Who Saves Whom?

Michael Horton3Who Saves Whom? by Michael Horton

“God casts His vote; Satan casts his, but you must cast the deciding ballot”?
©1992, 1999 Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

The touchstone question in the running debate between Jesus and the Pharisees, Paul and the Judaizers, Augustine and Pelagius, the Dominicans and the Franciscans, the Reformers and the medieval Roman Catholic church, and the Calvinists and Arminians is this: Who saves whom?

In this article I want to offer some brief scriptural responses to the common objections concerning the doctrine of election. If one does not believe in the doctrine of unconditional election, it is impossible to have a high doctrine of grace. As Luther told Erasmus, ignorance of this great truth is in a real sense ignorance of the Christian gospel. “For when the works and power of God are unknown in this way, I cannot worship, praise, thank, and serve God, since I do not know how much I ought to attribute to myself and how much to God.” This distinction is essential, he added, “if we want to live a godly life.” Further, “If we do not know these things, we shall know nothing at all of things Christian and shall be worse than any heathen.”1 As Luther pointed out in his debate with Erasmus, this issue of free will and election is essential in maintaining the doctrine of justification by eliminating any element of human decision or effort as a foothold for merit. Therefore, let’s take a brief survey of the biblical support for this important doctrine by considering one of the principal passages: Romans chapter nine.

The Covenant

Running throughout the Old Testament and into the Gospels is the concept of covenant. Although God is the sovereign ruler of all creation and, therefore, quite capable of ruling merely as a dictator, he nevertheless condescends to enter into a covenant with fallen creatures, binding us to him, and himself to us. Continue reading

Posts on Reprobation

Lee Gatiss is Director of Church Society, adjunct lecturer at Wales Evangelical School of Theology, and Research Fellow of the Jonathan Edwards Centre Africa at the University of the Free State, South Africa. He has put together a series of blog posts on the subject of Reprobation at Reformation21. They are interesting reads for sure:

I was interested to see that TGC have launched in Australia. I hope and pray it will be a great support and encouragement to gospel-minded people down under.

On their shiney new website, there is an article posted two days ago on the great Anglican theologian, W.H. Griffith Thomas by my friend and birthday buddy, Michael Jensen.

One of the things Griffith Thomas says, and which for some reason Michael chose to zero in on in his summary of the man, is that there is no mention of the darker side of predestination in the Anglican formularies. Or as WHGT put it when commenting on Article 17 of The Thirty-nine Articles, “There is no reference to Reprobation or Preterition, neither of which is part of the Church of England doctrine.”

Now, I don’t especially like talking about this sort of thing. It can be difficult pastorally, and you always have to hedge everything around with qualifications and asides to guard against misunderstandings. And there isn’t a consensus even amongst the more Reformed type of evangelicals about how precisely to formulate this sort of thing. So it isn’t something I personally would choose to bring up if I was trying to build a coalition around central gospel truths. I would pass over it.

All that being said, it is a little disconcerting to read this sort of thing, and to be told that “there are scant Scriptures that might be said to teach a doctrine of reprobation.” OK, so Article 17 does not explicitly cite:

1 Peter 2:8, “[those who do not believe] stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.”

2 Peter 2:12, “But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction.”

Jude 4, “certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

Revelation 17:8, “the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world…”

But in such scriptures, the doctrine of reprobation does seem to many interpreters to surface in a most remarkable way. If it doesn’t, if there is some other explanation for what these verses say, then perhaps we ought to be educated on that, rather than them simply being dismissed as “scant.” They are, after all, about as scant as the number of verses directly addressing practising homosexuality, or whether you should marry a non-Christian.

We don’t usually accept the argument that “where number of verses addressing a subject is small, dismiss the doctrine,” or call it “mysterious,” or say there is “no reference” to it. After all, how many times does God need to say something for us to listen? Continue reading

What Does Predestination Mean for the Non-Elect?

Daniel Hyde the question we are faced with is what of the rest of humanity? Reformed theology typically confesses what is known as double predestination. The Canons of Dort (CD) define this doctrine as “the express testimony of sacred Scripture that not all, but some only, decease are elected, while others are passed by in the eternal decree” (CD 1.15).

This is a very serious confession. Let me focus our hearts on the biblical teaching before addressing two practical struggles this doctrine can bring up.

Is this Doctrine Biblical?

I begin with whether this doctrine is biblical because Scripture is the foundation upon which our faith stands. This is also the reason why those who deny this doctrine deny it: they don’t think it’s in Scripture. Let me survey several biblical passages to show that it is.

First, when Jesus gave His bread of life discourse He said, “whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” Yet, He also said to the crowds: “you have seen me and yet do not believe” (John 6:36). Why didn’t they believe? “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37). Do you understand what Jesus said? To those hard-hearted people Jesus explicitly said to them that the Father gave to Christ some to be saved and not others. In other words, some were chosen while others were left in their hard-heartedness, unable to come to Christ.

Second, most likely the most famous passage is in Romans 9. There Paul made contrast between the historical figures of Jacob and Esau. Then he made the theological affirmations that God loved Jacob while Esau was hated; Jacob was chosen while Esau was not. These brothers stood as illustrative examples of what is true of all humanity.

Third, in 1 Thessalonians 5:9 Paul comforted believers living in dark times: “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” There are those who are comfortable in their own safety saying, “There is peace and safety” (1 Thes. 5:3), who are also described as children of the night and the darkness (1 Thes. 5:5), and who are said to be asleep in the days in which we live (1 Thes. 5:6, 7). These were destined for wrath; but we believers have not been.

Fourth, in 1 Peter 2:4 Peter said that we came to Christ, that is, we believed in Him. In contrast, he said in verse 7 that some do not believe, citing Psalm 118 that says like a stone Jesus was rejected by the builders. Verse 8 then cites Isaiah 8, declaring Jesus is a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that causes offense to them. Peter continues, “They stumble because they disobey the word”—this is the word of the gospel back in 1 Peter 1:23-25—“as they were destined to do.”

Finally, in Jude 4 we learn that false teachers were a part of the plan of God to affect the church: “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation.”

So is this doctrine biblical? Yes. A simple reading of Scripture shows that not only are some chosen to salvation in God’s eternal purpose, but some are not. Those Scripture passages that teach God’s election of a particular people unto salvation also teach God’s non-election of others.

This is where a distinction is helpful to understand this. Preterition is God’s passing over some when He choose others. Condemnation is God’s actual consigning the passed over to eternal punishment. Condemnation, therefore, is subsequent to preterition. In other words, election and reprobation are not precisely parallel, as God’s positive choice in grace is what makes us elect, while His withholding of grace by passing by means that others will be left in their sins and because of that are therefore condemned by God.

Some detractors of reprobation say that it is debilitating to the Christian life. Let me address the two common pastoral issues this doctrine often creates.

1. What if this Doctrine Frightens Me?

It’s easy for some of us who are affected with the struggle of seeing life as a glass half empty to hear a doctrine like reprobation and to live in doubt, but there are different categories of people who hear this doctrine and have a difficult time with it.

First, there are believers who have a living faith in Christ, are assured in their souls, have peace of conscience, and desire to be obedient to the glory of God. Yet even these believers are not completely assured at all times. Reprobation may bring this out in their minds and hearts. The answer is making perpetual use of the means that God has appointed for working His grace in you—the Word, the sacraments, and prayer.

The second kind of believer is the one struggling with ongoing sin. Are you beset by some sin that is keeping you from a stronger relationship with Christ? You should not be afraid when you hear of reprobation because in His mercy, God has promised that He will not quench the smoking flax nor break the bruised reed (Isa. 42:3), that is, the struggling believer.

Finally, there is a category of hearer that needs to be worried when this doctrine is mentioned. It’s not believers who need to be worried but those who have wholly given themselves over to the cares of the world and the pleasures of the flesh. If this is you, reprobation should be fearful; but its mention is also the opportunity to repent and believe in Jesus Christ.

2. What if My Child Dies?

A second practical problem is how reprobation relates to infants who die? The caricature described in the Canons of Dort is that those who hold to a doctrine of reprobation believe “many children of the faithful are torn, guiltless, from their mothers’ breasts, and tyrannically plunged into hell” (CD, Conclusion).

Not only was this question a huge issue in the seventeenth century when about 25% of children died in childbirth and then another 25% of those who lived died before age five, but for us, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) anywhere from 10–25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage.

So how does the doctrine of reprobation relate to this struggle? The Scriptures teach us as believers that our children are covenant children. The children of at least one believing parent are holy (1 Cor. 7:14) not because they are sinless but because they belong to God’s set apart people. The Lord made His covenant with Abraham and his children (Gen. 17:7). When David found out his child died, he ceased weeping and fasting and arose in confidence that while his son would not come back to him, one day David would see him (2 Sam. 12:23). Where? In the presence of God. David prayed as a covenant member that when he was in his mother’s womb it was the Lord who was forming him and who knew him (Ps. 139). Moving into the New Testament we see that nothing changes. Jesus and the apostles inherit this outlook on children and never say anything to abolish or revoke it. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:14). On Pentecost Peter said God’s promise was to those who believed and their children (Acts 2:39). Paul addressed children in Ephesians 6:1 as they would have been present in the covenant community when this letter was read.

Does this mean all human life that dies in its infancy is in heaven? Whereas Scripture gives us confidence about the children of believers, it is silent about the rest. Great men have personally believed that all infants dying are saved, such as C.H. Spurgeon, Charles Hodge, and B.B. Warfield. So what do we say about aborted life, miscarried life, or precious children of non-believers who die tragically before their life can even get going? We say that God is a good, gracious, and just God and that He will do what is right. We can trust Him.

In the end, what both the doctrines of election and reprobation teach us is that we have a totally sovereign God who is perfectly good. In the end, He will be glorified for His justice but especially His grace, love, and mercy.

Vessels Prepared for Destruction

PottersfreedomExcerpt from Dr. James White’s book “The Potter’s Freedom” (pages 211-214):

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. Romans 9:17-18)

The example of Pharoah was well known to any person familiar with the Old Testament. God destroyed the Egyptian nation by plagues so as to demonstrate His might and power in the earth, and key to this demonstration was the hardening of Pharoah’s heart. Before Moses had met with Pharoah the first time God told him:

When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. (Exodus 4:21)

It was God’s intention to bring His wrath upon the Egyptians. God’s actions were not “forced” by the stubborn will of the Egyptian leader. God said He would harden Pharoah’s heart, and He did. Listen to the impudent response of this pagan idolater to the command of Moses:

And afterward Moses and Aaron came and said to Pharoah, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Let My people go that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness.'” But Pharoah said, “Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?” (Exodus 5:1-2)

Is this not what God said He would do? Will someone suggest that Pharoah’s heart is “soft” here? No indeed, and Moses well knew that God was behind this for when the Pharoah then increased the work load of the Israelites, Moses complained to God in Exodus 5:22. Why complain to God if, in fact, God had nothing to do with it and it was all just a matter of the Pharoah’s “free will choice”?

This provides the background of Paul’s citation of Exodus 9:16. The portion of truth that here stings the pride of man is this: it is more important that God’s name is magnified and His power made known than it is that any single man get to “do his own thing.” Pharoah was surely never forced to do anything sinful (indeed, God probably kept him from committing many a sinful deed). He acted on the desires of his wicked heart at all times. But he is but a pot, a creature, not the Potter. He was formed and made and brought into existence to serve the Potter’s purposes, not his own. He is but a servant, one chosen, in fact, for destruction. His destruction, and the process that led up to it (including all the plagues upon Egypt), were part of God’s plan. There is simply no other way to understand these words.

Paul then combines the fact that God showed undeserved compassion and mercy to Moses (Exodus 33) with God’s hardening of Pharoah’s heart (Exodus 5) and concludes that whether one is “mercied” or “hardened” is completely, inalterably, and utterly up to God. The verbs here are active: God performs these actions. He “mercies” whom He wills and He hardens whom He wills. The parallel between “mercy” and “hardening” is inarguable. We may like the “mercying” part more than the hardening, but they are both equally a part of the same truth. Reject one and you reject them both. There is no such thing as preaching God’s mercy without preaching God’s judgment, at least according to Scripture.

The passage reaches a crescendo in these final verses:

You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? (Romans 9:19-20)

Paul knew well the objections man presents to the words he had just penned. If God has mercy solely based on His good pleasure, and if God hardens Pharoah on the same basis, all His own glory and honor, how can God hold men accountable for their actions, for who resists His will? Paul’s response is swift and devastating: Yes, indeed God holds man accountable, and He can do so because He is the potter, the one who molds and creates, while man is but the “thing molded.” For a pot to question the Potter is absurd. These words cannot be understood separately from the fundamental understanding of the freedom of the Sovereign Creator and the ontological creatureliness of man that removes from him any ground of complaint against God. Though already devastatingly clear, Paul makes sure there is no doubt left as to his point:

Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. (Romans 9:21-24)

The Potter’s freedom pulses through these words, flowing inexorably into the sea of sovereignty, rushing any would-be proponent of free will out of its path. God has the perfect right to do with His creation (including men) as He wishes, just as the Potter has utter sovereignty over the clay. Just as God had demonstrated His wrath and power by wasting idolatrous Egypt, so too He demonstrates He wrath upon “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction.” Are these nations? Classes? No, these are sinners upon whom God’s wrath comes. They are said to have been specifically “prepared for destruction.” That is their purpose.

Why are there vessels prepared for destruction? Because God is free. Think about it: there are only three logical possibilities here. Either 1) all “vessels” are prepared for glory (universalism); 2) all “vessels” are prepared for destruction; or 3) some vessels are prepared for glory and some are prepared for destruction and it is the Potter who decides which are which. Why is there no fourth option, one in which the pots prepare themselves based on their own choice? Because pots don’t have such a capacity! Pots are pots! Since God wishes to make known the “riches of His grace” to His elect people (the vessels prepared for mercy), there must be vessels prepared for destruction. There is no demonstration of mercy and grace when there is no justice.

The vessels of wrath, remember, like being vessels of wrath, would never choose to be anything else, and they detest the vessels that receive mercy…


There is a flip side to Divine election; that being the doctrine of reprobation. Here is an excerpt from Loraine Boettner’s book “The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination”:

This is admittedly an unpleasant doctrine. It is not taught to gain favor with men, but only because it is the plain teaching of the Scriptures and the logical counterpart of the doctrine of Election. We shall find that some Scripture passages do teach the doctrine with unmistakable clearness. These should be sufficient for any one who accepts the Bible as the word of God.

“Jehovah hath made everything for its own end; Yea,” Prov. 16:4.

Christ is said to be to the wicked, “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence; for they stumble at the word, being disobedient; whereunto also they were appointed,” I Peter 2:8.

“For there are certain men crept in privily, even they who were of old written of beforehand to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ,” Jude 4.

“But these, as creatures without reason, born mere animals to be taken and destroyed, railing in matters whereof they are ignorant, shall in their destroying surely be destroyed,” II Peter 2:12.

“For God did put in their heart to do His mind, and to come to one mind, and to give their kingdom unto the beast, until the word of God should be accomplished,” Rev. 17:17.

Concerning the beast of St. John’s vision it is said, “All that dwell on the earth shall worship him, every one whose name hath not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the lamb that hath been slain,” Rev. 13:8; and we may contrast these with the disciples whom Jesus told to rejoice because their names were written in heaven (Luke 10:20), and with Paul’s fellow-workers, “whose names are in the book of life,” Phil. 4:3.

Paul declares that the “vessels of wrath” which by the Lord were “fitted unto destruction,” were “endured with much long suffering” in order that He might “show His wrath, and make His power known”; and with these are contrasted the “vessels of mercy, which He afore prepared unto glory” in order “that He might make known the riches of His glory” upon them (Rom. 9:22, 23).

Concerning the heathen it is said that “God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting,” Rom. 1:28; and the wicked, “after his hardness and impenitent heart treasures up for himself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,” Rom. 2:5.

In regard to those who perish Paul says, “God sendeth them a working of error, that they should believe a lie,” II Thess. 2:11. They are called upon to behold these things in an external way, to wonder at them, and to go on perishing in their sins.

Hear the words of Paul in the synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia: “Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish; For I work a work in your days, A work which ye shall in no wise believe, if one declare it unto you,” Acts 13:41.

The apostle John, after narrating that the people still disbelieved although Jesus had done so many signs before them, adds, “For this cause they could not believe, for that Isaiah said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and He hardened their heart; Lest they should see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, And should turn, And I should heal them,” John 12:39, 40.

Christ’s command to the wicked in the final judgment, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the Devil and his angels,” Matt. 25:41, is the strongest possible decree of reprobation; and it is the same in principle whether issued in time or eternity. What is right for God to do in time it is not wrong for Him to include in His eternal plan.

On one occasion Jesus Himself declared: “For judgment came I into this world, that they that see not may see; and that they that see may become blind,” John 9:39. On another occasion He said, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding, and didst reveal them unto babes,” Matt. 11:25.

It is hard for us to realize that the adorable Redeemer and only Savior of men is, to some, a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence; yet that is what the Scriptures declare Him to be. Even before His birth it was said that He was set (that is, appointed) for the falling, as well as for the rising, of many in Israel (Luke 2:84). And when, in His intercessory prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, He said, “I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me,” the non-elect were repudiated in so many words.

Jesus Himself declared that one of the reasons why He spoke in parables was that the truth might be concealed from those for whom it was not intended. We shall let the sacred history speak for itself: “And the disciples came, and said unto Him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? And He answered and said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but unto them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath. Therefore speak I unto them in parables; because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And unto them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith,

“By hearing ye shall hear, and shall in no wise understand;
And seeing ye shall see, and shall in no wise perceive;
For this people’s heart is waxed gross.
And their ears are dull of hearing.
And their eyes they have closed;
Lest haply they should perceive with their eyes,
And hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart,
And should turn again,
And I should heal them.” Matt. 13:10-15; Is. 6:9, 10.

In these words we have an application of Jesus’ words, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine,” Matt. 7:6. He who affirms that Christ designed to give His saving truth to every one flatly contradicts Christ Himself. To the non-elect, the Bible is a sealed book; and only to the true Christian is it “given” to see and understand these things. So important is this truth that the Holy Spirit has been pleased to repeat six times over in the New Testament this passage from Isaiah (Matt. 13:14, 15; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; John 12:40; Acts 28:27: Rom. 11:9, 10).

Paul tells us that through grace the “election” received salvation, and that the rest were hardened; then he adds, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear.” And further, he quotes the words of David to the same effect:

“Let their table be made a snare and a trap,
And a stumbling block, and a recompense unto them;
Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see,
And bow down their backs always,” Rom. 11:8-10.

Hence as regards some, the evangelical proclamations were designed to harden, and not to heal.

This same doctrine finds expression in numerous other parts of Scripture. Moses said to the children of Israel, “But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let you pass by him; for Jehovah thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that He might deliver him into thy hand, as at this day,” Deut. 2:30.

In regard to the Canaanitish tribes who came against Joshua it is written, “For it was of Jehovah to harden their hearts, to come against Israel in battle, that He might utterly destroy them, as Jehovah commanded Moses.” Joshua 11:20. Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli, when reproved for their wickedness, “hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because Jehovah was minded to slay them,” I Sam. 2:25.

Though Pharaoh acted very arrogantly and wickedly toward the Israelites, Paul assigns no other reason than that he was one of the reprobate whose evil actions were to be overruled for good: “For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, For this very purpose did I raise thee up, that I might show in thee my power, and that my name might be published abroad in all the earth,” Rom. 9:17 (see also Ex. 9:16).

In all the reprobate there is a blindness and an obstinate hardness of heart; and when any, like Pharaoh, are said to have been hardened of God we may be sure that they were already in themselves worthy of being delivered over to Satan. The hearts of the wicked are, of course, never hardened by the direct influence of God, — He simply permits some men to follow out the evil impulses which are already in their hearts, so that, as a result of their own choices, they become more and more calloused and obstinate. And while it is said, for instance, that God hardened the heart of Pharaoh, it is also said that Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Ex. 8:15; 8:32; 9:34). One description is given from the divine viewpoint, the other is given from the human viewpoint. God is ultimately responsible for the hardening of the heart in that He permits it to occur, and the inspired writer in graphic language simply says that God does it; but never are we to understand that God is the immediate and efficient cause.

Although this doctrine is harsh, it is, nevertheless, Scriptural. And since it is so plainly taught in Scripture, we can assign no reason for the opposition which it has met other than the pure ignorance and unreasoned prejudice with which men’s minds have been filled when they come to study it. How applicable here are the words of Rice: —

Happily would it be for the Church of Christ and for the world, if Christian ministers and Christian people could be contented to be disciples, — LEARNERS; if, conscious of their limited faculties, their ignorance of divine things, and their proneness to err through depravity and prejudice, they could be induced to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn of Him. The Church has been corrupted and cursed in almost every age by the undue confidence of men in their reasoning powers. They have undertaken to pronounce upon the reasonableness or unreasonableness of doctrines infinitely above their reason, which are necessarily matters of pure revelation. In their presumption they have sought to comprehend ‘the deep things of God,’ and have interpreted the Scriptures, not according to their obvious meaning, but according to the decisions of the finite reason.

And again he says,

No one ever studied the works of Nature or the Book of Revelation without finding himself encompassed on every side by difficulties he could not solve. The philosopher is obliged to be satisfied with facts; and the theologian must content himself with God’s declarations.

Strange to say many of those who insist that when people come to study the doctrine of the Trinity they should put aside all preconceived notions and should not rely simply upon the unaided human reason to decide what can or cannot be true of God, and who insist that the Scriptures should be accepted here as the unquestioned and authoritative guide, are not willing to follow those rules in the study of the doctrine of Predestination.