"My heart I give Thee, Lord, eagerly and earnestly." - John Calvin
Saturday, September 14, 2013
An Answer to a Pentecostal Minister Regarding Predestination
I was recently watching a roundtable discussion on TV among several Pentecostal ministers. An emailer wrote in and asked the opinion of the panel regarding the doctrine of predestination. Among the responses was one by a panel member, in which he snorted, "'Whosoever will' is all you need to know." I believed that such a vacuous answer could not go unchallenged, so I emailed him the brief argument below. Due to his particular biases, I used the King James Version, rather than my usual ESV. I will give his response at the bottom.
First, no one "wills" to come to God naturally, because we are all
"dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1). As such, Paul says that
"no one seeks God" (Romans 3:11). So you used that phrase to mean
something that Scripture says is impossible. Rather, God must take the
initiative to give us a new heart (Ezekiel 11:19-20 and 36:26-27).
In John 6:44, Jesus says, "No man can come to Me, except the Father
which hath sent me draw him." And Paul makes the same point in
Philippians 2:13, "it is God which worketh in you both to will and to
do of His good pleasure." It is God that creates the will in us to
respond to the Gospel. It isn't something that we have in us. Yes, it
is "whosoever will," but only because God gives us that will to begin
with. What He requires, He provides (John 1:13). Paul says that God even gives us
the very repentance which is a part of our response to the Gospel: "In
meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure
will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth..." (II
This is why I believe in predestination, because I have experienced the
truth that it is only by God's ordination that I believed (Acts 13:48),
and because my Jesus chose me, I did not choose Him (John 15:16). That
is my assurance, that He is faithful and unfailing, regardless of how
frail and faltering I am (John 6:39, 10:28-29).
Edited to remove identifying remarks, he responded, "Sir I am sorry to say but you follow false doctrine and obviously lack
an understanding of God 's Holy Word. May I suggest you get the
Expositors Study Bible from JSM.org then you will understand scripture.
I will not debate this with you because I am very busy and if I need to
be corrected on scriptures and doctrine then My pastors...
will do that . Thanks"
My name is Chris Cole. I have lived in the Charlotte, NC, area for over thirty years, and have been an active Presbyterian during most of that time. I love the Westminster Confession of Faith as a beautiful expression of my own personal beliefs.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I prefer the English Standard Version of the Bible, and all quotations are from the ESV, unless otherwise stated.
I have a number of reviews of Reformed books on Amazon. There is a link to them in the Reformed links below.
"Seeing [that] the Lord of lords, the Lord Jesus, is so ready (never was there king so ready to hear a subject as Jesus is), [even] if thou wert the vilest body that goes, a thief, a harlot, etc., yet if thou wilt say this, 'Lord, remember on me, and give me a part of thy kingdom'; - if thou prayest to him from a penitent heart, with confidence and assurance, I promise unto thee, heaven and earth shall go [fall] together ere thou wantest [lack] thine asking. Seeing [that] our Lord Jesus is so liberal [free-giving], then seek more than enough, more than a kingdom, and thou shalt get more. The only cause why we want [lack] is in us: we have no hearts to seek it." - Rev. Robert Rollock, Scottish Presbyterian minister, about 1590, in a commentary on Luke 23:42-43