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Elected According to Choice

William Bell Riley (1861-1947) served for many years as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Minneapolis, Minnesota (from 1897 to 1943). He was also a key figure in the early independent Baptist church movement. While recognizing the sovereignty of God, he "also set forth his position on the freeness of the gospel and man’s freeness in responding thereto: ‘The impression that prevails with some people that God only calls a few of His favorites is absolutely false. Isaiah, speaking for God, said, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters." [Isaiah 55:1] …No man ever hears the gospel, no matter who he is and to what stock he belongs, but God is calling to him… Every promise of salvation made by the Son of God is His call to the sinner… The soul’s election depends upon the soul’s choice. Thou, my friend, art the only person who can settle this question of election. It is not settled in Heaven; it is settled on earth. It is not settled of the Lord; it is settled by man.’ (The Bible of the Expositor and the Evangelist New Testament, Vol.9, pp.152-153, 155, 158)".