We continue with the ignorance, misunderstandings and misrepresentations of Dr. Leighton Flowers concerning the Doctrine of Divine Election.
The next statement he makes in his article on “Three Things You Should Know About Election” is astounding and shocking and is not at all orthodox,
Flowers says and I quote: “God could have just forgiven Abraham of his sin debt because his faith merited it.”
Flowers actually says “that Abraham could have merited his forgiveness. I declare to you that God can show no one forgiving grace or mercy unless their sins have first been punished in Jesus Christ. It is judicial. It is through Christ punishing the sinners sin that God can legally show forgiving grace and saving mercy to the believing sinner. No one’s faith alone apart from what Christ accomplished on the crossed can merit Salvation. It seems to me that Flowers goes back and forth from Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism. SO GOD COULD NOT JUST HAVE FORGIVEN ABRAHAM OF HIS SIN DEBT BECAUSE HIS FAITH MERITED IT.
Dr. Flowers comes close to redeeming his above statement in his next comment but does not tie them together rightfully but leaves them confusing and ambiguous.
He states and I quote: “Even though Abraham believed in God he still had a debt that he could not pay. God graciously chose to pay that debt through the sacrifice of His Son, without which no one would be saved.”
I agree with what Flowers says above and emphatically say that is the reason God of forgiveness was able to show mercy to believing Abraham. As Flowers rightfully says God graciously chose to pay that debt through the sacrifice of His Son, without which no one would be saved. I agree.
Flowers then quotes Sam Storms again:
- Divine election is not merely corporate, but also of individuals.
Whereas it is true that Christ is himself the Elect One, and whereas it is true that the Church is the chosen or elect people of God, individuals are themselves chosen by God to believe in Christ in order that they might become members of the church. In other words, God didn’t simply choose the church. He chose the specific individuals who would comprise the church.
St0rms is right on in his God-given wisdom of Divine Election. A perfect statement of Divine Election.
Flowers then makes a quote that gives me some information of the Traditionalist understanding that I did not know and I want to represent them correctly.
Flowers says and I quote: “The Traditional view does not deny that election includes individuals. It is a gross misrepresentation of our view to suggest otherwise. Traditionalists teach God has chosen believing individuals for salvation whereas Calvinists teach God has chosen to irresistibly turn certain individuals into believers by supernatural means so as to save them”
I would say that that is a pretty Good distinction (although it does not tell the whole story of the Reformed view) of how both the Traditional Camp and the Reformed Camp both believe God saves individuals. I would say this though, salvation is supernatural no matter what, So I would hope that the Traditionalist would believe that Salvation belongs tot the Lord and one being born again by the Spirit of God and converted to Christ by faith is a supernatural work of God the Holy Spirit.
Next Flowers gets into some deep false teaching and I quote:
Storm’s view makes God responsible for man’s choice to humble himself and repent in faith. This is not the biblical teaching, however. Again and again scripture tells you to “humble yourself” so as to be justified and exalted (Lk. 18:10-14; 1Pt. 5:5-6; Is. 66:2; Jm. 4:10; Ps. 18:27). Not once does the Bible say that God will irresistibly humble you and cause you to willingly repent in faith. If you wait for God to irresistibly humble you then you will be too late, because that won’t be until the final judgment when he makes every knee to bow (Rm. 14:11).
This has been the one ideal that Dr. Flowers has hung his hat on and that being the wicked evil sinner who hates God and is hostile to Christ and loves sin and takes great pleasure in it (John 3:20, Rom.8:7-8) can humble himself without the power of the Holy Spirit at anytime
1 Samuel 2:7 The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.
Deuteronomy 8:2-3 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
Humbling oneself would be a thing pleasing to God which Flowers says the wicked sinners is able to do who hates God with a hatred of hostility. The wicked sinner would kill God if he could instead of humbling himself. Sinners are humbled under the mighty hand of God. I Samuel 2:7 says God HUMBLES AND HE EXALTS.
Romans 8:7 -For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
God’s law commands repentance from everyone with exception which implies humility. But we read in Romans 8:7 that the mind of the wicked evil sinner that is set on the flesh is hostile to God’s law, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
Romans 8:8 – Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Does Flowers not know that humility pleases God, but God’ Holy Word emphatically says that those wicked evil sinners still in the flesh cannot keep the law or do anything pleasing (that includes humility) to God. This humbling we are talking about is a spiritual humbling toward one’s salvation that would be pleasing and acceptable by God. That evil wicked sinner is not able to do according 1 Samuel 2:7 and the other verses I have mentioned. Most of the verses Flowers mentions on humbling oneself are for Christians which they have the capacity and ability to do as they through the process of sanctification and grace in Christ cooperate with the Holy Spirit. This is a very Pelagian leaning by Dr, Flowers in my estimation.
Flowers continues quoting storms and His understanding of election, I now quote Flowers again: “On a related note, this glorious act of God’s grace in electing some is unto eternal salvation and not simply to temporal service. Paul gave thanks for the Thessalonians because “God chose” them “as the firstfruits to be saved” (2 Thess. 2:13).”
Very well said by Storms in my opinion. I want to quote the verse in mentions at the end of His comments.
2 Thessalonians 2:13 -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.
Now let’s see what problems Dr. Flowers has with what Storms has said here.
Flowers says and I quote:
Here Storms addresses the “election to service” perspective, which teaches that God has chosen certain individuals to serve a noble purpose in His redemptive plan (like His choice of the apostles or prophets). But, by this argument, Storms seems to imply that Traditionalists holding to this perspective do not also affirm God’s election of individuals to salvation. As stated above, however, Traditionalism does affirm that God has elected to save whoever humbles themselves and repents in faith.
Flowers must remember that the wicked sinner does not want to humble himself and cannot humble himself apart from the miracles work of the Holy Spirit. (John 3:20 Rom. 8:7-8——1 Samuel 2:7 The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.
And Flowers must remember that it is God who grants repentance so that one can escape the snare and lie of the devil who hold the wicked sinner captive to do his will. (Notice in 2 Timothy 2:25 below it says PERHAPS God may grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, The word PERHAPS means MAYBE OR POSSIBLY SOMETHING NOT GUARANTEED. BUT LIKE HUMILITY, REPENTANCE IS GIVEN BY GOD TO THOSE WHO CHOOSES TO GIVE IT TO.
2 Timothy 2:25 -correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,
Then Flower mentions Faith forgetting that Faith is a gift also given by God.
2 Thessalonians 3:2 -and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith.
Romans 10:17 -So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
If faith comes to a person by hearing the word of God that would mean there was a time he did not have this supernatural gift of faith.
We also know that Hebrews 11 says “that without faith it is impossible to please God” which once again implies there are many evil wicked sinners without faith because it comes to them by hearing the word of God and enlightened within the Spirit of God. The word of God by itself is not sufficient to save, That is why the Bible talks about the glorious ministry of the Holy Spirit and we must be born again by the Spirit of the living God.
Flowers says next and I quote:
The fact that God has ALSO chosen certain individuals, like Paul, for the noble cause of bringing His inspired message to the world, does not change this truth. In other words, Traditionalists are not arguing that God has EITHER chosen some individuals for salvation OR for service, but that he has BOTH chosen individuals for salvation AND for service. We just do not believe God makes this choice arbitrarily (and before you object to the term “arbitrary” please look it up in the dictionary and explain how the unconditional choice of God described by Calvinists does not perfectly match that definition).
I have no intention to enter into the senseless discussion of the noble cause. Why are the Jews not preaching that noble cause today and it is primarily the Gentiles. The basic idea and theme was that Christ was to be born through the seed of Abraham. This noble cause is a false teaching that is to be rejected as man-made theology.
I did look up the definition of “arbitrarily” and reject to Flowers forced use of it here in his accusation of the Calvinist. The definition said that arbitrarily is not based on any reason or system. How does Flowers know the mind of God that God has no reason in His election of certain individuals to salvation and passing over others. The Scripture says “it is according to the good pleasure of God’s will.” God’s will was involved so their was a reason, a purpose, although not known to Flowers or the Human mind but I know “God works all things according to the council of His will” and will not the judge of the earth do right.”
Then Flowers quotes Storms again and ask you to read an article for context:
After the Gentiles heard the gospel preached, “as many as were appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48).
I have read the context of this over and over and over. I have read all sides and perspectives of this, and only those who do not want it to say what it plainly says are the ones who twist and turn and read into it that which is not there. The word “disposed” just will not work which has been proven by Highly Trained Scholars.
Just noticed the believing comes after, “the many were appointed to eternal life”
The Traditionalist and all the non-calvinist do their best to rid themselves of what this verse really says. At one time a non-calvinist said that the rendering of Revelation 13:8 of the ESV was a bit on the disingenuous side of the calvinist, I say the same thing here, a verse that is strong and easily understood, that the calvinist has to play scriptural gymnastics to try and get around it is being somewhat disingenous.
Part 3 to come