On the Predestination of the Saints

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Now when were these saints chosen? Here is the key. Even before the foundation of this world, God had prearranged to call a select group of people and open their minds to spiritual truth.


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That such a group would exist was decided before the world was founded—before anyone in that group was born! Why were these saints chosen? Herbert Armstrong often reminded us, are now only heirs —not yet inheritors Romans We still are required to do something. They are given the Holy Spirit for that purpose. No matter what our station in life—whether we are single, married, young, old, or live hundreds of miles from the nearest Church congregation—all of us have been predestined to directly assist with this end-of-the-end-time Work!

Predestination

Each of us has been hand-picked to assist Mr. Flurry in accomplishing a weighty mission.


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Collectively, our fervent prayers , our words of encouragement, and our tithes and offerings can help hold up the arms of our pastor general as he labors to complete this important task! As with Abraham Genesis , God wants to know —beyond the shadow of a doubt—that we will unswervingly obey Him. So, is predestination unfair?

Is it unfair that only a handful of people are called out of spiritual darkness now—ahead of the rest of humanity? God will eventually offer the opportunity for salvation to every human being, as He brings to fruition His 7,year master plan.

Until then, those of us who are called now must finish the Work —for the whole universe longingly awaits the revealing of the sons of God! Romans That is the meaning of predestination. One group, the Congregationalists, settled Plymouth in the s and then Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, and Rhode Island in the s. Another group, the Presbyterians, who quickly came to dominate the religious life of Scotland and later migrated in large numbers to northern Ireland, also settled many communities in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania during the late seventeenth century and throughout the eighteenth century.

They believed that the civil government should strictly enforce public morality by prohibiting vices like drunkenness, gambling, ostentatious dress, swearing, and Sabbath-breaking. They also wished to purge churches of every vestige of Roman Catholic ritual and practice—the ruling hierarchies of bishops and cardinals, the elaborate ceremonies in which the clergy wore ornate vestments and repeated prayers from a prescribed liturgy. But both Congregationalist and Presbyterian worship services were simple, even austere, and dominated by long, learned sermons in which their clergy expounded passages from the Bible.

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination - Chapter XIV

At the very mention of that term, a sea of blank faces will shimmer before your unhappy eyes. Nonetheless, gamely pursue the subject with them. Pull out all the stops to convey what conversion meant—because it is key to understanding the spirituality of the Puritans as well as all later evangelicals. You might tell them about the Puritan belief in predestination, which provides the wider context for understanding conversion.

This doctrine was first elaborated by John Calvin and then adopted by Congregationalists, Presbyterians, and a variety of other religious groups. Calvin held that human beings were innately sinful—utterly depraved by inheriting the original sin of Adam and Eve, the biblical parents of the human race. It is important to emphasize to students that, in the Calvinist scheme, God decided who would be saved or damned before the beginning of history—and that this decision would not be affected by how human beings behaved during their lives.


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Once you have gotten this far, some students will be wondering aloud, with any luck why any sane person would accept the doctrine of predestination. The brighter kids may also point out that Calvinist theology denied human beings any free will. You can do that by emphasizing one simple fact—namely, that many men and women, in both Europe and America the Puritans among them , wholeheartedly embraced the belief in predestination.

To prod them into thinking along these lines, you might talk a bit about the sweeping changes and uncertainties overtaking the lives of most western Europeans in the early modern period ca. It was during this era that the beginnings of modern capitalism—both the growth of trade and the commercialization of agriculture—were yielding handsome profits for merchants and large landowners, but creating inflation and unemployment that produced unprecedented misery for many more people. The rich were getting richer, and the poor much poorer: growing numbers of unemployed people became vagrants, beggars, and petty criminals.

To add to the sense of disruption and disarray, the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century had ruptured the unity of late medieval Christendom, spawning bloody religious wars that led to lasting tensions between Catholics and Protestants. All of these momentous changes were profoundly unsettling to ordinary men and women, heightening their need for social order, intellectual and moral certainty, and spiritual consolation.

For many, the doctrine of predestination answered these pressing inner needs.

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Its power to comfort and reassure troubled souls arose from its wider message that, beyond preordaining the eternal fates of men and women, God had a plan for all of human history—that every event in the lives of individuals and nations somehow tended toward an ultimate triumph of good over evil, order over disorder, Christ over Satan. In other words, Calvin and his many followers among groups like the Puritans saw human history as an unfolding cosmic drama in which every person had a predestined role to play.

That confidence made people like the Puritans anything but passive or despairing. On the contrary, they were an extraordinarily energetic, activist lot, constantly striving to reshape both society and government to accord with what they believed to be the will of God as set forth in the Bible. Gravestone of Phebe Gorham, d. Epitaph: Henceforth my Soul in sweetest Union join The two supports of human happiness, Which some erroneous think can never meet, True Taste of Life, and constant thought of Death They strove, too, to lead godly and disciplined lives—but not because they hoped that such righteous behavior would earn them salvation.

Instead they believed that their very ability to master their evil inclinations provided some evidence that they ranked among the elect of saints. And nothing was more important to early modern men and women than gaining greater reassurance of salvation.

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