Five Questions about Predestination – #5 Why?

Question: Why was the biblical doctrine of predestination controversial in New Testament times?

Answer: Because God’s plan of salvation included all people, not just Jews.

The Calvinist concept of predestination is a controversial topic in our day. Its controversy lies in the fact that God has limited the possibility of salvation to a limited number of individuals. This of course means that those who were not predestined to eternal life have no chance of being saved. This limiting of the offer of God’s grace to a relatively few number of elect individuals, while at the same time unconditionally condemning billions of souls to damnation, causes people to reflect poorly on the character of God. For this reason, Calvinistic predestination is at the center of many heated debates in the Church, both now and in history.

One of the most famous passages used to defend Calvinistic predestination is Romans chapter 9. In that chapter the Apostle Paul is obviously in a heated debate about God’s right to choose who will be saved and how. Calvinists imagine that the Paul is arguing with people who just can’t accept the idea that God would limit his salvation to certain individuals. For them, he is defending the sovereign right of God to unconditionally choose some souls for eternal life, and leave the rest to perish in their sins. They would have him say, “God has the right to make salvation exclusive and limit it to those he chooses by his divine and unconditinal choice.”
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