiah 6:9-10; Zechariah 7:8-14; Matthew 13:14-15; Hebrews 3:12; Revelation 16:9) In conclusion, predestination contradicts the God of the Bible who is no respecter of persons. He loves all equally for He is perfect, with un-flawed love and desires all to be saved.
Predestination is a perversion of the gospel that can only be regarded as a heresy as it preaches another Christ who came to die for some and not all.
I hope that this is of help.
Richest blessings in Christ, David