"To testify the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24
**PUBLISHED AS A MISSION PROJECT OF PILGRIMS HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH**
October 1, 1999
In this Issue:
SMILE PILGRIMS HOPE, WE HAVE A PASTOR
WHOM HE DID FOREKNOW
A NOTE OF APPRECIATION
Bouquets and Brickbats
SMILE PILGRIMS HOPE, WE HAVE A PASTOR!
By Billy Holladay, Bible Teacher
PILGRIMS HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH[EDITOR’S
NOTE: The following article came from a lesson presented to Pilgrims Hope Baptist Church the first Sunday in October 1987 upon my taking the oversight of the church. It was published in the November 1987 issue of The Grace Proclamator and Promulgator. Recently, while preparing a sermon on I Peter 5:1-4, I recalled this message and went back and read it. While some of it will not apply to other churches, much of it would be profitable for Baptist churches in general. After reading it again, I felt it would possibly be profitable to some of our readers as it was to the Pilgrims Hope Baptist Church. I present it here again for your consideration. Wayne Camp, Editor]
Over and over in the scriptures, in numerous contexts (wide and narrow), God's people are likened unto sheep. For example, in John 10, verse 15, Jesus said, "I lay down my life for the sheep." That is in the widest context possible; He laid down his life for every one of the sheep without exception. Then, in the next verse, He said, "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold." In this verse He divided the sheep into different groups and made a distinction between groups of sheep. Verse 16 thus uses the word in a more restricted or narrower context than the previous verse; however, both are within the context of His people being likened unto sheep. So also the 100th Psalm, verse 3, which reads, ". . . we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture" and Psalm 80:1, where God refers to Himself as the "Shepherd of Israel".
Concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, in the Newer Testament He is referred to as, "The Good Shepherd" (John 10), "That Great Shepherd of the sheep" (Heb 13), and the Chief Shepherd" (I Peter 5). Now each of these is descriptive of some characteristic of the Lord Jesus: He is the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep; He is that Great Shepherd who lives even now for His sheep; He is the Chief Shepherd who shall return for His sheep.
These very terms and phrases suggest that there are other levels of shepherds besides that of our Lord. For example, if He is the "good shepherd", perhaps there are some who are not so good as He and are at a different level from His level. If He is "the great shepherd of the sheep", then maybe there are other shepherds who are shepherds indeed, but are not as great as is the "great shepherd". The very term "the chief shepherd" suggests that He is number one among others, that there are other shepherds and He is the chief over all others. Indeed, I believe that is the case with the Lord Jesus Christ and His other shepherds. The other shepherds we refer to as undershepherds and pastors—something this flock has been lacking for almost two years and for three and a half years of the last four.
Today, folks, you can put a smile on your face because that phase is over! Today we rejoice and offer thanks unto God that "that Great Shepherd of the sheep" has appointed His own choice of an undershepherd to tend this small flock. As weeks ran into months and months turned into years, I think maybe some were about ready to take up the lament of Asaph recorded in the 74th Psalm, verse 1, "0 God, why hast thou cast us off forever? Why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture?" However, as in virtually every case when that appears to be true, it is really Isa 30:18 that is operative, "and therefore will the LORD wait that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted . . . blessed are all they that wait for him."
Very often, by waiting, God is better seen as being gracious unto a people than He would have been if we had gotten our way right at the front end. Also, in doing it thus, it becomes all the more manifest that He is the one doing the work and He is the one who is subsequently and consequently exalted in bringing it to past. Again, ". . . blessed are all that wait for him." Waiting is hard—people get incensed at having to wait. It is hard on the old nature and we just don't like to wait at all. But waiting, when it is upon God, is God-honoring, it is God-magnifying, and whatever honors God is good for God's people. It is described in the last verse of Isa 40, ". . . they who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall ran, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
For the most part, I believe this congregation has waited upon God, and by His marvelous, unbounded grace, the flock has been spared being greatly scattered, as sheep without a shepherd so frequently are. We may credit God's grace for that exclusively! It belongs to Him and it is He who has kept this flock together when we were without that undershepherd of His appointing. In the main, throughout that time, the sheep of this flock have escaped the teeth of ravenous wolves. We have been spared the debilitating spiritual parasites that frequently infiltrate such congregations. We have not been poisoned by spiritual poison in the form of ruinous doctrine, which often creeps into a congregation lacking the oversight of a pastor. That, too, is by God's grace and we thank God for it. Further, we thank God that throughout this time He has provided for this congregation a whole string of high-caliber, high-quality, faithful and true preachers to preach to us. I'd like to thank them all personally for what they have done for us, and thank God for providing them.
Yet, still, without the care tendered by the proper undershepherd, although a flock may survive, it cannot thrive—it just wasn't appointed that way! God's people are to be in the organization that He has established, and that is His church; and He has so ordered things that a pastor is essential to the welfare of a church. It is an absolute necessity as surely as an essential bodily part is to the proper functioning of the body.
When I speak of a church thriving, I'm not talking about numbers; I'm not talking about building up in numbers or any such thing. I'm talking about the spiritual welfare of the congregation in being properly pastored and led. Pastoring is more than preaching; we have had good preaching but we have not had pastoring. Pastoring includes preaching, but pastoring is not restricted to preaching—there is far more to it than that!
Many of us have our roots in the country and we know that sheep aren't the brightest of animals. They have to be tended and cared for. The very appellation of "sheep" to God's people speaks of the necessity of leadership and pastoral care! If there were no other scriptures relating to it, that would be enough to suggest that we must have that kind of care. In the words of the song Come Thou Fount:
“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love.”
And in the words of Isaiah (53:6), "all we like sheep have gone astray."
The shepherd of a flock of sheep in that time had a great responsibility. First, for the entire flock and also for each individual sheep. He had to care for and attend to whatever the needs were for both the flock as a whole and each individual sheep of the flock. The same is true of the undershepherds of the Lord's assemblies; it is an absolutely awesome responsibility that is placed upon them by the Lord Himself.
In the first verse of the 23rd Psalm, David said, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." It may be read, "The Lord is my pastor, I shall not lack." In stating that, the Holy Spirit established a pattern or example for the undershepherds who should come after the Great Shepherd of the sheep, and it is a responsibility almost beyond imagination which that places upon the pastors whom the Lord has placed in His churches. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not lack"—tend to the flock so that they do not lack! I hope we all appreciate that. The pastor's responsibility to a congregation is to meet the every need of the members! (Now I'm not talking about every want, every desire, every thing coveted, but every need). The needs of God's people are, in the main, not physical. It is spiritual need that is referred to; to provide that which God's people need in a spiritual sense. That which is provided the pastors in order to accomplish this task is nothing else but the Word of God! That's what he is given and that's what the purpose of it is. I'll not turn there, but if you will compare II Tim 3:15-17 with Heb 13:20-21, you will see that the Word of God is that which has been provided to the leaders of the Lord's churches in order to provide everything that His people in the congregations need.
It is an acknowledged principle of management that responsibility and authority be delegated. Many of you work for large businesses and corporations and know this. With God, responsibility for the care of His assemblies, His sheep, is delegated to the pastors whom He sets among them. Sound management principles dictate that you cannot delegate responsibility without delegating authority to go with it. In this, God also follows sound management principles in that He also delegates authority to His pastors commensurate with the responsibility. That means in the same measure; if one is given a great deal of responsibility, he is also given considerable authority in order to carry out the responsibility.
Paul included both of these factors when he wrote to the church at Corinth, as recorded in the 11th chapter of the first epistle, verse 1, "Be ye followers of me . . ." there is the authority, his command. That is what it amounts to—Paul was an apostle and to the church he said: “You be followers of me.” Some may think, “what an egotistical man, who was he to so admonish people?” But that isn't all the verse says, for the other part states the responsibility that was upon Paul. In telling them to follow himself, he qualified it, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." In other words, he was telling them, “You follow me as I follow the Lord and where I don't follow the Lord, then the responsibility is back upon you to recognize that and don't follow. But in so far as, and as long as, I am following the instructions of the Lord, which He has given us in the word, the responsibility is then to follow me.”
There is the example for pastors of the Lord's churches. I believe the same principle applies because the pastor is referred to in the scriptures as bishop (Greek: episkopos) which means overseer. We Baptists don't use the term bishop very much, but it is certainly a scriptural term. It is one of the titles given to pastors and it identifies their role and responsibility as the overseer of the assembly. It is not a strawboss-type role either. Heb 13:17 refers to pastors and there the admonition is to the people (the rest of us), and it says, "Obey them that have the rule over you and submit yourselves . . ." Sometimes we Baptists don't like that word rule, but it is quite a strong word and pretty well means what it says (within the context of this discussion). The admonition is, "Obey them that have the rule over you and submit yourselves . . ." and that word has the meaning of a willing submission unto that authority that has been delegated to the pastors.
Now, what about that rule which the pastors (or bishops) have within the assembly? Well, it is not an autocratic rule. It was never intended to be that. I know in some circles and places it has become that, but it is not so intended. Peter specifically admonishes the bishops/pastors/elders that they are not to lord it over the Lord's heritage. (I Pet 5:13). That is not the kind of rule or leadership we are talking about. It all comes back to the context of a shepherd or a pastor. It is that shepherd-oversight which a shepherd has over the flock that is always in view; looking out for the welfare of the flock and doing that which is necessary for the welfare of the flock, even if the flock doesn't like it sometimes.
Peter also said in his first epistle, and this to elders/pastors, in the fifth chapter and second verse, "Feed the flock of God which is among you." There is a better word than the KJV 'feed' —the word is tend. We do well to read the verse: "Tend the flock of God which is among you" (and we don't want to leave off the other part, do we? "taking the oversight thereof." There is only one number-one officer within each of the Lord’s assemblies, and that is not the deacon board, that is the pastor. There is no office higher in God's order of things for the Lord's assemblies than the pastor. He is to take the oversight thereof in order that he might do the first part of I Peter 5:2, in order that he might "tend the flock.”
I want you to notice also what Peter very quickly adds to that, because he knew people (he was one himself and demonstrated it many time in his own life). So, after saying, “pastor, tend the flock of God,” he adds, "not by constraint but willingly." I believe (I won't be dogmatic) that when Peter said "not by constraint but willingly" he meant that in a two-fold way; that it applies to both pastor and congregation. There must be a willingness and not by constraint, The pastor, on the one hand, must assume the responsibility that is given him and he must do it willingly, as though 'absolutely these are my orders from God and I go into this with my eyes open and willingly, without it being forced upon me.' I have known pastors who were constantly lamenting,
,..well, everything is upon me, I have to do everything, I have to make so many decisions', and they talk like the burden of the church was upon them, as if it wasn't supposed to be!
On the other hand, there are congregations who say 'who does he think he is? We'll run this church. We'll elect our pastor annually and we'll get rid of him when we want to, etc.' No folks, no, not by constraint, but willingly. That is the attitude for church and pastor if they're ever to have peace. It is the order God has ordained. Anything that deviates from that order which He has established is he headed for TROUBLE.
Saying that the pastor has the oversight and that he rules (in that sense of a shepherd over the sheep) does not mean that the congregation, or the people of it, become mere puppets who have no responsibility themselves. Certainly we do have a responsibility. I love, very much, the passage in Acts 17 where Paul and Silas went down into Berea. They taught the people there some things from the scriptures and those noble Bereans "searched the scriptures daily" whether the things said by Paul and Silas were indeed true! I charge this assembly with that. No pastor who is a pastor from God would object to it, but would rather encourage the same thing.
You see, here we are again, the happy, happy moderation of scripture! Some people take it to one extreme and the pastor is absolutely going to be the dictator. Other people take it to the other extreme and the pastor $ain't gonna have nothing to say, we'll run this church." The truth of scripture always comes out between the extremes and such is the case with the relationship between pastor and congregation.
Again, all this is within the context of I Cor 11:1 where Paul says, "Be you followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." I Tim 5:17 tells us, "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine." Bear that? it speaks of elders who rule well and says they are worthy of double honor, especially if they labor in the word and doctrine.
Now in Ephesians, chapter 4, verse 11, there is , I believe, a list of gifts from God to His churches. Among these were apostles and prophets and evangelists, which are no longer with us. However, the last one is, "..and He gave some .. pastors and teachers." I am in full accord with the scholars and commentators who say there are not two different offices in view when it refers to pastors and teachers, but really, it is pastor-teacher. The pastor-teacher is the gift of the Holy Spirit unto the churches. Again, I Tim 5:17 refers to those elders who rule well. That, I believe, is the pastor-function of the man who is set in this office. Then we have reference to those who labor in the word and doctrine, which -is the teacher-function. it is a dual-function office.
(The list in Eph 4:11 is not comprehensive - it doesn't include every thing the Lord has provided for His churches, for in the other epistles we read of other provision. However, in God's order of things, they are in a different category)
The pastor is the pastor-teacher. Some men lean more toward the pastor and less toward the teacher, others more toward the teacher and less toward the pastor, but both are integral functions of the office of pastor which the Lord has set in His churches; bishop, elder, pastor, all describing different aspects of the same office.
Perhaps we did not wait. as patiently as we might have, but I do believe that we have waited upon the Lord and that, in the words of Isa 30:18, He has been gracious unto us. He has given us a pastor who is a most capable teacher, one who is an outstanding preacher, one who is a skillful writer, one who is widely respected throughout the country as a student and scholar in the word (and he can even sing!).
Brother Camp, by God's grace, may we indeed follow you as you follow the Lord and therefore will HE be exalted ...
BACK TO TOP
WHOM HE DID FOREKNOW
By Wayne Camp
(Written in 1993)
"FOR WHOM HE DID FOREKNOW, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29).
I have before me a Sunday School Quarterly in which there is a discussion of the verse that I have used as a text for this message. In that quarterly the writer asks a couple of rhetorical questions, "Whom did God foreknow? Is there any person he did not foreknow?" The context of these questions reveals that he believes that every person of the human race was foreknown of God.
But, I ask, "What about those people to whom Christ will say, 'Depart from me, I never knew you'?" It is apparent that he did not know these people in the sense of foreknow in Rom. 8:29. According to Rom. 8:29, everyone whom he did foreknow, he did also predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son. And, according to Rom. 8:30, all those foreknown and predestinated in v-29 are called, justified and glorified in verse 30. There are no exceptions. God did not lose one person from foreknowledge to glorification. Read the verses carefully and see if that is not obvious.
Some, and with valid and biblical grounds, say that the word foreknow in our text means, "foreordain." Dr. Ben M. Bogard said, "The word foreknow in the text (Rom. 8:29) is the same word which in other places is translated foreordain, and rendered thus, the text would read: 'For whom he foreordained, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son'."
Due to the misunderstanding of many on this matter of foreknowledge, and at the request of some who have asked that I share this material, I want to deal with the matter of divine foreknowledge as it is used in our text.
THIS FOREKNOWLEDGE IS OF PEOPLE,
NOT OF ACTIONS OR EVENTS
We read of God's foreknowledge of his people, Israel. "God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew" (Rom. 11:2). We also read of the saints of God as being foreknown. "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father" (I Pet. 1:2). And, of course, there is the use in our text, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son." Even a casual reading of this passage will reveal that a special and specific group of people is the object of this foreknowledge. It will reveal that the people foreknown were the same people who were predestinated to be conformed to the image of God's son. Those foreknown and predestinated were the same people who were called. Those foreknown, predestinated, and called were the same people who were justified. Those people who were foreknown, predestinated, called and justified were the very same people who were glorified. None were dropped as Paul progressed from foreknowledge to glorification.
I call your attention to the fact that this is a foreknowledge of people. It says nothing of their actions. There is not even a hint of foreseen faith in this passage. It is a foreknowledge of people, not of their actions, that is the subject of our text, and our discussion.
THIS FOREKNOWLEDGE OF THESE PEOPLE IMPLIES MORE THAN PRE-SCIENCE, PRECOGNITION, AND OMNISCIENCE
As to omniscience, pre-science, and precognition, God, and Jesus Christ, knew every man. Jesus "needed not that any man tell him what was in man" for "he knew all men" (Jn. 2:25, 24). In fact "Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him." These unbelievers did not surprise Jesus Christ. From eternity he could call their names, and give their addresses. He knew, before he ever came to this earth, those who would not believe on him. Neither did Judas Iscariot fool him for a second. When he made Judas an apostle, he already knew that the man would betray him for thirty pieces of silver. This knowledge he had from eternity.
Of the house of Judah God said, "I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb" (Isa. 48:8). No one has ever slipped up on God's blind side, for he has no blind side. Every one, who will ever die in sin, was known of by God, and Christ, from the foundation of the world. However, this knowledge is never referred to as foreknowledge.
While God knows all men, and Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who would betray him, there is a sense in which he does not know such people. As I suggested in the previous paragraph, foreknowledge is never used with reference to these people for foreknowledge goes beyond mere precognition. Jesus speaks of those whom he never knew. Though they call him Lord, he never knew them. Though they have preached and prophesied in his name, he never knew them. Though they have cast out devils in his name, he never knew them. Though they have done many wonderful works in his name, he never knew them in the sense of foreknowledge. Therefore, at the judgment of the damned they will hear those sad and tragic words, "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matt. 7:21-23). They were known but unknown. They were known but not foreknown as the word is used in our text. Obviously, the word has a deeper meaning than mere precognition.
Since all men are not called and justified, then all must not be foreknown in the sense of our text. Notice again, WHOM he did foreknow, he also did predestinate . . . Moreover WHOM he did predestinate, THEM he also called: and WHOM he called, THEM he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified" (Rom. 8:29- 30). Now, consider the following that is set forth in these verses:
1. Those whom he foreknew are the very same people whom he did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.
2. Those whom he did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son are the same people whom he also called.
3. Those whom he called are the same people whom he also justified.
4. Those whom he justified are the same people whom he also glorified.
There is no room for equivocation, evasion, sidestepping, or begging the question. These verses have the same group of people, the same number of people, exactly the same people in foreknowledge as they do in glorification. There is not even a shadow of evidence, not a tinge of evidence that some are dropped along the way. Earlier I quoted a Sunday School quarterly in which the writer asks rhetorically, "Is there any person He did not foreknow?" In his context he indicates that all men, every last person in the human family, were foreknown in the sense and way used in Rom. 8:29. If his suggestion is true, then he has universal salvation. He infers the same universality in another question on the expression "whom he called." He asks, "Whom does God call: Is any person exempt from this Divine call? Does God call a select few to come to Him for salvation? Or, does he call all men to come to Him in repentance and faith?" (G. F. Crumley, Help for the Teacher, Second Quarter, 1972, Baptist Sunday School Committee of the American Baptist Association, P. 39).
Now, Readers, keep in mind that this S. S. writer was dealing with our text when he asked these questions. He was suggesting that all men were foreknown and called in the sense used in our text. If all men were foreknown, in the sense of our text, and if all men are called, in the sense of our text, then all men will be justified and glorified. Universal salvation, plain and simple!
THIS FOREKNOWLEDGE MEANS TO REGARD WITH AFFECTION AND FAVOR
Foreknow, as used in our text, means "to regard with affection and favor." It means "to set one's love upon another." God set his affections, his love, upon those whom he did foreknow and purposed to bless them by calling, justifying, and glorifying every last one of them. God foreknew Israel; he set his love on them. "God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew" (Rom. 11:2). This foreknowledge is expressed in another way in the writings of Moses, "The lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you . . . But because the Lord loved you . . ." (Deut. 7:7-8). The idea of the word includes both love and election. God foreknew certain people; that is, he set his electing love upon them.
He uses this same idea in Amos 3:2, "You only have I KNOWN of all the families of the earth." Surely, no one would be so bold as to declare that God did not know of those other nations. He most certainly was cognizant of them. He knew of them before he ever made them. He knew of them after he made them. He knew of them before the foundation of the world. He knew Israel in a sense that he did not know these other nations. "YOU ONLY HAVE I KNOWN of all the families of the earth. He knew them in a sense that he did not know the other nations. He had set his electing love upon that nation and had done that for no other nation. In another place he says, "I did know thee in the wilderness" (Hos. 13:5). He regarded them with favor and love in the wilderness. This was the outflow of that love which he had set on them when he chose them.
Consider the case of Jeremiah. God said to him, "Before I formed thee in the belly I KNEW thee" (Jer. 1:5). Again we have his idea of foreknowledge. If God only knew Jeremiah in the same sense that he knows all men, what is the point in this declaration? He regarded him with special favor; he set his electing love upon him. Having done that, he sanctified him, marked him out for holy use, and he ordained him a prophet. In this verse we have the same kind of knowledge that is found in our text--a knowledge, or foreknowledge, that goes far beyond mere precognition or divine omniscience.
Again we see this foreknowledge exhibited in the case of God's love for Jacob. "For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth . . . it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated" (Rom. 9:10-13). There is a sense in which God knew both of these boys. Yet he set his foreknowledge, his electing love, on only one of them, Jacob.
THIS FOREKNOWLEDGE HAS IN IT
THE IDEA OF FOREORDINATION
"The word foreknow in the text is the same word which in other places is translated foreordain" wrote Dr. Ben Bogard (Baptist World, Nov. 1972). That this is true is seen in the first chapter of Peter's first epistle. In verse 2, Peter refers to those who are "elect according to the foreknowledge of God." He uses the word used by Paul in Rom. 8:29. In verse 20 of the same chapter, Peter says of Christ, "Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world . . . ." Here he uses the same word as he used in verse two. In Acts 2:23 Peter says of Christ, "Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God." What God determined in his counsels he has foreordained and that is clearly the way that Peter uses the word here, although the KJ translators chose to use the word "foreknowledge" rather than "foreordain." As Dr. Bogard translated it in our text, "For whom he foreordained, he also did predestinate . . ." (Baptist World, Nov., 1972). Commenting on this, Dr. Bogard said, "It is clear that a Christian was saved in God's purpose before the world began" (Ibid.).
THIS VIEW OF FOREKNOWLEDGE IS SUBSTANTIATED BY MOST THEOLOGICAL WRITERS
The view of foreknowledge, which I have set forth, is the view that is substantiated by most of those who have written on the subject. I will now give a lengthy list of quotes, with their source, so that the readers may see that this idea of foreknowledge is no novelty of Wayne Camp.
David N. Steele and Curtis C. Thomas are Southern Baptist preachers who wrote a short study of the book of Romans. In it they say, "Broadly speaking there have been two general views as to the meaning and use of the word 'foreknow' in Romans 8:29. One class of commentators (the Arminians) maintain that Paul is saying that God predestined to salvation those whom he foreknew would respond to His offer of grace (i. e., those whom He saw would of their own free will repent of their sins and believe the gospel.) Godet, in commenting on Romans 8:29, asks the question: 'In what respect did God thus foreknow them?' and answers that they were 'foreknown as sure to fulfill the conditions of salvation, viz. faith; so: foreknow as his by faith.' The word 'foreknew' is thus understood by Arminians to mean that God knew beforehand which sinners would believe, etc., and on the basis of this knowledge He predestined them unto salvation.
" The other class of commentators reject the above view on two grounds. First, because the Arminians' interpretation is not in keeping with the meaning of Paul's language and second, because it is out of harmony with the system of doctrine taught in the rest of the Scriptures. Calvinists contend that the passage teaches that God set His heart upon (i. e., foreknew) certain individuals; these He predestined, or marked out, to be saved. Notice that the text does not say that God knew SOMETHING ABOUT particular individuals (that they would do this or that), but it states that God knew the individuals THEMSELVES--those who were the objects of God's love, He marked out for salvation.
"The questions raised by the two opposing interpretations are these: Did God look down through time and see that certain individuals would believe and thus predestine them unto salvation on the basis of this foreseen faith? Or did God set His heart on certain individuals and because of his love for them predestine that they should be called and given faith in Christ by the Holy Spirit and thus be saved? In other words, is the individual's faith the cause or the result of God's predestination? . . . it is not His knowledge of future events (of what people would do, etc.) which is referred to in Romans 8:29, 30, for Paul clearly states that those whom he foreknew He predestined, He called, He justified, etc. Since all men are not predestined, called, and justified, it follows that all men were not foreknown by God in the sense spoken of in verse 29" (Romans, An Interpretive Outline, p. 131-132).
In commenting on Amos 3:2 (cited above by this editor), Steele and Thomas said, "The Lord knew about all the families of the earth, but He knew Israel in a special way. They were His chosen people whom He had set his heart upon" (Ibid.).
The same authors quote John Murray's argument on the word foreknew. He said, "It should be observed that the text says 'whom he foreknew'; whom is the object of the verb and there is no qualifying addition. This, of itself, shows that, unless there is some other compelling reason, the expression 'whom he foreknew' contains within itself the differentiation which is presupposed. If the apostle had in mind some 'qualifying adjunct' it would have been simple to supply it. Since he adds none we are forced to inquire if the actual terms he uses can express the differentiation implied . . . Many times in Scripture 'know' has a pregnant meaning which goes beyond that of mere cognition. It is used in a sense practically synonymous with 'love', to set regard upon, to know with peculiar interest, delight, affection, and action" (The Epistle to the Romans, John Murray, Vol. I, pp. 316-318). Murray goes on to cite at least 12 passages, which prove his point.
In his commentary on Romans Charles Hodge says, "The idea, therefore, obviously is, that those whom God peculiarly loved, and by thus loving, distinguished or selected from the rest of mankind; or to express both ideas in one word, those whom he elected he predestined . . . the predestination follows, and is grounded on the foreknowledge. The foreknowledge therefore expresses the act of cognition or recognition, the fixing, so to speak, the mind upon, which involves the idea of selection . . . So God is represented as looking on the fallen mass of men, and fixing on some whom he predestines to salvation. This is the PROGNOSIS, the foreknowledge, of which the apostle here speaks. It is the knowing, fixing upon, or selecting those who are to be predestinated to be conformed to the image of the Son of God" (Commentary on Romans, pp. 283-284).
Perhaps it would also be profitable at this time to look at how some of the translations render foreknow in our text.
Moffatt's "For he decreed of old that those whom he predestined should share the likeness of his Son."
Goodspeed: "For those whom he had marked out from the first he predestined to be made like his Son."
Wuest: "Because, those whom he foreordained he also marked out beforehand." Amplified New Testament: "For those whom he foreknew, of whom he was aware." On Rom. 11:2 the ANT renders foreknow "set his heart on before hand."
The New English Bible: "For God knew his own before even they were, and also ordained that they should be shaped to the likeness of his Son."
It is obvious that translators saw much more than mere precognition, or prescience in the word foreknow as used in our text.
Another has written, "They were foreknown. God fixed His regard on them, noted them with favor, and this favorable regard is the commencement of the whole process of redemption" (St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, W. H. Griffith Thomas, p. 226).
On our text A. W. Pink wrote, ". . . those whom he 'foreknew' (i. e., loved and elected) he predestinated 'to be conformed'." (Attributes of God, pp. 19-26). Pink had much more to say on the matter but this will show that he held that there was more than mere precognition suggested in the text.
A. T. Robertson is reputed as the greatest Greek scholar to live in the last two hundred years. He is quoted repeatedly by those who define Greek words. Of our word he says, "Foreknew (PROGENO). Second aorist active indicative of PROGINOSKW, old verb as in Acts 26:5. See Psalm 1:6 (LXXX) and Matt. 7:23. This foreknowledge and choice is placed in eternity in Eph. 1:4." (Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. IV, p. 377).
One can only trust the Lord to open the eyes of men to this truth. Foreknowledge is much more than God merely looking down through eternity and time and foreseeing what men, of their own alleged free will and motivation, will do under the preaching of the gospel. Everyone whom God foreknew is certain to be brought to glory. What a blessed truth. What assurance of salvation, preservation and perseverance.
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A Note of Appreciation
From the Editor and his Wife, Ruth
As many of our readers are aware, on September 23, 1999, my wife, Ruth, fell and broke her shoulder. Actually it was her upper arm where it joins the shoulder. She sustained several fractures to the bone.
After a trip to the emergency room we went home and returned on Monday to the orthopedic doctor who outlined at least a six-week recovery period. On Monday afternoon, Ruth started having trouble breathing and I took her back to the emergency room. They found blood clots in her right lung and found indications of a possible heart attack. She was sent to ICU where she remained four days. About Tuesday or Wednesday they determined she had not had a heart attack and that her heart and arteries were in good condition. They found more blood clots in her right arm and in the right side of her neck.
She was already on blood thinner for the first clots discovered and they continued that treatment.
On Friday (I think) she left ICU and went to a private room where she stayed until Sunday. Since that time she has been at home and is slowly but surely recovering. She makes strides every day.
Today, October 25, 1999, we were told that the fractures are beginning to heal and she will begin two weeks of therapy Thursday (six sessions) to help her to regain maximum possible usage of the shoulder. This is a painful procedure and she knows it. The doctor says she will probably never have the movement in the shoulder that she had in the past but that she should be able to do nearly anything she needs to do.
We appreciate the prayers of all who knew of this and ask that you continue to pray for her.
This issue of the paper is rather late due to two things. First, I have had computer problems for nearly two months. This was all solved recently when the church here voted to buy me a new computer and a new laser printer. These are up and running and a joy to use. Second, I was getting ready to publish the paper when Ruth fell. I have been so busy caring for her that I have had to catch an hour of work time here and there to get my studying done and other essentials and to work on the paper. I ask the forgiveness of those who had asked me to announce special services for you that will have already happened by the time this is published.
Again, thanks to all for your prayers and encouragement during a very trying time in our life.
Wayne and Ruth Camp
Bouquets and Brickbats
ARKANSAS:Thank you for sending me your paper.
MISSOURI: I just finished reading the last installment in your series, Ecclesiological Dualism, and was truly blessed.
This is a work of such quality and blessing that I believe you should IMMEDIATELY print it in the form of a small booklet and distribute it widely. I would like to have copies to distribute among my "Reformed Baptist" friends and others who do not see the doctrine of the church so clearly.
Please give serious consideration to doing this and please don't put it off till the Lord comes back!
WWW: You have nailed the obvious of their actions of false prophets, but not so much into the small leaven of the Pharisees that is responsible for PK flourishing the way it did.
Consider this: where did Jesus ever voice confidence in man? Psalm 118:8. Is it because no matter how much the spirit is willing the flesh is weak so what is impossible with man, is possible with God? Notice how PK use the CEV which completely changed the meaning of Jesus' Words in Matt. 5:33-37 where in the KJV, He was declaring that He was going to do it? We cannot bear testimony of ourselves; John 7:18,19 John the Baptist didn't; John 3:28,30 & so did Paul; 1 Cor. 2:2. Paul did not want to be identified by the works of the law for this purpose; Phil. 3:2-10a. Yet the PK are like the believers in Gal. 3:1-3 & the Jews in Rom. 10:1-5. They forgot the warning in James 5:12 & why . . . Numbers 30:2 & Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 & Rom. 3:19,. They give credence to the difference in their lives to the PK program..Matt.15:7-11,18,19 & Matt. 12:36,37 & 1 Cor. 1:29-31 & 3:10-23 & especially Proverbs 25:27 with James 4:6-10. Did Jesus ask for a commitment or a vow or any man-made bondage to Himself? No. He just said . . . follow me. The people asked Him that question on being a Christian to have God work in their lives & Jesus said this in John 6:28,29. How else can we receive the Holy Ghost which He sealed us for trusting Him? EPH. 1:12-14. Is it not God's Covenant declaring that He will do it? See His promise where our confidence in living the Christian life should rest in; Phil. 1:6,9-11. How else can the poor in spirit & little children be that theirs is the Kingdom of God unless He was going to do it all!!! That is why it is written over & over again that the just shall live by faith.....but the evangelicals have added onto God's Word with " & by their commitment to follow Christ. " Are we to be justified by our commitment to Christ when His standards are higher than the works of the law? Rom. 3:21-28. It is Christ that justifies us by faith in Him alone!! How can PK or those that bear the testimony of man to Christ by their commitment claim the following verses? 2 Cor. 4:5-7 & Gal. 5:1-5? Let us ask the Lord that He may enable us to preach the Word that He may recover those that are caught in the snare of the devil. The actual prophesy of PK is in 2 TIM. 3:1-13. Hope the Lord will enable you to combine your report of these false leaders & the Gospel to reveal the dead works which will only void our faith in Him.
There is another plumbline sent across the nations & it is "Holy Laughter".. another apostasy which help gave birth to PK. See the book by Hank Hanegraaff on "Counterfeit Revivals". Both of you guys work the same way in exposing false leaders, but you both should use more scriptures for this purpose; John 5:39,40 & Matt. 11:28-30 For Hank...John 6:35 & Prov. 25:28 with 1 Cor. 14:32,33 & the test of faith; 1 Cor. 13:5 & discernment John 14:16,17 with 1 John 3:23-4:7. There is no more filling Col. 2:5-10 & there is only one baptism; Eph. 4:5.
Well, keep fighting the good fight! Keeping the faith!! Bye brethren!!!
MISSISSIPPI: I am reading some old issues of paper enjoying them very much. Keep up the good work. THE SOVEREIGN GOD WE WORSHIP WILL BLESS AND THAT’S ALL THAT COUNTS.
LOUISIANA: it has
been some time since I communicated with you. I do enjoy your
publication. Recently I bought disks of the publication: O TIMOTHY out of Washington. (He has recorded 13 years of this magazine and it costs $50.) What I was wondering is if you have considered doing this with the Grace Promulgator? You might just put the best of the articles in the paper.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I had received several nice letters concerning the great Bible conference we had at Pilgrims Hope Baptist Church this month. I lost these letters during my computer problems recently. I am still searching old files for them and if I find them I will pass them on in a future. Some said it was the best they had ever attended. One of our own members said it was the best in the past 12 years. It was also one of the best attended in the last 12 years.
Christ was highly exalted in the preaching and not one note of discord was heard—just God’s men declaring what his written word reveals concerning the Eternal Word who was co-equal, co-eternal, and co-existent with the Father and Spirit.
In spite of my distractions with the serious condition of my wife in the hospital, I was greatly blessed by the good preaching and fellowship of the brethren.
Brethren, thanks for coming our way and preaching to us.
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