Monday, December 19, 2016

Was King Saul Regenerate?

More interesting videos! I came across the above, in which at 8:56 minutes into the video the following question is asked:

“Was King Saul regenerate, or was he simply empowered by the Holy Spirit as a tool for God’s glory without salvation?”

A couple of people joked that they had never met him! Steve replied that he thought the answer to that was No! But he didn’t specify “no” to what, to the first part of the question or to the second part? Finally Al Mohler pitches in to give it a longer reply, followed by R.C. Sproul. The story of Saul, however, presents a bigger challenge to Reformed theology than the question of whether he had been regenerate or unregenerate. The challenge is presented in the following passage of scripture:

1 Samuel 13:

11 And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash;
12 Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.
13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.
14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee.

This presents two possible outcomes for Saul depending entirely on his own choices and decisions. His fate was not predetermined. The choice was his, not God’s. God gave him the opportunity. He could have chosen differently, and the outcome would have been different than it turned out to be, which negates predestination and predetermination of Calvinism as R.C. Sproul and others understand it to be. Saul could have chosen differently, and the outcome would have been different. Did God know ahead of time what choices Saul would make? He did! Was Saul predestined to make the choices that he made? The answer given in 1 Samuel 13:13–14 is emphatically NO!

In Reformed theology, as articulated by R.C. Sproul and others, man’s freewill is seen to be incompatible with God’s sovereignty. One cancels the other. If man was totally free, God would cease to be totally sovereign at the same time. In biblical terms, however, the two are not incompatible. Man can retain his total freedom, and God retains his total sovereignty at the same time. In biblical terms, while man is free in the choices he makes, he is not free to determine what the consequences of those choices will be. That is where the sovereignty of God kicks in. God has established a law, and man has the freedom to break that law, but God is in charge overall, and determines what the consequences will be.

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