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How do you respond to Ephesians 1:4-5?
Question: Ephesians 1 refers to believers as predestined before the foundation of the world. How do you reconcile this with your view that free actions of people (like choosing to believe in Christ) can’t be predestined or even foreknown ahead of time?
Answer - Years - Anyone - Church - History
Answer: It took three hundred years before anyone in Church history interpreted the New Testament to teach that God individually predestines certain people to go to heaven, and “leaves” (viz. a nice way of saying “predestines”) all others to go to ****. Augustine’s interpretation decisively influenced Church history, and was followed by the early Protestant Reformers and those who continued in the Reformed tradition. The fact that you have trouble reading the verses you mention in a non-Calvinist way testifies to how influential this tradition continues to be in terms of how we (as opposed to the pre-Augustinian church) read the Bible.
As you mention in your question, one of the texts most frequently appealed to in support of this view is Ephesians 1.
Practice - Day - Paul - Election - Passage
In keeping with the Jewish practice of his day, I think Paul was speaking of a corporate election in this passage. When Jews thought of election or predestination, they thought primarily of the nation of Israel. Israel as a nation was elected (not for salvation, but for service). But this didn’t mean that every individual born into Israel was part of God’s chosen people. Only those who kept covenant with God were considered “true Israelites.”
Notice that Paul doesn’t say that God chose us to be in Christ. He rather says God chose us in Christ to be holy and blameless. What God chose from...
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