The Instigator
PatrickSawyer
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
TruthSeeker87
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

God has predestined before the foundation of the world who would be saved (Calvinistic Soteriology).

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/19/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 425 times Debate No: 98230
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
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PatrickSawyer

Pro

I would like to debate another Christian on the subject predestination, or as some people understand it, election. Calvinist soteriology is usually broken down into five points: total Depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints. While all of those points will be tempting to argue against for my opponent, that is not my desire to debate. My desire in this debate is to focus in on unconditional election. However, I understand that each of these points work together and it will be almost impossible to talk about unconditional election without talking about the other four as well. I am just asking the meat of the conversation be centered around unconditional election.

I believe in the Calvinist approach to salvation for two important reasons:

1. The Bible says it

2. Unconditional Election is foundational to the message of grace.

First, the Bible is intrinsically filled with statements about predestination and election. It is not whether a Christian believes in predestination of election, it is what is their view of predestination and election. I will begin by siting two passage of scriptures that Calvinist begin with most. Ephesians 1:3-5 says this, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will." Secondly Romans 9:10-13, "And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad, in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because him who calls, she was told, 'The older will serve the younger.' As it is written, 'Jacob I have loved but Esau I hated.'"

These verse are explicitly clear that God has predestined before the foundation of the world who would be saved.

Secondly, the Calvinistic approach to soteriology is foundational to the message of grace. If we are not saved at all by what we do, I believe that Calvinism is the only game in town. If we take an Armenianist approach to salvation, they have to qualify everything. Why are we saved but so many people aren't saved? Because we believed? Well why did we believe and so many people didn't believe? Because we are more humble? Well why were we as Christians more humble that so many other people who weren't humble? As you can see it is just a never ending game. Armenians, or no-calvinist, approach salvation in such a way that they even turn belief into a work. Not so with Calvinism. In Calvinism, God chose us before we had done anything good or bad.
TruthSeeker87

Con

First off, I like to keep my arguments simple. So before you delve further into what you believe to be scriptural evidence for predestination, I'll start by asking this: if God has already assigned an eternal destination for all souls, then what is the point of everything he commands of us?
Debate Round No. 1
PatrickSawyer

Pro

Well good question. However, that gets terribly away from what I was hoping this would be. I want to answer your question in three parts but I am not going to answer it fully.

1. If you believe in the authoritative Word of God, and it is just that authoritative, then this question is important but it by no means takes away from the original point that God is totally and utterly supreme and sovereign over all of salvation. If the Bible says that God is totally and utterly supreme and sovereign over all of salvation but somehow you cant reconcile that with the fact that he gives us commands, it doesn't matter. God's Word is our supreme authority, not your mind and what makes sense to you. The Bible says that his ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts. We don't begin with what makes sense to you but with the Word of God. That's assuming that you believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God and is authoritative in our life.

2. If you are a Christian then you have a lot of things that would be seemingly a contradiction and yet you still believe them. For example, you believe Jesus was fully God yet he was fully human. You believe that God is totally one and totally three. I believe that God is totally Sovereign over all of salvation that yet we still have responsibility (the commands that you talked about). That may not make sense to you or to me but that is sort of what makes God God. If God could be understood and was devoid of all mystery, he would not be worthy of worship.

3. God gave us the law to show us our inadequacy. Romans 3:19-20 says, "Now we know that whatever the law says is speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin." So, I would say that God has sovereignly used the law to reveal to us how much of a sinner we are so that we will rely on how much a savior Jesus is. Now, why God chooses the methods that he does, I don't know. However, I do know this, that in the Bible there is this sense that we have been saved as a people to worship Jesus for what he has done for us. 1 Peter 2:9 says, "For we are a chose people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, that we may proclaim the greatness of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light." If we are to proclaim the greatness of Jesus, there must be a darkness that he called us out of. Well what is the avenue in which God uses to show us that we are in darkness? By showing us the perfection and holiness of the law and our inadequacy to keep it. Therefore, on the bases of the sin that Jesus saved us from, we worship him forever and ever.
TruthSeeker87

Con

But again, (and I'm sorry for keeping things too simple), if God created us, then why would he not give us the ability to understand? If the Bible is the authoritative and infallible word of God, and he's already assigned an eternal destination for all of us, then why make anything in it contradictory and confusing to us? The Bible, after all, is the cause of differing beliefs within Christianity. There are thousands of groups that each interpret it in a different way. Why give us a puzzle to solve when the puzzle doesn't matter? To say that we should believe something even though it doesn't make sense is a cop-out in my honest opinion. If He designed our minds this way, with an urge to seek and understand, then something has to make sense to us.
Debate Round No. 2
PatrickSawyer

Pro

Okay. there a lot of questions and I will attempt to answer them all.

1. He did give us the ability to understand. He did not give us the ability to understand him fully. We can understand the Bible and what it says but we can't understand God fully. Again, I think I quoted Isiah in the Bible when he quotes God as saying, "My ways are not your ways. And my thoughts are not your thoughts." So I do know that God has chosen the elect before the foundation of the world. I know that because the Bible says it. Now why God has chosen to do the things he has chosen to do, I don't know.I can't know the mind of God.

2. The core message of the Bible is not contradictory and confusing. However, there are certain parts of the Bible that Christians do disagree on and most Christians would agree that those are openhanded issues that don't divide us. If you want to say that because there is something in the Bible we don't fully understand therefore we shouldn't believe, that is a leap of faith on your and you would need to defend it.

3. I never said that you should believe even though it doesn't make sense. I am saying that the Bible emphatically says that He chosen us before the foundation of the World. It may not make sense to you how God did, how God is doing it, or why God is doing it but it doesn't change the fact that God did it and told us that he did it.
TruthSeeker87

Con

Why should you or I or anyone else for that matter attempt to understand or even read the Bible at all if "the elect" have already been chosen? He may command us to read His words, but if our salvation is not at stake then what's the point?
Debate Round No. 3
PatrickSawyer

Pro

Good Question. I think the fundamental misunderstanding to this question is this: you think that election is just and end. For some reason you are confused into thinking that there is no purpose past God's election and that isn't true. I am going to give you verses to prove that point and then I am going to use most of them, if not all of them, to prove a larger point.

"For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son." Romans 8:29

"Even as he chose in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him." Ephesians 1:4

I'll give you one more. "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession that you may proclaim the greatness of him who called you out of darkness and into his marvelous light." 1 Peter 2:9.

All three of these verses show that there is a purpose to our election. That God didn't just choose us but he chose us for a purpose. So, from the basis that he chose us for a purpose, here are a few reasons that we attempt to understand and read the Bible:

1. Because of just the opposite of what you said. Salvation is at stake. We try to understand and read our Bibles for the sake of evangelism. God has chosen that the means in which the elect will come to faith is through the preaching and proclamation of the Word of God.

2. God created us to worship. 1 Peter 2:9. Jesus taught us to worship in spirit and in truth. For us to worship and to know his "excellencies" as 1 Peter 2:9 says, we must read, study and examine the Word of God.

3. God created us for purity. Romans 8:29 and Ephesians 1:4. Paul said in Phillippians 1:9-10 that, "it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ." The key word in those verses is, "with knowledge." For us to grow in purity, we must grow in knowledge. For us to grow in knowledge, we must read the Word of God.

I will end my simply quoting a very important passage of scripture in my opinion. John 1:1-14:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Hope this helps.
TruthSeeker87

Con

To say that our salvation is at stake is to say that we are in control of our eternal destination. Does this not directly oppose the idea of predestination?

What if someone who is not of the elect "receives Him and believes in His name"? According to the scripture you provided, this is what is required to be "given the right to become children of God". Meaning we have to perform an action to be granted salvation.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by stcornerap 1 year ago
stcornerap
God chooses all people. We have to choose Him.
Posted by Yozavad 1 year ago
Yozavad
Who's winning?
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