The Westboro “Baptist” Church Lie – Calvinism’s True Face: Pt. 5

By the very nature of what must be done, the following will be somewhat tedious. However, it is utterly necessary to establish certain facts concerning the Calvinist idea of “election” and whether that idea and concept is Scripturally correct.

Here now, we are called to the word “election” and its usage in verse 11 of Romans, chapter 9. The word “election” is a frequently misused and misunderstood word that is a favorite of those holding Calvinist/Reformed doctrine. This word is used as supposed “proof” that the LORD God predetermined who would be saved, and who would be passed by and thus consigned to an eternity in Hell. However, for it to be proof, it must be proved by Scripture. In sum, this means that we must find other Scriptures that solidly support the contention that “election,” as it is used in verse 11 does indeed mean, or lends support to meaning, that a predetermination was made as to who would be saved, and who would not. Hence, a criterion, a standard for the LORD God choosing who would, and would not be saved.

The word “election” does not get much usage in Scripture. There are only about six instances of the word, and the underlying Greek word is found seven times as it is translated as “chosen” once. Thus, to be certain of the meaning of “election” as used in Romans, chapter 9, verse 11, we will have to examine the usage of the word “chosen.”

The word “election” appears in the following verses:

(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) (Romans 9:11)

Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. (Romans 11:5)

What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (Romans 11:7)

As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. (Romans 11:28)

Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. (I Thessalonians 1:4)

Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: (II Peter 1:10)

And, where the underlying Greek word is translated “chosen” is in Acts:

But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: (Acts 9:15)

Since Romans 9:11, I Thessalonians 1:4, and II Peter 1:10 plainly do not provide any sort of criteria or explanation of “election” and why certain persons were “elected” to salvation, we must concentrate on Romans, chapter 11 as verse five plainly states that the election is “of grace” and then proceeds to explain in verse six that grace and works are mutually exclusive, and cannot be mixed in any way, shape, form or fashion. We then arrive at verse seven with the question:

“What then?”

This plainly indicates that a conclusion is drawn concerning Israel and who in Israel was saved, and who was not. To get an actual understanding of the conclusion drawn, it is essential to quote verse eight as well:

What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. (Romans 11:7-8)

Now we must ascertain why certain ones were given to be blinded, and others not, and how this fits with the election of grace. To go forward we must resolve how it is that some found grace in the eyes of the LORD, and others did not. For that we must go to Isaiah, chapter 29 to the passage that states:

For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. (Isaiah 29:10)

and again in Isaiah, chapter 6:

And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. (Isaiah 6:9-10)

However, in neither of these cases does the specific quoted verses tell us anything about why this was done. We must look at the passage in Isaiah, chapter 29 to see a reason as the rest of Isaiah, chapter 6 only tells us the extent of the LORD’s judgement on Israel.

Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding? (Isaiah 29:9-16)

In the above passage many things are declared, but among the things stated, the following is given as the reason all these things have come upon Israel:

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: (Isaiah 29:13)

And again in the same passage:

Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? (Isaiah 29:15)

By the above two verses, we now have a reason for the LORD God withholding grace from the Israelites. Clearly they chose to be dishonest with the LORD and attempted to hide their wickedness from Him. This is something that the LORD God does not tolerate at all, and has made it plain in His word from the very beginning.

The fact that grace was withheld from certain Israelites due to their deceitfulness gives us the express criteria for the “election of grace” described in Romans, chapter 11, verse five. This is a far cry from the Calvinist contention that God chose some in eternity past without any express standard or criteria, and without regard to what any particular individual does. Plainly and clearly, if one is deceitful and dishonest with the LORD, grace cannot be expected to be bestowed. One must be honest about who and what they are, both to themselves and to the LORD God. This does lead to the question of whether man is capable of being honest with himself and with the LORD, but that will be dealt with later. For now, we must return to Romans, chapter 11 and examine the last verse that uses the word “election” and see what it states:

As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. (Romans 11:28)

Again, we can see that this passage states nothing about why some are elected and others are not. Thus, we pass it by and examine the word “chosen” as used in Acts, chapter 9:

Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. (Acts 9:13-18)

Now, before some go and proclaim that receiving the Holy Ghost constituted the salvation of Saul, it is necessary to examine what happens immediately upon Ananias’ statement to Saul. It is expressly stated that he “received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.” which is consistent with the empowerment of the Holy Ghost to perform a work for the LORD. Hence, Saul’s receiving the Holy Ghost has everything to do with his baptism, and little to nothing to do with his salvation. One can be saved, and yet not be “filled with the Holy Ghost” (ref. Acts 2:1-4, Acts 4:5-10, Acts 4:31, Acts 13:6-12).

In returning to the examination of the usage of the word “chosen” in the passage, we find the context here to be one of chosen for a specific work. The statement is made:

Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. (Acts 9:15b-16)

Again, we find that this has nothing to do with being chosen, or elected to salvation, rather it is about being elected for a specific work, with no criteria being given as pertaining to Saul’s salvation. In other words, we are not told that Saul was preselected, or predetermined for salvation. What we are told is that Saul was chosen for a specific work after salvation. Please note, it does not necessarily follow that someone who is chosen for a specific work after salvation, was predestined to be saved in the first place. There is a vast difference between foreknowledge, and predestination. The LORD God can and does predestinate certain individuals to perform a certain work after salvation, because He knew beforehand that they would repent and believe the gospel. This does not mean He predestined that individual, or any other individual for salvation.

To be continued . . .