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Double Predestination Explained
This week on the Straight Truth Podcast, Dr. Josh Philpot asks Dr. Richard Caldwell about double predestination, sometimes called reprobation. In Romans 9:22-23, we see that God has some vessels of wrath that He has prepared for destruction. We see something similar in 1 Peter 2:8, where some disobey the word as they were destined to do. But in other texts like 1 Timothy 2:4, we read where God our Savior desires all people to be saved and, in 2 Peter 3:9, which says that God does not wish that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Dr. Philpot asks Dr. Caldwell how do we understand these seemingly contradictory statements. Specifically, regarding predestination, has God created some people to be saved and created some people to be ultimately judged and destroyed?
Dr. Caldwell says to know the truth in any realm, we must learn to submit our thoughts and emotions to the Word of God, or we will never get to the truth. If we read God’s Word through the grid of what we desire, then we will never come to the truth. We have got to be willing to let the Bible say what it says and then submit our minds and hearts to that. A second principle that helps answer the question is for us to acknowledge that the Bible says things we can't fully get our minds around. God is God, and we are not. We are creatures with limited capacities. One other distinction that gets to some of the texts Dr. Philpot has shared is that we have to distinguish between the desires of God as He has given them in Scripture and the decrees of God. God has not decreed everything He desires. In some way, God is able to desire the salvation of all men though He has not decreed it.
Dr. Caldwell takes us to Romans 9 and shares the text beginning from verse 19. He points out a key phrase in verse 21 we need to pay attention to - out of the same lump. On the potter's wheel, there is only one lump of clay, and that one lump is fallen. Out of that lump, which all of it deserves wrath, God has chosen to save some. Some are formed that God does save, and others are formed that He does not. Dr. Caldwell recommends that everyone get a copy of R.C. Sproul’s book, Chose by God. He shares that he believes that Dr. Sproul does the best job of simply helping us get our minds around this topic of double predestination. He shares that one of the things Dr. Sproul discusses in the book is that there’s a difference between double predestination and equal ultimacy. Equal ultimacy is the idea that God works, in the same way, to damn people as he does to save people. Dr. Caldwell says equal ultimacy is not true. God has predetermined destinies in such a way that some are chosen for salvation, and some are not. But God doesn’t work in the same way to damn people as He does to save people. To save people, God intervenes. In the damnation of people, God leaves them to their own choices. For anyone to believe and be saved, God has to do something. In the elect, God intervenes, grants the new birth, regenerates, and, as a result, gifts us with repentance and faith. In the case of the non-elect, Christ is set before them, the gospel offered to them, and if they should want Him, they can come, but they don’t want to, so they are left with their own desires. In this way, from the same lump of clay, some are formed for honorable use and some for dishonorable, and that’s God’s right.
Dr. Caldwell explains that Paul anticipated questions when he wrote this in Romans, and one of the ways you will know you are teaching the passage right is that you will get those same questions. When you teach God’s sovereignty in salvation, you get all these questions and more. But if Dr. Caldwell were to teach what is referred to as an Arminian view of the gospel, nobody ever asks the questions. So he offers a challenge to his brothers who don’t agree with him on this topic and asks them, does anybody ever ask you these questions they asked Paul? They won’t he says, because you’re not teaching what Paul taught. But if you begin to teach that God is absolutely sovereign in the matter of salvation, people will ask these questions.
Dr. Caldwell goes to Exodus and reads some passages about God hardening Pharaoh’s heart then he reads others where Pharaoh is said to be hardening his heart. How does this work? Is God doing the hardening, or is Pharaoh? Dr. Caldwell says the answer is both, and this gets to Romans 1, where we see man fall deeper and deeper in sinfulness, and we read the repetitive phrase that God gave them up. Through common grace, God is at work restraining sin in this world. If He weren't, this world would fly out of control. But God doesn’t harden a heart by putting sin in there; it’s already there. What He does is takes the brakes off, so to speak, and allows men and women to run deeper and deeper into the depravity that is already present in fallen man. He hardens men and women by giving them over, letting them go in their own choices and go their own way. Dr. Caldwell says the last thing we want in our unregenerate state is for God to give us over to our own desires because we will certainly be damned.
In saving us, God does what we could never do for ourselves. He intervenes and pours out redemptive grace transferring us from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of His own Son. So double predestination makes grace grace. It makes salvation, salvation, and deliverance, deliverance.
About The Straight Truth Podcast
The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at www.straighttruth.net
The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo. The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.
The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
answering any and all questions.
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