So You Think You’re Chosen? Debating Calvinism

If you’re a Christian bookseller, you’ve almost certainly heard from Jacques More, author and manager of Jarom Books: Jacques has been busy making good use of the Directory to contact shop owners and buyers in hope of persuading us to stock his books. At the same time, he’s also been feeding information back to me about shops whose UKCBD entries are out of date or, in some cases, that have ceased trading. Thanks to Jacques, this year’s Spring Cleaning — still ongoing — is proving much more comprehensive than in previous years.

If you, gentle reader, have not checked your shop’s entry, may I urge you to do so, please, and to let me know if any changes are needed? The simplest way to find your entry is via either the Shop Name Index or the Town & City Index. In particular, please check that your basic contact details — contact name, address, phone number, email address and website — are correct, along with your opening times. Please notify any changes needed via the Shop Registration/Update Form.

Now I hand over to Jacques to tell us about his book So You Think You’re Chosen? and a forthcoming debate about Calvinism on Revelation TV.

Jacques writes:

Book cover: So you think you're Chosen? So You Think You’re Chosen?

Jacques More
ISBN 9781898158127 (1898158126)
Jarom Books (288pp)
£15.99, hardback
Trade Stockist: CLC Wholesale

Revelation TV have scheduled a debate “Is Calvinism biblical?” between myself Jacques More as author of this book and Revd Dr Steve Jeffery a Minister of Emmanuel Evangelical Church in North London, and co-author of Pierced for Our Transgressions. He is a contributor to BBC Radio 4’s ‘Beyond Belief’, and has spoken and debated widely on various aspects of the Christian faith.

Calvinism is the teaching that God has predestined all those to be saved and all those to be lost.

  • THE DEBATE – Revelation TV
  • Sky Guide 581 and Freesat 692
  • Live online at revelationtv.com/watchrev.php
  • 9pm, Tuesday 25th May 2010
  • With an audience of 50

About the Book…

A COMPREHENSIVE RESPONSE TO CALVINISM

 

Some SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Exclusive: For the first time in a book is the evidence for ‘elect’ and ‘chosen’ as found mistranslated in the New Testament from the Greek word eklektos. The exhaustive research in the bible quoted by Jesus and the apostles – ‘The Septuagint’ the Greek version of the Old Testament – show the following for example:

Eklektos in the Septuagint

Seven cows . . . fatfleshed Genesis 41:2
Seven ears . . . fat and good Genesis 41:5
The best chariots Exodus 14:7
Pure myrrh Exodus 30:23
You will be excellent or pure 2 Samuel 22:27
Fatted fowl 1 Kings 4:23
Young men* (guys in their prime) 2 Kings 8:12 (*often)
Clear as the sun Song of Solomon 6:10
A tried stone Isaiah 28:16
Precious stones Isaiah 54:12
The highest branch Ezekiel 17:22
The desire of all nations Haggai 2:7
Pleasant land Zechariah 7:14

With quality as the recognised emphasis it is no wonder when Jesus said “many are called, few eklektos” he meant “few are fit” or “few are up to it”. My translation of this passage thereby is “Many are called few have mettle.” Or “few are fit for it” When referencing a group of people all that is meant by eklektos thereby is ‘the good guys’ or ‘the saints’, as in ‘the quality people’. Not the ‘selected ones’: i.e. not ‘elect’ or ‘chosen’.

  • The early Church Fathers are liberally quoted to demonstrate that Augustine of Hippo at the beginning of the 5th century is the departing point from the universal teaching of conditional predestination (i.e. Augustine began Calvinism) and that this new theology was not taught for up to 4 centuries before that: “In harmony with the foregoing views as to human freedom and responsibility, conditional predestination is the doctrine inculcated by the Greek Fathers.” History of Christian Doctrine page 165 by George Park Fisher DD LLD. T&T Clark – Fisher was Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Yale University – Inculcated: The teaching urged or impressed persistently
  • Exclusive: Paul’s teaching of conditional predestination in Romans 8:14-30. Paul mentions foreknowledge before predestination, then a call, and then justification, and then glorification in Romans 8:29-30. This is known as the ‘golden chain’ in Calvinist circles as part of teaching unconditional predestination. But, this reading cuts off the preceding verses where Paul mentions God’s knowledge in Verse 27 in contrast to the person’s knowledge in Verse 26: we do not know what to pray for, but God knows after searching the heart (V.27) and this foreknowledge of God (V.29) thereby focuses on God’s knowledge preceding the person’s knowledge; nothing else is suggested by foreknowledge. The condition of loving God (as per V.28) as seen in the heart (as per Verse 27) is what makes God work all things together into good. The person is then set up – predestined – to a call. This is Paul’s teaching of conditional predestination. Can it be true, Paul was off on a tangent when he was step by step sharing his thinking, so that Verses 18-27 have nothing whatsoever to do with verses 28-30?
  • God’s knowledge is discussed and seen to involve the reality that evil never originated from Him in the 1st place – “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” 1 John 1:5 – And as evil did not come from God, as it occurred, it is manifest that it was learned about. The Flood is an example of God changing the rules for life on earth: this change 17 centuries after Creation was thereby not planned and therefore known before Creation. It is explicit God learns in the case of testing Hezekiah “God withdrew from him, in order to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart.” 2 Chronicles 32:31 – knowledge gained is true as time exists irrespective of Creation: In Micah 5:2 we read about the coming of Jesus, “Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” The Hebrew for the last words is literally ‘from the days of eternity’ (as found in many margins): yomyomowlam = ‘daydayeternity’ = ‘days of eternity’. It makes clear therefore that there were set moments i.e. one after the other, before the world was made and that it is thus nonsense to separate time from eternity. Time and God have always been.
  • The Calvinist is challenged with such questions as: Do you believe God planned or decreed someone other than Himself to receive worship? Especially when God says: “I am the LORD, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another; nor My praise to graven images.” Isaiah 42:8
  • John 6 where Jesus says “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent me draws him” Jn.6:44 is explained in context with Jesus also saying “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learnt from the Father comes to Me.” Jn.6:45 Jesus did not say everyone who has heard from the Father come to Him, but everyone who has heard and learned come to Him.
  • Ephesians 1 is well known for “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” Eph.1:4, “having predestined us to adoption” Eph.1:5, but the group is in view as seen by the multitude of pronouns: Ephesians 1:3 “us”; 1:4 “us”; “we”; 1:5 “us”; 1:6 “us”; 1:7 “we”; 1:8 “us”; 1:9 “us”; 1:11 “we”’; 1:12 “we”. If the group is in view and not the constituent members, how would Paul have written it differently?
  • Ephesians 2:1 is known for its use as a proof text by Calvinists to say men are totally depraved: man is “dead in trespasses and sins”, but the word “in” is not in the Greek. The words “the trespasses and the sins” are in the Dative, and it is the instrumental use of the Dative that enables “in” to be used: it means whilst in sins and trespasses (men) are dead. Thus pointing to the inherent ability to not be in sin: to choose.
  • Acts 13:48 The verb ‘to be’ in Greek is as follows in the imperfect tense (English Past Continuous):
    Greek English
    Ésen I was
    és or éstha you were
    én he, she, it was
    émen or émetha we were
    éte you were
    ésan they were

    ésan = They were, so that “and they believed as many as THEY were determined to eternal life”

  • Romans 9 Pharaoh hardened his heart 6 times (Exodus 7:13-14; 7:22; 8:15; 8:19; 8:32; 9:7) THEN God hardened [CHAZAQ – strengthened] it a further 6 times (9:12; 9:35-10:11; 10:20; 10:27; 11:10; 14:8; 14:17), God’s Modus Operandi is discussed: “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy” R9:15 is seen in the context that Moses wanted Israel spared, but God told him only those who had not sinned against Him would be…
  • God “desires all men to be saved”, “is not willing that any should perish”, “has no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9, Ezekiel 33:11): What other words could God use to say He wants everyone saved?

For Bookshop Managers: Please feel free to copy and paste this information and the image for your regular promotion emails and publications to your clientele. I trust I have included sufficient information on the title to whet the appetite of your theology minded customers.

Happy sales,

Jacques More

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2 thoughts on “So You Think You’re Chosen? Debating Calvinism

  1. Pingback: Love Wins: Hell’s Bell Still Ringing « The Christian Bookshops Blog

  2. Pingback: UKCBD Winter Updates: a reminder, an update, and a plug for #CRT2012 « The Christian Bookshops Blog

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