Friday, August 5, 2011

Irresistible God? A Considerate Search into Calvinism, Part 3 of 7

Calvinism’s doctrine of Limited Atonement does not agree with Scripture, which clearly states that Jesus Christ was the propitiation for the entire world. Anyone may be pardoned on account of Jesus’ merit from His satisfactory payment on the cross. Twisting Scripture to demean certain clear passages so they fit a Calvinist mold is not what I call rightly dividing the Word. The world, used in several verses cited later, means simply that: the entire world, all men.

It does not agree with the forced interpretation of “the world of the elect.” God’s determination to create men who could not believe and be saved makes them unrepentant sinners; God created them to commit sin. Consider: God ordained sin; He willed sin into being according to Calvinism. He is not only the author of sin, because men would have no choice but to resist the gospel, but it would paint God as a mocking tyrant; holding out the antidote but forbidding that anyone but those He wishes take it. Man cannot possibly be held morally accountable for something he has no choice but to do! God’s morality is highly suspect in the light of this illogical and unbiblical doctrine. It is like making a man incapable of walking and then beating him ruthlessly for not being able to walk! Likewise, the elect have no need of the gospel, because by the time you are preaching the gospel to them they were already saved by Irresistible Grace affecting spiritual regeneration. Charles Spurgeon bemoaned this idea by saying that it was akin to bringing medicine to someone who was already made well! Mind you, Spurgeon was even a professing Calvinist.

God’s abhorrence for sin in the Bible is well documented. Would God foreordain something that He abhors and repulses His holy nature? See Habakkuk 1:13. Just browsing the Psalms one is struck with the common sense explanation that sin is man’s doing; not God’s. Sin is man’s fault by choice; sin is man’s will put in effect to decide to do something he is capable of doing the opposite of. Calvinists disagree. God ordains evil because God predetermined everything. Because God foreknows everything perfectly (every thought, word and deed), does that mean He predestines it? If He is sovereign only in the sense that He must actively control all things, it speaks to me of a lack of sovereignty and omniscience. One is suggesting that if God didn’t ordain something He couldn’t possibly know it. Some would argue, “Foreknowledge is the same thing as predestination.” I disagree.

Foreknowledge accepts the fact that men and women WILL choose to reject the gospel or accept it by faith in Christ; God knows this perfectly, but He did not command who will believe and who won’t. “But isn’t it the same thing? If God knows who won’t believe and who will, then what is the difference between foreknowledge and predetermination?” The difference being: If God foreknows something and permits it to occur when it is against His will (though the person committing this deed is aware by revelation and conscience that his act is evil) then the person willing to do the deed is responsible for it; and God’s judgment of such aberrant behavior is just. He did not compel; He allowed the free will of the individual to make the choice, and with it the consequence. Predestination would insinuate that God determined to create that person, coerced them to commit deeds He finds abhorrent, and then punish them for what is in reality His responsibility. Here we see the logical outcome of Calvinism.

One must wonder about Jesus’ words to the Pharisees about sin and blindness. Jesus told the blind man whom He healed: “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind,” John 9:39. There was a distinction made here between the honest seeker of God (the blind man who saw Christ, believed, and worshiped) and those who claim to be seekers of God but lie (the Pharisees, who saw many miracles and heard Christ’s words but rejected Him). The Pharisees asked Jesus if they were blind as well, verse 40. He replies, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains,” verse 41. The use of the word sight predicates awareness, or moral responsibility. If they were blind it stands to reason that they would not be held accountable, since they do not see where they are going. Since they see, they are guilty of not only seeing, but going in the wrong direction; that is, away from God. The blind man chose to come to Christ; the Pharisees chose to reject Him. They rejected the will of God more than once, Luke 7:30; Acts 7:51. Such rejection is only meaningful if they could also have accepted the will of God for themselves.

Rather, though God’s desire is for men to be saved, they must be saved through Jesus Christ as God made provision: solely by His loving grace and mercy. Those who stand at the Great White Throne are there because they are condemned sinners who did not receive Jesus as Savior; the severity of their judgment is determinant on the deeds committed in the flesh, coupled with their knowledge. How could God “judge justly” as Scripture plainly tells us, when the people He’s judging at this point could not do otherwise but reject eternal life? Some Calvinists proclaim God’s sovereign will is a mystery, and berate those who would question the doctrines of Calvin as being unbelieving or ignorant, quoting Romans 9:19-20 as their defense of this doctrine. Simply because Calvinism’s founder is famous and his system of theology was very appealing to the intellect does not make him incapable of gross error; something sadly apparent by the very tenets of Calvinism. John Calvin’s life, honestly explored, reveals a sad history of oppression and tyranny; a tree that bears bad fruit is a bad tree Jesus told us.

Christ’s blood is efficacious for all, but one must accept this precious payment for it to avail you. Here the Calvinist would strike what they consider the weakest link of the argument. “If Christ’s blood failed to bring in every purchased soul, then His blood was wasted on those who refused to believe. A sacrifice of such value could never be wasted on those who can reject it. It would reveal the weakness and lack of value in the nature of Christ’s offering. In short, man could resist God’s will and thwart God’s plan of redemption!” Allow me to ask a question. If I deposited $1,000 in the bank for someone, and they refused to withdraw that money, does it no longer possess any value? The value of Jesus’ blood is without limit! He could have redeemed a million more worlds of sinners by virtue of His offering to God! Because no one avails themselves of His offer of salvation only merits eternal Hell; this would not be thwarting God’s plan. If you refuse to come to Christ as Savior you will come before Him as Judge. Christ dealt with the issue of sin on the cross, and sin died with Him, so that anyone who believes in Jesus Christ is released from sin in a judicial sense. We are, “dead to sin,” Romans 6:2, 7. Christ wasn’t purchasing the elect on the cross; He was paying in full the penalty for sin, which is death.

1 comment:

  1. Great Post, Ian.

    As Jesus said, by their fruits ye shall know them. It is troubling to look at the fruit of many of the "Reformers". Most of them only wanted to reform some areas they were concerned about without a complete overhaul. The effort to retain certain other doctrines resulted in serious errors.

    ReplyDelete

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness," 2nd Timothy 3:16.

My wife and I welcome comments to our Blog. We believe that everyone deserves to voice their insight or opinion on a topic. Vulgar commentary will not be posted.

Thank you and God bless!

Joshua 24:15

All Scripture is taken from the King James Bible (KJV) or New King James Bible (NKJV). Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.