Plans And Goals Are Predestinated
Part 3 of 3
Predestination is definitely a biblical concept but we must be very careful how we apply it because, without very clear definitions and applications, it can mean anything.
Calvinists have taken it to mean God selected certain individuals in eternity past, before creation, and predetermined that they would be saved. That’s the upside. The downside is everyone else is condemned to hell without recourse.
What is amazing about this idea is the fact that the preselected ones can’t avoid it, they can’t aid it, and anyone not selected has no choice in the matter either. It’s all predestined, or so they would have us think.
The Calvinist version of Predestination literally cuts the heart and soul out of motivation. Some won’t try to believe because maybe they weren’t selected. Some won’t do more to evangelize because maybe the target audience wasn’t elected.
Who will be saved and who will not be saved is absolutely settled completely and entirely by God’s choice before creation.
Of course, these false ideas about Predestination don’t stand alone. They are aided and abetted by Calvinistic teachings on Election. When these two concepts start swirling, the effect is catalytic. People get caught in the resulting vortex and just give up.
Once Election is understood correctly, however, which was the point of my last post, it opens the door to a very different viewpoint on Predestination.
Predestination Doesn’t Kill Hope
The biggest problem with Calvinistic ideas about Predestination is they leave absolutely no wiggle room for variable outcomes and give no hope. That’s a problem. Hope is everything. We endure momentary difficulties because we have hope. We fight for survival because we have hope. Take hope away, which is what Calvinism does, and people tend to harden, not against God but against people.
Once you start picking individuals to favor with eternal bliss leaving the rest to suffer eternal torment, you lose traction. Why bother trying. All the important questions are settled and there is nothing anyone can do to change it.
Predestination Doesn’t Encourage Questionable Motives
A good question to ask is why does any Calvinist obey the commands of Scripture, like preach the Gospel to every creature and love your neighbor.
This may not be true in every case but one reason a preselected person would love their neighbor (which we are commanded to do, even the ones who are easy to hate), who also may not be selected, is to rub it in.
I’m one of the chosen and I’m so much better than you.
You may think I’m exaggerating, but visit a few churches where Calvinism reigns and tell me the atmosphere isn’t laced with a sense of superiority. If you’re not sure where to find such churches, just look for the words Reformed or Covenant in the name. That’s usually a dead giveaway, although you find all kinds of churches laced with Calvinism’s ideas these days.
There’s a good reason for this phenomenon. When you’re beliefs run contrary to your actions, it makes you look at least confused, maybe stupid. You have to do something to shore up apparent sophistication. If you’re not BEING the part, you have to try and LOOK the part. [Read more…] about Biblical Predestination Not Focused On Individuals Or Minutia