Predestination/Election

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John Calvin (Source: Wikipedia)
Calvinism is a system of biblical interpretation taught by John Calvin. Calvin lived in France in the 1500's at the time of Martin Luther who sparked the Reformation.1

Calvinist believe only the elect few are predestined to be saved. While Armenians believe in unlimited atonement. That is the belief that Jesus paid the price for all to be saved that believe on him and accept him as their Lord and Savior.

Basically, Calvinism is known by an acronym: T.U.L.I.P.1

- Total Depravity (also known as Total Inability and Original Sin)
- Unconditional Election
- Limited Atonement (also known as Particular Atonement)
- Irresistible Grace
- Perseverance of the Saints (also known as Once Saved Always Saved)

Arminianism, on the other hand, maintains that God predestined, but not in an absolute sense. Rather, He looked into the future to see who would pick him and then He chose them. Jesus died for all peoples' sins who have ever lived and ever will live, not just the Christians. Each person is the one who decides if he wants to be saved or not. And finally, it is possible to lose your salvation (some arminians believe you cannot lose your salvation).1

For a short audio summary of Calvinism and Arminianism see the Omega Frequency link in footnote 2 below.

Calvinist will point to these four verses to argue for predestination:
Ephesians 1:5 "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,"
Ephesians 1:11 "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:"
Romans 8:29-30 "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."
These are the only four verses in the Bible where the words predestinated or predestinate occur. There are numerous verses where it is stated that salvation is open to "all", "whosoever", "whole world", etc. such as these:
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
1 John 2:2, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Romans 10:13 "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

1 Timothy 2:4 “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

1 Timothy 2:6 “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
We now have "predestinated" in four places and "all"/"whosoever"/"whole world" in numerous places (five listed here). When there is perceived ambiguity, we should filter everything through the simple words of Jesus. So what does Jesus say?
John 3:14-15 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life."
John 11:25-26 "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?"
John 6:40 “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

John 4:14 “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Matthew 19:29 "And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life."
It is clear that Jesus is not limiting who can be saved to an elect few. People tend to cling to the verses that back up their belief and bend the others to fit their belief. The Calvinist are accepting the words of Paul while twisting/bending the words of Jesus to say "all"/"whosoever"/"whole world" to mean the predestined elect. Instead we should look first to what Jesus said and try to understand what Paul was saying in the larger context of the teachings of Christ.

Calvinist will sometimes point to 1 Corinthians 2:14 "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." and argue that the scripture teaches that the natural man considers the gospel to be foolishness, so why would he choose it?

First, we were all born as the natural man as described in Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" We are all the natural man. So how is the gap bridged?

Romans 10:14 describes the process of how the natural man comes to Christ, "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?"

The Bible tells us in John 6:44,"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." Notice it did not say the elect. Instead, it says "No Man."

Conclusion
Based on the scripture and the simple words of Jesus, salvation is available to "all", "the whole world", "whosoever", "every one", et. al. So what is Paul referring to when he uses the phrases "predestinated" and "predestinate?"

Could it be that based on Paul's conversion to Jesus, that he believed he had been "predestinated" for salvation in that God specifically came for Paul and would not take 'no' for an answer? Could it be that certain people God chooses are predestined for salvation and mighty works, while others may or may not choose salvation when it is presented to them?

Consider Romans 8:29, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." The word "firstborn" sometime carries the meaning "higher in rank." In Romans 8:28 could this mean that God predestinated certain saints for a special purpose, such as Paul, their work and calling might be above that of the "many brethren" that were saved in a conventional method? Could it be that only the aposotles (excluding Judas) were predestinated?

See also:
Predestinated, Predestinate - Bible Word

Sources:
1 The Five Points of Calvinism [Backup]
2 Omega Frequency: Episode 91 - Ready With An Answer (beginning at 118:40)

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