Overcoming Objections to Predestination (Machen)

Machen is helpful in thinking through objections to predestination. In one of his radio addresses, found in “Things Unseen,” he tells us what predestination does NOT mean:

  1. It does not mean…that God’s choice of some men for salvation while others are passed by is due to mere chance or that there is anything arbitrary about it... We do not, indeed, know what the reason for God’s choice is. We only know that whatever the reason for it may be, the reason is not to be found in any superior receptivity to the gospel on the part of those who are chosen; it is not to be found in any recognition by God of any superior capacity in them for faith in Jesus Christ…But because we do not know what the reason is for God’s choice of some and his passing by of other, that does not mean that there is no reason. (192)
  2. It does not mean that God rejoices in the death of a sinner… The Bible makes perfectly plain that God does not take pleasure in it [the punishment] for its own sake….itself is not a thing in which he delights. He is good. He delights not in the death of the wicked but in the salvation of those who are saved by his grace. (192-3)
  3. It does not mean that men are saved against their will or that they are condemned to eternal punishment when they want to believe in Christ and be saved. (194)

The eternal plan of God and even the execution of that plan at the supernatural act of regeneration or the new birth are not int he slightest incompatible with our freedom and our responsibility as personal beings. What a great mistake it is, then, to think that the doctrine of predestination is contrary to the free offer of salvation to all. Of course, that offer is given to all. Of course, it remains true int eh fullest and richest sense that whosoever will may come. None who will trust in Christ is excluded. None, I say–none without any exception whatever.” (197)

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