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    • Is There Really No Biblical Support for Unconditional Election?

      Christians have often disagreed over the exact nature of the biblical doctrine of election. Reasonable believers are willing to state their arguments for their views while acknowledging that others, who disagree, have their own, different, arguments. Making a case for and listening to critiques of one’s views while showing perceived deficiencies in opposing views are great ways to strengthen one’s understanding of the Word of God. That is simply the Christian way of engaging brothers who disagree.   Consequently, when a person claims that “the Reformed idea that God chooses some individuals and not others for salvation has no, I repeat, no biblical support,” it is hard to take him seriously. Gratuitous, dismissive assertions have no place in serious theological conversations. Unfortunately, when a respected person makes such a claim some will be tempted to take him at his word.   In order to help those so tempted and to expose the foolishness of such a claim, here are a few of the Bible’s many teachings that highlight God’s sovereign grace in election. I put the key words in bold simply to highlight the precise way that the Bible teaches that God chooses some individuals and not others to salvation.   Matthew 11:25–27 25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him .” If no one knows the Father (isn’t that salvation?) except those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him, doesn’t that mean that some are chosen and not others?   John 6:37 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me , and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. Since all do not come to Christ and yet all that the Father gives to Christ will come to Him, doesn’t that mean the Father gave some to Christ and didn’t give others to Christ?   John 17:1–9 1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him . 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.…   6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world . Yours they were, and you gave them to me , and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours . Evidently Jesus believed that the Father had given Him people to whom He in turn would give eternal life. Unless you believe that Jesus has given or will give eternal life to every person then you must conclude that God gave Jesus (or we could say “chose”) some people and not others for salvation.   Acts 13:48 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed . How many believed? Only as many as were appointed to eternal life.   Romans 9:9–13 9 For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue , not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” Surely even those who reject personal, unconditional election must admit that God made some sort of distinction between Jacob (whom He “loved”) and Esau (whom He “hated”).   2 Thessalonians 2:13–14 13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved , through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was the Thessalonian Christians, not all those living in Thessalonica, whom God chose.   Ephesians 1:4–5 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world , that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will . Who is “us”? Paul and his Christian readers. Those are the ones God chose and predestined to be holy, blameless and adopted.   In light of these clear statements of Scripture it is no wonder the Abstract of Principles of 1858 (the first confession of faith produced by Southern Baptists) affirms unconditional election in Article 5: Election is God’s eternal choice of some persons unto everlasting life—not because of foreseen merit in them, but of His mere mercy in Christ—in consequence of which choice they are called, justified and glorified. This is simply a reflection of what the Bible teaches and of what was widely believed among traditional Southern Baptists at the beginning of the SBC.   Source: http://founders.org/2017/07/06/no_biblical_support_for_unconditional_election/

      in Calvinism

    • Election and Reprobation

      by Wayne Grudem   When and why did God choose us? Are some not chosen?   In the earlier chapters we talked about the fact that we all have sinned and deserve eternal punishment from God, and the fact that Christ died and earned salvation for us. But now in this unit (chapters 32–43) we will look at the way God applies that salvation to our lives. We begin in this chapter with God’s work of election, that is, his decision to choose us to be saved before the foundation of the world. This act of election is, of course, not (strictly speaking) part of the application of salvation to us, since it came before Christ earned our salvation when he died on the cross. But we treat election at this point because it is chronologically the beginning of God’s dealing with us in a gracious way. Therefore, it is rightly thought of as the first step in the process of God’s bringing salvation to us individually.   Other steps in God’s work of applying salvation to our lives include our hearing the gospel call, our being regenerated by the Holy Spirit, our responding in faith and repentance, and God forgiving us and giving us membership in his family, as well as granting us growth in the Christian life and keeping us faithful to himself throughout life. At the end of our life we die and go into his presence, then when Christ returns we receive resurrection bodies, and the process of acquiring salvation is complete.   Various theologians have given specific terms to a number of these events, and have often listed them in a specific order in which they believe that they occur in our lives. Such a list of the events in which God applies salvation to us is called the order of salvation and is sometimes referred to by a Latin phrase, ordo salutis which simply means “order of salvation.” Before discussing any of these elements in the application of salvation to our lives, we can give a complete list here of the elements that will be treated in the following chapters:   “The Order of Salvation”   1.   Election (God’s choice of people to be saved) 2.   The gospel call (proclaiming the message of the gospel) 3.   Regeneration (being born again) 4.   Conversion (faith and repentance) 5.   Justification (right legal standing) 6.   Adoption (membership in God’s family) 7.   Sanctification (right conduct of life) 8.   Perseverance (remaining a Christian) 9.   Death (going to be with the Lord) 10. Glorification (receiving a resurrection body)   We should note here that items 2–6 and part of 7 are all involved in “becoming a Christian.” Numbers 7 and 8 work themselves out in this life, number 9 occurs at the end of this life, and number 10 occurs when Christ returns.   We begin our discussion of the order of salvation with the first element, election. In connection with this we will also discuss at the end of this chapter the question of “reprobation,” the decision of God to pass over those who will not be saved, and to punish them for their sins. As will be explained below, election and reprobation are different in several important respects, and it is important to distinguish these so that we do not think wrongly about God or his activity.   The term predestination is also frequently used in this discussion. In this textbook, and in Reformed theology generally, predestination is a broader term and includes the two aspects of election (for believers) and reprobation (for unbelievers). However, the term double predestination is not a helpful term because it gives the impression that both election and reprobation are carried out in the same way by God and have no essential differences between them, which is certainly not true. Therefore, the term double predestination is not generally used by Reformed theologians, though it is sometimes used to refer to Reformed teaching by those who criticize it. The term double predestination will not be used in this book to refer to election and reprobation, since it blurs the distinctions between them and does not give an accurate indication of what is actually being taught.   Read More: Election and Reprobation | Monergism

      in Soteriology and Reformation Theology

    • Department of Justice Announces Bump-Stock-Type Devices Final Rule

      By R. Mitchell - The Department of Justice amended the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), clarifying that bump stocks fall within the definition of “machinegun” under federal law, as such devices allow a shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger. Acting Attorney General Whitaker made the following statement: “President Donald Trump is a law and order president, who has signed into law millions of dollars in funding for law enforcement officers in our schools, and under his strong leadership, the Department of Justice has prosecuted more gun criminals than ever before as we target violent criminals,” acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said in a statement. “We are faithfully following President Trump’s leadership by making clear that bump stocks, which turn semiautomatics into machine guns, are illegal, and we will continue to take illegal guns off of our streets.” On February 20, 2018, President Trump issued a memorandum instructing the Attorney General “to dedicate all available resources to… propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machineguns.” In response to that direction the Department reviewed more than 186,000 public comments and made the decision to make clear that the term “machinegun” as used in the National Firearms Act (NFA), as amended, and Gun Control Act (GCA), as amended, includes all bump-stock-type devices that harness recoil energy to facilitate the continuous operation of a semiautomatic firearm after a single pull of the trigger. This final rule amends the regulatory definition of “machinegun” in Title 27, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), sections 447.11, 478.11, and 479.11.  The final rule amends the regulatory text by adding the following language:  “The term ‘machine gun’ includes bump-stock devices, i.e., devices that allow a semiautomatic firearm to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger by harnessing the recoil energy of the semi-automatic firearm to which it is affixed so that the trigger resets and continues firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter.” Furthermore, the final rule defines “automatically” and “single function of the trigger” as those terms are used in the statutory definition of machinegun.  Specifically, “automatically” as it modifies “shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot,” means functioning as a result of a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism that allows the firing of multiple rounds through the single function of the trigger; “single function of the trigger” means single pull of the trigger and analogous motions. Because the final rule clarifies that bump-stock-type devices are machineguns, the devices fall within the purview of the NFA and are subject to the restrictions of  18 U.S.C. 922(o).  As a result, persons in possession of bump-stock-type devices must divest themselves of the devices before the effective date of the final rule which is expected to be March 21, 2019.  A current possessor may destroy the device or abandon it at the nearest ATF office, but no compensation will be provided for the device.  Any method of destruction must render the device incapable of being readily restored to its intended function. Content created by Conservative Daily News is available for re-publication without charge under the Creative Commons license. Visit our syndication page for details and requirements. Department of Justice Announces Bump-Stock-Type Devices Final Rule is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more. View the original full article

      in Political Conservative News

    • New Senate Report Shines Light On Extent Of Russia’s Election-Year Trolling

      By Chris White - Russia’s campaign to undermine the 2016 presidential election was larger than previously suspected and included attempts at using social media to suppress the black vote, according to a new Senate report. Russian actors used an array of Instagram posts to suppress Democratic votes in the leadup to the election, cybersecurity firm New Knowledge noted in a report Monday to Senate Intelligence Committee. The new report suggests the Instagram tactic dwarfed the Facebook campaign by magnitudes. “Active and ongoing interference operations remain on several platforms,” the report notes. One Russian campaign, which is ongoing according to New Knowledge, seeks to influence opinion on Syria by promoting Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president and a Russian ally in the brutal conflict. The Internet Research Agency spread messages through YouTube, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine and Google+, along with Facebook and Twitter, which were the main point of attack before Monday’s report. The black community was targeted “extensively with dozens” of Facebook pages and Instagram post, the report notes. IRA targeted users who had shown interest in black history, the Black Panther Party and Malcolm X, among other minority groups The most popular of the Russian Instagram accounts was @blackstagram, with 303,663 followers. The report’s authors noted that the company exploited traditional societal schisms to fracture the electorate. IRA “leveraged pre-existing, legitimate grievances wherever they could,” Renee DiResta, director of research at New Knowledge, told reporters. The Black Lives Matter movement was heating up when the campaign first began, in 2014, so the Russian operation added “Blue Lives Matter” material as narratives shifted, DiResta “Very real racial tensions and feelings of alienation exist in America, and have for decades,” DiResta said. “The I.R.A. didn’t create them. It exploits them.” Much of New Knowledge’s reporting is not new – reports in 2017 showed the extent to which the company used various media to splinter groups during the last presidential election. The report amplifies previous reporting. It shows that IRA’s presence on Instagram has been underestimated – New Knowledge argues that there were 187 million engagements on Instagram, with users sharing and “liking” content created by Russia — that number dwarfs the 76.5 million engagements on Facebook. Google ads were also exploited, but to a much lesser extent. Still, there is disagreement about the degree with which the ads swayed opinion. Most of the ads did not focus exclusively on then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump or then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and the ad sales merely amounted to $100,000. Facebook, for instance, said in 2017 that it found roughly 3,000 ads were connected to the Russian company, and around 470 inauthentic accounts and pages also appeared to be connected to that firm, which likely promoted the ads. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected] New Senate Report Shines Light On Extent Of Russia’s Election-Year Trolling is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more. View the original full article

      in Political Conservative News

    • Former Congressional Staffer Sentenced to Prison for Extensive Fraud and Election Crimes Scheme

      By R. Mitchell - A former congressional staffer was sentenced today to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $800,000 in restitution, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for participating in a multi-year scheme to defraud charitable donors of hundreds of thousands of dollars and secretly to funnel the proceeds to pay for personal expenses and to illegally finance campaigns for federal office. Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick of the Southern District of Texas, Assistant Director in Charge Nancy McNamara of FBI’s Washington Field Office and Special Agent in Charge D. Richard Goss of the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Houston Field Office made the announcement. Thomas Dodd, 40, of Houston, Texas, was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas by Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal.  Dodd was also ordered to forfeit $153,044.28 in illicit gains.  Dodd pleaded guilty on March 20, 2017, to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to make conduit contributions and false statements.  As part of his plea, Dodd admitted that he participated in a scheme led by former U.S. Representative Stephen E. Stockman, 62, who was convicted by a federal jury in Houston on April 12 of 23 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to make conduit contributions and false statements to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), making false statements to the Federal Election Commission, making excessive coordinated campaign contributions, money laundering, and filing a false tax return.  Another of Stockman’s former congressional staffers, Jason T. Posey, 48, of Tupelo, Mississippi, pleaded guilty on Oct. 11, 2017, to one count of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count of money laundering. According to the evidence presented at Stockman’s trial, from May 2010 to February 2014, Stockman and his co-defendants solicited $1,250,571.65 in donations from charitable organizations and the individuals who ran those organizations based on false pretenses, then used a series of sham nonprofit organizations and dozens of bank accounts to launder the money before it was used for a variety of personal and campaign expenses. Specifically, the evidence established that in 2010, Stockman and Dodd solicited an elderly donor in Baltimore, Maryland for $285,000 to be used for legitimate charitable and educational purposes.  Stockman and Dodd used a sham charity named the Ross Center to funnel the money to be used for a variety of personal expenses.  The evidence further established that, in 2011 and 2012, Stockman and Dodd received an additional $165,000 in charitable donations from the Baltimore donor, much of which Stockman used illegally to finance his 2012 congressional campaign. The trial evidence also showed that shortly after Stockman took office as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013, he and Dodd used the name of another sham nonprofit entity, Life Without Limits, to solicit and receive a $350,000 charitable donation, to be used to create an educational center called the Freedom House.  Stockman, Dodd, and Posey instead used this donation for a variety of personal and campaign expenses, including illegal conduit campaign contributions, a covert surveillance project targeting a perceived political opponent, an in-patient alcoholism treatment for a female associate, and payments for hundreds of thousands of robocalls and mailings promoting Stockman’s candidacy for U.S. Senate in early 2014. In addition, the evidence established that, in connection with Stockman’s Senate campaign, Stockman and Posey used another sham nonprofit entity to secure a $450,571.65 donation in order to fund a purportedly legitimate independent expenditure promoting Stockman’s candidacy.  The evidence showed that the purportedly independent expenditure was in fact secretly controlled by Stockman, who directed his campaign and Posey to file false affidavits with the FEC covering up Stockman’s involvement. Finally, the evidence at trial demonstrated that Stockman failed to pay taxes on any of the $1,250,571.65 in fraudulently acquired donations.  In addition, during the early stages of the investigation, Stockman directed Posey to flee to Cairo, Egypt, for two and a half years so that Posey could not be questioned by law enforcement. The FBI and IRS-CI investigated the case.  Deputy Chief Robert J. Heberle and Trial Attorney Ryan J. Ellersick of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Annis of the Southern District of Texas are prosecuting the case. Content created by Conservative Daily News is available for re-publication without charge under the Creative Commons license. Visit our syndication page for details and requirements. Former Congressional Staffer Sentenced to Prison for Extensive Fraud and Election Crimes Scheme is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust. View the original full article

      in Political Conservative News

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