Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Daily Bible Verse

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Blame Who?

Obviously, this is meant to criticize the idea that homosexuality is a choice.  Although it is a choice, it is also true that gays are unable to obey God's moral law.  To say otherwise is just Pelagianism rehashed.  

But Calvinism is the only biblically consistent answer to the idea that homosexuality is predetermined before birth.  (Romans 9:11-13; 1 Peter 2:8; Romans 1:18-32). Unfortunately, the liberals are not going to like the answer given.  Basically, before Adam ever rebelled God had already decreed the fall of Adam and Eve and every event in human history down to the most minute detail.  That would mean even reprobation is a decree of God.  (Romans 9:14-22; Romans 11:7-10).

If you're going to object to that idea, you would need object even more to Martin Luther's view:

THIS, therefore, is also essentially necessary and wholesome for Christians to know: That God foreknows nothing by contingency, but that He foresees, purposes, and does all things according to His immutable, eternal, and infallible will. By this thunderbolt, "Free-will" is thrown prostrate, and utterly dashed to pieces. Those, therefore, who would assert "Free-will," must either deny this thunderbolt, or pretend not to see it, or push it from them.  But, however, before I establish this point by any arguments of my own, and by the authority of Scripture, I will first set it forth in your words.

Are you not then the person, friend Erasmus, who just now asserted, that God is by nature just, and by nature most merciful? If this be true, does it not follow that He is immutably just and merciful? That, as His nature is not changed to all eternity, so neither His justice nor His mercy? And what is said concerning His justice and His mercy, must be said also concerning His knowledge, His wisdom, His goodness, His will, and His other Attributes. If therefore these things are asserted religiously, piously, and wholesomely concerning God, as you say yourself, what has come to you, that, contrary to your own self, you now assert, that it is irreligious, curious, and vain, to say, that God foreknows of necessity? You openly declare that the immutable will of God is to be known, but you forbid the knowledge of His immutable prescience. Do you believe that He foreknows against His will, or that He wills in ignorance? If then, He foreknows, willing, His will is eternal and immovable, because His nature is so: and, if He wills, foreknowing, His knowledge is eternal and immovable, because His nature is so. 

From which it follows unalterably, that all things which we do, although they may appear to us to be done mutably and contingently, and even may be done thus contingently by us, are yet, in reality, done necessarily and immutably, with respect to the will of God. For the will of God is effective and cannot be hindered; because the very power of God is natural to Him, and His wisdom is such that He cannot be deceived.  (From:  The Bondage of the Will:  Section 9, The Sovereignty of God).

Luther's Bondage of the Will asserts that there was no libertarian free will prior to the fall of Adam.  Of course, before the fall there was no bondage to sin.  There can be no contingency with God since God is immutable and whatever He foresees is therefore unchangeable, including the fall.  After the fall the situation is worse because now there is original sin and a total corruption of the divine image and likeness in humankind.

Even more to the point, the idea that God created the universe and left it to run itself is irrational.  Even moral evil, including the fall of Adam, must have been predetermined or else what you have is a mutable God or a God who is overpowered by human moral evil.  According to Luther, this would be impossible:
And as His will cannot be hindered, the work itself cannot be hindered from being done in the place, at the time, in the measure, and by whom He foresees and wills. If the will of God were such, that, when the work was done, the work remained but the will ceased, (as is the case with the will of men, which, when the house is built which they wished to build, ceases to will, as though it ended by death) then, indeed, it might be said, that things are done by contingency and mutability. But here, the case is the contrary; the work ceases, and the will remains. So far is it from possibility, that the doing of the work or its remaining, can be said to be from contingency or mutability. But, (that we may not be deceived in terms) being done by contingency, does not, in the Latin language, signify that the work itself which is done is contingent, but that it is done according to a contingent and mutable will—such a will as is not to be found in God! Moreover, a work cannot be called contingent, unless it be done by us unawares, by contingency, and, as it were, by chance; that is, by our will or hand catching at it, as presented by chance, we thinking nothing of it, nor willing any thing about it before.   (Luther, Sovereignty of God).
Now, it should be pointed out here that moral inability does not leave homosexuals or any other reprobate sinner an excuse for their disobedience or rebellion against God.  This is easily proved from Scripture since the moral accountability of man is established in many passages:

  "Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive. 28 "Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 29 "Yet the house of Israel says,`The way of the Lord is not fair.' O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair? 30 "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways," says the Lord GOD. "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. (Ezekiel 18:27-30 NKJ)

 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:18-21 NKJ)

On the other hand, the total inability of humankind to obey is likewise asserted many times over in Scripture:

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. (Romans 8:7 NKJ)

As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one." (Romans 3:10-12 NKJ)

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23 NKJ)

The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; There is none who does good. (Psalm 53:1 NKJ)

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; (Romans 1:28 NKJ)
Those who complain that predestination to reprobation is unfair should take up their complaint with God, who is the ultimate good.  Obviously whatever God does is right, including His decision to create the world just as it is.  (Romans 9:21).  Those who would complain against God put themselves in the place of God:

Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: "That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged." 5 But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.) 6 Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world? 7 For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? 8 And why not say, "Let us do evil that good may come "?-- as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just. (Romans 3:4-8 NKJ)

Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. 19 You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?" 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?" (Romans 9:18-20 NKJ)
Those who say that double predestination is not fair should consider that God is incomprehensible.  We do not know the purposes He had in making His decrees to election (Ephesians 1:4) and reprobation (1 Peter 2:8; Romans 9:13).  But we know that God could have justly damned the entire human race simply because He is God and whatever He decrees is right.  Infralapsarians will say that God made the decree to reprobation based on the previous decree to "permit" the fall.  However, even the fall is not by "mere" permission but is in fact predetermined by the decree itself.  The emphasis on the infralapsarian view of the logical order of the decrees, therefore, does not solve the problem of evil.  Evil exists because God predetermined it to be so.  If evil exists apart from God's control then you have dualism.  Evil and good would then be equal forces, meaning that God could not overcome evil by His power.

For whatever reason, God has determined humankind to both election and reprobation.  But we know that we are morally accountable to God for all our moral choices (Deuteronomy 29:29).   Those who dare to rebel against God are in essence committing idolatry (Romans 1:25).

The bottom line here is that God works all things for good for His elect (Romans 8:28).  God does not force evil people to do moral evil.  He is not the author of sin (James 1:13-14, 17; 1 John 1:5).  But He does predetermine everything that happens through secondary causes, and He does so in such a way that everything comes to pass just as He predetermined them to happen by His decrees before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:11).

While it might be true that homosexuals are born with a predisposition to their sexual perversion, it is not true that this gives them a moral excuse.  Simply because God creates vessels of wrath does not lessen their condemnation or their destruction (Job 21:30; Proverbs 16:4).  God does not change, but from our perspective below we do not know who is elect or reprobate in any absolute sense.  He is always waiting for the homosexual to repent (Malachi 3:6).  The fact that most refuse to do so only proves that God has hardened the politically correct crowd to accept perversion.  He does so for His own glory.

The Arminian objection to God's sovereignty and Erasmus' argument for free will was devastated by Luther and the other Reformers.  It is difficult to understand why so many Americans believe in "free will" when anyone with any understanding at all can see that predetermination is the only logical way to understand the Bible and life in general.  Even homosexuals argue that they were predetermined at birth.

Moreover, the Anglican Formularies teach the doctrine of double predestination.  This is nothing new.  It only seems "new" because most Evangelicals are existentialists, Arminians, and anti-intellectualists.  They have no knowledge of doctrine, theology, or church history.  Article 17 of the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion clearly teaches double predestination (Article 17).

Charlie J. Ray, M. Div.

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