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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
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Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Unconditional Election in John 10 - part 2
If you haven't read it already, you should read the first post in this series.

As I mention in the previous post, Rose posted a wonderfully edifying devotional by J. Vernon McGee, on the text of John 10:27-29, and I made some comments in the comment section about how this same text not only preaches eternal security (which was the bread and butter of McGee's devotional), but also teaches what that eternal security rests upon, that being the unconditional election of God.

Some exchange of ideas took place and another commenter suggested that thieves and robbers who come in over the fence represented false religion in general (and that the heart of the metaphor was the centrality of Christ as viewed in appostition to other world religions. This commenter went on to support the position with some verses from scripture that suggested the heart of the comment was that no one was chosen by God, but that we choose God and are saved.
When Christ heals the blind man on the Sabbath in John 9, the Pharisees conclude that Christ is "not from God" because Christ did not "keep the Sabbath" (John 9:16). In questioning the blind man they contrast themselves with Christ - they were disciples of Moses and Jesus, because he healed on the Sabbath was obviously a false teacher. They wanted the man who was formerly blind to agree with them that Christ was a false teacher, but the man felt that Christ was no false teacher, but at the very least a prophet, for no one had ever opened the eyes of anyone born blind. When the man refused to agree with their condemnation of Christ they put him out of the synagog.

The description of the good shepherd and the sheep etc. follows this encounter in the narrative, and the figurative language is not arbitrary, but is the very language used in the OT to describe the major OT men who pictured the coming Christ - men like Moses (Ps 77:20) and David (Ps 78:70-72; Ezek 34:23). Using the imagery of the shepherd and the flock Christ demonstrated whom God was endorsing, himself or the Pharisees.

Jesus paints the picture using a scene from everyday first century life in Palestine. Many families owned sheep, but not all families had sheepfolds where the sheep could be penned in for the night. In a village it was common to keep the sheep from many families in the same pen at night. During the night the sheep would mingle and mix, and in the morning the shepherd would come to take his own sheep out of the fold. When the door to the pen is opened the shepherd makes a distinct call, or even blows a special whistle, and his own sheep recognize him and follow him out. The sheep do not follow a shepherd they don't know, so the only sheep who follow the shepherd are his own. Likewise at watering holes and whatnot, flocks were inclined to mingle and mix - but when it was time for one flock to leave, the shepherd would call to his flock, and they would separate themselves from the other sheep and follow him.

It is good to understand that this was common knowledge to the people Christ was addressing - when Christ spoke of His sheep hearing His voice, it was picturing this very phenomenon.

Let's not mix up what is being described here. The call to the sheep is the gospel - and those who respond to it do so because they are God's flock.

In the comment it was said, The reason Jesus knows who His sheep are is because He knows our hearts. It's not because He CHOSE particular people for no reason, but rather He KNOWS and has ALWAYS known who will and will not receive the gospel.

In John 6:44 we read, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day." (emphasis added).

That is, Christ does indeed call all men to Himself, but no one answers that call ever, unless God the Father (who sent Christ) draws them to Christ.

Note what Christ says in John 10:26 - "But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep."

Whenever we see the word "because" in a simple cause and effect relationship, we do well to examine the effect, and see what causes it. In this case, the effect is that they did not believe. Why didn't they believe? BECAUSE they were not of His sheep. It wasn't that they were not of his sheep because they didn't believe - that is ==NOT== what the text says, it says they did not believe because they were not of His sheep.

In the comment it was said "No one is chosen by God ..."

You may wish to read again the account of Paul's conversion, it describes an encounter between Christianity's greatest enemy (at the time) and Jesus Christ who came to him on the road to Damascus. To deny that God -chose- Paul, strikes me as a little myopic.

The fact is that Hebrew means "chosen ones" - God chose Abraham, He chose Issac (not Ishmael), he chchose Jacob (not Esau) - He chose Moses, chose all the judges in the book of judges, chose David and his family. That claim that God doesn't choose people is just ... just... magnificent. I do hope you will reconsider what you are saying there.
It was following this point that Rose identified a key difference in how she and I were understanding the text. She replies:
I think we see the call of the shepeherd in this metaphor as a different item. You say it is the call of salvation, but I think it is the call to believers to follow Christ.
She then explains herself by way of inferrence about the question she had previously asked me regarding the way in which a shepherd procures sheep - her point being that since the shepherd owned both the sheep that he purchased with money, and the sheep that were procreated in the flock - that the metaphor Christ was using could not be soteriological since it broke down if you extended the metaphor to procreation.

My reply will be in the next post in this series, and is really the heart of it I think.

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posted by Daniel @ 1:09 PM  
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