The following is only a few portions of a conversation I had with someone who believes in Predestination. The complete conversation would not make any sense because of the way the back and forth debate went. However, I felt that there were points of the debate that might be interesting and have therefore placed them here.
I say that the concept of God giving ALL fallen and sinful mankind the ability to choose Him is just not found in scripture. We find the exact opposite: The apostle Paul echoed the old testament when he said that "No one seeks after God, no, NOT ONE" He goes on to depict a miserable situation for the unsaved.
My response is in Green:
It seems that you are trying to say that since man is dead in his sins, he cannot even choose to follow Christ. That is bad theology, but don't take my word for it, take God's word:
(Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NIV)  This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live  and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
(Joshua 24:15 NIV) But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
Notice in both of these passages the people are told to make a choice to either follow God or not. If you are right, then these passages should be cut out of the Bible because they are meaningless. But these are not the only ones.
(Genesis 4:7 NIV) If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.
I would only like to ask you this: to WHOM is this passage written? Actually, I could ask you same question in reference to both quotes: to whom is the Joshua verse written? Let's go a step further....to whom is the entire Old Testament addressed to?
The verses appear to be God giving fallen mankind the opportunity to choose are really only God commanding His chosen people to choose His way. Having said that I fully agree that man can choose God... but only after he has been regenerated. In John chapter 3 Jesus said that a man must be born again to see the kingdom of God. He doesn't choose FIRST then become born again. We bring man up to God's level when we say that man is the final deciding factor in his salvation. By saying that man ultimately decides his fate is to say that HE (man) is sovereign, not God. I have a problem with that because it steals Gods glory.
Man must be regenerated FIRST before he can choose Christ.
You say that those two passages in the Old Testament where the Israelites are told to make a choice, were not really choices, they were commands which the people had no choice but to follow. That can't be backed up biblically, only doctrinally.
No, that is not what I wrote, here are my words:
"The verses that you quote from the old testament that appear to be God giving fallen mankind the opportunity to choose are really only God commanding His chosen people to choose His way."
Let me explain. God CHOSE Israel as His covenant people. Israel did not CHOSE to be His covenant people. There was nothing superior about these people, he decided to pick them out of the world simply because He is God and desired to do so. There is no mention of God giving the heathen or Gentile population any choice to accept Him or reject Him. The Gentiles were dead in sin and DESERVING of hell. Where do we read where anybody but His chosen people are allowed to accept God as their God? Where is this choice? It's not there. The CHOICE was given to Israel to choose whom they will serve. My issue was not that these people (the israelites) didn't have a choice, because they surely did, it's just that we need to look at to WHOM the Old Testament was specifically written. The choice was given to Israel, not the heathen population. Now, I am NOT saying that the old testament is not for us today it surely is, what I am saying is that the commands were given BY God TO His covenant people. No where are gentiles included. This argument really isn't about Choice per se, I agree that man has a choice, it's just that when faced with the choice because he is dead in sins he always chooses to reject. But, the context of the old testament passages you quoted were written to Israel, NOT the gentiles, wheras the new testament opens the door to Gentiles.
I am sorry but this is a ridiculous word game. The point remains, that you are in affect saying that there was no choice, it was God telling the people to choose His way. I still say they were given a choice. Of course God wanted them to choose His way, but that does not mean it was not a legitimate choice on their part.
By the way, Gentiles were included in the Old Testament just as the following passage shows:
(Isaiah 56:6-7 NIV)  And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant--  these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.
E-Mail Ralph (whose comments are in green)