Not Chosen To Salvation
By Dr. Max D. Younce, Pastor
HERITAGE BAPTIST BIBLE CHURCH
P.O. Box 573| Walnut Grove, MN 56180 | Telephone (507) 859-2519
EXPOSING NETTLETON'S STATEMENTS AND PHILOSOPHY
Answering Statements By Those Who Endorse Election
Mr. Nettleton, in endorsing election, asks me to believe his terminology instead of God's. This is a little hard to comprehend, since the same author keeps suggesting that we must stand on the Scriptures and let the Bible speak for Itself. Here is what he says on page 21 (Chosen to Salvation):
"For the purpose of clarity, let us use the term 'foreseen faith'. Since the word 'foreknowledge' is an ambiguous word in the theological realm."
After supplying his own terminology, because to him ''foreknowledge" is an ambiguous word, he takes it upon himself to give us his definition of ''foreknowledge'' on the same page (21). His statement is:
"The word 'foreknowledge' means fullness of knowledge which indicates intimacy of relationship. 'Foreknowledge' therefore is the knowing of personal relationship rather than the knowing of facts. Study Acts 2:23, Romans 8:29 and Romans 11:2. Be careful before you interpret 'foreknowledge' as mere familiarity with facts."
It is amazing to me that Mr. Nettleton attests that foreknowledge is an unclear word in the theological realm but he, himself, has the true insight to define the word for us.
In the Dictionary of New Testament Words by W.E. Vine, "foreknowledge'' is the Greek verb "prognosko.'' ''Pro'' is "before," "gnosko" is "to know" and is used only of divine knowledge. It is, very simply, one of God's attributes--His omniscience. That is, He knows everything that is going to happen before it happens! For one to state that ''foreknowledge'' is the knowing of personal relationship rather than the knowing of facts, is a subtle attempt to extract and emphasize a part of God's omniscience so it can fit a particular doctrine. No, God's omniscience cannot be divided, for He knows the facts concerning what is going to happen in the future--concerning everything.
Since God is dealing with people on His earth, His foreknowledge is not limited to only knowing who will believe in Christ; but, indeed, knowing every fact about every person's life. The above statement that foreknowledge was pertaining to personal relationship rather than the facts was the author's foundation to his readers as he prepared them for his next step in influencing them towards election to salvation. The next step being (page 23):
"The fact stands that God planned to save certain individuals, planned the means of faith..."
This statement indicates to me that God will even give you the faith to believe with, so that your salvation is attributed to the sovereign election of God and you have no free will of your own. We challenge this philosophy with the Word of God as given in 2nd Peter 3:9:
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
I am told that I should accept God's election by faith since God did not see fit to tell me why He chose some and rejected others. I am glad that it is man that asks me to accept this philosophy instead of God, because the God I know is not a God of confusion! My God has explained:
What He Did.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Why He Did It.
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Where I Stand.
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
What I Can Do.
"And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."
Acts 16:30, 31
Yes, anyone can be saved. A man told me once that this man's whole house was saved because they were elected to be saved. Of course, the Word of God does not say that. Notice verse 32 of Acts 16:
"And they spoke unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house."
You will notice that they all heard the Word of God. Romans 10:17 tells us that:
"...Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God."
Now notice Acts 16:34:
"And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God WITH all his house."
No one was elected to be saved, but everyone in that house that heard the Word of God chose to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. I know many families where the " whole house" is saved. Mine is one example. Not all at the same time, but they are now all saved and, for that, I am thankful! I know many, many families where everyone in the family is saved. Because a whole family is saved does not mean they were elected to be saved. It does mean that everyone in the family chose, out of their own their own free will, to put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Yes, one can easily reconcile the sovereignty of God, the foreknowledge of God and the free will of man. The sovereignty of God meaning that God is independent of anyone else. God can do anything He wishes to do EXCEPT contradict Himself, lie, be unfaithful to His Word, etc. For His veracity is at stake. The whole character of God would be in jeopardy if God elected some to be saved, and not others, after stating in John 3:16 that:
"For God so loved the WORLD...that WHOSOEVER believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
God does not say one thing and do another, or He would be a liar! In Titus 1:2 we are reminded that, "God cannot lie." In Hebrews 6:18 we find that it is impossible for God to lie. When comparing the doctrine of election to salvation with the Word of God, we find it is contrary to every aspect of the character of God, the nature of God, the holiness and veracity of God. I choose to anchor my faith in God's Word, "Let God be true but every man a liar" (Romans 3:4).
You see, foreknowledge does not include the element of choosing or electing certain ones to be saved; therefore, it does not impede the free will of man. God has fulfilled His responsibility as far as paying for the sins of the world. He will continue to convict with the Holy Spirit, but, ultimately, our destiny lies within our own hands. The price has been paid. It is our choice whether we will accept it or reject it. We are totally responsible for our own destinies as God's will is that none should perish.
Statements By Nettleton Examined And Answered
The following statements are taken from Mr. Nettleton's book entitled "Chosen to Salvation." We have selected a few statements, paragraphs and verses which Mr. Nettleton uses to support his position on the doctrine of election. What is most interesting and worthy of examination are the verses--or pieces of verses--that are used in support of his position. We are going to look at these verses in their context and determine if they have been properly applied.
On pages 13 and 14 of Nettleton's book he states:
"There are two things man will never understand this side of Heaven: how God could elect to save some sinners and not others, and how He could make man responsible for his faith and unbelief. Our minds are too small and too perverted by sin. Our knowledge is so limited, not only because God has revealed only a limited amount of truth; but also because we have not availed ourselves of all that has been revealed. We are not prejudiced in favor of ourselves as men. We are prone to pattern God after ourselves. We create God in our own image and likeness. God rebukes our thoughts as He says, '...Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself...' (Psalms 50:21)."
Psalm 50:21 is used by Nettleton as a little slap to Christians who would dare to oppose his position on election, therefore questioning God's judgment. He states that "God rebukes our thoughts." The plural pronoun "our" would be representative of himself, or any other Christian. It is important to recognize whom he applies this verse to, for he applies it to Christians who question God's judgment. It becomes apparent that this is Nettleton's "whipping lash" upon any person who would disagree with his philosophy of election to salvation.
In examining Psalm 50, two things become apparent:
- The fact that Nettleton took one line and quoted it, out of an entire verse.
- In examining the context, these verses are speaking about the mind and thinking of the lost, not the saved--as Nettleton uses it.
Now let us examine the context with verses 16 and 20:
"But unto the wicked God saith, what hast thou to do to declare my statues, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee. When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentest with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers. Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son."
Now let us go to verse 21 where Mr. Nettleton extracts one line--let us examine the whole verse:
"These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such as one as thyself: (They reduced God to humanity.) and set them in order before thine eyes."
Notice verse 22:
"Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver."
These verses reveal that God is speaking to the wicked. He, then, reveals what they are thinking concerning Him! Nettleton applies their reasoning toward God as being our reasoning--if we disagree with the doctrine of election. This is unbelievable! In other words, if one disagrees with Mr. Nettleton's, they are one of the wicked because they are thinking just like those in psalm 50:16-22.
In summary, Mr. Nettleton has taken a piece of Scripture as a mental "whipping lash" with reverse psychology to slap any who dare to disagree with his man-made doctrine of election. I hope you can begin to see how important it is to take Scripture in its context. One can construct any doctrine they wish by quoting little pieces of Scripture, phrases out of verses, to endorse their own philosophy.
In 2nd Timothy 2:15 we are reminded to:
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
Rightly dividing the Word of God does not mean putting it on he chopping block and grabbing whatever piece I can to support my ideas.
Uncertainty of Scripture
On page 34 of his book, Mr. Nettleton makes a very interesting statement. I quote:
"While it may not be logical to insist that all the verses cited prove the doctrine of election, yet surely the conclusion should be drawn that the doctrine of election is taught in the Bible."
This statement seems to me to be kind of contradictory. Why would Nettleton use certain Scriptures (in an attempt to support the doctrine of election) after just making the statement:
"While it may not be logical to insist that all the verses cited prove the doctrine of election..."
My question is, "Why, then, did he use these verses, tying them in as weight to endorse his doctrine of election, if they do not necessarily prove that doctrine? As dogmatically as Nettleton writes concerning his position on election, I would think that he would use Scriptures that would be unquestionable, even to his own mind. But such is not the case. It is hard to imagine that one would use Scripture to support a major doctrine and then turn around and say, "I am not sure if all these Scriptures support it or not." Can one imagine the confusion in which the reader is left?
We know that:
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof , for correction, for instruction in righteousness."
2nd Timothy 3:16
Since all Scripture is given by the inspiration of God, His Word in one place cannot contradict His Word in another place. With the proper interpretation and Bible study, the above statement by Mr. Nettleton would become unnecessary.
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Dr. Max D. Younce, Pastor
HERITAGE BAPTIST BIBLE CHURCH
P.O. Box 573
Walnut Grove, MN 56180
Telephone (507) 859-2519
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