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God's Not Mad at You
“Why does God choose some and not others?”

“Why does God choose some and not others?”

OCTOBER 16, 2020

/ Programs / Key Life / “Why does God choose some and not others?”

Steve Brown:
Why does God choose some and not others? The answer on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
This is Key Life dedicated to the message that the only people who get any better are those who know that if they don’t get any better, God will still love them anyway. That teaching raises a lot of questions, so here’s author and seminary professor Steve Brown, along with Pete Alwinson from ForgeBibleStudy.com with answers to the Bible that’ll make you free.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. Hi Pete.

Pete Alwinson:
Hey man. I know the answer to that one and I am going to give it right now. It’s because we both have voices that are comparable and he chooses people with great voices.

Steve Brown:
That’s it. And it’s because they’re good looking.

Pete Alwinson:
There you go.

Steve Brown:
That’s the obvious answer, but we’ll try to be a little bit more detailed in a minute.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah, sure.

Steve Brown:
That’s Pete Alwinson by the way. And you go to ForgeTruth.com and you’ll be glad you did. And a lot of stuff, a lot of videos and audio and blogs and things that will bless your heart. And as you know, if you’re a long time listener, Pete ever since the flood has been coming in on Fridays and we’ve been answering questions and we love getting your questions. You can call 1-800-KEY-LIFE, 24 seven, record your question and sometimes we’ll put your voice on the air. Or you can send your question into

Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
Maitland, Florida 32794

In Canada, it’s

Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8

Or you can send your question to Steve@keylife.org. And if he can help us financially. I promise we’ll squeeze every dime for the glory of God. We’re a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. We’ll be as faithful with your gift as you were in the giving of it. And if he can’t, we get that too. Do say a prayer. You say a prayer, Pete, and we’ll get to these questions.

Pete Alwinson:
Sounds good. Let’s pray together. Our great God, what a joy to be able to come into your presence today. Lord, we know that you’ve been sovereign and in charge all week, but now at the end of the week, we stop for a minute and remember that you are large and in charge. You’re good and holy and righteous and just and merciful. You are sovereign. You have a plan for our lives that connects with the plan for all, of people all over the world and for all eternity. And we’re thankful for that, that gives us strength in the midst of radical change and radical things going on all around us. We love you, because you first loved us. We thank you for your grace and pray that you would continue to pour out your grace upon us. We need you and Lord even as we think about this weekend to worship, we pray for our pastors and teachers and priests and worship directors and leaders and all those who will bring to us the word of God and bring us into the presence of the living God through worship. Lord get us back together, we pray. Make your church healthy and may we reach out and glorify your name in the lives of other people. Be with Key Life and Steve and all those great people behind the scenes here. And we just commit this time of Q & A to you now, as we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Steve Brown:
Pete, these are a couple of emails, both dealing with the same subject, which is quite difficult. The first one says this, if you believe in election and predestination, that God has chosen these people before the foundation of the earth for salvation, that makes much of the Bible a lie. And then, this one, another email, passages like Acts 10:34-35 and John 3:16 would seem to indicate that God would not and did not capriciously choose certain people for heaven, for no known reason. And similarly did not choose others. Please tell us, cause I know you’re Calvinist.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. Right. Wow. Well so, how do you want to get started on that?

Steve Brown:
Well, I think the first thing is the antinomy thing, I think, as you read through scripture, you will see the presupposition of responsibility and freedom. The invitation is offered and it’s offered with a presupposition that the person to whom it is offered is responsible for answering that invitation. So that’s clear,

Pete Alwinson:
I agree, it is.

Steve Brown:
and throughout scripture, there are admonishments about what we do and how we live, as if those meant something, that we’re supposed to do that. On the other hand, in scripture, and it’s everywhere, you know, we start quoting scripture. I remember, I went on an around the world tour of mission stations, all over the world. We took weeks, a lady who had foundation money said, you teach the right thing, but you don’t have any passion. So I’m going to range for you to visit. And I asked one of the guys, there were three of us, and he was a Calvinist and I was not at that point. Where does it? I asked a question kind of like these, and he said, read the book of Acts twice. And when you come back, we’ll talk about it. This was Sam Rowan. So I did, on the trip. I had plenty of time. And so I started in Acts, read it twice, came back and said, all right, the Bible teaches it, and I don’t like it and I don’t think it’s fair, but if God says it, I accept it. The the scripture is so clear,

Pete Alwinson:
It really is.

Steve Brown:
about God’s sovereignty over every molecule, over every person who is elect. And those things seem to contradict each other.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. Yeah.

Steve Brown:
And the first thing you gotta say, is God’s bigger. His thoughts are not our thoughts. And I don’t understand how you put those together. You know, a lot of Calvinists will say that we’re responsible, but not free. And that it’s been, and that’s true. And that there are a lot of Armenians who would say, if you take freedom away, you take away half the Bible. And that’s true too. So, Christian maturity is to have a high tolerance for ambiguity and Calvinists bring our gift to the body of Christ. And we bring it, because everybody who belongs to Jesus belongs to Jesus.

Pete Alwinson:
Right.

Steve Brown:
And the Methodists bring their gift too. And we sit around and we’ll never work this out, but we’ll worship God who is sovereign and who has set us free.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s so well put, that antinomy of God’s response, of man’s responsibility and God’s sovereignty, it’s there. Both are true.

Steve Brown:
I know. And Packer does that,

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
we’ve talked about that a lot.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. Great little book, Evangelism in the Sovereignty of God.

Steve Brown:
It really is.

Pete Alwinson:
You know, but, you know, it just is. I think that if you have that view, that II Timothy 3:16 & 17, all scripture is inspired of God. If you believe that, then you have to subsume your humanity to the scripture’s teaching. And

Steve Brown:
So true.

Pete Alwinson:
we have to accept that. And I think that humanism says, I need to have an intellectual comprehension of all theological doctrines.

Steve Brown:
Yeah.

Pete Alwinson:
I think that’s humanism’s infusion into the church. I was really impressed reading Calvin on this whole subject.

Steve Brown:
Yeah. It’s surprising. Isn’t it?

Pete Alwinson:
It is. He gets to the point, he says, all right, we can’t go, this is my interpretation. Alright, we can’t go any further, and if we do, we get into heresy, so I’m going to leave it at this. You know, it’s kind of like, Whoa, he really trusted the word of God and rested in it.

Steve Brown:
And I want to do that too.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
And I would say that, don’t, you know, these guys that wrote, or ladies, whoever asked these two questions, they quoted scripture.

Pete Alwinson:
Right.

Steve Brown:
And if we were going to play that game, we could quote this scripture back. And talk about God’s sovereignty, but we need, we’re not quietists who just sit around. We’re, the Christian faith is not passive, it’s active. And, on one hand, on the other hand, the safety net is always God’s sovereignty.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. Right. Exactly. I got to tell you this, then we can move on, but our ministry Forge has a lot of guys, pastors and we had a Baptist pastor who comes and he said, Hey, can we get together and talk about this? Cause when you teach, you just, the Gospel sounds different. And I said, sure. And we started, it turns out, he’s been influenced by grace and more aware of the sovereignty of God in everything. And so, he’s exploring and he’s been preaching as a Baptist pastor for, I don’t know, 50 years. So it’s exciting to talk about these things.

Steve Brown:
Oh, it is. And to find that safety net

Pete Alwinson:
Right.

Steve Brown:
is a wonderful place to be.

Pete Alwinson:
Absolutely.

Steve Brown:
You know, years ago, before I became a Bible believer, I was a liberal pastor.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah, you were.

Steve Brown:
I really was.

Pete Alwinson:
I know. I mean, I didn’t know you then, but,

Steve Brown:
Well, you would have fixed me, if you had known me. But I was saying when I understand, like what you said, when, I went to a retreat and I said, when I understand this, then I’m going to believe it.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. Yeah.

Steve Brown:
And the people that ran the retreat prayed over every bed at the retreat center and they put little sayings on peoples’ pillows. And they really believe that God used it. I went upstairs, put my suitcase down, after I’d just, 10 minutes before I said, when I can understand this, I’m going to believe it. That saying on my pillow said, my Father, I do not understand thee, but I trust thee. And my wife made a cross stitch thing of that that hung in my study for years.

Pete Alwinson:
I love it.

Steve Brown:
And that’s a good place to be. You guys who are Calvinist and love to point out that people are going to hell because God wants them to go to hell and people are going to heaven because God wants him to go to heaven, deal with it. And if it’s because you part your hair wrong, that’s not Biblical.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
And if you got Armenian, and they said, you know, you get to decide everything. God doesn’t. That’s not Biblical.

Pete Alwinson:
No.

Steve Brown:
So, there is a place where we can rest and serve as Christians and make it happen.

Pete Alwinson:
Right. Read Acts twice, right?

Steve Brown:
That really blew me away. I’d never read it in that context.

Pete Alwinson:
You know Acts 13:48 after a sermon, and those who are appointed to eternal life, believe.

Steve Brown:
I know, don’t rub it in. I got it.

Pete Alwinson:
There it is. Okay.

Steve Brown:
And by the way, that, which I didn’t like, but I said I’ll believe it, has become my place of rest.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. Yeah.

Steve Brown:
It really has.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s good.

Steve Brown:
Can you clarify what Jesus meant when he said to his disciples,

When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything? But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.

Pete Alwinson:
Well, it’s an argument for arming up, right?

Steve Brown:
Yeah, exactly. Well, it’s. Jesus was teaching us something the first time around, I’m always faithful.

Pete Alwinson:
Right.

Steve Brown:
And in the second one He was saying, don’t be stupid.

Pete Alwinson:
I think that’s it easy, easy, and straight forward. There it is.

Steve Brown:
I found that in a very profound commentary.

Pete Alwinson:
I love it.

Steve Brown:
We’ve got to go.

Pete Alwinson:
Okay man.

Steve Brown:
Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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