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MAKING SENSE OF GOD'S ELECTION: a Digest of the Essentials of the Work by Donald R. Shell - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/election/elmss931.s.htm
MAKING SENSE OF GOD'S ELECTION: a Digest of the Essentials of the Work By Donald R. Shell
Part IV: Resolving The Election Debate
C. Our Justification For Our Stand And A Closing Appeal To Edify The Body Of Christ
- Having explained the cause of the great misunderstanding on divine election and predestination arose from the leavening of Christian truth with pagan Stoic and Neo-Platonic beliefs, and that in accord with Christ's Matthew 13:33 prophecy, and having shown the need to purge Christendom's theology of this error, we now make a closing appeal to edify the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ:
- We have reasons to dare to hold to our stands opposite those of notable Christian Theologians in history:
- Augustine himself warned us: "Do not follow my writings as Holy Scripture. When you find in Holy Scripture anything you did not believe before, believe it without doubt; but in my writings, you should hold nothing for certain.'" (J. M. Boice, Does Inerrancy Matter? (Oakland: Intern. Council on Biblical Inerrancy, 1979), p. 18. Boice cites Augustine's "Preface to the Treatise on the Trinity.'") We have complied with Augustine's directive to place Scripture above his own words, resulting in our countering his views on divine predestination and the authorship of salvation faith.
- Luther's words on his epistemology support us: at the Diet of Worms, he said: "Unless I am convicted of error by the testimony of Scripture or (since I put no trust in the unsupported authority of Pope or councils, since it is plain that they have often erred and often contradicted themselves) by manifest reasoning, I stand convicted by the Scriptures to which I have appealed, and my conscience is taken captive by God's word, I cannot and will not recant anything, for to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us. On this I take my stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen." (Bettenson, ed., Documents of the Chr. Church, 2nd ed., 1943, reprint, The World's Classics (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1966), p. 282-283) Luther thus claimed the Bible's revealed, knowable truths were in concert with man's "manifest reasoning" versus the illogically self-contradictory assertions of theologians in his era. Thus, we discovered and claim the Scriptures teach in accord with "manifest reasoning" a stance on God's election that contrasts with the illogic in the major election views.
- We also hold uncompromisingly to our views on election and predestination as we find the words of our Lord Jesus Christ calling us to do so! In His Revelation 3:14-22 message to the messenger of the Laodicean Church, Christ predicted the spiritual and doctrinal crisis in contemporary Evangelicalism, exposing its problems arise out of errant Calvinism and its reactionary nemesis in Arminianism. We have displayed our exposition of this passage relative to this issue in our lessons entitled: "Christ's Scripture Prophecy On Contemporary Evangelicalism" on this very web site (www.nepaugchurch.org).
- John Calvin's precedent helps our case as well: In his response to the charge of novelty leveled at his Scripture interpretation by his Romanist opponents, a charge one may make against our interpretation of Revelation 3:14-22, Calvin responded: "First, in calling it new, they are exceedingly injurious to God, whose sacred word deserved not to be charged with novelty . . . That it long lay buried and unknown is the guilty consequence of man's impiety; but now when, by the kindness of God, it is restored to us, it ought to resume its antiquity just as the returning citizen resumes his rights." (Institutes, Prefatory Address to the King of France as trans. by Henry Beveridge, 1845, reprint (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1972), vol. I, p. 8) We likewise claim the Bible's true interpretation on divine election and predestination shown in this work was not adopted by many for so long due to man's "impiety." Far too long have we in the Church upheld errant beliefs that were either leavened by Plato's pagan philosophy embedded in Calvinism or that were laced with pagan Stoicism behind the Pelagian heresy afflicting Arminianism or even advanced hybrids of error like Open Theism when we should have been looking "to the Word and the testimony" of Scripture alone, cf. Isaiah 8:20!
- We have just cause to desire God's truth be known to correct these pagan-corrupted errors, for the severe wound in Evangelicalism between Calvinist and Arminian camps must be healed for the cause of Christ.
- A Closing Appeal To Edify The Body Of Christ - May each of us who professes Christ as Savior go back to God's pure written revelation, to Scripture itself, and in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, correct and redefine our beliefs! May the Protestant Reformation's beloved and godly call for "Sola Scriptura" be fully heeded in the Body of Christ, and that in its most biblical sense! Then the truth of God will be restored to God's people to their blessing and to God's great glory! Amen.