Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cart Before The Horse

All Pelagian/Arminian systems make God’s election to salvation of an individual contingent upon His foreknowledge of the future faith and good works of the individual. They wish to place the cart before the horse and make God’s decree contingent upon His foreknowledge of who will freely believe in Him. Scripture explicitly denies such a fallacy of reason. Peter said that Christ was put to death according to the “determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,” - in that order. God knows what will be precisely because He has decreed what will be; not vice versa. Hence we see that Total Depravity presupposes sovereign grace.

Indeed, Scripture forthrightly denies that God’s elective purposes are contingent upon His foreknowledge. Romans 9:11 teaches us that election is not based upon God’s foreknowledge of works. In fact, Scripture never speaks of God’s foreknowledge of events. Of course God knows all future events; He ordained them all. However, when Scripture speaks of God’s foreknowledge, the object of this knowledge is never actions or events, but rather, people. Those familiar with the vocabulary of Scripture are aware that to “know” is to “look upon with favor.” How else could Jesus declare to someone, “I never knew you?” (Mat. 7:23) How could God tell Israel that they alone were the people He knew? (Amos 3:2)

The Puritan John Owen, in his masterwork against Arminianism quotes Arminius as saying, “That God loveth none precisely to eternal life but considered as just, either with legal or evangelical righteousness.” To which Owen replies that the notion which makes our election contingent upon foresight of our good works, “contains a doctrine so contradictory to the words and meaning of the apostle, Rom. ix.11, condemned in so many councils, suppressed by so many edicts and decrees of emperors and governors, opposed as a pestilent heresy, ever since it was first hatched, by so many orthodox fathers and learned schoolmen, so directly contrary to the doctrine of this church, so injurious to the grace and supreme power of Almighty God, that I much wonder any one, in this light of the gospel and flourishing time of learning, should be so boldly ignorant or impudent as to broach it amongst Christians. To prove this to be a heresy exploded by all orthodox and catholic antiquity were to light a candle in the sun; for it cannot but be known to all and every one who ever heard or read any thing of the state of Christ’s church after the rising of the Pelagian tumults.”

We Reformed believers must continue to light that candle in the sun.

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