Question from Kris:
Our [former] preacher... told us to stay away from a church that believes in predestination (too new of a Christain to ask questions).
Now that my husband and I have moved, I want to find a church and get involved. Help me with some information on predestination if that is an important reason to visit or not to visit a church.
Answer from Pastor Bob:
I agree with your former pastor that you do NOT want to go to a church that teaches predestination, unless they clarify that they also believe in free will.
Predestination is the doctrine that God has chosen people to salvation. The Bible teaches predestination in passages like Romans 8:29, but that passage and others clarify that it means because God already knows everything in advance, He can speak of the saved as "chosen." The Bible does NOT teach that we have no free will to choose. John 3:16 says "whosoever believeth." We choose to receive or reject the gospel. However, many churches that stress predestination will teach an extreme version of this, saying that God has already chosen who will be saved, so you have no choice in the matter.
If a church says they are "Calvinist" or "Reformed" or the use the term "doctrines of grace" then they are probably a church teaching predestination. Some Southern Baptist churches teach this, although it is only about 10%.
I preached a sermon on this subject back in the summer of 2009, if you want to know more. Go to www.fbcrincon.com and click on "Listen Online" and then find the sermon on 05.03.09 about predestination.