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1 Corinthians 9:11
"If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we should reap material things from you?"

 

 

 

 

 

Evangelism:
The Time Is Now!

Section 5, Chapter 5

Evangelism? Or Predestination?

Back to chapter 4
Study Questions

In this chapter I want to talk about a historical heresy taught in the Church that is even popular today. It is the teaching and misunderstood subject of Predestination in the form sometimes called Supralapsarianism or Double Predestination. This doctrine teaches that before God created the world, He determined who would be saved and who would be damned.78/765 I would like to start by quoting from a book called The Word of Truth by Dale Moody. This book is a summary of Christian Doctrine based on the Bible. Dale Moody states the following,

"Many human minds seem to be programmed like a modern computer. Punch a button and a whole system of ideas comes out. This is especially true in theology when certain code words are used.

Take for example the perfectly good New Testament word Predestination. Say it and you can never be sure the New Testament meaning will be aroused in the minds of the listeners. Many, perhaps most, see a picture of an arbitrary tyrant on his hellish-heavenly throne watching mankind march by. "Number six - your in a fix! Number seven you go to heaven!" Why? God just decreed that all number sixes go to hell and all number sevens go to heaven."79/337

I think that the popular concept of Predestination as stated above, if it belongs anywhere, it belongs with number six above, at least the way it is interpreted.

CHURCH TRADITION

I have studied Church History for many years. While I was in school studying Church History, I thought it was interesting that the concept of Predestination had such a dominate position in the Church. I noticed at the same time, though, that this

dominate position that it took had nothing to do with the teaching of Scripture other than to take a passage in the Bible out of its context to support their position. It had to do with a man like Augustine or Calvin popularizing the teaching. At the time they were teaching these ideas they were able to get a following. As a result the teaching of Predestination became a permanent tradition in the Church and was accepted more or less blindly without any real investigation or consideration about what the Bible actually taught on the subject and especially in context.

At this point of our discussion, understand that when we talk about Predestination, we are not talking about what the Scripture actually teaches on the subject, but rather what has been accepted historically by the Church on the subject. The historical definition of Predestination that has been handed down traditionally to us by the Church is that God has predestined some to go to hell and some to go to heaven. In other words it has nothing to do with whether you want Jesus to be Lord and Savior of your life or not. God has decided it and thatís the way it is.

Dale Moody further discusses this issue in his book when talking about the teachings of St. Augustine.

"On the basis of belief in irresistible grace Augustine (AD 354-430) built his doctrine of single Predestination. He argued as follows: "Between grace and Predestination there is only this difference, the Predestination is the preparation for grace, while grace is the donation itself"... all who are foreknown are foreordained to eternal life. The rest of mankind is left in what Augustine called Ďthe mass of perdition,í some of whom had capacity to believe that did not hear and others who heard but refused to believe."79/343

The doctrine of Predestination as it was being taught had absolutely nothing to do with the personís beliefs, convictions, or whether they received Jesus as Savior and Lord or not. As Moody had said in the beginning, Number six - your in a fix! Number seven - you go to heaven! The image of God that this gives us speaks for itself, it speaks clearly to the foolishness of this kind of teaching.

Does the Bible support this interpretation of what is meant by Predestination? Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 2:1-6,

"First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of ALL MEN, for kings and ALL who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, WHO DESIRES ALL MEN TO BE SAVED and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom FOR ALL, the testimony borne at the proper time."

In this passage of Scripture Paul states several allís: 1) Pray on behalf of all men, 2) God desires all men to be saved, 3) that they would all come to a knowledge of the truth, and 4) Jesus was given as a ransom (died for our sins) for all men. The Bible does not contradict itself. Only manís interpretations do. Paul plainly tells us in this passage of Scripture that Godís will is that ALL men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. This passage also clearly tells us that Jesus did not just die for a select ordained few, but for ALL men. The teaching of Predestination as it has been traditionally taught through the history of the Church is a Christian heresy not supported by the Word of God as is clearly indicated by the passage above.

Some opponents have tried to tell me that the word ALL here refers to people chosen from every race, thus all meaning from every race, not all men. This interpretation is even included in some Lexicons of the bible. For example, in the Enhanced Strongís Lexicon of the Bible is the following quote from C.H. Spurgeonís sermon titled Particular Redemption:

"... Ďthe whole world has gone after himí Did all the world go after Christ? Ďthen went all Judea, and were baptized of him in Jordan.í Was all Judea, or all Jerusalem, baptized in Jordan? ĎYe are of God, little childrení, and the whole world lieth in the wicked oneí. Does the whole world there mean everybody? The words Ďworldí and Ďallí are used in some seven or eight senses in Scripture, and it is very rarely the Ďallí means all persons, taken individually. The words are generally used to signify that Christ has redeemed some of all sorts ó some Jews, some Gentiles, some rich, some poor, and has not restricted His redemption to either Jew or Gentile ..."86/CD

What is wrong with Spurgeons comments here? What isnít he telling us? First, in the first example he sites from John 12:19 the word whole is not used. A correct translation of this passage is that "the world has gone after him." This is a general statement we even make today that does not mean all everyone, all inclusive.

The second passage Spurgeon quotes is from Matthew 3:5 which in context states:

"Then Jerusalem was going out to Him, and all Judea, and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins." (Matt 3:5-6)

Even an uneducated person understands that the use of the word all here, in context, does not mean not one person was left out. In any society or community of these sizes there are always going to be dissenters, those who do not believe. This does not require even an explanation from Spurgeon. But as is true with every heresy, passages are taken out of their immediate, surrounding and in the context of the Bibleís full teaching on the subject and made to have a meaning total context does not support.

What Spurgeon is doing here is committing the same error he is attacking. He first is assuming the reader is making assumptions no intelligent person would make. Only He is committing the error he assumes men are making who in context are correct in interpreting the use of the word pa'" (pas, "all")92 in 1 Timothy 2:1-6 to mean all inclusive. When Paul states that God desires "all men to be saved," Paul by his own comments in the context of all does not mean he believes all men will be saved. Otherwise, why would he be admonishing Christians to pray for all men? Not because all men will be saved, but because it is Godís will that all men be saved, but God does not force men He gave independent will to accept His salvation for them.

Second, it is not true that God chooses some to be saved and some to be lost. The context of Scripture does not support this assertion. for example Paul wrote in Romans 5:18:

"So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to ALL men."

If all men here does not mean literally all inclusive, then neither does Adamís transgression bringing condemnation to all men mean literally all inclusive. Context here tells us very plainly that Jesus salvation on the cross is for all men meaning all inclusive, not just those who do accept His Salvation.

God speaking through Ezekiel and Peter tells us His heart on this matter:

"ĎAs I live!í declares Adonai Yehovah, ĎI take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?í" (Ezekiel 33:11)

"The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)

God has made His desire clearly known: He wants no one to go to hell or perish, He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. That is Godís heart. What is true is that God does not force men to want Him or His rule over them. What is true is that if men do not repent and turn to Him He will send them to hell.

"For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries." (Hebrews 10:26-27)

For this reason God through Paul admonishes us to pray on behalf of all men so that they will come to a knowledge of the truth and have the opportunity for salvation. What 1 Timothy 2:1-6 does not say is that all men will be saved. Godís will and desire, however, in the context of the Bible as a whole is that all men will repent of their sins and turn to Him so they can be saved. Because this is His will and desire, and because he forces no one to accept His salvation, He asks us to pray on behalf of all men, here clearly meaning all men completely, no one left out. However, not all will repent or accept His salvation.

When you accept the teaching of double predestination, you force an interpretation upon Scripture total context does not support, you create all kinds of unsolvable contradictions of Godís own statements recorded in the Bible and you place upon Godís character an attitude and posture He nor Scripture supports. Godís heart and attitude about man are that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked and He is not willing that any should perish, but he forces His free gift of redemption in Jesus upon no one.

I was intrigued while studying about the Reformation, that though Lutheranism, Calvinism and Zwinglyism were right concerning our need to get back to the Bible as the absolute Word of God and as our first and final determining factor in what is true or false concerning the teaching and practice of our faith, despite all the good that came out of the Reformation, the one thing that did not come out of the Reformation, which you would think would be a logical response to the Reformation, was a greater emphasis on Evangelism, one-on-one Evangelism, and Missions. The fact of the matter is there was hardly any effort whatsoever. In fact, the emphasis of Evangelism came more from their enemies the Catholics through the order of the Jesuits who, not the Protestants, were responsible for evangelizing the Indians of America.

The reason why the Reformation Church did not have strong emphasis Evangelistically was for the same reason the Catholic Church did not and that was because they continued to hold to the twisted non-Biblical traditional teaching on Predestination. If God had predestined some to be saved and the rest to be lost then what was the point of Evangelism? Moody comments,

"Even within the Lutheran camp the debate was heated. Philip Melanchthon, Lutherís closest friend, ventured to say three agencies cooperate in human conversion to Christ. These three agencies are the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and the human will.79/342 Melanchthon was especially fond of Philippians 2:13 which says: ĎGod is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.í The very word work put Melanchthon at the mercy of Lutherís followers who denounced this teaching as synergism. Luther was great and the Protestant Reformation was not all in vain, but this denial of human freedom has not helped Lutheranism in the Evangelistic task of the Church. Holy Scripture is more precious than human tradition, even Protestant tradition."79/344

Synergism is the mixing of Godís works with manís works for salvation,80/97 at least this is the way these Reformation Theologians were using the word, but that is not what the Bible means by the use of the term in context.

The whole emphasis of the Reformation was that the Church put so much emphasis in tradition that they ignored what the Bible taught. Again Dale Moody comments,

"Wherever they [teachers of Predestination] have prevailed, Evangelism and missions have not even begun, but wherever they have been repudiated in the light of a "whosoever" Gospel the fires of Evangelism and missions have been lighted."79/342

Understand that the teaching of Predestination in Church History was Popular not because it had been based on the teaching of Scripture, that is on the total context of Scripture, but because it gave an excuse for not getting involved in Evangelism. To give you an example in my own life, when I was in college I worked for United Parcel Service in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I had a friend who worked there who was also a student at the Christian College I was attending. I knew from other Christian brethren that this person had a strong belief in Predestination. This brother knew that I was involved in teaching aggressive Evangelism on Campus. I taught an Evangelism program at this college called Tadpole Evangelism.

One day my car broke down and so I had to get a ride to and from work the next day. After work I asked this man, I will call Bob, if he would give me a ride back to school. He said, "Sure!" We got in the car and were driving down the freeway. Suddenly, without me prompting this in any way, Bob spoke up and said,

I just want you to know that I am a predestinationist.

The reason he was wanting me to know that was because he knew that I taught a class on Evangelism and that I was involved in aggressive Evangelism. He was wanting me to know that he believed that there were those predestined to be saved and lost and that to bring up the issue would be a waste of his time.

The issue was not his belief but his goals and focus in life to make money which evangelism and the rejection of men would not make possible. The issue was that he did not care about menís salvation, but only their acceptance to use them for the success of his own selfish self-centered interests and goals. The truth of the matter was that Godís kingdom was not his concern at all. For this reason the teaching of predestination gave him his excuse for focusing on those self-centered interests rather than suffering with the children of God by chancing menís rejection by bringing to them the message of Godís love and forgiveness through Christ. Because his focus and concern was gaining the world, He did not want to get involved in Evangelism so he justified his passiveness not only in Evangelism but in reaching out and loving people in general.

Because I worked with this man and went to school with him for more than four years, I got to know him very well. During Breaks at work most of his conversation was centered on what was wrong with everybody and all Christians. He was subconsciously pacifying his conscious by justifying his lack of concern for them and their salvation by finding fault with them. How is this different from what an unbeliever does with the Gospel?

This my brethren is the fruit of the teaching of predestination and the only reason why it is popular among a larger population of believers than it is not. There is, however, no such thing as a safe and costless Christianity if one is truly living for Christ and the salvation of his fellow men.

Surprisingly this man and I became good friends. I was an undergraduate and this man was completing two Masters in Theology. Along with being fellow students and working at the same job off campus, he had two other businesses of his own going on. One of these businesses I had had myself in the past. He was wanting to drop this particular account because he was over loaded. I told him I was interested in the account, but he was unwilling to recommend me not due to bad work on my part, because he gave me all his extra work knowing it would get done and be done right, but because he was concerned that I might try to influence this man for Christ and that might effect his relationship with him and future business. I know because I confronted him about it. He did not deny it.

What is the Bibleís response to someone who claims to be a Christian but has no time for the Gospel or love for their fellow brethren? Paul and John wrote the following:

"For many walk of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." (Philippians 3:18-20)

"But whoever has the biological-means-of-life, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth." (1 John 3:17- 18)

"By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, ĎI have come to know Him,í and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." (1 John 2:3-4)

When someone tells me on the field in Evangelism that he is a Christian but has no interest in Evangelism because he believes God has already predetermined those who will be saved and will be lost, I donít argue with them, I just ask them which one they are? If they say predestined to be saved, I then explain to them based on their theology, if what they say it true, then according to the Apostle John in 1 John 2:3-4 it will be evidenced by their obedience to Christ and that Christ makes plain in His Word that it is His will that all believers share the Gospel. I then explain that John says if a person claims to be a believer and refuses to obey Christ, that that person is not a believer, but a liar. Paul wrote:

"But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ĎI believed, therefore I spoke,í we also believe, therefore we also speak." (2 Cor 4:13)

Preaching the Gospel does not save us, but John and Paul tell us that if a person is truly saved it will be evidenced by their works and obedience to Christ. If a person claims to be a believer but comes up with every excuse why not to obey, the Bible tells us we have a right to question the legitimacy of their salvation.

When we put self before the Kingdom of God and make ourselves our source rather than Jesus, we must do all kinds of things with Godís word to justify it. However, "let God be found true, though every man be found a liar" (Rom 3:4).

About three years passed and Bob and I were both getting ready to graduate. I was over at his apartment one night during this time and he said to me,

You know Dale, here I am getting ready to graduate with two masters in theology, but you have a relationship with God I do not have. What is it that is different about you? I am better educated than you are and yet I come to you with many of my problems and get answers my education does not teach me. What is it that is different about you as compared to me?

I said in reply,

Bob you believe everything in your life is predestined: your salvation and anything that Jesus has for you, that it does not matter what effort you may try to make, it has all been predetermined. Because you believe this you take no initiative in your relationship with God. I believe that I am saved through Jesusí death on the cross and that there is nothing that I can do to add to what He has done, but I also believe that I am free to choose whether I want to have relationship with Jesus or not. Yes Jesus died for me, but I had to decide whether to accept it or not through the exercise of my will to ask Jesus to come into my heart. But even though I have accepted Jesus into my life as Savior and Lord, I am still not a robot, Jesus has still given me a free will to choose whether I want to grow in that relationship or not. It is up to me to decide whether or not to stimulate my relationship with Him in order to grow in Him. The end result is that I do not wait for Him to come to me but I take the initiative and seek Him out (Jer 29:11-13). I do not wait for Him to minister to me about my problems, I take my problems to Him and seek Him out until I get an answer.

Because you believe you cannot do anything about your problems and that only if God takes the initiative toward you to do something about your problems, you take no initiative toward God about your problems to find the answers. As a result you are reaping the fruit of your efforts in your relationship with God which is no effort. You do not see the importance of daily feeding on Jesus and His Word in your relationship with God, of initiating your relationship with God because you believe all is already predestined.

Paul and Jesus said,

"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." (Gal 6:7)

"So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, ĎLord, Lord,í will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven." (Matt 7:20-21)

Consequently, in my study of Church History, I found that wherever the doctrine of Predestination was strong, Evangelism was dead. But I also found that the belief in this doctrine had nothing to do with the true teaching of Scripture so much as it had to do with an accepted tradition of the Church. It was based on the authority and tradition of the Church, not the teaching of the Bible, at least not in context.

CHURCH AUTHORITY
VERSES THE BIBLE

If you recall, previous to the Reformation, the Church emphasized that the Church authority was a higher authority than even the Word of God. Because the teaching of Predestination was so popular, in time it became a strong Church tradition. Unfortunately, when the Reformation came and the reformers were excommunicated from the Church (notice, they did not leave the Church) and then started their own Churches, they carried on this traditional teaching of Predestination.

THE ANABAPTIST MOVEMENT

When I continued my studies through Church History, I was also intrigued to find that when it came to the Anabaptist movement they did not believe in the traditional teaching about Predestination, but they did believe in one-on-one doorto-door aggressive Evangelism. Hubmaier, one of their original founders wrote,

"Therefore he has commanded us to preach the Gospel to every creature, that everyone who receives it, who believes and is baptized may be saved."81/187

Anabaptists were called Anabaptists because they also did not hold to another tradition of the Catholic Church which the other reformers did and that was infant baptism.32/47 Infant baptism is all wrapped up in the doctrine of Predestination. It is a first step of grace according to this doctrine. Because God has already predetermined those who will be saved and those who will be lost, infants are baptized at random ahead of time for those who are already chosen. Because the Reformation Churches accepted the doctrine of Predestination, they naturally also carried over the also non-Biblical teaching of infant baptism.

The Anabaptists taught believers baptism.81/115 In Acts Chapter 8, the Evangelist Philip is told by an angel of the Lord to go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza. At this road he meets an Ethiopian eunuch who just happens to be reading Isaiah 53:7 which talks about Jesus being slaughtered for our sins. Philip explains to the Ethiopian that it is talking about Jesus who just died and rose again. He evidently also explained to him that in order to be saved he had to repent and believe on Jesus and then be baptized in water in his name as a first step of obedience because the Eunuch said to Philip, after Philip explained the passage to him, "Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?" Philip states in response, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." The Eunuch states in response, "I believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God" (Acts 8:35-37). Only after the Eunuch made this public profession of faith did Philip then allow him to be baptized in the name of Jesus. Acts clearly teaches that only those who have truly believed in their heart are to receive water baptism in Jesusí name. This is what the Anabaptists taught.81/116

An infant has not come to the age of reason and has no idea why this strange man is pouring water over him or her and expresses this confusion with loud crying. There is no intelligent decision to receive or reject Jesus as Savior and Lord. This is not a believerís baptism because the baby has not had time to believe anything. Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may" be baptized.

Consequently, because the Anabaptist did not carry over the doctrine of Predestination, they also did not carry over the doctrine of infant baptism either. Groups today which hold this teaching are groups like the Mennonites and the Free-will Baptists.

You will find through history that the Churches which emphasized one-on-one Evangelism were not the Catholics, Lutherans, Zwinglians, or Calvinists. The Anabaptists were the only ones. The Reformed Churches that do emphasize Evangelism, like the Presbyterians, picked up this emphasis on Evangelism originally from the Anabaptists.

The Anabaptists believed a person came to know Jesus through first knowledge; second, Holy Spirit conviction and then third, through the person making a decision to respond to that knowledge by repenting of oneís sins and receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. If a person did this, then and only then was he or she a candidate for water baptism.

Strangely enough the whole emphasis of the Reformation was objective study and research of the Bible in an atmosphere of open free speech debate. Despite this, the Lutherans, Calvinists, Zwinglians along with the Catholics not only openly opposed the Anabaptists and persecuted them, but even put their leaders to death unless they recanted of their doctrinal beliefs against Predestination and infant baptism.81/47 This was a total contradiction of what the Reformation originally stood for. The Reformers condemned the Catholic Church for killing their forefathers and then turned around and committed the exact same error against a group that did not agree with them.

The emphasis I am trying to make here is that it was the Anabaptists who taught aggressive and one-on-one Evangelism. We can thank not the Reformers, but the Anabaptists for our Evangelical Evangelistic heritage. Unfortunately, I did not discover these truths through the reading of my Church history books. Maybe a paragraph mentioned the Anabaptist movement in passing and that was it and it said nothing about their influence concerning one-on-one Evangelism or anything else. They were completely flossed over. But all the Church history books I read and theology books I read spent more than enough time talking about Predestination and virtually nothing about the importance of Evangelism. The only time Evangelism was mentioned was when a figure of Church history might be involved in it like the Jesuit Priests of the middle ages and beyond, but that was all. It was because they flossed over the Anabaptists that I decided to do my Church history paper on them because I wanted to know something about them. In studying about the Anabaptist movement I came to find out why they were persecuted: because they believed in believersí baptism which was their motivation for one-on-one aggressive Evangelism.81/137-142

If one takes the passages that Predestinationists use to support their doctrine out of the Bible and its total context, it seems they have a very strong argument. The Bible, though, is not a passage, it is not a chapter, it is not a book; the Bible is all sixty-six books combined together including the Old and New Testament. A very simple principle of interpretation is that in order to understand the meaning of one passage, it must be taken in the context of the Bible as a whole. Often times when you look at a passage of Scripture by itself it seems to say one thing, but when you read it in the context of the Bible as a whole, it does not say what you thought it said by itself at all.

For example, a main passage Predestinationists use is John 6:44. Jesus stated, "No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day." By itself it sounds like Jesus is saying God the Father chooses those who will be saved and those who will be lost. This is not what Jesus is saying in context. In the next verse Jesus tells them, "Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me." Jesusí point to the unbelieving Jews was that if they knew the Father they would know Him because He came from the Father. He was telling them that the reason they did not recognize Him as their Messiah and as Godís Son was because they did not know the Father. It was not an issue of Predestination but that they were tearing Jesus down because they did not know the Father; therefore, they did not recognize Jesus as their Messiah and Savior.

Only the true God will lead us to Jesus (John 17:3, 1 John 4:1-3). Any other god or demon will do all they can to lead us away from Jesus. At the same time Jesus made it very plain that He would not cast away anyone who came to Him whether led to him by the Father or not. (John 6:37).

Romans Chapters 9-11 is one of the most popular passages of Scripture used to justify the concept of predestination and that God chooses those who will be saved and those who will be damned. Again, it is based on taking certain verses out of context by themselves like 9:15-16.

Paul starts off this passage talking about his love for his fellow Israelites, how if possible he would even himself be damned that they might be saved (9:1-5). Israel was not rejected because they were predestined to be rejected, they were rejected because Godís kingdom is received by faith through Godís promises (9:6-8, 31-32), the righteousness of God (10:1-4); not through the works of the Law, our righteousness. They were trying to come to God on their terms, not Godís terms. We become sons of God through believing Godís promises, not through works.

"That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants." (Rom 9:8)

Sarah was beyond the age of having children, 80 years of age, so Sarah gave Abraham Hagar, her maid, to bear children for her as a surrogate mother. In doing this, Abraham was trying to fulfill Godís promise through his own efforts rather than believing Godís promise of a son through his own flesh, his wife Sarah. God promised that it would come through his own flesh, from his own body, that is through his wife Sarah. It was because Abraham believed this promise of God, this work and miracle of God, not Abrahamís, that God declared Abraham righteous, saved (Genesis 15:6).

Paul tells us in Romans 9:8 that it is not the children of the flesh, meaning by the initiative, works or strife of the soul through obedience to the Law that are Godís children, but the children of the promise. It is those who believe on Godís promises that are declared Godís children.

What is Godís promise? It is stated in Romans 10:9,

"That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved."

What does it mean to believe God raised Jesus from the dead? It means that we believe that God accepts Jesusí death for our sins in our place on the cross and not through any works of our own. Godís proof and witness to us that He does is His bringing Jesus back from the dead. Paul wrote in Romans 4:25, "He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification." The resurrection is Godís witness, promise and proof to us that He does accept Jesusí death as payment for our sins in our place. When we believe this work of God, we are saved (Rom 4:25, 10:9-10).

In Romans 9:15-16 Paul wrote,

"For He says to Moses, ĎI will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.í So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy."

This is an example of a passage that predestinationists use to try and prove that God chooses who He will save and chooses who He will condemn, but is this what Paul means by quoting this passage here? Not at all. In Romans 9:4 Paul tells us that it was through the Israelites that we received the law, the temple service and even Jesus through the flesh. Paul then goes on to explain to us in context that salvation does not come through obedience to the law but through believing Godís promises about his accepting Jesusí death in our place just as Abraham was saved by believing Godís promises. Abraham was not saved by living perfectly according to the law of which he had no knowledge; this was because the Law came through Moses 400 years later, not through Abraham.

Paul is telling us that the antagonist is saying that God is unjust because He rejects His own people trying to come to Him through obedience to the Law, which He gave to them in the first place. It is in this context that Paul is quoting this passage and saying that if God chooses only to accept those who come to Him by faith in His promises rather than through the works of the Law, who are we to question God? He states in Romans 9:30-32,

"What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone."

If God chooses only to have mercy on those who come to Him through faith in His promise and not by works, who are we to question God? That is the meaning of this passage and the totality of Paulís argument in Romans Chapters 9-11. Yes, if a man chooses to come to God on the bases of his works he is predestined to be lost, but if a man comes to God on the bases of His work through Christ, that man is predestined to be saved.

The Hardening
of Pharaoh's Heart

The science of archaeology has discovered and provided us an explanation for why God hardened Pharaohís heart. In the theology of the ancient Egyptian death cult, as described in the Egyptian Book of the Dead,49/127 after death the deceased had to go through a trial in the Hall of Judgment to determine his guilt or innocence. If judged guilty his fate was destruction; if innocent, then eternal life with its rewards. In order to pass through this judgment, the dead had to deny a long list of sins that were read against him and successfully declare that he was pure. This act was called the "Negative Confession," and while it was being conducted the deceasedís heart, shown in a canopic jar, was being weighed in the scales of judgment against the standard of truth represented by the hieroglyphic symbol of a feather. This judgment is seen clearly in a mural painting known as The weighing of the heart. Against the testimony of the deceased, his heart would confess the truth, showing his Negative Confession to be a lie. The heart, therefore, would tip the scales in favor of judgment and result in his destruction. Since all men sin and the natural inclination of the heart is to confess such sin, the ingenious Egyptians devised a means to keep the heart from contradicting the Negative Confession. They did this by writing magical incantations on a stone image of their sacred dung beetle, called a scarab, that was carved in the shape of a heart. This stone heart scarab was then placed in or on the chest cavity during mummification, a fact revealed by x-rays of Egyptian mummies. Various incantations ordered the heart to not rebel or witness against the individual in question. This resulted in the transfer of the stony character of the scarab to the fleshly heart in the afterlife which made it hard and unable to speak. This act of ritual "hardening of the heart" reversed the natural function of the unhardened heart and resulted in salvation since the deceased was now decreed sinless through silence.

However, when God hardened Pharaohís heart, who as a god himself represented the salvation of Egypt, He reversed the theological hope of all Egyptians. This hardening resulted in Pharaohís inability to naturally respond to the destructive plagues, and therefore stop them by surrendering to Mosesí request. Therefore, instead of "hardening the heart" bringing salvation, instead it brought destruction. Thus, archaeology has provided new insight into a difficult theological concept by giving us the proper background and setting of the Egyptian beliefs God through Moses wished to counter. This discovery also confirms the historical accuracy of the Exodus account.

THE GREEK WORD PREDESTINATION: proorivzw

The word used for predestination in the Greek is pro-orizo proorivzw. It means to set restrictions beforehand. It is a compound word broken down to ūŮÔ meaning before and ÔŮťśý meaning to set bounds, restrict.83 The true meaning of the use of the word predestination in the New Testament in the context of Romans Chapters 9-11 is that God before the foundation of the world set restrictions of how we could come to him. Those restrictions are that we can only come to Him on the basis of His promises and works through Jesus Christ, not by any works of our own. That is the totality of Paulís argument in these chapters of the Book of Romans.

This is also the meaning of the use of the word predestination in Paulís argument in Ephesians Chapter 1 where he tells us that God set restrictions beforehand that the only way you and I can become adopted as Godís sons and daughters is by coming to Him through Jesus. He states in Ephesians 1:5, "He ordained-beforehand to adopt us as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will." He then goes on to explain how we become Godís adopted children through Jesus in Ephesians 1:13-14,

"In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of Your salvationóhaving also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise."

Paul tells us the process of conversion in this passage: first hearing the Gospel; second, making a willful decision to believe its message; third, as a result of believing that message in oneís heart, you become adopted as Godís sons and daughters and are given proof of your adoption by His giving to you and sealing you in His Holy Spirit. Galatians 3:1-7 gives further insight on this matter.

This goes all the way back to Cain and Able. The sacrificing of the Lamb in the Old Testament did not save men, but was an expression of faith and obedience in Godís promise of the coming Messiah and Lamb of God: Jesus Christ. For this reason God commanded man all the way back to Adam to approach him through the sacrifice of the lamb. When Able came to God through the sacrifice of the lamb, Able was accepted by God; but when Cain tried to come to God through his works, the fruit of the ground, God rejected Cain. This is also why presently Israel is rejected by God because they are trying to come to God through the works of the Law, not through the sacrifice of Godís Lamb: Jesus Christ (See the Book of Hebrews). Paul thus concludes in Romans 10:3,

"For not knowing about Godís righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God."

Because they were trying to come to God based on their works, they could not humble themselves and come to God based on His works. I can testify to you that through thirty-four years of Evangelism work, religious people, meaning people who are basing their salvation on their works, are the hardest people to reach with the message of Godís free Salvation through Jesus Christ. This is because they have spent their entire lives working for their salvation. Therefore, to turn to the cross would mean their letting go of years of works they have accumulated in exchange for Jesusí work of salvation for them instead. Paul then concludes in Romans 10:4,

"For Christ is the goal of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes."

Jesus fulfilled the requirement of the law for us by dying on the cross. Now all we have to do to be saved is believe on Godís work through Jesus on the cross. This is what the argument of Romans Chapters 9-11 and Ephesians Chapter 1 is all about, not that God chooses some to be saved and some to be lost. This is what Paul is talking about in Philippians 3:4-9 when he says,

"Although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as lose for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith."

The flesh, here again, representing Paulís efforts through the works of his soul to be saved. Whenever the Bible in this way talks about the flesh verses the spirit in this context, it is not referring to carnality or sensuality, but rather our trying to save ourselves or sanctify ourselves through the works of our soul rather than accepting Godís free gift of grace through Jesus for our salvation and trusting in Him through the work of His Holy Spirit to bring about our sanctification. This is what Paulís discussion is all about in Romans Chapters 7-8. Jesus is the answer to our salvation and sanctifying needs, not our religious works (1 Cor 1:30).84

The Israelites were rejected and broken off the vine, Jesus, because they insisted on coming to God through their works of the Law. The Gentiles were grafted in only because they chose to come to God by believing His promises through Jesus. Paul wrote in Romans 11:20 about the unbelieving Jews and the believing Gentiles, "they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith." When the Israelites return to God on the basis of Godís work through Christ rather than their own works, they will be grafted back into the Vine Jesus once again. Paul wrote in Romans 11:23, "And they [Jews] also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again."

WHAT IS TRUE
ABOUT OUR
COMING TO JESUS

What is true about our coming to Know Jesus? What is true is that without the revelation of God through His Word and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, none of us would ever come to the realization that Jesus is the answer to our need. Jeremiah wrote, "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jer 17:10). Paul tells us that manís heart, his soul, is darkened and bound by strongholds of the mind (2 Cor 10:3-5). These strongholds of the mind are the presuppositions we hold concerning the world, the cosmos, God and man. These strongholds are also the lies concerning God that Satan plants into our hearts. These strongholds of the mind blind us and keep us from being able to see that Jesus and His work of the cross are the only means of our redemption and restoration of our relationship with God (2 Cor 4:3-4). It is these strongholds of the mind and subconscious which also prevent us from responding with our will to the message of the Gospel. This is why Paul tells us in our original passage in 1 Timothy 2:1-6 to pray for all men.

First, we need to plant the seed of the Word of God in menís hearts. Why? Because Paul tells us that the Word is the Sword of the Holy Spirit (Eph 6:17) and the writer of Hebrews tells us that

"The word of God is spiritually-alive88 and energetically-effective89 and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing93 as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the conscious-reasonings90 and intentions91 of the heart." (Heb 4:12).

Godís Word is powerful and able to cut through and expose our false assumptions and lies about God, man and the universe, and make us see our need of Jesus as our Savior and Lord. Jesus also tells us that the truth, the Word of God, will free manís will from bondage to sin to then be free to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord. Jesus said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). This is where you and I come in. This is why you and I need to take the initiative to go out and share the Gospel, the Word of God, with men. We need to plant the seed of Godís Word into the hearts of men.

Second, As Paul admonishes us, we need to pray for the men and woman we share Godís Word with that he will quicken His Word to their hearts and minds to see that what we have shared with them is true and that they need to put their trust in what Jesus did on the cross for their sins and then surrender to Him as Savior and Lord. This all goes back to what we talked about in Section 1 Chapter 2 about the three necessary ingredients for Christian Conversion: First, the Word of God which involves our aggressively sharing the Gospel with men. Second, the work of the Holy Spirit to inspire, quicken and bring to the personís memory that what we shared, the Word of God, is true. Finally, third, Godís grace to free the will of the individual through the knowledge of the truth to be able to make an intelligent decision to receive or reject Jesus as Savior and Lord.

  1. The sharing of the Word.

  2. The confirmation of the Holy Spirit.

  3. The free will decision of the individual to accept or reject Christ with full acknowledgement and understanding of the truth and consequences of what he is receiving or rejecting.

OUR WEAPONS ARE NOT OF THE FLESH

We also need to pray for ourselves before we go out and share the Gospel. This is because only Jesus knows what is binding men and keeping them from seeing He is the answer to their life and needs. Before I go out and share the Gospel with men, I pray and ask Jesus to quicken by His Holy Spirit to the heart and mind of the person what is truly in their heart and mind so far as it relates to what is blocking them from seeing that Jesus is the answer to their need and from releasing their faith in Jesus. I then pray that even if they are normally shy, to give them Holy Spirit boldness to share with me what is truly blocking their faith. I then pray that as they do share what is truly blocking their faith that Jesus would quicken to my heart and mind how to properly respond to these strongholds of their minds to tear them down in love so they can release their faith in Jesus and see that He is the answer to their needs. This is what Paul is talking about in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 when he states,

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful in order to destroy strongholds. We are subverting computations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ."

Our warfare is not of the flesh. What does this mean? It means that Jesus has not called us to save anyone (Psalm 49:7-9). What has he called us to do? To witness and to share our faith with others. What does this mean? It means that we are not called to convince a person that the Gospel is true or do whatever is necessary to get the person to accept Jesus as their Savior and lord. It means that the only thing you and I are called to do is to plant the Word of God into the heart of the individual. This means explaining to the person what it means to be a Christian and how to become one, giving them an opportunity to accept Jesus, but then leaving between them and God how they respond to that information. If you accomplish this in your sharing the Gospel with others you have had a successful time of Evangelism.

Not of the flesh also means not responding to their arguments through our own reasoning minds. Why? Because you do not know if what they are saying is what is truly blocking their faith or just a smoke screen to divert you away from the issue which is their need to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord of their lives. Only Jesus knows what is truly in the heart and mind of a person and what it is that is truly blocking that person from releasing their faith in Him and coming to Him as Savior and Lord.

When we try to save someone by trying to wrestle and argue them into accepting Jesus, we actually only push them farther away. This is because we are not addressing what is truly blocking their faith, but only what we see and hear them say about what is blocking their faith. That is why it is important for you to understand that Evangelism is not Jesus calling us to save anyone, it is Jesus calling you and I to share His love through His death on the cross. Evangelism is explaining to a person what it means to be a Christian and how to become one and then leaving the results of how they respond to that message between them and God. This does not mean, though, that if you believe they are ready to make that decision to not encourage and help them to make that decision. This is very important to do if they are ready. Even if I do not think they are ready I will ask them if they would like to receive Jesus. If they say no I do not argue with them. I then have a conversation with them like the following:

Would you like to pray and ask Jesus into your heart?

No.

Do you understand what it means to be a Christian and how to become one?

Yes.

Thank you for allowing me ten minutes of your time to share with you what it means to be a Christian and how to become one. May I leave you a copy of this tract to look at?

Sure.

If the person says no, I thank him again for his time and go on. God gave man a free will and we are not to try and violate it. This in itself will leave a witness and good taste in the personís mouth you are witnessing too.

Because only Jesus knows what is truly in the heart and mind of the individual, it is important that we do not argue with the individual in light of their complaints or arguments against the Gospel through our own reasoning, through the flesh, but only through the leading and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. Only as you respond to menís false presuppositions through the leading of the Holy Spirit can you truly and successfully tear down the strongholds of menís hearts and minds so that their faith in Jesus can be released. The writer of Proverbs states in Proverbs 13:10, "Through presumption comes nothing but strife, but with those who receive counsel is wisdom." Proverbs 12:18 states, "There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of the sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." What happens when what we say is through the leading of the Holy Spirit? Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 14:24-25,

"But if all prophesy,... he [unbeliever] is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you."

No, it is not true that God has determined some to be saved and for some to be lost. It is Godís clearly stated will in the Bible that all men be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth that Jesus is the answer to their need. This is why He commands us to pray on behalf of all men. Any other position is straight from the pit of hell and a self-deceived lie to excuse oneself from doing the MOST LOVING THING a person can do: Share with another person that Jesus is the answer to their needs. The Bible teaches:

"ĎAs I live!í declares Adonai-Yehovah, ĎI take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?í" (Ezekiel 33:11)

"The Lord is not slow about His promise [His second coming], as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, NOT WISHING FOR ANY TO PERISH but for ALL to come to repentance." (2 Pet 3:9).

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to ALL men." (Titus 2:11).

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOEVER believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16).

"He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us ALL. . ." (Rom 8:32).

"So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to ALL men." (Rom 5:18).

"For WHOEVER will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved." (Rom 10:13).

The condition of receiving Jesusí salvation is faith. The only reason men are in hell is because they refused to repent of their sins and believe Godís salvation for them through Jesus, and people are in heaven because they did repent and believe. The Bible plainly teaches everyone who believes. This contradicts what Augustine said earlier, that faith has no bearing on salvation. The Bible is final authority, not a manís doctrine or tradition.

"Even the righteousness of God THROUGH FAITH in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction." (Rom 3:22). "Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar." (Rom 3:4).

The only way Jesus has to communicate the truth of the Gospel is through men. That is where you and I come in and the importance of aggressive one-on-one Evangelism and training in Evangelism. The importance of training in Evangelism is that the Holy Spirit leads us by what we know. He does not work in a vacuum. This is why Evangelism Training is so important because it stores Your library in the mind with information that the Holy Spirit can draw upon when needed later. But as to whether Jesus wants us to go and share the Gospel, the command has already been given: All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. GO THEREFORE and make disciples of all the nations. the fields are white for harvest. (Matt 28:18-20, John 4:35). Jesus commands us to not wait for anything, but to

GO THEREFORE! THE TIME
FOR
EVANGELISM IS NOW!

"For whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?" (Rom 10:13-15).

Study Questions
Chapter 6
Bibliography & Notes
Section 5 Chapters

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