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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
Dave L

Absolute Predestination

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41 minutes ago, William said:

Right, we can have assurance of personal individual salvation but I am convinced not of anyone else without violating Luke 6:37.

An exception would be the likes of John when writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:

2Jn 1:1
(1)  The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;
2Jn 1:13
(13)  The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.

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Just now, Placable37 said:

An exception would be the likes of John when writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:

2Jn 1:1
(1)  The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;
2Jn 1:13
(13)  The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.

Very true, I thought about biblical examples in Scripture beforehand but said hey nobody is going to point out the obvious :classic_rolleyes:

 

Just j/king Placable, thanks for the correction and have a Merry Christmas.

 

William

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1 minute ago, William said:

I absolutely agree. And I have to admit I often wonder what kinda Christian is this that rejects the biblical doctrine of Predestination?

The fact is that the doctrine is mentioned multiple times in holy writ in both the old and new testament that it cannot  be denied. God always has an appointed time and due season for all things. In my case I never understood my own salvation until  I was hammered with the book of Romans. Ahhh,,,says I,,So that's how it happened ! It was all the work of God in His divine sovereignty ..... I can truly attest that I did absolutely nothing to aid  God in saving me.

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8 minutes ago, Matthew Duvall said:

The fact is that the doctrine is mentioned multiple times in holy writ in both the old and new testament that it cannot  be denied. God always has an appointed time and due season for all things. In my case I never understood my own salvation until  I was hammered with the book of Romans. Ahhh,,,says I,,So that's how it happened ! It was all the work of God in His divine sovereignty ..... I can truly attest that I did absolutely nothing to aid  God in saving me.

When I look at a list as such below I am awed by God's sovereignty over everything and then someone tells me not them because of their free will..... I'm rolling my eyes towards the back of my head :classic_rolleyes:

 

  • God "works all things after the counsel of his will" Ephesians 1:11.
  • This "all things" includes the fall of sparrows Matthew 10:29,
  • the rolling of dice Proverbs 16:33,
  • the slaughter of his people Psalm 44:11,
  • the decisions of kings Proverbs 21:1,
  • the failing of sight Exodus 4:11,
  • the sickness of children 2 Samuel 12:15,
  • the loss and gain of money 1 Samuel 2:7,
  • the suffering of saints 1 Peter 4:19,
  • the completion of travel plans James 4:15,
  • the persecution of Christians Hebrews 12:4-7,
  • the repentance of souls 2 Timothy 2:25,
  • the gift of faith Philippians 1:29,
  • the pursuit of holiness Philippians 3:12-13,
  • the growth of believers Hebrews 6:3,
  • the giving of life and the taking in death 1 Samuel 2:6,
  • and the crucifixion of his Son Acts 4:27-28.
  • From the smallest thing to the greatest thing, good and evil, happy and sad, pagan and Christian, pain and pleasure - God governs them all for His wise and just and good purposes Isaiah 46:10. Lest we miss the point, the Bible speaks most clearly to this in the most painful situations.
  • After losing all ten of his children in the collapse of his son's house, Job says, "The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD" Job 1:21.
  • After being covered with boils he says, "Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?" Job 2:10.

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2 minutes ago, William said:

When I look like at a list as such below and I am awed by God's sovereignty over everything and someone tells me not them or their free will..... I'm rolling my eyes into the back of my head :classic_rolleyes:

 

God "works all things after the counsel of his will" Ephesians 1:11.

This "all things" includes the fall of sparrows Matthew 10:29,

the rolling of dice Proverbs 16:33,

the slaughter of his people Psalm 44:11,

the decisions of kings Proverbs 21:1,

the failing of sight Exodus 4:11,

the sickness of children 2 Samuel 12:15,

the loss and gain of money 1 Samuel 2:7,

the suffering of saints 1 Peter 4:19,

the completion of travel plans James 4:15,

the persecution of Christians Hebrews 12:4-7,

the repentance of souls 2 Timothy 2:25,

the gift of faith Philippians 1:29,

the pursuit of holiness Philippians 3:12-13,

the growth of believers Hebrews 6:3,

the giving of life and the taking in death 1 Samuel 2:6,

and the crucifixion of his Son Acts 4:27-28.

From the smallest thing to the greatest thing, good and evil, happy and sad, pagan and Christian, pain and pleasure - God governs them all for His wise and just and good purposes Isaiah 46:10. Lest we miss the point, the Bible speaks most clearly to this in the most painful situations.

After losing all ten of his children in the collapse of his son's house, Job says, "The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD" Job 1:21.

After being covered with boils he says, "Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?" Job 2:10.

Time to go you all !!  The family is coming ,so I wish all a very Merry Christmas and a great New Year......

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1 hour ago, Placable37 said:

I can in light of these verses. I believe it is called having faith in Christ that He will keep His Word.

Heb 10:22-23
(22)  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
(23)  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
Heb 10:35-39
(35)  Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
(36)  For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
(37)  For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
(38)  Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
(39)  But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
 

 

I never said we can't call our destination as the elect. That is what you have referenced here. I was referring to the destination of the uncalled.  :classic_cool:

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6 minutes ago, deade said:

 

I never said we can't call our destination as the elect. That is what you have referenced here. I was referring to the destination of the uncalled.  :classic_cool:

Something to think about brother Deade. Though we don't know who the Elect are (okay Placable, except biblical examples) God knows as well as we that there is no chance any that are not inwardly called "can" (ability) respond and keep God's Holy Standard of the Law while rejecting Christ Jesus. To suggest that there is a possibility of the natural man responding to the Gospel without Election and Regeneration is Pelagianism (heretical).

 

To help,

 

Pelagianism says man is basically good and only needs a moral teacher.

Arminianism says man just needs a little help, he's sick and needs a physician.

Calvinism says man is totally depraved, he's dead and needs God to resurrect him both spiritually and physically (regeneration).

 

God bless,

William

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15 hours ago, deade said:

 

I never said we can't call our destination as the elect. That is what you have referenced here. I was referring to the destination of the uncalled.  :classic_cool:

All good. As long as we're clear. 

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On 12/24/2018 at 11:12 PM, deade said:

 

I never said we can't call our destination as the elect. That is what you have referenced here. I was referring to the destination of the uncalled.  :classic_cool:

Actually, we do know the destination of the uncalled. Eternity in Hell.

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9 hours ago, davidtaylorjr said:

Actually, we do know the destination of the uncalled. Eternity in Hell.

 

Where are you given in scripture that you can pronounce that? We are allowed to judge only those of our own congregations. Then it is only to let them stay or put them out.  :classic_huh:

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3 hours ago, deade said:

Where are you given in scripture that you can pronounce that? We are allowed to judge only those of our own congregations. Then it is only to let them stay or put them out.  :classic_huh:

Scripture is clear that those who are not saved (the uncalled) spend eternity in torment. Do you deny this?

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On 12/26/2018 at 10:31 PM, davidtaylorjr said:

Scripture is clear that those who are not saved (the uncalled) spend eternity in torment. Do you deny this?

That is not the point I am making. I am saying we can't call another's destiny. In other words: Just who are the unsaved?

 

 

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On 12/23/2018 at 8:31 PM, William said:

Didn't God create everything very good?

 

That's a deep question. Did God directly cause Adam to sin? Obviously God put the tree of knowledge of good and evil there. God in his providence ordained the serpent to be there.

 

Again, Judas betrayal, Pontius, hostile Jews, the Crucifixion. Did cause all these people to sin?

I've been thinking about this more William. This will probably result in splitting hairs due to our limited knowledge. But what do you think of Acts 4:27-28 in that God predestined (προώρισεν) Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles and the Jews to carry out the execution of the Son of God? I can't think of any sin greater than that (cf. John 19:11) and yet this was His His will (βουλή). God willed it to happen. Do you think this is the same thing as causing it to happen? Could God predestine and will for the execution of Jesus without causing it? Or did He indirectly cause it knowing those who were guilty would commit it?

 Finally, Christ was delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God (Acts 2:23). The Greek word for foreknowledge is prognōsis and it carries with it the sense of being pre-arranged. The Jews carried out the execution by the Gentiles (godless men). This act was all pre-arranged by God.

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6 hours ago, Faber said:

I've been thinking about this more William. This will probably result in splitting hairs due to our limited knowledge. But what do you think of Acts 4:27-28 in that God predestined (προώρισεν) Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles and the Jews to carry out the execution of the Son of God? I can't think of any sin greater than that (cf. John 19:11) and yet this was His His will (βουλή). God willed it to happen. Do you think this is the same thing as causing it to happen? Could God predestine and will for the execution of Jesus without causing it? Or did He indirectly cause it knowing those who were guilty would commit it?

 Finally, Christ was delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God (Acts 2:23). The Greek word for foreknowledge is prognōsis and it carries with it the sense of being pre-arranged. The Jews carried out the execution by the Gentiles (godless men). This act was all pre-arranged by God.

I actually do like the Net Translation:

 

Act 4:26  The kings of the earth stood together, and the rulers assembled together, against the Lord and against his Christ.’
Act 4:27  “For indeed both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, assembled together in this city against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed,
Act 4:28  to do as much as your power and your plan had decided beforehand would happen.

 

" to do as your power and your plan had decided beforehand would happen." This is a subtle distinction but far as I am aware Predestination involves persons and not "things" or "works". The things that were unfolding here are as Calvin suggests in his biblical commentary, "events of things are not only governed by the counsel of God, but that they are also ordered by his power and hand." I think the Net translation may equally suggest Predestination as well as Fore-ordination? However, what appears to be spoken about here are the works of these people and not whether they are predestined to heaven or fore-ordained to hell?

 

I included Act 4:26 in the Scriptural reference you supplied because an allusion to Psalm 2 emphasizes God's sovereignty as He shall have them in derision. That pops in my opinion (no musical pun intended) because it conveys that once God has ordained some "thing" or "works" it is going to come together or unfold. In a way this is exactly what OT saints demonstrated faith in since Genesis 3:15, that is, knowing God's word is true and will come to pass (prophetically):

 

 

Back to your question though, "Do you think this is the same thing as causing it to happen?" We might have to involve ourselves in a discussion about "primary and secondary causes"? I suggested in previous posts and will continue to suggest that Predestination is always positive. The way I understand this, bear with, is that God's plan was to redeem a certain peoples (Elect). To redeem naturally requires certain conditions and that there are unredeemed people. All men are good, for example, then God reveals His Holy Law, so then can it be said that God caused sinful man because He revealed His Holiness? Another example, God may not of "caused" Pilate to sin but knowing that Pilate would sin if God brought Jesus and Pilate together..... would that not be working all things according to God's counsel and order? If as you say foreknowledge is directly related and God fore-ordained this event then it is as good as already having happened. What God fore-ordains will come to pass. As to "how" they became unredeemed is the rub and while this may not address sin entering the world by Adam as the cause I'll pause because approaching infralapsarianism and supralapsarianism may be fruitful. I do not think that we are splitting hairs, but rather that God welcomes us and encourages us to understand His will. A lot of people suggest that this is a mystery and leave to ignorance as they define a mystery as something unknowable. Reformed tend to define a mystery as something that would of have not been known unless God had made it known.

 

Here's where we are and from here may dive into deeper theological discussion. Lemme draw your focus to the defining characteristics and order of these two theological terms, ask "what of" the reprobate or fallen man while you read the below link. And then draw your focus and ask "what of" the Elect:

 

Infralapsarianism and Supralapsarianism

 

According to the infralapsarian view the order of events was as follows: God proposed,

  1. to create;
  2. to permit the fall;
  3. to elect to eternal life and blessedness a great multitude out of this mass of fallen men, and to leave the others, as He left the Devil and the fallen angels, to suffer the just punishment of their sins;
  4. to give His Son, Jesus Christ, for the redemption of the elect; and
  5. to send the Holy Spirit to apply to the elect the redemption which was purchased by Christ.

 

According to the supralapsarian view the order of events was:

  1. to elect some creatable men (that is, men who were to be created) to life and to condemn others to destruction;
  2. to create;
  3. to permit the fall;
  4. to send Christ to redeem the elect; and
  5. to send the Holy Spirit to apply this redemption to the elect The question then is as to whether election precedes or follows the fall.

 

Note how subtle the differences are between these two terminologies. Note the article's statement, Dr. Hodge:

 

Twiss, the Prolocutor of that venerable body (the Westminster Assembly), was a zealous supralapsarian; the great majority of its members, however, were on the other side. The symbols of that Assembly, while they clearly imply the infralapsarian view, were yet so framed as to avoid offence to those who adopted the supralapsarian theory. In the ‘Westminster Confession,’ it is said that God appointed the elect unto eternal life, and the rest of mankind, God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extendeth or withholdeth mercy as He pleaseth, 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.’ It is here taught that those whom God passes by are ‘the rest of mankind’; not the rest of ideal or possible men, but the rest of those human beings who constitute mankind, or the human race. In the second place, the passage quoted teaches that the non-elect are passed by and ordained to wrath ‘for their sin.’ This implies that they were contemplated as sinful before this foreordination to judgment. The infralapsarian view is still more obviously assumed in the answer to the 19th and 20th questions in the ‘Shorter Catechism.’ It is there taught that all mankind by the fall lost communion with God, and are under His wrath and curse, and that God out of His mere good pleasure elected some (some of those under His wrath and curse), unto everlasting life. Such has been the doctrine of the great body of Augustinians from the time of Augustine to the present day.

 

Note by William: What God ordains once ordained is not going to be frustrated.

 

God bless,

William

 

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Hi William,

 It just seems very difficult for me to even come close to coming close to fathom the idea of how God in His mind ordered the events of something in that when He did it remains outside the concept of our limited vantage point of time. From my understanding God technically doesn't have a thought which is followed by another thought. He simply knows - and knows all, all at once.

 I feel I am way over my head in this.

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33 minutes ago, Faber said:

Hi William,

 It just seems very difficult for me to even come close to coming close to fathom the idea of how God in His mind ordered the events of something in that when He did it remains outside the concept of our limited vantage point of time. From my understanding God technically doesn't have a thought which is followed by another thought. He simply knows - and knows all, all at once.

 I feel I am way over my head in this.

Well you certainly are not under pressure to grasp the various theological concepts immediately.

 

Lemme see if I can help through asking you a question with what you stated in mind.

 

What any of the lapasarian positions do not state is that God looked through the corridors of time and learned anything.

 

That leaves us with how those things were set into motion. I've heard other theologians use a game of Billiard balls (or Pool) as an analogy. Does God break a group of balls up with the intent of knocking only one ball out (calling the elect and leaving other balls randomly placed) or does He do so setting into motion all the other balls into a fore-ordained position while successfully calling out the Elect? Perhaps, like the game of Pool God is powerfully and masterfully calling balls out in order and leaving the 8 ball on the table (reprobate) and passing it over until the "last day"?

 

This in some ways touches something I truly haven't spent a lot of time in. Primary and Secondary causes. Maybe consider Proverbs 16:33; Ephesians 1:11; Matthew 10:29, (contrary to randomness) before answering?

 

 

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33 minutes ago, William said:

That leaves us with how those things were set into motion. I've heard other theologians use a game of Billiard balls (or Pool) as an analogy. Does God break a group of balls up with the intent of knocking only one ball out (calling the elect and leaving other balls randomly placed) or does He do so setting into motion all the other balls into a fore-ordained position while successfully calling out the Elect? Perhaps, like the game of Pool God is powerfully and masterfully calling balls out in order and leaving the 8 ball on the table (reprobate) and passing it over until the "last day"?

Imagine for a moment that one of those balls has a free or autonomous will and decided not to move:

 

“To be autonomous means to be a law unto oneself. An autonomous creature would be
answerable to no one. He would have no governor, least of all a sovereign governor. It is
logically impossible to have a sovereign God existing at the same time as an autonomous
creature. The two concepts are utterly incompatible. To think of their coexistence would be
like imagining the meeting of an immovable object and an irresistible force. What would
happen? If the object moved, then it could no longer be considered immovable. If it failed
to move, then the irresistible force would no longer be irresistible.”

 

Man is an amazing yet "odd" creature. Everything operates according to certain laws, from the most minute particle to the grandest galaxy but man rejects The Sovereign Law Giver. Man has a sin nature, God does not need know man's next move for God already knows man's moves and that he is incapable of accomplishing the move to the ideal destination. If God doesn't intervene, all the odd balls God passed over are going to be left on the table for the final judgment. All evens are safely in His care and removed from the World and the judgment awaiting it.

 

Just something to think about. About the best analogy I can put together brother.

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Thanks William.

 There are times when I lay down on my bead and think about how God just always existed and it just always overwhelms me.

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6 minutes ago, Faber said:

Thanks William.

 There are times when I lay down on my bead and think about how God just always existed and it just always overwhelms me.

I'll receive this as a response of "awe", a fruit of the Holy Spirit (regeneration).

 

Contrarily, some are hardened by this doctrine and they call this God a monster. They cannot "accept" that God is Sovereign in such a personal intimate way in the life of creation. 

 

God bless,

William

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Yes, in addition to the holiness of God as well as His love (and forgiveness) I sometimes dwell on His immensity. I am not even sure if that is the right way to put it because it goes beyond spatial concepts. I will then think about His Triunity. Throw this all in at once and it feels like I have entered into realms beyond description. 

 1 Peter 1:8 describes the Christian's joy from their faith in Christ as inexpressible - 'to which words are inadequate' (Thayer).

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Hello William,

 

 From where I am now I am having a tough time quoting what others say. It worked earlier a few hours ago, but things can change here rather quickly. Also, there are times when I may not be able to respond right away or even for some period of time. It's hit or miss here.

 

From post #41

  Faber said: If I created them knowing that they would not turn unless I called them did I not cause them to be in that position to begin with?

 

William replied: Didn't God create everything very good?

Good question.

If I created them knowing that they would not turn unless I called them did I not cause them to be in that position to begin with?

Didn't God create everything very good?

 

That's a deep question. Did God directly cause Adam to sin? Obviously God put the tree of knowledge of good and evil there. God in his providence ordained the serpent to be there.

 

Again, Judas betrayal, Pontius, hostile Jews, the Crucifixion. Did God cause all these people to sin?

---------------

 

Joshua 11:20

For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, to meet Israel in battle in order that he might utterly destroy them, that they might receive no mercy, but that he might destroy them, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. (NASB, the underlined is mine)

 

Question #1: Who hardened their hearts?

Answer #1: The Lord

 

 Question #2: Why did the Lord harden their hearts?

 Answer #2: So that He might (through Israel) utterly destroy them.

 

 Notice also that they would receive "no mercy." This corresponds to Romans 9:18. God chooses everyone in that God chooses to have mercy on the elect and God chooses to harden the damned. To those whom He hardens I see it not as a passing over but as His definitive choice.

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19 hours ago, Faber said:

That's a deep question. Did God directly cause Adam to sin? Obviously God put the tree of knowledge of good and evil there. God in his providence ordained the serpent to be there.

I think though Adam didn't have a divine or righteous nature or disposition he was blameless or upright. Because Adam didn't have a righteous nature he had fallen when externally tempted by Eve, and before her Satan.

 

Moral of the story, don't ever take your wife's word for it when you know it is conflict with God.

 

happy joy GIF

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7 hours ago, William said:

Moral of the story, don't ever take your wife's word for it when you know it is conflict with God.

 

 Adam's rib

 Satan's fib

 Women's lib

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On 11/13/2018 at 7:05 PM, Dave L said:

 

We have many good conversations about predestination. But we seldom define the degree to which predestination affects the universe and all.

At the least it appears many think God imagined the universe before he created it. Let it run its own course without his intervention. And then created what he saw. Making it unchangeable and therefore predestined to happen just as he foresaw it.

 

Another view, the most extreme says: God created all, including every thought and act of every creature in the universe when he created the universe. That not a grain of sand on the furthest planet shifts position without God who also created its path and movements in the appointed time.

 

Both extremes depend on God’s perfect knowledge. If God only energizes but doesn’t control all, he then must watch and learn what might or might not happen. And this would mean he is not all knowing as the bible says.

 

Other theories emerge but the Westminster Confession (London Baptists Confession) Chapter 3:1; God's Eternal Decree defines biblical predestination this way.

 

1.     God, from all eternity, did—by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will—freely and unchangeably ordain whatever comes to pass. Yet he ordered all things in such a way that he is not the author of sin, nor does he force his creatures to act against their wills; neither is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

 

So as I understand, we freely choose for the reasons God created along with us. Reasons we would freely base our choices on as we meet up with them at the right time and place in life. 

 

This resolves free will and divine sovereignty.

I'm marking this for future comment.

Sounds like you've resolved free will and sovereignty.

I have a couple of theologians who will be interested in hearing this!

 

Later.

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