God’s Infallible Foreknowledge

Dear Reader,
This blog post is for those Christians that believe God sees/knows the future. It assumes that you also believe that is so. Of course,all are welcome to read this and respond in any way they see fit and proper.
fore·knowl·edge (fôr-nŏl′ĭj, fōr-, fôr′nŏl′-, fōr′-). n. Knowledge or awareness of something before its existence or occurrence; prescience
From Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary:

Foreknowledge

In his omniscience God knows what the future holds both for individuals and for nations. He knows and sees everything in advance and his will is carried out in accord with his plans and purposes. In the Old Testament God’s foreknowledge is usually represented by the verb yada[[;d"y], which is the normal verb for “know.” In the New Testament the main verbs are proginosko [proginwvskw], “to know in advance, ” andproorao, “to see what is ahead.” Foreknowledge is closely connected to election and predestination and to God’s sovereign rule of his universe.
As the all-knowing One, God knows everything about us, including “all the days ordained for me before one of them came to be” ( Psalm 139:16 ). He knows our thoughts and words even before they are expressed ( Psalm 139:4 ; Matt 26:34 ), and he can determine our life’s work before we are born. Jeremiah was set apart in the womb to be a prophet, chosen to minister to the nations ( Jer 1:5 ). The idea of choice is also evident in the call of Abraham to be the founder of God’s covenant nation. When Genesis 18:19 says “I have chosen him, ” the verb is literally “I knew him.”

 

From Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy :FOREKNOWLEDGE AND FREE WILL

First published Tue Jul 6, 2004; substantive revision Thu Aug 25, 2011
Fatalism is the thesis that human acts occur by necessity and hence are unfree. Theological fatalism is the thesis that infallible foreknowledge of a human act makes the act necessary and hence unfree. If there is a being who knows the entire future infallibly, then no human act is free.
Fatalism seems to be entailed by infallible foreknowledge by the following informal line of reasoning:
For any future act you will perform, if some being infallibly believed in the past that the act would occur, there is nothing you can do now about the fact that he believed what he believed since nobody has any control over past events; nor can you make him mistaken in his belief, given that he is infallible. Therefore, there is nothing you can do now about the fact that he believed in a way that cannot be mistaken that you would do what you will do. But if so, you cannot do otherwise than what he believed you would do. And if you cannot do otherwise, you will not perform the act freely.
The same argument can be applied to any infallibly foreknown act of any human being. If there is a being who infallibly knows everything that will happen in the future, no human being has any control over the future.
The theological fatalist argument just given creates a dilemma because many people have thought it important to maintain both (1) there is a deity who infallibly knows the entire future, and (2) human beings have free will in the strong sense usually called libertarian. But the theological fatalist argument seems to show that (1) and (2) are incompatible; the only way consistently to accept (2) is to deny (1). Those philosophers who think there is a way to consistently maintain both (1) and (2) are called compatibilists about infallible foreknowledge and human free will. Compatibilists must either identify a false premise in the argument for theological fatalism or show that the conclusion does not follow from the premises. Incompatibilists accept the incompatibility of infallible foreknowledge and human free will and deny either infallible foreknowledge or free will in the sense targeted by the argument.
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There is a fallacy there my friends in that it assumes that if God foreknows our choice, our choice is not free. Now many people called Calvinists don’t believe in free will, so they say, but in reality, they live and act and judge others as if free will exists. I am a 5 point Calvinist but I believe in free will.  So we have this choice, we can believe in God’s infallible foreknowledge and thus NOT believe in the freedom of will OR we can believe in God’s infallible foreknowledge and believe in freedom of the will and be >compatibilistsic< in our understanding.
Do you believe in God having infallible foreknowledge?
If so, then what follows is, I believe, something for you to ponder and pray about as the SBC seeks to find unity among ourselves despite divisions in important understandings of election and atonement.
“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. [Acts 2]
Did these who nailed Jesus to the cross do so by their own free will? Did they betray Him and wound Him and gamble over His clothes and fulfill many other OT prophecies freely and willingly?
Yes? If so, the we are on the same page.

To Moderators of Public Forums: Power & Rights are NOT Synonymous

Moderators of public forums, take note: rights do not come from having power but from being in the right. While you may have the power to delete all comments that threaten your position, you do not have the right to do so. Deception is immoral; and maintaining the false image that your forum allows dissenting opinion and discussion (as long as the comments remain friendly and decent), while deleting posts merely because they oppose your position—underhandedly, or without publicly posting your actions—puts you in the wrong. If you want to have biased discussions where toleration of dissent is limited or nonexistent, then declare that plainly in your rules. Continue reading

Beyond Traditionalism: Reclaiming Southern Baptist Soteriology

Ken Hamrick:

In light of the SBC Today article by Eric Hankins, posted yesterday, “Savability: Southern Baptists’ Core Soteriological Conviction and Contribution,” I thought it would be a good time to repost this paper.

Originally posted on SBC Open Forum:

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Toward Theological Reconciliation: Atonement

What you will find below is neither an argument for the Calvinist view nor one for the Traditionalist view of atonement. Both ends of the spectrum have been asking the wrong questions, and the best perspective transcends that old debate. By emphasizing that Christ stood in our place, the debate has perpetually turned on the question of whose place Christ stood in—all or only some? But what has been missed by such an emphasis is that Christ stands in us—and until He stands within a sinner through the Holy Spirit’s indwelling, nothing that He did is considered to have been in that sinner’s place. Christ’s death was not an immediate transaction of atonement regarding the sins of those for whom His death was intended to atone, but is instead a universally suitable, one-for-one substitution that must be applied through spiritual union with Him by faith. Continue reading

Recent Fiat Creationism: Rendering Evolution & Old-Earth Evidence Irrelevant

This article was written to answer the questions, “What if evolution were proven to be true? How would that affect your faith?” 

One of the best ways to defeat an opposing argument is to render its evidence irrelevant—establish that even if their evidence is accepted for the sake of argument, your position remains intact. Of course, this is rarely possible. But when it comes to defending a recent fiat creation (RFC), rendering the evidence for evolution and an old earth irrelevant is indeed possible, as we will see below. While I do not accept the theories and conclusions of evolutionists, I think it could be instructive to show how the RFC view remains solid even if the evolutionary evidences are given as true. Continue reading

Serious Reservations About the Global Faith Forum

The 2013 Global Faith Forum (GFF) was concluded Nov. 16, and was held at the NorthWood Church in Keller, TX, where the senior pastor, Dr. Bob Roberts, Jr., founded and leads the movement. I was unaware of such a forum until Dr. Joel Rainey, Director of Missions at Mid-Maryland Baptist Association and a panelist at the GFF, published his glowing support in a recent article on SBC Voices, entitled, “Talk With the World, Not Just About It: Reflections on the Global Faith Forum.” I found Dr. Rainey’s article to be somewhat troubling, and I registered my initial objections in the comments section. In the discussion that followed, I was driven to look further into this movement and its teachings.

Hoping to find that my misgivings were unjustified, I instead found them reinforced rather frequently as I watched many of the videos of the forum that are available Continue reading

How Long Will You Falter Between Two Opinions?

1 Kings 18:21 NKJV, “And Elijah came to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people answered him not a word.

If the Lord is a God of supernatural actions, then believe Him; but if not, then in whom do you believe? For all of us who claim to believe in Christ, this issue should have been settled beyond all question at the empty tomb. Continue reading

Southern Baptists Need Their Sovereign Grace Heritage (by Dr. James Willingham)

“Predestination is an invitation to begin one’s spiritual pilgrimage,….” In 1972 that statement by Dr. John D. Eusden in his Introduction to his translation of William Ames’ The Marrow of Divinity focused my attention like a salmon fixes the eye of a soaring eagle. Continue reading

A Compatibilistic View of Regeneration (Intro)

Regeneration is perhaps the most difficult topic to be debated between the opposing views, due to the intertwining of such topics as spiritual death and life, depravity, rebirth, faith, the role of the Holy Spirit, etc. Call me an optimist, but I still see the potential for fruitful discussion. Continue reading

The Missing Balance in Calvinism

Any time that some truth which is held in balance in God’s word is given an emphasis on only one side, then misunderstanding and error result. It is true, as the Calvinists emphasize, that election in eternity past is unconditional. But the neglected Biblical balance is this: salvation in this temporal world is conditional, and God blesses no one with the saving, justifying, regenerating, life-giving union with Christ until they drop their rebellion, humble themselves, and come in genuine, repentant, fully surrendered faith. It is true, as the Calvinists emphasize, that faith is the gift of God; but it is just as Biblically true that faith is the requirement of God for salvation. Continue reading

Young Earth Creationism and Presuppositionalism: A Response to J.W. Wartick

“Young Earth” creationism (YEC), as part of the Christian faith, stands on certain presuppositions, such as the existence of God and the divine, verbal inspiration of Scripture. The kind of apologetic argument that acknowledges that such presuppositions are assumed, and does not attempt to prove them, is presuppositional apologetics. Continue reading

Compatibilism: A More Immanent Grace

Immanence is mostly forgotten as an attribute of God and a method by which He works in the world. Calvinists and Traditionalists argue over the limits of God’s transcendent acts of grace and the limits of men without such transcendent grace. Both sides, it seems, have a presupposed agreement to frame the debate around a transcendent grace, while the solution sits dust-covered in the theological closet. Continue reading

How We Lost the High Ground: The Delegitimizing of Christian Truth Claims

As we approach 2014, Christianity is under attack as never before in this country. These are troubling times. The evangelical Church has always been in the minority, and the world has always been opposed to the Church; but, here in America, at least, the world seemed to tolerate the Church Continue reading

The Necessity of Good Works

Originally posted on Revcort's Ramblings:

After the Protestant Reformation, there were 5 major tenets of faith  which emerged to help explain what the Reformers (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Wycliffe, Tyndale, et al) were protesting about the Church of their day. These have come to be known as the 5 Solas of the Reformation. They are: Sola Scriptura (by Scripture Alone), Sola Fide (by Faith alone), Sola gratia (by Grace alone), Sola Cristus (through Christ alone), and Soli Deo Gloria (for the glory of God alone).

Over the nearly 500 years since the time of the Reformation, many of these ideas have come to mean things that were unintended by the Reformers. One of those thoughts is a combination of Faith alone and Grace alone teachings. The Reformers taught that it was by grace alone and through faith alone that a person comes to Christ. They were protesting against the concept of meritorious works, which teaches that…

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How was worship Sunday?

Originally posted on Revcort's Ramblings:

Please, pardon my title. It is an attempt to capture the shallow thinking of our time when it comes to weekly worship gatherings. “How was that sermon?” “Oh, it was great! Our pastor can really bring down the house! He’s such a good speaker!” “The worship was so good today. Those songs are such a blessing to me! Our praise band just knows how to minister to us, don’t they?” I wonder what would happen if the Apostle Paul came to preach in one of our churches next week? I fear he’d be ashamed of much of what he would see and his approach to preaching might not fly. I feel many would leave thinking he was not too impressive. Many in Corinth thought the same thing of him: “For they say, ‘His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible.’”…

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Insurmountable Problems with the Angel-Human Hybrid Theory of the Nephilim

This is an article from my archives of 2011.

Ordinarily, I would avoid topics such as this, which are a kind of “tabloid theology” for those obsessed with such things.  But this particular issue has grown in such popularity and its speculative errors are propagated with such tenacious authority that a voice of reason is desperately needed.  Continue reading

The Lost Doctrine of Suffering

Originally posted on Revcort's Ramblings:

When I read the Scriptures, I can’t help but notice a common theme throughout that seems to be lost in American Christianity today. The theme is “the necessity of suffering.” I might have also said, “the benefits of suffering.” No matter how you state it, it’s very clear that Jesus and His Apostles taught clearly that suffering is an expected part of the Christian life. Now, before I write another word, I want to mention something very important here. Some have taken this concept of suffering in Scripture and become almost obsessed with the notion, even going so far as to inflict pain upon themselves in order to somehow increase God’s blessing. The entire idea of purgatory that is taught in some circles is based around some similar thoughts. The idea is that we are purged of sin and uncleanness through suffering. Therefore, if we have not suffered enough in…

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God’s Sovereignty in Evangelism

Originally posted on Revcort's Ramblings:

I’ve been reading through J.I. Packer’s Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God and came across a section of the book that beautifully sums up what God has been working in me in recent years regarding our evangelistic efforts and tools. Here is the excerpt:

“While we must always remember that it is our responsibility to proclaim salvation, we must never forget that it is God who saves. It is God who brings men and women under the sound of the gospel, and it is God who brings them to faith in Christ. Our evangelistic work is the instrument He uses for this purpose, but the power that saves is not in the instrument: it is in the hand of the One who uses the instrument. We must not at any stage forget that. For if we forget that it is God’s prerogative to give results when the Gospel is preached…

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How Much of Christ’s Suffering and Death Did YOU Owe?

I owed it ALL. ALL of His blood was needed to wash away my sin alone. I cannot look to His cross and say that only one stripe on His back or only one drop of His blood was for me—He suffered my penalty and all of it was for me. So how is there any left over to save you? Continue reading

Who is Guilty of Adam’s Sin? A Centrist Response to Adam Harwood, Part 3 of 3

Part 2 can be found here.

Dr. Harwood rightly advises,

We don’t want to build a theological system on a single text. Continue reading

The Only Hope for Rebels

By Pastor Alan Davis

Imagine a good king who is asked to forgive a rebel who has rebelled against his kingdom. The king asks if the rebel has a desire to quit his rebellion and pledge allegiance to the king. The answer is no; the rebel wants a pardon for his crimes but will not quit the crimes nor pledge allegiance to the king. Continue reading

Who is Guilty of Adam’s Sin? A Centrist Response to Adam Harwood, Part 2

Part 1 can be found here.

By dismissing as insignificant the Augustinian principle of a spiritual participation of all men in Adam’s sin, Dr. Harwood (with agreement of both Calvinists and Traditionalists) discards that which offers the most hope for bringing Southern Baptists closer together (and closer to the Biblical truth) on this issue. Continue reading

Who is Guilty of Adam’s Sin? A Centrist Response to Adam Harwood, Part 1

Adam Harwood spoke at the 2013 John 3:16 Conference, and the paper he presented there is available on the conference e-book at SBC Today. Like Dr. Harwood, I deny that anyone is born condemned for Adam’s sin; but unlike Dr. Harwood, I find in Scripture such a real union of mankind in Adam as to justify the inheriting of all the temporal penalties for Adam’s sin, including the spiritual death and depravity that all are born into Continue reading

Southern Baptists and The Numbers

Years ago, when I was a student in Dr. J.P. Dane’s Church Administration class at Grand Canyon University, which was then a Southern Baptist-related school, he made a statement that I will never forget.

“Southern Baptists are intoxicated by numbers.” Continue reading

The Certitude of Christian Faith

We know with certainty that the facts about God and Christ, as testified in Scripture, are true by revelation, and we accept (or embrace) that truth by faith. We can choose to accept by faith what God has revealed, or we can choose to deny by unbelief what God has revealed. Continue reading

Toward Southern Baptist Unity, Part 8 (Final): Unifying Propositions on Determinism

See all the posts in the series, Toward Southern Baptist Unity»

The area in which Calvinists and Libertarians are farthest apart is that of determinism. Yet, as we have seen in other such areas, the root of this disagreement can be found in a single faulty premise upon which both sides agree. In this case, it is the premise that if God meticulously controls the events and actions of men, then such divine determinism eliminates all alternative possibilities (and thus “freedom to do otherwise”) for men. This premise is false; and once it is eliminated, there is much room for agreement, by which the two sides can be brought closer together. Continue reading

Toward Southern Baptist Unity, Part 7: Unifying Propositions on Atonement

See all the posts in the series, Toward Southern Baptist Unity»

There is much room for agreement on atonement… and misunderstandings to avoid on all sides. Libertarians (both Traditionalists and Arminians) can find unexpected common ground even with a Reformed theologian, such as Charles Hodge Continue reading

Toward Southern Baptist Unity, Part 6: Unifying Propositions on Regeneration

See all the posts in the series, Toward Southern Baptist Unity»

There are two profound changes that happen to a man as he is converted: first, the man is changed from a man who hates God to a man who is ready to repent and turn to God (this is what the Calvinists focus on—how profound it is that a man who shakes his fist at God becomes a man on his knees at the altar!); and second, God responds to the man who turns from his sin and justifies him, indwelling him with the Holy Spirit and bringing life back to his spirit (this is what Libertarians tend to focus on—the “new creation,” being “born again” and restored to communion with God). Continue reading

Toward Southern Baptist Unity, Part 5: Unifying Propositions on the Inability of Sinners

See all the posts in the series, Toward Southern Baptist Unity»

At every point of doctrinal disagreement between Calvinists and Libertarians (both Traditionalists and Arminians), there are Biblical propositions that can pull the two sides closer together without leaving the moorings of their particular theology. Continue reading

Toward Southern Baptist Unity, Part 4: Discarding the Faulty Premise that Divides

See all the posts in the series, Toward Southern Baptist Unity»

The Southern Baptist Convention is unique in its composition of a wide range of approaches to the doctrines of salvation. As was shown in Part 3, the basic presuppositions of Calvinists and Libertarians (Traditionalists as well as Arminians) are seemingly irreconcilable; and yet, these groups have found enough on which to agree that we as a convention have remained unified for a very long time. Continue reading

In Need of Mercy

Originally posted on Revcort's Ramblings:

Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matt. 9:10-13

Have you ever thought about how the Pharisees of Jesus’ day became the way they were? Do you ever think there was a time when faith in God was more than just a religious code that they set out to perfect? I’ve thought about that this week because I don’t want…

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Toward Southern Baptist Unity, Part 3: Understanding the Valid Concerns of the Opposition

See all the posts in the series, Toward Southern Baptist Unity»

The most obvious characteristic of the debate between Calvinism and Libertarians (whether Arminians or Traditionalists) is its unending futility. Very little is ever accomplished. The same old straw-man misrepresentations are continually presented, and the same old misunderstandings continually occur. Continue reading

Toward Southern Baptist Unity, Part 2: We are Not Defined by Political Representation, but by Biblically Determined Truth

See all the posts in the series, Toward Southern Baptist Unity»

There is currently a radical change in thought being propagated in the Church, which is destructive to the truth. It is the ever more popular idea, even within the SBC, that the truths in Scripture are so far beyond our understanding that no one can have any credible assurance that their view on any doctrinal Issue is the accurate and correct view. Continue reading

Toward Southern Baptist Unity, Part 1: We are a Spectrum, Not a Polarized Body

See all the posts in the series, Toward Southern Baptist Unity»

Despite the many misguided characterizations of the SBC as a polarized body of Calvinists and “Traditionalists,” Southern Baptists are represented by a spectrum of beliefs* and are not a mere two-party denomination. A key to regaining unity in the SBC is found in the recognition that the two groups who are most opposed to one another do not make up the whole of the convention Continue reading

Private Prayer

Originally posted on Revcort's Ramblings:

“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret…” Matthew 6:6

I’ve been thinking and meditating on this thought this week and I’ve come to the conclusion that times of private prayer are vital to a Christian’s life and work. I realize that perhaps I just made the most obvious statement of all, but I would ask you to bear with me for a moment in thinking about this…

I’ve read where Jonathan Edwards was trained as a young boy to spend time in prayer and to do it according to a rigid schedule. There is even a certain amount of pleasure that can be derived from being able to keep a religious code or schedule, and he shares in his writings that he felt this way. But I’ve also read where Edwards later realized that his…

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Baptist Faith Needs No Covenant Theology

The covenant model is merely a template by which to describe the reality, and may be discarded without loss to the traditional Baptist position. Even without any covenant, Adam’s sin would have been just as wrong and just as worthy of death (physical and spiritual). Continue reading