In reference to this post I knew I would receive the following type of comment:
How do you explain these scriptures?
Isaiah 42:1; 45:4; 65:9, 22; Matt 24:22, 24, 31; Romans 9:11; 11:5, 7, 28; Colossians 3:12; 1 Thess 1:4; 1 Tim 5:21; 2:10; Titus 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1-2; 2:6; 5:13; 2 Peter 1:10; 2 John 1:1, 13.
In this depressing era of feel-good Christianity, eg Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life, amateur bible students and scholars alike have their hands full in countering misleading and false theology as well as mislead Christians.
The biggest stumbling block within Reformed Theology is its dogmatic adherence to the concept of Election. I’m not sure why as those who are attracted to such theology are quite astute in their knowledge of Scripture, and, by way of relation, are generally well-read, having a good knowledge of history.
Duffield & Cleave [Foundations of Pentecostal Theology, p. 206] comment on Election, saying
It has sometimes been presented in such a[n]…manner as to make it sound as though those who are elected will certainly be saved, regardless of their response to the Gospel, and their manner of living. Contrarily, those who are chosen to be lost are said to perish eternally, regardless of any endeavor to come to God through faith in Christ.
This…position is based on the so-called doctines of “unconditional election” – the elect are chosen completely apart from any repentance and faith on their part; and “limited atonement” – that Christ did not die for all Mankind, but only for those whom He chose. It is also based on the teaching that God’s general call to all men to come to Christ is not a “sincere call” – that He only “efficiently calls” (intending to bring to pass) those whom he has previously elected for salvation. It has been shown from the Scripture…that Christ did die for all Mankind and that He bids all who labor and are heavy laden to come unto Him.
Of course, anyone who takes a fleeting look at Scripture in the English language might agree with Reformed Theology, that, as Reformers so often like to quote, Christ “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…having predestined us to adoption…” [Eph. 1:4-5] And, as “Randy” pointed out in his comment, Election seems to have congruency between both Testaments.
But taking Duffield & Cleave, along with the Hebrew and Greek meanings behind the word “election”, the house of cards built by Reformed Theology comes crashing down. Strongs Concordance, shows that the Hebrew [the Greek has the same meanings] “elect” comes from #972 – bâchîyr, and #977 – bâchar. Bâchîyr is obvious, meaning: “choose, chosen one, elect”. However, it is in studying bâchar, meaning: “to try – acceptable, appoint, choose (choice), excellent, join, be rather, require”, that the meaning of “election” becomes clear. It is not at all that God foreknew and predestined the believers’ election before the foundation of the world. Rather, it is that God chose the believer to election, knowing the believer would full well accept election, but that the finality of the believer’s election hinged upon him choosing election.
Metaphorically, a presidential candidate might have a short list of nominees he would like to appoint to the Supreme Court should an opening arise during his term in office. And should that scenario become reality, the nominee ultimately has two choices, to accept or turn down the nomination. Such is the same with “election”, it is ultimately the believer’s decision.
In the notes on Eph 1:5 stated in Nelson’s Spirit-Filled Life Bible
Predestined does not suggest a fatalism that excludes some while including others, but assures an appointed plan and guaranteed destiny for all the redeemed.
Duffield & Cleave [p. 208-9] write
The Bible does not teach selection, but election. Nowhere does the Bible teach that some are predestined to be damned. This would be unnecessary inasmuch as all are sinners and on their way to eternal condemnation – Eph 2:1-3,12.
It is not a man’s non-election that leads to eternal ruin; it is his sin and failure to accept Jesus Christ. Every man is free to accept Christ as his personal Savior; if he will. Not only is he invited, he is urged to do so. Christ has made every provision for him – Heb. 2:9; Acts 17:30.
So, to answer the questioned posed by “Randy”, I wouldn’t read anything into those verses that God is his foreknowledge did not put there, nor intend. I would also read them unbiased; not tainted through one lens of brand-name theology or another.