I would like input from my Reformed brothers who are also Calvinist on this.

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dudley

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I think now believe in the the Calvinist doctrine of Predestination and I concur that man does not really have free will as we often think..Free-will is limited by the fallen nature... We can't fix that...but God has willed those He chose to be made free from the fallen nature that we are born to and justified and made righteous by Gods garce and our placiing our faith in His son alone for our salvation we are given the grace and drawn out of our sinful nature and adopted as the chidren of God. I believe Predestination is double. The only way to avoid the doctrine of double predestination is to either affirm that God predestinates everybody to election or that He predestinates no one to either election or reprobation. Since the Bible clearly teaches predestination to election and denies universal salvation, we must conclude that predestination is double. It includes both election and reprobation. Double predestination is unavoidable if we take Scripture seriously.

I would like input from my Reformed brothers who are also Calvinist on this.
 

rbcbob

Puritan Board Graduate
This accords with your confession of faith, does it not?

WCF
III. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Westminster Confession of Faith

Chapter III
Of God's Eternal Decree
[emphasis added]

I. God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass;[1] yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin,[2] nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.[3]

II. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions;[4] yet has He not decreed anything because He foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.[5]

III. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels[6] are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.[7]

IV. These angels and men, thus predestinated, and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.[8]

V. Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, has chosen, in Christ, unto everlasting glory,[9] out of His mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith, or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving Him thereunto;[10] and all to the praise of His glorious grace.[11]

VI. As God has appointed the elect unto glory, so has He, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto.[12] Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ,[13] are effectually called unto faith in Christ by His Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified,[14] and kept by His power, through faith, unto salvation.[15] Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.[16]

VII. The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extends or withholds mercy, as He pleases, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice.[17]

VIII. The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care,[18] that men, attending the will of God revealed in His Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election.[19] So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God;[20] and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the Gospel.[21]

The Confession summarizes wonderfully the doctrine of Scripture in this matter.

It is indeed a "high mystery" because it is within the counsel of the Trinity for reasons known only to them, and which mere creatures are not capable of fully understanding.

I prefer describing what happens to those left reprobate as being "passed by," that is, being left in the state they are in rather than implying that something has to be done to make them reprobate. It's not a congruent comparison- the elect are rescued, the non-elect are left as they are, doing what they please, serving what they will (the world, the flesh and the devil- self, not God).

Dr. Sproul does an excellent job teaching through this as incidental to the doctrines of grace. It's a deep doctrine, and requires study and humility:
http://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/what_is_reformed_theology/
 

dudley

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
What I meant is I now understand it.....it was confusing to me when I first made an affirmation of faith as a Presbyterian.
 

NB3K

Puritan Board Sophomore
Well good for you Dudley! I remember when I first understood the doctrine of Predestination. I was awe struck by the majesty of the wisdom and counsel of God, as I am still to this day when I think about this doctrine.
 

Jackie Kaulitz

Puritan Board Freshman
Dudley, I'm so happy for you! Yes, we also affirm double predestination. I had so much fun learning and researching Double Predestination and was just in awe that God had full and total control over election and reprobation. May I ask how you came to this conclusion? I read an article on the internet. haha... Before this board, that's how I learned nearly everything about Christianity, sadly (with the exception of reading my bible, of course).
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
I would like input from my Reformed brothers who are also Calvinist on this.
Is there such a person as a Reformed person who is not a Calvinist?

Not all Calvinists are Reformed.
But...
All Reformed are Calvinists.

What's your view on equal ultimacy as related to "double predestination", Dudley?

AMR
 

Eoghan

Puritan Board Senior
This accords with your confession of faith, does it not?

WCF
III. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death.

There is a difference I think between knowing and realising. When you realise something it becomes much more prominent in your life. We should not be surprised that some of us occasionally stand in wonder at what we profess to believe.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
Free-will is limited by the fallen nature.
You might want to reexamine this -- man is always a limited creature existing in the universe of a sovereign father. I realize huge works have been produced on free-will as a philosophical topic, but given the context of the OP, I believe the more helpful context is the creature/creator distinction.

Others in this thread may want to reconsider the idea of a "profession of faith" as a Presbyterian. I've been a member in mainline, PCA and OPC churches and in no case, has "professing" Calvinism ever been part of a profession of faith. Inclusion in Christ's church is based on one's profession that Jesus is your Lord and savior and that you are wholly dependent on Him as a fallen man in need of being restored before a holy God.
 

AlexanderHenderson1647

Puritan Board Freshman
While I am fully convinced of the merits of the underlying principle of what you say, I have to take issue with the term "double predestination." Mind you, I know that you didn't invent it, but just for correction's sake I'll tell you why I take the issue. The Scripture never refers to a man being "predestined" (using that explicit term) to damnation. It is always a predestination "in Christ" in which the subjects are always determined to life in Jesus and eternity with Him. Whereas, those outside of God's electing grace are said to be hardened, reprobated, passed by, etc. Mind you, it is merely a matter of mechanics of the word. If used in a strictly Biblical theological sense, predestination should only be used to refer to the elect. But as some have incorporated the concept of "double" into their systematics and refer only to "God's predetermined binding of men to a particular destiny," it works. I fear though that it can be confused. In terms of our confession of faith, the Westminsterians did not choose to use the terminology (as has already been quoted above) and I believe they did so to most carefully observe and represent the Scriptures which also do not use the term predestination in that sense. It might seem to be semantics, but I think it is the most careful use of the term. Again, principally, God certainly determines the destiny of the redeemed and the damned alike and all the means thereunto. I personally savor that term as it is connected to God's decree toward us, Christ's work for us, and it is reserved exclusively for us, His children :)
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
VII. The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extends or withholds mercy, as He pleases, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice.[17]

Just a a quick question. Why is "He extends" in here if He withholds mercy to "the rest"? Is it merely saying that God could extend mercy if He chooses and if so does this assume a infra position?
 

Supersillymanable

Puritan Board Freshman
I agree with Christopher. Using the term "double predestination" actually causes a lot of confusion. The election of the saints is not the same predestination as the reprobation of the damned (if that be the correct terminology). God, as the confession states, extends His mercy, due to His wisdom and and Grace, but He merely passes over the reprobate.

Does anyone know why there is such a term as "double predestination"? What would single predestination even look like? Other than universalism that is, which is simply unarguable from scripture...
 

Mushroom

Puritan Board Doctor
Is the distinction here over the concept of 'equal ultimacy', often stereotyped as hyper-calvinism? I 'take no pleasure' in changing the oil in my truck, and would prefer that it weren't necessary, but I do it.
 

Zach

Puritan Board Junior
I'm with Christopher and Lawrence and I found both of their posts to be helpful. Lawrence's point that the predestination of the elect and the non-elect are different is important and its highlighted in the language of WCF 3.7. Even though the eternal destiny of every man is under the sovereignty of God, the predestination that occurs for the non-elect is what they have earned and what we all would earn but for the grace of God. The predestination of the elect to glory is what we have not and could never earn, the righteousness of God by grace through faith. God does not have to actively intervene to predestine the non-elect to wrath because sin does that all on its own. He merely withholds the grace that he extends to his people, all to the praise of his glorious justice.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
Quite frankly, in all my years in reformed circles, I've rarely heard the term double-predestination, but I heard it all the time in the few years spent in an independent Baptist church. It was generally used to demonstrate how mean Calvinist are. "Predestination in Christ" is a very useful distinction Christopher. Thanks.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
VII. The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extends or withholds mercy, as He pleases, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice.[17]

Just a a quick question. Why is "He extends" in here if He withholds mercy to "the rest"? Is it merely saying that God could extend mercy if He chooses and if so does this assume a infra position?

It says, "He extends or withholds mercy, as He pleases, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures..."

The context is not a normative condition of having mercy, but rather of justice. That is, being in sin, and doing what one pleases in that state, and, in the end, receiving the judgment that deserves.

The difficulty with "infra" vs. "supra" is that there is an attempt to distinguish based on something we cannot fully understand or express- the concept of infinity, which is an element of God's character. Because of our limitations, the arguments tend to become circuitous.

I only know the Confession expresses the doctrine well, and puts deep truth in context.

"Double predestination," is an attributive term that was added by some, much later. It was not the way the Divines who wrote the standards described the doctrine. I really don't think it helps one to understand either the biblical truth or what the Confession summarizes the doctrine of Scripture to be on this matter.

God does something to rescue a sinner from his condemnation, but doesn't do something (not in the same sense, anyway) when he leaves a sinner to what he wants, sin.... and its ultimate consequences before a Holy God.
 
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earl40

Puritan Board Professor
VII. The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extends or withholds mercy, as He pleases, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice.[17]

Just a a quick question. Why is "He extends" in here if He withholds mercy to "the rest"? Is it merely saying that God could extend mercy if He chooses and if so does this assume a infra position?

It says, "He extends or withholds mercy, as He pleases, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures..."

The context is not a normative condition of having mercy, but rather of justice. That is, being in sin, and doing what one pleases in that state, and, in the end, receiving the judgment that deserves.

The difficulty with "infra" vs. "supra" is that there is an attempt to distinguish based on something we cannot fully understand or express- the concept of infinity, which is an element of God's character. Because of our limitations, the arguments tend to become circuitous.

I only know the Confession expresses the doctrine well, and puts deep truth in context.

"Double predestination," is an attributive term that was added by some, much later. It was not the way the Divines who wrote the standards described the doctrine. I really don't think it helps one to understand either the biblical truth or what the Confession summarizes the doctrine of Scripture to be on this doctrine.

God does something to rescue a sinner from his condemnation, but doesn't do something (not in the same sense, anyway) when he leaves a sinner to what he wants, sin.... and its ultimate consequences before a Holy God.

Thank you Scott. The reason I asked was because in chapter 3 part VII is addressing only the unelect and I believe he never intended to "extend mercy" to the unelect. I understood the infra position has God " contemplating" over all of fallen humanity and "deciding" to who He withholds mercy. Thus the phrase "He extends" should not be there if VII is only speaking of the unelect. Where as the supra position would believe He "decided" or has always planned everything to fall out as we see it or as He willed.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
I believe he never intended to "extend mercy" to the unelect.

Absolutely true, as God decided within the counsel of the Trinity "in eternity past," for reasons known only unto Himself. There was never a time He planned to redeem the "un-elect," or changed His mind about it, etc.

I understood the infra position has God " contemplating" over all of fallen humanity and "deciding" to who He withholds mercy.
For what it's worth, I don't think "infra," or the Divines contemplate God contemplating mercy (or anything) quite in the sense you describe. It's an issue of concepts that are difficult for finite creatures to grasp- the infinite nature of God, His immutability, and most of all, His sovereignty.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
VII. The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extends or withholds mercy, as He pleases, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice.[17]

Just a a quick question. Why is "He extends" in here if He withholds mercy to "the rest"? Is it merely saying that God could extend mercy if He chooses and if so does this assume a infra position?

Earl, paragraph VII does relate to "the rest of mankind." But "whereby he extends or withholds mercy, as he pleases" is grammatically related to "the unsearchable counsel of his own will". Since God can extend or withhold mercy as he pleases, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, God was pleased to pass by the rest of mankind; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.

What is important to maintain is that preterition is not obtained (neither child having done good or evil it was said that the elder should serve the younger): it is not God's response to their behavior, it is his determination before all time. Those passed by in the decree of mercy, are ordained to dishonor and wrath for their sins. The preterition magnifies God's sovereignty over the creature; the ordination to wrath magnifies his justice.
 
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Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
At one level - metaphysical - Man does have free will, and only the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God can sustain that. It's consistent atheists who deny that Man has free will in this sense. God's sovereignty guarantees the freedom of Man's will in this sense. If Man did not have free will in this sense he would not be a sinner and could not be justly held responsible for anything good or bad.

Here's an article by Douglas Wilson on the subject, this being no endorsement of his Visionista errors:
Antithesis at Reformed.org

On the other hand Man's will is ethically bound by sin.

The Westminster Confession affirms that Man has free will in one sense but not in another sense. Nuance is important to good theology:

Chapter IX
Of Free Will

I. God has endued the will of man with that natural liberty, that is neither forced, nor, by any absolute necessity of nature, determined good, or evil.

II. Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom, and power to will and to do that which was good and well pleasing to God; but yet, mutably, so that he might fall from it.

III. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, has wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation: so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.

IV. When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, He frees him from his natural bondage under sin; and, by His grace alone, enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good; yet so, as that by reason of his remaining corruption, he does not perfectly, or only, will that which is good, but does also will that which is evil.

V. The will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to do good alone in the state of glory only.
 

Mushroom

Puritan Board Doctor
What Ruben said. In the moment before conception God has already determined the ultimate end of every person unrelated to their actions, good or evil. 'Active' and 'passive' and like terms I think are preferred simply to assuage our own discomfort with that fact. To act or not to act are both active exertions of the will. God doesn't play peek-a-boo with Himself, and we don't need to pretend He does to placate our misgivings.
 

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
First, I'd like to point out that man does NOT have free will. What I mean is autonomous free will. Acting outside of anything and everything. This is impossible, and scripture tells us this: "5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Gen 6);

"9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”" (Rom 3)





Also, what do you say about passages like these?



7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,

“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,”

8 and

“A stone of stumbling,
and a rock of offense.”

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. (1 Peter 2)

17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction (Romans 9)

I think it's pretty clear that God was more then just passive in reprobation. I believe the WCF reflects that as well: "to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin".
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Andrew
First, I'd like to point out that man does NOT have free will.

If you mean that all his thoughts, words and actions are decreed by God, I would agree.

But as you can see, our Confession affirms free will in the metaphysical sense
I. God has endued the will of man with that natural liberty, that is neither forced, nor, by any absolute necessity of nature, determined good, or evil.

while denying it - since the Fall - in the ethical sense
III. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, has wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation: so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.

It is the more consisent atheists, such as Marxists, that deny Man's free will in the former sense. They believe that souless Man has all his thoughts, words and actions determined by nature and nurture in a godless impersonal Universe of chance and fate.

Only a sovereign God who is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent can uphold Man's freedom and responsibility.
 

reformed_vanilla

Puritan Board Freshman
I think it's pretty clear that God was more then just passive in reprobation.

Andrew, can you clarify what you mean by "more than just passive in reprobation"? Do you mean to say that God is just as active in reprobation as he is in election?
 

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
I think it's pretty clear that God was more then just passive in reprobation.

Andrew, can you clarify what you mean by "more than just passive in reprobation"? Do you mean to say that God is just as active in reprobation as he is in election?

Now that I can't answer. However, what I am saying is this: God is active in reprobation. God isn't passive in anything but rather active in everything. Is God active in man's sin, in the sense that God makes man sin? No. Does God use sinful men as his instruments? Yes. Isaiah 10 is a great picture of that. Also, God rose up Pharaoh for that purpose (Rom 9). So just how active is God in reprobation? I don't know. Neither does anyone else. It's pure speculation. But, scripture is clear that He is active.
 
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