“Even The Elect”….: Kevin H

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19 Responses

  1. Reuben says:

    Kevin, do you believe the elect can’t be deceived?

  2. Reuben says:

    I ask because that verse always bugged me. I was taught that the deception is so real that unless you have divine discernment, you are screwed.

  3. Linn says:

    Kevin,
    As always, thank you for your article. I’m a big supporter of migrants, particularly their children who have no choice about where their parents take them. They land in school where people don’t speak their language, the teachers can’t figure out why they struggle, and their parents are not acquainted with American educational ways. It takes time and love, but most of them do well. We are repeating a historical pattern very similar to the 19th century when people kept poring into the country (that’s when my people came). Most of them did very well, and their ancestors have continued to build on their work. I think we will see similar developments when these migrants have settled in.

    As to bad apples, there are always a few. I have some cousins in my own family I have distanced myself from because they are not good people, and I don’t want to get involved (both registered sex offenders, for starters). But, the majority of the migrants I have meant (I meet some new ones each week in our Spanish congregation) are fine people who are grateful to be here and eager to take advantage of every opportunity.

  4. Kevin H says:

    Reuben,

    I’m far from having it all nailed down in my mind, but I don’t believe the elect can be deceived to the point of losing their salvation as I believe salvation is something that is in the hands of God and not ours. Moreover, Jesus separately says that no one can snatch His sheep from HIs hands. So I think the elect can be deceived into destructive behavior by following after false christs and prophets in some manner and for some time, but I think that God will ultimately see them home one way or another. I’m also not a Calvinist, so I may not be put quite all the same meaning into the word “elect” as some do.

    I believe deception can be great, but I also believe that as the Bible says, whosoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. I believe we have a choice of whether or not we’re going to call on the Lord to be saved and also whether or not we’re going to follow deception. Therefore I don’t think deception can be so great that it is insurmountable to be overcome outside of some kind of supernatural discernment from God. I believe God gives us all some manner of discernment and it is our choice as to what degree we employ it.

    This probably doesn’t all make complete sense and I don’t expect it to, as it all doesn’t make complete sense in my own mind. I’m okay leaving some things to a manner of mystery that our finite minds may never fully figure out or comprehend. In the end, I trust in what Jesus did on the cross for us and that He will turn no one away, nor lose any who have been entrusted to Him.

  5. Kevin H says:

    Thanks, Linn.

  6. Reuben says:

    Yeah I kinda look at the word elect as a Calvinist. Thanks for trying to explain. This topic gives me a headache too.

  7. bob1 says:

    Sadly, Xns under totalitarian regimes usually capitulate.

    Nazi Germany comes to mind. Most of the church under Nazism folded
    like a tent.

    But not everyone. There was a Confessing Church. There was Barth,
    Bonhoeffer and Niemoller.

    Nevertheless, they were a small minority.

  8. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    In his commentary on the book of Jeremiah from the NICOT series John Goldingay wrote about the confrontation between Jeremiah and Hananiah and pointed out that what made the latter a false prophet was neither a lack of sincerity or not being a prophet of Yahweh. Hananiah was a false prophet because he believed his own false prophecy AND made a public proclamation that it was the word of the Lord over against Jeremiah.

    It may be in Anglo-American evangelicalism we’ve been so inculcated into a praxis and ethos that says “false prophet=worships wrong god” that we unknowingly ignore legions of biblical texts that say otherwise. On the eve of Ahab’s death in battle King Jehoshaphat asks “is there no other prophet of the Lord whom we may ask?” meaning that there were already self-identified prophets of Yahweh assuring Ahab of his victory. Reed Carlson, in his book Unfamiliar Selves, points out that the subsequent oracle from Micaiah should probably not be over-interpreted as opening a portal into the heavens because that risks the prophetic punchline, all the other prophets have been deceived and are subsequently deceiving Ahab about his odds of success. When Yahweh says through Jeremiah that there were a bunch of prophets prophesying falsely in the name of the Lord their fault was that they claimed to really speaking “this is what the Lord says” but were prophesying out of their own vain imaginations.

    While plenty of people get condemnation from the Lord for being idolators the false prophets I’ve surveyed didn’t get condemned by the Lord for advocating idolatry as such, but for being false prophets. If the only way people engage prophets and prophetic statements in biblical texts are “and these were/are all fulfilled in Jesus and that’s all you need to know” then that engagement with prophetic literature is pretty shallow.

    For me, with all that above-mentioned stuff in mind, Jesus’ warning seems of a piece with plenty of prophetic warnings about false prophets who probably really believed they were God’s messengers back in the times before Christ.

    That’s my take, for whatever it might be worth. I think the elect can be deceived, maybe not so much as to lose their salvation but certainly so much as to become false prophets, believe false prophecy, and then act upon those beliefs in ruinous ways. I just turned … half a century recently and I might have to say I’ve actually met a false prophet or two. The scary thing is that it seems Scripture shows us cases of prophets and their associates who start off well but then end in disaster. Gehazi, for instance, got a severe rebuke from Elisha for wanting the gifts of Namaan.

  9. Kevin H says:

    Thanks for that, Wenatchee, good thoughts.

    Yes, I do think that some of the false prophets are likely part of the elect themselves. Yet, despite having placed their faith in Jesus for salvation, they have both been deceived by other false prophets and have badly deceived themselves, and in many cases may believe that the trash they are spewing is actually from the Lord.

    I do also think that some other false prophets have never truly known the Lord, even as they proclaim things in his name.

    “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” – Matthew 7:22-23

    I’m not going to go about trying to figure out exactly who is who, but I will declare that both are producing lots of rotten fruit.

  10. Josh says:

    “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” – Matthew 7:22-23

    That verse sucks. It seems those guys were sincere in their efforts and still weren’t able to get it right.

  11. Kevin H says:

    It does, Josh. But Jesus said it, so I can’t deny it.

    Maybe those guys were sincere, but maybe there also is a good deal of insincerity in many of them, too. Maybe they were using Jesus’ name, even thinking it was a good thing to do, but ultimately they were more focused on their own glorification and never truly repented before God. I don’t know. Only Jesus fully knows of those He was speaking of and what is truly in the hearts.

    But what I do know is that today there are plenty of supposed pastors and Christian leaders out there who are doing and saying many things in the “name of Jesus”, whose many depraved words and actions make me wonder if they truly know who God is.

  12. Josh says:

    They are on their way to Hell, and shocked. They thought they were on the right path. Like, why is it such a maze? If people want to serve the lord and are making an effort, why would he remain hidden? Doesn’t make sense to me.

  13. Kevin H says:

    Above my pay grade to give a really good answer. The best I can come up with is that I suspect that whatever their desire is to serve the Lord, their desire to serve themselves is still greater and it clouds their perception of who Jesus truly is, and thus they end up never truly responding to His call to believe and follow after Him, dismissing His real voice and instead choosing to follow after a Jesus of their own making who better fits their perception and desires.

  14. Michael says:

    This is not really a difficult passage at all…

    If you back up to vs. 15 Jesus is warning about false prophets who are able to do “signs and wonders” but the source of their power isn’t Jesus.

    It has been my opinion for a long time that many of the most popular clergy are unregenerate and serving themselves while fleecing the flock of God…this passage simply thells us there will be a day when that is shown.

  15. Reuben says:

    Vibing with Josh again. And I am still stuck on “the elect”.

    Harkening back to “Whatever ye ask in my name…” It would seem that a lot did and do. We automatically assume they are all false because those gifts are all gone? That’s a serious question. They spoke miracles in Jesus name, and the miracles presumably happened. We’re people pointed to Jesus? Literally it was in Jesus name.

    Another headache.

  16. Reuben says:

    Were

  17. Michael says:

    Reuben,

    A lot of people invoke the name of Jesus, including Trump.
    Jesus has nothing to do with it.

    Back to the ‘ask in my name ” problem…

    The only possible solution I have at the moment is that glorifying the Father is preeminent in all of Jesus’s teaching including that one.

    How did Jesus glorify the Father?
    Through sacrificial love, suffering, and death.

    That’s not the only way we can glorify God…but it is certainly at the forefront.

  18. Alan says:

    Matthew 24

    Ok my take is pretty simple. Jesus was speaking of Israel after the flesh. He was warning about the coming destruction of Jerusalem. The false ones did arise they were abundant in that period. The era was alive with their own end times madness. The elect within his voice were the faithful remnant of Israel. He did seem to be differentiating some from the rest. Not all of Israel was Israel nor was it ever.

    So that prophecy has nothing much to do with today IMO.

    However, false prophets arise in every era. And yes I have no trouble believing that faithful Christians can be and are led astray today. But I would use other texts probably.

    Anti-christ behavior must entail doctrines that denounce Christ. If we want to talk antichrist and be biblical we need to see what John was up to when he used that phrase and not just accommodate it to our bizarre futurist eschatologies.

    Antichrist literally meant denying Christ. At that time it was some incipient docetic heresy.

    Still, what Kevin wants to say is that a lot of Christians act unbecoming or even betraying of Jesus. That’s true and I won’t join the applications that always impugn the same group.

    Pot Stir Dread

  19. Kevin H says:

    Alan,

    I don’t believe the Matthew 24 prophecy to be specific to today. However, as you say, false prophets arise in every area and there likely are faithful Christians being led astray today, thus I think it is fair to make a general application of Matthew 24 to many times. I am of the opinion that we are in a season where there is a greater happening of false prophets and Christians being led astray.

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