Paul's Passing Thoughts

Election and the Real Golden Chain of Salvation: Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 17, 2015

ppt-jpeg4Those who still need salvation have that need for a reason; they yet remain damned. Furthermore, they saturate themselves with a justification only perspective on the law which will magnify their damnation unless they repent.”

An item of particular interest in regard to the Reformed use of Romans 8:29,30 for the ordo salutis (order of salvation or the golden chain of individual salvation) is that sanctification is missing from the process. Sanctification is not in Romans 8:29,30. Let there be no doubt about it when the least common denominator is front and center: this issue concerns two different gospels. One gospel states that sanctification is not mentioned because it is the same thing as justification; the other gospel states that sanctification is missing because justification and sanctification are totally separate.

And obviously therefore, one states that salvation is a finished work while the other sees salvation as a process that the individual experiences and lives in while the process is ongoing. This is why Protestantism has ALWAYS been characterized by weak sanctification and lack of assurance. If justification and sanctification are the same thing, there is going to be an over emphasis on justification; if we are in the midst of the justification “process” and our salvation depends on whether or not God chose us to believe, and our individual election will not be verified until the “tribunal,” assurance will be lacking.

The Bible is clear. Assurance is based on two things: confidence in the FINISHED election process preordained by God, and the ability to work out the gifts given to us with our finished and final salvation being of no consideration in regard to our works of love. In other words, one of the purposes of election is to radically separate justification and sanctification leading to assurance and aggressive sanctification. The Reformed order of salvation uses election to fuse justification and sanctification together resulting in that train wreck we call “Protestantism.”

This is why I think Romans 8:29,30 is in the past tense; it concerns justification ONLY as a finished work. Yet, the Reformed use it to make a case for a salvation that is yet future; in other words, the Reformed throw out grammatical considerations regardless of whether it is in the English, Hebrew, or Greek. While they claim deep knowledge of the languages are efficacious to valid understanding of the Scriptures, they rape and ravage normative grammatical rules unfettered. While using knowledge of the languages to intimidate the great unwashed, they say, “good grammar makes bad theology” as if there are no rules of grammar in the Greek and Hebrew. But there are, and the rules are fairly consistent in all languages. Knowledge of Greek and Hebrew is oversold for purposes of control. More relevant than anything is a good working knowledge of grammar.

Romans 8:29,30 speaks of a group, or classification of people who were pre-loved, predestined, called, justified, and glorified. However, not all who are called within the group answer the call, but rather reject it. Those who accept the invitation of the calling are part of the elect group. In the same way, Israel was elected, but not all Israelites accept the invitation. Therefore, God also preordained the Gentiles for salvation in order to make the Jews jealous. In part one, I cite Matthew 22:1-14 to make this case in regard to the “called”, and would also like to add Romans 11. The “remnant” can also be considered an elect group as well, and any Jew can be saved by becoming a part of it IF they believe individually (Romans 11:23).

Throughout the Bible, people are called to believe and are warned that they will be judged if they don’t. The means of salvation being elected rather than individuals, and those individuals being called on to become part of the elect group excludes the need to relegate the gospel to paradox. God is not a God of confusion. If the “called” are not distinguished from the definition of “elect,” the Bible becomes utterly confusing. Nevertheless, Matthew 22:1-14 seems to end the argument altogether; many are called but few are elect. The elect are the ones who accept the invitation to the wedding feast.

Admittedly, this is a working hypothesis for consideration among the laity, but the following is certain: the Protestant gospel of a progressive order of salvation must be rejected with extreme prejudice for many, many definitive reasons. And Biblicism knows the following concretely in regard to its alternative gospel: justification is a finished work by God alone and the saint is free to love aggressively without fear of condemnation. We leave the cross and move on to maturity in love. Those who still need salvation have that need for a reason; they yet remain damned. Furthermore, they saturate themselves with a justification only perspective on the law which will magnify their damnation unless they repent.

At any rate, the idea that a group is elected for a certain purpose without all in the group being saved is far from being unbiblical, and Israel is the primary example (NASB):

Deuteronomy 7:6

“For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

Exodus 19:4-6

‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. ‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”

Psalms 135:4

For the LORD has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His own possession.

Isaiah 41:8-9

“But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, Descendant of Abraham My friend, You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its remotest parts And said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you.

Isaiah 43:10

“You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.

Isaiah 44:1-2

“But now listen, O Jacob, My servant, And Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus says the LORD who made you And formed you from the womb, who will help you, ‘Do not fear, O Jacob My servant; And you Jeshurun whom I have chosen.

Isaiah 45:4

“For the sake of Jacob My servant, And Israel My chosen one, I have also called you by your name; I have given you a title of honor Though you have not known Me.

Amos 3:2

“You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”

In Romans 11:2, the apostle Paul even writes that God “foreknew” Israel. This is the election and foreknowledge of a group of which all are not saved. God calls all of those belonging to the group, but many within the group reject the call. Again, note Matthew 22:1-14. If they answer the call, they are elect because they are part of the group that was elected. It is plain that election is not defined by individual pre-selection alone, and in fact, specific verses that seem to indicate the election of individuals are not only rare, but ambiguous at best while the former are ample and concise.

Let me throw a couple of thoughts in here that would be prompted by reading almost anywhere throughout the New Testament. First, if individuals are pre-selected, the Scriptures pass on the opportunity to make that clear over and over again. For example:

Luke 16:27 – And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No,father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

If the issue is pre-selection, why wouldn’t Abraham merely say so? Why is the source of information that would persuade the rich man’s brothers the issue rather than God’s choosing? Individual pre-determinism makes the Bible an illogical convoluted mess, not to mention a god that is playing head games with mankind.

Secondly, if there is no future purpose for Israel, or the “church” has taken Israel’s place, which is an idea firmly embedded in Reformed tradition via amillennialism and supersessionism, does that not deny a true link in the election chain? Does it not make some aspects of election temporary? Why not? In part 1 we discussed John Calvin’s interpretation of the “called” as those who are temporarily chosen and therefore relegated to a greater damnation in the end.

So, what is the true golden chain of salvation? We begin to explore that in part 3.

paul

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Election and the Real Golden Chain of Salvation: Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 14, 2015

Let’s discuss yet another Reformed doctrine; the ordo solutis, or “order of salvation.” This is also known as the “golden chain of salvation” and the proof text is Romans 8:29,30.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

It goes something like this: God fore-loved certain individuals and not others. He then predestined them to salvation. He then at some point in time calls them, and then justifies them resulting in glorification. Here is a Reformed illustration below:

Golden Chain

Catholic theologians often object to this take on Romans 8:29,30 because they reject once saved always saved, but they misunderstand, authentic Protestantism does NOT hold to OSAS. More to the point here, the golden chain of salvation is seen as individual, rather than a means of salvation. And that’s what election is: it chooses the means of salvation, and chooses individuals who have roles in the various purposes of salvation. God chose Christ to die on the cross, therefore Christ is elect; He chose the holy angels for certain roles in the salvation process, therefore they are elect; He chose the nation of Israel as part of the process, therefore the nation of Israel is elect, and He chose certain individuals throughout history to contribute to the process of salvation, therefore they are chosen as well to play a part in the means of salvation. That does not mean that they did not have a choice to follow God prior to that choosing for a role in God’s salvific plan. For instance, obviously, God chose the virgin Mary to bear and give birth to Christ as part of the salvation plan. It is also obvious that Mary was saved prior to that choosing. It is obvious that Christ chose the 12 disciples for a role in the slavific plan, but that doesn’t mean they had no choice in choosing God prior to that, hence,

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.  This is my command: Love each other.

In context, Christ is referring to their election as apostles, not some inability to choose God. As we shall see in the future parts, the REAL golden chain of salvation is a mode of salvation and those used by God to execute it, not a golden chain of salvation that pertains to individual salvation through determinism. Let me now make a beginning case for your consideration. Let me create some reasonable doubt in regard to the Reformed ordo solutis.

First, if you will note once again the Reformed illustration posted in this first part, it illustrates a past tense that preludes present continuous action. This, of course, is necessary for a deterministic conclusion. However, if you carefully examine Romans 8:29,30 it is strictly past tense. Paul is speaking of something that has already taken place. Any other conclusion is presumptuous at best. Paul is writing about something that has been established in the past, or a group of people who have already been glorified. This clearly casts reasonable doubt on the ordo solutis.

Secondly, the ordo solutis would indicate that all of those who are called are also justified, or saved. This is clearly not the case.

Matthew 22:1 – And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants  to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants,treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

In this passage, the “called” are defined: the called are all peoples who are invited to believe in the gospel of the kingdom, and those who except the invitation are of the elect group. Not all of the called are elect. This throws a very large monkey wrench into the Reformed golden chain/order of salvation. Hence, John Calvin came up with three categories of individual preselection: the non-elect; the called; or those temperately chosen/illumined/born again, and those who persevere; or those who are both called and elected in the final analysis. Therefore, assurance of salvation is absolutely impossible in context of the ordo solutis. NO ONE can really know for certain that they are saved until they are “manifested” in the “final tribunal” where “final justification” is determined.

Yet, the apostle John wrote an epistle so that we may “know” presently that we are born again (1John 5:13). The Reformed order of salvation seems apparent based on its deterministic presuppositions, but further investigation is needed.

paul

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