While it is true that certain things are predestinated by the Lord, it is not true that “everything is predestinated.” Man was created with a “freewill”. (This does not come from Pelagianist writings: but from scripture.) Speaking both generally and specifically, the preaching and receiving of the gospel involves both “freewill” and predestination (and the label of “semi-Pelagianism” as a “straw-man” will do nothing to prevail against the truth.) The doctrine that “everything is predestinated” is (1) entirely foreign to scripture, (2) does not become true because its adherents are rabid in defense of it, and (3) does not glorify God, as is claimed by those who espouse it. Contempt of “freewill” has a firm lodging in those who are intent upon self-justification, because, if “everything is predestinated,” you decided nothing, and you are guilty of nothing: everything is God’s fault, (regardless of circuitous logic to the contrary). While denial of “freewill” is claimed by some to be the main element of the reformation; as may have been the case in the mind of Luther (in addition to Calvinists, et al., who followed in it) a thing which is not true cannot be made part of “sound doctrine”, and is not made acceptable because it sought to serve a good purpose, i.e., the overthrowing of Catholic doctrines that were wrong.
Pelagianism, n. the doctrines and teachings of Pelagius, a fourth-century British monk who denied the doctrine of original sin and maintained that man has freedom of will.
OBSERVATIONS on Pelagianism:
(1) We don’t know this dead monk, so why would we believe anything he says, just because he says it?
(2) You notice that there are two basic elements to this belief system Pelagius is credited with starting.
a.) One element is false (denying “original sin”), and
b.) one element is true (“man has freedom of will”).
c.) Truth has been mixed with lies here, which
d.) immediately brings to mind one of Satan’s strategies to insult or obscure the truth.
(3) The so-called “scholarly” types who deny freewill like to immediately label us “Pelaginists” because,
a.) It makes them look scholarly because we wouldn’t even know what they’re talking about.
b.) It makes us look like heretics by associating us with those who deny “original sin.”
c.) It tends to put us in the position of wasting our time denying or defending elements of a belief system we couldn’t care less about, and with which we have nothing to do anyway.
d.) They distract us from our course, which is to preach the truth as known and believed from God’s word.
(4) Calling us “semi-Pelagianists” because we don’t believe that “everything is predestinated” . . .
a.) is exactly like calling us “semi-Catholic” because we don’t believe that the Lord remained in the tomb, or
b.) like calling us semi-Adventists because we don’t keep the Catholic Sunday, or
c.) like calling us semi-Lutherans because we don’t believe in “Once Saved Always Saved,” etc.
The Landscape is this: within the camp of those who “claim” to be Christian, there are those who teach that:
(1) freewill is the cornerstone of the power to receive the gospel, and therefore an essential element of salvation;
a.) We do not agree with this.
b.) The “cornerstone” for us of everything is Jesus Christ.
c.) The only “essential element of salvation” in our minds is the Lord himself.
d.) Those who try to “prove” this position consistently wrest scripture in their “proofs.”
(2) everything is predestinated, including every aspect of receiving the gospel and of salvation (Luther, et al.)
a.) We do not agree with this.
b.) Freewill is clearly given in the bible.
c.) Those who try to “prove” this position consistently wrest scripture in their “proofs.”
(3) a combination of both freewill and predestination is God’s plan with respect to eternal life (Erasmus, et al.)
a.) We agree with this.
b.) It is not necessary to wrest scripture to hold this doctrine.
c.) It is logical, consistent, and in harmony with everything that is written.
Each of the above three positions is defended by proponents who claim to be servants of Jesus Christ.
Many who claim to be servants of Jesus Christ consider this subject and their understanding of it to be vital.
Many have devoted much of their lives to defending one of the above three positions.
There is only one truth in this, and (at best) all those holding to two of the three above positions are in error.
Many well “educated” and obviously gifted men claiming to be servants of Jesus Christ have taken up this matter and we will not here outdo them on their level (not as having skill in sophistry, debate, and human intellect).
It might be thought that ordinary men as we are, can not hope to “understand these things”; but, it is written:
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Proverbs 28:5 “Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the Lord understand all things.”
16:9 “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.” [It comes together here.]
The purpose of this bible study is not to look at what other people say on this issue, or even what “great” and influential men have said, but to examine scripture for ourselves, as ordinary men born of the Spirit of God, taking heed to scripture that bears on this subject.
VERSES USING THE WORD “PREDESTINATE” OR “PREDESTINATED”
[The word “predestinated” is used twice in Ephesians; and, “predestinate” is used twice in Romans as follows.]
9 Ephesians 1:3-12 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath . . . chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. . . . In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. . . .”
Λ [It is the Lord’s “will” that is important here (as in every other context).]
9 Romans 8:29-30 “For whom he did  foreknow, he also did  predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also  called: and whom he called, them he also  justified: and whom he justified, them he also  glorified.”
OBSERVATIONS: (on Romans 8:29-30)
While it is true that foreknowledge is related to predestination, it is not true that foreknowledge is the same thing as predestination, as shown by the fact that the one precedes the other, in their order:
(3) calling ″ (See: Matthew 22:14)
This passage contemplates only those whom God “did foreknow”.
Λ This passage says nothing to show that “everyone is foreknown.”
QUESTION: Does God foreknow everyone?
ANSWER: No, God does not even “know” everyone, and some he “never knew”.
Matthew 7:23 “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
QUESTION: Does Romans 8:29 say: “Everybody who gets called was predestinated.”? (As a Calvinist would say.)
ANSWER: No, it says the reverse, that: “Those who were predestinated will get called.”
QUESTION: Is it possibly true, though, that: “Everybody who gets called was predestinated?”
ANSWER: No, because of Matthew 22:14
Λ Matthew 22:14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”, and further,
Λ John 6:70 “Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?”
OBSERVATIONS on the logic of bringing Matthew 22:14 to bear on Romans 8:29-30.
a.) There are more “called” than are “chosen” so it is not true that “Everyone who is called is chosen.”
b.) It cannot be true that those NOT chosen are “justified”, and therefore not true that “everyone called is justified.”
c.) The above statement would contradict Romans 8:30 if vs. 29-30 applied to “everyone.”
d.) (Again) Romans 8:29-30 is not contemplating “everyone” but only those whom God “did foreknow”
a.) The use of “predestinated” in Ephesians 1, is completely capable of being understood as within the category of those whom God did “foreknow”, as in Romans 8.
b.) The use of “predestinated” in Ephesians 1, is completely capable of being understood in the general sense, that there shall be those “chosen” from among the called, and if those first called aren’t interested, then others being called will suffice as fulfillment of that predestination, as given in the following parable.
Λ Luke 14:15-24 “And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.”
c.) It is pointed out that “predestinate” (or “predestinated”) is used four times in the bible, proving that predestination is a scriptural fact; but it should also be noted that the word “freewill” is used seventeen times, serving in the same way, to “prove” that “freewill” is a scriptural fact.
VERSES USING THE WORD “FREEWILL”
Λ Leviticus 22:17-19 “. . . freewill offerings . . . ye shall offer at your own will. . . .”
QUESTION: How could this be said more plainly, so that a Calvinist would have to agree there is freewill?
ANSWER: It could not be said anymore plainly, but it makes no difference because a Calvinist will never agree.
v. 21 “And whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD to accomplish his vow, or a freewill offering in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein.”
Λ v. 23 “Either a bullock or a lamb that hath any thing superfluous or lacking in his parts, that mayest thou offer for a freewill offering; but for a vow it shall not be accepted.”
23:38 “Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the LORD.”
Numbers 15:3 “And will make an offering by fire unto the Lord, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice in performing a vow, or in a freewill offering, or in your solemn feasts, to make a sweet savour unto the Lord, of the herd, or of the flock. . . .”
29:39 “These things ye shall do unto the LORD in your set feasts, beside your vows, and your freewill offerings, for your burnt offerings, and for your meat offerings, and for your drink offerings, and for your peace offerings.”
Deuteronomy 12:6 “And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings. . . .”
v. 17 “Thou mayest not eat within thy gates the tithe of thy corn, or of thy wine, or of thy oil, or the firstlings of thy herds or of thy flock, nor any of thy vows which thou vowest, nor thy freewill offerings. . . .”
16:10 “And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering. . . .”
23:23 “That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the Lord thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth.”
2nd Chronicles 31:14 “And Kore the son of Imnah the Levite, the porter toward the east, was over the freewill offerings of God, to distribute the oblations of the LORD, and the most holy things.”
Ezra 1:4 “And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.”
Λ 3:3-5 “. . . and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the LORD.”
7:11-13 “I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee.” [This is limited in force because the man quoted saying it may not be speaking the exact words of God in delivering the intent of God. (but see: v. 6)]
v. 16 “And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem. . . .”
Ezra 8:28 “And I said unto them, Ye are holy unto the LORD; the vessels are holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering unto the LORD God of your fathers.”
Psalm 119:108 “Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments.”
TEXTS USED TO “PROVE” THAT “EVERYTHING IS PREDESTINATED:”
9 Romans 9:15-21 “Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?”
[Calvinists insist, and would want us to believe, that Paul’s implication here is that God’s “will” cannot be, and is never “resisted”, but this is simply not true according to scripture!]
Matthew 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”
2nd Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us_ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
QUESTION: Will any, in fact, perish? (Do you know the hornet’s nest of fury you arouse by answering this question?)
ANSWER: Matthew 7:13 “. . . wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. . . .” (and many other similar verses)
Λ Romans 11:21-22 “For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.”
9 John 6:44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him. . . .”
QUESTION: Does “can come” here mean (A) “is given permission to come” or (B) “is capable of getting there”?
ANSWER: It has to be (B), because if the Lord had meant the first, he would have said “may,” not “can”.
[It’s possible under “freewill” to want something, without having the power to accomplish it; just as not having wings is a separate issue from being given “permission to fly.” (You might have a pilot’s license, but you’ll still have to buy or rent an airplane to get off the ground.]
EVERYTHING IS NOT PREDESTINATED (Some Things Happen by Chance)
Ecclesiastes 9:11 “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”
Luke 10:31 “And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.” [The Lord’s statement directs the reader to understand that this did NOT happen because God CAUSED it.]
EXAMPLES OF (What May Be) PREDESTINATION: (for the glory of the Lord)
Pharaoh Exodus 9:13-16 “And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.”
4:21 “And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.”
(The Reason:) 7:1-6 “And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt. . . .”
14:1-4 “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh. . . .”
(This also shows forth the power, mercy, and glory of God!)
Paul Acts 7:54 – 8:3 “As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.”
9:1-20 “But the Lord said unto [Ananias], Go thy way: for [Paul] is a chosen vessel unto me. . . .”
(This shows forth the power, mercy, and glory of God! Paul is both “called” and “chosen”.)
Romans 9:1-21 “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.”
EXAMPLES OF FREEWILL, and Verses Demonstrating It
Χ Exodus 25:1-2 “. . . of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.”
Χ Leviticus 1:1-3 “. . . he shall offer it of his own voluntary will. . . .”
Χ 19:5 “And if ye offer a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the Lord, ye shall offer it at your own will.”
Χ 22:29 “And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the LORD, offer it at your own will.”
Χ Genesis 2:15-17 “And the Lord God commanded the man. . . .”
3:6 “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food . . . she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”
Χ Exodus 16:4-5 “Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.”
(1) The Lord, in apparently wanting to teach the Israelites to obey him, is here, as stated, “proving” them.
(2) If everybody’s course was predestinated, the Lord’s act is a deception for those who read this. The Lord’s actions make no sense, if every act of every man was “performed by God’s will in him.”
(3) This verse is foolishness if “Everything is predestinated.”
Χ Deuteronomy 30:19 “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live. . . .”
[This is simple and plain to understand.]
Χ Proverbs 1:29 “For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD. . . .”
Χ Isaiah 56:4 “For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me. . . .”
Χ 65:12 “Therefore will I number you to the sword . . . because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.”
Χ Joshua 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
QUESTION: Did the word of the Lord command men to do what they could not, in fact, do: “choose”?
ANSWER: If you insist on getting your answers from men, not the bible, then the all-important question is, “From which man do you get the answer?”
Χ Hebrews 11:25 “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. . . .”
Χ 1st Corinthians 10:1-14 “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition. . . .”
(1) Paul is earnestly trying to persuade men to see things rightly.
(2) His attempt is foolishness if everybody’s course is predestinated.
(3) This verse is foolishness if “Everything is predestinated.” as claimed by those deceived by Satan.
Χ John 8:30-36 “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
QUESTION: Could you be free without free will?
[This is a question that Calvinists and “once saved always saved” Baptists are not comfortable with, although they will never admit it.]
Χ Isaiah 1:18-20 “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord. . . .”
(Computers cannot do this: they are programmed: they do not have “freewill”.)
Χ 55:6-9 “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found. . . .”
(CONSIDER how irrational it is to say this to men, if they have no choice either way?)
Λ Romans 7:14-25 (15) “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.”
[We see from this that what a man does is not necessarily a result of his own will, but of his own weakness and inability to do what he wills. (The expression, “what I would” just means in other words, “what my will is to do”
Χ John 3:17-21 “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
[We see from this that what man does is a result, at least in part, of what he “loves” (or “wants,” or “hates”).]
Χ 8:1-11 “She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
[Everything here is steeped in the Lord’s personal effort to get men to change their way of thinking.]
Χ 5:14 “Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.”
Χ Acts 8:37 “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
Χ 1st Corinthians 7:6 “But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.”
[It was Paul’s will that he speak this – the Lord gave him “permission”.]
Χ Acts 7:51 “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.”
Χ 2nd Timothy 3:8 “Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.”
Χ Genesis 1:26-27 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Χ Matthew 6:9-10 “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
OBSERVATION: There are two things contained in this one verse, and they are connected.
QUESTION: Has the Lord’s kingdom come?
ANSWER: No. (John 18:36 “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”)
QUESTION: Does the Lord intend that his kingdom will come?
QUESTION: Is the Lord’s will now being done in heaven?
QUESTION: Is the will of the Lord now being “done in earth, as it is in heaven”?
ANSWER: The answer is definitely, “No!” (Calvinists would call this answer, “heresy.”) If the will of the Lord is being done on earth as it is in heaven already, then the Lord would not have us pray that such would become true.
QUESTION: Why did the Lord teach this language for prayer?
ANSWER: The Lord wants us to be of one mind with him:
(1) to cooperate with the Lord in praying that it will be the way the Lord wants it to be; and
(2) to want it to be this way because EVEN THOUGH IT ISN’T THIS WAY NOW, it will be.