Tough Questions Answered

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Does God Give Every Person a Chance to Be Saved? – #7 Post of 2009

Post Author: Bill Pratt

I say “yes.”  I believe that God does give every person a chance to be saved.  Why do I believe this?

All men are given the chance to accept or reject God because God loves all men and desires all men to come to him.  According to 2 Pet. 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  According to 1 Tim. 2:3-4, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” And of course, John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

God will freely offer the gift of salvation to everyone, but each person must decide to accept or reject this free gift.

There are many ways that a person can receive the gospel message.  Through a sermon, through a book, through the Bible, through a missionary, through a dream, or through a vision.  God is not limited in how he can offer salvation to men.  We are all held responsible for what we know of God, so there will be no excuses once we stand in front of him.


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Comments

  • Lawrence Kennon

    How many millions of humans have lived and died on this planet and never heard the name of Jesus Christ or even any description of the Christian God? It would be a lot easier to believe that God gave everyone at least one chance if one believed that every one had many chances (lives) to find that narrow path to salvation.

  • Bill Pratt

    Lawrence,
    What a person has to believe to be saved is a separate issue that I have at least partially dealt with in this post.

    Thanks for your comment,
    Bill

  • axnjaxn

    If we believe that God is sovereign over the events of history, and we believe Jesus is the *only* name under heaven by which men can be saved, then how can you say yes? God decides who is elect.

    Nevertheless people are culpable for their rejection of Him. Nature reveals enough of God for men to be His enemies (according to Romans 1), and the default setting of the human experience is defiance against the will of God.

    But if God elects people to salvation, why speak of a chance at all? It’s clear, then, that the topic of election deserves more attention. I have my reasons to believe it: the Bible is clear when it says that no man comes to the Father unless He first draws them. It’s equally clear when it talks about the preordination of the saved from the beginning of time.

    You seem to have taken a decidedly Armenian position, but even the passages you cite are unconvincing in that regard. The words “everyone” and “all” must be qualified if you don’t believe *everyone* is going to be saved. With the weight of scripture detailing God’s sovereign will (e.g. 1 Peter 1), I’m going to have to side with the Calvinists on this one.

  • http://larkandlola.blogspot.com Heather

    Where does this leave babies who die? I’d be interested to hear your theory.

    I’ve always hoped that since God knows us better than we know ourselves, that He would know *if* any persons heart (such as a baby or someone who never heard testimony of Christ) would accept Christ as their savior. I have no biblical support for this (that I’m aware of) I guess it’s just how I reasoned my God would be in such situation…

  • Ronz_0

    There is always one question bugging my mind: How about the Old Testament people? In the old testament, Israel is by far the only nation blessed by God. Then, has God given those people sufficient chances to believe in Him? By chances, I mean, something like prophets, etc. Or will those people be judged again at the end of the world?

    I would like to share a few of my thoughts on predestination. I have read in a website for details about predestination… try and read them at
    With the definition of God as an omnipotent existence, we must keep in mind not to undermine His capability as the creator of the universe. I think God preordained His people, but this is merely because He is omnipotent and able to see into the future. If we disagree on this part, we already undermine His omnipotence. Being able to see, though, does not mean God directly “chose” the people from the beginning. Not because He is not omnipotent, but because He wants to give free will to humans, whom He has created according to His own image. Will humans be according to God’s image without free will? I don’t think so. So, God “foresee”, but the people themselves have the final say. These people are then “preordained” because of their decisions, not the other way around. Of course, the question of nature (genes) and nurture affecting our behaviours and ultimately, beliefs and faiths, should be saved for another day.

  • kay

    Again, this is a little bit deep for my limited knowledge. But I believe that all children, under the age of knowing right and wrong, are saved. Usually that is considered around the age of 12 or so. Jesus said the little children are innocent. I take that to mean without sin. Certainly hope that is the case, as I have a full term still born daughter and a 7 year old son who died.

    God does call us. And we do make the choice to accept or not. He knew before we were born whether we would or not. Maybe the ones he knew would accept are the ones He calls. But the others have a chance to hear and if their heart changes, God will call to them also.

    There are lots of questions we don’t know the answers to. Won’t it be exciting when we reach heaven and find all these answers out?

    Had a sad visit from my mother in law over the weekend. She does not believe the O.T. is the word of God. She thinks it is just history — a story being told from one man to another and finally someone wrote it down. I asked her how she then knew the N.T. was from God. Did not get a real answer.
    How can you believe only parts of the Bible? She is Episcopal.

    Have been listening to Joyce Meyer lately. She said that if we believe and it turns out we wasted out time, so what. But, if we don’t believe, and it turns out we were wrong, oh my.

    Let’s just be ready for Him, at any time.

  • http://larkandlola.blogspot.com Heather

    Kay, Psalm 51:5 (KJV) states:
    “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”

    and then there’s also Romans 3:23 (KJV):

    “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”

    To say that children are without sin because they don’t understand the difference between right and wrong (and my daughter is 11 months, let me tell you when she reaches for those power cords, she looks at me – I know she’s wondering if I’m watching her and that she knows it’s off limits) is to get rid of their need for a savior. I find this very dangerous, whenever the need for Christ is eliminated.

  • Patricia Meehan

    King David had a baby that died and his consolation was that he would see him in Heaven. I think that is what people believe about babies that have died. God is just so I think we have to believe and trust and not try to add anything to the Bible (about the age of reason). God is pure and sinless, which to my way of thinking, tells us that whatever He does is right. And, we can trust that everything He does will work out to be just what it should be and we will realize that if we TRUST.

  • Brad

    Depends entirely on the perspective you take. If you’re a Christian, and believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God, then it is clear that all have the opportunity for salvation. One need not have numerous “lives” for this to happen – which is good, since we do not, since after death comes judgment (Heb 9:27).

    The “deepest darkest Africa” excuse, which is fairly common, just doesn’t hold up in light of Scripture, as Romans 1:18-20 makes pretty clear. There is enough light revealed solely in nature for people to understand that God exists, and God promises that if we seek with all our heart, He will reveal Himself to us.

  • Brad

    If we believe that God is sovereign over the events of history, and we believe Jesus is the *only* name under heaven by which men can be saved, then how can you say yes? God decides who is elect.

    Are you then saying that you DON’T believe that ALL people have the chance, and thus the choice, to accept or reject God? I would love to see the Scriptural basis for that. Yes, I am familiar with Acts 4:12, but by that do you think that one must have/say the actual NAME of Jesus to be saved, or that it is simply THROUGH Jesus that all can receive salvation, if accepted? My guess is you believe the former, but please correct me if that’s wrong. If that’s the case, then you’d also have to say that there was a different METHOD for salvation in the OT, since the NAME of Jesus had not yet been uttered.

    Nevertheless people are culpable for their rejection of Him. Nature reveals enough of God for men to be His enemies (according to Romans 1), and the default setting of the human experience is defiance against the will of God.

    Agreed – I would also say that nature reveals enough of God for me to accept Him as well, and nature is revealed to ALL, thus ALL have the opportunity for salvation. Which doesn’t mean that ALL will HAVE salvation – some will reject it.

    But if God elects people to salvation, why speak of a chance at all? It’s clear, then, that the topic of election deserves more attention. I have my reasons to believe it: the Bible is clear when it says that no man comes to the Father unless He first draws them. It’s equally clear when it talks about the preordination of the saved from the beginning of time.

    Sounds as if you believe in election – I do too. That’s good for both of us, since the Bible is pretty clear on the matter. However, it also sounds as if you have a hard time reconciling man’s free will with God’s election – join that crowd. However, usually the largest objection to people believing in both is because they can’t COMPREHEND how they can work together. I don’t believe we can, fully. However, as Hank Hanegraaf says, we may not be able to COMPREHEND it, but we can certainly APPREHEND from Scripture that both are true. Simply not being able to understand it, doesn’t make it false, since our ways are not God’s ways. Heck, I can’t fully understand the “1 God in 3 Persons” concept, b/c our human minds don’t function like that – doesn’t mean the concept of the Trinity isn’t true, b/c it is clear from Scripture that it is.

    You seem to have taken a decidedly Armenian position, but even the passages you cite are unconvincing in that regard. The words “everyone” and “all” must be qualified if you don’t believe *everyone* is going to be saved. With the weight of scripture detailing God’s sovereign will (e.g. 1 Peter 1), I’m going to have to side with the Calvinists on this one.

    I’d be careful siding with any line of thinking on this, probably safer to side with what Scripture actually says. I don’t think Billy is taking a decidely Arminian point of view – he is simply affirming that men have a choice. The Bible is not Calvinist…or Arminian…it simply says what it says. The verses Billy quotes don’t speak to everyone HAVING salvation – only to God desiring that ALL be saved, which is consistent with His perfect loving nature. That doesn’t mean ALL will, b/c some will reject that. Further, it doesn’t mean ALL are elect.

    Both election and free will are components of Scripture. It’s not an “either/or” proposition; it’s a “both/and” proposition.

  • Brad

    Scripture seems to reference an age of accountability, which when also viewed in light of God’s loving and perfect nature, would seem to suggest that those with the mental (handicapped) or physical (age) incapacity to understand would not be sent to hell – I believe that would be wholly inconsistent with God’s nature. In fact, David speaks in 2 Samuel 12:7, about the death of his infant son, and says “But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” Now, while some may interpret this as death only, I tend to view this as David being reunited with his infant son in Heaven. Either way, when viewed in light of Scripture as a whole, I do believe that these will be in Heaven.

    Further, I don’t believe that’s based on God’s foreknowledge of whether a child WOULD have accepted Him or not, rather based upon the child’s (or the mentally handicapped person’s) inability to fully understand, from a mental capacity, what the gospel is.

  • Brad

    As to the OT, were people saved by any different method than in the NT? I don’t think Scripture supports that. What does Genesis 15:6 say, with respect to Abraham being the father of many nations, even at such an old age? It says “Abraham believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness”, which is repeated in the NT. It wasn’t Abraham’s (or anyone’s) adherence to the Law that saved them – the NT makes this clear, for nobody can perfectly keep God’s law. It is the death of Jesus on the cross that paid the perfect sacrifice.

  • Brad

    Again, this is a little bit deep for my limited knowledge. But I believe that all children, under the age of knowing right and wrong, are saved. Usually that is considered around the age of 12 or so. Jesus said the little children are innocent. I take that to mean without sin. Certainly hope that is the case, as I have a full term still born daughter and a 7 year old son who died.

    See my comments above on those with the inability to understand, either mental or physical. My wife and I have also experienced a miscarriage, and I take great comfort that that we will be reunited with that living soul in Heaven some day. You, too, will be reunited with yours! Don’t just “hope” for that – BELIEVE in it!

    There are lots of questions we don’t know the answers to. Won’t it be exciting when we reach heaven and find all these answers out?

    Amen! Though I’m confident when we get there, we won’t care about the specific answers, as we’ll be in the presence of God Almighty!!

    How can you believe only parts of the Bible? She is Episcopal.

    You can’t believe just “parts” – Scripture itself doesn’t say only parts of it are inspired, it says it all is. So it’s an all or nothing proposition. Sadly, some do not believe that.

    Have been listening to Joyce Meyer lately. She said that if we believe and it turns out we wasted out time, so what. But, if we don’t believe, and it turns out we were wrong, oh my.

    I would just like to caution you briefly about Joyce Meyer, and would invite you to do some research into exactly her beliefs and what she does and doesn’t stand for. It might surprise you. I don’t want to sway you one way or the other, so I would invite you to do the research from trusted Christian sources. Hank Hanegraaf has some good materials, I’m sure many others do as well. While I agree with the overall premise of specifically what you quoted from her (that believing puts us in the “better safe than sorry” category, essentially), I can’t stand that line of thinking, b/c it can lead people to accept for the wrong reason, i.e. as “fire insurance” rather than as a true conversion.

    Let’s just be ready for Him, at any time.

    Agreed!!

  • http://larkandlola.blogspot.com Heather

    Agreed.

  • kay

    Understand what you mean about “insurance”. I only mentioned that thinking it might make the atheist think or consider it as a possibility. Then, along the way, hopefully they would truly believe and repent. I feel the same way about death bed confessions. Some are probably the real thing. But I think that some may be made out of fear rather than really believing. Jesus knew the heart of the thief on the cross. Not sure I think that all who are near death waited until the very last moment to trust God. My dad was so afraid to die. Maybe they do it for “insurance” also.
    Have only been listening to Joyce for about 2 weeks. So far most of what I have heard is about the same as Hagee, Merritt, Moore and Falwell. I do try to listen with good ears. Have even been listening to McGee the past month. Learned a few things I did not know. Can you imagine that?
    Thanks, k

  • le-drummer

    When you talk about new born babies dying, why do people leave election out of the equation? If you trust in a just and loving God, and the doctrine of election is it not then possible that these little ones are recipients of Gods grace, through election?

  • Brad

    Yes, technically it’s possible. However, if you rely on that alone, then you also leave open that there are some babies who would NOT be in Heaven, if they weren’t part of the elect, correct? We must also remember that election and free will work in concert with each other – God uses both to fulfill His perfect plan. So if we go with election only, as it relates to newborn deaths, then there are clearly some babies who won’t make it, unless you say that all babies are elect, for which I don’t see Scriptural support.

    Just curious your thoughts on that.

  • http://defendtheword.wordpress.com defendtheword

    I’m confused as your initial comments in the post seam to imply that you are more Armenian in your views but your subsequent comments are clearly reflecting on Calvinistic theology. Now I would say that I do understand that there are plenty in between views, and I love that we do attempt to reconcile freedom with fear. We also sometimes make statements like we should stick with the Bible, it’s safer which I agree with 100% but interpretation of it is still an issue that will not go away. Main thing is that whichever view you hold Armenian like me or Calvinistic as the majority of people commenting here, there are things we agree on like that God is Love, he desires for all to be saved, and unfortunately not all will be saved.

    Bible is clear that there will be nobody with the excuse at the judgement day, and I think that is all we need to know. Both sides believe that we are in sin and need saving, both agree that without Christ there is no salvation, both agree that sin leads to hell. I think that this is important and sometimes we have to agree to disagree on minor points.

    Like you I love apologetics, but this does not mean we will agree on absolutely everything. I consider myself to be conservative Evangelical Baptist, however this does not stop me from having fellowship with others who call on the Name of Jesus and accept him as their Lord and saviour.

    Election can be explained by the fact that Israel was elected nation but that one this door was open we have different theology, i.e. previously God of Israel seam to say, “Call all the people to join the nation of Israel”, but since the time of Christ message is change to “Go to the end of the world and preach the good news”

    In Christ Jesus

    Defend the world

  • Bill Pratt

    Thanks for the comment. I consider myself to be a moderate Calvinist, which is a moderating position between classical Arminianism and 5-point Calvinism.

  • Kevin

    Love the blog Billy, good stuff.

    Earlier you said, “God will freely offer the gift of salvation to everyone, but each person must decide to accept or reject this free gift.”

    I guess what I don’t understand is how one who is spiritually dead in their sins and trespasses, who hates the things of God, who is under God’s wrath, who is mastered by Satan, who is an enemy of God, who is Totally Deprave (from the Latin meaning “utterly crooked”), simply chooses to believe the gospel one day? If it is a work of their own will, then they can’t really be spiritually dead can they? Which would contradict Paul in Ephesians 2. Also, if it is a work of one’s will, that seems dangerously close to a type of works righteousness, even if it is only one work: choosing the gospel. On the other hand, if it is a work of God’s spirit that regenerates (brings new life to the spiritually dead person’s soul/heart) allowing salvific faith to appear, then why doesn’t he do it for all if he truly loves all? Could God truly love all without loving all to the same extent? Much like a man who loves many, but loves his wife more?

    I don’t mean to interrogate you, these are just some of the difficult questions I wrestle with in regards to Soteriology. By the way, I’m an Amyraldian (4-4.5 point) Calvinist, I just wanted to lay my cards on the table for future discussion.

  • Bill Pratt

    Great questions, Kevin. Unfortunately in a short blog post, I can’t explain everything I might want to. I think the thing I would stress is that I don’t believe man can choose to believe the gospel message without God first intervening. God must first draw us toward him, but once he has drawn us, we must accept or reject him. In other words, he will not force any of us, against our will, to love him.

    This avoids the painful 5-point Calvinist dilemma of trying to explain why God only saves some and not others. No Calvinist I’ve asked that question can ever answer it, because under their theology God ends up arbitrarily choosing some for heaven and some for hell. Under moderate Calvinism, which is the view I hold, God gives each person enough grace to be able to accept or reject his free gift of salvation. It is then up to each person to decide whether to accept or reject.

    Is that helpful?

  • Kevin

    Wow. Sorry for the late reply Billy–I’ve been busy looking for work.

    Btw, I thought you did an excellent job at church the other week. You’re a perfect example of someone who has found their niche and is flourishing in filling it–we need more of that in the body.

    As you said, it is hard to answer these kinds of questions in blog format. I did find your answer to be both well thought out and beneficial. However, I’m not sure that I agree with your last paragraph. With regards to your thoughts about 5 pointers having to answer the question about why God would choose some and not others…I’m not sure moderate Calvinism deals with that issue either. Because you still have an omniscient God creating people whom he knows will not choose him. Just claiming a free choice isn’t enough to placate the issue in my opinion. If he was really loving, might he not only create those that would choose him so none would have to endure hell? Anyway, I think that the question you proposed to 5 pointers is something that 3 and 4 pointers must deal with as well, in varying degrees.

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Kevin,
    Good point. I would answer this question by saying that it doesn’t seem to be possible for God to create truly free creatures who would all choose him. Whenever God creates free creatures, some percentage of them will reject him. This was the case with both humans and angels.

    Again, it may not be actually possible for God to create finite, free creatures who will all choose him. We are just speculating that this is possible, but there is no evidence that it is.

    I still think the 5-point Calvinist is in a tougher position because man’s free will has nothing to do with his ultimate destiny. God is making these decisions without any coordination with man, and so God is totally and completely responsible for which way a man’s soul goes.

    Moderate Calvinism sees man working in coordination with God to determine his ultimate destiny. Worst case, as you state, God is indirectly determining man’s destiny because he set up a world where it was possible for free people to reject him. Just setting up the possibility of people rejecting God is quite different from God directly determining who will choose him. Thus the problem is far more acute for the 5-point Calvinist.

    What do you think?

  • Kevin

    I would wholeheartedly agree that the 5 point Calvinists has a harder time dealing with the question…there understanding of God always seems much more “prickly” or less than loving when compared to moderate or Amyraldian Calvinists.

    However, when you said, in relation to 5 pointers, “God is making these decisions without any coordination with man, and so God is totally and completely responsible for which way a man’s soul goes.” I do not think all 5 pointers would agree with that assessment of their views, at least the ones I know would not.

    They may answer that God is not completely in control of the way a Man’s soul will go, because God did not make Mankind into sinners, each individual chose to sin against God. It almost sounds like you may be proposing that humanity has a neutral position in terms of salvation, but that can not be the case exegetically from the scriptures. We chose to worship ourselves, our sin, and to be subject to Satan rather then God. In the doctrine of Effectual Calling, God is not seen as a micro-manager of souls, rather he is seen as a determined loving father who has to bend the will of those whom he saves because they’re dead in their trespasses and sins, they hate God, and love the darkness. God is seen as being similar to a spouse resolutely saving his lover from a terrible heroin addiction. Now, one might claim that this is unfair. But God is simply giving the non-Christian what he or she originally wanted, their sin and an eternity to worship themselves (see Tim Keller’s chapter on Hell in The Reason for God). The only one who doesn’t get what they originally wanted is the Christian. If God chooses to rescue some from this lifestyle, when he could have let all of us die in our deserved self-destruction, who are we to question him? Romans 9 would be a good place to observe this tension in the Bible; Paul is rhetorically arguing this same discussion and his ultimate answer to the whole “Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated” question is that the creation should not question the potter about whom he elects. Also, Jonathon Edwards work upon the moral inability of man to believe rather than God placing some form of biological deterrent may be helpful as well.

    I know this isn’t a perfect soteriological method, I don’t think we can find one that works 100% from the text. This is just what most 5 point Calvinists (and 4 pointers who affirm irresistible grace/effectual calling) may say in terms of how we logically try to understand election, even though Paul is clear–that we can’t fully understand it. The weak point to me with moderate Calvinism is that they sometimes seem to downplay the damage done by sin and overly promotes one’s free choice in election, where the scriptures are very clear, that the starting point and causer of salvation is always God (Eph 1 and 2). The 5 pointers go too far sometimes because they build a system that can make God seem unloving, especially in connection to particular redemption or limited atonement, they also have to go out into left field (God’s secret will) to make some arguments–which can be dangerous.

    Did any of this make any sense?

  • Bill Pratt

    Yes, it makes good sense. I agree that none of these views has a lock on the truth. I think my main problem with 5-point Calvinism is that it pays close attention to all the verses in the Bible that affirms election and predestination, but it virtually ignores all of the verses in the Bible that speak of man’s responsibility to believe. The 5-pointer says, “God saves you and then you believe.” The Bible clearly says, “Believe and you are saved.” 5-pointers get the order backward.

    In addition, they believe that every single person is born with original sin that condemns them. Every single person is dead in their sins and cannot respond to God. God then picks and chooses which people he will regenerate and those he doesn’t choose are consigned to hell, even though they cannot help it! They are dead, and so they are powerless to do anything. And there is no doubt God can choose whoever he likes. In fact, he can choose everyone, but he doesn’t. Why?

    Moderate Calvinists hold that God gives grace to all mankind to get them into a kind of “neutral” position to where they can accept or reject the gospel. After that, it is up to the individual. This position makes far more sense when reading the Gospel of John, where Jesus is constantly telling everyone to believe and then they will have eternal life. If Jesus was walking around telling people this when he knows that they cannot respond, isn’t that strange?

  • Kevin

    Billy,

    You made some good points in your last post. I typed up responses to your questions and raised some more questions. However, I sense that we are starting to go in circles a little bit and the last thing I want to do is pull you away from the primary focus of this blog, which is answering tough questions about the faith from doubters. The questions I have about soteriology are of far less importance in the greater spectrum of Christian theology. Plus it is much easier to discuss these things in person. So, would you be available for lunch or coffee sometime (we don’t have to just talk about Calvinism)? If so, I’ll try to get a hold of you at church Sunday.

    Keep fighting the good fight.

    Kevin

  • Bill Pratt

    Kevin,
    I would love to have lunch any time. These topics interest me very much, and sometimes we have to go around in circles before we move ahead!

    Talk to you soon,
    BP

  • http://sonsothunder.wordpress.com sonsothunder

    Not to mention, as far as everyone having the knowledge, or “Hearing” that Jesus is the only way unto the Father, I believe it is important to acknowledge what Peter tells us:
    1 Peter 3:19
    By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
    20Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
    “Regardless of what one has grown up hearing, God will still be the last voice we all hear.” GOD BLESS
    sonsothunder

  • http://sonsothunder.wordpress.com sonsothunder

    I tend to agree with you in my findings from Romans: 9 through John: 21, and Hebrews of course, that the “Election” has a lot more to deal with the part of Israel who were not blinded by the stumbling stone. In fact, although I do not claim to have unraveled the mystery to it all by any means, I do distinctly recall, after much study and prayer on the matter hearing (In my Heart of Course) a small but assertive still voice that said: Though the “Time” of the Gentiles began when the scales fell from the eyes of Paul,upon the “Fullness” of the Gentiles, so shall the scales fall from the eyes of Israel. God Bless
    sonsothunder

  • http://sonsothunder.wordpress.com sonsothunder

    Oh, thats scary, I almost feel as if this “Luncheon” was possibly, eeeeEEK, “predestined” LOL, and I’m not even a 3 pointer.
    GOD BLESS
    sonsothunder

  • http://sonsothunder.wordpress.com sonsothunder

    I think everything you said makes sense. I personally can not subscribe to the T.U.L.I.P. belief for Biblical reasons too numerous to go into here of course. However,to address the reasons I could never subscribe to a “4″ point belief, or to point out only “one” of the many reasons, is that I can’t see why Jesus would have made such an emphases on “He who endures till the end” throughout the New Testament, if it were not impossible for one to fall from His grace so to speak. And of course I’m aware of all the “Apostate”( Never really believed) arguments. But, these are only a few of the many scriptures that keep me from believing in “Irresistible Grace” (Hebrews 12:25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: )
    (2 Timothy 4:4
    And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.)
    There’s also a verse we all are familiar with where Jesus says something to the effect, that should a man put his hands to the plow, and then turn away..etc..
    Plus,(Acts 13:46
    Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.) Of course all the Calvinist that I have presented that verse to have refuted the “Obvious” meaning with some “Predestined” rebuttal without documented resolve. And of course, they can’t explain away the apparent meaning of the “Parable of the wedding” as told to the Pharisees in Matthew 22 either.
    22:8( Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.) Of course they do try , by saying this is referring to the fact that those who were bidden had been blinded to the truth by the stumblingstone Yadi Yada Yada..But, they just can’t deny that God said they “Were” Bidden, implying that they were first invited. (called) I’m sorry, I just can’t see how Calvinism holds water period. I should add also I suppose that I do not find Biblical support enough to call myself an Arminian either. I guess I just consider myself a part of the “Body” of Christ. Although I can’t say exactly which “Part”, after a few counter discussions with them on this same subject, I have had a few Calvinist suggest the part they most thought I resembled. LOL
    God Bless
    sonsothunder

  • http://sonsothunder.wordpress.com sonsothunder

    As I have stated in response earlier in this post, I can not subscribe to the T.U.L.I.P. belief for many reasons, all of which come directly from the word of God.
    First of all, God’s word has said that He has given unto everyman a measure of faith. Contrary to the popular Calvinist belief, the word “Man” here does not only apply to those who the Calvinist claim have already been predetermined for salvation by God: Case in point:
    Hebrews 11:4
    By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
    That verse alone explains enough to eliminate any T.otal depravity false doctrine, however, here’s more.
    Genesis 4: 6And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

    7If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
    These few verses stand alone in the reality that God has given a measure of faith to EVERYMAN and where one applies that faith determines the witness unto whether or not the person is dead in their sin or not.
    Case for T.otal Depravity Closed:

    u.

  • darkdruid99

    yup.. we always pray to god to be saved from bad thing..

  • http://gospelwatch.wordpress.com Bryan Swartz

    A lot of good questions are being discussed here. I’m not going to try to get into all of them, but suffice to say that the whole question is one of the great mysteries(Predestination/Free Will). There are many things we can’t understand or resolve, and this is not a failure of the ideas. It isn’t even necessarily a failure on our part to understand the Scriptures, so much as it is a failure of our natural, sin-twisted minds. There are things we cannot understand with finite minds about an infinite God. There isn’t anything wrong with that. FWIW I’m not very familiar with the technical definitions being used here, but I’m probably a full 5-point Calvinist based on the descriptions.

    The last post brought up some things about total depravity that definitely need responding to though, as it strikes me as being an improper use of the Word.

    First, the issue of common grace, with a reference to Romans 12:3. The ‘popular Calvinist belief’ is described as claiming that ‘man’ is referring to the elect, then dismissed by the use of other Scripture(which I’ll get to) but without further discussion.

    This section is clearly written to believers. We know that because in verse 1 Paul writes “I urge you, brothers”, and because the instructions in v. 1-2 describe activities such as offering ourselves as living sacrifices, worshiping, being transformed by the renewing of our minds … these things cannot be done by unbelievers who do not have the Holy Spirit. The following verses also support this, for example verse 5 states “in Christ we who are many … “. Then verse 3 says this:

    “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourselves more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

    The ‘measure of faith’ here refers directly to how believers are to view themselves. None of us ever has full knowledge of our spiritual condition, but we are to endeavor to assess ourselves accurately, not being full of pride or thinking we are better than we are. Our ability to do this depends on the measure of faith, since we cannot see ourselves as we truly are except to the extent God reveals our condition to us. This echoes the prayer of Psalm 139:23 — “Search me, O God, and know my heart.” God needs to search him because he cannot know his heart on his own(cf. Jeremiah 17:9). The measure of faith has no proper application to unbelievers at all when the context here is properly understood.

    Next, Hebrews 11:4 is said to be sufficient to kill the doctrine of total depravity on it’s own. Now I think this is a misunderstanding of total depravity. At least as I understand it, total depravity does not mean that kindness, altruism, friendliness, etc. are impossible. It does mean that these things have no merit with God, because he isn’t impressed by acts which are not motivated by faith, which the writer of Hebrews states two verses later … “without faith it is impossible to please God.” It is the actions which grow out of this faith for which Abel is being commended. Total depravity is a description of the state of unregenerate, unbelieving mankind, and when you start from the point where Abel is described as a man of faith, he is one who is no longer in that state and therefore total depravity no longer describes him.

  • Holly

    To reiterate the first comment on this article, how does every person have the chance to be saved of there are millions who have never heard of our God?

  • Bill Pratt

    Holly,
    I believe that God holds each person accountable for the light they are given. The person who responds positively to the light they are given will be given more. God can communicate the gospel message through dreams, visions, angelic visitations, missionaries, and so forth. In the end, I reject the idea that God holds a person responsible for something they know nothing about, but I also reject the idea that anyone exists who is not aware of the Creator of the world in some sense.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G66UUVOPMM4JTNBZ5OCOQUGEP4 dvanilla1

    The scriptures Jesus states that, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14).

    This is evidence that anyone who lives or die have heard the gospel. Whether it was from a Christian or on a milk carton, billboard, back of a truck, etc., The question is after seeing or hearing it what measures did that person. Did they reject or accept the gospel (Jesus Christ)?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G66UUVOPMM4JTNBZ5OCOQUGEP4 dvanilla1

    I would assume even if a Christian tells another person Jesus saves, or Jesus is real, or anything pertaining to the gospel means they have heard it. People see God’s word on billboards, television, etc., Some who listen and don’t take heed, there are some who change the television channel.

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