Does not God call all to be saved? Saint Augustine and many protestant denomination preach the doctrines of election and predestination based upon the misinterpretation of scripture by Augustine. He becomes confused because he cannot justify free will. According to Augustine, man cannot have the free will to believe in God (faith). Faith is only given to individuals by God. Individuals do not acquire faith on their own merit. This gift of faith is the result of God’s grace. (Most everyone will agree with these statements.) But then Augustine’s reasoning falls apart. Because God gives this faith, God only gives to some and not others according to Augustine. If you worked for this faith on your own or had any part in achieving your faith, you would be like God and God would not be omnipotent. And this dispensing of faith was determined at the beginning of time, at creation, according to Augustine. “It is impossible that God should not foreknow any of His future gifts, as well what should be given as to whom they should be given; and that thus those whom He delivers and crowns are predestinated by Him.” On the Predestination of the Saints (Book II), Chapter 43. This is where his arguments fall apart and lack any merit. Why does God have to give this faith to believers only at creation (the beginning of time)? God can still be omnipotent and give this faith to anyone He choose at any time He chooses. Augustine also confuses grace with faith and seems to imply that they are one and the same. Some now define grace as the unmerited favor of God. The grace of God is so much more. Grace includes wisdom and knowledge of God’s truths wrapped in His glory in dazzling brilliance. Faith is an undeniable and irrevocable belief in the existence of the Trinity and its power.
If the idea of predestination as preached by Augustine were true, the statement that ‘God wishes all to be saved’ cannot be true and will never come to fruition. Only the predestined established with God’s foreknowledge at the beginning of time will be saved and that seems to exclude a lot of people. Religion and preaching can have no effect. Preaching and religion are worthless if predestination is true. There is nothing you can say or do to change or convert any person in this world if predestination as preached by Augustine is true, and why would Augustine preach such doctrine? Does he fear the lack of or ineptitude of God’s omnipotence? Is God a lesser God if all are not saved? What if someone who is predestined to be saved, dies as a worthless evil, unrepentant, fool? Would such a death would question God’s omnipotence? Augustine would say that that person was obviously not predestined by God? Well who is Augustine to know God’s will for each individual person? Is Augustine God? How does one go about determining if he is predestinated anyway? Are you listed in some book of life? Has god revealed this to you? Has God spoken to you with an audible voice? Are you 100% certain that you are saved? How about a person who traipses around all his life declaring that he is predestined to be saved and goes to hell at his death? Was God fooling this person all of this person’s life? Or how about a person who declares that he is not predestined? Can and should such a person do evil all of his life? How about if he never repents or changes his evil ways and dies but finds out after death that he was predestined? Will God let him into heaven? How about a person who thinks he is predestined and does good all his life only to find out at his death that he wasn’t predestinated or an elect? Would a loving God refuse this person entrance into heaven?
Augustine seemed to know that his arguments did not hold water. He addresses the error himself. “Now, therefore, the definite determination of God's will concerning predestination is of such a kind that some from unbelief receive the will to obey, and are converted to the faith or persevere in the faith, while others who abide in the delight of damnable sins, even if they have been predestinated, have not yet arisen, because the aid of pitying grace has not yet lifted them up. For if any are not yet called whom by His grace He has predestinated to be elected, they will receive that grace whereby they may will to be elected, and may be so; and if any obey, but have not been predestinated to His kingdom and glory, they are for a season, and will not abide in the same obedience to the end.” On the Predestination of the Saints (Book II), Chapter 58. At least Augustine recognized that the he nor anyone else has the power and authority to determine if one is predestined except the person himself. You can be sure that Augustine considered himself predestined. But was he?
Augustine is so ashamed of his theory that he sought to hide this preaching from his congregations. “But now I marvel if any weak brother among the Christian congregation can hear in any way with patience what is connected with these words, when it is said to them, ‘And if any of you obey, if you are predestinated to be rejected, the power of obeying will be withdrawn from you, that you may cease to obey.’ For what does saying this seem, except to curse, or in a certain way to predict evils? But if, however, it is desirable or necessary to say anything concerning those who do not persevere, why is it not rather at least said in such a way as was a little while ago said by me—first of all, so that this should be said, not of them who hear in the congregation, but about others to them; that is, that it should not be said, ‘If any of you obey, if you are predestinated to be rejected,’ but, ‘If any obey,’ and the rest, using the third person of the verb, not the second? For it is not to be said to be desirable, but abominable, and it is excessively harsh and hateful to fly as it were into the face of an audience with abuse, when he who speaks to them says, ‘And if there are any of you who obey, and are predestinated to be rejected, the power of obedience shall be withdrawn from you, that you may cease to obey.’ For what is wanting to the doctrine if it is thus expressed: ‘But if any obey, and are not predestinated to His kingdom and glory, they are only for a season, and shall not continue in that obedience unto the end’? Is not the same thing said both more truly and more fittingly, so that we may seem not as it were to be desiring so much for them, as to relate of others the evil which they hate, and think does not belong to them, by hoping and praying for better things? But in that manner in which they think that it must be said, the same judgment may be pronounced almost in the same words also of God's foreknowledge, which certainly they cannot deny, so as to say, ‘And if any of you obey, if you are foreknown to be rejected you shall cease to obey.’ Doubtless this is very true, assuredly it is; but it is very monstrous, very inconsiderate, and very unsuitable, not by its false declaration, but by its declaration not wholesomely applied to the health of human infirmity.” On the Predestination of the Saints (Book II), Chapter 61. Augustine would lie to the poor fellow who was repentant and obedient to God’s word, but who foolishly believed that he was predestined for salvation. Augustine never addresses the question of how he, Augustine, and the rest of humanity comes to the knowledge that one is predestined. Is there a list I am not privy to? Preaching the word of God does not make one predestined. In fact preaching this doctrine my expose boastfulness and a distance from God which any false idea of predestination will never rectify.
Then Augustine makes a strange statement. “Consequently sometimes the same predestination is signified also under the name of foreknowledge; as says the apostle, ‘God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew.’ Romans 11:2. Here, when he says, ‘He foreknew,’ the sense is not rightly understood except as "He predestinated," as is shown by the context of the passage itself. For he was speaking of the remnant of the Jews which were saved, while the rest perished.” On the Predestination of the Saints (Book II), Chapter 47. This statement sounds as if Augustine believed that a remnant of the Jews were predestinated to be saved. This is where Augustine brought in the confusion. Augustine misinterpreted Paul’s letter to the Romans. Paul was addressing this elect, the Hebrew, in his entire Epistle to the Romans. Every once and awhile he would focus on the gentiles, who were grafted into the tree of presedination. The Israelites were the predestined race from the beginning of time. These elect were mentioned throughout the Old Testament. Paul was addressing the Jews throughout Romans. He confirmed that the race of predestinated peoples from the beginning of time, the Israelites, forfeited their election to the gentiles by a greater desire for the Law instead of the desire of the spirit of Christ. Don’t believe me. Look to the writings of Douglas Hamp. Hamp graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with an M.A. in the Hebrew Bible and he specialized in ancient languages including Biblical Hebrew and Greek. Hamp is a Christian, never a Jew. He concludes that the elect discussed by Paul in Romans are the Israelites and the term has nothing to do with predestination to salvation.
Pride and the boastful side of life seem to have captured some “believers” today. You doubters, don’t be discouraged. God calls all to be saved. And His grace will be given to you as soon as you fully commit your life to God and begin the work necessary to change your life from unbelief to belief with the help of God’s grace. We gentiles were not the chosen race, but God has extended his grace to us in order that all peoples in His creation may be saved from the damnation of Hell.