Mell, Predestination and the Saints' Perseverence: Outline and Synopsis.

Mell, Predestination and the Saints' Perseverence: Outline and Synopsis.


The following outline and synopsis of this pamphlet may aid the reader in grasping its organization. The whole consists of four facts: First, a discussion of the absurdity of Reneau's intent as well as method; second, a clear statement of the doctrine of predestination in its comprehensive meaning; third, a discussion of Reneau's first sermon on predestination; fourth, a discussion of Reneau's attempt to discredit the doctrine of perseverance of the saints.

  1. This first section demonstrates Mell's elevated and intellectual sense of humor and engages in benevolent sarcasm toward Mr. Reneau in an effort to free him from self-delusion and unjustified arrogance. Throughout this section Mell seeks to expose thr ee severe problems of his antagonist.

    1. His unbounded arrogance

    2. His lack of perception and/or candor in representation of arguments

    3. His tacitly blasphemous view of the authority of divine revelation

  2. Mell gives a clear statement of the doctrine of predestination.

    1. Definition of predestination

      1. Seven propositions related to God's sovereignty as creator

      2. Three propositions related to God's role as upholder

      3. Three propositions related to God's sovereignty as governor

    2. How predestination relates to men

      1. The elect

      2. The non-elect (reprobate)

    3. Two remarks about the doctrine of predestination

      1. Remark 1 -- objection as easily applied to Arminianism

      2. Remark 2 -- difficulty arises out of two considerations

        1. Thoughts of God too human

        2. False understanding of what "dishonors" God

    4. Demonstrations or proofs of predestination

      1. Position 1 -- God has intimate acquaintance with all His works

        1. Upholds

        2. Provides

        3. Disposes and governs

      2. Position 2 -- in these relations God governs himself by a determinate plan

      3. Position 3 -- this determinate plan existed from all eternity

      4. Conclusion -- "predestination comes in like a flood" and includes all the events and means leading to the salvation of the elect and condemnation of the reprobate

    5. Objections to predestination

      1. God author of sin -- Arminians have same problem

        1. Biblical examples

          1. Fall

          2. Joseph

          3. Crucifixion

          4. Other scriptures

        2. Arguments from reason

          1. Distinction between sinful act and the result attained

          2. If result is good it is worthy of him

            1. Two more objections

            2. Two more answers

      2. Sinner exonerated

      3. Destroys free agency

      4. Makes God respector of persons

      5. God unjust and cruel

        1. Preterition -- God passes by some

        2. Condemnation -- God punishes them

      6. Makes use of means unnecessary

    6. Practical benefits

      1. Tends to produce humility

      2. Tends to produce more earnest labor

      3. Tends to strengthen in the calamities of life

      4. Tends to excite gratitude to God

  3. Consideration of the arguments of Reneau's first sermon.

    1. Discussion of foreknowledge

      1. Simple intelligence

      2. Scientia visionis

        1. Differences between Calvinists and Arminians on foreknowledge

        2. Representation of Reneau's misunderstanding of foreknowledge

    2. Discussion of Reneau's misunderstanding of unconditional election.

      1. Relation of election to moral character

      2. Comparison between Arminian and Calvinist views of election

      3. Relation of election to effectual calling as viewed by Arminians and Calvinists respectively

      4. Refutation of Reneau's objections to Calvinistic view of election (2)

      5. Mell demonstrates positive weaknesses of Reneau's view

        1. Equality of work of Spirit with all men

        2. Elected because of foreseen faith

        3. Elected subsequent to faith

        4. Is faith a good work?

        5. Is election always effectual or might it, in the end, be unavailing?

  4. The Doctrine of Perseverance

    1. Two questions for discussion

      1. Can Christians totally fall from grace?

      2. Can Christians finally fall from grace?

    2. Discussion of Question A

      1. Example of David

        1. Clarifies the issue by five questions

        2. Two considerations

          1. David did not apostatize as evidenced by repentance and faith

          2. Renewed man does not lose grace evidenced by 1 John 3:9 and the example of Peter

        3. Discussion of the particulars of David's case

          1. The nature of grace

          2. The nature of the Cross

      2. Universalism and perfectionism

    3. Discussion of Question B

      1. List of eight categories from which Calvinists argue for perseverance

      2. Only two of these assailed by Reneau

        1. Covenant of grace

        2. Atonement

      3. Scriptural arguments against perseverance by Reneau

        1. 2 Corinthians 6: 1

        2. Parabolic material

          1. Matthew 5:13

          2. Matthew 12:43

          3. John 15:1-11

        3. 1 Corinthians 10:1-12

        4. 2 Peter 2:20-22

        5. 1 Chronicles 28:9

        6. Ezekiel 18:24

      4. Examples of apostacy given in Scripture according to Reneau

        1. Adam and David recovered

        2. Judas

          1. Given to Christ John 17:12

          2. Regenerated Matthew 19:28

          3. Familiar friend Psalm 41:9

        3. Hymeneus and Alexander

Tom J. Nettles


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