Providence

Hi Everyone,

The word listed in the title, is a word, that I have a lot of trouble with. I grew up attending, and still from time to time, attend an Associate Reformed Presbyterian church; if you know of the ARP, then you’ll know they are very Reformed. Since college (3 years ago), I have attended an Anglican church, due to the fact, that I had a lot of queries with the Reformed ideas of Providence, and God Ordaining eternal damnation to those he wished, for his glory. There are a lot of other theological reasons why I am Anglican now, but they are irrelevant to this thread.

When I attend my childhood church (I go to appease my parents out of respect for them), I hear the word “Providence” almost every time, and without the grace of fortitude, my anger would get the best of me. So my questions are these:

Am I wrong, for having indignation, towards the word “Providence,” and the Reformed view that God ordains (decrees) all things?

What is everyone elses view on God’s Providence?

Thanks.

There is nothing wrong with the word Providence, in and of itself, as I’m sure you know and aren’t saying. :slight_smile: But it has negative emotional connotations for you, which is why, I’m assuming, you become angry when you hear it used. That’s only natural. As a former Pentecostalist there are certain words/phrases from that time in my life that set my teeth on edge, too, so I can empathize. :console:

The Catholic Church, like the Anglican Church, does not teach double predestination, as it’s called. She does teach that God knows who will be saved and who won’t, so in that sense God knows who are the “elect” but he doesn’t will anyone be damned. The Scriptures, if read in balance, teach that God wishes all to be saved but all will not be saved because not all will accept God’s gift of salvation. That’s how I understand it. No doubt others will have deeper understanding/insights to share. :slight_smile:

Hi Aslan,
In an attempt to reconcile my husband and my differing faith traditions, we became members of an ARP church so I have some familiarity with the reliance on Providence. The Reformed notion of double pre-destination overcame any comfort that the Gospel provided. They believe that communion is spiritual only, no Real Presence of Christ. Baptism was covenantal, not a means of Grace as I understood it. I will say that they are very pro-life and pro-traditional marriage.

It all seemed to revolve around what God is doing for you in this life, and not much about what He has already accomplished to redeem us for eternity. It was not the typical Joel Osteen type of prosperity Gospel, but it seemed to be a cousin of it. Lots of Glory, not a lot about His Passion. I missed the theology of the Cross as Lutheran.

Greetings, Anglican brother.

God is utterly sovereign over all things and has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass. This is a necessary corollary of the fact that he is the Maker of heaven and earth and all that in them is. The good news is that, unlike the pagan gods, God the Holy Trinity is actually strong to save his chosen people from their bondage to sin and death and infallibly saves all whom he calls.

So God has foreordained the sin that you have committed; he decreed it, and it came to pass? If this be the case, it may be easy for you to cope with, considering you are a Christian (and chosen). But for those who are not so fortunate, will never benefit, due to God withholding his Grace from those he foreordained to sin. Is He, or are you, responsible for what has happened? If I am misunderstanding you, I am sorry, but if I am not, than I cannot subscribe to your view.

Search the Scriptures instead of telling me about your feelings. And search the Anglican formularies. Anglicanism does not teach the open theism or Arminianism you seem to be espousing - our soteriology is Reformed.

The feelings that I hold, are based squarely on what I see in scripture, tradition, and reason; I would ask you not to presume that they are not. Also, you did not answer my questions above.

When I was in the ECUSA (in which I was baptized) I never heard that we believed in Reformed theology. Rather, the understanding I was taught was the Catholic understanding that we cooperate with God’s grace, which he has poured out on the whole world through Christ’s redemptive life, death, and resurrection.

Besides this, there seem to be as many acceptable theologies as their are Anglicans, especially these days. If you want to hold to Reformed theology, you are free to do so, but no modern Episcopal/Anglican communion I know of teaches it or practices it. :tiphat:

Search the Scriptures.

Who is the Apostle Paul’s archetype of a man of the Old Testament with saving faith? Abraham. Is this a man whose encounter with the Lord involved the offer of prevenient grace which Abraham could have chosen to accept or reject? Or rather, was Abraham an idolator whom the LORD turned from his idolatry to live and serve for him as an act of his gracious condescension?

What does foreknowledge mean when the whole of Paul’s epistle to the Romans is considered? Does it mean God’s simple foreknowing of your response to his gracious offer of salvation? Or rather, does it mean, God’s foreloving of his chosen elect, whom he knew would have no power to choose him, and that he therefore called and predestined them to life eternal?

What does it mean in Eph. 2 to be “dead” in trespasses and sins? What does it mean in Ephesians 2:8-9 that even “faith” is a gift of God except that faith is the instrument that God uses to bring you to himself, rather than something you stir up in yourself to bring you to him?

What about the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ? The atonement is necessarily limited: but is it limited in power (in that not all for whom Christ apparently “died” will be saved, because of their obstruction) or is it limited in scope (because evidently not all die in faith)? Does the former not make Christ an impotent Saviour?

We were all “in Adam”. We purchased for ourselves in Adam (Rom. 5) spiritual death for the whole human race as a consequence of sin. Christ through his death perfectly propitiated the wrath of God against the elect. God calls that people to himself by the sovereign work of his Holy Spirit.

We should not be vainly asking of God, why are you not giving everyone an opportunity to be saved? Rather, we should be praising God that he has chosen to save anyone at all. And all the more that his salvation plan is a hundred per cent effective for all those for whom he sent his Son.

Perhaps we should allow Divine Election to be the mystery it appears to be. Proof-texts can be found for all positions.

Aslan10, any part of the Christian faith easily becomes exaggerated and distorted when it is isolated from the rest.

Indeed. Linking verses to make it them say whatever we want it them say is called the “string of pearls” approach to exegesis. A case can be made for mercy as all or love as all or damnation as all using that method. It’s better to take the whole of Scripture into consideration.

Still, the Bible does not interpret itself. Like all documents it needs an authority to interpret it. Christ gave that authority to his Church. In this matter, as in all matters of faith and morals, the Church decides what is and what isn’t proper theology as supported by Scripture and Sacred Tradiiton.

And who interprets the church’s interpretation? The “spirit of Vatican II”? And who interprets Pope Francis? The Tablet or the National Catholic Register or EWTN or “a Vatican spokesman”?

As for election, the “string of pearls” is not the exegetical method I or any serious Reformed scholar uses. I asked you what “foreknowledge” meant in the context of the whole of Paul’s epistle to the Romans. It clearly means, when the whole epistle is taken into account, the forelove of the elect, chosen in Christ not for any foreseen faith (for such a thing is completely absent from the text) but because of God’s grace and mercy in Christ.

Ephesians 1-2 are equally clear about God’s foreknowledge and election. Read the text literarily. The exegetical method is the only proper way to do theology. If it’s not God’s Word, then whose word is it?

God saw his movie from the beginning, gave us the 10 rules to follow and He lets us play it out even though He knew the outcome. Our choice in this role. He refused the directors position.

God Bless:)

Pelagius, is that you?

You know this is a red herring, so why bring it up? It doesn’t compel me to take you seriously.

As for election, the “string of pearls” is not the exegetical method I or any serious Reformed scholar uses. I asked you what “foreknowledge” meant in the context of the whole of Paul’s epistle to the Romans. It clearly means, when the whole epistle is taken into account, the forelove of the elect, chosen in Christ not for any foreseen faith (for such a thing is completely absent from the text) but because of God’s grace and mercy in Christ.

I don’t need to define anything St. Paul wrote. Who understands his writings better than those closest to him and his times–the Church Fathers. And who understands the Church Fathers better than the Church of which they were a part and a witness? The CFs and the Church agree that St. Paul was not teaching double predestination. That’s good enough for me.

Ephesians 1-2 are equally clear about God’s foreknowledge and election. Read the text literarily. The exegetical method is the only proper way to do theology. If it’s not God’s Word, then whose word is it?

I will read Scripture as the Church tells us to in the Catechism paragraphs 115-119. You aren’t reading the text literally, you are reading it literalistically. The difference is of major importance.

Indeed, but did Abraham not cooperate with God’s will as well?

Now, what of positive reprobation? That is my query.

What does it mean to be in Adam?

My questions are hardly “vain.”

"But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,[a] because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

"20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life."

Man clearly has a part to play, and to imply otherwise, would place God as the author of sin. I do not think mans cooperation and God’s saving grace are mutually exclusive. Which is wrong. If I am saved, it is all because of God’s gift; but a gift may also be rejected or accepted.

“No”! God knows all things, he foresees our choices leaving our free will alone.
We all have original sin because of Adams choice.The gravest error into which he and the rest of the Pelagians fell, was that they did not submit to the doctrinal decisions of the church.

Please, explain.

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