John MacArthur - God is passive with the reprobate

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by Herald, Sep 26, 2007.

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  1. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    In the book of Exodus we find where God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, only three of those 19 times the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart is ascribe to Pharaoh himself, the rest was God effectually hardening his heart. Just as God ‘gave them over to a reprobate mind’ [Rom. 1:28] so did He give up Pharaoh to believe the working of his preacher/magicians, his pagan witch doctors. Where did they get the power to do their wicked magic? The Bible supplies us the answer for the 'working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.’ ‘And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.’

    Brothers and sisters this is what the Bible has to say, ‘And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:’ with the reason given ‘That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.’

    God harden Pharaoh’s heart, and He harden his heart, and He harden his heart, and He harden his heart, and He harden his heart, and He harden his heart, and He harden his heart, and He harden his heart, and He harden his heart, and He harden his heart...

    God harden Pharaoh’s heart 16 different times! [note taken from Don Fortner's sermon on reprobation]

    If this isn't active reprobation I don't know what is.
     
  2. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    In light of everything that preceded in this thread, if that argument isn't facile then I don't know what is.
     
  3. Wannabee

    Wannabee Obi Wan Kenobi

    Wow!
    I just stumbled on this thread. I'm sorry I missed it earlier, but it was a great read.

    Great job Rich!
     
  4. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior

    One verse that has not yet been addressed, which I have always found persuasive in an argument for a more active view of reprobation, is Proverbs 16:4, which states:

    "The LORD has created everything for its purpose, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom."

    This seems like specific intentionality unto reprobation.
     
  5. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Puritan Board Junior

    Preterition

    I found this quote from wgt Shedd on a google search for preterition, I will search for ,awPink,and John murray ,next


    Cork Free Presbyterian Church, 10 Briarscourt (Annex) Shanakiel, Cork, Ireland
    Pastor: Colin Maxwell. Email: [email protected]
    FREE PRESBYTERIAN ISSUES -- GOSPEL ISSUES -- PROTESTANT ISSUES -- EVANGELISM ISSUES -
    - CALVINISM ISSUES -- C.H. SPURGEON INDEX -- SERMON NOTES -- MAIN PAGE

    HOW CAN GOD ORDAIN SIN AND YET NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR IT
    Shedd; DO ELECTION AND PRETERITION RELATE TO THE ORIGIN OF SIN?
    The sublapsarian preterition, which is that of the Westminster Confession and all the Reformed creeds, supposes the fall in Adam and the existence of sin to be prior, in the order of nature, to both election and preterition. Election and preterition, consequently have reference to the continuance of sin, not to the origin of it. All men fall in Adam, without exception; so that there is no election or non-election to the fall itself, but only to deliverance from it. Both election and preterition suppose the fall, and are inexplicable without it as a presupposition. Men are elected from out of a state of sin; and men are passed by and left in a state of sin. 'They who are elected [and they who are passed by]
    being fallen in Adam,' etc., Con. iii. 6. Election stops the continuation of sin; preterition permits the continuance of it.

    WHAT IS REQUIRED IN GOD'S PART FOR THE NON ELECT SINNER TO CONTINUE IN SIN?
    The non-elect man, then, like the elect, being already in the state of sin and guilt by the free fall in Adam, nothing is requisite in order to make it certain that he will for ever remain in this state but the purpose of God not to restrain and change the action of his free will and self-will in sin by regenerating it. To denominate such merely permissive action as this, compulsion, is absurd. And yet this permissive action of God secures the certainty of everlasting sin and death in the case of the non-elect, just as infallibly as the efficient action of God secures the certainty of everlasting holiness and life in the case of the elect

    WHAT MAKES THE CERTAINTY OF SIN IN THE NON ELECT SINNER SO CERTAIN?
    But in the former instance the certainty is secured wholly by the action of the sinner himself, while in the latter instance it is secured by the action of the Holy Spirit within the sinner. This leaving of the sinful will to its own movement makes endless sin an infallible certainty. For the sinner himself will and can never regenerate himself; and if God has in his sovereignty decided and purposed not to regenerate him, his willing and endless continuance in sin and death is certain. Every Christian knows that if, in his unregeneracy, he had been left wholly to his own free will, without any restraint from God, he would infallibly have gone from bad to worse for ever and ever.

    TO RECAP…WHAT ARE THE TWO WAYS IN WHICH GOD MAKES THESE THINGS SURE WITHOUT VIOLATING THE WILL OF THE SINNER?
    In these two ways of efficiency and permission, God 'foreordains' and makes certain two things that unquestionably 'come to pass,' namely, the everlasting holiness and life of some men, and the everlasting sin and death of some men; 'yet so as thereby God is not the author of sin; nor is violence done to the will of the creature; nor is the liberty of second causes taken away, but rather established'.
     
  6. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Puritan Board Junior

    here is some more

    Have not found Pink, or Murray yet,but here is a few more ideas;

    Both infra- and supralapsarians see the fall as included in the divine decree and preterition as an act of God's sovereign will. Originally the point of difference between the two positions was whether the fall was decreed or was merely the object of divine foreknowledge. But the idea that the fall is only foreseen is Arminian not Reformed, and was therefore rejected by the Reformation.
    Both positions take sin into account regarding the decree of reprobation. This is obvious in the infra position which sees the decree of election and rejection as logically occurring after the decree of the fall. This view emphasizes God's justice and mercy. Supralapsarianism emphasizes God's sovereign will, but it rejects the idea that God destined some men for eternal destruction simply by an act of His sovereign will, without taking account of their sin. While it sees preterition as an act of God's sovereign will, the second element of reprobation, namely, condemnation, is an act of justice and takes account of sin. This proceeds on the supposition that logically preterition precedes the decree to create and to permit the fall, while condemnation follows this.2.72
    Having seen that the infralapsarian position emphasizes sin as rebellion against God, the incarnation of Christ as a reaction to this rebellion, the freedom of man and the fact that it does justice to the historical-eschatological trinitarian structure of christian thought, it comes as no surprise that it has been accepted above the supralapsarian position in the reformed confessions. The Synod of Utrecht (1905) states ``our confessions, certainly with respect to the doctrine of election, follow the infralapsarian presentation,'' but that ``this does not at all imply an exclusion or condemnation of the supralapsarian presentation.'' Bavinck has also pointed out that the supralapsarian presentation has not been incorporated into a single Reformed Confession, but that the infra position has received an official place in the Confessions of the churches.2.77The Confessions cannot be called infralapsarian in the sense that they make explicit pronouncements on the order of the decree of God but they evidence great sympathy for the infra presentation when predestination is continually mentioned in such a manner that it is brought to bear on sin and guilt. In the Lord's day 21 of the Heidelberg Catechism we read that the Son of God has chosen a Church to life eternal out of the human race, and in Article 16 of the Belgic Confession that God preserves from perdition all whom He in His eternal and unchangeable counsel out of mere goodness has elected. The saving of the elect is referred to as an act of God, but the infra position is evident from the emphasis on God's merciful election. This is also true of the Canons of Dordt which say that the decree of rejection does not make God the author of sin, but declares Him to be an awful, irreprehensible, and righteous judge and Revenger thereof
     
  7. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Puritan Board Junior

    here is some from Dabney

    The Five Points of Calvinism
    by Robert Lewis Dabney

    God's Election
    In our Confession, Chapter III., Section iii., verses 4 and 7, we have this description of it:
    3d. "By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestined unto everlasting life and others foreordained to everlasting death."
    IV. "These angels and men, thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain and definite that it cannot be either increased or diminished."
    VII. "The rest of mankind, God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice."
    This leads to the crowning argument. This Saul was by nature "dead in trespasses and in sins" (Eph. ii. 1), and, therefore, would never have in him any faith or repentance to be foreseen, except as the result of God's purpose to put them in him. But the effect cannot be the cause of its own cause. The cart cannot pull the horse; why, it is the horse that pulls the cart. This is expressly confirmed by Scripture. Christ says (John xv. 16): "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain." Romans ix. 11-13 : "For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth; It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated;" and verse 16: "So then, it is not of him that: willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." What is not? The connection shows that it is the election of the man that willeth and runneth, of which the apostle here speaks. Paul here goes so dead against the notion of conditional election, that learned Arminians see that they must find some evasion, or squarely take the ground of infidels. This is their evasion: that by the names Esau and Jacob the individual patriarchs are not meant, but the two nations, Edom and Israel, and that the predestination was only unto the privation or enjoyment of the means of grace. But this is utterly futile: First, Because certainly the individual patriarchs went along with the two posterities whom they represented. Second, Because Paul's discussion in this ninth chapter all relates to individuals and not to races, and to salvation or perdition, and not to mere church privileges. Third, Because the perdition of the Edomite race from all gospel means must have resulted in the perdition of the individuals. For, says Paul: "How could they believe on him of whom they have not heard?"
    This is the right place to notice the frequent mistake when we say that God's election is sovereign and not conditioned on his foresight of the elected man's piety. Many pretend to think that we teach God has no reason at all for his choice; that we make it an instance of sovereign divine caprice! We teach no such thing. It would be impiety. Our God is too wise and righteous to have any caprices. He has a reasonable motive for every one of his purposes; and his omniscience shows him it is always the best reason. But he is not bound to publish it to us. God knew he had a reason for preferring the sinner, Jacob, to the sinner Esau. But this reason could not have been any foreseeing merit of Jacob's piety by two arguments: the choice was made before the children were born. There never was any piety in Jacob to foresee, except what was to follow after as an effect of Jacob's election. Esau appears to have been an open, hard-mouthed, profane person. Jacob, by nature, a mean, sneaking hypocrite and supplanter. Probably God judged their personal merits as I do, that personally Jacob was a more detestable sinner than Esau. Therefore, on grounds of foreseen personal deserts, God could never have elected either of them. But his omniscience saw a separate, independent reason why it was wisest to make the worse man the object of his infinite mercy, while leaving the other to his own profane choice. Does the Arminian now say that I must tell him what that reason was? I answer, I do not know, God has not told me. But I know He had a good reason, because he is God. Will any man dare to say that because omniscience could not find its reason in the foreseen merits of Jacob, therefore it could find none at all in the whole infinite sweep of its Providence and wisdom? This would be arrogance run mad and near to blasphemy.
    One more argument for election remains: Many human beings have their salvation or ruin practically decided by providential events in their lives. The argument is, that since these events are sovereignly determined by God's providence, the election, or preterition of their souls is thereby virtually decided, Take two instances: Here is a willful, impenitent man who is down with fever and is already delirious. Will he die or get well? God's providence will decide that. "In his hands our breath is, and his are all our ways." (Dan. v. 23.) If he dies this time he is too delirious to believe and repent; if he recovers, he may attend revival meetings and return to God. The other instance is, that of dying infants. This is peculiarly deadly to the Arminian theory, because they say so positively that all humans who die in infancy are saved. (And they slander us Presbyterians by charging that we are not positive enough on that point, and that we believe in the "damnation of infants.") Well, here is a human infant three months old. Will it die of croup, or will it live to be a man? God's providence will decide that. If it dies, the Arminian is certain its soul is gone to heaven, and therefore was elected of God to go there. If it is to grow to be a man, the Arminian says he may exercise his freewill to be a Korah, Dalthan, Abiram, or Judas. But the election of the baby who dies cannot be grounded in God's foresight of its faith and repentance, because there was none to foresee before it entered glory; the little soul having redeemed by sovereign grace without these means.
    But there is that sentence in our Confession, Chapter X., Section iii.: "Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who worketh when and where and how he pleaseth." Our charitable accusers will have it that the antithesis which we imply to the words "elect infants dying in infancy" is, that there are non-elect infants dying in infancy are so damned. This we always deny. But they seem to know what we think better than we know ourselves. The implied antithesis we hold is this: There are elect infants not dying in infancy, and such must experience effectual calling through rational means, and freely believe and repent according to Chapter X. There were once two Jewish babies, John and Judas; John an elect infant, Judas a non-elect one. Had John the Baptist died of croup he would have been redeemed without personal faith and repentance; but he was predestinated to live to man's estate, so he had to be saved through effectual calling. Judas, being a non-elect infant, was also predestinated to live to manhood and receive his own fate freely by his own contumacy. Presbyterians do not believe that the Bible or their Confession teaches that there are non-elect infants dying in infancy and so damned. Had they thought this of their Confession, they would have changed this section long ago.
    When an intelligent being makes a selection of some out of a number of objects, he therein unavoidably makes a preterition (a passing by) of the others; we cannot deny this without imputing ignorance or inattention to the agent; but omniscience can neither be ignorant nor inattentive. Hence, God's preordination must: extend to the saved and the lost.
    But here we must understand the difference between God's effective decree and his permissive decree, the latter is just as definite and certain as the former; but the distinction is this: The objects of God's effective decree are effects which he himself works, without employing or including the free-agency of any other rational responsible person, such as his creations, miracles, regenerations of souls, resurrections of bodies, and all those results which his providence brings to pass, through the blind, compulsory powers of second causes, brutish or material. The nature of his purpose here is by his own power to determine these results to come to pass.
     
  8. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Puritan Board Junior

    dabney/part2

    Now, it is vain for those to object that God's will cannot have anything to do with sinful results, even in this permissive sense, without making God an author of the sin, unless these cavilers mean to take the square infidel ground. For the Bible is full of assertions that God does thus foreordain sin without being an author of sin. He foreordained Pharaoh's tyranny and rebellion, and then punished him for it. In Isaiah x. he foreordains Nebuchadnezzar's sack of Jerusalem, and then punishes him for it. In Acts ii. 23 the wicked Judas betrays his Lord by the determinate purpose and foreknowledge of God. In Romans ix. 18, "he hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth," so in many other places. But our Confession, Chapter X., Section vii., makes this express difference between God's decree of election and of preterition. The former is purely gracious, not grounded in any foresight of any piety in them because they have none to foresee, except as they are elected and called, and in consequence thereof. But the non-elect are passed by and foreordained to destruction "for their sins, and for the glory of God's justice."
    We thus see that usual fiery denunciations of this preterition are nothing but absurd follies and falsehoods. These vain-talkers rant as though it was God's foreordination which makes these men go to perdition. In this there is not one word of truth. They alone make themselves go, and God's purpose concerning the wretched result never goes a particle further than this, that in his justice he resolves to let them have their own preferred way. These men talk as though God's decree of preterition was represented by us as a barrier preventing poor striving sinners from getting to heaven, no matter how they repent and pray and obey, only because they are not the secret pets of an unjust divine caprice.
    The utter folly and wickedness of this cavil are made plain by this, that the Bible everywhere teaches none but the elect and effectually called ever work or try in earnest to get to heaven; that the lost never really wish nor try to be saints; that their whole souls are opposed to it, and they prefer freely to remain ungodly, and this is the sole cause of their ruin. If they would truly repent, believe, and obey, they would find no decree debarring them from grace and heaven, God can say this just as the shepherd might say of the wolves: if they will choose to eat my grass peaceably with my lambs they shall find no fence of mine keeping them from my grass. But the shepherd knows that it is always the nature of wolves to choose to devour the lambs instead of the grass, which former their own natures, and not the fence, assuredly prompts them to do, until almighty power new-creates them into lambs. The reason why godless men cavil so fiercely against this part of the doctrine, and so fully misrepresent it, is just this --that they hate to acknowledge to themselves that free yet stubborn godlessness of soul which leads them voluntarily to work their own ruin, and so they try to throw the blame on God or his doctrine instead of taking it on themselves.
    In fine, unbelieving men are ever striving to paint the doctrine of election as the harsh, the exclusive, the terrible doctrine, erecting a hindrance between sinners and salvation. But properly viewed it is exactly the opposite. It is not the harsh doctrine, but the sweet one, not the exclusive doctrine, not the hindrance of our salvation, but the blessed inlet to all the salvation found in this universe. It is sin, man's voluntary sin, which excludes him from salvation; and in this sin God has no responsibility. It is God's grace alone which persuades men both to come in and remain within the region of salvation; and all this grace is the fruit of election. I repeat, then, it is our voluntary sin which is the source of all that is terrible in the fate of ruined men and angels. It is God's election of grace which is the sweet and blessed source of all that is remedial, hopeful, and happy in earth and heaven. God can say to every angel and redeemed man in the universe: "I have chosen thee in everlasting love; therefore in loving kindness have I drawn thee." And every angel, and saint on this earth and in glory responds, in accordance with our hymn:
    Why was I made to hear his voice
    And enter while there's room,
    While others make a wretched choice
    And rather starve than come?
    'Twas the same love that spread the feast
    That sweetly drew me in;
    Else I had still refused to taste
    And perish in my sin.
     
  9. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    In what manner, though? I certainly had that in mind during this discussion. It folds quite nicely into the Potter analogy where the Potter creates both vessels.

    I really think the only debate over intentionality has not been on God's choice but on how that activity plays itself out in the choices of individuals.

    If left to our own sinful desires, God can superintend all our actions to the glory of His justice when we are punished at the judgment. Necessarily, however, for the elect, God must regenerate and even our process of sanctification is not merely superintended but is the result of ongoing work by Him to perfect His vessels.

    In both cases secondary causality is at work but in the latter God is the more proximate cause so that we can rightly call the works we do to God's glory His works. In contrast, the reprobate cannot say to God that the evil works they are doing are proximately caused by God and that their sin is really God's sin.

    Adam tried to blame Eve's temptation on God's creation of her but it really didn't fly.
     
  10. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    Richard, now I believe I know where you are coming from. A light bulb just went off my my head..lol Their is a continuous monergistic work of God on the elect from beginning to end. From Election to Glorification. This is not present in the reprobate. There is not a continuous "rehardening" as if they can make themselves see and God has to reharden them again and again. It is the opposite of
    Preserverence of the Saints" (I changed the name, I dont think perseverance is correct) God MUST continuously preserve the elect In Christ. Throughout their lives. When they fall, He picks them up..etc etc etc. Not so for the reprobate. They have no hope, their is no blood for them, no atonement.
     
  11. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior

    Hello Rich,

    I'll be out for the weekend after this, but when I get back I would like to give this more thought, and read through the thread more carefully. I know that there are some writings that I have on the issue of theodicy (to which this directly relates), that I would like to restudy.

    From my past studies, if memory serves me correctly, I have tended to think that many Reformed folk get hyper-sensitive against asserting God's direct hand in these issues, and that there are some good arguments (even larger Scriptural passages) that should cause us not to flinch when discussing God's direct involvement. Too often the general Calvinist sounds like he is speaking out of both sides of his mouth on the issue (Sproul fudges a lot here, and on his attempts at explaining other difficult subjects, in my opinion), and we become less than credible to our critics.

    This is a difficult area of theology, however, and I must return to it later. Have a good weekend, all.
     
  12. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    This is the point that Rich made earlier that seems to cut to the chase. Election and reprobation (preterition) are not 'symmetrical'. If our detractors criticize our argument, so be it. I would rather stop short where the Scriptures do than to conjecture some great scheme regarding 'how' God actively causes reprobation.
     
  13. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior

    Well, since I've not left yet, I'll venture a comment - you still must integrate the implications of Proverbs 16:4. There it seem clear that all things have been created for specific purposes, which specifically includes the creation of the wicked for the day of destruction. God is not here working with something that has already been affected by the fall, but rather is decreeing the creation of something with the purpose already in mind that their end will be destruction. You may say that God uses secondary means in developing their sinfulness, that's fine, but this verse clearly speaks of something else, namely, God's intentions to reprobate by divine decree.
     
  14. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior


    Amen. Everythign God does has a purpose. I dont know if this is what Rich is arguing about though. I think his intent is to say the whole life of the elect is monergistically affective by God's action, from begininning to end.

    I agree in active reprobation, what I am not sure about is how does reprobation play out in the life of the reprobate. I cant see God continuously blinding them. Once blind, always blind if reprobate.
     
  15. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I'll be travelling on Monday and Tuesday back to Japan. Will try to interact when I have time.

    I don't think this issue is one of hyper-sensitivity but some caution is warranted on this subject. You've brought up some prophecies and wisdom literature. Even with lengthy passages one ought to be honest with how they reconcile the data with some of the clearer passages of Scripture. Sometimes the criticism of "talking out of both sides of our mouth" might be warranted but sometimes it is a charge from those that have constructed a bit too much from some questionable inferences. The passage you brought up, for instance, about God ordaining even the wicked to the day of destruction can be pressed into service for both camps.

    I do hope that you read what we talked about carefully. Actually, it is my recent very detailed study of Romans that has sharpened my understanding of election and reprobation. I have repeatedly stated that I'm not uncomfortable in the least with the notion that God foreordains all things and that we don't need to apologize that God superintends even the most grotesque acts.

    Perhaps the title of this thread has caused you to assume that the main thrust has been to argue that God's reprobation of individuals is as if He is watching a movie and is passive in the whole program. The very important point that has been continually affirmed (to which the Confessions clearly testify) is that God's foreordination unto reprobation is not even close in symmetry to what he has predestined for the elect. I put it another way in saying that you cannot take Romans 5-8 and in some "Bizarro world" schema say that "...yeah, just like that for the reprobate except the exact opposite of everything Paul just said about the elect...."

    I think there is some reason to tread carefully on the nature of reprobation and speak in a generally vague manner on the "ins and outs" because, frankly, nowhere is there a systematic treatment of the process in the same detail that foreknowledge, predestination, calling, justification, sanctification, and glorification receive. What I found fascinating as I studied (and taught) through Romans is that even as Paul is teaching on these subjects, he is actually "guarding" against the kind of symmetical treatment that some want to press with a slew of "...you will say to me...." Interestingly, he has every opportunity in this lengthy Epistle to spell out the process of reprobation but leaves the details unrevealed.

    Thus, I find it to be pious and prudent to not try to unpack things any further than the Scriptures permit us to unpack them. If that is "hyper-sensitivity" then I'm guilty as charged.

    I'll interact further when I'm in Japan in a few days and see what your response(s) is.
     
  16. Quickened

    Quickened Puritan Board Senior

    This thread is fantastic. I just wanted to post a thanks to the gentlemen that are discussing God's Word here. Its refreshing to see people discussing these issues in such a gentlemenly fashion. I am not used to that (from the other board i floated around on)

    This is definately "food for thought". One of the areas i basically skipped over while growing in Christ was Calvinism. When i started attending the church i am at now i had no choice but to research. I might chime in as time goes on but i wanted to give a wholehearted thanks to the gentlemen discussing in this thread :)
     
  17. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    One side note - (I'm not sure I saw it in the thread.)

    Double Predestination is not a bad term. I think some may get confused on thinking of the "Predestination" on one hand and "Passive"-ness of reprobation (which is really not passive) on the other, but then confuse it with Equal Ultimacy.

    Predestination is to destine beforehand someone someplace. The elect are "elected" (a term used of them and not the reprobate) to salvation (predestined to heaven), and the reprobate are "preterated" (or pre-destinated) to damnation. You can use fore ordination if you'd like. Neither of these uses of Predestination is the heresy of equal Ultimacy.

    EU teaches that as God so instill in His elect regenerating grace and so demonstrates their predestination in that way, so he also infuses and degenerates the wicked (thus you get the term equal Ultimacy that is rested on God).

    Personally, I don't have a problem with fore ordination, predestination, double predestination, election, reprobation, preterition, or any other theologically pact concept if you simply explain it well. Sometimes, though, Double predestination gets a bad wrap by being equated with equal Ultimacy.
     
  18. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    It's the white elephant in the room (double predestination) that must be dealt with once a person becomes a Calvinist. The Calvinist gleefully embraces election, but the thought of those who are not elect being predestined to hell is an assault on their conscience. The foreknowledge view is more an attempt at assuaging guilt than a scriptural defense (In my humble opinion). What John MacArthur believes (that God chooses the elect, but simply passes over those who are not elect) is a logical inconsistency. God is active in election only? The rest of mankind is simply a matter of unfortunate circumstances? I don't think we need to completely understand it, but we certainly cannot bring God's sovereignty in this matter down to our level.

    :2cents:
     
  19. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    Man became a slave to sin at the Fall. That means Man, of His own Fallen nature, always and actively conforms to the preordained character of the reprobate. No active superintending necessary for sin slavery (the default) - although there is some directed superintending to shape events.

    God chose to demonstrate that unless Man had direct superintending by God, he would, of his own free will, choose disobedience and death over obedience and life. Thus God foreknew and preordained the Fall.

    God, preordaining the ultimate working out of His Love and Justice to His own glory as it relates to Man, foreknew the Fall and Judgment of Man, yet predestined some, for His own good pleasure, to be spared His just judgment so as to display His Love through unmerited mercy for the elect.

    Which takes me back again to this statement that I believe is supported by Scripture (of good and necessary consequence):

    Mercy's preciousness is measured by it's rarity or there is no true justice.

    Which is why many are predestined to damnation but few are foreordained for glory.

    Bottom line: God does not preordain that Man individually condemn himself through ongoing sin, and is thus not the author of sin. It is our default fallen condition.

    He actively saves the elect. The ongoing sin of the elect now evokes repentance.

    The ongoing sin of the reprobate evokes judgment.

    God is sovereign, man is responsible. :2cents:
     
  20. No Longer A Libertine

    No Longer A Libertine Puritan Board Senior

    I'll say this much whether He is active or not it appears out here in Hollywood (not to mention my own heart) that when left to our own devices we heap our plates full of plenty of wrath without any divine nudging.

    I still wrestle with double predestination.
     
  21. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    What we need to realize is that the reprobate are at times more 'religious', more 'moral', do more 'good works' than the elect. We use the scales of justice according to our own understanding. There is nothing in the elect to make them savable and there is nothing in the reprobate to make them unsavable.

    The problem arises when we seperate the decree from the Cross/redemption. Christ is the ETERNAL SACRAFICE!!!! Before the world, at Golgatha, at the consumation of all in the end of linear time. Once I wrapped my mind around this, it made more sense to me. There is no beginning nor end to what HE did on the cross for His sheep..
     
  22. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior


    Matthew: I know it becomes a matter of semantics in order to avoid that "terrible label" of hyper-Calvinist.(notice the quotes denoting it is not as bad as some make it). Richard appears to be espousing Sproulesque speak in his 'Chosen by God" book. On which I disagree if we continue to say God passes by, or witholds His grace, or the detestable passive hardening. that is a bigger oxymoron than jumbo shrimp. Why we feel the need to protect the Sovereign God is beyond me. Equal ultimacy is a truth to a point. Where it goes astray is when some confess there is a constant life long hardening after the initial blindness and deafness is actively done by God.

    Sproul and Rich will profess this:

    Calvinism Hyper calvinism(error)
    positive-negative positive-positive
    asymmetrical symmetrical
    unequal ultimacy equal ultimacy
    God passively hardens God actively hardens



    Scriptures present one more truth other than the above.

    Truth
    positive-positive-negative
    equal ultimacy>unequal ultimacy
    symmetrical>asymmetrical
    Actively hardens> leaves in sin


    God is both very very active in creating faith and creating unbelief and blinding. The difference is He continues to preserve the elect, then leaves the reprobate unredeemed by the blood of Christ. IT is the Cross the creates the unequal ultimacy. The elect sin as do the reprobate, just one remains unredeemed and they perish. One remains in Christ who continues for them forever..

    9Then Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

    10When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12so that,
    " 'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
    and ever hearing but never understanding;
    otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'

    If I am wrong in this assesment towards Richard, I will correct my presumption quickly..
     
  23. caddy

    caddy Puritan Board Senior

    Boettner has an interesting take on this:

    The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

    Warburton gives a very fitting illustration here. He supposes a case in which a lady goes to an orphans' home and from the hundreds of children there, chooses one, adopts it as her own child and leaves the rest. "She might have chosen others; she had the means to keep others; but she chose one. Will you tell me that woman is unjust? Will you tell me that she is unfair, or unrighteous, because in the exercise of her undisputed right and privilege she chose out that one child to enjoy the comforts of her home, and become the heir of her possessions, and left all the others, possibly to perish in want, or sink into the wretched condition of gutter-children? . . . Have you ever heard any lay the charge of injustice, or of unrighteousness against the one who has done such an action? Do men not rather hold such an action up to praise? Do they not speak in the highest terms of the love, the pity, and the compassion of such a person? Now why do they do this? Why do they not condemn the taking of the one, and the leaving of the rest? Why do they not complain that it was unjust for this particular one to be chosen, and not another, or not all? . . . The reason is this because men know as also know that all those children were in exactly the same plight and that not one of them had a single claim, or the least vestige of a claim, upon the person whose will and pleasure it was to adopt one as her own . . . Do you, or can you, see anything different in this act of God's from that of my neighbor's? The children in that foundling home had no claim upon my neighbor. Neither had fallen man any claim upon God; and God's choice, therefore, just as it was free and unmerited, so was it also righteous and just. And this free and unmerited fore-choice of God in view of man's self-procured ruin, is all that is meant by the Calvinistic doctrine of Predestination."
     
  24. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    You just need to be a little more clear on what you mean. It is one thing to explain that God so determines and manipulates the circumstacnes around Pharaoh so that he (Pharaoh) will sin, where equal ultimacy teaches that God CREATES that sin in Pharaoah and Pharaoh then acts out those disposition as a result of that creation. (Running with an "equal" idea which is the opposite of the elect who have a regenerated heart.)

    For a VERY good treatment of this whole idea (biblically coreect on determinism), see "Calvin's Calvinism" where Calvin demonstrates biblically that the wicked cannot even lift a little pinky finger without God's consent. It is an extraordinary work on the subject. (If you have time, see also Turretin.)
     
  25. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    Matthew,

    Heaving you reference Turretin brought a smile to my face. Your frequent mention of Turretin in some of your MP3s convinced me to order my own set. Thanks!
     
  26. Robert Truelove

    Robert Truelove Puritan Board Sophomore

    Anyone ever though of Jude 1:4 as it relates to this discussion?

    "For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated (appointed/ordained) for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ."
     
  27. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    I'll hazard a guess as to how those who hold to God's passivity in reprobation would view this verse. They may be of the opinion that the individuals in Jude 1:4 were destined for their role, that God was active in appointing some of those passed over for specific roles. God was still passive in not electing them, but since they were not elect God was active in assigning them to these functions. It would a similar view of the hardening of Pharaoh's heart in Romans 9:17-18.
     
  28. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    Brother Matthew:

    According to who's definition? I find Sproul using this terminology first and therefore giving a definition that actually blankets double predestination of which is a grand truth. What this definition is describing is some sort of Parkerism seed doctrine. This is a terrible heresy. As a confessed supra, I settle this by taking 'sin"/'sins" ot of the equation. I do not know what it means that God 'creates this sin".. AS I have mentioned the elect sin as the reprobate, therefore Christs redemption is given to one and not the other. This is where the difference lies..

    Passive hardening just does not make sense in light of the writ. But perhaps it is just me
     
  29. danmpem

    danmpem Puritan Board Junior

    I'm sorry for resurrecting this thread after it has been down a while, I just wanted to contribute a little.

    As to the original post, I have listened to several of MacArthur's sermons on his website (I subscribe to two of his podcasts). From what I have gathered, MacArthur does not teach explicitly that God "passes over" the non-elect and just leaves them in their sin, nor does he explicitly teach that God created the non-elect and set them apart purely for the role of condemnation. I have heard sermons of his which teach things that usually go hand-in-hand with either double-predestination or Amyraldianism. I think, though, if one understands the approach MacArthur takes to interpreting scripture, that he consistently acknowledges, even indirectly, the non-linearity of the Word of God. In other words, he will take Romans 1:18-32 as far as it will go and Romans 9 as far as it will go. A good example of this is his sermon "When God Abandons a Nation". He has a wonderful exegesis on Romans 1 in which he mainly focuses on God's grace being removed from sinners and a society which continually pursues a life of indulgence in their sins.

    In his book "The Love of God", MacArthur endorses A.W. Pink's "The Sovereignty of God", but is still somewhat critical of it. He makes the point of saying that he agrees with Pink on every point except the point that God does not love the elect. Now, as to how far that goes I am unsure.

    Here is a link to a .pdf on MacArthur's church's web site, in which he directly address The Sovereignty of God.

    Hope this helps!
     
  30. Ron

    Ron Puritan Board Freshman

    These two statements need to be distinguished. All supralapsarians and infralapsarians would agree with the first. The contention is over the second, which deals with the question of the logical order of the decree.

    Ron
     
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