I'm going to make a post that I trust all here can find as a middle ground. If you still see something s/w differently, that's OK, let's just continue to be careful how we express it, so we don't walk over "that line" (Hot Topic). I'm not even sure my post isn't slightly over the line, so if it is, bring it to my attention, and I'll consider your input on it. It really is a difficult topic to discuss within set parameters of the guidelines, but I'm trying
Willi, referencing your posted J. Preston link, CHB, yours re: L.Ray, and Lefein, re: your post;
I believe all
indicate God is in control;
most, if not all, indicate man is required to make choices;
we answer for those choices;
I believe God sets the conditions within which we grow, learn, and fulfill His purpose for each of our lives;
as a loving Parent, He provides us with some "space within which to maneuver" so we can strengthen our legs and our decision-making (learning obedience) but He hasn't lost control of His universe, so He sets parameters within which we can maneuver;
when it's His time, and we're faced with His overwhelming love, everyone's choice will be to love Him, to bow before Him and confess His Lordship - some now, the rest later. When every knee bows and every tongue 'homologeo' (profess, declare openly, speak out freely, profess one's self the worshipper of one, praise, celebrate), that's not a forced event. It is
one brought about according to His timing, at the consummation, as He works all things according to His will; when all are at the end of self and joyfully proclaim their Redeemer.
There - I've tried to express my beliefs, summarizing main points of different views, while not stepping over the line. Whew!