On Friday 24th January from 9pm, Revelation TV, Dr James White and Dr Michael Brown will be in debate concerning the most excellent topic of Predestination.
This debate has raged primarily since the 16th century through the interpretation of predestination by John Calvin and still continues to this day. However, in any debate it is important for the listener, reader, or viewer to understand the doctrine first and to listen carefully to both sides of the argument.
I am presently writing a book on this very subject, so I am very interested in the subject.
It may be helpful firstly to recognize some points before joining the debate;
- The doctrine of ‘Predestination’ is an interpretation of Biblical texts which claims that God has predetermined the salvation of particular people whom He has revealed to be His elect. That through the cross of Christ, God has chosen and effectively redeemed a people for Himself. A people of whom their effectual salvation does not depend upon the ‘free choice’ of man, but the elective purposes of God. In other words, the elect are not elect because they believe, they believe because they are elect.
- The Bible communicates ‘Predestination’ as something predetermined by God.
- The early Church fathers (1st -3rd centuries) upheld the freedom of human choice.
- St Augustine (354-430 AD) was probably one of the earliest Theologians to deny the doctrine of ‘Free Will’.
- During the 16th century reformation, most reformers denied the doctrine of ‘Free Will’. This was affirmed by Martin Luther and also the ’39 articles’ of the Church of England.
- The Calvinistic interpretation of ‘Predestination’ is generally associated with the Theological position and scriptural interpretation of John Calvin (1509-1564).
- The Arminian interpretation of ‘Predestination’ is generally associated with the Theological position and scriptural interpretation of Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609).
- If the Calvinistic doctrine of ‘Predestination’ is true, the doctrine of ‘Free Will’ must be seen as untrue or denied.
- If the Arminian doctrine of ‘Predestination’ is true, the doctrine of ‘Free Will’ or ‘Free Choice’ must be upheld.
I personally regard John Calvin as one of the finest Theologians known to church history. I also find Jacobus Arminus’s works of great worth. However, I also recognize that people are only human and the Bible is like a piece of wax, it can be interpreted or molded this way or that.
The question remains; are these positions true or important? If they are true, then surely they are most important. If they are wrong, then surely it is important to show why. What do you think?