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A Discussion Primarily About Election/Predestination/The Sovereignty of God with a Little about Race Mixing

In regards to the Shepherd's Chapel and Pastor Arnold Murray

The Question/Comment:

----- Original Message -----
From: Name and Address Withheld
To: (Paul Stringini)
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2007 2:57 PM
Subject: your great site

I have enjoyed exploring your site, Oracles of God. I have been studying Murray as a side-hobby (one of my loves is doctrine and Christian cosmology) for several years, so I understand most of the teachings you are addressing as would a "chapel" student. I appreciate your stand for the truth.

One element which you might consider adding to your first section regarding election and God's sovereignty that is not there -- and even for chapel students (to whom you are directing this material) alone, which might help them instantly comprehend the issue of Sovereignty and Election, is that God predestined according to foreknowledge, specifically. That is to say, He knew the course of the life of Esau and anyone else whom he would "hate," and through this foreknowledge thus predestined "that his will might stand." This emphasis I believe is very important because it tells everyone who has difficulty with the concept that God remains perfectly just in his predestination. He is not predestinating anyone to damnation who would not boldly, purposefully, willfully despise Him, His Law and His Truth no matter what, He is predestinating because He already knows their outcome. Their individual deeds of rebellion do not sentence them to doom, rather, are evidence of their unchangeable hatred of God.
I don't suggest this as a sugar-coating of divine election at all, it is an essential element to understanding divine election. "Whom God foreknew he did ALSO predestinate..." -- it is very important because it tells us the character and nature of God is just, not arbitrary. Anyone he has "formed" to be a vessel of wrath, if left entirely to their own devices, or if lavished with God's merciful beneficence in life, would still have resulted in the same shape; God then solidifies the outcome "that he might show the riches of his mercy" upon those vessels he made for glory (a guarantee), whom he likewise foreknew would respond to His grace and love through Christ our Lord. Hell will not be full of people who were equally capable or willing to submit their lives and wills to God but were arbitrarily condemned to eternal death so God could work out a situation, it will be filled entirely and expressly with the willful, volitional enemies of God. He made them that way based on his absolute foreknowledge of their
darkened nature and their love for it (as pictured so powerfully by Paul in Romans 1) over their love for God.
Anyway, a lot more to read on your site, I'm sure it will be edifying. Thanks for putting the site and your insights up!
God Bless

My Response:

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2007 3:03 PM
Subject: Re: your great site
James, It's great to hear from you.
I'll look at retooling it,  but as you may have discovered, the topic of election can be very touchy for many people, it is hard for people to accept.  I don't think that appealing the foreknowledge of God softens the doctrine of election. The question can still be asked:  From whence comes this knowledge?  How is it that God knows how these people will be? God knows what is in man, because he is the maker of man.  God does not take "perfectly good" souls and cause them to be evil, no, God creates souls whose very created natures make them fit for destruction.
Pr16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
A powerful verse.  For me the foreknowledge of God is not based on what I would do but on what God made me for. 
As I read your email the second time I begin to feel like you are looking at the election as being based on the foreknowledge of deeds that "would be done"   terms such as     "the course of the life"  and  "predestinating because He already knows their outcome."  Terms like those make me think that you are saying that predestination is essentially God's reaction to what he sees in the future. 
 I see predestination as God creating the future.   God chooses what he creates, if God created me and what I am is someone who hates God, well, that is who I am,  if God made me even slightly different (like a twin)  I wouldn't even be the same conscious being.  I am only exactly who I am made to be, I can't be something else, this is the Lord's doing.
"foreknew would respond to His grace"  The way you say this it makes me feel like you are putting it on man, as though man's response is the real determinative factor.  Maybe we don't disagree, but the language you are using leads me in that direction.   I feel like you are using this language precisely for the reason you wrote me: to "help them instantly comprehend the issue"  I do not think that is a realistic expectation for many many people; ie. they are not going to get it.
To me, election, destiny, is God, of his own will and counsel, taking man, out of nothing, and saying, "this is what you will be, this is what I have made you for."  It is Not God  taking a person and running the clock forward to see what they would do given a certain situation and then deciding, "Ok, since you would choose me, I choose you"  That is not predestination or foreknowledge.  Foreknowledge, is God looking back, remembering what he made something for, in the beginning.
It seems like you are concerned that God appear to be just in selecting people to their fate,  God is just, but you seem to want to make the basis on which he makes the selection to be "how they respond" which is wrong.  God does not have to react to us in order to be justified.  If God creates a man, whom he sees as fit for destruction, he is justified in destroying him, period.  The foreknowledge of God points to what God determined in the past, not what man would do in the future.
The basis on which God selects the election is "according to the good pleasure of his will,"  "Which he hath purposed in himself:"
"Elect according to the foreknowledge" occurs but one place (1Pet1:2) and in no way implies the kind of foreknowledge which  you were suggesting.  The foreknowledge of God is his knowledge of what his will and purpose was at the beginning of the world.
Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
This is an interesting point, because God had to manipulate the wicked, by hiding wisdom,  in order to get them to do that:
1Cor2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
God could have spared the wicked men of Christs generation from having to bear the curse of having crucified the Lord of Glory,  but he did not allow them to have the wisdom, because they would not have fulfilled what was predetermined by the "determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God"
Anyway, I'm curious what you think, have I made a mountain out of a molehill?  It is just my reaction to what you said and the way you said it.
I look forward to hearing from you again soon!
Paul Stingini

Emailer's Reply: (After this, I really felt like a jerk)

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2007 1:53 AM
Subject: Re: your great site
You have some VERY good points -- perhaps ones I have never fully thought about, at
least in my wording of the "foreknowledge" element. Indeed, God has made the wicked
for his own purposes, so I am definitely NOT saying the He is/was persuaded BY His foreknowledge
of their deeds to predestinate them to destruction, but rather that the outcome of their lives would be contrary (by His design) to His law and truth and in the judgement this will be revealed. As
you put it, " The foreknowledge of God points to what God determined in the past, not what man would do in the future."
In light of this, you are also probably perfectly correct that the foreknowledge element wouldn't
help anyone comprehend the Sovereign nature and determinations of the Lord God. I do believe
that every person fitted for destruction will, by the lack of the indwelling Holy Spirit, live a life
exampling that which is contrary to God; that there will be ample evidence of their spiritual
criminality and absolutely unwillingness (not just inability) to repent. For me it's two sides of the same coin, just depending on ones perspective. In the same way that everyone who is redeemed will
bear fruit for God, because of the indwelling Holy Spirit, not of themselves; yet this is not what
saves them, rather they have been saved in order to produce the fruit God desires.
(Race Mixing) I recently heard Murray stumbling around a surprising doctrine I had never heard from him before,
saying that "thou shalt not commit adultery" meant thou shalt not 'race mix.' That adultery was
covered elsewhere in the commandments (ie, coveting neighbors wife, etc). I was quite astonished,
though by now I probably shouldn't be. But I was surprised he did this on television, where he
usually skirts around the deeper "false doctrines" to which he holds, especially ones regarding
race. I don't know if it's true, but I've heard that Murray has special videos that show blacks and
other races at his services, but that these were staged and not part of regular church services
which are strictly white-only. If there is one thing I can't abide is racism.

Thank you for helping me further grasp this topic. It's one I've always enjoyed and never have
had trouble with the issue of God's Sovereignty and the election, though I probably do not communicate it as accurately as I should.
PS: also thoroughly enjoyed your link about the state of the dead/hell. VERY good.

My Response: (Embedded responses highlighted in red)

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2007 3:32 PM
Subject: Re: your great site

I'm glad to hear it, it was just my sensitivity to wording,  thanks for clarifying that.  I agree with everything you said.
"thou shalt not commit adultery" meant thou shalt not 'race mix.'
That's an old one, it is the same thing with "garments of diverse sorts"  Dr. Murray has suggested many times that such passages which dictate that clothing or such should not be "adulterated" "mixed" or "watered down" mean that races should not mix.  I remember him using the analogy of coffee and cream, very blatantly, back in the 90's. 
Funny thing is that there are much better passages which he could use, which forbid the Israelites from marrying non-Israelites, I guess part of the problem would be that most of the people, who lived close by, that they were not to marry, were of the same "race."  
I believe the real principle is still at work, believers should not marry unbelievers, and, in Christ,  even more so: strong believers should not marry nominal ones.  The race of Christ-men, who are born of the same Father, should not marry anyone of another "race."
Isa1:22 Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water
There is something to this "no mixing" thing; as usual Dr. Murray, blind to the things of the Spirit, looks to the flesh. 
I remember when I was getting married at the chapel, maybe it was my imagination (spurred on by Dr. Murray's doctrine no doubt), but I felt like Dr. Murray was just a tiny bit uncomfortable marrying my wife and I.  My grandfather was an Italian (blue eyed), and I have somewhat darker skin (especially compared to my wife).  I walked away thinking, "Was he totally cool with that?  Or is he going to wake up in a cold sweat tonight?"  I didn't really care because I knew the rest of my ancestors were "pure Aryans,"  and even at that time I had failed to grasp what the great significance to being an Israelite was.
That is the rub, because I read all the Anglo Israelite literature; and, at first, I bought it; but then I questioned it, and now I hold it as a speculative possibility; which, if true,  has no significant benefit which may be attained by the knowing of it (except perhaps a swelling of the cranium and an inexplicable racial pride, inexplicable because if Israelites then we are the progeny of those whom God cast off.
I have little doubt that a significant portion of the (whole) world is somehow blood-tied to the ten tribes of Israel. 
8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
Further Comments (Not included in original email):

XXXXXXXXX-  "I've heard that Murray has special videos that show blacks and other races at his services, but that these were staged and not part of regular church services which are strictly white-only. "

I was at the Passover meeting in 1995 and there were Blacks and other races there, Dr. Murray dedicated a racially black child.  Dr. Murray calls his followers who are of other races "The Kings and Queens of the Ethnos."  I never felt that Dr. Murray was racist, I never detected it, at least in the sense that he hated other races or viewed them as inherently inferior.   Being against "race-mixing" may be racist,  but not automatically.  I really don't know.

I have to admit I personally favor my own race the way I favor my own family (in my heart), even though I know, deep down, they are like everyone else, they are still special to me.  But I have to also say that some members of my family (narrow or wide) are absolute jerks.  And also that I have friends who are not part of my family, whom I love and favor like they were my own flesh.  That's just nature and that's the truth.

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