Posted tagged ‘gospel in acts’

The Gospel of Election and Justification in the Book of Acts

November 14, 2019

Many men who want to be paid as “Reformed” clergy don’t want to ever preach about the doctrines of election and non-election.

“Of course we know that the apostles were not Arminians, but from the book of Acts we can’t tell if yet if they are “Reformed”, so we can present the gospel without any reference to the doctrine of election.  For example, we know for sure that the thief on the cross who lived in Israel had never heard about election. So what Jesus Himself taught about election in some times or places is not necessarily model for us.” (Jesus didn’t have a famlly or a pension plan. )

Acts 16: 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.

Reformed clergy– and we have no idea what word they spoke to them, and how “seeker-friendly” it might have been, but we know for sure that they didn’t talk about the new birth, which is an act of God not of man, and a secret thing. And we also know for sure that they didn’t talk about how “Christt’s finished atonement” is received by imputation, because imputation is not an experience but secret and invisible and the atonement was in the past and not in our hearts.   

Acts 2:23 this Jesus, HANDED OVER according to the DEFINITE  and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

Acts 4: 27 Truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your PLAN HAD PREDESTINED to take place.

Acts 13: 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying in the word of the Lord, and as many as HAD BEEN APPOINTED BY GOD to lasting life believed.

Matthew 11: 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. 18 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Acts 17: 30 God now commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because God has set a day when God  is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man God has appointed. God has provided proof of this to everyone by raising this Man from the dead.”

John 8:  24 You will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am He who I told you I was, you will die in your sins.

John 8: 32 Only the truth will set you free.” 33 “We are in the covenant family of  Abraham,” they answered Him, “and we have never been slaves to anyone. How can You say, ” become free’?

John 8:46  I tell the truth, but you don’t believe me. 47 The one who is from God listens to God’s words. You don’t listen, because you are not from God.”

John 10: 5 The sheep  will never follow a stranger; instead th sheep  will run away from a straner, because the sheep don’t recognize the voice of strangers.

John 10: 15 I lay down My life for the sheep

John 10: 26 Some of  you don’t believe because some of you are not My sheep. 27 My sheep hear My voice,

The Reformed clergy who won’t preach election disagree with Jesus about what Jesus says about electiion.   These clergy believe that, even if you reverse what Jesus tught and believe that “people are not sheep because they don’t believe”, this still has nothing to do one way or the other with the gospel you need to believe.

These clergy deny that anybody who believes the gospel needs to agree with Jesus about election . First of all, they teach that you can completely disagree with Jesus and say instead that “you become a sheep because you believe”. Second, the clergy  insist that those outside the covennant (and most of those inside, except the people in the Sproul video class)  you should only pay attention to what is taught in the book of Acts.  Christ dying only for the elect is not in Acts, they claim, therefore election should not be taught.  Jesus being raised after death is enough, except if you want to become a Reformed clergy person (then you need to sign if not study what the Confessions teach).

The idea is that, whatever gospel may be taught by Jesus in the gospels, or by the apostles in the epistles, the lost should only pay attention to the gospel found in Acts. Without speculating about their greedy  motives for this dogma about “only in Acts”, we have to ask where the Bible teaches “the gospel for the lost is found only in one place” and “the gospel for the found is found in other places”.

Though Reformed clergy never boast in election or glory in teaching the truth about Christ having died only for the elect so that all the elecct will be justified, Reformed clergy do boast in NOT BEING DISPENSATIONALIST ( with one gospel for some people, and another gospel for another time and place and people) Even so, these same clergy despise  the doctrine of unconditional election so much that they teach that 1. the doctrine of unconditional election is not to be found in the book of Acts and that 2. anything about election in other parts of the Bible does not need to be taught, either to those outside the covenant faamily or to those inside the covenant family.  Indeed, one device in their campaign of silence against election is the idea of “the covenant” which makes no distinction between elect and non-elect.

In Assured by God ( 2006, p 45), Philip Ryken informs us that “election is a family secret”. Ryken writes: “To ask if you are among the elect is to really ask if you are in Christ. If you want to know whether God has chosen you, all you need to know is it you are in Christ.”

This sounds simple but it’s not true.  Which Christ? Is the Christ of the people who deny election the same Christ as the Christ of the people who rejoice in the good news of election? And perhaps more to the point, is the Christ of people who “don’t know about election” the same Christ as the Christ of the people who do know about election?

Is election to be kept a secret from those not in the covenant family or election also so not necessary to the gospel that it can be kept secret (and/or denied) when clergy preach to the “covenant family”?

I certainly agree that nobody can know if they are elect before they believe the gospel. But this is NOT the same thing as saying that nobody CAN OR SHOULD  know about election before they believe the gospel. The Bible teaches election as inherently part of  the gospel, and as something to be proclaimed to all who read the Bible and who hear the gospel. (Romans 9:11 Though they were not yet born and had done nothing good or bad-in
order that God’s purpose of ELECTION woul continue, not because of works but because of His call.

The Christ who died only for the elect is not the same Christ as the counterfeit Christ who died for everybody. Those who believe that Christ died for everybody do not believe in what the Bible says about election and therefore do not believe in the gospel.

It does not matter if we say that these people (most evangelicals) don’t know about election or if we say that they know about election and reject it in favor of their preference for a “Jesus” who died for everybody. Most Reformed clergy have “don’t ask don’t tell rule” by which they never talk about election even to professing Christians for fear or rejection (of the clergy?, or of the true Christ?)

In either case, be it ignorance or rejection. most professing Christians do NOT believe that all for whom Jesus died will be justified. Even most people who do not profess to be Christians are sure that Jesus died for them. In most places in the United States, even most of the non-professing Christians (emocrats or Republicans) think they know that God loves everybody,

We shall not find proof of our election in ourselves. But neither can we find proof of our election in our believing a false gospel which teaches a false Christ who died for those who will perish. Ryken writes: “Since election is in Christ, it is often best understood after one becomes a Christian…While you are outside of God’s family, you may not hear about predestination at all; once you are in the family, however, it makes the most perfect sense in the world.”

The DISHONSTY of this claim by Ryken is that he knows that most who claim to be now in God’s family STILL do not believe in election. Ryken knows that most of these people have not even heard about election, and all the soundbites about “they re Calvinists when they pray” do not change this reality. Many of Ryken’s fellow evangelicals say that God knew ahead of time who to “elect” because God saw ahead of time who would “accept Jesus by faith”. Now it could be said that this shows that they do believe in a kind of election, but becoming elect by accepting Jesus is not what the Bible teaches.

Ryken claims that the kind of election which he describes  makes good sense to people after they become Christians. How then does he explain that most “Christians” still don’t know the family secret? If there were indeed an election-free gospel which one could accept and thus get oneself united to Christ, why would it be important for these Christians to learn later the “family secret”?

Ryken does not question the salvation of those who don’t learn the “family secret”. Nor does he question the salvation of those who deny the “family secret”. Nor does he pause to doubt the assurance of those who think the “secret” is that God knew ahead of time who would believe.

Too many Arminians belong to “the covenant family” which pays the salary of Reformed clergy for them to ever doubt that these folks have believed the gospel. Whatever their “gospel”, Reformed clergy agrees with their congregations that their Arminian  faith in their Arminian  gospel has effectively united them to Christ so that they are now “in Christ”.

Why talk about Romans 8 or John 10 when you can quote Donald Gray Barnhouse? “Imagine a cross like the cross on which Jesus died, only so large that it has a door in it and a sign over it: whosoever may come….On the other side of the door, a happy surprise waits the one who enters. From the inside, anyone glancing back can see the words on this side of the door: chosen…”

Reformed clergy who never talk about election cannot and should not be surprised that so many don’t ever look back and read the word “chosen”? Why do so many still understand that “chosen” to mean “because you chose first and God saw you would choose”? Why do so many clergy insist that “election is not something to be preached” if it’s such a “happy and wimsome surprise”?

The problem here is not “how much” or “how little” is being taught by Arminians. The problem is that Arminians are teaching the OPPOSITE of the truth. Does the holy God of truth justfy sinners from their sins for God’s glory by using the opposite of the truth? We need antithesis. Which of the five false doctrines believed by Arminians is part of the gospel? If none of them is the gospel, why would we think that those who are teaching those five false doctrines are teaching the gospel?

What is the gospel? Is the idea that “Christ finished the atonement” the gospel? Is it still the gospel if clergy teach that this “finished atonement” is only imputed to some of the sinners for whom it was finished?

Is it still the gospel if other clergy teach that this “finished atonement” is already imputed to sinners who still don’t know the “secrets” about election or regeneration or justification?

Is ‘finished the atonement” still the gospel if clergy teach that since “finished means already imputed”, that no elect person ever was condemned or needed to become imputed with Christ’s death”?

Is “finished the atonement” still the gospel if clergy teach that “the atonement was always already finished” ? Some clergy now are even teaching the error that God elected those who were always already justified.