The Calvinist Shredder – Jeremiah 1:5
The Calvinist Shredder – Jeremiah 1:5
Jeremiah 1:5 – In this edition of my series of short articles which was sparked by a friend, Louis Matthys Ackermann, and who has since unfriended himself on my Facebook page because I am an anti-Calvinist (some of my best friends in the Calvinist fold call me the Antichrist), I would like to focus on an Old Testament passage Jeremiah 1:5 the reformed theologians love to quote to validate their views on election and predestination.
Before we dig a little deeper into the meaning of Jeremiah 1:5, I would first like to remind our self-unfriended Facebook friend, Louis Ackermann , that Jesus was more of a gentleman than he could ever be. Why? Because he never unfriended one of his worst enemies. Listen to this, Mr. Ackermann, and learn from it.
And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. (Matthew 26:47-50).
So, without further ado, let us turn to one of the passages Calvinists use to substantiate their doctrines of grace.
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5).
Jumping to conclusions: Jeremiah 1:5
Jumping to conclusions without making an effort to understand those things that seem to be complex and difficult to explain, can be very dangerous. In fact, the offhand and hasty interpretation of seemingly difficult Bible passages often lead to heretical inferences.
The apostle Peter was very candid in admitting that some of the things Paul wrote were difficult to understand but he never dared to come to any definitive conclusions of his own or to build a doctrine on his own shaky insights. Here’s what he said.
Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:12-16)
Things that are difficult to understand
What Peter said in effect, was that we should not try to explain or exegete things that are difficult to understand and wrest or squeeze them into little boxes containing our own little agendas because it may attribute to our own self-made destruction.
The best way, or should I rather say, the only way to make sure that we tread on safe ground when trying to understand difficult passages, is to compare Scripture with Scripture.
The main component of Jeremiah 1:5 that seems to encourage Calvinists to link their doctrine of election and predestination to this verse, is the word “sanctified.” If we are able to associate “sanctified” with salvation only, then God’s sovereign elective redemption before the foundation of the world can be corroborated very easily. However, when it cannot, we may not link it to election and predestination according to the Calvinist’s view of salvation (election and predestination).
Sanctification in the Old Testament
God sanctified the entire nation of Israel and certain individuals of the nation
Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you (Exodus 31:13)
For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself (Numbers 8:17).
The two instances mentioned above are ample proof that sanctification does not always refer to salvation proper unless the entire nation of Israel and all the firstborn of Israel were saved. Indeed, the entire nation of Israel is called the elect of God, despite the fact that most of them are going to end up in hell for their unbelief and rejection of their Messiah, Jesus Christ. That doesn’t say much for their sanctification and election, does it?
As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. (Rom 11:28-29).
And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Mat 8:11-12)
Sanctification in the New Testament
Most Christians are of the opinion that sanctification only applies to the saints. GotQuestions.org, for instance, says the following.
Sanctification is God’s will for us (1 Thessalonians 4:3). The word sanctification is related to the word saint; both words have to do with holiness. To “sanctify” something is to set it apart for special use; to “sanctify” a person is to make him holy.
. . . “sanctification” is a translation of the Greek word hagiasmos, meaning “holiness” or “a separation.” In the past, God granted us justification, a once-for-all, positional holiness in Christ. Now, God guides us to maturity, a practical, progressive holiness. In the future, God will give us glorification, a permanent, ultimate holiness. These three phases of sanctification separate the believer from the penalty of sin (justification), the power of sin (maturity), and the presence of sin (glorification).
Their assessment of the word “sanctification” is not true. It is not only related to saints or the word saint. They never once refer to 1 Corinthians 7:14 in their article. Should we be surprised? I don’t think so because GotQuestions.org is Calvinistic to the core. Here’s how the Amplified Bible translates the verse in 1 Corinthians.
For the unbelieving husband is sanctified [that is, he receives the blessings granted] through his [Christian] wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be [ceremonially] unclean, but as it is they are holy.
Unbelievers are sanctified
Wow, fancy that. Unbelievers are sanctified when one of the partners in a marriage is saved so that even their children, who also may not yet be saved, are also holy. Unless, of course, the unbelievers are not persons but inanimate things that are merely set apart for holy use, as GotQuestions.org likes to tell us.
If there is one verse in Scripture that destroys Calvinism’s doctrine of election and predestination before the foundation of the world, it is this one.
Please see here for: The Calvinist Shredder – Psalm 139:16