When people are convinced they are the elect, it is possible that they walk the Christian life knowing or thinking that they are secure and look at legalistic doings instead of growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. They think Arminians major on experience. Maybe so. Maybe not. The Presbyterians do have the danger of sticking so much to infallible doctrine and dogma that it becomes the measuring stick. Because of this, perhaps they never have conviction of the ordinary sins of every day life that are surely there. Does one pray enough, read the Word enough, witness enough, never have any sins of the flesh, worship enough, look to Jesus enough? Most if honest would say yes. Maybe the Presbyterians. Never think this way and that is why there was no response at that meeting. Also, do they ever follow Galatians 5 to walk in the Spirit and here I am not mentioning prayer in other tongues although for me it is paramount because it edifies oneself. They never edify themselves. Their edification is hymn singing, Bible, Presbyterian Sermons and prayers. Do they really know how to pray?
Doubtless, the Arminians are in error. However, it seems to me that whatever the doctrines, beliefs, prayers, faithfulness, etc. that the Lord will measure us against our acquiescence to Truth. Paul mentions Truth scores of time and its importance. The Presbyterians do have much Truth. On the other hand, so do the Pentecostals in another way. Both are in error. Personally, I stick to the Truth I see in the Word despite what any of them say although I have listened and will listen very hard to what they say. If one knows the Word and the prevalent doctrines of all, one can make a serious decision as to what it is all about.
The Arminian Pentecostals and Charismatics are over the edge. The Presbyterians also are showing error in their omission of belief in much of the truths of the epistles, Jesus and Acts. It would be rare to find a Pastor and church that held beliefs of Truth as supported by both parties. In other words, no one has it that I find – anywhere. Australia to me is in a very bad position. Unfortunately. What came out of Christian Outreach Centre regarding truth or lack of it, the Methodism, the Oeffler doctrine from New Zealand, the humanism, the demonic teachings as to getting slain, look me in the eye and see Jesus, emphasis on giving to me (Clark), the building of a denomination of preachers who have major errors – and thus fill Australia with it all in influence as well as practice. This Pastor here said that Christian Outreach Centre did not go in the way of Tongues, Inter., and Prophecy for building up because they were afraid it would get out of hand. He allows it. I laughed and said, “That is funny. The whole of Australia is full of wrong Words of Knowledge. I have heard those three gifts, particularly the first two, since childhood. In 99.999% of cases they were correct. The Pastors did not allow disorderliness”. We Pentecostals do have experiences. So do the Presbyterians. They experience the new birth. They experience the care of God, His faithfulness, they believe some of His promises and that is experience. Paul’s life was full of experiences. We experience peace, joy, love. Now the Presbyterians and Baptists would all hang on to love. That is experience.
A major basis of Arminianism and of Assemblies of God is Ephesians 2:8,9. They would read it – “By grace are you saved and that of God not of yourselves. It is by faith”. In actuality it is “By grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God”. This means that “being saved through faith” is the gift of God. The Greek says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, And this not of yourselves. It is God’s gift”. What is God’s gift in this last part? Grace is not the gift in the last part of this verse. Grace is indeed charisma, a gift. We can well declare that the verse states “By charisma, or the gift of love and kindness which is grace you have been saved through faith. And this faith is not of yourselves. This faith is God’s gift”. We have to read it like that otherwise it is non-sense. So the Arminians and the Assemblies of God are wrong in this.
NO ONE CAN COME TO CHRIST OF HIS OWN WILL. Romans 5:12 “All men sinned in Adam”. Was Adam able to repent and turn back to God? No. Neither do we have the power to do that even as his will could not do it. Instead he hid himself from God as all sinners do in their unbelief in Christ.
As David says in Psalm 51:5, ”Indeed I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me”. The whole of our being is sinful, including the will. How can the will then desire Christ or want Him as a Saviour? Sin will not take on purity. It cannot.
“There is no one who is righteous, not even one; there is no one who has understanding, there is no one who seeks after God”, Romans 3:9, “There is no fear of God before their eyes”, verse 18. This shows each of mankind has a will turned against God and that will never seek God or Christ, according to this verse, so the will to do what God desires is missing.
The unsaved are “Dead in trespasses and sin”, Ephesians 2:1. How can a person who is dead have a will even let alone be capable of turning to Christ and receiving Him? The will is part of the old man, the carnal nature, that is incapable of rising up out of itself or of making a decision for Christ and righteousness.
Romans 8:7 “The carnal mind is at enmity with God” – it is without understanding to grasp, to comprehend. It is in continuous insubordination. It can never do otherwise. It is never subject to God. Therefore the unsaved man cannot will to come to Christ. Romans 7:7-8:11 shows that when renewed, that person always needs the help of the Holy Spirit. If a man is in the unrenewed state, how much more does he need the Holy Spirit to put the desire in his will that is not subject to God, to come to Christ? It is a miracle of God’s own doing. As Jesus said, “The wind blows but no one knows where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone born of the Spirit”.
Romans 2 shows that despite seeing creation not one person was able to recognize the Creator. Galatians 3:22 “The Scripture has imprisoned all things under the power of sin, so that what was promised through faith in Christ Jesus might be given to those who believe”. If in prison and under the power of sin, how could sin release a person to will enough to get saved? Impossible. It has to be the act of the Spirit.
Titus 3:4-6 “When the grace or goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy Through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” This is all the act of God. There is nothing of man’s personality, or will, in it.
God has placed eternity in the heart, Eccles. That is all. Nothing else. No ability for the will to decided for Christ.
GOD MUST DRAW MEN TO CHRIST. Man does not will it. If God does the drawing and allures, then every part of it is done by Him and that includes the capacity placed in a person who is elected (I believe) to receive grace to will. John 6:44,65,37. It is initiated by God. He gives those persons to Christ.
Scriptures for predestination – Romans 8:29 “Whom he foreknew he predestined”. This does not mean as the Arminians say that God knew who would will to come to Christ and He predestined them. They have changed the words.
Romans 11:4 God said “I have reserved unto Myself”. God did it all not any of them.
Acts 16:14 “Whose heart the Lord had prepared” i.e. to believe in Christ.
God does the action in us to will. Nevertheless, somehow we are active and not passive. It seems to be an anomaly but we have to believe it. Many things we believe about Him are inexplicable. Do we understand about heaven? Hardly a thing. Do we believe? Yes.
ABOUT 2 PETER 3: V. 11They are the only ones leading lives of holiness and godliness. They are the only ones waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God.
V.9 The Lord is not slow about his promise but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish. Note that Peter is speaking to believers. He is not speaking about the unsaved. He is warning the believers and we notice this by going back to chapter 2:20,21 “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment that was passed on to them.” 22 “It has happened to them according to the true proverb, ‘The dog turns back to its own vomit’ and, ‘The sow is washed only to wallow in the mud’.”
Thus there is no “Once saved always saved” or “Predestination meaning that the elect cannot fall”. God has His side and for our side He lays down the rules. We do not. Maybe we cannot fully understand and I do not think Calvin understood it all. Therefore I am not fully Calvinist and indeed I do not follow him. However, he does have good points. The problem is they so get caught up in the sternness of their dogmas and theology that they miss the Spirit. Their heavy doctrinal stance smothers the freedom of the Spirit as in 2 Cor. 3:17 Now where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom”. The heart is free from the thraldom of following doctrine and Presbyterianism.
The Spirit of the Lord does this and not correct doctrine. Truth is the foundation and essence of being in Christ, it purifies us and is the basis of our walking in Him. It is vital to have as much of the Truth (and that involves true doctrine) as it is possible to have. There is ultimate Truth and that is what I have gone for all these years. If we err in any way from Truth, our carnal nature is still in heresy and untruth to that degree and this affects our Spiritual understanding and ways. We can be carried away fully or to some extent as prophesied in 1 Timothy 4:2 “Some will renounce the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” and verse 7 “Have nothing to do with profane myths and old wives’ fables. Train yourself in godliness”. 2 Timothy 4:3 admonishes us, “For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths”. Sadly, this is a major concern regarding the churches in Australia.
From the above you will see there is no such thing as universally directed salvation. It is to the elect. Therefore the atonement is not for every man but only for the elect. “Christ died for ‘our’ sins” says Paul 1 Cor.15 I think. Not for the sins of the whole world. If most do not believe how can the atonement have been for them? This is an impossibility if you think about it. What do we do? We do not know the hearts of men. We do not know who the elect are. We do not know who or the number who are to be included. So we do what Jesus said to do, and the Presbyterians, who follow predestination by the book, lack in this, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature”.
Also, it is obvious from history that God did not will all to be saved. The majority of people for 2,000 years have not known the gospel or known of it. Why this tribe and not another? Why this generation and not another? It must be the will and election of God. We do what they did in the book of Acts and all that Paul did. “Be followers of me as I am of Christ” he said. All men are born in sin. Most are left to stay in that position. God calls his elect, as in Ephesians 1:1-12. They were elect before they were born. It is possible for some elect to fall into the pig sty again. We necessarily do not have to explain in detail. We just believe all the verses and see them joined together not according to a doctrine but according to the content of the gospel, epistles etc.
I hope this is an elucidation about this subject!
I would like to mention that when we were in Thailand once, my husband Cec and I with our Thai hosts, held an open-air gospel meeting with a band of true Presbyterians from Singapore. Presbyterian missionaries have done a great work. They were the ones who did much for Korea in the beginning of the twentieth century. They established the church there and translated the Bible wonderfully. Today, the largest Presbyterian Church is reportedly in Seoul. The largest Assemblies of God church in the world is also there. They all spring from the work of those missionaries. When Peter and I were in the Kuala Lumpur Airport at one time, a large group of Charismatic Presbyterians from a big Seoul church was there on its way home from a missionary visit to India. We saw the Pastor take one of the group apart, alone and he ministered to that one to be baptized with the Spirit that of course always includes speaking in other tongues.