John MacArthur - God is passive with the reprobate

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toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
I think this is the only fair distinction - and to call one active and one passive seems oddly uncessary to me.
Except that the voice of the verbs in Romans 9:28-29 DOES call one active and one passive.
Sure, I got you there, and am happy to accept the difference in voices (and am not, as one whose understanding of Biblical Greek is at the level of an acquaintance, not any deep and intense study, sure of what to make of that difference in voices) as a reason at least to think about a difference in active/passive acts of God. This passive/active voice distinction has many uses, doesn't it? Certainly it doesn't connote a difference in intentionality?

This verse needs to be read in context of 9:21, though - as Ken pointed out - some are made for honorable use, and some for dishonorable... are the verbs there active and passive, respectively, also? It would certainly strengthen the case for a strict difference if that were so.

My main point in the discussion is not to make an argument for double predestination, per se - but to uphold God's active intentionality with respect to the destinations of all people, elect and non-elect alike. I find that most of the time when there is being made a strict active/passive distinction, (and i know you guys aren't doing this) what is being said is that God didn't exercise his will to send people to hell... that it's against his wishes, but he, being the gentleman that he is, allows people to have what they want despite his desire - and so the impetus for their going to hell is solely in their hands. People in the camp are usually Amyraldian in their theology, saying that Christ died as an atonement absolutely for the elect, and as an atonement conditionally for the non-elect.

If God actually 'passes over' the non-elect, as we believe, then it seems to me that he is making a definite decision to fore-ordain their destruction by not decreeing their salvation. Sure, the means to that end are absolutely active on God's part for salvation, and passive on God's part for damnation. God simply has to leave the non-elect in their sins in order for them to find their destination, whereas he absolutely has to work a miracle in the elect to bring them to his intended destination for them.
 

Calvibaptist

Dallas Cowboys' #1 Fan
I think this is the only fair distinction - and to call one active and one passive seems oddly uncessary to me.
Except that the voice of the verbs in Romans 9:28-29 DOES call one active and one passive.
Sure, I got you there, and am happy to accept the difference in voices (and am not, as one whose understanding of Biblical Greek is at the level of an acquaintance, not any deep and intense study, sure of what to make of that difference in voices) as a reason at least to think about a difference in active/passive acts of God. This passive/active voice distinction has many uses, doesn't it? Certainly it doesn't connote a difference in intentionality?

This verse needs to be read in context of 9:21, though - as Ken pointed out - some are made for honorable use, and some for dishonorable... are the verbs there active and passive, respectively, also? It would certainly strengthen the case for a strict difference if that were so.

My main point in the discussion is not to make an argument for double predestination, per se - but to uphold God's active intentionality with respect to the destinations of all people, elect and non-elect alike. I find that most of the time when there is being made a strict active/passive distinction, (and i know you guys aren't doing this) what is being said is that God didn't exercise his will to send people to hell... that it's against his wishes, but he, being the gentleman that he is, allows people to have what they want despite his desire - and so the impetus for their going to hell is solely in their hands. People in the camp are usually Amyraldian in their theology, saying that Christ died as an atonement absolutely for the elect, and as an atonement conditionally for the non-elect.

If God actually 'passes over' the non-elect, as we believe, then it seems to me that he is making a definite decision to fore-ordain their destruction by not decreeing their salvation. Sure, the means to that end are absolutely active on God's part for salvation, and passive on God's part for damnation. God simply has to leave the non-elect in their sins in order for them to find their destination, whereas he absolutely has to work a miracle in the elect to bring them to his intended destination for them.
I guess, I would agree with you by phrasing it this way: God is active in his selection of those who he will redeem and those he will not. He is active in bringing the elect to redemption and passive in leaving the non-elect in their sins.

I believe this is MacArthur's view as well.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonor?


He MAKES both from the same lump. Now if this verse said He makes the elect to honor and leaves the rest to dishonor, passive reprobation could be concluded, but alas, it does not. The vessels do not make themselves. God does. katartizo, means "to fit, to frame, to prepare." This words compels us to say God was active in this 'fitting'
Is it possible that we read too much into this analogy of Paul's? Paul is using the analogy to prove a point. We as mere humans do not have the authority to question God in the matter of election. We are mere vessels in the hands of the potter with no right or authority to question the righteousness of God. Are we going one step too far when we interpret Paul as using the analogy not just to stop our mouths but also to teach exactly how the election/reprobation process works?

I would hate to be guilty of reading too much into 'word pictures' like some of the early church fathers did.

This subject is very important to me because I am preaching through Rom 9 right now and I want to get it right!
 

Amazing Grace

Puritan Board Junior
Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonor?


He MAKES both from the same lump. Now if this verse said He makes the elect to honor and leaves the rest to dishonor, passive reprobation could be concluded, but alas, it does not. The vessels do not make themselves. God does. katartizo, means "to fit, to frame, to prepare." This words compels us to say God was active in this 'fitting'
Is it possible that we read too much into this analogy of Paul's? Paul is using the analogy to prove a point. We as mere humans do not have the authority to question God in the matter of election. We are mere vessels in the hands of the potter with no right or authority to question the righteousness of God. Are we going one step too far when we interpret Paul as using the analogy not just to stop our mouths but also to teach exactly how the election/reprobation process works?

I would hate to be guilty of reading too much into 'word pictures' like some of the early church fathers did.

This subject is very important to me because I am preaching through Rom 9 right now and I want to get it right!
I was just repeating the words of the writ K. Nothig more, nothing less. My other point being is make sure you make this a triune activity and not soley on the decree. Ones salvation/damnation is not only connectedto how one was created. Redemption/election in Christ is the focus of Pauls overall arguement in his writings.

I guess hte one thing that bothers me about this "passing by" is I am not an infra. That verse says same lump to MAKE both unto honor and unto dishonor. There is no way this lump is fallen. If it was fallen, the Holy Spirit would have guided Paul to only speak about the ones made/fitted unto honor, and then just leave the rest. Now to guard against this 'author of sin' business, one must make a distinction between election/reprobation and salvation/damnation. Reprobation does not equal damnation. Men are damned becasue of sin. Reprobated becasue of His good pleasure.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Todd,

I don't know how to answer this question in brief but it assumes you understand the rest of the Biblical data, especially in Romans, about the special care that God takes to save men from their sins.

To make a symmetrical application in terms of what God has prepared for the damned compared to the elect, He would have to be damning them in the same active sense that He is saving the elect. That is, even as He is at work in us to will in do His good pleasure, He would be at work in the reprobate to will and do what He forbids. It would make Him the author of sin with the equal force that He is the author of our salvation.
I don't have any argument with you on this at all - clearly he actively does things in the elect that he does not do in the non-elect. He must actively work, through His Spirit, in the elect in such a way so as to effect his will for them - that is, their salvation. That work, though, is an effect of his decree to save, though... and not the decree itself. My argument, though is (and perhaps this is all that there is) that the decree to save and the decree to damn are equally active. God actively chooses the elect, and by extension, actively dis-chooses the non-elect. The Standards put these in different senses: passing by the non-elect, with the express purpose of sealing the non-elect to their proper and deserved end, and ordaining the elect, with the express purpose of working salvation in them, and granting them graciously an undeserved and unmerited end. My point in entering the discussion at all is that this 'passing by' can't be passed off as some inactive or passive thing - it's an active decision on God's part, just as much as the decision to choose the elect to salvation is active. God either purpose to set the sinner on the path of regeneration, justification, etc., or he purposes to leave them on the path of destruction. I think this is the only fair distinction - and to call one active and one passive seems oddly uncessary to me.
I nowhere called the reprobation of the wicked passive. I called it a passing over. I don't believe either decision is passive in God but I am merely pointing out that what God foreordains for one compared to the other is not symmetrical with respect to activity and that the Grace showered upon one cannot be equated to the passing by of the other. I think R.C. noted it well that the elect are predestined to a monergistic work of Grace while the reprobate glorify God through Divine concurrence.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
On of the main issues I have with this topic is we unintentionaly, confessions included, seperate the Triune Godhead in the election/reprobation, and salvation/damnation of individuals. We cannot forget we were Elect IN Christ. When too much emphasis is put on the Fathers decree, this leads to a diminishing role of the Cross and the Activity of the Holy Spirit.

I do not know why they chose to use 2 different words to mean the same thing.

fore·or·dain (fôrôr-dn, fr-)
tr.v. fore·or·dained, fore·or·dain·ing, fore·or·dains
To determine or appoint beforehand; predestine.

One verse that gets overlooked is:

Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonor?


He MAKES both from the same lump. Now if this verse said He makes the elect to honor and leaves the rest to dishonor, passive reprobation could be concluded, but alas, it does not. The vessels do not make themselves. God does. katartizo, means "to fit, to frame, to prepare." This word compels us to say God was active in this 'fitting'

Getting back to my original point, the reason they end up "unto honor" is becasue they are elect In Christ. And the Holy Spirit applies His death to those fitted unto honor. We must be careful to make a distinction between the decree and the ratification(The Cross) of the decree. If we do not, we end up with Justification IN (not from) Eternity and the cross, and the Holy Spirit being none effect..
The is the same point I made earlier, however. One could easily use the etymology of a word to go into Romans 8:30 and conclude that the reprobate are included in the "foreknowledge" of God. One could use the term "Elect" to refer to the reprobate. It's not a matter of etymology, however, but being careful to guard ideas. Note how often most Arminians caricature "double predestination" to mean that God is monergistically working damnation into people. It is necessary to stop to consider that Paul uses foreknown, predestinated, etc. to refer to the elect. I don't care what English words are used but the "special care" that the Confession talks about is not immaterial.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
If God actually 'passes over' the non-elect, as we believe, then it seems to me that he is making a definite decision to fore-ordain their destruction by not decreeing their salvation. Sure, the means to that end are absolutely active on God's part for salvation, and passive on God's part for damnation. God simply has to leave the non-elect in their sins in order for them to find their destination, whereas he absolutely has to work a miracle in the elect to bring them to his intended destination for them.
Yes but in a Concurrent way - permitting their evil and their just punishment for His own glory. I'm not trying to minimize His control but we ought not to seek to argue for more activity here where Paul is primarily emphasizing how God saves. I'm not afraid of reprobation but I don't want to push it too hard to start causing a man to misunderstand and begin believing that Romans 5-8 could be completely re-written, with a negative polarity, to be spoken of about the reprobate.
 

Amazing Grace

Puritan Board Junior
The is the same point I made earlier, however. One could easily use the etymology of a word to go into Romans 8:30 and conclude that the reprobate are included in the "foreknowledge" of God. One could use the term "Elect" to refer to the reprobate. It's not a matter of etymology, however, but being careful to guard ideas. Note how often most Arminians caricature "double predestination" to mean that God is monergistically working damnation into people. It is necessary to stop to consider that Paul uses foreknown, predestinated, etc. to refer to the elect. I don't care what English words are used but the "special care" that the Confession talks about is not immaterial.

Both election and reprobation are in God's decree. It is much more than just leaving them in a fallen condition. This is what I find wrong with the thought of passing by...

It is also called an appointing to wrath. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath”. (I Thess. 5:9)

It is also called being appointed to disobedience. “Even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” (I Peter 2:8)

It is also called being fitted to destruction. “What if God, willing to show His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.” (Rom. 9:22)

It is also called being before ordained to condemnation. “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men. .. .“ (Jude 4)


Here is the best article I have read in plain clear language..

Election by Rev. G. H. Kersten
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Does Rom 9:18 allow for a third party?

Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth.
Does Paul allow for a group who are not elect for grace and yet are also not hardened? In other words,, God actively elects some and actively hardens some but are there others who are not elect, but neither are they actively reprobate? (I doubt it, but I want to be sure)
 

Amazing Grace

Puritan Board Junior
Does Rom 9:18 allow for a third party?

Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth.
Does Paul allow for a group who are not elect for grace and yet are also not hardened? In other words,, God actively elects some and actively hardens some but are there others who are not elect, but neither are they actively reprobate? (I doubt it, but I want to be sure)
Ken, for the life of me I cannot find a writing of Edwards on this exact subject. I had it years ago, and now have no clue where it ended up. In the article, Edwards actually believed there were 3 categories of people.

1) Elect actively
2) Reprobated actively
3) Some middle of the road group whoGod wills for them to decide after receiving some sort of grace.

Now before anyone here thinks I am impugning Edwards with this fairy tale, I am not. All I know is the writting was attributed to him, and I was not there when he wrote it.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
The is the same point I made earlier, however. One could easily use the etymology of a word to go into Romans 8:30 and conclude that the reprobate are included in the "foreknowledge" of God. One could use the term "Elect" to refer to the reprobate. It's not a matter of etymology, however, but being careful to guard ideas. Note how often most Arminians caricature "double predestination" to mean that God is monergistically working damnation into people. It is necessary to stop to consider that Paul uses foreknown, predestinated, etc. to refer to the elect. I don't care what English words are used but the "special care" that the Confession talks about is not immaterial.

Both election and reprobation are in God's decree. It is much more than just leaving them in a fallen condition. This is what I find wrong with the thought of passing by...

It is also called an appointing to wrath. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath”. (I Thess. 5:9)

It is also called being appointed to disobedience. “Even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” (I Peter 2:8)

It is also called being fitted to destruction. “What if God, willing to show His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.” (Rom. 9:22)

It is also called being before ordained to condemnation. “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men. .. .“ (Jude 4)


Here is the best article I have read in plain clear language..

Election by Rev. G. H. Kersten
I don't know if you're purposefully refusing to interact with the substance of what I've presented. Either way, I've made myself plain to the casual observer. If you want to claim that God's electing Grace is monergistic in its application to the Saints and monergistic in how the reprobate are damned then you are outside the bounds of the Confessions on this point. supralapsarianism is OK here but not hyper-Calvinism.
 

Amazing Grace

Puritan Board Junior
The is the same point I made earlier, however. One could easily use the etymology of a word to go into Romans 8:30 and conclude that the reprobate are included in the "foreknowledge" of God. One could use the term "Elect" to refer to the reprobate. It's not a matter of etymology, however, but being careful to guard ideas. Note how often most Arminians caricature "double predestination" to mean that God is monergistically working damnation into people. It is necessary to stop to consider that Paul uses foreknown, predestinated, etc. to refer to the elect. I don't care what English words are used but the "special care" that the Confession talks about is not immaterial.

Both election and reprobation are in God's decree. It is much more than just leaving them in a fallen condition. This is what I find wrong with the thought of passing by...

It is also called an appointing to wrath. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath”. (I Thess. 5:9)

It is also called being appointed to disobedience. “Even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” (I Peter 2:8)

It is also called being fitted to destruction. “What if God, willing to show His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.” (Rom. 9:22)

It is also called being before ordained to condemnation. “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men. .. .“ (Jude 4)


Here is the best article I have read in plain clear language..

Election by Rev. G. H. Kersten
I don't know if you're purposefully refusing to interact with the substance of what I've presented. Either way, I've made myself plain to the casual observer. If you want to claim that God's electing Grace is monergistic in its application to the Saints and monergistic in how the reprobate are damned then you are outside the bounds of the Confessions on this point. supralapsarianism is OK here but not hyper-Calvinism.

I hope it is OK. It is Scriptural. I honestly do not know why you would call me a Hyper- Calvinist Rich. I believe I have intereacted with what you wrote. I deny a mere passing by of the reprobate. But it is not a hill I will die on. The Gospel, the Salvation of His redeemed is my main focus in belief.

I must ask though Richard, why are you calling me a HC? I am not bothered by it becasue I am not one for labels. How are you defining a hyper-Calvinist?

If you read the articler b G H, I am sure you will see where I am coming from.

1)Election and reprobation are symmetrical. God is both active in both. He MAKES/creates both for a purpose. He does just create the elect and leave the rest in their sins.

2) Reprbotion is not the same as damnation

3) Christ is the reason for Salvation to Glory. I connect election/reprobation to the Cross.

4) God does not create men to just damn them. The reason for reprobation is His divine sov. the reason for damnation is sin and His justice.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
I've been listening to JM's series on Election (current series on his website). In message # 2 he stated that the bible doesn't teach "double" predestination. He said that all mankind is born in sin and bound for hell. Instead of choosing some for hell, God simply allows them to continue in their sinful condition and elects others.

Thoughts?
Is the word 'predestination' ever used in a context speaking of the reprobate or is strictly used in describing those who have been elected?

Also, I believe the infralapsarian position of God passing by those who have not been elected is called preterition.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Both election and reprobation are in God's decree. It is much more than just leaving them in a fallen condition. This is what I find wrong with the thought of passing by...

It is also called an appointing to wrath. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath”. (I Thess. 5:9)

It is also called being appointed to disobedience. “Even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” (I Peter 2:8)

It is also called being fitted to destruction. “What if God, willing to show His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.” (Rom. 9:22)

It is also called being before ordained to condemnation. “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men. .. .“ (Jude 4)


Here is the best article I have read in plain clear language..

Election by Rev. G. H. Kersten
I don't know if you're purposefully refusing to interact with the substance of what I've presented. Either way, I've made myself plain to the casual observer. If you want to claim that God's electing Grace is monergistic in its application to the Saints and monergistic in how the reprobate are damned then you are outside the bounds of the Confessions on this point. supralapsarianism is OK here but not hyper-Calvinism.

I hope it is OK. It is Scriptural. I honestly do not know why you would call me a Hyper- Calvinist Rich. I believe I have intereacted with what you wrote. I deny a mere passing by of the reprobate. But it is not a hill I will die on. The Gospel, the Salvation of His redeemed is my main focus in belief.

I must ask though Richard, why are you calling me a HC? I am not bothered by it becasue I am not one for labels. How are you defining a hyper-Calvinist?

If you read the articler b G H, I am sure you will see where I am coming from.

1)Election and reprobation are symmetrical. God is both active in both. He MAKES/creates both for a purpose. He does just create the elect and leave the rest in their sins.

2) Reprbotion is not the same as damnation

3) Christ is the reason for Salvation to Glory. I connect election/reprobation to the Cross.

4) God does not create men to just damn them. The reason for reprobation is His divine sov. the reason for damnation is sin and His justice.
Nicholas,

I am not calling you a Hyper-Calvinist. I do think that you are either not reading what is being presented or you are too quickly passing over it to notice the difference in substance between what I am talking about. Even in your delineation above you failed to address the principal issue of concern: monergism or concurrence.

I frankly don't really care much about the supra-, infra- debate. I think far too much is made of the issue and many delve too much into why or how God chose men. I don't have a problem with a supra- position on the issue.

My problem comes out in what men are foreordained unto. That is, foreordination is not merely something God does in His decree but it is also something that He carries out Sovereignly.

Now, you can argue all you want about the active choice of God as to the identity of the reprobate or the identity of the elect but the issue that has been discussed so far moves beyond that and on to the issue of how the elect are purposefully and monergistically not only foreknown but predestined. Not only predestined but called. Not only called but justified. Not only justified but glorified. In other words, the elect are predestined to a monergistic work of Grace.

In contrast, the reprobate are not foreordained to a symmetrical process of damnation. God superintends their reprobation but not in a way that He works sin in them. I presume that you are reading more in this thread than what I write to you. I noted that Paul spends a great deal of time in Romans 5-8 developing the utter surety of our salvation on the basis of God's choice. This he does throughout his Epistles. In contrast, he does not develop a process of damnation that sees God working in a symmetrical yet precisely oppposite way. In fact, Romans 5 is a perfect example where this would not work at all. Christ is called the second Adam and His satisfaction is said to superabound to cover not only Adam's sin but the sins we commit. The passages would have to be re-written to state that it's not Adam's sin that is the reason for our condemnation but that God is causing sin in mankind to abound while God works against Himself to abound Grace above where He is actively reprobating in other areas.

Thus, if you merely want to preserve God's choice of election and call it somehow symmetrical in terms of activity, I find it to be needlessly speculative but not precisely un-Confessional. If, after reading again everything I've written, you still claim that what the reprobate are ordained unto is symmetrical in terms of the monergistic work of God then we've got real problems.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Now, you can argue all you want about the active choice of God as to the identity of the reprobate or the identity of the elect but the issue that has been discussed so far moves beyond that and on to the issue of how the elect are purposefully and monergistically not only foreknown but predestined. Not only predestined but called. Not only called but justified. Not only justified but glorified. In other words, the elect are predestined to a monergistic work of Grace.

In contrast, the reprobate are not foreordained to a symmetrical process of damnation. God superintends their reprobation but not in a way that He works sin in them. I presume that you are reading more in this thread than what I write to you. I noted that Paul spends a great deal of time in Romans 5-8 developing the utter surety of our salvation on the basis of God's choice. This he does throughout his Epistles. In contrast, he does not develop a process of damnation that sees God working in a symmetrical yet precisely oppposite way. In fact, Romans 5 is a perfect example where this would not work at all. Christ is called the second Adam and His satisfaction is said to superabound to cover not only Adam's sin but the sins we commit. The passages would have to be re-written to state that it's not Adam's sin that is the reason for our condemnation but that God is causing sin in mankind to abound while God works against Himself to abound Grace above where He is actively reprobating in other areas.
Now I understand what you are getting at, Rich! And it has been very helpful. This would be a good and necessary argument from silence, would it not? Or at least a caution for us in that if God did not go there, neither should we go there?
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
If God actually 'passes over' the non-elect, as we believe, then it seems to me that he is making a definite decision to fore-ordain their destruction by not decreeing their salvation. Sure, the means to that end are absolutely active on God's part for salvation, and passive on God's part for damnation. God simply has to leave the non-elect in their sins in order for them to find their destination, whereas he absolutely has to work a miracle in the elect to bring them to his intended destination for them.
Yes but in a Concurrent way - permitting their evil and their just punishment for His own glory. I'm not trying to minimize His control but we ought not to seek to argue for more activity here where Paul is primarily emphasizing how God saves. I'm not afraid of reprobation but I don't want to push it too hard to start causing a man to misunderstand and begin believing that Romans 5-8 could be completely re-written, with a negative polarity, to be spoken of about the reprobate.
Understood Rich - I appreciate the dialog, and agree; you couldn't write Romans 5-8 in an exactly parallel way concerning the reprobate. I'm not much one for "permission" language, though, since God does ordain everything that comes to pass... but I hear you and appreciate the sharpening.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
If God actually 'passes over' the non-elect, as we believe, then it seems to me that he is making a definite decision to fore-ordain their destruction by not decreeing their salvation. Sure, the means to that end are absolutely active on God's part for salvation, and passive on God's part for damnation. God simply has to leave the non-elect in their sins in order for them to find their destination, whereas he absolutely has to work a miracle in the elect to bring them to his intended destination for them.
Yes but in a Concurrent way - permitting their evil and their just punishment for His own glory. I'm not trying to minimize His control but we ought not to seek to argue for more activity here where Paul is primarily emphasizing how God saves. I'm not afraid of reprobation but I don't want to push it too hard to start causing a man to misunderstand and begin believing that Romans 5-8 could be completely re-written, with a negative polarity, to be spoken of about the reprobate.
Understood Rich - I appreciate the dialog, and agree; you couldn't write Romans 5-8 in an exactly parallel way concerning the reprobate. I'm not much one for "permission" language, though, since God does ordain everything that comes to pass... but I hear you and appreciate the sharpening.
Thanks Todd. I didn't presume you disagreed but these dialogs are helpful. I remember being struck for the first time several years ago by the fact that the Confessions do, universally, speak in different ways about the elect and the reprobate. Salvation is not seen to be of us but of the Lord. In contrast, sin is said to be our fault and never God's. I do think that, whether one want to use the term permission or "endures with longsuffering" as Romans 9 does, that the fact that God's decree and control includes allowing men to sin against Him when He can stop it is a Biblical motif. What men intend for evil, God intends and uses for good.

Perhaps it's because many of us come from backgrounds where the free will of men is overwrought that we are too wary at times to acknowledge that men do, yet, bear real responsibility for their willful rebellion and that men are punished for the sins that they freely commit. It is men who suppress Truth and God's wrath is seen as being meted out against their rebellion and not because He plants the desire in them to rebel simply so He can get glory out of judging what He immediately caused.

It is a good study to go through the Book of Romans to follow Paul as he leads men to be sure of God's intentions from Romans 4-11 with these "course-corrections" that make sure people don't jump to the wrong conclusions. One of those "course corrections" is Romans 10, which follows on the heels of God's sovereign choice. Not for a second is the unbelief of Israel to be seen because God has withheld the News from them or has forced them to rebel. Romans 10 dispels any misconception that Israel is justly condemned and that God is not capricious in that judgment.

Thus, you can really see in Romans, especially, this strong motif of God saving His elect and Paul screwing that down so tight that nobody could ever unscrew it. Yet, he then makes sure that somebody doesn't try to apply that same activity to the reprobate by saying that those that God has passed by are still responsible for their rebellion. I wouldn't want to speculate too much on how God superintends rebellion and I think the Confessions do a fine job of noting that God permits sin for His own glory in the manifestation of His justice in punishing sin and how He lavishes Grace upon His elect but is not the author of sin. I also believe that one of the primary purposes that Paul introduces reprobation is not to provide the full orbed understanding of it for our curious minds as to how God works it but as an added support to help us understand how our election is sure. That is to say, Romans 9 is not principally to be understood as a naked theological text to make sure we can fill in all our curiosities but it is presented to undergird Romans 8 and the natural doubt that would have arisen concerning Israel according to the flesh.

Blessings!

Rich
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Rich correctly draws attention to the two distinct terms used by the Westminster Standards. Foreordination is generic and predestination is specific. But they are both terms which point to absolute determination of individual persons to specific destinies. WCF 3:3 can't be read in any other way. When we come to sects. 5, and 6, "election in Christ" and "foreordained means of salvation" are subordinate to the predestination of men to life. It is therefore natural to read sect. 7, and its reference to "preterition" and "ordination to wrath for sin," as subordinate to the foreordination of men to everlasting death.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Rich correctly draws attention to the two distinct terms used by the Westminster Standards. Foreordination is generic and predestination is specific. But they are both terms which point to absolute determination of individual persons to specific destinies. WCF 3:3 can't be read in any other way. When we come to sects. 5, and 6, "election in Christ" and "foreordained means of salvation" are subordinate to the predestination of men to life. It is therefore natural to read sect. 7, and its reference to "preterition" and "ordination to wrath for sin," as subordinate to the foreordination of men to everlasting death.
Phew! :lol:

Thanks for that Rev. Winzer. I was a bit nervous about how you might weigh in.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Thanks for that Rev. Winzer. I was a bit nervous about how you might weigh in.
Don't worry about my judgment, Rich; I hope it is tempered with mercy. As long as we're on our guard against any kind of conditionality in God's decree of individual destiny, I think it is right to show the differences between election and reprobation. Even in Rom. 5, Adam's disobedience prefigured Christ's obedience antithetically. This means the outcomes of both were unconditionally certain, even though both were effected in different ways.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Thanks for that Rev. Winzer. I was a bit nervous about how you might weigh in.
Don't worry about my judgment, Rich; I hope it is tempered with mercy. As long as we're on our guard against any kind of conditionality in God's decree of individual destiny, I think it is right to show the differences between election and reprobation. Even in Rom. 5, Adam's disobedience prefigured Christ's obedience antithetically. This means the outcomes of both were unconditionally certain, even though both were effected in different ways.
It wasn't your judgment I was worried about but my energy level and ability to continue to interact in a fruitful way. I've been tired and impatient over the past few days and didn't really have the energy if you were going to detect a major ommission in my thinking. I fully agree with the above.
 

Amazing Grace

Puritan Board Junior
I don't know if you're purposefully refusing to interact with the substance of what I've presented. Either way, I've made myself plain to the casual observer. If you want to claim that God's electing Grace is monergistic in its application to the Saints and monergistic in how the reprobate are damned then you are outside the bounds of the Confessions on this point. supralapsarianism is OK here but not hyper-Calvinism.

I hope it is OK. It is Scriptural. I honestly do not know why you would call me a Hyper- Calvinist Rich. I believe I have intereacted with what you wrote. I deny a mere passing by of the reprobate. But it is not a hill I will die on. The Gospel, the Salvation of His redeemed is my main focus in belief.

I must ask though Richard, why are you calling me a HC? I am not bothered by it becasue I am not one for labels. How are you defining a hyper-Calvinist?

If you read the articler b G H, I am sure you will see where I am coming from.

1)Election and reprobation are symmetrical. God is both active in both. He MAKES/creates both for a purpose. He does just create the elect and leave the rest in their sins.

2) Reprbotion is not the same as damnation

3) Christ is the reason for Salvation to Glory. I connect election/reprobation to the Cross.

4) God does not create men to just damn them. The reason for reprobation is His divine sov. the reason for damnation is sin and His justice.
Nicholas,

I am not calling you a Hyper-Calvinist. I do think that you are either not reading what is being presented or you are too quickly passing over it to notice the difference in substance between what I am talking about. Even in your delineation above you failed to address the principal issue of concern: monergism or concurrence.

I frankly don't really care much about the supra-, infra- debate. I think far too much is made of the issue and many delve too much into why or how God chose men. I don't have a problem with a supra- position on the issue.

My problem comes out in what men are foreordained unto. That is, foreordination is not merely something God does in His decree but it is also something that He carries out Sovereignly.

Now, you can argue all you want about the active choice of God as to the identity of the reprobate or the identity of the elect but the issue that has been discussed so far moves beyond that and on to the issue of how the elect are purposefully and monergistically not only foreknown but predestined. Not only predestined but called. Not only called but justified. Not only justified but glorified. In other words, the elect are predestined to a monergistic work of Grace.

In contrast, the reprobate are not foreordained to a symmetrical process of damnation. God superintends their reprobation but not in a way that He works sin in them. I presume that you are reading more in this thread than what I write to you. I noted that Paul spends a great deal of time in Romans 5-8 developing the utter surety of our salvation on the basis of God's choice. This he does throughout his Epistles. In contrast, he does not develop a process of damnation that sees God working in a symmetrical yet precisely oppposite way. In fact, Romans 5 is a perfect example where this would not work at all. Christ is called the second Adam and His satisfaction is said to superabound to cover not only Adam's sin but the sins we commit. The passages would have to be re-written to state that it's not Adam's sin that is the reason for our condemnation but that God is causing sin in mankind to abound while God works against Himself to abound Grace above where He is actively reprobating in other areas.

Thus, if you merely want to preserve God's choice of election and call it somehow symmetrical in terms of activity, I find it to be needlessly speculative but not precisely un-Confessional. If, after reading again everything I've written, you still claim that what the reprobate are ordained unto is symmetrical in terms of the monergistic work of God then we've got real problems.


Ok Richard. Is there any way you can differentiate between what you mean of monergistic vs concurrent. THis language is new to me in regards to this subject. Are you speaking of the distinct steps from election to salvation vs reprobation to damnation?

The saved are completely saved becasue of God alone. Where as the damned are damed becasue of Gods decree and their own sins, which would involve some sort of synergy. IS this what you mean? If so I agree
 

Amazing Grace

Puritan Board Junior
Yes. Read the Sproul excerpt above for a brief note on concurrence.
Then I think we agree...

God does not have to continue to actively compel men to sin and continue to blind them.

HEre is an excerot from the article by Kerster.

On that ground the second accusation also falls away, that it makes God to be an author of sin. We have already opposed that attack. God does not work sin; He grants rational creatures all the necessary gifts to resist sin. Angels and men fell according to the determined counsel of God, but not because God worked sin. The creature did so himself, and that without compulsion, entirely voluntarily.

Others, opposing reprobation, think it is unjust. God has concluded all under sin. Thus man, they say, must sin, and therefore the sentence to perdition is unjust.

To this we respond: (1) reprobation does not compel men to sin; but righteous judgment follows his voluntary action: and (2) reprobation is a decree of God, immanent in the Essence of God, and is an act of sovereignty, not of justice. The exercise of justice follows the sin, and therefore the condemnation is just. The righteous sentence over sin condemns it, but reprobation does not. Yet the decree of God determined this sentence, therefore the reprobates are called vessels of wrath fitted for destruction. (Rom. 9:22)


Do you agree with this and his whole article? If yes, then we may be on the same team here Richard
 

Calvibaptist

Dallas Cowboys' #1 Fan
I've been listening to JM's series on Election (current series on his website). In message # 2 he stated that the bible doesn't teach "double" predestination. He said that all mankind is born in sin and bound for hell. Instead of choosing some for hell, God simply allows them to continue in their sinful condition and elects others.

Thoughts?
I just listened to JM's message that bill is mentioning. I disagree with his statement on this. He very clearly goes to the original decree and says that God does not go down the list of humanity and say "You are going to heaven. You two are going to hell. You four go to heaven. You ten go to hell."

But, later he mentions that God determines every man's destiny. It sounds to me that he is speaking out of both sides of his mouth. Being that I like JM, I am going to assume that he doesn't realize he is doing this, but he clearly is.

Obviously, as has already been established in this thread, God determines who is going to heaven and who is going to hell, but only actively works in those whom He has chosen for glory. The others he leaves to their own sinful ways.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I wonder though, Doug, since I haven't listened to it, if he's trying to speak from an infra- perspective.

I wouldn't want to describe God's choice by the above either. It sounds too simplistic. It's not because I don't believe that God is very selective in His choice but I don't like the anthropomorphic picture of God going over a list. I think His selection is more profound.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I wonder though, Doug, since I haven't listened to it, if he's trying to speak from an infra- perspective.

I wouldn't want to describe God's choice by the above either. It sounds too simplistic. It's not because I don't believe that God is very selective in His choice but I don't like the anthropomorphic picture of God going over a list. I think His selection is more profound.
And ultimately He has not revealed that process to us. (Thankfully) So we best not try to describe it anthropomorphicly or otherwise.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Isn't Adam held responsible? He and the individual who chooses to sin?
Yes

I guess the question would be, "Did God predestine/foreordain Adam's sin and if so, did He do so actively?"
See this thread: Did God create evil?

I agree with Rich and JM in that we should not go where Scripture does not take us.
:agree:

But I'm just thinking, "Will God not actively cast the reprobate into the lake of fire at the final judgment?" Or is this seen as a separate thing as opposed to being predestined to wrath?
Wouldn't that be God actively working his 'justice' and not 'reprobation'?

Sorry I missed this post earlier.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Here is an extract from a brief article by R.C. Sproul:

The Double-Predestination Distortion

The distortion of double predestination looks like this: There is a symmetry that exists between election and reprobation. God WORKS in the same way and same manner with respect to the elect and to the reprobate. That is to say, from all eternity God decreed some to election and by divine initiative works faith in their hearts and brings them actively to salvation. By the same token, from all eternity God decrees some to sin and damnation (destinare ad peccatum) and actively intervenes to work sin in their lives, bringing them to damnation by divine initiative. In the case of the elect, regeneration is the monergistic work of God. In the case of the reprobate, sin and degeneration are the monergistic work of God. Stated another way, we can establish a parallelism of foreordination and predestination by means of a positive symmetry. We can call this a positive-positive view of predestination. This is, God positively and actively intervenes in the lives of the elect to bring them to salvation. In the same way God positively and actively intervenes in the life of the reprobate to bring him to sin.
This distortion of positive-positive predestination clearly makes God the author of sin who punishes a person for doing what God monergistically and irresistibly coerces man to do. Such a view is indeed a monstrous assault on the integrity of God. This is not the Reformed view of predestination, but a gross and inexcusable caricature of the doctrine. Such a view may be identified with what is often loosely described as hyper-Calvinism and involves a radical form of supralapsarianism. Such a view of predestination has been virtually universally and monolithically rejected by Reformed thinkers.

The Reformed View of Predestination

In sharp contrast to the caricature of double predestination seen in the positive-positive schema is the classic position of Reformed theology on predestination. In this view predestination is double in that it involves both election and reprobation but is not symmetrical with respect to the mode of divine activity. A strict parallelism of operation is denied. Rather we view predestination in terms of a positive-negative relationship.
In the Reformed view God from all eternity decrees some to election and positively intervenes in their lives to work regeneration and faith by a monergistic work of grace. To the non-elect God withholds this monergistic work of grace, passing them by and leaving them to themselves. He does not monergistically work sin or unbelief in their lives. Even in the case of the "hardening" of the sinners' already recalcitrant hearts, God does not, as Luther stated, "work evil in us (for hardening is working evil) by creating fresh evil in us."2 Luther continued:

When men hear us say that God works both good and evil in us, and that we are subject to God's working by mere passive necessity, they seem to imagine a man who is in himself good, and not evil, having an evil work wrought in him by God; for they do not sufficiently bear in mind how incessantly active God is in all His creatures, allowing none of them to keep holiday. He who would understand these matters, however, should think thus: God works evil in us (that is, by means of us) not through God's own fault, but by reason of our own defect. We being evil by nature, and God being good, when He impels us to act by His own acting upon us according to the nature of His omnipotence, good though He is in Himself, He cannot but do evil by our evil instrumentality; although, according to His wisdom, He makes good use of this evil for His own glory and for our salvation.2

Thus, the mode of operation in the lives of the elect is not parallel with that operation in the lives of the reprobate. God works regeneration monergistically but never sin. Sin falls within the category of providential concurrence.

Another significant difference between the activity of God with respect to the elect and the reprobate concerns God's justice. The decree and fulfillment of election provide mercy for the elect while the efficacy of reprobation provides justice for the reprobate. God shows mercy sovereignly and unconditionally to some, and gives justice to those passed over in election. That is to say, God grants the mercy of election to some and justice to others. No one is the victim of injustice. To fail to receive mercy is not to be treated unjustly. God is under no obligation to grant mercy to all — in fact He is under no obligation to grant mercy to any. He says, "I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy" (Rom. 9). The divine prerogative to grant mercy voluntarily cannot be faulted. If God is required by some cosmic law apart from Himself to be merciful to all men, then we would have to conclude that justice demands mercy. If that is so, then mercy is no longer voluntary, but required. If mercy is required, it is no longer mercy, but justice. What God does not do is sin by visiting injustice upon the reprobate. Only by considering election and reprobation as being asymmetrical in terms of a positive-negative schema can God be exonerated from injustice.
Rich, your posts in this thread have been very helpful. Thank you.

Also, can you tell us where this great quote by Sproul can be found?
 
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