Bible Question:

Your teaching on predestination/Calvinism could cause some to believe that they are saved when in fact they may not be elected. As a result, they may be condemned. I am burdened with this teaching.

Bible Answer:

The doctrine of predestination has been distorted and abused by some. I would encourage you to read Predestination and Free Will if you have not done so already. What follows assumes that the reader has read the study.

God has stated in the scriptures that He has chosen some before the foundation of the world to be saved. He has also told us that we all have a choice, an opportunity, to believe in Jesus Christ and are consequently able to live with Him forever in heaven. Both doctrinal truths are present in the scriptures. God chooses and we choose. Since scripture teaches both truths, I will not attempt to solve the paradox. Rather I believe both apparently conflicting truths, and wait until I am in heaven where God, if He so chooses, will explain the “mysterious paradox.”

Now let’s consider your concern about an unbeliever who incorrectly thinks he or she is not one of the elect as a result of someone’s teaching about the doctrine of predestination. Such a belief would be a horrible mistake. But such a belief is not the result of the doctrine of predestination. If anything, it is the result of an incompetent teacher (James 3:1-2). 2 Peter 3:16 captures the situation.

. . . as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. 2 Pet 3:16 (NAS95S)

Because someone may teach the doctrine incorrectly or because someone may believe incorrectly does not mean that the doctrine is not true and, therefore, we should avoid teaching it. For example, some have incorrectly believed that every person is a “god” due to someone’s teaching John 10:30-34. The Mormons teach that error. Therefore, should we avoid teaching the passage of John 10:30-34? There are numerous passages in the scriptures that have been misunderstood. If we were to avoid each one, how much of the scriptures would we teach?

Unfortunately, many pastors and teachers are not teaching all of the scriptures. They are avoiding certain truths because they do not like what God has said or they fear conflict with people who have ungodly attitudes. God rebuked the Jewish priests because they were doing just that.

So I also have made you despised and abased before all the people, just as you are not keeping My ways but are showing partiality in the instruction. Mal 2:9 (NAS95S)

Shall we avoid the doctrine because someone might misunderstand? No!

Conclusion:

Teachers and pastors who teach the doctrine of predestination need to also teach that a person is not a saint or a believer in Jesus Christ unless he or she has truly repented of his or her sins and believed in Jesus Christ. They also need to examine their lives to determine if they are Christians. We would encourage the reader to explore the study Should a person be different when he or she becomes a Christian?

Suggested Links:

Peace With God
Predestination and Free Will
Should we be a different when we become a Christian?
How can you know for sure that you believe in Jesus?