In this paper, I will be discussing the different views of the Doctrine of Election (or predestination). There are many different views on this subject, but I will only talk about the Wesleyan and the Calvinism views. The Calvinism view says, “The doctrine of election is an act of God before creation in which He chooses some people to be saved, not on account of any foreseen merit (nor faith) in them, but only because of His sovereign good pleasure”. The Wesleyan view states that God has a foreknowledge of our future decisions and gives us free will for our actions. I attend North Cleveland Church of God, which is one of the oldest Pentecostal churches in the United States. My church, and the Church of God, does not believe that God has chosen who he was to save before creation. The Church of God believes fully in Free Will. We are a church that leans more towards the Wesleyan perspective, rather than a Calvinistic perspective. We believe the act of salvation is more of an act faith and heart belief, rather than being predestined. God blessed us with free will. The Wesleyan perspective says there is more evidence showing that there is free will than that of it only being God’s choice. According to scripture, God clearly wants ALL Men to be saved, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God wants everyone to be saved, “(God) who wants all men to be saved and to come to have knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men, the testimony given in its proper time” (1 timothy 2:4-6). God’s will is that all men be saved because Christ died for all. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:9). “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.” (Titus 2:11). To that end He offers His grace to all. While salvation is the work of God, absolutely free, and independent, and not of good works or merits, man has certain conditions to fulfill. He can either choose to accept God’s grace or he can resist or reject it. The power of choice forever remains. According to Dennis Bratcher, Calvinism states that since human beings cannot choose for themselves, God by His eternal decree has chosen or elected some to be counted as righteous, without any conditions being placed on that election. Kent R. Rieske says,” Calvinism consists of theological doctrines which use words found in the Bible. However, Calvinism consistently redefines those words, takes them out of context, applies the doctrines inappropriately, exaggerates the meaning of the words to the extreme, or in some other way distorts the Word of God to match the theology written by John Calvin in his book, Institutes of the Christian Religion”. He also states, "God's choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world rested solely in His own sovereign will. His choice of particular sinners was not based on any foreseen response of obedience on their part, such as faith, repentance, etc. On the contrary, God gives faith and repentance to each individual whom He selected. These acts are the result, not the cause of God's choice. Election therefore was not determined by or conditioned upon any virtuous quality or act foreseen in man. Those whom God sovereignly elected He brings through the power of the Spirit to a willing acceptance of Christ. Thus God's choice of the sinner, not the sinner's choice of Christ, is the ultimate cause of salvation." Scripture indicates that Jesus had specific foreknowledge of what his disciples would do. This presents problems for the Calvinistic view that foreknowledge equals necessity. Here are two specific examples from...
Clark Campbell (interview)
Bob Detweiler (interview)
“Knowing the Doctrines of the Bible” by Myer Pearman
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