Contend Earnestly: Refutation of Dr. John Goetsch - Unconditional Election

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Refutation of Dr. John Goetsch - Unconditional Election

In our last section we spoke of the issue on Total Depravity and the next topic that easily flows into this, once a foundation is laid with Total Depravity, is Unconditional Election. You see, if we see that no one does good, we are completely lifeless and dead to sin, haters of God, not searching for God, enemies of God and deserving His wrath, one must ask, “On what basis does God choose?”

Election and predestination are biblical terms so to try and say they are not, one (I am not speaking of Dr. Goetsch here nor am I saying that in any way he denies these terms) is not reading their Bible for they are used many times. The issue here is on WHAT BASIS does God make His choice of us?

Dr. Goetsch gives a quick definition of Unconditional Election from the Calvinist standpoint and does well with the space that he has, but of course, doesn’t give any Scripture references that point to God’s sovereign choice of us, nor would I expect him to (or anyone on the Arminian side of this either). Here is his definition:

The Calvinist believes that God chooses to save some people, not because of anything they have done, but according to His sovereign will.

That is a good definition. The problem is that he then goes on to speak about why He agrees that salvation is not of works and lists some biblical verses (Titus 3:5; Romans 3:28; Eph 2:8,9) that speak of this. But, this is not the issue here; God’s BASIS of election is.

This is going to be split into two parts in this post. I will first give an introduction of the basis of our choosing and then refute the verses that Dr. Goetcsh lists. This is the hard thing. This entire section of his article is just a listing of verses with no exegesis, using no context, nor any simple explanation. So I will have to refute some verses by simply giving their exegesis, as I cannot refute or explain Dr. Goetsch’s exegesis because he did not give any. I also must be brief so that you, the reader, are not here all day reading.

First, the reason that we find that God chooses us and when He chooses us is very plainly found in Ephesians 1:4,5,11

just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,

Notice here that we are not only told when we were chosen for salvation but, why we were chosen. Some say (Dr. Goetsch did not point to this) that God looked down the portal of time to see who would repent and decided to choose them based on their choosing of God. Quickly, the Bible never states this, nor even hints to this concept, it is a man made doctrine and if anyone can give Scriptural proof, I would honestly like to see it. We are told here on what basis that we are chosen. Notice that it is because of HIS will. In verse 5, above, it can’t be anymore plain, it says that He predestined us as adoption as sons…according to the kind intention of His will. Again, in verse 11 notice who God had to counsel: No one or nothing besides His own will. We are told that the reason that we are chosen is for His purpose not ours and definitely not on what we have done. He had to counsel no one nor did He have to use the counsel of our actions in the future. It says that His purpose in choosing us was only by His own counsel. Even further Paul points this out in Romans 9:15,16 after saying that God loved Jacob but hated Esau, before they were ever born, Paul says this:

For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

Notice it does not depend on the man on who God will have mercy on, it all depends on God, and Him alone. In our previous text, to drive this home, Paul uses the term, “in Him” or “in Christ” some 9 times in just a span of 10 verses. If you read Ephesians 1:1-14 no one can doubt the tone is supremely on Christ and what God has done for us through Christ. The emphasis is not on our deeds, or why we OUGHT to be chosen, but on God’s love and on God’s will for us. Verse 8 even uses the term “lavish” to show that He has given to us abundantly, over and above anything we deserve or even desire.

Some bring up foreknowledge and say that since God knows beforehand all things, He knew our actions and that is why He chose. If you would like to read a whole post on the subject, please click here. But, notice with the word foreknowledge, when used of God, only speaks of God foreknowing (Acts 2:23; 1 Peter 1:1,2; Romans 11:2) a people NOT their actions. We do know that God does foreknow their actions but the emphasis is on the actual person. The word that is broken down to give us the word “foreknowledge” is the word(s), “know” or “knew” and this is an intimate usage. It does not merely mean to know OF something or someone but means to know that person intimately. God foreknew Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1. Do we really think that God knew of this guy who would be a great prophet, and preach against His people, so then God foreknew who Jeremiah would be, and then predetermined that Jeremiah would be a prophet? No. First God intimately knew Jeremiah, determined that he would be a prophet, therefore, Jeremiah was all these things because of God’s will not Jeremiah’s.

Also, the word is used of Adam “knowing” Eve, and then they had a son. (Gen 4:1,25) Need I say more of this usage here?

Jesus says in Matthew 7 to those who are not His own, “Depart from Me for I never knew you.” Do you think that Jesus didn’t know anything about this people or OF these people? When they came for judgment, Jesus didn’t ask, “what is your name, I have never heard of you, where did you come from?” No, Jesus is talking about the intimacy of the knowing of someone. Of the relationship with that person.

The clincher for the word, “know” comes in John 10:14,15

“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.”

No one would say that there is just a knowledge between the Father and Son. No, it is much more than that; there is no separation of the two; they are One. This is the knowledge that is spoken of when speaking of God foreknowing us. He foreloved us; just as He foreloved Jacob in Romans 9, not because of our “running” or because of our “will” but because of His mercy.

Many more verses but I must get to Dr. Goetsch’s verses. He points out the following verses with no explanation at all, so I will take the liberty in giving a small explanation here. The first two are:

John 3:16 and Romans 10:13 that both say that “whosoever” shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. I, of course, completely agree with these verses, they are true, they are God’s words. The better term for us in the English language for “whosoever” would be “all those believing” as the term “whosoever” is a foreign term to the Greek and John and Paul would have never used that term, “whosoever.” But that is really not the argument. The argument was placed in Total Depravity and will also be discussed in Irresistible Grace, and that is: How do they believe or how do they call on the name of Christ? Simply put in John 6:44

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him…

The term “no one can come” literally means, “no one is able to come, impossible to come.” So if this is true, the only way that anyone can call on the name of Christ is if God draws (or drags) them to Himself. Who does He draw? His chosen, His sheep.

To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
John 10:3
Notice the other part of this on who doesn’t hear His voice:

“But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
John 10:26,27

Notice why they don’t believe: because they are not His sheep. It is not the other way around. It does not say: You are not My sheep because you don’t believe. First, sheep (or chosen); then belief. Not, belief; then chosen.

Dr. Goetsch then points to 2 Peter 3:9 and for that refutation I want to keep this post shorter so please click here for my post on this verse.

Next verse is this:

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2 Timothy 2:1-4

Dr. Goetsch didn’t include all these verses only the last verse. If one takes a look at all four verses one can look at context. First, the verse is telling Timothy to make prayers on behalf of ALL men. Does this mean that Paul is telling Timothy that he must make prayers for every single person in all the earth? No, the emphasis is found in the immediate context when Paul points to kings and all in authority. Paul is telling Timothy to make petitions and prayers for all men no matter their stature or position. Remember, the Romans were brutal back in the day and a lot of people, especially the Jews, hated the Roman authorities. But, Paul is saying that God desires all men to be saved, no matter who they are, whether rich or poor, slave or free man, Jew or Greek, and in this text, whether a king or an authority. Context, Context, Context.

Lastly, is Revelation 22:17

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

Notice, how people come (there is a condition, it is not a general call to every single person): those who hear and are thirsty. Again, Romans 3 tells us that none of us are “thirsty” or searching for God. So, God has to make us thirsty by the quickening of the Spirit. It also says, all who hear. Look to this verse:

“It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.
John 6:45

This is a great verse because it points to not everyone has heard and learned from the Father. This is a special revelation from our Creator. If everyone has the same opportunity then everyone would come, because EVERYONE who hears and learns from God, comes. Not one is left out, not one will resist. So, if God called everyone, we would have to be universalists and believe that all will be in heaven. But, we don’t, so the question must be asked: How does God choose who He will speak and teach to? By His will, not ours.

Only to those who hear and are thirsty does God say, “come.” And they are only hearing and thirsty because of God, not because of anything that they have done.

I know this was a long section and I apologize. I pray that Dr. Goetsch would read this post and see where we differ based on Scripture Alone. We cannot put our own thoughts on Scripture, we must allow it to speak to us by the Spirit. Some of these things are hard to understand, and I don’t pretend to know how all this works. But, I am convinced that we are all elected, not on the basis of any works or action on our part, but based solely on the counsel of the perfect will of our Father.

May God be glorified, and may I be gentle and fearful of my God.

Soli Deo Gloria!


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